When the plan to rezone Midtown East was revealed last year, there was much excitement and much grumbling, but the outlines of the battle to come lacked definition. In retrospect, it seems so inevitable: how could the conflict over the heart and soul of the city’s central business district take any shape but that of progress versus preservation?
It is a conflict that haunts, if not defines, every land use debate in the city, and a particularly fitting one for Midtown. The district developed around, and largely because of, Grand Central station—a building that not only epitomizes the conflict, but helped to define it.
Grand Central: How a Station Transformed America
(Grand Central Publishing, 320 pp., $30)
Walking through Grand Central in 2013, one is struck by how inevitable the station feels—from the gently sloping walkways that lead into the main concourse to its location in the transportation-tangled, high-rise-shadowed heart of Manhattan. But as Sam Roberts reveals in Grand Central: How a Station Transformed America, nothing about Grand Central’s construction, design, preservation or even its continuing existence has been inevitable.
Rebecca Land Soodak has to take certain precautions when seeking a nanny to look after her four children. For one, she has to be careful not to include her name or email address in her Craigslist posting.
“I don’t want them to Google me until we’ve talked on the phone,” Ms. Land Soodak told The Observer on a recent Wednesday morning at her home on East 87th Street. The kids were at school, and the penthouse duplex, its walls lined with her own paintings—colorful, Elizabeth Peyton-style portraits of children with dreamy gazes—was quiet.
“And they always Google,” she said.
With great fanfare, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced the other day that he will conduct an audit of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s ventures into real estate development. Specifically, the comptroller seems wary of a deal that the MTA cut with Apple, which is due to open a new store in Grand Central Terminal in the coming days.
Oversight of agencies like the MTA is always a good thing. The transit agency’s books have been the subject of endless controversy in recent years as great gaps appeared in its budgets. Mr. DiNapoli’s enthusiasm, then, is not such a bad thing.
But the comptroller should proceed with great care here.
Apple has begun a super-secret quest for a store in historic Grand Central Terminal, potentially creating a hive of buzzing techies in the glamorous Beaux Arts landmark.
Reliable sources tell The Observer that the maker of ubiquitous iGadgets–from computers to cell phones–hopes to open a store in the transportation and retail hub, though it has Read More
The city is safer and the Times is closer to Port Authority. For these reasons, and the fact the paper needs to "reduce spending," there won’t be a direct shuttle from the Times Building to Grand Central and Penn Station anymore. Here’s the memo:
To the staff
As part of our continuing efforts to Read More