CBS Studio Building

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Coordinates: 40°45′33″N 73°58′27″W / 40.759164°N 73.974123°W / 40.759164; -73.974123

Current CBS Studio Building

The CBS Studio Building is a seven-story office building at 49 East 52nd Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. It has had various uses at different times, including serving as a Vanderbilt family guest house, the first graduate school of the Juilliard School, CBS Radio studios, and Columbia Records studio.

It is currently owned by the Fisher Brothers, who converted it to an office building in conjunction with construction of the 45-story Park Avenue Plaza to its east.

Vanderbilts[edit]

It was built in 1908 as a guest house for the Vanderbilts who had a home a block away at Fifth Avenue (Manhattan) and 52nd, it was designed by Warren & Wetmore.[1]

Juilliard[edit]

In 1924 the Vanderbilts sold it to the Juilliard Musical Foundation where it became Juilliard's first graduate school.[2]

CBS Radio[edit]

In 1939, CBS, which had its corporate headquarters around the corner at 485 Madison Avenue, bought the building at 49 East 52nd Street, to move its radio operations, except for the main network newsroom.

Architects Fellheimer & Wagner extensively renovated the building—including eliminating the earlier Vanderbilt ornate external features and eliminating windows for soundproofing—and carved up the building into seven studios, including one which could accommodate audiences of 300 as well as symphony orchestras that could broadcast. Arthur Godfrey broadcast from Studio 21 in the building and had his main office there.[1]

Columbia Records[edit]

With the advent of television, large radio studios that could accommodate audiences were no longer needed; the last broadcast from 49 East 52nd Street was "Farewell to Studio Nine" on July 25, 1964, after which radio operations moved to the CBS Broadcast Center at 524 West 57th Street.[3] By 1966 the facility had become recording studios for Columbia Records.[4] Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Leonard Cohen, Laura Nyro[5], Bob Dylan (in spring 1970 for part of his New Morning album),[6] Paul Simon and Paul McCartney recorded music there.[1]

The facility contained Columbia's "Studio B" on the second floor and "Studio E" on the sixth floor.[7] From 1974 until 1982, CBS Radio Mystery Theatre was recorded in Studio 27, renamed Studio G in honor of Arthur Godfrey.

Fisher Brothers[edit]

In 1979 the Fisher Brothers acquired the land under the building in conjunction with construction of the Park Avenue Plaza building to its east. However, CBS retained ownership of the building itself. In 1988 the building was leased to Sony, which had purchased CBS Records[8], and a Duane Reade store opened on the ground level and second floor. For several years CBS used studio space as offices.[1] CBS eventually sold the building to Fisher Brothers in 1993[9], and in 1996 Fisher Brothers undid the 1930s Art Moderne style, replacing the windows and replicating the original Vanderbilt appearance.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Gray, Christopher, "STREETSCAPES: CBS Studio on 52d; At One Time, the 'Last Word in Broadcasting Design'", The New York Times, August 7, 1988
  2. ^ The Juilliard School: A Brief History[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "CBS RADIO NETWORK'S NEW AUTOMATED BROADCAST CENTER OPENS; NEWSROOM, STUDIOS, OFFICES AT TWO LOCATIONS VACATED" (PDF) (Press release). New York: CBS Radio. 1964-07-27. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  4. ^ "TALENT". Billboard. 1966-10-29. p. 26. Retrieved 2019-04-03. BARBRA STREISAND and CBS/Columbia Group president Goddard Lieberson bid farewell to Columbia's Recording Studios at 799 Seventh Avenue, New York. Miss Streisand's recording session on Oct. 14 marked the studio's last use. In the future, Columbia artists will use the new facilities located at 49 East 52d Street.
  5. ^ [1] Laura Nyro at the Columbia 49 East 52nd Street studio
  6. ^ Heylin, Clinton, Bob Dylan: The Recording Sessions 1960-94. Penguin. UK; St Martin’s Press, US, 1995. ISBN 0-312-13439-8. Cf. p.84 on use of Studio B and Studio E in New York City in 1970 which were at the Columbia Studio Building.
  7. ^ Simons, David (2004). Studio Stories - How the Great New York Records Were Made. San Francisco: Backbeat Books.
  8. ^ a b Garbarine, Rachelle (1996-10-20). "A Mansion Will Wake Up To Find It's 1908 Again". New York Times. New York. Retrieved 2019-04-03. Fisher Brothers acquired the land under the Vanderbilt building, but not the building itself, in 1979 as part of the site assemblage for the Park Avenue Plaza office tower, using its air rights to build the 44-story tower that flanks the smaller building on two sides.
  9. ^ "POSTINGS: Home of the Arthur Godfrey Show; Old CBS Studios Sold". New York Times. New York. 1993-10-24. Retrieved 2019-04-03. The nine-floor, 58,000-square-foot building, at 49 East 52d Street, was bought for an undisclosed sum by Park Avenue Plaza Company, an affiliate of Fisher Brothers, a Manhattan real estate company.

Further reading[edit]