597 Fifth Avenue, The Charles Scribner & Sons Building

The Charles Scribner’s Sons Building at 597 Fifth Avenue is one of Midtown’s best surviving commercial buildings from the early 20th century.  Designed in 1912 by Ernest Flagg, architect of the Little Singer Building on Broadway and an earlier building for Scribner’s at 153-157 Fifth Avenue, 597 Fifth Avenue is a virtuoso melding of Parisian detailing and New York scale.

Built for the distinguished publishing company as a corporate headquarters, the building incorporates a two story retail interior featuring graceful wrought-iron balconies overlooking a central space the AIA Guide to New York City calls “an almost-basilica”.

The exterior is both ornate and serene, melding an eye-catching but graceful verticality to the full menu of French Second Empire and Beaux Arts effects, including a two story wrought iron shop-front; a mansard roof flanked by two Egyptian obelisks; and medallions commemorating great printers from the past, including William Caxton, Benjamin Franklin and Johann Gutenberg.

The building is a New York City landmark.

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