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

  1. #661

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    While I'm very sad to see the loss of these townhouses, I am confident that something spectacular will rise here.

  2. #662
    Fearless Photog RoldanTTLB's Avatar
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    I'm disturbed to think that we believe older architecture was universally better than what is built today. Part of this is confusing aesthetics with quality, but another part of it is that, much like music or tv, all of the worst older stuff is gone and forgotten. Surely we idolized lost gems (Penn Station, Singer, etc.), but it's all too easy to forget all the crap that used to be in NYC that's now gone. These Kaufmans and Poons will be gone someday too, and they will also be forgotten.


  3. #663
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    ^ That stuff is not crap. Those townhouses have tremendous details and artistry on them that black & white photo do not show.

    We have more crap today than ever. Many of the new stuff are either plain, simple brick boxes with balconies or soulless glass boxes.

    To me, I used to be as pro-development and pro-anything new as anyone but have come to realize that New York's greatest asset in terms of buildings and architecture are the older buildings.

    A smart city can grow and build while keeping its past. Unfortunately, this city is not very smart.

  4. #664
    Fearless Photog RoldanTTLB's Avatar
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    I wish I could find better pictures, but NYC used to be rampant with barely habitable hovels and tenements. That's not great architecture, and it's not quality building. The buildings that remain from that period are either the cream of the crop, or have been renovated/restored beyond their original worth. I'm not saying there isn't crap today, but it is in the same proportions as before. There is not, as a percentage, more of it. That's the part I think we forget. In addition to that, I think we are quick to dismiss things on architectural merits vs. the quality of living that people attribute to their inhabitable spaces.

  5. #665

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    I walked by several Kaufman budget hotels on my last trip, saw the poor clueless tourists in the lobbies (I'd like to think I'm a tourist with a clue), and thought "you poor bastards."

  6. #666
    Kings County Loyal BrooklynLove's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by londonlawyer View Post
    While I'm very sad to see the loss of these townhouses, I am confident that something spectacular will rise here.
    I'm on board with this sentiment.

    And to be fair (but not to say that this is the right result), given the direction this part of town has taken over the past 50+ years, a tower meets an existing demand for a nature of useful space in this location that could not have been fulfilled by the historical townhouses.

  7. #667

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    @ LL, BL: Please don't tell me you're confident that something impressive will rise here (on the site of what were the only nice-looking buildings in this general area) because Harry Macklowe said so.

  8. #668

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    These were hardly the only nice looking buildings in the area. Moreover, this is CIM's project -- not Macklowe's. They're keeping him on board simply for his local connections. This is one of the most valuable sites in the world, and the owners have invested an enormous amount of money in it.
    Last edited by londonlawyer; April 1st, 2012 at 02:28 AM.

  9. #669
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynLove View Post
    a tower meets an existing demand for a nature of useful space in this location that could not have been fulfilled by the historical townhouses.
    What are they going to put in place of those townhouses?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RoldanTTLB View Post
    I wish I could find better pictures, but NYC used to be rampant with barely habitable hovels and tenements.
    Most of those "hovels" and tenements cost millions of dollars today in some of the toniest neighborhoods in the world: Chelsea, TriBeca, West Village, SoHo and so on. You take them away, replace them with modern glass boxes and you lose all the charms that made those neighborhoods chic and interesting.

    That's not great architecture, and it's not quality building.
    And most of the dreck we see today is great architecture? You really think we are getting great architecture today?

  11. #671
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    With some attention and TLC those oldsters in wood and brick will and do last a couple of hundred years.

    How will the new glass boxes hold up after even 30 - 50 years?

  12. #672
    Kings County Loyal BrooklynLove's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby View Post
    What are they going to put in place of those townhouses?
    100s times more usable space

  13. #673

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    Quote Originally Posted by RoldanTTLB View Post
    I'm disturbed to think that we believe older architecture was universally better than what is built today. Part of this is confusing aesthetics with quality, but another part of it is that, much like music or tv, all of the worst older stuff is gone and forgotten. Surely we idolized lost gems (Penn Station, Singer, etc.), but it's all too easy to forget all the crap that used to be in NYC that's now gone. These Kaufmans and Poons will be gone someday too, and they will also be forgotten.
    It's a lot harder to tear down a 30-story high-rise than a 4-story tenement. Not just physically, but finding a pragmatic economic rationale will be difficult, if not impossible. Yes, once upon a time we had the fearsome will to tear down the Singer building and Penn Station, not to mention flatten whole neighborhoods, but that was a different building culture. New York is stuck with the the Kaufmans and Poons – and the acres and acres of similar crap. And these concrete and glass piles will not age nearly as gracefully as their brick and brownstone forebears. It's depressing.

  14. #674

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    ^
    Another factor is that the 30 story high rise is likely using the entire floor area allotment for the site. While a new building may get a higher price per foot, it's not going to get any more of them. The four story brownstone is likely sitting on a fortune in unused develoment rights. It also doen't help (or hurt, depending on your point of view) this case, that each sqft in this neighborhood is pretty valuable, and, at least everthing but the ground floor will be more valuable as new construction.

  15. #675
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynLove View Post
    100s times more usable space
    This shows how much you know about NY development.

    Unless they plan to build a 30 story streetwall fronting 57 St where the townhouses are, it would not be possible to build "100s times more usable space."

    A more likely scenario is that they'll put a 3-5 story glass base on the sites of those townhouses and the extra air rights transferred to a tower set further back (to 56 St).

    A tower would've been built either way, but now you've essentially just replaced a bunch of beautiful, interesting townhouses with more faceless glass.

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