PDA

View Full Version : Time Warner Center and Central Park



Edward
February 3rd, 2002, 02:56 AM
The views of AOL Time Warner Center (http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/default.htm) from Central Park (http://www.wirednewyork.com/parks/central_park/default.htm).



Wollman Rink, Central Park South, and AOL Time Warner Center (http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/default.htm) on 2 February 2002.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/images/aol_time_warner_cp_wollman_2feb02.jpg



The view of AOL Time Warner Center (http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/default.htm) from Central Park (http://www.wirednewyork.com/parks/central_park/default.htm) on 2 February 2002.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/images/aol_time_warner_cp_2feb02.jpg



The gilded bronze figures of Maine Monument at the Merchant's Gate of Central Park (http://www.wirednewyork.com/parks/central_park/default.htm) and AOL Time Warner Center (http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/default.htm) on 20 January 2002.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/images/aol_time_warner_maine_monument_gold_20jan02.jpg



The Maine Monument at the Merchant's Gate of*Central Park (http://www.wirednewyork.com/parks/central_park/default.htm) and AOL Time Warner Center (http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/default.htm) on 20 January 2002.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/images/aol_time_warner_maine_monument_snow_20jan02.jpg

Fabb
February 3rd, 2002, 04:19 AM
Beautiful pictures, as usual.
AOL Time Warner and Random House will have an enormous impact on central park south.

Kris1
February 3rd, 2002, 05:02 AM
I can see Foster's gem fitting in quite nicely as well...

Fabb
February 3rd, 2002, 10:27 AM
It's a gem, sure.
But I'm afraid 40 stories would make its presence unobtrusive.

Kris1
February 3rd, 2002, 11:57 AM
It will certainly be very visible from the first point of view.

MikeV
February 3rd, 2002, 02:44 PM
It will make a very nice corner to the Central Park South and Central Park West skylines.

Edward
February 2nd, 2003, 09:43 PM
The Merchants' Gate of the Central Park (http://www.wirednewyork.com/parks/central_park/default.htm) and AOL Time Warner Center (http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/default.htm) on 20 January 2002.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/images/aol_time_warner_gates_20jan02.jpg



The Merchants' Gate of the Central Park (http://www.wirednewyork.com/parks/central_park/default.htm) and AOL Time Warner Center (http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/default.htm) on 2 February 2003.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/images/aol_time_warner_merchants_gate_2feb03.jpg

Fabb
February 3rd, 2003, 04:40 AM
That specific picture makes me wish the cladding had been a little warmer.
Of course, during summer time, the impression will be very different.

Kris
February 3rd, 2003, 05:18 PM
I like the cool sharpness.

Edward
April 8th, 2003, 07:55 PM
The view on AOL Time Warner Center (http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/default.htm) across Central Park's Pond (http://www.wirednewyork.com/parks/central_park/default.htm) on 29 March 2002.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/images/aol_time_warner_pond_29march02.jpg



The view on AOL Time Warner Center (http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/default.htm) across Central Park's Pond (http://www.wirednewyork.com/parks/central_park/default.htm) on 8 April 2003.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/images/aol_time_warner_pond_8apr03.jpg

JerzDevl2000
April 9th, 2003, 04:50 AM
Edward - the April 8th picture is nothing less that brilliant. The glass, sky, and angle are just...I really like this project! Too bad about the fire.

Kris
April 9th, 2003, 08:00 AM
April 9, 2003

Fire Is Latest Setback at AOL Time Warner Tower

By MICHAEL BRICK

http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2003/04/09/nyregion/fire.184.jpg
Fire did minor damage on the fourth to seventh floors of the AOL Time Warner Center under construction at Columbus Circle.

Early yesterday morning, in a city blanketed by rain and sleet and snow, the AOL Time Warner Center, a 53-story building rising on Columbus Circle, briefly caught fire.

Injuries were minor, and damage was confined to a few floors, but this latest setback underscored the project's rotten luck.

Any construction venture of such magnitude — when finished, the building is to cover 2.1 million square feet and include television studios, condominiums, shops, restaurants, theaters and AOL headquarters — is bound to suffer some mishaps. But the frequency of accidents, some deadly, suggests that this building has more than its share of curses.

People have fallen within the building, a construction worker was killed by flying debris and a forklift driver was killed while driving on the eighth floor — all within the past year. And three contractors have been fined a total of $177,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The four-alarm fire, reported at 12:37 a.m., eventually drew 200 firefighters to the east side of the northern tower of the complex overlooking Central Park.

