It was Amanda Burden who stopped the MoMA Tower, giving Jean Nouvel’s 1,250-foot spire a haircut, and it is up to her if the project will ever snake its way onto the skyline. As The Observer revealed last month, developer Hines Interests has resubmitted plans for the shorter, stockier Torre Verre, and they await Ms. Burden’s approval. Where the head of the City Planning Department once thought the top of the tower was undignified, unworthy of sharing space with the Empire State Building, she now loves it.
“The top is glorious,” Burden told me when I ran into her at the Downtown Whitney’s groundbreaking, before the plans were formally filed. “It’s going to be a great signature addition to the skyline.” She added that the building’s “facets are more pronounced” and there is more of a sense of movement around the exterior.
A department spokesperson cautioned The Observer about reading too deeply into these pronouncements, though it certainly sounds like the tower is on its way to being approved. When that might happen remains unclear because the new plans are currently undergoing a chair certification, which has no set timetable, unlike a standard land-use application. It could be approved tomorrow or in two years—as long as it takes to get the designs in line with what the department, and its strong-willed commissioner, desires.