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Thread: Tower 111 @ 883-889 Sixth Avenue (W. 31st & W. 32nd) - by Costas Kondylis

  1. #16
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Seems the Gimbels sky bridge is better known as the "Gimbels Traverse"

    Not finding much via a google search for either skybridge or traverse ...

    It is very possible that Gomperts designed the traverse and that it was built in 1912 when the Admin. Building went up as an annex to the Department Store.

    Some pics at Flickr

    This blog claims the owners planned to demolish the traverse in the 1980s.

  2. #17
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Turns out that there was once a second bridge between the original Gimbels building and another building to the north (the one that is now enclased in black glass). At one time that building was a Saks store; Gimbels acquired Saks in 1922 and later built a bridge to connect the Gimbels and former Saks buildings. That bridge came down in 1966 when the former Saks building became a Korvettes.

    This article from TIME Magazine (Dec. 14, 1925) states that Gimbels bought the building to the south (The Administration Building, previously known as the CUYLER Builidng) in 1925, so it would seem that the traverse wasn't constructed until then or after:

    Gimbel Growth

    To look for something in a department store is a task the gruesomeness of which brings about in normal people one of two reactions. Some long to return next day with a dynamiting crew and a trench mortar to raze to the ground and destroy utterly the madhouse of raucous voices, fetid air, stale perfumes; the shouldering, stupid, perspiring women who just want to know "how much this is"; clerks who indicate, by a sad shake of the head, that the English language is a closed book to them. Other customers, less bloody-minded, merely dream of saying to the cashier when they pay for a 30c purchase, "Oh, by the way, how much is this store worth?" . . . "About $16,000,000 a year." . . . "Here's my check. Wrap the place up. Ill take it home with me." Just this, with a little more formality, is what Gimbel Bros, (of New York, Philadelphia and Milwaukee) did last week to the Kaufmann & Baer Co., one of the biggest department stores in Pittsburgh, whose business last year amounted to more than $16,000,000. After a conference in Philadelphia which ended at 4 o'clock in the morning, they signed papers which gave them 100% stock ownership.

    In Kaufmann & Baer's, the air is not fetid. In Kaufmann & Baer's, the voices are as cultured as it is possible for department store voices to be. The store has 17 display windows on two main thoroughfares, 19 elevators, a complete escalator system running up and down from the street to the seventh floor. It employs 2,000 people. Within a few minutes' walk of the main building is a large new seven-story warehouse. On the roof of the main store is a radio broadcasting station, WCAE. This is the third national broadcasting station operated by Gimbel Bros., which already owns WGBS (Manhattan) and WIP (Philadelphia).

    Since Adam Gimbel, father of the present partners, founded the first Gimbel store in Vincennes, Ind., in 1842, the family has prospered. Two sons branched out in Milwaukee; the growing enterprise was extended to Philadelphia, then to New York. In April, 1923, they acquired the entire capital stock of Saks & Co., which gave them title to the Saks Fifth Avenue and Herald Square stores. A month ago they bought the 18-story Cuyler Building on 32nd St., Manhattan, opposite their Herald Square business seat. With Kaufmann & Baer, they now own a chain of six huge department stores, which means increasing prosperity for the officers of the company, all sons or grandsons of Adam; Charles Gimbel, Chairman and Vice President; Isaac Gimbel, President; Richard Gimbel, Secretary; E. A. Gimbel, Treasurer; Daniel, L. S., B. F., F. A., A. L., L. A., and E. A. Gimbel Jr., Vice Presidents.

    If the eleven Gimbels are to be thought of in terms of a football team, the dynamic Richard must be thought of as quarterback and captain-elect. His biography is briefly given: graduated (in 3 years) from Yale College in the class of 1920; has learned the department store business from the bottom up. Many other things are related of him—the anecdotes that barnacle the career of any unusual personality. Though not prepossessing in appearance, Richard Gimbel almost invariably gets what he wants. Perhaps it is a hotel room:

    The Clerk (reluctantly): "I'm sorry, sir but everything is taken. We couldn't possibly let you have a—

    Gimbel: "If the President of the United States should come in here tonight, where would he sleep?"

    The Clerk: "Why ... er ... he'd get a room."

    Gimbel: "I'll have that room. I'll pay for it. Cash is my middle name, but sometimes I just sign up as Richard Gimbel. Hand me the register."

    In his college days, R. Gimbel was occasionally seen crossing the Yale campus in the company of Professor (of International Law) William Howard Taft. Mr. Taft was usually observed to be listening intently. Mr. Gimbel was indisputably an able student. In his senior year he advertised TUTORING CLASSES DE LUXE, guaranteeing that any classmate who attended his five-hour lectures would pass a specified course. He gave the lectures in his rooms. The listeners sat in armchairs or on rich divans. He provided them with champagne, cigars, soda pop, candies, ice-cream and cigarets, though he himself did not drink or smoke. The fee was $20 a head, but Tutor Gimbel turned over the sums he made to charity, often admitting poor students free. Upon graduation he carried his methods into his father's and his uncles' business
    This 1912 issue of "Architecture and Building" Magazine has an ad (with picture) for the Cuyler Building.

