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. #181

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    You cant just move a building from one site to another like these retards think, every building is dependant on its context.

    David Smith? Who?

  2. #182
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    That is HILARIOUS that the reporter for City Realty mis-named starchitect David Childs as "David Smith"

  3. #183

    Talking

    Its not even close!

    'Whats that guys name again? Ah, Smith will do.'

  4. #184
    Kings County Loyal BrooklynLove's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alonzo-ny View Post
    Its not even close!

    'Whats that guys name again? Ah, Smith will do.'
    or john doe, whatever ...

  5. #185

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    I'd expect opposition to this from the powers that be at Rockefeller Center, since their views of Central Park will be blocked considerably.

  6. #186

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    This project is probably 1/3 or less the width of 30 Rock.

  7. #187

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    Quote Originally Posted by alonzo-ny View Post
    This project is probably 1/3 or less the width of 30 Rock.
    Do you think that will ease their concerns?

  8. #188

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    As far as Ive heard the office workers in that building havent said a word.

  9. #189
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Rock Center Observation Deck sits at mid-block.

    Tower Verre would go up on the far west side of the block, almost to Sixth Avenue -- and hardly at any point sit farther east than the easternmost part of the CBS black rock building.

  10. #190
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post

    MoMA Mia! Starring Jean Nouvel, David Childs & the Peanut Gallery

    As reported yesterday, Pritzker Prize-winning French starchitect Jean Nouvel was forced to defend his plan ... arguments for and against the transfer of air rights from a couple of local landmarks ...
    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!"
    The PR machine jumps into in action, promo-ing the "St. Thomas Needs Money" angle ...

    A Gigantic Job for Window Fixers


    Librado Romero/The New York Times
    The largest windows will each require 4,500 worker hours of intricate effort — essentially,
    the labor of one artisan for two and a half years.

    NY TIMES
    By GLENN COLLINS
    April 15, 2008

    After a thousand years artisans are still using muscle, sweat and painstaking craftsmanship to preserve exquisitely painted pieces of colored glass that adorn majestic places of worship.

    Now, in the most expensive restoration of stained glass ever undertaken in the United States, conservation is under way on the famous Whitefriars windows of St. Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. It will require three years
    and $20 million to renew the splendor of 33 windows, with their 9 million pieces of glass. Nine windows on the north side of the church were removed in January and February and their absence hidden by translucent scrims. Then the workers came in from the cold to toil in nine glass-restoration studios from Massachusetts to California. The largest windows will each require 4,500 worker hours of intricate effort — essentially, the labor of one artisan for two and a half years.


    Librado Romero/The New York Times
    A translucent replacement window printed on vinyl
    is hoisted into place inside St. Thomas Church.


    Librado Romero/The New York Times
    A translucent replacement window printed on vinyl is hoisted
    into place inside St. Thomas Church in Manhattan.

    Built in 1914, St. Thomas Church is renowned for its choir school and for recitals on its Ernest M. Skinner pipe organ, as well as for defining events like last year’s funeral for Brooke Astor, who lived to 105.

    Yet its painted Gothic Revival windows, which were installed from 1927 to 1974, have never been restored. All but two were made by James Powell & Sons of Whitefriars in London, a revered and now long-shuttered manufacturer that distinctively signed each window with a tiny glass portrait of a white-robed friar.


    Librado Romero/The New York Times
    The signature white-robed friar of Whitefriars.

    “It’s a great privilege to be working on this glass,” said Michael W. Padovan, a glass restorer in Frenchtown, N.J. “It may be labor-intensive — but it is a labor of love.”

    Five of his artisans are carefully reconstructing the “Goodness Window,” so named for the good deeds done by those depicted on it, including St. Barnabas and Florence Nightingale. It is 32 feet tall by 18 feet wide.

    But its goodness seemed decidedly careworn last November when, under a wan sun on a wind-blasted scaffold 50 feet up outside of the church, Phil Seaman took stock of its condition. “This isn’t your everyday construction job,” said Mr. Seaman, a job superintendent for Westerman Construction Company, the site project manager. “These windows are massive. But they are fragile.”

