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Thread: Endangered NYC - Lost & Threatened Treasures

  1. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woozle View Post
    So.. we're (er.. you're) overcompensating now, crying over any generic building that is more than 70 years old being lost to much-needed development.
    Overcompensating is your opinion.


    I'm a paid lobbyist for real estate interest groups.
    For what city?

  2. #77
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    Woozle: I (and most everyone here) understand and agree with you that the City is not an unchanging museum and the right kind of development is both good and necessary. I think you make some valid points about some tenements being over-protected.

    I also see don't anyone here crying about everything over 70 years being lost. The rightful concern and anger comes when something old that enhances the City is lost to something new that diminishes the City.

    To illustrate, something great being sacrificed for something else great is welcome:


    Something great being sacrificed for something that makes New York look and feel a little more like Sao Paulo, Shenzen (or some other average, mundane city that also provides millions of jobs) is not okay:


    Best case scenario: something unremarkable is developed into something much better:


    Dozens (someday hundreds?) of these POS do not make a city great:
    .

    For one reason or another developers today are able - and highly willing - to build much more hideous garbage than they were 70 years ago. If it takes landmarking every pre-1949 building in order to stop McSam et al. from continuing to damage the City, then I'd be for it.

  3. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woozle View Post
    I'm a paid lobbyist for real estate interest groups.
    Hmmm...interesting. I have always wondered if those who are willing to eagerly forsake decades of architectural heritage in the name of current day profiterring ever bothered to realize that it is these relics are the ones that make NYC what it is. Yes the city does breathe, but it also should evolve. Evolution is all about the synergy of maintaining what has worked in the past while adjusting to the current conditions. The destruction of these relics -that give NYC its charm and character- toreplace them with glass highrises are not evolution of a city because they get replaced with inferiority while the empty lot or generic store box next door stills stands; and that is called IMO: civic degeneration.

    So let me ask you, do you have any sort of internal mechanism to repress perhaps any feelings of remorse or is it a professional desentisation to the consequences of your actions? Like a hitman who doesnt think about the family guy he is about to whack, he just does it cuz he needs to, you know, get "paid". Is this something you fundametally believe in or do you get compensated to believe in it?

  4. #79

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    ^I think he was just being a sarcastic wise-@ss.

  5. #80
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    The @ss part is right. LOL.

    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    For what city?
    Uh oh, I think Zippy may be onto something...

  6. #81

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    Quote Originally Posted by RandySavage View Post
    Woozle: I (and most everyone here) understand and agree with you that the City is not an unchanging museum and the right kind of development is both good and necessary. I think you make some valid points about some tenements being over-protected.
    It's not just the overprotectiveness. The regulars on this forum seem to whine endlessly about the new cookie-cutter condos (Kondylis-bashing seems to be a favorite pastime) forgetting that Kondylis's highrises look a hell of a lot better than pretty much EVERY residential building put up in New York between 1940-1980 (how much of Manhattan is permanently scarred by those white brick boxes from the 60's? What about those mid-rise turd-colored droppings from the 1940's that mar, here and there, most avenues, to say nothing of side-streets?) They also seem to have forgotten than the 1920's residential architecture in New York is defined not by the San Remo but by the vast expanses of cookie-cutter low- and mid-rise gloomy apartment buildings that have forever disfigured and ghettoized much of northern Manhattan, the Bronx, and much of Brooklyn.

    THERE HASN'T BEEN A PERIOD IN NEW YORK'S HISTORY when anything less than, I suppose, 90% of all new residential construction wasn't bland/ugly mass-produced housing for the masses. And even the Kondylis condos, bland and value-engineered as they are, are a significant improvement - in both appearance and livability - over the vast majority of all older housing stock in Manhattan.