    ***

  3. #18
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Thanks, loft.

    Yeah, unfortunately the original Gimbels store is now the "modernized" Manhattan Mall with only the traverse as a remnant of the original building.

    The south side building aka the Cuyler building was apparently the "warehouse" for the department store. You find out a lot of little things by doing some research.

    Here's a Times article from last year that I ran across while Googling:

    Only the Store Is Gone



    WOULD MACY'S TELL ...? The faded sign for
    Gimbels is all that remains of the department
    store.


    By DAVID K. RANDALL
    Published: February 19, 2006

    WHEN the first apartments in the tower at 125 West 31st Street open next year, some younger residents will have to be forgiven for asking the meaning of the word painted on the building next door.

    After all, Gimbels closed nearly a generation ago.

    Though Gimbels, a former department store giant, once put up a plucky fight with Macy's, its higher-class rival down the street, the only physical remnant is a long, narrow sign painted on the side of 119 West 31st Street. The top part of the G is missing, removed by some forgotten renovation, but in other respects the sign has been touched only by the hands of time. White block letters one story tall scroll down the side of the building against a green background, just as they did on Sept. 27, 1986, the day when Gimbels closed. The sign marked the store's old warehouse, located between 31st and 32nd Streets.

    While the sign is the only material evidence of the store's 76 years in Manhattan, Gimbels is living a new life in that peculiar New York lexicon of things that no longer exist. The Gimbels of "Would Macy's tell Gimbels?," a once-common phrase dismissing the notion that competitors would share business information, has gone the way of the wall of Wall Street, the canal of Canal Street and The New York Herald of Herald Square, surviving only in the popular imagination.

    Brooklyn to Macy's Manhattan, Gimbels was beloved by many in its day but never mustered the sophistication and charm of its slightly more upscale neighbor on the other side of 34th Street. Rarely was the store mentioned without reference to its rival, and many New Yorkers always had trouble distinguishing between the two.

    The two retail giants were fused in the mind by location, competition and the original movie version of "Miracle on 34th Street," in which the kindly Macy's Santa tells a mother that she can find a pair of roller skates (sold out at his store) at Gimbels.

    Its competitor had a parade, but Gimbels had something else: a bargain basement, the first of its kind in New York. And though the store's prices were low, the advertisements did not stint on hyperbole. When the nation's first ballpoint pens went on sale at Gimbels on Oct. 29, 1945, the store ran circulars promoting what was described as "a fantastic, atomic era, miraculous pen." And preceding the slogans of countless used-car dealers, the store boasted, "Nobody but nobody undersells Gimbels."

    When Gimbels closed, some business analysts saw the event as marking the end of retail marketed to the middle class, and wondered if 34th Street had a future in retail. It did, of course; the street is still home to Macy's, and the Manhattan Mall set up shop in the former Gimbels building, but a visitor to the street today would also pass a Jack's 99-cent store and street hawkers booming, "Everything you want is five bucks!"

    And though high schoolers reading Thomas Pynchon's 1973 novel "Gravity's Rainbow" may be left scratching their heads at the book's references to the store — "Your closet could make Norma Shearer's look like the wastebasket in Gimbels basement" — memories are surprisingly long.

    The director Jon Favreau concluded that the Gimbels name was worth $5,000, which he paid to Mark and Beth Gimbel of Boothbay Harbor, Maine, the current owners of the trademark, for its use in the 2003 holiday film "Elf."
    Like the old Penn Station and the Brooklyn Dodgers, Gimbels had become another paramour in the New York love affair with what it has left behind.

    Copyright 2006The New York Times Company
    By the way, I'm just going to petition for the south building along with the traverse and let LPC decide on what should be landmarked.

  4. #19

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    Id sign something for the traverses preservation, its one of those gotham touches we cant do without.

  5. #20
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    It's difficult to imagine Macy's being considered upscale.

  6. #21

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    Its hardly downscale, it has a decent range including some reasonable pricey and/or quality stuff.

  7. #22
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    alonzo (or anyone else for that matter), if you want to help save that bridge, you can fill out one of these LPC petition forms.
    Just print it out, fill it out and send it. Very simple.

    The address for the south building for which that bridge is attached to is 119-123 W. 31 St., New York, NY 10001.

    In the future, you can use that same form for any building you think should be landmarked but isn't.