    In January workers began removing the windows from the north side of the church, which was designed by the firm of the architect Ralph Adams Cram.

    Mr. Seaman’s crews had built nine 30-foot-high plywood construction sheds to provide platforms for the removal and return of the windows. The shed walls were fitted with plexiglass to let light through while keeping heated air within, in the absence of windows.

    “As a whole, we have to deal with this as a large construction project,” said Julie L. Sloan, a glass-conservation consultant from North Adams, Mass., who is overseeing the project. “Yet each window is treated as a different artifact — actually, work of art.”

    Therefore every window has been digitally documented, and its condition recorded for future restorers and scholars.

    Unobstructed glass is basic to the power of an art that relies on the beauty of transmitted light. But the ravages of entropy at St. Thomas and most older churches go well beyond dirt to a systematic failure of the metal holding the glass together. The lead has deteriorated from thermal expansion, corroding in whitish, fuzzy patches that are to lead as rust is to iron. The glass is cracking as well, causing dirty-water leaks that have congealed into a hard crust through the years.

    Not to mention sagging: Some windows have bowed out after years of expanding and contracting in the sun.

    What is more, in 1982 a protective exterior glazing believed at the time to be useful for energy conservation was installed at St. Thomas, as in hundreds of other churches. But the glazing trapped interior condensation and heat, which accelerated the deterioration of the lead.


    Librado Romero/The New York Times
    The lead has deteriorated from thermal expansion, corroding in whitish,
    fuzzy patches that are to lead as rust is to iron.

    Librado Romero/The New York Times
    “The leads,” the heavy lead channels that hold the pieces of glass in place.

    The church took care to remain open for services, even as the windows were gradually being removed. In January workers began installing a Potemkin Village of scrims — giant, faux stained-glass window images printed on vinyl. They were hoisted 55 feet above the sanctuary to become translucent replacements for the missing windows.

    “We wanted the church to continue to function normally during the entire time of the restoration,” said Max Henderson-Begg, the church’s verger.

    Although the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission does not need to approve the restoration since it conserves the existing windows in a landmarked building, the commission does need to approve a transfer of air rights from the church to pay for a host of repairs — including the windows — to the developer of Tower Verre, just down the block at 53 West 53rd Street. The University Club at 1 West 54th Street also seeks to sell its air rights as part of the deal.

    The tower, designed by the award-winning French architect Jean Nouvel, has been opposed by neighbors at community board meetings and at a commission hearing for its size and its impact. William H. Wright II, the senior warden, or lay leader, of St. Thomas, said that if the rights transfer were not approved, “we’d have to look at other avenues for funding, including a capital campaign,” adding, “Our windows would literally fall out if we did not do this restoration work.”

    However, the windows seemed reluctant to be dislodged in late January. It took three days to release the first one, a 30-footer. The primordial glazing putty was “hard as a rock,” said Ms. Sloan, who has restored windows at West Point and at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. “We had to use chisels to get it out.”

    Now, in Mr. Padovan’s workshop, the Jersey Art Stained Glass Studio in Frenchtown, restorers are removing more than 10,000 pieces of glass from their lead frames on the 420-square-foot surface of the “Goodness Window.”

    After each piece of glass is photographed to document its condition, artisans make rubbings of all the window panels on acid-free vellum, adding notations about any lead or glass repairs. “With this rubbing,” Mr. Padovan said, “we are speaking to future restorers who will be able to bring the panels back to the condition that was intended by the original artists.”

    The colors “are incredibly stable and durable,” Mr. Padovan said of the thick, heavy, lushly hued original glass, known as Norman slab glass.



    The interior of the church. It will require three years and $20 million to
    renew the splendor of 33 windows, with their 9 million pieces of glass.

    Not so for “the leads,” the heavy lead channels that hold the pieces of glass in place. They are called cames (rhymes with “games”); new custom-made cames must be hand-bent to fit each piece of glass perfectly.