Twelve firefighters were hurt, including 7 who were treated at New York Weill Cornell Center for minor burns and smoke inhalation, fire officials said.

Another man was treated for injuries at the scene. He was described by Buildings Department officials as a security guard and by fire officials as an elevator operator.

Fire officials said the flames reached from the fourth to seventh floors and were under control by 2:35 a.m.

Fires in unfinished towers are much harder to attack than those in finished buildings, said Firefighter Sean Johnson.

"With a building that's existing, we already know the layout, we already know what's in it and we know what to expect," he said. "With a building like this, you don't know whether construction crews are working at night. Are stairs properly labeled? There's just a lot of variables, and the building changes, day by day, week by week."

Fire marshals were still investigating the cause last night. Passersby could see at least nine broken windows and a little charring, but not much other damage.

Buildings Department inspectors who were at the tower yesterday said the source of the fire appeared to be either a space heater or a device known as a salamander, which is used to harden concrete, according to Sid Dinsay, a spokesman for that department. Buildings Department inspectors who entered the tower did not observe any structural damage, according to Mr. Dinsay.

Bruce L. Warwick, the president of Columbus Centre L.L.C., a unit of the Related Companies that is developing the project for AOL Time Warner, said shanties built to house construction materials were located in the area where the fire broke out.

The sixth floor, the center of the fire, will house a performance and rehearsal complex for Jazz at Lincoln Center. The space, to be called Frederick P. Rose Hall, was designed by Rafael Vińoly Architects to include a 1,100-seat theater, a 300- to 600-seat performance space and the 140-seat Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola.

The $128 million, 100,000-square-foot jazz complex is a centerpiece of the overall project, which is expected to cost $1.7 billion. Mary Fiance Fuss, a spokeswoman for Jazz at Lincoln Center, said she did not know whether the fire would delay the planned opening of the theater and clubs in the fall of 2004.

"We're just moving forward as we always do," Mrs. Fuss said. "It's not something you think is ever going to happen to you, and then it does."

Mr. Warwick, the developer, said that the hotel, retail and residential portions of the center remained on schedule to open in mid-September.

"This is the largest and most complex mixed-use project in the country, and unfortunately, unexpected accidents and events do occur on projects of this magnitude and scale," he said.

AOL Time Warner issued a brief statement noting that its own floors were undamaged.

Asked whether the project is cursed, Mia Carbonell, a spokeswoman for AOL Time Warner, said, "Let me get back to you."

http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2003/04/09/nyregion/fire.2.jpg

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

NYguy
April 9th, 2003, 09:01 AM
NY Post...

HOT NIGHT PUTS JAZZ CENTER IN A JAM

By JEANE MacINTOSH

April 9, 2003 -- Jazz at Lincoln Center's future home was damaged in yesterday's early-morning fire at the beleaguered AOL Time Warner site on Columbus Circle.

Officials at the center were unsure how much damage was done to their 100,000-square-foot complex housed on the building's sixth and seventh floors.

"In bad times, we listen to jazz, and that's what we're doing today," said jazz center spokeswoman Mary Fiance Fuss. "For us, this was like our house burning down. But whatever the damage, we'll get through it. We will build it and they will come."

The jazz "campus" will include a 1,200-seat concert theater; a 300- to 600-seat performance space with 50-foot windows overlooking Central Park; Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, a 140-seat jazz club named for legendary trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie; a 3,500-square-foot education center and the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame installation.

The four-alarm blaze sent eight firefighters to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation; a construction worker was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

FDNY officials yesterday were still investigating the cause of the fire, which tore through the fourth through seventh floors.

The fire started at 12:37 a.m. and roared for two hours, until the 170 firefighters called to the scene contained it at 2:35 a.m., a department spokeswoman said.

Mary Castello, spokeswoman for Bovis Lend Lease, the project's construction company, said she didn't think the building's opening, scheduled for late this year, would be delayed.

In addition to the AOL Time Warner headquarters and the jazz facility, the $1.7 billion, 21- million-square-foot building soaring over the southwest corner of Central Park will also boast a hotel, 191 residences, a parking garage and seven-level shopping mall.

Bovis broke ground on the project in November 2000. Last year, AOL Time Warner's plummeting stock price moved shareholders to criticize the lavish outlay, with one stockholder accusing the communications behemoth of "replicating Taj Mahal on Columbus Circle."

From the start, the site has been plagued with problems, including 48 violations and three deaths.

