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Thread: Ugliest Buildings in New York City

  1. #31

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    Long Lines gets a lot of negative reactions, but I don't think it's all that terrible relatively speaking. I find it rather artfully done for such a utilitarian purpose. And when you take into account all the structural requirements for the building, it's hard to picture anything better. I find it surprising the building looks as good as it does and that such expensive cladding was used. My biggest complaint about the Long Lines building would be its unfortunate location.

  2. #32

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    I worked in that, and other telephone buildings in the city.

    It's structurally similar to the windowed 32 6th Ave and Barclay buildings. All have thick floorplates and floor-to-floor heights 16 to 18 ft to accommodate tall equipment bays and overhead cable racks. One of the reasons for no windows was to reduce heat loss. The building was designed to capture and store the heat generated by the equipment. However, with technological changes at the time it was being built, the newer equipment generated much less heat. So it was always cold inside - just like a cave.

    A waste of high-quality pink granite.

    The windowless environment didn't bother me much until one day when I was on the roof and experienced the views.

  3. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Citytect View Post
    Long Lines gets a lot of negative reactions, but I don't think it's all that terrible relatively speaking. I find it rather artfully done for such a utilitarian purpose
    Thank you. It's ugly, but it's one of those buildings that is so nasty that it captures the imagination and almost transcends ugliness, IMO. I have strong memories of it as a child, looking up and thinking of all the ominous things that surely are going on inside...(oh, the wires!). Even as late as 2001, when I was in my late teens, it still had a strong effect on me. Very evocative.

  4. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    A waste of high-quality pink granite.
    I have to disagree. We're lucky cheap materials weren't used on the facade. When you have such vast blank walls, the cladding material has to be beautiful. Otherwise the building would look ugly AND cheap - not a good pair.

    You said it, kz1000ps: evocative... Forlorn, menacing, but capable of stirring the imagination.

  5. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Citytect View Post
    I have to disagree. We're lucky cheap materials weren't used on the facade
    Not what I meant.

    Many decent designs are compromised by cheap materials and shoddy construction. The opposite occurred at 33 Thomas.

    The same technology advances that made it cold on the inside saved it from becoming a true hulk. The plaza is not a zoning bonus; what you see today is half a building. It was to extend out to Broadway with the address 323. The east facade was left unfinished for several years, the granite weathering in a New Jersey field, while a battle was waged to save 319 Broadway, built in 1869.



    AT&T gave up and finished cladding the building. 319 was landmarked in 1989.

    An earlier photo by Bernice Abbott gives a hint of what was lost on this block.


    Note the original 2nd floor facade has been restored.

    The identical 317 Broadway was demolished in 1971 and replaced by a two story piece of junk that I think has always been a McDonald's.

  6. #36

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    I didn't know that about the east facade, but I still don't understand why that makes it a waste of the granite. What's the alternative that you find less wasteful of the material?

  7. #37

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    I'm not implying that it would have been better not to waste good granite on this building.

    It was a statement of irony. Often, good design is ruined by cheap materials, not usually the other way around.

  8. #38

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    Oh, okay. I guess I focused too much on your use of the word waste.

  9. #39

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    I've never been a particular fan of the Citicorp Center. You know, the one with the angles top and the four stilts that hold it up. The top part is fine, it's just the four *hideous* stilts I hate. Uuuurrrgh...

  10. #40
    The Dude Abides
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    ^A relatively early example of community-forced compromise.

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by kliq6 View Post
    Marriot 39th and 6th, my opinion the ugliest and most wasted prime site out there
    I think the Marriott Marquis is a pretty optimally wasted site (visually unappealing exterior, drab interior, great location). Times square needs a real high rise in the middle of it all. When was the last building constructed on Times Sq?

  12. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by ld876 View Post
    I think the Marriott Marquis is a pretty optimally wasted site (visually unappealing exterior, drab interior, great location). Times square needs a real high rise in the middle of it all. When was the last building constructed on Times Sq?
    That would be the Times Square Tower in 2004, rising behind 1 Times Square and putting the finishing touch on the process of framing the entire Times Square proper with skyscrapers all around. Not too long ago really...

    But I guess if you mean a building that's directly on the Broadway-7th Ave junction, then I guess it's the W-Hotel, which is built in 2001. It's on the block between the Marriott Marquis and Morgan Stanley Tower.

  13. #43
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    As for a building that actually FRONTS onto the open space of Times Square you'd probably have to look at the former Bertelsmann Building -- completed in 1990 after many years of troubled construction (aka 1540 Broadway and home to Virgin Records):


  14. #44

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    What is the site right next to the W hotel?

  15. #45

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    To be entirely honest, I think the Met life building is a monstrosity. I mean, it's sort of become ingrained in the city's psyche, and I've become so incredibly accostomed to looking at it, so it'd be a shame to see it torn down. But I still wish they would have made it a little less ugly back when they built it.

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