I love the skyline of New York as much as the next person but I think we can all agree that it needs some new blood. Our most iconic skyscrapers are from the 1920s (Chrysler Building) and 30s (Empire State Building) but we’re supposed to be a major capital of the 21st Century. Well, things are about to change. New York City Council has voted to allow Vornado Realty Trust from proceeding with a Pelli Clarke Pelli-designed 1,216-foot skyscraper adjacent to Penn Station. Since this is New York, there are a lot of people are against the building but Mayor Bloomberg is for it.
The Anthony Malkin of Malkin Holdings, an Empire State Building owner, wrote to the City Council and boy did he rev up the hyperbole:
The Empire State Building is the internationally recognized icon on the skyline of New York City. We are its custodians, and must protect its place. Would a tower be allowed next to the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben’s clock tower? Just as the world will never tolerate a drilling rig next to The Statue of Liberty, why should governmental bonuses and waivers be granted to allow a structure as tall and bulky at 15 Penn Plaza to be built 900 feet away from New York City’s iconic landmark and beacon? … If built, be as much a scar on the complexion of New York City as the loss of Penn Station.
The Brooklyn Eagle hates it too:
Get Frank Gehry back in town or ask Jean Nouvel to take time off from Jane’s Carousel to pitch in. If we are going to do something like this, like “threaten” the Empire State Building, let’s do it right. Let’s honor our city, not insult it with something that might even be unkind to Omaha.
And Gothamist points out the most “who cares” fact of all:
… 66% of New York visitors said the new 15 Penn Plaza tower would degrade the character of the New York skyline.
Always snarky Curbed, thinks the problem with the building is that it screws up the feng shui of the neighboring Empire State Building. Point taken.
In my opinion, it’s obvious the building isn’t an architectural marvel but at least it shatters the sacred cow that is the New York skyline. Perhaps this new addition will encourage others to build big and transform our city into something that doesn’t look like a relic of the 20th Century. If I wanted to live in a museum I would move to Venice.
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