"It has had its share of mishaps and violations," said Fink. "But given the scope of the building - it's the size of a small town and the largest project in the city since the first World Trade Center - the problems haven't really been that outrageous."

Edward
May 21st, 2003, 03:39 PM
The view on AOL Time Warner Center (http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/default.htm) across Central Park's Pond (http://www.wirednewyork.com/parks/central_park/default.htm) on 20 May 2003. The crane on the north tower is gone.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/images/aol_time_warner_central_park_pond_20may03.jpg

NYatKNIGHT
May 21st, 2003, 03:50 PM
Beautiful shot.

Compared to the one you took on April 8, except for the crane (and the weather) there is no difference.

BrooklynRider
May 22nd, 2003, 10:05 AM
It really is developing quite well. *A building that execeeded my expectations. *

FYI: *Columbus Circle has been bulldozed and reconstruction is underway.

GR2NYsoon
May 23rd, 2003, 11:54 PM
background material ! ! ! ! !

James Kovata
May 24th, 2003, 01:54 PM
Seeing that complex finished will be quite nice. *Does anyone have any info on the night time lighting scheme? *I'm sure the crowns will be lit, but any additional information will be appreciated.

TLOZ Link5
May 24th, 2003, 05:10 PM
I'd figure that it would only be the crowns. *I could very well be wrong, though.

Fabb
May 24th, 2003, 05:54 PM
I'm sure the crowns will be lit

I agree.
I expect something like Bear Stearns.

Edward
May 28th, 2003, 11:48 PM
AOL Time Warner Center (http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/default.htm) is rising behind the Trump International Hotel & Tower (http://www.wirednewyork.com/hotels/trump_international_hotel/default.htm). On the left Random House/Park Imperial (http://www.wirednewyork.com/skyscrapers/random_house/default.htm) is nearing completion. The view across Central Park (http://www.wirednewyork.com/parks/central_park/default.htm)'s Sheep Meadow on 21 April 2002.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/images/aol_time_warner_sheep_meadow_21apr02.jpg (http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/default.htm)



A year later AOL Time Warner Center (http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/default.htm) nears completion and Random House/Park Imperial (http://www.wirednewyork.com/skyscrapers/random_house/default.htm) completed. The view across Central Park (http://www.wirednewyork.com/parks/central_park/default.htm)'s Sheep Meadow on 26 May 2003. Hearst Corporation Headquarters (http://www.wirednewyork.com/real_estate/hearst_magazine_building/default.htm) will rise to the left of Central Park Place (http://www.wirednewyork.com/central_park_place.htm).

http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/images/aol_time_warner_trump_sheep_meadow_26may03.jpg (http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/default.htm)

Fabb
May 29th, 2003, 07:58 AM
I hoped Columbus Center would dominate the Trump Tower by a little more.
Oh, well. Now, I have more respect for the latter.

NYatKNIGHT
May 29th, 2003, 03:48 PM
It looks massive when you can't see between the towers.


http://galleries.soaringtowers.org/albums/NYatKNIGHT/cp1.sized.jpg


(Edited by NYatKNIGHT at 3:55 pm on June 5, 2003)

Zoe
May 29th, 2003, 04:15 PM
Fabb, NYatKNIGHT's shot is taken from further back so you get a better sense of the size difference. *Unlike the other picture that is closer to Trumps and gives an illusion of it being closer in size to AOL than it really is.

(Edited by Zoe at 3:15 pm on May 29, 2003)

Fabb
May 29th, 2003, 04:22 PM
You're right.
The three of them form a nice ensemble.

JerzDevl2000
May 30th, 2003, 04:44 PM
Great pics - my thoughts on the last few taken...

AOL TW would be better if it were 10 stories taller, I'm more impressed with it then when the renderings first came out, but it's too...how do I say it...bulky? not that it's not slender from down 59th St, but there's somethign *missing from it. I think it's an urge for it not to stand out too much when seem from most of the rest of the city.

The 5/26/03 shot is unreal - Random House, 1 WWP, Central Park Place, AOL TW, and the trump building on 1 CPW have all been built or redone in the last 15 years. I like them all and how they look together, but I think we got hosed on Random House. Way too dark and bland!

Oh yeah, Hearst should improve this view a ton, it will be fairly tall with a much different design and exterior color. I can't wait!


