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Old March 18th, 2007, 11:10 PM   #801
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Tall and Thin, Back in Fashion

Published: March 18, 2007

A rendering of the new sliver condo tower at 785 Eighth Avenue

THE sliver building is making a comeback in Midtown Manhattan. The version that Ismael Leyva has designed will soon soar above Eighth Avenue and West 48th Street like a bird made of blue glass, with narrow balconies rising 42 stories high along the neck.

During an earlier residential building boom in the 1980s, New York City rushed to ban what were called “slivers” — condominium towers rising high above narrow lots in residential neighborhoods — in response to community protests. In 1983, even as the last vote was taken, developers were still running crews on overtime to try to get their foundations finished on the Upper East Side, before it was too late.

At the time, the City Planning Commission attributed the slivers to what are again familiar trends: rising real estate values, the demand for luxury housing and the difficulties developers were having assembling large lots.

But now with residential condominiums going up all over Manhattan — in commercial districts like this one on Eighth Avenue as well as residential neighborhoods — the sliver is back, and Mr. Leyva’s version is singularly tall, thin and contemporary. It has a needlelike tower rising above a 23-foot-8-inch-wide street front.

In all, the condominium tower, at 785 Eighth Avenue, will rise 566 feet high, according to the building permit, and cantilever over an adjacent building to provide additional floor space. Balconies facing Eighth Avenue will be spaced to create a sense of motion like a bird in flight — because they shift from one side of the building to the other as they rise along the facade.

“When developers are forced to deal with small sites, we architects have to come up with clever solutions to make the building more efficient and economically feasible,” said Mr. Leyva, who designed the residential interiors at the Time Warner Center, and has been involved in dozens of other residential and commercial projects in the region.

“We have to shape the building to maximize the use of space, create drama with dynamic solutions,” he said.

The project, being developed by Esplanade Capital, a New York real estate and investment company, calls for 122 condominiums, with two to four apartments per floor, a residential lobby and entrance on West 48th Street, a rooftop terrace, amenities space, and a retail space in the ground floor and basement. There will be two elevators stopping at each floor.

The building uses air rights from several adjacent properties and is built on an irregularly shaped lot. So while it is 23 feet wide in front, it widens out to 44 feet at the rear, providing large balconies and corner living rooms facing the Hudson River. It is scheduled to be completed in mid-2008.

The limits on sliver buildings apply to structures in residential zoning districts with street fronts of 45 feet or less. A review of building dimensions in property tax records shows two 20-story buildings with only 25 feet of street frontage in Midtown, but no other building as tall as this new project with as little street frontage.

Jay Eisenstadt, who runs Esplanade with his partner, David Scharf, said he was aware of other projects being planned on relatively narrow lots in Manhattan, and he noted that other very tall condominiums have been built or are being built along Eighth Avenue.

“It is a unique and challenging site, and it will be a unique building,” he said.

But Kent L. Barwick, the president of the Municipal Art Society, which opposed the sliver buildings in the 1980s, said he remained concerned about their resurgence in commercial areas.

“This should be a big red flag for anybody who thought the sliver buildings had disappeared from New York,” he said. “We hope this will get city planning and property owners in this part of town together to make sure that this is what everybody had in mind.”
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Old March 19th, 2007, 05:24 AM   #802
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^ I am really excited to see that one go up!
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Old March 19th, 2007, 06:44 PM   #803
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hopefully we'll see much more than one of these towers
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Old March 20th, 2007, 05:17 AM   #804
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Building Iron Triangle plan

Ex-beep Shulman sets up development corp. to oversee city's effort


Friday, March 16th 2007, 9:08 AM

Former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman has formed a local development corporation to oversee the city's proposed redevelopment of the so-called Iron Triangle at Willets Point, a spokesperson for the newly formed organization said.

Shulman will lead the organization, which will be called the Flushing/Willets Point Corona Local Development Corp., said spokesman Evan Stavisky.

"It's in its very early stages," Stavisky said, adding that the organization's mission is "to work with the city to advance a shared vision of a better, more modern Willets PointFlushing community.

"This is about reaching out to bring people into the process," he said.

Meanwhile, at a public meeting Wednesday night organized by City Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D-Corona), city economic development officials discussed the proposed redevelopment of the Iron Triangle, a tangle of gritty businesses on a 60-acre former ash heap in the shadow of Shea Stadium.

The 75 or so people who attended the forum were told the city wants to transform the dense warren of car repair shops, junkyards and heavy industry into "a vibrant, mixed use community," with retail and entertainment space, a hotel and convention center and 55,000 units of housing.

The yet-to-be-finalized redevelopment model would turn what is now a destination for motorists seeking secondhand auto parts and bargain repairs into a hot spot for tourists, shoppers and residents, said Bill Walsh, vice president of real estate development for the city's Economic Development Corp.

"We not only see this as a destination, but also as a very livable community," he said. "What started off as an ash dump could really become a national model for environmental stewardship and responsibility."

But third-generation Iron Triangle business owner Jake Bono, 31, whose family has owned and operated Bono Sawdust Supply since 1933, doesn't buy Walsh's argument.

"It's a ploy," he said Wednesday night. "It's all ... smoke and mirrors. Basically, we're all being taken and we're all going to be out of business. It's disgraceful. We're the type of people who built America."

Mark Jenkins of East Elmhurst expressed fears to Walsh that a redeveloped Willets Point would be flooded with people and traffic for Mets games, but would be all too quiet when the ballpark was dark.

Walsh responded that "this place has to be a great community on days other than when there is a baseball game."

