View Poll Results: Do you support the development 53 West 53rd Street?

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  • Yes. This future New York landmark should be fast tracked through the approval process.

    101 98.06%
  • No.

    2 1.94%
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Thread: 53 West 53rd Street Petition (Build the MOMA Spire)

  1. #166

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    In any case I dont think anyone could make the case better than Nouvel himself and even Childs was finally doing something positive for architecture for once.

  2. #167

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynLove View Post
    don't be mislead by the apparent number of supporters presenting/attending one way or the other - often the commission decision doesn't align with the showing
    That's my point. The hearings are just theater. It looks like a democratic process, but the outcome is predetermined.

  3. #168
    Incredible Sulk aural iNK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    Two testified in opposition (CB Mendes guy and a Liz Kreuger stand in). They both got applause from a contingent at the back of the room.
    I'm curious, was there any applause for Childs?

  4. #169
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    From a few of us.

  5. #170
    Forum Veteran TREPYE's Avatar
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    Angry

    AntiNIMBY hasnt posted anything. Considering he was on top of this I figured he would have updated us if it was something good.

    Doesnt sound good. If it did get turned down I am going to send a letter to this so called CB5 and remind them of the legacy they are leaving behind for NYC. How they eroded this city's archtiectural grandeur into a ruin of modernist square stumps!!! And how they should live out they rest of the days reckoning that. I will see to the fact that when future generations ask why did NYC fall of the architectural map I will point to the selfishness of NYC's CB residents and the greed of the developers. The poison pill of NYC's archtiectural progress.

  6. #171

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    He wasn't at the meeting.

  7. #172

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    April 9, 2008

    Planned Tower Near MoMA Widely Criticized at Hearing

    By COLIN MOYNIHAN

    Neighbors, public officials and preservationists were among the people who spoke out on Tuesday night against a proposal to build a skyscraper in Midtown that, at 1,155 feet, would be about 100 feet taller than the Chrysler Building.

    At a hearing held by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, some opponents said the height and composition of the building would prevent it from harmoniously fitting into its surroundings. Others said they feared that the tower would reduce the access to light and air in the neighborhood and contribute to street and sidewalk congestion.

    The building, known as Tower Verre, was designed by the award-winning French architect Jean Nouvel. It would rise at 53 West 53rd Street and include gallery space for the Museum of Modern Art. Its construction would involve the transfer of air rights from St. Thomas Episcopal Church, on Fifth Avenue at 53rd Street, and the University Club, at 1 West 54th Street.

    The project requires the approval of the landmarks commission because both the church, a French Gothic structure, and the club, designed by McKim, Mead & White, are landmarks. A month ago, Community Board 5, which represents the area, voted to urge the commission to reject the transfer of air rights and block the construction of what the board called an “eccentric asymmetrical tower.”

    The structure would be 75 stories high and resemble a narrow, partly transparent spire crisscrossed by metal girders with steep setbacks pitched at different angles. In addition to museum space, it would include apartments and a hotel. Mr. Nouvel, who won the 2008 Pritzker Architecture Prize, told the commissioners that he had designed the building to complement its surroundings and to stand out as a dynamic work that would “create a kind of signal you can read in the skyline.”

    But State Senator Liz Krueger, in a statement that was entered into the record, said the tower “would be grossly out of scale with the other buildings in the area” and would “overwhelm the area’s infrastructure and services.”

    The proposal involves the transfer of about 275,000 square feet of air rights from St. Thomas Church and an additional 136,000 square feet from the University Club. Representatives from both said the sale of the air rights would finance the upkeep of their buildings.

    About 100 people attended the hearing, held at the preservation commission’s downtown offices, and about 50 signed up to speak. By the time that half of them had spoken, the tally was leaning heavily against the project.

    Michael Vann, an architecture student at Pratt Institute, called the tower “a celebration of ingenuity, imagination, creativity, originality and vision.”

    But a few minutes later, Chris McNally, a construction manager who lives on West 54th Street, described it as “a sharp spire stabbed into the heart of the neighborhood.”

    A spokeswoman for the landmarks commission, Lisi de Bourbon, said the commissioners would consider the application and announce a decision at a future public meeting.

    If they approve the transfer of the air rights, the matter will be referred to the Department of City Planning for approval. The project does not require permission from the City Council, but it can be blocked by council members.


    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
    [Emphases added.]
    Last edited by ManhattanKnight; April 9th, 2008 at 12:49 AM.

  8. #173
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Maybe we should take up a collection to buy hankies for the "community" ...
    “a sharp spire stabbed into the heart of the neighborhood.”

