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Thread: 50 West Street - by Helmut Jahn

  1. #151

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    Rust.

  2. #152

    Question Rust

    Great photos of the green roof. I often admire that building on my way to photo the visionaire; I never noticed that the mansard roof was in such a state of deteriation.

    I think I am developing a case of "telephoto lenz" envy.

    Thanks again ASG, as always, I enjoy viewing your photos.
    Last edited by infoshare; August 6th, 2007 at 06:00 PM.

  3. #153

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    Quote Originally Posted by asg View Post
    Believe it! Some is actually painted brick.








    Nice photos yes. The dormer you point your lens at has the most rust stains. But all of this can be repaired -and should be repaired.

    I passed by the building this spring and the doorman said "Hey, but its not a copper roof." I said, well, its not aluminum either my friend, nor gold.

    I think its just a line to throw out to justify destroying another piece of New York history, tearing down another building that appears in so many historic images of the New York skyline. This building is a piece of New Yorks visual history and it is pathetic to be tearing it down. The lofts in it were fabulous and its the most interesting building on the skyline area in the immediate neighborhood. It is fully functional the way it has been, and can be modified to serve its neighborhood even better with some retail on all three sides and more. Also, school overcrowding is now a serious issue here downtown. It is an issue with any new apt building built. Is this new one going to contribute to increasing school demand? Yes. Is the neighborhood being sold as a good school neighborhood? Yes, but not for long.

    But the historical value is the strongest argument against tearing down this building. Love your country and respect its history.

  4. #154

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    In places like this where history envelopes you I find it important to remind oneself that they need to change and grow along with the centuries just like anywhere else. And I think it's worth it to ask yourself, "what buildings can we absolutely, without-a-doubt not live without for all eternity?"

    Determine this first - place historical protection on the truly important buildings - but otherwise let the developers have at it. This is New York, after all.

    I look at this building, and I say that, regardless of how many photos it's appeared in over the years, it's nothing more than a mediocre example of its era. So screw it, let it go -- this city needs to grow and change in order to stay relevant. I don't care if it has 63 condos in it or whatever, the site can support many, many more. (providing the schools can support it, of course -- a big "if" at the moment).

    This city needs to balance the line between looking forwards and backwards better. For so long it was nothing but look forwards, towards the future. But now everthing seems to be about looking through the rear view mirror and reminiscing about its halcyon days. That kind of view is not what this city as we know and love it was built on.
    Last edited by kz1000ps; August 31st, 2007 at 01:37 AM.

  5. #155

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    Quote Originally Posted by sfenn1117 View Post
    Great find on that video, Lofter. It's 700 feet tall, and I think it looks absolutely stunning. Kudos to the developer for putting in great retail and hiring a world class architect. Now, hopefully the community sees it from our prospective and it gets built as is.
    Hmm. I do not see what is stunning about this tower proposal. It looks like any other tower. There are plenty of buildings going up with similar proportions. This seems to me to be just another skyscraper, ok, glass facade. So what. With the garage it is another Mega bomb in the neighborhood. When will we learn? And big-name architects is not what we need, we need architects that understand what the environment needs. Look at the mediocre addition to the Jewish museum and famous names mean little when time comes to actual use and interact with the surroundings.

    I like the idea of ground floor retail. This is what the neighborhood needs and this is definitely possible in the 1912 building. Varied smaller retail slots.
    The advantage of the skyscraper is some sort of thru-lobby which would be great on cold winterdays. How it is designed is absolutely unclear.

    I read some talk about not being able to use the narrow alley-like sidewalk. Not the fault of 47 West street, but the massive garage and its stairs. In fact there is plenty of space for a sidewalk across the street, right against the tunnel exit lanes, a sidewalk along the fence there is a no-brainer, along with modifying the configuration of the garage stairs and getting the parked cars out of there.

    In fact these simple modifications would improve the covered space under the garage a bit, which I pass through all the time, in car, on foot and bicycle and with a stroller.

    Anyway, I am not very interested in the speculations of tower shape views from New Jersey. That is postcardish and has nothing to do with needs for the people that live and will live here in the financial district. The neighborhood character is quickly going generic and looming over it are large overscaled projects and to many plans for mediocre hotels rather than residential units in reasonably scaled buildings. Most of the huge apt buildings are hotel- like in nature and has a large proportion of units rented to people in a transition phase of their lives. Hence neighborhood roots are hard to maintain.