Tom Agnotti, a professor in urban affairs and planning at Hunter College and the principal author of a study of land use in Willets Point, said the city plan is needlessly far-reaching and would uproot viable businesses and rob workers of their jobs.

However, Walsh said the project will include programs to help businesses relocate and help workers find new jobs and develop new skills.

Agnotti said such measures are useless. "You can give all the relocation assistance you want, but there is no other place to put them," he said.
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Old March 20th, 2007, 05:18 AM   #805
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Borough's in with the inn crowd

Hotel construction on rise


Friday, March 16th 2007, 2:23 PM

Queens is undergoing a room boom.

From Long Island City to Forest Hills, Flushing to Maspeth and Jamaica, hotels are popping up across the borough.

The area around Kennedy Airport has seen five new hotels open - a sixth is under construction - in the last several years, according to the Hotel Association of New York City.

While much of the construction is aimed at business travelers, Queens hotel developers are giddy over what they see as sky-high hotel prices across the East River.

"Here, [guests] all stay at a discount rate and only 10 minutes away from the city," said Mark Farruqui, co-owner of the 16-story, 137-room Holiday Inn under construction in Long Island City.

The average cost of a hotel room in the city was $271 last year. The occupancy rate was 86%, according to NYC & Co., the city's tourism bureau.

"Hotel occupancy in Manhattan is so high that there is a market for these hotels," association president Joseph Spinnato said. "We're starting to see hotels where five years ago nobody would dream of putting a hotel."

Besides the lure of cheaper rooms, easy access to a Manhattan-bound subway and the closeup views of the Manhattan skyline attract developers.

"We're not going to have a pool on the roof," says Peter Casini, the architect to Farruqui's project. "But we may have a bar and lounge. You can see all the way to the Triboro Bridge."

Even so, hotels further out in Queens are attracting tourists.

Nine members of the Rogers family, from Runaway, Tex., spent a week at the Fairfield Inn Marriott in Astoria - which opened in November - during their kids' spring break last week.

"It's about a third cheaper than it is to stay in Times Square," said Sharon Rogers as she waited for a complimentary shuttle bus to Manhattan.

A mile from LaGuardia Airport and 20 minutes from Manhattan on the N or R train, the 87-room hotel offers rooms from $129 to $159.

The Queens hotel rush - something locals said they haven't seen since the World's Fair came in 1964 - has, in part, been driven by neighborhood rezonings. "The rezoning of 1998 encouraged some of the hotel construction," said City Councilman John Liu (DFlushing), who listed four hotels that have opened in his district and a four-star business-class hotel planned as part of the $1 billion redevelopment of downtown Flushing.

"The main thing I'm interested in is [that] we have hotels of desirable quality," said Liu. "No seediness of any kind."

New building rules around the borough have allowed condominiums - and now hotels - to replace strip clubs.

Another driving force might be what looks to developers like a saturated condo market.

"The residential market is slowing down," Farruqui said of his company's decision to build a hotel. "We're looking into other areas as developers, to diversify."

At least two boutique hotels are planned for the south side of Queens Plaza, an area thick with cab companies and body shops.

Of the upscale hotels coming to a neighborhood long-overshadowed by the Queensborough Bridge, a local said, "They're trying to make it a second, mini-Manhattan."
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Old March 20th, 2007, 05:27 AM   #806
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I saw the sapce where they were gonna build this crazy building like its the size of a brownstone.
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Old March 20th, 2007, 05:50 AM   #807
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Originally Posted by ZZ-II View Post
are 4 mio sqft. much for two towers?
Yes huge. given that the plot isn't that huge, and that these are office buildings. pretty much promises a 900 foot minimum.
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Old March 20th, 2007, 06:37 AM   #808
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That's really nice, we could be looking at like 80+ floors, let's hope we get something even taller. And they're at an interesting location near all the action. Could towers like these push the midtown skyline further south in the somewhat near future?

Last edited by NovaWolverine; March 20th, 2007 at 06:42 AM.
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Old March 23rd, 2007, 02:46 AM   #809
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Gehry’s New York Debut: Subdued Tower of Light

Published: March 22, 2007

Albert Vecerka/Esto

Frank Gehry designed this Manhattan building, the home to Barry Diller’s media and Internet business.

Albert Vecerka/Esto

The ground-floor lobby.

Eric Levin/IAC
The new IAC headquarters, not quite complete, is Frank Gehry’s first building in New York. It is on the West Side Highway in Manhattan.

Eric Levin/IAC

Detail of the building's exterior in the evening.

In the year since the concrete frame of Frank Gehry’s first New York building began to rise along the West Side Highway in Chelsea, architecture fans have been quarrelling over its design. Are the curvaceous glass forms of the IAC headquarters building, evoking the crisp pleats of a skirt, a bold departure from Manhattan’s hard-edged corporate towers? Or are they proof that Mr. Gehry’s radical days are behind him?

Well, both. Mr. Gehry is adding a much-needed touch of lightness to the Manhattan skyline just as the city finally emerges from a period of mourning. The IAC building, serving as world headquarters for Barry Diller’s media and Internet empire, joins a growing list of new projects that reflect how mainstream developers in the city are significantly raising the creative stakes after decades of settling for bland, soul-sapping office buildings.

Yet the building, which is not quite complete, also feels oddly tame. For those who have followed Mr. Gehry’s creative career, these easy, fluid forms are a marked departure from the complex, fragmented structures of his youth. Rather than mining rich new creative territory, Mr. Gehry, now 78, seems to be holding back.

