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Thread: 50 East 57th Street @ 432 Park Avenue (former Drake Hotel site)

  1. #166

    Default problematic of ny city planning/architecture

    I think the whole nature of the debate up above, about the downzoning of mid-blocks and the quest to preserve certain sites (such as these grand-dame hotels) speaks to two fundamental problems that grip NY architecture and urban planning... problems that have been solved in Europe, but only recently:

    1) ZONING is not PLANNING: you can down-zone or up zone or whatever, but in the end with no plan all you can do is "discourage"... that means developers can still do things that make them a profit (like the im pei project) even if it is so obviously not a part of the intent. Things like landmark designation aren't much better because they are merely a more powerful "discouragement." If used too liberally in areas that aren't deserving of "landmarking" necessarily, landmark status will either a) discourage investment or b) provoke a well-deserved back-lash. What the city needs to do, in certain cases (i still like the flexibility zoning provides, by and large) is come out and say exactly what it wants. It did so, almost perfectly, along the high-line, and look what happened.

    2) In terms of what the city might want... the other thing it has not learned is out to integrate old and new in the same building. While I love some of these old hotels, I think (as the Hearst and Porter House and vornado tower just north of rock center and the foster proposal on madison all demonstrate) that it is possible to combine old and new in very innovative ways. They do this in Europe all the time, because they realized they had to provide modern office space while preserving their old fabric. In nyc this should be even easier, since a certain degree of height is OK... so what would be wrong with preserving the base/exterior/lobbies of these old hotels and very skillfully (aka not gene kaufman or costas) adding to the top?

  2. #167

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    Quote Originally Posted by ASchwarz View Post
    I think you're mistaken. In historical perspective, we are doing well, but we are certainly not in a building boom. Compare office and residential growth today to that of past decades. Not even close.

    The only reason people think we are in a boom is because there were here during the years of decline, from the late 60's to the mid 90's.
    The 60s to the 90s was decades, not years.

    In every other decade, there was far more growth. I have data on housing permits (which I am happy to post) and know that, in historical terms, we are not building much.
    Post the data. Make sure to factor in post WWII public housing projects, which we all love today. And note how much construction was done in other decades on undeveloped rural land. Also include office and hotel space added.

  3. #168

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    All I want to say that it is sad to see these 3 hotels (Drake, Pennsylvania and Roosevelt) gone. And they are not " another ugly" masonry building in my mind.
    Last edited by JohnFlint1985; July 11th, 2007 at 04:12 PM.

  4. #169

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    Quote Originally Posted by ASchwarz View Post
    ^
    I think I could ask the same about yourself. If you have a fetish for decay, there are many, many American cities to fufill your wishes. The beauty of New York is that it is constantly reinventing itself.

    Lately it seems that everything on Wired NY is an anti-development screed. One thread even now supports preserving a vacant lot over a new hotel, so I guess some hate development whatever the site. People are entitled to their opinions, but this worldview is something I will never understand, especially in the context of NYC.
    This is not decay with all due respect. it is quite far from it. I am for development -- but with taste and style, not just whatever as long as it is big and shiny.

  5. #170

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    The 60s to the 90s was decades, not years.

    Post the data. Make sure to factor in post WWII public housing projects, which we all love today. And note how much construction was done in other decades on undeveloped rural land. Also include office and hotel space added.
    As promised, the attached shows that the alleged NYC residental boom is just exaggerated NIMBY posturing. We are doing fine, but we need to to better.

    See page 12:

    http://www.housingnyc.com/downloads/...orts/07HSR.pdf

    We are building less than half the housing we built in the early 60's. Until we are building something approaching 70,000 units annually, we are not in a boom by historic standards.

  6. #171
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    This is not decay with all due respect. it is quite far from it. I am for development -- but with taste and style, not just whatever as long as it is big and shiny.
    That's right. Some of us have brains, not just knee-jerk reflexes.

    Ashwarz:
    I guess some hate development whatever the site. People are entitled to their opinions, but this worldview is something I will never understand,
    Bullocks. You don't have to try to understand it, because I can't think of anyone on this forum with that opinion. You're just talking out of your butthole.

  7. #172

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    Quote Originally Posted by ASchwarz View Post
    We are building less than half the housing we built in the early 60's. Until we are building something approaching 70,000 units annually, we are not in a boom by historic standards.
    Extrapolating for data from 45 years ago, when land availability was vastly different than today, is ridiculous.