  6. #156

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    Quote Originally Posted by kz1000ps View Post
    In places like this where history envelopes you I find it important to remind oneself that they need to change and grow along with the centuries just like anywhere else. And I think it's worth it to ask yourself, "what buildings can we absolutely, without-a-doubt not live without for all eternity?"

    Determine this first - place historical protection on the truly important buildings - but otherwise let the developers have at it. This is New York, after all.

    I look at this building, and I say that, regardless of how many photos it's appeared in over the years, it's nothing more than a mediocre example of its era. So screw it, let it go -- this city needs to grow and change in order to stay relevant. I don't care if it has 63 condos in it or whatever, the site can support many, many more. (providing the schools can support it, of course -- a big "if" at the moment).

    This city needs to balance the line between looking forwards and backwards better. For so long it was nothing but look forwards, towards the future. But now everthing seems to be about looking through the rear view mirror and reminiscing about its halcyon days. That kind of view is not what this city as we know and love it was built on.
    The upcoming skyscraper is not going to fare better on history's scorecard, I'm afraid. I just don't see it improving things that can't happen with 47 West anyway except for the larger profit margin for some bigwhigs that likely live on the upper east side anyway. And I am looking at the neighborhood as it is and I can picture these overscaled projects for what they are. And what they already have done in the name of a bright eyed future. I could live without that glassskraper for eternity, frankly. I don't regret but a few of these buildings that are being torn down for a new development.

    However, I am very concerned with what is going to come instead of them. 12 stories sounds perfect to me, as a long time resident. I think the neighborhood character is almost dead, precisely because of these large monstrous projects.

    There is another building just to the north of this upcoming 50 West one, the facade is different and setback etc but basically I don't see much difference from the viewpoint of how the neighborhood functions. People on this thread hate it. I don't see it as that different, actually, except in some styling features. Horizontal vertical or whatever. One will have a lobby pass thru, the ugly grey one already has a plaza "serving the corner" of Washington and Rector with tables and seats, waitresses for entitled ironed-hair blondes and smartly dressed boys from New Jersey or London. One of the problems is when people start calculating how much can be packed etc, it has nothing to do with anything but numerics and maximizing profits. Gimmicks are gimmicks. An intelligent owner can take 47 West and turn profits on it and introduce straightforward retail on the ground floors. And be responsible to the neighborhood, respect its history. And maybe one day replace the roof with real copper
    If I was a tourist I'd much rather stay in 47 West as a hotel than the Mac Sams that will come onto at least 2 sites nearby, built with all the visual cues of poverty. Why would I rather stay in the 47 West? It is self evident if you have taste. Its New York etc.

    There should also be a consensus that it is a privilege to get to build in this area.

    I have seen this neighborhood degrade pretty seriously in many ways that involve having character, mostly by disappearing smaller businesses that are a core reason for living in a city in the first place. The destruction of these really kicked in after 911 with some apparent influx of ideas by people that must not have been living here. Some buy properties and sit on them vacant to be the smelly rat infested block-corpse for decade(s). These small businesses have largely been replaced by personality-free (anti neighborhood) type of businesses. Like banks and shopping mall type chain outlets. Duane Reade monopolies. Nowadays I have to really think about where to go just to buy Haagen Dasz ice cream, its not even sold here anymore except across one of the main thoroughfares. But 5 years ago it was available in 3 places right nearby. Shut down for "improvements."

    Not that everything revolves around ice cream

    Another thing is that even though there are skyscrapers in the area it doesn't mean that we should automatically pack it with more. Sure build some, but too many of these currently standing skyscrapers have in reality been sort of a big brother that obliterated original neighborhoods. Many of them are a kind of Robert Moses's three little evil sisters. Take the one that closes off (and tore down a large swath of) Stone Street. Take WTC. Take the Singer building replacement...

    Take the ugly one with dark and white bricks...

    And then take the bright shiny future of...

    Its important to appreciate your history and how its embedded in buildings like 47 West Street. And how buildings like that prevent this area from becoming like the upper east side (no offense intended). I like to see a lot built in the area. But in another way than glitzy shiny postcard erectiles that don't even start properly at the sidewalk. The parking structure further up Washington Street is good ridance. Unfortunately the lot will not be broken up into 3 and the monster that will replace it will be to large to restart a neighborhood.