The results — almost pristine by Mr. Gehry’s standards — suggest the casual confidence of an aging virtuoso rather than the brash innovation of a rowdy outsider.

New York has long been a frustrating place for Mr. Gehry. It has taken him decades to land a major commission here, and now the IAC building joins a string of high-profile towers, all part of an effort to transform a noisy strip of the West Side Highway into a glamorous waterfront promenade for the kind of wealthy socialites who once scorned him. Three luxury high-rise apartment buildings by Richard Meier, with tenants like Martha Stewart and Calvin Klein, are a 10-minute walk to the south. A much-anticipated residential tower by the French architect Jean Nouvel is beginning to rise just across West 19th Street.

Mr. Gehry’s structure, the most fanciful of these, looks best when approached from a distance. Glimpsed between Chelsea’s weathered brick buildings, its strangely chiseled forms reflect the surrounding sky, so that its surfaces can seem to be dissolving. As you circle to the north, however, its forms become more symmetrical and sharp-edged, evoking rows of overlapping sails or knifelike pleats. Viewed from the south, the forms appear more blocky. This constantly changing character imbues the building’s exterior with an enigmatic beauty. And it reflects Mr. Gehry’s subtle understanding of context. Rather than parodying the architectural style of the surrounding buildings, he plays against them, drawing them into a bigger urban composition. The sail-like curves of the west facade seem to be braced against the roar of the passing cars. The blockier forms in back lock the composition into the lower brick buildings that extend to the east.

But far too many of the rough edges have been smoothed over. As a young architect Mr. Gehry often said that he tried to capture the raw energy of a construction site in his finished buildings; he was actually taking aim at a complacent status quo. Forms collide, materials clash, buildings tear open to reveal the crude steel structures beneath. Later in his career, as the work became more surreal, sexual imagery performed the same function: forms pull apart to suggest a hiked dress or gently parting legs.

The lobby entries of the IAC headquarters are discreetly located on the two side streets, giving the building’s main facade a smooth, uniform appearance. Horizontal, fritted white bands line the windows, an oddly decorative element meant to control the flow of light inside. The windows’ prefabricated panels meet the ground abruptly, their aluminum frames lining up end to end in a neat grid. They have neither the compulsive precision of a Meier building nor the raw, exposed quality of Mr. Gehry’s early work. Instead they look, well, tasteful.

This toned-down, more accessible approach continues into the lobby, conceived as a public living room for the neighborhood. Its back wall is dominated by an 118-foot-long video wall, which will project video art or abstract color compositions. A sinuous maple bench snakes its way around one end of the room. A staggered row of titled columns runs along the zigzagging glass facade overlooking the highway, giving the room a slight air of instability. The effect conjures up a luxurious fish tank, a nice metaphor for our narcissistic era.

As you travel deeper into the building, what first seems tame becomes more rigid. The floors that house the main corporate offices are dominated by a two-story atrium that overlooks the roof of the Chelsea Piers and the Hudson River, the kind of tough waterfront view from which Mr. Gehry once drew his inspiration. But the room is bloodless. The translucent glass partitions that surround the atrium are stiff and flat. A curved staircase, clad in pretentious tigerwood with brushed stainless steel handrails, looks imported from a Park Avenue office building. It may qualify as the most blandly corporate space Mr. Gehry has created.

Compare this with the service stairwell at the back of the building. Made of rough exposed concrete, the 10-story staircase is pulled back from the glass facade, creating a narrow, vertigo-inducing slot that allows you to peer down into an outdoor courtyard. The staircase overlooks a romantic, perfectly framed view of the Empire State Building, but the clash of raw concrete, glass and aluminum has more in sympathy with the surrounding rooftops: a clear indication of where Mr. Gehry’s heart lies. It may be the most gorgeous service staircase anywhere in New York. (It has now been painted various shades of yellow, however, dulling the effect.)

But it is when you step onto the sixth-floor corporate terrace that you glean what’s missing from the design. Leaning back against the rail, you get your first close look at the glass cladding on the upper floors, at a point where the building narrows. The faceted geometry here is more extreme, the connections between the glass panels more awkward.

Joints don’t line up perfectly; corners look hurriedly patched together. At certain points the unusual curvature of a window, created by the building’s odd geometry, makes it impossible to span the opening with a single piece of glass, and the additional mullion creates an odd, patchwork pattern.

The effect bristles with energy, as if the building were beginning to crack at the seams. It brings to mind early Gehry projects like the 1972 Ron Davis Studio in Malibu or the 1989 Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Reim, Germany. Neither work is perfect, but their imperfections are important. What you feel is someone struggling to make sense of something he has yet to fully grasp — the incompleteness of the creative struggle.

It is a reminder that Mr. Gehry’s courage as an architect has stemmed in part from his distaste for perfection, for architectural purity — which in his mind comes perilously close to oppression. His aim has been to redeem the corners of the world that we often dismiss as crude, cheap and ugly. He intuitively understood that what seems ugly now may be only unfamiliar. If the ideas underlying a design are strong enough, its beauty would eventually reveal itself.

The IAC building is elegant architecture. But it doesn’t make us rethink who we are.
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Old March 23rd, 2007, 02:48 AM   #810
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High-rise is scaled back

Residents of Sunset Park win over developer


Wednesday, March 14th 2007, 4:35 PM

A grass-roots campaign to preserve Sunset Park's spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline has stopped a developer in his tracks.

A controversial high-rise building has been cut down to size, thanks to a voluntary agreement by the owners of 420 42nd St., Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez announced Saturday.

The apartment building was to be Sunset Park's first high-rise, at 125 feet. But plans now call for a building half as high - just 5 1/2 stories.

