Harlem Landmark May Lose Two Floors (NYT)
From the Metro-North station at 125th Street, it is one of the most visible features of the Harlem streetscape: a massive red stone building, covered with black netting, blue scaffolding and plywood boards. Through a gap, bay window frames and ornamental terra cotta rosettes peek out.
But soon, the throngs of commuters who pass by the landmark, the Corn Exchange Bank Building, an 1883-84 Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival structure, will be able to see even less of it. The top two floors will be gone.
On Wednesday, the city’s Department of Buildings issued a permit to demolish the two floors, finding that the building — as it has stood for 125 years — was unsafe.
A community activist purchased the building, at 81 East 125th Street, from the city in 2003 with the promise to rehabilitate it. Instead, the structure sat with a gaping roof and crumbling masonry for six years. The city moved to take control of the property, and this January, a judge ruled that the city could repossess the building.