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Stroika
October 9th, 2008, 11:56 PM
I don't know if there's a relevant thread already in existence, so my apologies if there is.

However, after reading the following post by Lofter, I thought we may want a thread dedicated to the best empty holes in the city:

"So glad that some demo crews were able to take down a number of old NYC gems just in time for the building projects to be cancelled. NYC will be much better off with those plywood enclosed lots -- perfect for graffiti and street art (which soon may become the only mass entertainment that many will be able to afford).

"But how does one cap off a 200' x 400' concrete lined 40' deep pit?"
-Lofter1

I think we should celebrate the farsighted developers who bought up beautiful (or simply functional/usable) buildings and hastily destroyed them to be able to sell a fantastic "developable" lot, only to see their empty holes fester as credit dried up.

To kick if off, my personal anti-favorite is the site of the now-demolished Drake Hotel, at 57th and Park. The scumbag behind this one was Hugh Macklowe, who at last count owed billions to Deutsche Bank.

Instead of this:
http://www.hotel-online.com/News/PR2007_1st/HennisFeb07Drake.jpg

We have some plywood and signs warning about rat poison. Go drink some of that down, Hugh.

Stroika
October 14th, 2008, 10:44 AM
http://www.nypost.com/img/cols/stevecuozzo.jpg
Posted: 1:35 am
October 14, 2008

Manhattan is be coming an island of big holes in the ground.
The biggest of them is, of course, Ground Zero. A short block away is the Broadway block that's supposed to be home to the Fulton Street Transit Center, but is likely to remain desolate until or unless the MTA gets its act together.
The privately owned pits with unclear futures come in many shapes and sizes.
They make a stark contrast to the many marvelous projects nearing completion that were fortunate to start when times were good - like One Bryant Park, 11 Times Square, the Standard Hotel and the apartment tower 24 W. 23rd St.
The biggest collection of empty holes with no sign of any work being done is on First Avenue south of the United Nations, where Sheldon Solow won city approval earlier this year to put up six apartment buildings and one office tower.
Some day, we hope, it will all be beautiful; today, it's a 9.8-acre expanse of nothing - making us miss, for the time being, the hulking old Con Ed plants.
Then there's Extell's big pit on West 57th Street across from Carnegie Hall.
It's supposed to be a condo/hotel tower. Extell chief Gary Barnett cleared the site more than a year ago, but no plans have been filed with the Buildings Dept.
Who knows when the former Drake Hotel site at Park Avenue and 56th Street will see something new? Harry Macklowe razed the hotel with plans for a tower that would reach to 57th Street.
But now, the Macklowe Organization is fighting to keep the parcel out of the clutches of Deutsche Bank. With all the complications, the prime location might remain an ugly open sore for years to come.
Another big question mark is on the west side of Sixth Avenue between 30th and 31st streets, where Tessler Developments and the Chetrit Group leveled an entire blockfront.
A 30-story apartment project is apparently in the works, but - again - no plans have been filed with the Buildings Dept.
steve.cuozzo@nypost.com



http://www.nypost.com/seven/10142008/business/devil_in_details_for_666_fifth_133451.htm?page=0

Stroika
October 14th, 2008, 10:51 AM
Question: Does the city have no regulations about having a certain amount of financing or at least a plan for a new building when developers apply for a demo permit in Manhattan? Do such regulations exist, at the very least, for ALL buildings of a certain age (say, over 50 or 75 years)?

It strikes me as ludicrous that extremely tight regulations govern certain, somewhat arbitrarily selected historic or landmark zones -- and that zoning laws apply across the entire city, imposing oftentimes pointless height restrictions -- or that community opposition can seriously sidetrack some worthy projects like, potentially, the Tour Verre; but in equally prominent Manhattan areas, beautiful old buildings can be leveled willy nilly and left to rot for years without any proven plans or financing for the site...

avngingandbright
October 14th, 2008, 11:15 AM
American greed at its finest. The final stage of Houstonization is complete. Glass skyscrapers surrounded by parking lots. No character, just like every other American city.

Does anyone have any pictures of the tragedy on 57th? I haven't been down there recently.

lofter1
October 14th, 2008, 04:54 PM
The Extell site on West 57th has started to weed over, and as of last week was looking quite verdant. The lot was not "leveled" per se, but has various hills and valleys and bits of old brick walls here and there (as well as the occasional chair or two scattered about). If nothing is going to go up there in the near future it would be too bad for it to remain fenced off. The 2-page ad (http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=255692&postcount=88) in the recent NY Times KEY Magazaine claims that something really big will be rising on the site. If those plans don't come to fruition soon then it'd be better for NYers that the 57th Street site be revamped as a temporary park. Not that anyone has the money for that sort of thing these days ...