"It is certainly unusual in my experience," Gonzalez said, of the develop-er's agreeing to build less than is allowed under current city zoning.

"He wants to work with the community," said Terry Narvaez, a representative of developer Johnny Chan.

Gonzalez and concerned community members had shown renderings of the view from the neighborhood park to the owners of the property, said Michael Schweinsburg, Gonzalez's spokesman.

Members of the community were celebrating their victory and their new neighbors.

"They should be applauded for their consideration. It's an amazing thing," said Father Patrick Burns, pastor of St. Michael's Church.

The church's landmarked brick and stone bell tower at Fourth Ave. and 42nd St. is now the dominant feature of the neighborhood's modest skyline.

Neighborhood residents had panicked over their two- and three-story homes being overwhelmed by high-rises - as well as the obstruction of views from the neighborhood park.

"There may be 10 more buildings

being contemplated like this one, and we just don't know," said Tom Murphy, 61, who started out as a "oneman yelling machine" trying to protect the streets where he has lived since he was a boy.

But he and his wife had held out hope, even though zoning rules were not on their side. "I said, 'Just watch us,' " said Ginny Murphy, 57.

They were soon joined by others. And now Sunset Park residents want what Bay Ridge and Park Slope achieved before them - a zoning change to protect their two- and three-story homes from towering high-rises.

"This is just the beginning. We have to rezone Sunset Park, so we don't have to go through something like this again," promised Ivette Cabrera, who has lived in the neighborhood all of her 35 years.
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Old March 23rd, 2007, 06:27 AM   #811
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785 Eight Av. has such small street frontage, will the bulldozers have enough room? It will magnificent to see this one go up.
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Old March 29th, 2007, 04:41 PM   #812
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The Mother Ship Has Landed

March 27, 2007

It won't be completed during the studies of any current Columbia undergrad, but the lucky prefrosh admitted to the Class of 2011 will, at least, be able to feast their eyes on this sight by their senior year. Behold, the José Rafael Moneo-designed Northwest Science Building, to be constructed over the erstwhile tennis courts between Havemeyer and Pupin: the rendering at right, among others, was recently placed on the University's construction updates site, allowing for an early sneak peak.

Bwog isn't a stickler for traditionalist architecture, but we wonder what happened to Moneo's "extreme sensitivity to context," a factor PrezBo highlighted when the designer was selected to help fill this key gap in McKim, Mead, & White's historic plan. And even if a little architectural pizazz is what this part of campus needs, one wonders at the scale of a structure that overwhelms even prodigious Pupin. Of course, the architect faced significant challenges while designing the structure - building over the gym, insulating labs from the subway, and dealing with the drop-off between the campus and the street. And at least we know now that construction of the building won't, in fact, close Dodge. Still, we're sure at least some are bound to think that Barnard's Nexus will have some Columbia competition for "ugliest building on Broadway" when the next decade dawns.

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Old March 29th, 2007, 04:52 PM   #813
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Lots for tots at 255 East 74th Street


The World-Wide Holdings Corporation is developing a 30-story residential condominium building with large apartments on the northwest corner of Second Avenue at 74th Street.

The tower's entrance will be at 255 East 74th Street.

H3 Architects, of which Hugh Hardy is a principal, is designing the building, which will have 87 apartments.

The lower floors will have loft-like duplex units and several units will have "in-residence playrooms just for the kiddies." "These residences are custom designed for both empty nesters as well as growing families who need more space and crave a wide range of kid and adult-oriented amenities," according to Richard Lebow, director of marketing and sales for the World-Wide Group.

The building, which replaced several low-rise buildings that had popular restaurants, will have a 42,000-square-foot Equinox facility on the ground and second floors.

It will also have more than 2,400 square feet of facilities for "tots, tweens and teenagers, such as a toddler room with a cruising wall, a climbing tree house, a play zone for crafts and a reading area" and a game room "designed for tweens and teens will include an arcade with pin ball machines, extreme dance and basketball arcade games, as well as foosball, air hockey and table tennis" and a "1,500-square-foot outdoor 'Tot Lot' and indoor lounge, kitchenette and party room will also be available."

The building, whose plan has some slight angles, will be clad in glass and metal panels and will be 338 feet tall.

The top floor will have three penthouses and a common roof deck. The building will have a 24-hour doorman, valet/concierge services, Sub-Zero refrigerators and Miele appliances, 10-foot-high ceilings, Toto toilets, radiant heating in the master bath floors, a private outdoor garden, and some apartments will have fireplaces, balconies and terraces.

Completion is anticipated for late 2008 and prices are estimated to range from $2,500,000 to $7,000,000.

James Stanton is a member of Casa 74th Development LLC, which is part of World-Wide Holdings, the developer, which is also planned to erect an apartment house and school on on the southwest corner of Second Avenue and 57th Street. Victor Elmaleh, a well-known artist and squash player, is chairman of World-Wide, which has in recent years been involved in numerous residential conversion projects including the Steiner Building in Chelsea and 50 Murray Street, 53 Park Place, 88 Greenwich Street and 71 Broadway in Lower Manhattan and 137 Reade Street in TriBeCa.

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Old March 30th, 2007, 01:15 AM   #814
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High Line Park Spurs Remaking Of Formerly Grotty Chelsea

By: John Koblin
Date: 4/2/2007
Page: 40

The mission of the High Line, the future park that will rest on an elevated train platform slicing across 22 Manhattan blocks, is to slow down. The park’s designers want the experience of it to be meditative, a break from hustling urban life.

