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Thread: Ugliest Buildings in New York City

  1. #46
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    The W Hotel block-front has the empty Howard Johnson's site, then a couple of old storefronts (one was originally the Broadway entrance to what is now the Lunt Fontanne Theater on W. 46th Street), the Roxy [?] Deli -- and then the Blue Fin Bar (which is part of the W Hotel and thereby technically makes the W Hotel a building that fronts onto TS -- but the tower is so hidden behind signage / scaffolding from TS that the tower appears to be a few lots to the west of TS).

    And me thinks I mis-wrote earlier when I said the newest building to front onto TS is the former Bertellsman Building ...

    Actually the newest could be the full-block building at the north end of TS which houses the Ramada Renaissance (and -- let's not forget -- the Olive Garden). Again this building is so covered with signs that the building itself makes little impression -- although I kind of like the hard-edged blackness of north & west facades. The signage facing onto TS is good. The canopy / marquis on the east side is a big Vegas-y mess. But the clock comes in handy when coming up from the N/R train ...


  2. #47

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    The scaffolding gave me the impression that something was going on there. It looks like the old buildings are being demolished.

  3. #48
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    The scaffolding at the former Howard Johnson's site has been up for months -- but now that the new "No Ads on Scaffolding" regulations have gone into effect the scaffolding might have outlived its usefulness.

    I'm not aware of any concrete plans for a new building on that site.

    Anyone with the scoop on the NW corner of Broadway / W 46th?

  4. #49
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    SL Green owns it and are planning a new Reatil store there, maybe a small office tower as well in the future

  5. #50
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Talking Oh, the humanity!

    I walked by it on 46th this evening, it's coming down.

  6. #51

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    Gridskipper:

    Ugliest Buildings in New York, According to the Experts:

    Of New York City's buildings, many are okay, some are beautiful and a few are horrifically ugly. Since derogations are always more fun than compliments and ugly more interesting than beautiful, we asked eleven architects, architect writers and various other sundry experts for their picks of the most god-awfully hideous edifices in New York City.

    After the jump, Ma Bell gets ripped a new one and Donald Trump is so ugly that if ugly was bricks she'd have projects.

    Ugliest Building: The Sculpture for Living
    Expert: David Haskell, Executive Director Forum For Urban Design
    Here's the only building in New York I think is painfully ugly: the Sculpture for Living. The high-end condo boom has produced other mistakes (see: Blue building), but those are not necessarily ugly--just misplaced, misguided and/or overwrought. The Astor place building, on the other hand, is bad from the ground up. Paul Goldberger's New Yorker review was too kind.

    Ugliest Building: Citicorp Building, Leighton House Residential Tower
    Expert: Mosette Broderick, Department head of architecture and urban planning at NYU
    I might suggest the banal white tile clad Upper East Side apartment buildings built after the war. There are tons of them. Once known as "stewardess buildings" they are now condos. These buildings line First, Second and Third Avenues starting in the 70s. Then there are the sore thumbs that stand out badly like the Citibank building in Queens, or the building on 88th Street near First avenue which is triple the size of anything else around. Also, there are the office buildings of the 1950's and 60's on Sixth Avenue and especially Park Ave just above the Lever House. You have good at Lever and very bad across the street on 54th Street.

    Ugliest Building: Museum of Art and Design, PanAm Building
    Expert: Françoise Bollack, head architect of the firm Françoise Bollack Architects
    I used to think the Mobil Building on 42nd street was ugly, but I've since changed my mind. That gives you a feeling of the transitory nature of our feelings. I have trepidation of the new Museum of Art and Design building at Columbus Circle. It was originally designed by Edward Stone and seems to be being defaced. However, this hasn't been unveiled yet so I will reserve my judgment. There are some banal buildings like the Trump Buildings. And there are some mid century ugly buildings like the Pan Am building.

    Ugliest Building: Trump Buildings
    Expert: John Beckmann, founder of architecture firm Axis Mundi
    Anything with TRUMP on it is ugly. They're all equally bland, and it's too bad because he has the money to actually build something important. By he's not interested in architecture, only money and power.

    Ugliest Building: 750 Seventh Ave
    Expert: John Lumea, author of architecture blog Horizonr
    The one that keeps springing to mind is 750 Seventh Ave, near Times Square -- a 35-story office building designed by Kevin Roche and completed in 1989. For a "developer building," it's probably a fair, albeit a little clunky and pedestrian, architectural response to its small island site. But the top, in particular, has that half-baked, cheap-ass quality of every front and rear-end that has rolled off a Detroit assembly line since, oh, 1972? And what's up with that sawed-off spire? It is possibly the most awkward, cumbersome, inelegant skyline presence of any tall building in the City.