    Research has shown that 20th-century window makers used pure lead that was too soft. More durable lead alloys were used in the Middle Ages. Mr. Padovan’s restoration-quality lead has 2 percent copper, tin and antimony, and is expected to last 100 to 120 years.

    Chiseling off the top flange of each of the lead cames — to remove the glass without breaking it — is exacting work. The restorers toil calmly on the third floor of an 1883 red-brick building not far from the Delaware River that was once the meeting hall of a fraternal order, the Society of the Red Men.

    Historically, workers were endangered by the toxicity of the lead. These days lead is wetted to prevent lead particles from becoming airborne; exhaust fans remove air from the studio. Mr. Padovan and his crew undergo regular blood tests, “and I’ve been O.K. for 35 years,” said Mr. Padovan, 55, who as a child was an apprentice to his father, Warren.

    After the north-side windows are restored and replaced, the workers will attend to the church’s 25-foot rose window to the west, and then to the windows behind the church’s ornately carved 80-foot-high reredos, or decorative screen. Then the scaffolding will be moved to the south, and the windows there will be conserved.

    All the glass must be made whole for a day of celebration, on Nov. 21, 2011, the 100th anniversary of the laying of the church’s cornerstone.

    “They’re expected to last 100 years,” Mr. Padovan said. “Then it’ll be time for the next restoration.”


    The exterior of St. Thomas Church at 53rd and 5th Avenue in Manhattan.

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

  11. #191

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    What is the building next to St. Thomas?... I 've forgotten about that building... look how beautiful and just right it is.

  12. #192
    10 Barclay = Decepticon Optimus Prime's Avatar
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    Sharing the block with the church is Buchmann Tower, 680 Fifth Avenue.

  13. #193

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    Nouvel Tower 'Frightening': Assemblyman Gottfried Joins Anti-Nouvel Crowd

    byEliot Brown | April 16, 2008


    Assemblyman Richard Gottfried has come out against Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel’s tower planned to rise next to the Museum of Modern Art, joining neighbors and State Senator Liz Krueger in their opposition to the project.

    The tower, which has received much praise in the architectural world, needs approval from both the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, the City Planning Commission and the City Council to proceed. At a hearing earlier this month, residents lined up to speak out against the tower, named Tower Verre, saying its 75-story height and its mid-block placement (i.e. not on a corner) are out of character for the block.

    "Fifty-third Street is characterized by low-rise mixeduse development. The Verre Tower plan is inconsistent with and degrades this character," Mr. Gottfried wrote to the LPC.

    The full text of Mr. Gottfried's letter:
    Robert Tierney, Chair
    Landmarks Preservation Commission
    One Centre Street, 9th Floor North
    New York, NY 10007

    Re: Modifications of use and bulk of St. Thomas Church and the University Club


    Dear Bob:
    In order to permit the transfer of development rights from two individual landmarks to 53 West 53rd Street, the Landmarks Preservation Commission must confirm that preservation plans for the landmarks are in place and that the architecture of the new building is harmonious with the landmarks.
    New York City’s Zoning Code allows the owner of a landmarked building to offset the “private burden” of owning and maintaining a landmark property by selling unused development rights pursuant to a special permit.

    St. Thomas Church, an individual landmark in good condition, is applying for a special permit under §74-711 to sell all 275,000 square feet of its air rights, arguing that the preservation plan it is currently undertaking satisfies the findings required by the Zoning Code. The University Club is applying for a special permit under §74-79 to sell all 136,000 square feet of its air rights, presenting a preservation plan which also falls short of meeting the findings.

    Neither landmark is in danger of deterioration, or has a stated lack of resources.

    Community Board 5 reports that both are currently in good condition with ongoing maintenance plans. Therefore, there is no “burden” that needs to be relieved and no landmark preservation purpose to be served by the air rights sale. Yet there is substantial public burden resulting from the excessive height and density, shadows, traffic, and other impacts the proposed tower will impose on the community.