But just beyond its limits—which stretch only as wide as the skinny platform, at 30 to 60 feet—there is a frenzied contrast. Up and down the High Line’s mile-and-a-half stretch, dozens of sites are readying for construction.

At least 27 projects—mostly luxury condos and hotels—are in various stages of development: Some are being constructed, others have just broken ground, and a few are in the design stages. And many more are expected.

All of the projects will have an intimate relationship with the park: Some buildings will have private access points that lead to walkways into the park; three will actually have the High Line tucked inside the buildings; many will loom over the park, with high-end retailers serving as a backdrop; and all will be capitalizing on a rare chance to develop directly next to—or, in some cases, within—Manhattan’s newest public park.

“I think it’s remarkable,” said Andre Balazs, whose two developments both have the High Line running through them. “It’s like having a building in Central Park.”

Many of the planned buildings include a ridiculously well-muscled list of architects: Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, Renzo Piano and Annabelle Selldorf, just to name a few. The formerly hardscrabble part of West Chelsea, already on its way out, will soon be no more.

“Every parking lot and every derelict building in that neighborhood will be redeveloped,” said Ron Solarz, a broker at Eastern Consolidated, which is representing at least three sites in the area. “It will be all hotels, condos, rentals and restaurants with super-high-level users.”

But what will it mean when it’s all added up? The architects, the developers and, ultimately, the new dwellers have the chance to influence something so routine, yet so hard to achieve in New York: reorienting the identity of a neighborhood.

And who exactly are these people clamoring to move into the new West Chelsea?

ON MARCH 22, A NEW LUXURY CONDO named the Chelsea Modern, located on 18th Street off 10th Avenue, held a launch party. Prices for each of the 47 condos starts at $1 million. The party’s high-wattage attendees included Ivanka Trump, Spanish supermodel Eugenia Silva, and socialites Emma Snowdon Jones and Tracy Stern.

Matthew Betmaleck, a 39-year-old who owns his own fashion-photography company, spent $1.25 million on his unit in the building. He said the building’s proximity to the High Line is why he bought in.

“It’s Manhattan, so outdoor space is at a prime,” he said, wearing glasses with a Club Monaco scarf wrapped around his blazer. “If you live on the Upper East Side or the Upper West Side, Central Park is at your front door. Right now, I live on Bank and Washington, so I go to the West Side Highway all the time for rides or to walk my dog, and I think it’ll be the same thing at the High Line. It’ll be a destination, and people will come and check it out and say, ‘Wow! What’s that? I wanna see it.’ But I think ultimately the people who live here will be the people who use it.”

Greg Casto, a 26-year-old working in public relations, hopes to move into one of these shiny new condos when he can afford it. That’s because West Chelsea defines what Chelsea means to him already.

“Chelsea is becoming a very focused, very smart community,” he said. “That’s what you’re seeing here—not only in living arrangements, but in shops and restaurants, too. Everything that is around Chelsea is becoming very sexy and very sophisticated. And that’s the key message everyone is bringing to Chelsea: smart and sexy.”

He said he’s lived in New York for nine months.

The High Line streaks from Gansevoort Street in the meatpacking district to 34th Street. The entire train platform, which is made out of a very 1930’s combo of steel and reinforced concrete, will become a park, except for the portion between 30th and 34th streets that’s shaped like a sideways J—the city is still figuring out what to do with that section.

The park is scheduled to open in the summer of 2008, with a projected cost of $165 million. The city has raised $85 million, the federal government has given $22 million, and private funding has raised more than $17 million. The Friends of the High Line, the nonprofit arm that has pushed this project forward, has launched a campaign to raise an additional $40 million.

“I’m very excited about the project,” Congressman Jerry Nadler told The Observer. He took a tour of the High Line in 2005 with Senator Hillary Clinton and City Councilwoman (now Speaker) Christine Quinn to boost support for its redesign. “It certainly says something about the power of the West Side.”

The park, designed by Field Operations and Diller, Scofidio & Renfro, is unique in that it will be open around the same time as the dozens of luxury developments skirting it.

IT'S THIS LUXURY, WHICH LITERALLY OVERSHADOWS a park birthed through hefty public support, that raises the question: Will the High Line become a stylized playground for the rich only?

The Friends of the High Line loudly say no.

“We care passionately about this being a place for all people in the neighborhood and all New Yorkers,” said Joshua David, who co-founded Friends of the High Line in 1999. “And if there are some expensive buildings in the High Line neighborhood, then that’s true of neighborhoods throughout Manhattan. But this remains an incredibly diverse neighborhood, and we’re committed to its diversity.”

At the least, the people who move into these condos will have a comfy lifestyle. Mr. Balazs’ 14th Street High Line Building, for instance, will actually include the High Line, even though the Parks Department will still manage the part that’s inside. Mr. Balazs described the 15-story property as a “private club” that will be for “members only,” who will buy into the building and rent out rooms as a hotel.

According to one source, the High Line Building may also ask the city for a private entrance from the building that leads to a passage to the park—in essence, a direct passage from the building to the park itself. Connection to the park, said developer Charles Bendit, will be a main selling point for all landlords who can get access to it.

“It’s like living two houses off Central Park, and you have access to the park right around the corner,” he said. “You will have the same benefit here.”

Several more developers are expected to make a request for this sort of private entrance once their buildings come closer to completion, the source said.

The one building that has made the request is the Caledonia, which is owned by Mr. Bendit’s Taconic Investment Partners and mega-developer the Related Companies. The tower’s approximately 185 luxury condos are sold out, Mr. Bendit said. The building has already signed Equinox, which will have a second-floor view that will overlook the High Line.

