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Landmark Paramount Building re-lit for the millennium.

Jeff Gural, president of Newmark & Company Real Estate, Brendan Sexton, president of the Times Square Business Improvement District, and Jennifer Raab, chairperson of the New York City Landmarks Commission, joined a host of New York City VIPs in Times Square to celebrate the re-lighting of the landmark Paramount building to its original golden brilliance for the first time since World War II.

As part of the ceremony to usher in the new Millennium, the famous clock tower atop the 33rd story of the Paramount building was also lit blue in honor of Old Blue Eyes," Frank Sinatra, who debuted at the Paramount Theatre on December11, 1942, and played to sold-out audiences there. The globe remained blue for 10 days - through December 31 -in honor of Sinatra and the beginning of the new Millennium.

In order to mark the occasion, well-known Sinatra singer Cary Hoffman and the Stan Rubin Orchestra performed a musical tribute to Sinatra, including his famous-anthem "New York, New York," at the former Paramount Theatre on the ground floor of 1501 Broadway, now the WWF New York (the new entertainment complex of the World Wrestling Federation).

Attending the ceremony were representatives from Newmark & Company Real Estate, which has managed the historic building on behalf of the owners for over 25 years; the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission; the Times Square Business Improvement District; the League of American Theatres and Producers; the New York Historical Society; Municipal Art Society and Community Board #5.

"On behalf of the building owners, I am thrilled be a part of this vital civic endeavor to restore a piece of New York history and give a whole new generation the chance to experience this rich landmark," said Jeff Gural: "The generosity of Janice Levin and Karen Cohen has restored one of the brightest lights on Broadway to its original splendor and its rightful place on the New York City skyline. The late Philip Levin would have been very proud to see the renaissance of this New York City treasure."

Built in 1926, the Paramount clock tower quickly became a New York icon, with its illuminated 22-foot-tall glass globe that flashed the hours and quarter hours in alternating colors. The globe, which was refurbished in 1997, revived this tradition by flashing red once every quarter-hour and four times in rapid succession on each hour mark.

Visible from across the Hudson River in New Jersey, the clock tower was the most famous timepiece of its day. Millions set their watches by the four giant illuminated clock faces, each of which spans between 22 and 30 feet across. The hands of the clock range up to 15 feet long.

During World War II, the luminous globe was blacked out to prevent the clock tower from becoming a target for German bombers. In 1942, all illumination in Times Square above street level was extinguished as part of a massive wartime "dim out." Despite repair efforts, the famous timepiece stopped working during the 1970's.

"The great, but too little noticed, secret of Times Square's revival has been that we have not only attracted new investment, but we are cherishing and bringing back to life our landmark, historical treasures too," said Sexton. The theaters are being gloriously rebuilt, and now this magnificent cultural landmark, the famous Paramount Building, is coming back into its glory."

"The Landmarks Commission is delighted to see this New York icon restored to its former glory," said Raab. "Once a major tourist attraction for the city, this restored Paramount building and clock tower will be a legacy to future generations and a stunning addition to the brightest skyline in the world."

Restoring the entire building to its original dazzling splendor required 114 250-watt pressure sodium light fixtures, which generate a total of 28,500 watts of light. These light fixtures are stationed on nine building setbacks, beginning on the 18th floor of the tower. A total of 36,000 linear feet of wire and 2,840 linear feet of piping were used to connect the lighting to its power source.

The Building Owners, under Paramount Leasehold LLP, spearheaded the restoration project in conjunction with Newmark & Company Real Estate. Tobin-Parnes Design Enterprises, which has worked with the building and its owners for more than a decade, was responsible for coordinating the restoration of all landmarked elements associated with the building. Ann Kale Associates Inc. acted as the architectural lighting designers, developing the lighting for the tower. Clarin Electrical Contracting, Inc. installed the lighting.

An official New York City landmark, the Paramount building has a rich history as a laboratory of early American cinema, where pioneers like Adolph Zukor, D.W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille premiered films starring Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Rudolph Valentino, Gloria Swanson and Clara Bow in the majestic Paramount Theatre inside.
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Jan 12, 2000
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