Turns out Major Food Group (Carbone, Santina) and their landlord Aby Rosen made some changes to the landmarked former Four Seasons space, now home to breakout openings The Grill and The Pool, without permission from New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Specifically, Landmarks took issue with a reception desk in the lobby, as well as a new bar and wall coverings in the Pool’s lounge space. Originally built and designed in 1958 by Philip Johnson, the historic restaurant space got an update from MFG earlier this year. Except not all of it was legally approved — parts that landlord RFR Holding tells the Times it considered “additive fixtures” and thus not under Commission oversight. They have since resubmitted to get permission for the changes they’ve made.
The Historic Districts Council, an advocacy group, disagreed that the changes were kosher. In a shade-packed statement to Curbed NY, the organization wrote:
As one of the city’s most famous Interior Landmarks and one which was very recently granted a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Landmarks Commission for its restaurant conversion, HDC is dumbfounded as to why the applicant performed additional work without LPC permits. This is unacceptable and the applicant should not be rewarded for it. The proposed changes would clutter up a space which was, in accordance with its Modernist design, simple and sparsely populated. Its muted tones and subtle details afforded a sense of calm within the chaotic city. In its new iteration, additional furniture makes the space more frenetic and will certainly only signal an increase in room capacity, an unfortunate change.
Here’s a closer look at exactly what those changes look like, according to a presentation that RFR gave to the Commission:
A lobby reception desk
A new bar in the Pool’s lounge space
New wall coverings in the Pool’s lounge space
The full scope of changes are in the the below proposal, as well as a video of the hearing. The next meeting to approve or disapprove has not yet been set. For what it’s worth, the local Community Board 5 recommended that Seagram Building’s changes be rejected. Stay tuned.
Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly credited the above statement to Landmarks. It was the Historic Districts Council.