Mr. Bendit said he expects other developers to follow suit—to bring in high-end retailers to overlook the High Line from their second- or third-story windows. Even if there aren’t direct connections to the stores themselves, if a person strolling in the park has a wandering eye for the Bed Bath & Beyond right next-door, then he can shuffle down the High Line’s stairs and buy that shower curtain he always wanted at a moment’s notice.

Naturally, the marketing machines are already moving with a swift pace. High Line 519, a condo being constructed on 23rd Street, markets its units as a “fusion of contemporary architecture, European opulence and raw Chelsea charm.”

But what exactly is “raw Chelsea charm”? Does it recall the authenticity of Chelsea and the meatpacking district in the 1970’s and 1980’s, when S&M and gay leather bars like the Eagle, the Mineshaft and the Lure pervaded the area? Or is it the gritty urban setting that’s currently in its last throes?

Whatever the appeal, it’s now being smoothed over with that burnished architecture. The New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff recently called Mr. Gehry’s development, between 18th and 19th streets near the High Line, a strong—if safe—project and lavishly praised a stairwell in the building, saying it might be the city’s best.

Indeed, it’s projects like Mr. Gehry’s that make for few, if any, detractors of the re-imagined West Chelsea. Even classic naysayers for most projects, like Florent Morellet, the owner of the meatpacking mainstay diner Florent, approve of it.

“I believe the change is positive,” he said. “You have to live with change. When I took over the restaurant, there were people who moved in the neighborhood in the 1970’s, and people said, ‘That’s it. It’s gentrification; it’s over.’ Then more moved in during the 80’s, and they thought it was the end, and the same in the 90’s. Every month, someone says to me the neighborhood is finished.”

So with a new element about to wind its way through the area, there’s naturally one thing to do: plan a big party. Even though the High Line is more than a year away from opening, tickets are on sale on March 30 for the official H&M-sponsored High Line Festival to help raise additional funds for Friends of the High Line. The party will be in May, though it won’t take place on the High Line, since it’s still illegal to enter it. But that’s beside the point.

For a project and an area that places such a premium on famous luminaries like Mr. Gehry and Mr. Nouvel, this event fits the bill. The famous gay party planner, Josh Wood, and Broadway producer David Binder are organizing it. David Bowie will curate the festival. High-profile artists like Laurie Anderson and Arcade Fire are among those that will perform.

Of course, the H&M-sponsored event, which will also get some sponsorship help from Garnier, Jet Blue and Grolsch, looks a lot like the High Line and all the developments around it—a little edgy, but something that is definitely established.

copyright © 2006 the new york observer, llc
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Old April 2nd, 2007, 07:17 AM   #815
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Seductive Machines for City Living

Jean Nouvel’s residential building in SoHo updates the cast-iron structures of that neighborhood.

Published: April 2, 2007

In today’s Manhattan, there are few better ways to assume the mantle of sophistication than shelling out millions to live in a building designed by a famous architect. The result is a surfeit of architects pumping out emblems of conspicuous consumption.

But on occasion the result is also exquisite architecture.

Two new residential buildings designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel even raise the possibility that hedonistic materialism is good for the soul. Both buildings — one nearing completion in SoHo, the other just getting under way in Chelsea — are being marketed as collectibles for the ultra-rich, but they are more than baubles.

Their dreamy lobbies and sleek apartments conjure the kind of voyeuristic fantasy that, as Hitchcock understood, makes city life so tantalizing. At the same time they take their cues from the rough edges — empty lots, blank brick walls, rooftop graffiti — that express New York’s essential gritty identity.

Of the two the SoHo building is the more restrained. Its muscular steel frame rises on Grand Street between Broadway and Mercer, formerly a light-manufacturing area, later an art mecca and now a trendy shopping district overrun with tourists. The neighborhood’s once-derelict cast iron-frame buildings are now prized real estate.

Mr. Nouvel doesn’t reject this history; he tips his hat to it, showing us what can be accomplished through ingenious planning and calculated consideration of the setting. The building’s heavy steel frame, for instance, can be read as an updated version of those cast-iron structures that give SoHo its industrial character. The height of its five-story base loosely follows the cornice line of the masonry buildings along Broadway, and the upper floors are set back from the street to make room for large terraces, at eye level with the nearby rooftops.

Architects will doubtless notice how the steel I-beams framing the exterior play on the formal elegance of Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building uptown, perhaps the city’s greatest Modernist landmark. They also bring to mind the glass-and-steel grids of Richard Meier’s recent residential towers on the West Side Highway at Perry Street and Charles Street.

Mr. Meier’s finely detailed creations suggest the cool precision of a Swiss watch, but Mr. Nouvel is after something more slyly playful. Mr. Meier likes his steel white; Mr. Nouvel, battleship gray. The I-beams in Mr. Nouvel’s SoHo building are set flush with the glass, giving it a taut profile. The rear, overlooking a narrow empty lot that will be transformed into a private garden, is treated as a raw concrete wall punctured by unadorned windows: the kind of blank side wall we associate with humdrum tenements.

There are other signs that this building is not ready to conform. In a rather strained note, an odd trellis-like structure decorated with blue glass louvers wraps over the building’s top corner, a kind of contemporary cupola meant to contrast with the dome of the 1909 Police Building a few blocks away. Horizontal bands of dark blue and red glass interrupt the purity of the street facades. On warm days big mechanized glass panels set into the facade — essentially moving walls — will slide open, transforming the apartments into covered terraces and giving the building the appearance of an elaborate machine.