(Edited by JerzDevl2000 at 3:48 pm on May 30, 2003)

Fabb
May 30th, 2003, 05:17 PM
Hearst should improve this view a ton, it will be fairly tall

I'm not so sure.
It might be even less prominent than Central Park Place.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/parks/central_park/images/central_park_place_carnegie_mews_s.jpg

dbhstockton
May 30th, 2003, 06:52 PM
How tall is Central Park Place? *We have a pretty good sense of the expected height of the Hearst building from its thread.

tugrul
May 30th, 2003, 11:02 PM
Tsk Tsk Tsk dbh. Do your own research.

Central Park Place - 191m/628ft (http://www.skyscrapers.com/re/en/wm/bu/115499/)

Fabb
May 31st, 2003, 04:26 AM
Hearst Magazine Tower : 597 ft.
Central Park Place wins. And it's closer to the park, hence more visible.

tugrul
May 31st, 2003, 02:23 PM
Well, I'm not sure there is any winner between the two. The Hearst Magazine Tower is a good deal more substantial, taking up a good chunk of its full block width base, and filling a significant void in the photos posted here.

I suspect they will either complement each other, or Hearst will just swallow Central Park Place in its beauty :)

TLOZ Link5
May 31st, 2003, 10:16 PM
Hearst will be a nice infill building for those Central Park shots; I'm not saying that it'll be a background building, but it will definitely fill in that gap between CPP and WWP.

maxinmilan
June 4th, 2003, 05:42 PM
Nice pics really. I don't think Random is dull. It's quite elegant and mysterious. However AOL it seems even better than I thought. Huge and full of jazz movement.

NYguy
July 1st, 2003, 09:24 PM
Photos taken today (July 1) of the AOL/Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle...


http://www.pbase.com/image/18512497/original.jpg


http://www.pbase.com/image/18512498/original.jpg


http://www.pbase.com/image/18512616/original.jpg


http://www.pbase.com/image/18512918/original.jpg

TLOZ Link5
July 1st, 2003, 11:16 PM
I love how the glass facade reflects the sky. *On the brightest of days, with a few clouds here and there, the building seems almost ethereal.

Agglomeration
July 2nd, 2003, 12:18 AM
Man, I just have to love these AOL Twin Towers. :cheesy: At 755 feet, 2.1 million sq ft, and 55 floors of multi-use grandeur, they're destined to become a major NYC landmark that will define Columbus Circle.

Fabb
July 2nd, 2003, 05:47 PM
Maybe.
But they'll never beat the charm of the old Majestic, San Remo, Eldorado...

Kris
August 27th, 2003, 09:47 AM
http://www.rion.nu/v5/post/082703/IMG_6808lg.jpg
http://www.rion.nu/v5/post/082703/IMG_6793lg.jpg
http://www.rion.nu

ZippyTheChimp
August 27th, 2003, 10:21 AM
99 is thinking, "Try to slip another fastball by, and I'll put it on CPW." * * Or....

"Not a memorable view,"

Eugenius
August 27th, 2003, 01:50 PM
Depending on when Christian took those pictures, I might be somewhere in there. *I had a picnic at Sheep's Meadow on Sunday. *Fantastic day that was.

GLNY
August 27th, 2003, 02:26 PM
Quote: from Eugenius on 12:50 pm on Aug. 27, 2003
Depending on when Christian took those pictures, I might be somewhere in there. *I had a picnic at Sheep's Meadow on Sunday. *Fantastic day that was.

Me too - I was playing frisbee in the Meadow on Sunday afternoon. *Awesome scene.

Kris
August 27th, 2003, 02:53 PM
Those pictures are Rion's. Check out her site, which often has great photos of the city.

NYatKNIGHT
August 27th, 2003, 03:06 PM
She has a great site, thanks.

I was there on Sunday too around noon. I ran a race in the park that morning and went to the Sheep Meadow during the post-race convulsions.

JerzDevl2000
August 27th, 2003, 03:22 PM
Great shots! I love the discussion about this project.

Central Park is great, I don't think anyone here would argue about that. I remember in the 80's how tons of people with black shirts stood in the southwest corner of it to show the shadow that a development at the (then) New York Colesium site would block out the sun to the sheep meadow area.

I understand that we got a project that was slightly shorter and pushed off of the circle as much as possible, but I think we could have done better here! These towers, are very nice to see down Central Park South as they appear very thin and sleek. From the corner of 8th and 58th, they are brilliantly "cut" and the angles seem to be nearly impossible to actually exist.