    I also see don't anyone here crying about everything over 70 years being lost. The rightful concern and anger comes when something old that enhances the City is lost to something new that diminishes the City.
    I'll repeat. This has been the modus operandi of New York's real estate developers since the 1870's, when most of the older townhouses in what today is downtown Manhattan were razed and replaced with tenements. A bigger crime was the large-scale demolition of the mansions on Fifth avenue in the 1910's-20's. It's hard to break a habit, but at least we have landmark laws these days. The developers these days are far more benign than their predecessors.

    What diminishes the city is middle class flight. Those new condos will help maintain at least some middle class presence in the city even if it goes bankrupt and the crime goes through the roof. All those co-op conversions in the 1980's created a critical mass of homeowners in the city that helped it survive in the early 90's. I'm even more optimistic about the city today. All these new condos brought thousands more homeowners into Manhattan. And homeowners take care of their neighborhoods in a way that no renter ever would. To me, this is far more a question of middle class livability than architectural considerations.

    Dozens (someday hundreds?) of these POS do not make a city great.. For one reason or another developers today are able - and highly willing - to build much more hideous garbage than they were 70 years ago. If it takes landmarking every pre-1949 building in order to stop McSam et al. from continuing to damage the City, then I'd be for it.
    Yes. Like those old beauties:





    McSam hotels, of course, look sooo far worse than the classy Manhattan hotels from the 1960's and 1970's:




    Manhattan is developing a taste for architecture and good living that it failed to maintain over the last 70 years of the 20th century. The 2000's brought starchitects and a vast improvement in the overall quality of construction in the city. Tenement-standard 8 foot ceilings are becoming passe. The next burst of construction activity, hopefully 5 or so years from now, will be far classier.

    Be an optimist. Manhattan's architecture (restaurants, shops, etc., etc., etc.) will always be only as good as the tastes of Manhattanites. And the tastes ARE improving.

  7. #82

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    ASchwartz writes:

    "Manhattan is developing a taste for architecture..."

    LOL.... well yes indeed....Manhattan IS developing a taste for architecture. Don't you see how you condradict yourself?

    The wealthy, the educated, the creatve who come to NYC are also attracted by those landmarked areas and by those rows of tenements.

    They maintain NYC's unique look and feel. Those tenements with their fire escapes are almost a NY brand. They should be maintained were possible.

    That you can't see the beauty in those small simple 1920's moderne and deco apartment houses or fire escaped tenements is your lack of taste.

    Keep up the landmarking... it CREATES WEALTH, it attracts the class of people that also demand great modern architecture.

    As you say yourself: Manhattan is developing a taste for architecture...

    ----

    Quote Originally Posted by Woozle View Post
    What diminishes the city is middle class flight. Those new condos will help maintain at least some middle class presence in the city even if it goes bankrupt and the crime goes through the roof. All those co-op conversions in the 1980's created a critical mass of homeowners in the city that helped it survive in the early 90's. I'm even more optimistic about the city today. All these new condos brought thousands more homeowners into Manhattan. And homeowners take care of their neighborhoods in a way that no renter ever would. To me, this is far more a question of middle class livability than architectural considerations.
    A good point. But again: consider that protecting treasures big and small and demanding ever better new architecture helps in keeping the city desirable too.


    ---

    Randy Savage: as usual, great post!

    --
    Last edited by Fabrizio; December 26th, 2008 at 09:26 PM.

  8. #83

    Arrow Endangered NYC

    Quote Originally Posted by Woozle View Post
    It's not just the overprotectiveness. The regulars on this forum seem to whine endlessly about the new cookie-cutter condos (Kondylis-bashing seems to be a favorite pastime) ........

    Be an optimist. Manhattan's architecture (restaurants, shops, etc., etc., etc.) will always be only as good as the tastes of Manhattanites. And the tastes ARE improving.
    In my view, Kondylis does better architecture than 'cookie-cutter'; much of what he does I would refer to as: value-engineered-architecture.

    And - there's no longer any need to fret about overzealous landmark practices; prevailing economic conditions will definitely continue to stifle real estate development for the unforeseeable future.