    Ugliest Building AT&T Long Lines Building
    Expert: William Robinette, architecture graduate student at Columbia University
    I've always thought the AT&T building down by Lafayette was unsightly. In trying to come up with reasons why it's ugly, I'm actually thinking it's pretty cool. I guess it's ugly because it's boring...if you were looking for a really terrifying building it would be great.

    Ugliest Building:The Whitney Museum
    Expert: Chad Smith, architect and writer, author of Tropolism
    Sometimes I think ugly works, brilliantly. For example, the Whitney Museum is ugly, in the sense that it's raw concrete, windowless upper stories, and brutal anti-grav profile are very alien to most other buildings. But its brutality is what makes it wonderful--it's completely unlike the rest of the Upper East Side. The contrast, taken to its limit, is refreshing. And the way it meets the street, with the (technically innovative at the time) two-story glass windows that go from the ground level to the garden/cafe below, is simply brilliant, gracious, and, well, civic. It's not a building that it thumbing its nose to the city, but it's not trying to "match" either. So while I might describe it as ugly, it's also my favorite building in Manhattan. The best brutalist buildings do what the Whitney does: create a careful balance between material rawness and elegant connections. Needless to say, many brutalist buildings don't hit the mark: you need an architect as good as Breuer to pull it off.
    Runners up: The Lipstick Building by Phillip Johnson and the Museum of Television and Radio.

    Ugliest Building: The Theater Row Tower
    Expert: Joey Arak, writer for Curbed
    Easy. The Zebra. You come up from the tunnel, thrilled to be out of Jersey, and you're greeted by that monstrosity. Thank God it's a rental building, because the thought of anyone shelling out hard-earned cash to own a chunk of that beast makes me want to put a plastic bag over my head.

    Ugliest Building: Hearst Tower by Foster + Partners
    Expert: John Hill, author of architecture blog A Daily Dose of Architecture
    The ugliest (recent) building in New York is Hearst Tower by Foster + Partners. How to obliterate history in five easy steps: Step 1: Hire Norman Foster. Step 2: Sit back and wait while Lord Foster channels R. Buckminster Fuller and designs a "diagrid" exterior wall. Step 3: Land the new 46-story tower on and in a 1928, six-story historical landmark, but be sure to keep the existing, two-dimensional exterior walls and clean 'em until they look like a molded plastic model. Step 4: Don't bother to give the building any sense of entry, and go ahead and make the grand lobby space inaccessible to the public while you're at it. Step 5: Market the sustainable aspects of the tower to gloss over its ugly and hulking presence on the skyline.

    Ugliest Building: The Cross Bronx Expressway.
    Expert: John Massengale, architect, architecture author, founding member of Congress for the New Urbanism
    Five "anti-uglies":The Empire State Building, Grand Central Terminal, Otto Kahn Mansion, Shively Sanitary Tenements, and Park Slope. The last, of course, is not a building but a neighborhood, but the beauty of New York, or any city, is in how the buildings go together. For the worst, I would pick not a building but the Cross Bronx Expressway, a supremely ugly, anti-urban structure. In some parts of the city, it's exactly like the Berlin Wall, but uglier.

    Ugliest Building: The AT&T Headquarters (now the Sony Building), The Freedom Tower
    Expert: Jason Van Nest, intern architect
    Here a skyscraper crafted at the scale of the city was likened, or reduced to a simple piece of furniture with a Chippendale top. It caused a stir because the crowning detail was interpreted as a blithe gesture, an act of nonchalance that everyone in Midtown is forced to confront on their daily walk. Instead, one would hope that architecture should inspire loftier aspirations than these casual, reductive analogies. With the Freedom Tower, critiques run well ahead of construction because it's simultaneously viewed as a failure of Architecture to represent or address the spirit of the times; a failure of our city to address the needs of its people; and a portrait of corporate greed being the strongest voice shaping public space downtown.

  7. #52

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    ^ Experts, schmexperts.

  8. #53
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Ugly = Beauty ...

    Ugliest Building: The Whitney Museum

    Expert: Chad Smith, architect and writer, author of Tropolism

    Sometimes I think ugly works, brilliantly ... the Whitney Museum is ugly ... raw concrete, windowless upper stories, and brutal anti-grav profile are very alien ... its brutality is what makes it wonderful ... the way it meets the street ... two-story glass windows that go from the ground level to the garden/cafe below, is simply brilliant, gracious, and, well, civic. It's not a building that it thumbing its nose to the city, but it's not trying to "match" either ... while I might describe it as ugly, it's also my favorite building in Manhattan ... Needless to say, many brutalist buildings don't hit the mark: you need an architect as good as Breuer to pull it off.