Mr. Nouvel has played this trick before — most notably in his Nemausus housing project in Nîmes, France — to allow the messiness of the apartments to spill into view, breaking down the distance between the building’s inner life and the life of the street. (Picture, if you will, how much livelier the SoHo building would be with satellite antennas and clotheslines strung between the windows.)

It’s only when you step inside that you experience the building’s underlying hedonism. The lobby, not yet finished, is conceived as a vertical slot, extremely high and narrow, framed by windows overlooking a leafy tree-filled garden on one side; on the other, panels of reflective glass are superimposed with black-and-white images of a forest.

As you proceed through the lobby, the images will dissolve into spectral scenes, a haunting fairy tale landscape of trees, real and fake, and shadowy figures. A slot of glass laid into the lobby floor allows you to peek down at an underground pool in which residents will be visible bathing surrounded by white marble.

Real estate agents, no doubt, have promised glimpses of a dripping wet Uma Thurman (who has been dating André Balazs, the building’s developer), although you’re more likely to spot an overweight bond trader. But who cares? The point is titillation. And once you enter the apartments, the views are truly stupendous: elaborate cornices, wrought iron facades, wood water towers and rooftop graffiti.

By comparison Mr. Nouvel’s building on the West Side Highway has an unvarnished, raucous quality. Scheduled for completion in late 2008, it will rise on 19th Street across from Frank Gehry’s sparkling new IAC building, which might well have inspired Mr. Nouvel to pump up the glitz factor.

As with the SoHo Building, Mr. Nouvel makes a starkly classical distinction between the back and the formal public facade. The north and east exterior walls, which don’t face the street, will be fashioned out of crude black concrete blocks punctured by irregularly sized windows. The full beauty of the building doesn’t reveal itself until you circle around to the front, a gleaming glass-and-steel mask that wraps around its southwest corner.

That beauty emerges from the complexity of the glass facade. The 1,650 window panes in its glass-and-steel grid are set at different angles, so that each will be imbued with subtly different qualities of light and reflection. Portions of the facade will seem to shimmer like the surface of water at times, and at others be more opaque. The silhouette will glow like a torch one minute and dissolve into the surrounding skyline the next.

Heightening the sense of surprise is the facade’s relationship to the interior. At ground level a protective glass barrier creates a transitional zone between the street and the restaurant and lobby. Terraces will bridge the space overhead. Down below, the back of the lobby is anchored by a tranquil garden, luring you deeper into the space.

Over all it’s a heady alternative to the austere, buttoned-down tone of, say, Park Avenue’s residential buildings. For those who can afford it, why not? For the rest of us Mr. Nouvel’s buildings make fetching architectural eye candy.

An interior of the West 19th Street building designed by Jean Nouvel, showing the variation in the windows.

A rendering of Mr. Nouvel’s West 19th Street apartment building, with windowpanes set at different angles.
Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten
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Old April 2nd, 2007, 09:10 PM   #816
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Just a Vision. But I like the idea...

A Columbia professor believes that converting skyscrapers into crop farms could help reduce global warming and make New York cleaner. It’s a vision straight out of Futurama—but here’s how it might work.

By Lisa Chamberlain

Urban farming has always been a slightly quixotic endeavor. From the small animal farm that was perched on the roof of the Upper West Side’s Ansonia apartment building in the early 1900s (fresh eggs delivered by bellhop!) to community gardens threatened by real-estate development, the dream of preserving a little of the country in the city is a utopian one. But nobody has ever dreamed as big as Dr. Dickson Despommier, a professor of environmental sciences and microbiology at Columbia University, who believes that “vertical farm” skyscrapers could help fight global warming.

Imagine a cluster of 30-story towers on Governors Island or in Hudson Yards producing fruit, vegetables, and grains while also generating clean energy and purifying wastewater. Roughly 150 such buildings, Despommier estimates, could feed the entire city of New York for a year. Using current green building systems, a vertical farm could be self-sustaining and even produce a net output of clean water and energy.

Despommier began developing the vertical-farming concept six years ago (his research can be found at verticalfarm.com), and he has been contacted by scientists and venture capitalists from the Netherlands to Dubai who are interested in establishing a Center for Urban Sustainable Agriculture, either independently or within Columbia. He estimates it could take a working group of agricultural economists, architects, engineers, agronomists, and urban planners five to ten years to figure out how to marry high-tech agricultural practices with the latest sustainable building technology.

What does this have to do with climate change? The professor believes that only by allowing significant portions of the Earth’s farmland to return to forest do we have a real chance of stabilizing climate and weather patterns. Merely reducing energy consumption—the centerpiece of the proposal Al Gore recently presented to Congress—will at best slow global warming. Allowing forests to regrow where crops are now cultivated, he believes, would reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as least as much as more-efficient energy consumption.

There is another reason to develop indoor farming: exploding population growth. By 2050, demographers estimate there will be an additional 3 billion people (a global total of 9.2 billion). If current farming practices are maintained, extra landmass as large as Brazil would have to be cultivated to feed them. Yet nearly all the land that can produce food is already being farmed—even without accounting for the possibility of losing more to rising sea levels and climate change (which could turn arable land into dust bowls).

Depending on the crops being grown, a single vertical farm could allow thousands of farmland acres to be permanently reforested. For the moment, these calculations remain highly speculative, but a real-life example offers a clue: After a strawberry farm in Florida was wiped out by Hurricane Andrew, the owners built a hydroponic farm. By growing strawberries indoors and stacking layers on top of each other, they now produce on one acre of land what used to require 30 acres.