    The Verre Tower is a frightening example of how zoning provisions like this can work and it highlights the need for reform. The Verre Tower would be 1,155 feet high, almost as tall as the Empire State Building, making it the third tallest building in New York City. Unlike other notable skyscrapers, the Verre Tower site is not on a wide avenue or a wide crosstown street; it is midblock on a narrow mixed-use side street with its back on a residential street.

    Community Board 5 voted to deny the §74-711 special permit request by the St. Thomas Church because the preservation plan is not robust enough to balance the burden of the tower on the community.

    A §74-711 permit also requires a finding that the building will relate harmoniously to the transferring landmark. I was informed that because of the distance between the development site and the landmark, the harmoniousness finding would be considered to be waived. However, since the landmark and the tower will be on the same lot, the zoning resolution is clear on the requirement for a finding of harmoniousness. The lot is to be merged, and thus the two properties would be on the same lot.

    I do not believe the Commission could justifiably waive the requirement for a finding of harmoniousness for a transfer of this size. The harmful impact the tower will have on St. Thomas Church and the surrounding area is substantial despite the distance between the tower and the landmark.
    Community Board 5 voted to deny the §74-79 special permit request by the University Club. The zoning text is clear; there must be a preservation plan that benefits the landmark without adding burden on the community. Fifty-third Street is characterized by low-rise mixeduse development. The Verre Tower plan is inconsistent with and degrades this character.

    Not-for-profit organizations and cultural institutions are increasingly trying to make use of their air rights to build residential or commercial towers that undermine landmark, historic district, and zoning regulations. This trend is detrimental to communities and should be resisted by community boards and City agencies, especially the Landmarks Commission. Thomas Church and the surrounding area is substantial despite the distance between the tower and the landmark.

    Community Board 5 voted to deny the §74-79 special permit request by the University
    Club. The zoning text is clear; there must be a preservation plan that benefits the landmark without adding burden on the community. Fifty-third Street is characterized by low-rise mixeduse development. The Verre Tower plan is inconsistent with and degrades this character.

    Not-for-profit organizations and cultural institutions are increasingly trying to make use of their air rights to build residential or commercial towers that undermine landmark, historic district, and zoning regulations. This trend is detrimental to communities and should be resisted by community boards and City agencies, especially the Landmarks Commission.
    I urge the Commission to reject both applications.

    Very truly yours,

    Richard N. Gottfried
    Assembly Member


    Copyright 2008 The New York Observer.

  14. #194
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Mr. Gottfried: You should, as a publicly elected official, at least tell the truth when submitting testimony to a public agency.

    This proposed Nouvel tower is NOT, as you state, "midblock", but rather is planned for a site on the far west end of the block (as far west as is possible save for one lot which sits directly on Sixth Avenue and is occupied by 1330 Sixth).

    53rd Street is NOT as you state, "characterized by low-rise mixeduse development", but has a mixture of buildings of many heights including five (5) existing towers on this one block between Fifth and Sixth Avenues:
    1) 1330 Sixth on the north west end of the block
    2) CBS' Black Rock on the south side at Sixth
    3) 666 Fifth at the south es end of the block
    4) Cesar Pelli's MoMA Condo Tower at mid-block on the north side
    5) The Hines / Kevin Roche Deutsche Bank building at 40 West 53rd / 31 W 52nd, south side mid-block
    Calling the building a "frightening example" says far more about an individual's state of mind and the state of NYC in 2008 than it does about the design of the proposed tower.

    ***

  15. #195
    Senior Swanky Peteynyc1's Avatar
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    Contact Richard Gottfried
    Assembly District: 64
    E-mail: gottfrr@assembly.state.ny.us Albany Office: LOB 822, ALBANY 12248
    518-455-4941 District Office: 242 W. 27TH STREET, NEW YORK 10001
    212-807-7900 While I cant say I agree with his view here one bit, I do like this about him:

    He was an architect of the 1978 Omnibus Crime Act and wrote laws to reform the grand jury system, strengthen the rape laws and decriminalize marijuana.

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