  9. #54
    Senior Member Bob's Avatar
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    Philip Johnson's AT&T Building is actually quite good, although its location couldn't have been worse. The lobby was really spectacular when it included the so-called "Golden Boy," which as we all should know was moved out some time ago.

    As for the Pan Am building, I realize everybody has his/her own tastes. I just happen to really like it.

  10. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stern View Post
    Ugliest Building: The Theater Row Tower
    Expert: Joey Arak, writer for Curbed
    Easy. The Zebra. You come up from the tunnel, thrilled to be out of Jersey, and you're greeted by that monstrosity. Thank God it's a rental building, because the thought of anyone shelling out hard-earned cash to own a chunk of that beast makes me want to put a plastic bag over my head.
    Joey Arak hit the nail on the head with his comment about this McSam-quality monster. Easily the worst building to grace the NYC skyline. Unfortunately, Sam Chang and Gene Kaufman just have to like it so much that they are building other smaller monstrosities just like it all across Manhattan...

  11. #56
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    To put the rightful blame where it belongs ...

    420 W. 42nd Street

    Theater Row Tower

    Architect: PETER CLAMAN / SCHUMAN LICHTENSTEIN CLAMAN EFRON

    Other work: 125 West 31st Street (The Epic) - Wired New York Forum

  12. #57
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    They are a mainstay of NYC residential tower design. Alot of NYC - specially upper west side buildings are SLCE.

  13. #58

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    Probably the most nonsensical list ever...



    Top 10 ugliest buildings in New York City

    BY JASON SHEFTELL
    DAILY NEWS REAL ESTATE CORRESPONDENT

    http://www.nydailynews.com/real_esta...#ixzz0sonqMCnM


    Want to see some ugly buildings?

    New York's got its share, and the new edition of the AIA Guide to New York City shows you where to find them - pointing them out with great glee.

    Here are reviews of 10 of New York's most hideous buildings:





    10. Former Bear Stearns World Headquarters, 383 Madison Ave.



    A bulky octagonal hulk for the mighty Wall Streeter felled in the 2009 financial crash. Stolid, not graceful; a dour banker in a bespoke suit.






    9. T.G.I. FRIDAY'S, 604 Fifth Ave.



    The brilliant blue on Fifth Ave. is a sign of desperate marketing.






    8. The Four Seasons Hotel, 57 E. 57th St.



    Pompous.






    7. Montefiore Apartments II, 3450 Wayne Ave., the Bronx



    Scale, but not human scale.






    6. Training Center, Ironworkers Local 40 & 361, 35-23 36th St., Queens



    A Constructivist steel building for welders in training. Perhaps they will practice on the building!






    5. Trump Place, between W. 66th and W. 70th Sts. west of West End Ave.



    The phony incarnation of Riverside Drive, south of its historic 72nd St. ending, has sprouted awkward giants, glorious to look out from (at the river and the Palisades) and inglorious to look at.






    4. Trump Tower, 725 Fifth Ave. at E. 56th St.



    Folded glass conceals a fantasyland for the affluent shopper. Within, the multilevel space houses a cafe with waterfalls and moving stairways to a shopper's heaven; flamboyant, exciting and emblematic of the American Dream. Donald Trump entered here stage left and has since delivered the Trump brand everywhere: His esthetics, however, are still more akin to malt liquor than to Veuve Clicquot.





    3. 200 Eleventh Ave.



    The "sky garage" (an elevator that lifts cars directly into the apartments) sounds exhausting.






    2. 520 W. 27th St.



    Apartments in two parts, with an outdoor recreation space between. The base is black block with white window frames flush to the facade. The upper stories, steel frame with translucent glass block, are reminiscent of the Brooklyn House of Detention. Can the residents leave on weekends?

    Apparently no research went into this article, this is a commercial building.






    1. Times Tower, The New York Times Building, Eighth Ave. between 40th and 41st Sts.




    A tense tower obsessed with its own fussy connections, its glass facade bracketed by steel columns, X-bracing for lateral support and horizontal bars that act as a sunscreen (and ladder: Lunatics have been climbing it). As gray and dour as a rain-soaked copy of the Sunday Styles section.

  14. #59

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    This list was compiled by someone with zero taste and understanding ( it's easy to point out the obvious like 520 W. 27th St.).
    Last edited by Fabrizio; July 5th, 2010 at 12:08 PM.

  15. #60
    Senior Member Bob's Avatar
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    Default About that most recent list

    How anybody could place the former Bear Stearns Tower on a list of ugly buildings is beyond me. Bear Stearns is a beauty, and should have been 40 floors taller!

    And, how could any list of ugly buildings not include 60 Wall Street?

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