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

CBS Studio in January 2009

The CBS Studio Building is a seven-story office building at 49 East 52nd Street in midtown Manhattan that has at various times served 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 across the street 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 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] From 1974 until 1982, "CBS Radio Mystery Theatre" originated in Studio 27, renamed Studio G in honor of Arthur Godfrey.

Columbia Records[edit]

With the advent of television, large radio studios that could accommodate audiences were no longer needed. The facility became recording studios for Columbia Records. Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan (in Spring 1970 for part of his New Morning album),[3] and Paul Simon recorded music there.[1]

The facility contained Columbia's "Studio B" on the second floor and "Studio E" on the sixth floor.[4]

Fisher Brothers[edit]

In 1965 CBS sold its 485 Madison Avenue headquarters building as well as the 49 East 52nd Street studios and moved to a new office tower two blocks west at 51 West 52nd Street in the CBS Headquarters Building. Radio operations moved to the CBS Broadcast Center at 524 West 57th Street.

In 1979 the Fisher Brothers acquired the building in conjunction with construction of the Park Avenue Plaza building to its east. In 1988 the building was leased to Sony. A Duane Reade store opened on the ground level and for several years CBS used the space as offices. In 1995 Fisher undid the 1930s Art Moderne style, replacing the windows and restoring the building to its original Vanderbilt appearance.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c 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
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Simons, David (2004). Studio Stories - How the Great New York Records Were Made. San Francisco: Backbeat Books. 

Further reading[edit]