    By the way, I have this opinion that the computer thing is just a total cheesecake gimmick. 150 laptops or however many they are, are NOT going to improve the school. 150 may not cover the kids form this new building, who knows. Besides, computers get old fast and a 4 year free computer techie along with them will stop his work at the same time as many of these computers reach their end anyway. Whoopie. Then what? Get real on education! Its not to spend more time on computers anymore than spending more time in front of TV, sorry.
    Last edited by drcronex; August 31st, 2007 at 03:56 AM.

  7. #157

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    I can find no info on the history of this building. When was it built, architect, original purpose etc. Any one have some?

  8. #158
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    I'm looking, too ^^^ but haven't found much yet.

    Meanwhile, here's info on the status from City Planning on the Land Use process:

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/lu_apps/ulurp_m01.pdf

    ACTIVE LAND USE APPLICATIONS FILED WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF CITY PLANNING AS OF 08/17/07

    C070351 MMM PROJECT NAME: 50 WEST ST
    REC'D: 02/16/07 RELATED ACTIONS: N070412ZRM,C070413ZSM,C070414ZSM,C070415ZSM,N07041 6ZCM
    CD(S): M01
    LOCATION: 50 WEST STREET
    BLOCKS/LOT(S): 17/1001,1002,1003,1004,1005,7501 18/100
    APPLICANT: WEST ST DEVELOPMENT LLC
    REPRESENTATIVE: MANATT PHELPS & PHILLIPS LLP
    DESCRIPTION: DEMAP ABOVE A PLANE A VOLUME OF WARD ST BETWEEN WEST ST &
    WASHINGTON ST, & P/O A CERTAIN PORTION OF THE BKLYN BATTERY
    TUNNEL APPROACH FOR A MIX-USE BLDG
    ZONING MAPS: 12B
    MILESTONE(S)/DATE(S):
    APPLICATION CERTIFIED......................................... ..... 04/23/07
    60-DAY COMMUNITY BOARD REVIEW PERIOD............................... 05/02/07 - 07/02/07
    COMMUNITY BOARD ISSUES CONDITIONAL FAVORABLE RECOMMENDATION........ 06/28/07
    30-DAY BOROUGH PRESIDENT REVIEW PERIOD............................. 07/03/07 - 08/01/07
    BOROUGH PRESIDENT ISSUES CONDITIONAL UNFAVORABLE RECOMMENDATION.... 08/01/07
    60-DAY CITY PLANNING COMMISSION REVIEW PERIOD...................... 08/02/07 - 10/01/07
    __________________________________________________ _______________________________________________

    C070413 ZSM PROJECT NAME: 50 WEST ST
    REC'D: 04/12/07 RELATED ACTIONS: N070412ZRM,C070414ZSM,C070415ZSM,N070416ZCM,C07035 1MMM
    (07DME015M) CD(S): M01
    LOCATION: 50 WEST ST
    BLOCKS/LOT(S): 17/1001,1002,1003,1004,1005,7501 18/100
    APPLICANT: WEST ST DEVELOPMENT LLC
    REPRESENTATIVE: MANATT, PHELPS & PHILLIPS LLP
    DESCRIPTION: SPECIAL PERMIT TO DEVELOP OVER THE APPROACHES TO THE BKLYN BATTERY TUNNEL
    ZONING SECTIONS: 99-73
    ZONING MAPS: 12B
    MILESTONE(S)/DATE(S):
    CEQR DETERMINATION: NEGATIVE DECLARATION ISSUED.................... 04/18/07
    APPLICATION CERTIFIED......................................... ..... 04/23/07
    60-DAY COMMUNITY BOARD REVIEW PERIOD............................... 05/02/07 - 07/02/07
    COMMUNITY BOARD ISSUES CONDITIONAL FAVORABLE RECOMMENDATION........ 06/28/07
    30-DAY BOROUGH PRESIDENT REVIEW PERIOD............................. 07/03/07 - 08/01/07
    BOROUGH PRESIDENT ISSUES CONDITIONAL UNFAVORABLE RECOMMENDATION.... 08/01/07
    60-DAY CITY PLANNING COMMISSION REVIEW PERIOD...................... 08/02/07 - 10/01/07
    __________________________________________________ _______________________________________________

