Nov. 6, 2019. By Shane O’Brien
The Long Island City Clock Tower, a 14-story building that was landmarked in 2015, is set to get a facelift.
The four clock faces on the iconic building’s tower, located at 29-27 41st Ave., will be restored next year. The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved plans filed last week by Durst Organization to do the work.
The clock faces have long since fallen into disrepair and the Durst Organization, the building’s owner, is looking to restore the dilapidated glass and cast-iron faces.
Durst acquired the site in late 2016 as part of its plan to develop a 63-story residential building at the adjacent 29-37 41st Ave. It is renovating the clock tower as part of the plans.
Work on the four clocks is expected to begin in spring next year and be completed by the end of 2020.
Durst has hired a team of Architects — Darius Toraby Architects — to oversee the restoration of the clocks. The architects planned to replace the glass with acrylic and the cast-iron with aluminum, arguing that they are more durable materials.
The LPC, however, only approved the plans on the basis that the frosted glass be replaced with the same material as it argued that acrylics would take away from the clock tower’s signature look.
The Durst Organization is also currently overseeing restorative work to the commercial space of the building, which is officially known as the Chase Manhattan Bank Building.
Built in 1927, the tower loomed over Queens as its tallest commercial building until 1990, before the completion of the Citi Building. It was designated a landmark by the LPC in May 2015.
The building stood alone above all of its neighbors for decades at the mouth of the Queensboro Bridge, but has recently been dwarfed by a number of new developments. However, the iconic tower still remains a distinctive part of the Long Island City skyline.