The interior of the Hoffman Auto Showroom at 430 Park Avenue has been demolished. Designed as a showroom for luxury cars, it was one of three works by Frank Lloyd Wright in New York City--the Guggenheim and the Cass House on Staten Island remain.
"The end came suddenly and unexpectedly. On March 22, the Landmarks Preservation Commission called the owners of 430 Park Ave. to tell them the city was considering designating the Wright showroom—until January, the longtime home to Mercedes of Manhattan—as the city's 115th interior landmark. Three days later, the commission followed up with a letter. Both went unanswered.
Instead, on March 28, the building's owners, Midwood Investment & Management and Oestreicher Properties, reached out to another city agency, the Department of Buildings, requesting a demolition permit for the Wright showroom. The permit was approved the same day, sealing the showroom's fate.
By the following week, workers had arrived and removed every last trace of a space that some architectural historians say inspired Wright's most celebrated New York work, the Guggenheim Museum."
photo: Matt Chaban, Crain's
The showroom was commissioned by Austrian race-car driver and car dealer Maximilian Hoffman in 1953, and was meant as a showplace for Jaguar cars. Since 1957 it has shown Mercedes Benz. Included in his payment, Hoffman gave Wright a Mercedes Type 300 and a 300SL Gullwing.
In the 1980s, the showroom was covered in mirrors, but it retained the original Wright structure. The ramp remained. Eventually, the revolving turntable had broken down.
Mercedes left the space at the end of 2012. Wrote Core77 this past winter, "Whether it's an auto dealership or another type of business that takes the space over, with any luck the fact that it came out of Frank Lloyd Wright's pencil will stay any thoughts of doing a demo-and-reno. But it's New York, and you never know what will happen."
A reader notes: "Sign on the window: Coming Soon, TD Bank."