From the park, however, they are huge! Almost too squat and plain, they seem out of touch with the towers on CPW that have been brought up before (San Remo, e.g.). This is not a failure but a lot of considerations needed to be met in order for this project to stand out from the other proposals that were put forth for this site. I think it falls short on a few of them...

matt3303
August 27th, 2003, 11:19 PM
the crowns are not distinctive at all, and personally I think it looks like a hulking mess. The space between the two towers is blocked by the Trump building. It only looks bearable from the Hudson or East river view

Freedom Tower
August 27th, 2003, 11:21 PM
Sorry to bother everyone but I dont have a link to "Rion's" site. Can someone please give me a link.

And CPW = Central Park ???

(Edited by Freedom Tower at 10:24 pm on Aug. 27, 2003)

ZippyTheChimp
August 27th, 2003, 11:47 PM
The link to Rion is below the last photo.

CPW = Central Park West

Freedom Tower
August 28th, 2003, 01:25 AM
As always Zippy, you know everything I ask. Thanks for the info.

James Kovata
September 18th, 2003, 08:48 AM
Looks like the name of this complex will be getting shorter:

Time Warner Center.....no more AOL Time Warner Center.

The AOL Time Warner Board of Directors are set to vote on the issue at a board meeting today.

Kris
November 3rd, 2003, 06:05 AM
http://www.pbase.com/image/22921798.jpg
http://www.pbase.com/image/22921891.jpg

http://www.pbase.com/zippythechimp

ZippyTheChimp
November 3rd, 2003, 08:47 AM
I took a shot earlier to the left of the 2nd photo, over the pond and without Trump in the way. Unfortunately, the contrast with the trees in shadow washed it out. The facade was dazzling, very much like the renderings.

Just Rich
November 3rd, 2003, 11:00 AM
Zippy

Those are beautiful pictures.

Could we see the "washed out" shot anyways.

billyblancoNYC
November 3rd, 2003, 12:39 PM
Love the light, silvery slits in the crown. Still wish the skin was gold, or some contrasting color.

Kris
November 3rd, 2003, 02:26 PM
I repeat that it would have been terribly tacky. Gilded tops are for the birds (to poop on).

billyblancoNYC
November 3rd, 2003, 04:15 PM
Could be, but I did mean gold glass, not goldleaf.

Kris
November 3rd, 2003, 04:44 PM
Whatever.

emmeka
November 6th, 2003, 02:30 PM
Not that i dont like them just as they are, but if you were going to have anything different in the crowns then certainly not gold I agree that it would look tacky. Something silver like mirrored glass would look much better.

ZippyTheChimp
November 6th, 2003, 03:34 PM
Could we see the "washed out" shot anyways.
Sorry for the late response, but I nuke my mistakes. It really wasn't worth it.

I prefer the crowns the same color. Sometimes, too much ornamentation lowers perceived height. Accent lighting in the slots would be nice.

NYguy
November 7th, 2003, 09:30 AM
Time Warner Center...Nov. 6th


http://www.pbase.com/image/23066798/original.jpg


http://www.pbase.com/image/23066798/large.jpg


http://www.pbase.com/image/23066800/large.jpg

TLOZ Link5
November 7th, 2003, 04:59 PM
I walked by the building today, and through the gaps in the scaffolding I could see construction workers laying down the terrazzo pavement.

Kris
November 9th, 2003, 02:04 PM
Views from the building:

http://www.rion.nu/v5/post/110903/IMG_8650lg.jpg
http://www.rion.nu/v5/post/110903/IMG_8651lg.jpg
http://www.rion.nu/v5/post/110903/IMG_8652lg.jpg
http://www.rion.nu/v5/post/110903/IMG_8693lg.jpg

http://www.rion.nu/v5/archive/000414.php

emmeka
November 9th, 2003, 03:42 PM
Wow what a great building for views! Theres the sony bldg, trump tower carnigie hall tower, citispire 599 lex and bits of the citicorp ctr, solow building, general electric and Youll be able to see Bloomberg tower as well. Not to mention Central Park!

JMGarcia
November 10th, 2003, 03:52 PM
THE INCREDIBLE HULK
by PAUL GOLDBERGER

A behemoth rises up in Columbus Circle.
Issue of 2003-11-17
Posted 2003-11-10
The New Yorker

The new Time Warner Center, at the southwest corner of Central Park, isn’t a bad piece of urban design. The base of the building reflects the curve of Columbus Circle in a sumptuous, even graceful arc, and it gives the circle a monumentality that it never had before. If you don’t look up, you could like this building. Columbus Circle is one of New York’s few true roundabouts, and almost every building put on it has ignored the architectural potential that the shape holds. Edward Durell Stone’s sweet but hapless marble museum at 2 Columbus Circle made a gentle nod to the curving street, but you hardly noticed it when the monolithic New York Coliseum loomed on the site that the Time Warner Center now occupies. The tall glass stick that is the Trump International Hotel doesn’t help much, either.