    Look at contemporary comparisons, when conditions are comparable.

    1996 - 7118
    2006 - 23,768

    Manhattan:
    1996 - 1582
    2006 - 5199

  8. #173

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    I posted a reply on Roosevelt hotel thread so I don't want to repeat myself. But one thing is obvious -- we are risking to loose something that is making this city so charming -- its old aroma. Like an old wine it gets better with age and only true connoisseurs can understand it -- so lets not throw it out.

  9. #174
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    It's pathetic to watch, because it is so damned shortsighted. There are so many places to develop, it's not like preserving these old gems will harm the city's future or deprive it of revenue like people on this forum are saying. If these are off limits, the development WILL STILL HAPPEN, but in areas that actually need it. Believe me, developers aren't going to stop building if the need is there and there's money to be made.

    The Drake is being demolished as we speak, so this one is a goner.

  10. #175

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    Quote Originally Posted by MidtownGuy View Post
    It's pathetic to watch, because it is so damned shortsighted. There are so many places to develop, it's not like preserving these old gems will harm the city's future or deprive it of revenue like people on this forum are saying. If these are off limits, the development WILL STILL HAPPEN, but in areas that actually need it. Believe me, developers aren't going to stop building if the need is there and there's money to be made.

    The Drake is being demolished as we speak, so this one is a goner.
    Words of a true New Yorker

  11. #176

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    Quote Originally Posted by TREPYE View Post
    <sigh!> This city is full of scumbag developers and spineless oblivious politicians...uneffingbelivable! They just dont realize that the historical character of NYC one of the things that makes New York the great city people wanna be in. Actually, they do realize but it is this disgusting "win at all cost" mentality that has devoured much of this city's past historical texture.

    True

  12. #177
    The Dude Abides
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    Extrapolating for data from 45 years ago, when land availability was vastly different than today, is ridiculous.

    Look at contemporary comparisons, when conditions are comparable.

    1996 - 7118
    2006 - 23,768

    Manhattan:
    1996 - 1582
    2006 - 5199
    I've danced this dance on several occasions already.

    Two things you didn't take into account with that response:

    Our previous population peak was almost precisely at the same time that new construction peaked. It makes sense to compare two historical periods where several factors coincide. The early 90s do not compare that readily to the 2000s.

    Land availability has been a problem for much longer than 45 years. In fact, countless real estate entrepreneurs made their entire fortunes just by speculating on rising land values. John Jacob Astor did it way back in the mid 19th century.

  13. #178

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    ^
    Land availability has been a problem for much longer than 45 years.
    Half of Kings County was rural after WWI. The entire neighborhood I grew up in was built on undeveloped wetlands in the 50sw and 60s.

    What brought this about is whether or not NYC is in a building boom.

    Housing starts are at their highest levels in over 30 years.

    Record prices are being paid for property.

    There are several huge projects in the works:

    Atlantic Yards
    WTC
    Westside railyards
    Penn Sta.

    Do you think we are experiencing a building boom?

    Or should we just compare everything to the first decades of the 20th century, when both building and population growth were unprecedented, and dismiss every other period.

  14. #179

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    Quote Originally Posted by elfgam View Post
    2) In terms of what the city might want... the other thing it has not learned is out to integrate old and new in the same building. While I love some of these old hotels, I think (as the Hearst and Porter House and vornado tower just north of rock center and the foster proposal on madison all demonstrate) that it is possible to combine old and new in very innovative ways. They do this in Europe all the time, because they realized they had to provide modern office space while preserving their old fabric. In nyc this should be even easier, since a certain degree of height is OK... so what would be wrong with preserving the base/exterior/lobbies of these old hotels and very skillfully (aka not gene kaufman or costas) adding to the top?
    Very expensive to do however. The city should provide some kind of bonus so this could happen more. Developers now are basically penalized in lossed square footage by preserving a building. The building that is being demolished at 105 Washington is a perfect example. The city would be better off just letting him add the sq. footage to the tower without demolition.

  15. #180

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek2k3 View Post
    Very expensive to do however. The city should provide some kind of bonus so this could happen more. Developers now are basically penalized in lossed square footage by preserving a building. The building that is being demolished at 105 Washington is a perfect example. The city would be better off just letting him add the sq. footage to the tower without demolition.
    Actually - interesting idea. Like this building in Upper Harlem on Broadway, forgot the number, the facade is old, but on top there is a new addition. Combination of old and new -- nice idea.

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