    The buildings in that area has FAR's of 12, one of the higher ones in the whole city. You know it'll just be a matter of time before they're replaced. Let's not wait till that happens.

  8. #23

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    The original Gimbels building will never be landmarked. It essentially no longer exists.

    Japanese developers completely gutted the building in the late 80's and added a number of glassy floors. They basically built a brand new building.

  9. #24

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    Ugh, same colors as the Platinum:



    47-story mixed-use tower planned for 885 Sixth Avenue

    A 47-story, mixed-use tower is planned by Atlantic Realty Development on the southeast corner of the Avenue of the Americas and 32nd Street overlooking Greeley and Herald Squares.

    The building has an address of 885 Sixth Avenue and is also known as Tower III as it extends through to 111 West 31st Street.

    According to Benjamin Fox, the president of the Winnick Realty Group, a leading specialist in retail real estate that is handling the retail spaces in the project, the building has been designed by Costas Kondylis.

    The building will have more than 31,000 square feet of retail space on three levels with 100 feet of frontage on the avenue and 150 feet of frontage on 32nd Street.

    The tower at 885 Sixth Avenue will have retail on the ground and second floors, offices on the third floor, a fitness center on the fourth floor and rental apartments in the glass-clad tower that is setback above the fourth floor, according to Mr. Fox.

    The project is as-of-right, that is, it needs no zoning approvals.

    It is close to another large project at 855 Avenue of the Americas that when completed in 2010 will have more than 240,000 square feet of retail space on several levels and Mr. Fox told CityRealty.com today that both projects are significant additions not only to the enormous retail presence at Herald Square anchored by Macy's but also to the impressive redevelopment of the city's former flower district on the Avenue of the Americas above 23rd Street with residential towers with large retail bases.

    Calls by CityRealty.com to Atlantic Realty Development, which is based in New Jersey, were not returned.

    This block of 32nd Street is distinguished by the city's most impressive skybridge that used to connect two buildings belonging to Gimbel's, the famous competitor to Macy's. It also a large, new, mid-block rental building known as the Epic and at Seventh Avenue the Hotel Pennsylvania that was designed by McKim, Mead & White that some preservationists would like to see made an official city landmark.

    885 Sixth Avenue will have views to the northeast across Herald Square that not only include dramatic vistas of the Empire State Building but also of the former Martinique and McAlpin hotels whose facades are among the finest on pre-war non-office buildings in Midtown West.
    The area to the west is in a very fluid state of flux with very ambitious plans for the former James Farley Post Office Building, the MTA's rail yards, the High Line elevated park, the Hudson Yards zoning district and an expansion/renovation of the Javits Convention Center.

    http://www.cityrealty.com/new_developments/

    ----
    Also a blurb from the Sun today:

    Construction is planned to begin next year for 885 Sixth Ave., located across the street from the Manhattan Mall. The mixed-use tower, a development of Atlantic Realty, will have a total of 51,000 square feet of retail on the ground, second, and third floors. According to Jeff Winick, who is representing the owner, expect an apparel and electronics store to be the major tenants.

    http://www.nysun.com/article/68431?page_no=2

    -----

    I count over 50 floors in the rendering, and with the jumbo height retail floors I bet it's close in height to the Epic.

  10. #25

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    Thanks for posting. It looks bigger and more flat. However, I'm glad they got rid of those frames. This area (and 8th Ave.) is where Midtown is moving to in the coming years, before the Far West Side takes off.

    These three projects would all fall in the zone Vornado is proposing to transfer MSG's development rights. The area contains many nice but neglected, un-landmarked buildings. I feel the transfer boundaries should be rethought into a much smaller area.

  11. #26
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    ^ Yeah, the frames on the façade we can definitely do without but shoot, it looks like they got rid of the rooftop extensions.

    That was at least the only interesting part of this otherwise unexceptional box.

    Now instead of taking some cues (nice way of saying "shamelessly copying") from the NY Times tower, it's turned into just another Platinum clone.

    Ugh is right.

  12. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek2k3 View Post
    These three projects would all fall in the zone Vornado is proposing to transfer MSG's development rights. The area contains many nice but neglected, un-landmarked buildings. I feel the transfer boundaries should be rethought into a much smaller area.
    It's one of the last gritty areas left in Manhattan, and with the high FAR's it's no wonder so much construction is going on. With so much mass transit at Herald Square, I'd rather see this as an office building, but I guess the floorplates are too small. It just bugs the hell out of me that this is a Platinum clone.

  13. #28
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Where this sucker will rise:


    nschmoyer


  14. #29

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    http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/Jo...hous=&allstrt=

    New building permit say 48 stories, 554 feet

  15. #30
    Forum Veteran Tectonic's Avatar
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    This Stretch confuses me . Is Tower 111 and 885 6th the same development?

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