    C070414 ZSM PROJECT NAME: 50 WEST ST
    REC'D: 04/12/07 RELATED ACTIONS: N070412ZRM,C070413ZSM,C070415ZSM,N070416ZCM,C07035 1MMM
    (07DME015M) CD(S): M01
    LOCATION: 50 WEST ST
    BLOCKS/LOT(S): 17/100,1001,1002,1003,1004,1005,7501
    APPLICANT: WEST ST DEVELOPMENT LLC
    REPRESENTATIVE: MANATT, PHELPS & PHILLIPS LLP
    DESCRIPTION: SPECIAL PERMIT TO MODIFY THE STREET WALLS, SETBACK, LOT
    COVERAGE & MAX HORIZONTAL DIMENSION
    ZONING SECTIONS: 91-35
    ZONING MAPS: 12B
    MILESTONE(S)/DATE(S):
    CEQR DETERMINATION: NEGATIVE DECLARATION ISSUED.................... 04/18/07
    APPLICATION CERTIFIED......................................... ..... 04/23/07
    60-DAY COMMUNITY BOARD REVIEW PERIOD............................... 05/02/07 - 07/02/07
    COMMUNITY BOARD ISSUES CONDITIONAL FAVORABLE RECOMMENDATION........ 06/28/07
    30-DAY BOROUGH PRESIDENT REVIEW PERIOD............................. 07/03/07 - 08/01/07
    BOROUGH PRESIDENT ISSUES CONDITIONAL UNFAVORABLE RECOMMENDATION.... 08/01/07
    60-DAY CITY PLANNING COMMISSION REVIEW PERIOD...................... 08/02/07 - 10/01/07

    __________________________________________________ _______________________________________________

    C070415 ZSM PROJECT NAME: 50 WEST ST
    REC'D: 04/12/07 RELATED ACTIONS: N070412ZRM,C070413ZSM,C070414ZSM,N070416ZCM,C07035 1MMM
    (07DME015M) CD(S): M01
    LOCATION: 50 WEST ST
    BLOCKS/LOT(S): 17/1001,1002,1003,1004,1005,7501 18/100
    APPLICANT: WEST ST DEVELOPMENT LLC
    REPRESENTATIVE: MANATT, PHELPS & PHILLIPS LLP
    DESCRIPTION: SPECIAL PERMIT TO MODIFY THE REGULATIONS FOR URBAN PLAZAS
    ZONING SECTIONS: 74-91
    ZONING MAPS: 12B
    MILESTONE(S)/DATE(S):
    CEQR DETERMINATION: NEGATIVE DECLARATION ISSUED.................... 04/18/07
    APPLICATION CERTIFIED......................................... ..... 04/23/07
    60-DAY COMMUNITY BOARD REVIEW PERIOD............................... 05/02/07 - 07/02/07
    COMMUNITY BOARD ISSUES CONDITIONAL FAVORABLE RECOMMENDATION........ 06/28/07
    30-DAY BOROUGH PRESIDENT REVIEW PERIOD............................. 07/03/07 - 08/01/07
    BOROUGH PRESIDENT ISSUES CONDITIONAL UNFAVORABLE RECOMMENDATION.... 08/01/07
    60-DAY CITY PLANNING COMMISSION REVIEW PERIOD...................... 08/02/07 - 10/01/07
    ______________________________________________________ __________________________________________


    N070416 ZCM PROJECT NAME: 50 WEST ST
    REC'D: 04/12/07 RELATED ACTIONS: N070412ZRM,C070413ZSM,C070414ZSM,C070415ZSM,C07035 1MMM
    (07DME015M) CD(S): M01
    LOCATION: 50 WEST ST
    BLOCKS/LOT(S): 17/1001,1002,1003,1004,1005,7501 18/100
    APPLICANT: WEST ST DEVELOPMENT LLC
    REPRESENTATIVE: MANATT, PHELPS & PHILLIPS LLP
    DESCRIPTION: CHAIR CERT FOR COMPLIANCE FOR AN URBAN PLAZA
    ZONING SECTIONS: 37-04
    ZONING MAPS: 12B
    MILESTONE(S)/DATE(S):
    CEQR DETERMINATION: NEGATIVE DECLARATION ISSUED.................... 04/18/07
    MANHATTAN BORO PRES. CONDITIONAL UNFAVORABLE RECOMM. REC'D BY DCP.. 08/01/07
    __________________________________________________ _______________________________________________

  9. #159
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Emporis lists the green-roofed one as 47 WEST STREET and says it was completed in 1913 @ 13-stories (no architect info).