  9. #174

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    Overwelm the infrastructure? Come on.

  10. #175
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    MoMA Mia! Starring Jean Nouvel, David Childs & the Peanut Gallery

    CURBED
    Wednesday, April 9, 2008
    by Joey


    Nouvel educates the proletariat on how to eat cereal in a multi-million-dollar apartment.

    As reported yesterday, Pritzker Prize-winning French starchitect Jean Nouvel was forced to defend his plan for a dazzling and momentous Midtown skyscraper in front of a crowd of ornery locals waiting to savage him and his work. Such is the state of development in New York in 2008, but Nouvel took it all in stride. His attendance at the Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing—which heard arguments for and against the transfer of air rights from a couple of local landmarks to the developers of Nouvel's 53 West 53rd Street—was not a surprise, given the mounting community opposition to the so-called MoMA Tower. What was a surprise, however, was Nouvel bringing in starchitecture frat brother David Childs to speak on his behalf. That's two starchitects for the price of none, people! Curbed had two correspondents seated in the crowd, and the combined report is after the jump.


    "Trump Soho gets built no problem, but you have a problem with this?"


    That low-rise little neighborhood called Midtown where 53 West 53rd Street would rise.


    "Once this gets built, this will be the entrance that none of you complainers will be allowed into."
    The hearing started way late, while the Commission dealt with an illegal awning in Hamilton Heights. Nouvel entered the hearing room during testimony for that item, and the heads of each and every member of LPC turned and followed him, all with admiration and wonder in their eyes. Talk about starchitect ****ers! Nouvel sat quietly, seemingly listening intently to the discussion regarding the ugly improper awning. Nouvel gave a great presentation, with much discussion of set backs and the evolution of the New York skyscraper. He made pointed reference to Hugh Ferriss. A terrific moment was when he was describing the location of the site and opted for the French for our saying "bird's eye view." Nouvel owned the room with his calm, soft-spoken voice (and sensual handling of the laser pointer) as he explained his idea of "contextuality," which is to create "the missing piece of the puzzle," and in the case of 53rd Street, that piece is apparently a sharp needle-hotel/condo/museum space jutting 75 stories into the sky. He explained the needle design as a study in contrasts to the surrounding rectangle structures, and went so far as to suggest that the presence of the building would create more "lightness" to the area than without. A visibly upset lady in the crowd responded with some disapproving clucking.

    Surprise guest was David Childs, who spoke in praise of both Nouvel and his scheme.


    David Childs watches Nouvel do his thing, considers stealing plan for commission elsewhere.


    David Childs, in one of the few moments he wasn't checking his BlackBerry.

    St. Thomas Church and the University Club would get their upkeep and maintenance covered through perpetuity, so their proponents (especially from St. Thomas) came out strong for the approval, but it was really the neighborhood residents that came looking for a fight.


    A complicated way of saying "we need this money!"

    With the exception of Liz Krueger, the elected officials' statements generally supported the idea of landmark upkeep, and suggested their concerns with the new building may be better dealt with at a city planning level, also suggesting that this fight isn't close to over for the supporters of CB 5's vote to disapprove the transfer.


    "You, in the front row there. Don't you understand I have a Pritzker Prize?"


    Breaking down his mixed-use phallus.

    Things looked bleak in the public testimony, as Nouvel gamely sat through hours of traffic, safety, and neighborhood-harmony concerns, which ranged from the near-apologetic to the downright taunting. Complaints ranged from the creation of unsafe traffic congestion for emergency vehicles and disharmony in the architecture, some going so far as to tell Jean Nouvel that his building wasn't just big, but also ugly. To his face! There may have been more detractors, but Nouvel was not without his supporters, which were mainly various members of the clergy, trustees from the MoMA and the Folk Art Museum, and one really passionate architecture student in sweat pants. It will be interesting to see how the Commission votes.

    One interesting tidbit: One of the photos shows a large window at St. Thomas Church with a picture of James Hogan, who designed all the original windows in St. Thomas Church. The stained glass window shown is his self-portrait in glass (it's in the church)!


    The modest James Hogan's self-portrait in stained glass.
    · Nouvel Brings in Big Guns for MoMA Tower Hearing [Curbed]
    · Jean Nouvel Wins Pritzker Prize [Curbed]


    This Nouvel floorplan porn will cost you at least $500,000.

    MoMA Mia indeed!

  11. #176

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    I hate those people who laugh out loud at these things, guess what you're all morons, there are intelligent ways to get your point across.