    That being said, I will take your advise and try to be optimistic.





  9. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woozle View Post
    McSam hotels, of course, look sooo far worse than the classy Manhattan hotels from the 1960's and 1970's:
    Those hideous hotels have a good excuse: they were built in the 60's and 70's.

    What's McSams' excuse?

  10. #85

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    At least the hotels built in the 60's-70's maintained the street wall

  11. #86

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    Woozle, you're right about one thing: the crap built in 1940-80 was, for the most part garbage. If you look at what was built in that period in terms of area of territory occupied, the plurality of it is probably postwar housing projects -- the biggest abcess on the city's face.

    But the Rockroses, McSams, Moinians and others you seem to champion who build what is essentially massive, stripped-down Soviet-style garbage today are picking up no torch other than that of the 1940-80 period. Most of what these developers put up is as architecturally and aesthetically dismal as those projects -- only they slap down a few SubZero and Miele kitchen appliances and call them "luxury." Luckily, now that the easy money's over that scam is likely to work a bit less well.

    What's impossible to ignore is the difference between the cheap postwar boxes that we've seen put up across vast swaths of the city and the prewar, individually built and crafted apartment houses, office towers and tenement buildings. Whether it's the Art Deco towers and complexes -- one of the most truly and distinctly American styles and arguably the last interesting architectural style to be built in mass numbers in this country -- or the fire-escape-covered tenements that Fabrizio rightfully defends as a New York brand that more than anything else draws in the wealthy buyers -- bankers who grew up in Summit, NJ, and international jet-setters alike -- the prewar buildings demonstrate unique architectural details and handcrafted features. That's the moneymaker that makes New York distinct, internationally recognizable, and, frankly, interesting. The could-be-anywhere ghettoes that our current crop of carpetbagging developers put up tarnish that brand and will ultimately do nothing but harm both prices of the overall market as well as the city's international cache. With people today more mobile than ever, the richest, most talented workers will want to be in a place that is beautiful, unique and has the types of small boutiques and restaurants/clubs that New York's prewar buildings engender. A slew of newly built 2nd Ave towers with Duane Reades, Chase ATMs and Dunkin' Donuts on the ground floor? Give me Kensington instead.

  12. #87

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    It should also be noted that those tenements are often the perfect backdrop for the charming restaurants and boutiques that one wants to see in NYC: they've got the tin ceilings, the wooden floors, the imperfect walls that are becoming rarer in todays world and that new buildings can not provide.

    ASchwartz: Personally I think that kind of thinking is old, impoverished, out of sync with an important reason as to why people come to NYC. NYC needs gleaming new condos.... but it also needs to guard it's humble traditional structures that give the city it's unique flavour.

    You would prefer to see these gone? Tell us about it.









    --

    Yes indeed, "Manhattan is developing a taste for architecture" that's why people want to see the South Village landmarked:

    --
    Last edited by Fabrizio; December 27th, 2008 at 09:48 AM.

  13. #88

    Arrow Endangered NYC

    Quote Originally Posted by Fabrizio View Post


    Great Photos: The row of windows above the word 'Restaurant Provence' were once my living room windows. Small World.

  14. #89
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    Good reason to landmark it now!

  15. #90

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    Do you realize the gazillions of dollars these tourist-packed landmarked neighborhoods generate? Ever notice the promo literature and web sites for those luxury towers on their periphery? .... note how they proudly exclaim their nearness to those charming neighborhoods and how they show photos of the bakeries and bistros and etc. housed in those tenements?

    Just one of a million examples: go to the Atelier (Moinian condo) website. Click on "neighborhood". A flash slide show gives images of tenements, and sites with an old timey feel... including a neighborhood barbershop! Why would this big gleaming tower chose to show it's prospective tenents, who will be paying big money for their condos, those particular images?

    http://www.ateliercondos.com/

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