The World Trade Center site has been closed off from lower Manhattan and the rest of the city for 12 long years. But by this time next year, the site will be fully reintegrated back into the streetscape, and New Yorkers will reclaim the Downtown they once knew. It’s no coincidence that major developments at Read More
Last week was a difficult week one for many businesses that call the city home. Among them Extell, whose 26,000-pound crane boom dangled perilously over West 57th Street for days on end after it was torn asunder from the crane in the hurricane’s high winds.
The construction disaster is, at the moment, being chalked up to a freak accident—although an extensive investigation is underway, The New York Times reports that the crane was inspected a week before the storm and found to be in good shape—it was a blow to Extell’s ego.
It’s true of communities across the city, so why not West 57th Street? From the Rockaways to Staten Island, people have returned to their homes and businesses but found them without power, and the same seems to be going for the one-block stretch of the city that was shut down after the crane boom of One57 snapped back.
Yesterday, the city secured the crane boom to the side of the building, a day ahead of scheduled, and reopened the street. But that does not mean life is yet back to normal. According to a number of people on the street, they remain without electricity or heat—even though Con Ed claims otherwise. “They said we couldn’t expect anything before noon,” Daniel Van Doren, whose family owns 130 West 57th Street, told The Observer in a phone interview from his MetroNorth train headed to the city.
“Just like the rest of this debacle, Con Ed is not giving much detail,” Mr. Van Doren added.
Well, the recovery continues faster than expected in New York. We’ve got subways almost miraculously coming back to life after flooding throughout the system, and now the securing of the crane boom dangling over West 57th Street has been completed a day ahead of schedule, wrapping up tonight rather than Monday night as the mayor had previously predicted.
It will still be weeks before the crane—whose boom was almost torn asunder during last week’s hurricane—can be removed and construction can resume on the billionaire-beloved One57 tower. Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri’s full statement on the operation is below.
“My own feeling, and the feeling of board, is that we’d like this project to succeed,” J.D. Nolan, chair of Community Board 4’s land-use committee, told The Observer. “The Dursts are great developers, and they have worked very well with us in the past. Nevertheless, this is a rezoning, and the public should benefit as well as the developer.”
And so, the full board voted unanimously against Durst Fenter’s new apartment building on the far West Side last night. One of the most dynamic designs of the decade, 625 West 57th Street calls for a swooping white pyramid that rises dramatically up from the Hudson like an origami dove taking flight. Designed by Danish wunderkinds Bjarke Ingels Group (aka BIG), the project has even decided to eschew LEED ratings in its quest for singularity.
Durst Fetner is at work on arguably the most dynamic, certainly the least square, apartment building in New York City. Jean-Daniel Noland, chair of Community Board 4’s land-use committee, even cautioned his fellow committee members against overwrought superlatives when they considered the project last night as it entered the first phase of public review.
“We are in a house of worship, so no talk of icons tonight,” he said from behind a long table inside the Actor’s Temple synagogue on West 47th Street. “Only Jehovah can do that.”
Still, his colleagues on the committee could not resist, referring to the building as beautiful, interesting, celebrated, stunning, beautiful, attractive, singular, impressive, beautiful and destination architecture. At the end of the meeting, when a resolution was being drafted to make recommendations to the full board on what conditions it should support the project, James Wallace said, “I think we should go out of our to note the spectacular beauty of this design.”
Since 2008, Hal Fetner has been the president and CEO of Durst Fetner Residential, the joint venture with the Durst Organization that has developed high-end residential projects across Manhattan and the New York metro region. Besides the Epic and the Helena, a pair of LEED Gold projects completed several years ago, the group has most recently spearheaded developments at 1212 Fifth Avenue, 855 Sixth Avenue and West 57th Street, the high-concept, 600-unit residential building between 11th and 12th avenues. Mr. Fetner, 50, talked about these projects and the residential development market in general.
The Observer: What’s the latest with your residential condominium project at 1212 Fifth Avenue?
Mr. Fetner: At 1212 Fifth Avenue, we’re opening up our sales office, officially, any day now. This is the culmination of about three-and-a-half to four years’ worth of planning and work, and we are completing a total gut rehab of 1212 Fifth Avenue.
We have the luxury of having been able to vacate the entire building, so by having a completely empty building I was able to really redo the entire mechanical system in the building as well as all the floors. All the interior walls except for the core of the building were removed, and what we ultimately were left with was a prewar building with modern layouts.
She’s really, truly a beautiful building.