Why build vertical farms in cities? Growing crops in a controlled environment has benefits: no animals to transfer disease through untreated waste; no massive crop failures as a result of weather-related disasters; less likelihood of genetically modified “rogue” strains entering the “natural” plant world. All food could be grown organically, without herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers, eliminating agricultural runoff. And 80 percent of the world’s population will be living in urban areas by 2050. Cities already have the density and infrastructure needed to support vertical farms, and super-green skyscrapers could supply not just food but energy, creating a truly self-sustaining environment.

Like the Biosphere 2 project in Arizona, a real vertical farm will probably require a utopian philanthropist with deep pockets. In the eighties, Edward Bass spent $200 million of his own money to construct the Biosphere. A smaller and less complex vertical farm would probably cost that much to build today and could be funded by someone from a country where arable land is already in short supply, such as Japan, Iceland, or more likely Dubai. Despommier is convinced the first vertical farm will exist within fifteen years—and the irony is, oil money could very well build it.

1. The Solar Panel
Most of the vertical farm’s energy is supplied by the pellet power system (see over). This solar panel rotates to follow the sun and would drive the interior cooling system, which is used most when the sun’s heat is greatest.

2. The Wind Spire
An alternative (or a complement) to solar power, conceived by an engineering professor at Cleveland State University. Conventional windmills are too large for cities; the wind spire uses small blades to turn air upward, like a screw.

3. The Glass Panels
A clear coating of titanium oxide collects pollutants and prevents rain from beading; the rain slides down the glass, maximizing light and cleaning the pollutants. Troughs collect runoff for filtration.

4. The Control Room
The vertical-farm environment is regulated from here, allowing for year-round, 24-hour crop cultivation.

5. The Architecture
Inspired by the Capitol Records building in Hollywood. Circular design uses space most efficiently and allows maximum light into the center. Modular floors stack like poker chips for flexibility.

6. The Crops
The vertical farm could grow fruits, vegetables, grains, and even fish, poultry, and pigs. Enough, Despommier estimates, to feed 50,000 people annually.

The vertical farm doesn’t just grow crops indoors; it also generates its own power from waste and cleans up sewage water.

1. The Evapotranspiration Recovery System
Nestled inside the ceiling of each floor, its pipes collect moisture, which can be bottled and sold.

2. The Pipes
Work much like a cold bottle of Coke that “sweats” on a hot day: Super-cool fluid attracts plant water vapors, which are then collected as they drip off (similar systems are in use on a small scale). Despommier estimates that one vertical farm could capture 60 million gallons of water a year.

3. Black-Water Treatment System
Wastewater taken from the city’s sewage system is treated through a series of filters, then sterilized, yielding gray water—which is not drinkable but can be used for irrigation. (Currently, the city throws 1.4 billion gallons of treated wastewater into the rivers each day.) The Solaire building in Battery Park City already uses a system like this.

4. The Crop Picker
Monitors fruits and vegetables with an electronic eye. Current technology, called a Reflectometer, uses color detection to test ripeness.

5. The Field
Maximization of space is critical, so in this rendering there are two layers of crops (and some hanging tomatoes). If small crops are planted, there might be up to ten layers per floor.

6. The Pool
Runoff from irrigation is collected here and piped to a filtration system.

7. The Feeder
Like an ink-jet printer, this dual-purpose mechanism directs programmed amounts of water and light to individual crops.

8. The Pellet Power System

Another source of power for the vertical farm, it turns nonedible plant matter (like corn husks, for example) into fuel. Could also process waste from New York’s 18,000 restaurants.

9 to 11. The Pellets
Plant waste is processed into powder (9), then condensed into clean-burning fuel pellets (10), which become steam power (11). At least 60 pellet mills in North America already produce more than 600,000 tons of fuel annually, and a 3,400-square-foot house in Idaho uses pellets to generate its own electricity.

Copyright © 2007, New York Magazine Holdings LLC.
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Old April 4th, 2007, 02:20 AM   #817
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i wanna be a part of it New York, New York
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Old April 9th, 2007, 09:03 AM   #818
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The Second Ave Subway project
a nice map of the new planned subway line, which is set to have a ground breaking ceremony in the up coming days. See New York Times article

the Q and T planned subway lines

link to regional thread on the 2nd ave subway
Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten
From the Battery to the top of Manhattan
Asian, Middle-Eastern and Latin
Black, White, New York you make it happen

- Beastie Boys
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Old April 10th, 2007, 05:44 AM   #819
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Old April 11th, 2007, 02:45 AM   #820
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Some updates of minor buildings found while searching the web.

6-12 Barclay St

1 York Tribeca

200 Chambers St

101 Warren St


Chelsea Strauss

Beekman Pl

4 Albany St

The William

15 CPW

Forte Condo
image hosted on flickr

Flushing Town Ctr

99 Gold St
image hosted on flickr

Beacon Tower and J Condo
image hosted on flickr

Kent Ave Apt

Oro Condos
image hosted on flickr

Bridgeview Tower
image hosted on flickr

1 Prospect Pk
image hosted on flickr

The Platinum

Ariel East and West

Standard Hotel
image hosted on flickr

New Musuem of Contemporary Art

25 Bond

10 WEA

The Saya
image hosted on flickr

The Avery

Gramercy Star

The Veneto
image hosted on flickr


Parker site

Cooper Sq Hotel

1 River Terr
image hosted on flickr

469 West St

Archstone Clinton

1 Ten Thrid

385 3rd Ave
image hosted on flickr

330 E 57th St

Gramercy Green
I respected your views, so I expect you do to the same.
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