    50 West is actually the low-rise building on the plot just to the north (at left below) ...


    (c) Nate Lindsey

  10. #160
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    As of yesterday (Thursday August 30, 2007) 47 WEST STREET has its own blogspot:

    http://47weststreet.blogspot.com/

    But not much new info there.

  11. #161
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    You can (for now, anyway) rent out the 10th Floor at 47 West for events ...

    http://www.47west.net/index2.html


  12. #162
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Info from a previously posted 1996 NY TIMES Article:
    The property is 47 West Street, close to the entrance to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and directly across from Battery Park City. It is actually three buildings on one tax lot. The tallest is the 12-story 47 West Street, named the Crystal Building for the family that once owned it. It is internally connected to 74 Washington Street, which is five floors lower. Combined they create 160,000 square feet of space, with lower floors of 15,200 square feet for printers and other businesses. The small third building is the three-story 50 West Street.
    ***

  13. #163
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    Bingo ...

    Chapter 6:

    A. INTRODUCTION

    This chapter considers the potential for the proposed Route 9A Project
    to affect historic archaeological and architectural resources.

    Crystal Building (S/NR-eligible).


    The building at 47-49 West Street was once part of B.T. Babbitt’s soap making complex
    near the Hudson River. In 1882 an eight-story building designed by William Graul was
    constructed at 47-49 West Street. The building, as well as the adjacent building at
    74-80 Washington Street, was sold to the real estate firm of B. Crystal & Son in 1911.
    Soon after, George and Edward Blum were retained for an alteration to the building,
    which likely involved the construction of the existing mansard roof. It appears that Crystal
    owned the building until at least 1949, when it installed a new entrance and lobby as part of an
    effort to market the building for office uses in the downtown area. In 1996, the top three floors
    of the building were remodeled for live-work space.

  14. #164

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    Just as I thought and mentioned earlier: that roof has to be an add-on. I love eccentric buildings and seeing the layers of time though this kind of use and re-use.

    But quite frankly this building is a dog. Even if it were restored to it's former glory (?) it would still be a dog. Just look at the weird proportions, the way the top was just plopped there as if it came from somewhere else.

    If it were part of a coherent neighborhood then yes, I would fight to save it ...especially if it adds to the ambience... but here at the waterfront, a new tall slim tower by a noted architect is not such a bad trade-off. If only the proposal were a bit more romantic and grand.


    ---
    Last edited by Fabrizio; August 31st, 2007 at 11:59 AM.

  15. #165
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post

    47-49 West Street was once part of B.T. Babbitt’s soap

    In 1882 an eight-story building designed by William Graul was
    constructed at 47-49 West Street.
    Some other buildings where William Graul did work:

    9-13 Worth Street - TriBeCa West Historic District

    Historic Districts Council

    One utilitarian style store and loft building built in 1873 and designed by Joseph Naylor and altered in 1881 by William Graul, and two utilitarian style store and loft buildings built in 1873 and designed by William Field & Son and altered in 1878-9. Application is to construct a rooftop bulkhead and replace storefronts.

    ***

    79 Horatio Street

    Auction Info

    Year Built: 1870
    Architect: William Graul

    ***

    The South Village:


    A number of Neo-Grec style tenements in the South Village study area erected between 1873 and 1878 are notable for the use of virtually identical paneled cast-iron window lintels – pedimented on the second story and flat, with a small projecting foliate flourish, on the upper floors, all with central rosettes (Figures 30-31). Although ornamented similarly, these buildings were designed by several different architects – William Graul, Julius Boekell, John Foster, and William Jose. The similarity of facades brings up a crucial unanswered question relating to tenements – just how much of the design was the responsibility of the architect? Architects names are listed on building permits for these buildings, as was legally required in New York City.

    Most of these architects are little-known practitioners, many of whom were immigrants. It is not known what, if any, training these architects had, but they chose to work or were forced to work at the lowest end of the design spectrum. The basic plan of all of these tenements on their narrow, twenty-five-foot-wide lots is the same, and, it can be assumed, the structure with brick walls and wood beams is also virtually identical in each building. Exterior features, such as lintels, sills, cornices, and storefronts, as well as interior features such as doors, stair rails, wainscot, and mantels would have been acquired from building yards and other suppliers and could have been chosen either by the architect or the builder. Only occasionally does the taste of a specific architect become evident.


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