Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided to scrap his ambitious proposal to rezone east Midtown. That’s unfortunate but for the best. The plan was doomed anyway: Incoming Mayor Bill de Blasio opposed the plan, as did many members of the City Council.
Last week, The Observer ventured to New York City’s drunken iceberg, the Minus 5 Ice Bar at the Hilton Hotel. Herewith, a blow-by-blow account of our chilling experience.
Minus5 Log, 6:30 p.m.:
It’s one of those days when New Yorkers are perpetually sweaty. We make our way to the chilly front doors of the Read More
Just like every other business in Midtown, Mister Softee is taking a bite out of tourists’ paychecks by charging up to $2 more for a cone than in other New York neighborhoods. Citizens, where’s your outrage?
A New York Post “investigation” revealed that ice cream cones at eight different locations in Midtown cost $3 to $4, whereas locations in Park Slope and Harlem charged $2 for the same frozen treats.
Chef Philippe Massoud is Lebanese, a fact that has made both his life and his cuisine complicated. While the times now are at a dizzying high (his restaurant, Ilili, has grown into a rave hit for the midtown crowd and is attracting executives, celebrities and royalty alike), he was also forced to flee his home Read More
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.
The N.Y.P.D. may have a person of interest in the tragic subway homicide that occurred at the 49th Street N/Q/R Midtown station Monday afternoon.
Queens resident Ki-Suck Han died Monday when witnesses say another man pushed him onto the subway tracks after a confrontation. Mr. Han attempted to climb back on the platform but couldn’t make it and died from injuries suffered after he was struck by the Q train.
No sooner did Extell Development file permits for a new 1,550-foot residential tower on the corner of 57th Street and Broadway then scaffolding started to go up around one of the final properties comprising Gary Barnett’s little west side assemblage that will be home to the city’s tallest tower. On Friday morning, The Observer happened to be out for a stroll on the crosstown boulevard when we noticed construction workers assembling a sidewalk shed, the first sign of construction commencement.
A source close to Extell confirms that demolition will soon begin on 1780 Broadway, a 12-story building that was once home to BF Goodrich. At the time, this corner of Gotham was known as Automobile Row during the Gilded Age. Because of an agreement with the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, the facade of 1780 Broadway must be retained as part of any new building, so this will presumably be a careful deconstruction.
Best Laid Plans
Basically everybody but the Bloomberg administration and select landlords in the area wants to see the Midtown East Rezoning delayed. While there is a general consensus that creating room for bigger, more modern office buildings in the heart of the city’s central business district makes sense, many planners and community groups fear the administration is rushing the plan to get it done on the mayor’s watch, rather than taking the necessary time to figure out exactly what to build.
Now, the three community boards directly effected by the rezoning are calling on Governor Cuomo to intervene, and their rationale is an interesting, if desperate, one.
If King Kong were to swing into New York sometime this decade, he might actually have a hard time figuring out where to go.
In the original 1933 black-and-white classic, King Kong famously scales the two-year-old Empire State Building, cementing it in the conscience of the world as arguably its most famous skyscraper. Four decades later, the giant gorilla set his sights higher, standing astride the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Today, perhaps he might climb atop their succesor, the new 1 World Trade Center. But one gets the sense that King Kong is given to gigantism, so only the city’s tallest tower will do.
Until a few months ago, that would have been 1 World Trade. But since 432 Park Avenue began to rise skyward in April, the 1,397-foot condo tower developed by Harry Macklowe and CIM on the old Drake Hotel site would have claimed the skyline crown. It beats out its downtown rival by 29 feet, so long as one ignores the silly 400-foot sorta spire atop 1 World Trade. Should King Kong arrive sometime in 2014, this slinky tower would probably be his choice.
But a year or two after that, and he might turn his gaze further down 57th Street, past the already striking 1,005-foot One57 tower, Gary Barnett’s billionaire bauble nearing completion despite that crane accident. There it would settle on another tower being developed by Mr. Barnett, at 225 West 57th Street, just one block from what was already going to be the city’s tallest apartment building when it opens next year. The new tower’s height, according to building permits filed last week: 1,550 feet.