The condo tower rising at 432 Park Avenue may be the most fascinating development project in the city. Sure, it can boast of being the tallest building rising in the city at the moment, to an eventual height of 1,397 feet (29 feet higher than the roof of 1 World Trade Center). It is also set to be the most expensive. But even more so, it is the secrecy of the building’s developers, CIM Group and Harry Macklowe, that make the project all the more intriguing.
Very few details about the project have been released, and none of them publicly. Even renderings are clandestine. Which is why it is amazing that not one or even two but three different skycams have been whirring away at the site for the past year, showing it off in real-time, free for anyone to look—except that no one thought to.
“On September 26th, 2011 Macklowe Properties and CIM Group began excavating the construction site for 432 Park Avenue,” a banner at 432parkavenue.com reads. “Simultaneously, we strategically installed three cameras overlooking the site so that our friends and supporters would be able to watch our extraordinary building take shape.”
One almost gets the sense this site was intended just for friends and supporters, since the developers never bothered to publicize it.
Internet data reveals that the cameras went live online sometime this summer at 432parkavenue.com, before which it was just a placeholder page. It features skycams overlooking the development from Park Avenue, 56th Street and 57th Street. There is also a rather stunning set of black and white slideshows by Richard Berenholtz, the architect-turned photographer well know for books like Manhattan Architecture and New York, New York. These sorts of photo-treatments have become de rigeur for developers, from Annie Liebovitz’s Building the Times to the Port Authority’s WTCprogress.com.
Currently, there are 16 slideshows on the site, mostly showing demolition of the row houses the developers had tried for years to buyout, and the slow setting of the foundation. The most recent gallery is from October, showing the building just above ground level. As the live cam shows, it has since progressed a few stories from there along the 57th Street side.
With One57 almost finished—the crane accident not withstanding—and 225 West 57th not yet ready to rise, all eyes will be one this tower, and these webcams, as the battle for skyline supremacy takes off.