It may be going overboard to say that the curved base of the Time Warner Center is reminiscent of John Nash’s glorious façades on Regent Street in London. A better comparison, perhaps, would be to a fine New York building that is often overlooked—the old Standard Oil headquarters at 26 Broadway in lower Manhattan, by Carrčre & Hastings, which has a tower set atop a convex base. The façade of the base reflects the shape of Broadway as it passes Bowling Green. The tower is aligned with the straighter grid of streets to the north, and thus can be seen from a distance. For the Time Warner Center, David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (who is more famous at the moment for being at loggerheads with Daniel Libeskind over the shape of the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site) designed two huge glass towers that are positioned to be seen not just from Central Park but from along the axis of Fifty-ninth Street and Central Park South. The building hunkers over Fifty-ninth Street and blocks it, but the towers have been placed on either side of the atrium, where the street would be, so that as you view the building from afar the open space of the street appears to continue. Childs added a striking sculptural fillip at the southern end of the base, which has a transparent glass skin under which you can see the steel frame.

Alas, the building itself is so big that Childs’s well-intentioned gestures mean very little. The best you can say is that they prevent it from being worse than it is, or as bad as earlier versions, which date from the nineteen-eighties. The architecture above the rounded base is dull and conventional. The towers are nicely shaped but banal, and the glass is far too dark. (Strangely, the towers look brighter from across the Hudson River in New Jersey, where the afternoon sun gives their back side a light, glistening tone that the morning sun never seems to confer on the front.) Childs did add some small glass fins that project from the tower façades and provide a bit of texture, but they are not enough to give any real panache or dignity to the place.

The Time Warner Center is a hodgepodge, a sort of Rubik’s Cube, with a luxury hotel, offices, condominium apartments, a big retail atrium, restaurants, and space for cultural events all thrown together. It is a theme-park version of a sophisticated urban building, slickly packaged to make city life seem attractive to people who aren’t accustomed to it—the sort of thing you would expect to find on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago but not in a city that is as fully defined by its street life as New York is. The condos have spectacular views, but some of the rooms are oddly shaped, which isn’t surprising, given that the towers aren’t rectangles but parallelograms, designed to align the building with the angle of Broadway.

The two-hundred-and-fifty-room Mandarin Oriental hotel was the first tenant to move in, with guests being officially accepted on November 15th. The retail space and the restaurants will open early next year, which is more or less when the two hundred condominium apartments will be finished. They are being marketed now, those in the south tower under the address of One Central Park (which sounds more chic than Columbus Circle), and those in the north tower as the Residences at the Mandarin Oriental. One unit has reportedly been sold to a London financier for forty-five million dollars.

The interiors of the hotel were designed by Brennan Beer Gorman, and six other architects—including the eminent Rafael Vińoly, who designed performance spaces for Jazz at Lincoln Center at the top of the atrium—were involved in various parts of the building. David Childs had to cope with all of them while he wrestled with the problems of making a decent piece of commercial architecture in the middle of New York City. Vińoly seems to have made the most of the building’s strong points. The firm of Elkus/Manfredi, which was put in charge of the atrium’s retail space, has turned what might have been a stunning, curving arcade into something unpleasantly close to a suburban mall, full of fussy decorative columns. The hotel interiors are conventional—lots of marble and swirling decorations that are intended to distract the eye from the spaces, which are often cramped and awkward.

The Time Warner Center has a long and tortured history. In the early nineteen-eighties, the Koch administration and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority started talking about selling off Robert Moses’s wretched old Coliseum, which was owned by the M.T.A. The Coliseum stood on one of the most prominent, and valuable, sites in New York, and city officials must not have thought too much about the fact that the more money a developer paid for the site the bigger the skyscraper he would have to build there, simply to justify the cost. Bigger was thought to be better. And, anyway, city planners of the time were enamored of the idea that new skyscrapers jump-started renewal in otherwise down-at-the-heels neighborhoods.