  12. #177

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    I would like to know if it could be possible that some other developer could build this tower on another site if this one is disapproved?

  13. #178
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Nouvel explained at the LPC hearing that this particular building design is specific to this site. Its shape came about due to a quirky meeting of 4 different zoning districts that come together right where this lot meets neighboring lots. It also responds to NYC zoning laws for those 4 different zoning districts. Plus the shape of the lot is odd (narrow and long with a dog-leg). Nouvels' plan is in response to the exisiting buildings nearby. The mass of Nouvel's buildng was pushed to the southwest part of the site as much as possible to maximize light to the north and east.

    Those are the limitations that Nouvel was pushing back against and which resulted in this design.

    Of course Nouvel could design a similar building for another site, but he would be dealing with a whole different set of givens and thereby would, most likely, come up with something different (rather than repeat himself).

    At LPC Nouvel also spoke about how he presented Hines with two schemes for this MoMA site: The first was a boxy, rectangular plan (which unfortunately he did not show -- as it would have been fascinating to see how bulky that might have been). The second is the building we now see.

    In defense of the Nouvel plan: Someone should draw what is allowed to be built on this site under current maxiumum zoning & FAR. It should be drawn with as much bulk as is allowable -- just so folks can see what they will end up with if this plan is turned down and a developer builds a standard NYC midtown box.

    It's not like this empty lot is going to remain empty forever.

  14. #179
    Kings County Loyal BrooklynLove's Avatar
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    this is next in line for that plot

    http://www.newyorkshitty.com/?p=4286

  15. #180
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Landmark hearing on Nouvel tower next to MOMA


    09-APR-08

    The Landmarks Preservation Commission held a 3-hour meeting late yesterday without taking any action on the proposed transfer of air rights from St. Thomas Church on the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street and the University Club on the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 54th Street to a proposed, 1,155-feet-tall, mixed use tower designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel at 53 West 53rd Street adjacent to the Museum of Modern Art.

    The planned tower would also use unused air rights from the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of American Folk Art, which is adjacent to the site.

    Most of the speakers at the hearing were residents from the neighborhood and civic organizations that were opposed to the air rights transfers and supportive of a resolution passed Community Board 5 March 13 that asked the commission not to recommend the transfers.

    Jean Nouvel, shown at the left, told the commission that his design would "enrich the neighborhood and open the sky to the street," adding that "You can look at the skyline of the city and you can say 'The MOMA is here.'" He said the very narrow building would be open at the top and illuminated at night, describing the design as "elan."

    Michael Sillerman, a lawyer representing the developer, Hines Interests, said the proposed tower is about 500 feet away from the church and the club and it moves bulk away from them and toward the higher density of the Avenue of the Americas.

    A statement submitted by the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects said that it felt "that the design and materials are 'light' enough that the height is not oppressive and does 'relate harmoniously.'"

    David Smith of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, whose projects include the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle and the Freedom Tower at Ground Zero, spoke in support of the transfers, stating that the proposed tower was "an important project of design excellence."

    The transfers are being sought under zoning provisions known as 74-711 and 74-79 that permit them if they provide for preservation maintenance programs for the properties transferring them and if the receiving property is "harmonious" with them.

    A statement submitted by the Historic Districts Council maintained that "there is really no way a building so tall could do anything but tower over, eclipse and distract from its neighbors." "Both individual landmarks," the statement continued, "are hardly the dilapidated, abandoned buildings 74-711 and 74-79 were created to help." The statement also said that it "should be remembered that there are other individual landmarks just across the street that...will endure all of the pain, and none of the gain."

    Christabel Gough, the executive director of the Society for the Architecture of the City, told the commission that "if the Modern Museum had been landmarked..., it might be easier to argue that there was a harmonious relationship of some kind, at least historically,...as it is, 'harmonious relationship' seems elusive," adding that the likelihood of the church and club "falling into disrepair appears remote."

    Lisa Kersavage, director of advocacy and policy for The Municipal Art Society, said "we believe there will be shadow impacts on historic resources, especially on the low-rise landmarks and light-sensitive open spaces like MOMA's sculpture garden."

    One resident in the area told the commission the tower's needle-like design was "disjointed," another said it was aa "stab in the heart of the neighborhood."

    The tower would provide MOMA with about 50,000 square feet of exhibition space and about 10,000 square feet of basement storage space in the proposed tower. It would be a dramatic addition to the skyline as it has angled, tapered north and south facades and diagonal bracing. It would contain a 100-room, "seven-star" hotel, and 120 "highest-end residential condominiums" in addition to MOMA expansion.

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