Thus we got, or almost got, Columbus Center, a pair of hulking towers designed by Moshe Safdie in 1985 for the developer Mortimer Zuckerman, whose firm, Boston Properties, offered the city four hundred and fifty-five million dollars for the Coliseum site, which it planned to turn into the headquarters of Salomon Brothers, an investment-banking firm that exemplified the eighties boom. Safdie’s design was widely thought to be grotesque, and it caused an outcry the likes of which New York hadn’t seen since Marcel Breuer was commissioned to design a tower to go on top of Grand Central Terminal. The Municipal Art Society argued that the Safdie building would block the light on Central Park, and hundreds of people, including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, got together to hold black umbrellas along the outlines of what was purported to be the shadow it would cast. Zuckerman fired Safdie and replaced him with David Childs, who redesigned the building as an imitation of Central Park West architecture of the thirties. Childs apparently assumed that if the building seemed familiar enough, people wouldn’t mind that it was also enormous, although the protests faded only slightly. The urban theatre provided by the people with the umbrellas was memorable, but, in the long run, a suit brought by the Municipal Art Society against the city was probably more effective. The society claimed that by selling off the site to the highest bidder, and granting zoning concessions, the city was in effect selling zoning rights, which is illegal. The society won, and the project was scaled down. Then, in 1987, the stock market crashed, and Salomon Brothers withdrew. The real-estate market collapsed a couple of years later, which put plans on hold.

The Time Warner Center is Columbus Center by another name. Mort Zuckerman is gone, and David Childs is now working with Stephen Ross of the Related Companies and William Mack of Apollo Real Estate Advisers, who won a competition for the project that the Giuliani administration initiated in 1996, early in a new real-estate boom. Ross and Mack paid less for the site than Zuckerman had offered, and the building is a little smaller than the eighties versions, but it’s still too big by half. Although Childs moved from Retro Central Park West to Anywhere Corporate Glass Sleek, the basic elements of Columbus Center remain. It’s a mixed-use building with two large towers and shopping at the bottom. The most important addition, a nod to the Giuliani administration’s demand that the project have a public component, is the performance spaces for Jazz at Lincoln Center. Giuliani had wanted a hall in which opera could be performed, and one of the spaces is outfitted to accommodate elaborate sets, just in case. The jazz spaces will not open until late next year, but even now, in their half-constructed state, they look terrific.

A jazz hall with spectacular city views almost, but not quite, justifies the whole overblown venture. The center originated when the government decided to sell off a piece of public land to private developers. A really big building would pay for a lot of subway cars. But that isn’t the way to construct a city. Government should act as a referee in the game of real-estate development, and not as a player. Traditionally, it sets the rules, which is what zoning laws are. Developers are supposed to push for the maximum—after all, making money is their job—and the city is supposed to say no when a project threatens the public interest. But when the city joined forces with the M.T.A. to squeeze as much money as it could out of Columbus Circle the balance between public interests and private interests was endangered. The equilibrium of the development process was thrown out of whack. The city wasn’t regulating the feeding frenzy; it was leading it. The people who protested the sellout, who went head to head against the forces with the money, did something important. But the fact that the city pulled in the reins a bit and agreed to take a little less money and have a slightly smaller building didn’t change the story much. Money usually wins in this town.

TonyO
November 10th, 2003, 04:20 PM
THE INCREDIBLE HULK
Thus we got, or almost got, Columbus Center, a pair of hulking towers designed by Moshe Safdie in 1985 for the developer Mortimer Zuckerman, whose firm, Boston Properties, offered the city four hundred and fifty-five million dollars for the Coliseum site, which it planned to turn into the headquarters of Salomon Brothers, an investment-banking firm that exemplified the eighties boom. Safdie’s design was widely thought to be grotesque, and it caused an outcry the likes of which New York hadn’t seen since Marcel Breuer was commissioned to design a tower to go on top of Grand Central Terminal. The Municipal Art Society argued that the Safdie building would block the light on Central Park, and hundreds of people, including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, got together to hold black umbrellas along the outlines of what was purported to be the shadow it would cast. Zuckerman fired Safdie and replaced him with David Childs, who redesigned the building as an imitation of Central Park West architecture of the thirties. Childs apparently assumed that if the building seemed familiar enough, people wouldn’t mind that it was also enormous, although the protests faded only slightly. The urban theatre provided by the people with the umbrellas was memorable, but, in the long run, a suit brought by the Municipal Art Society against the city was probably more effective. The society claimed that by selling off the site to the highest bidder, and granting zoning concessions, the city was in effect selling zoning rights, which is illegal. The society won, and the project was scaled down. Then, in 1987, the stock market crashed, and Salomon Brothers withdrew. The real-estate market collapsed a couple of years later, which put plans on hold.


I found these renderings of the proposed Columbus Center. Good thing this didn't happen.

http://www.dbbarchitecture.com/Columbus.htm

NYguy
November 10th, 2003, 07:14 PM
It is striking to me just how bulky the Time Warner Center is. And the NIMBYs in the area are happy they didn't get a taller building on the site. If I were concerned about such things, I would have prefered a taller tower over the current bulky towers. But either is fine with me...

NYguy
November 10th, 2003, 07:17 PM
The architecture above the rounded base is dull and conventional.


So is the architecture around Rockefeller Center. But I'm sure it will appear livelier once the place opens...


http://www.pbase.com/image/23066800/large.jpg

emmeka
November 11th, 2003, 02:47 PM
Well i like it.

GLNY
November 11th, 2003, 03:49 PM
I found these renderings of the proposed Columbus Center. Good thing this didn't happen.

Tonyo, thanks for the great review.

Actually, Mr. Goldberger (former NYT critic) condenses (or distorts) the story a bit. Mr. Zuckerman had already ordered the steel for Safdie's 925-ft (?) project, confident he would reverse the court's ruling on appeal. There was indeed widespread sentiment in favor of his proposal, including at least one large demonstration (thousands of union workers) advocating construction. The MAS had won only a single minor point in their lawsuit; all of their remaining contentions had been dismissed. At worst, the City would have to rebid the project, and nobody could touch Mr. Zuckerman's price or his ability to deliver Solomon Bros. as lead tenant sans incentives.

In the final analysis, changing economic conditions post-1987 prevented the realization of Safdie's design. In subsequent discussions with the City and State, the MAS (same villains who shortly thereafter killed the original 383 Mad Ave) lobbied for and won a 750' height limit on this site, thereby paving the way for SOM's bulky towers that degrade the skyline from anywhere in Central Park.

Incidentally, NY Magazine provided extensive coverage of this debate in the 1980s, including a cover issue that included numerous renderings.

DominicanoNYC
November 11th, 2003, 09:43 PM
Those rion.nu pics are great. I'm guessing that those pics were taken from around the 25-30th floors. I wonder what the view is from one of the higher floors.....

Edward
January 17th, 2004, 06:24 PM
Time Warner Center (http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/default.htm) and the Central Park (http://www.wirednewyork.com/parks/central_park/default.htm). 17 January 2004.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/images/time_warner_central_park_17jan04.jpg (http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/default.htm)

BigMac
January 17th, 2004, 07:44 PM
Time Warner Center (http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/default.htm) and the Central Park (http://www.wirednewyork.com/parks/central_park/default.htm). 17 January 2004.

[img]http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/images/time_warner_central_park_17jan04.jpg[img] (http://www.wirednewyork.com/aol/default.htm)

On a subconscious level, it's soothing to see twin towers grace the skyline again.

Gulcrapek
June 23rd, 2004, 01:31 AM
I'm guessing we'll never see a nighttime lighting system?

krulltime
June 23rd, 2004, 01:42 AM
I know they are so dark at night sometimes I can't even see them. :|

BigMac
June 23rd, 2004, 01:48 AM
That might explain why my continuing search for a nighttime photo has so far been fruitless. ;)

ZippyTheChimp
June 23rd, 2004, 06:41 PM
View from The Pond

In winter
http://www.pbase.com/image/30499227.jpg


In summer
http://www.pbase.com/image/30499478.jpg

Gulcrapek
June 23rd, 2004, 07:34 PM
^Submit that to a tourist agency...

Kris
June 23rd, 2004, 08:15 PM
Winter light is so much subtler; it accentuates color and relief. The summer sun can be as gentle and pleasant as a medical lamp.

Archit_K
June 23rd, 2004, 10:46 PM
It has that Taj Mahal mirror effect, I'm not comparing buildings just ideal mirror reflecting off of water.

ZippyTheChimp
June 24th, 2004, 09:10 AM
It's true - the best light for architectural photos is in winter. The low angle of the sun brings out detail. There is more blue light in winter sun, although the two photos might indicate the opposite. The rich blue in the summer photo is color saturation.

For this particular location, to get the same effect in summer, you would have to take the shot earlier in the morning while the sun is low, but the sun would be further north leaving much of the pond in darkness. The best summer sky for midday is sun and cloulds.

Plus, those pesky leaves don't get in the way.