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Thread: Greenwich Street 'Restoration'

  1. #1

    Default Greenwich Street 'Restoration'

    July 10, 2003

    A Through Street Restored, but Looking Thinner


    At the gargantuan scale of ground zero, every dimension counts. And some dimensions may trump popular expectations.

    Anyone anticipating a broad new Greenwich Street should pay attention to the Consolidated Edison Company substation now under construction, which will be the base of the new 7 World Trade Center tower. It is already clear that the tower will not so much open a vista down Greenwich Street as open a visual sliver.

    Now, a sliver is certainly better than the dam of the old 7 World Trade Center, which stretched all the way across Greenwich Street, isolating TriBeCa physically and visually from Lower Manhattan. But a sliver is not nearly as generous a panorama as the one that currently exists.

    In the 1960's, parts of Greenwich, Washington, Fulton, Dey and Cortlandt Streets were eliminated to create giant development sites for the trade center and a Con Ed substation immediately to the north, over which Larry A. Silverstein later constructed the original 7 World Trade Center.

    After the destruction of the center, the opportunity arose — and was embraced by many community leaders and city planners — to reopen Greenwich Street for the missing five-block length.

    Mr. Silverstein was widely credited with giving up valuable floor area in order to shrink 7 World Trade Center enough to let Greenwich Street run through the site. Considerable engineering ingenuity was needed, too, since the Con Ed transformer vaults had almost inflexible dimensions.

    The result was described as a planning victory. "That Greenwich Street will be restored to its original state, at least as an unimpeded thoroughfare, is one of the few things that seem certain about the future of the World Trade Center site," Paul Goldberger wrote in The New Yorker in May 2002, reflecting a general assumption that restoration meant exactly that: a return to the 65-foot-wide street that once existed.

    But it turns out that the new Greenwich Street will actually be 60 feet wide between Vesey and Barclay Streets. And 7 World Trade Center will be 171 feet wide, 11 feet wider than the buildings that occupied the block until the 60's.

    From the north, 7 World Trade Center will seem to fill even more of Greenwich Street than it actually does because the Bank of New York Technology and Operations Center, in the foreground at 101 Barclay Street, is set far back on its lot, 94 feet distant from Fiterman Hall on the opposite corner.

    As a matter of visual perception, in other words, 7 World Trade Center will appear to project 34 feet into Greenwich Street, since it extends that far beyond the line of the Bank of New York building.

    From some vantages, the emerging Con Ed building, with its Y-shaped pillars, already seems to take up half of Greenwich Street. The tower will rise straight up from that base to a height of 750 feet.

    "It was a shock," said Fredric M. Bell, executive director of the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects, after he walked those blocks on Tuesday. "I said, `How could we not have noticed this?' "

    Even allowing for the setback at 101 Barclay Street, Mr. Bell said, "It looks like a very significant protrusion into the view corridor."

    Nancy D. Owens, a landscape architect and cofounder of the Friends of Greenwich Street civic group, was surprised to discover that the new structure appeared to be creating a bottleneck at ground zero rather than a grand entry. "Doesn't it feel as if you're going to have to go around 7 World Trade Center?" she asked. "The verbiage doesn't mesh with the reality."

    But there was no way to shrink the footprint of the new 7 World Trade Center any further, said two of its architects, David M. Childs and Peter M. Ruggiero of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Because the transformer tolerances were so tight, recreating a 65-foot Greenwich Street right-of-way would have meant compromising three of Con Ed's 10 vaults, Mr. Ruggiero said.

    Mr. Childs noted that Greenwich Street's width varies widely from block to block and gets down to 60 feet in other places. (Sixty feet is the width of typical crosstown streets in Manhattan. Avenues are typically 100 feet wide.)

    To those who struggled to squeeze the building, a narrower Greenwich is preferable to no Greenwich. Alexander Garvin, former planning director for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, wrote in an e-mail message that the solution "permitted Greenwich and Fulton Street to be restored, allowed for the substation and did not cost the taxpayers anything."

    Madelyn Wils, the chairwoman of the Lower Manhattan community board, said, "Even though it's not a huge passage, it's still a passageway that connects Greenwich Street from the Village to the bottom of the island."

    "That doesn't seem like a loss," she said. "That seems more like a win."

    However, to Beverly Willis, an architect and co-chairwoman of the Rebuild Downtown Our Town civic group, it seems more of a cautionary tale.

    "This is a perfect example," she said, "of what can happen to the rest of the site unless there's a watchdog approach to every step of the development."

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  2. #2

    Default Greenwich Street 'Restoration'

    It is a restoration. *Who are these people that were expecting a "grand blvd."? *God forbid the new 7 WTC should intrude on their view. *Maybe they would love to have the old 7 WTC back. *Those ungrateful, unappreciative b.....ds.

  3. #3
    Forum Veteran
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    Jan 2003
    Garden City, LI

    Default Greenwich Street 'Restoration'

    View of what, the 16 acre memorial perhaps? *Oh, that's nice.

  4. #4
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village

    Default Greenwich Street 'Restoration'

    The Times has a picture, it definitely does look like the tower is sticking out into the street more than I thought it would - that's all. It's still better of course, but it's more of an observation than complaint. More realistic renderings would have eliminated the surprise.

    (Edited by NYatKNIGHT at 9:33 am on July 10, 2003)

  5. #5

    Default Greenwich Street 'Restoration'

    The public was misled once more - they could have spared us the rhetoric. Could someone please scan the image?

  6. #6

    Default Greenwich Street 'Restoration'

    But since 7 WTC is to be a "shaft of light" it'll be okay.

  7. #7

    Default Greenwich Street 'Restoration'

    The one over Larry's head.

    No big deal, apparently.
    Last edited by Kris; August 23rd, 2010 at 04:56 PM.

  8. #8
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village

    Default Greenwich Street 'Restoration'

    There was talk about opening up the view down Greenwich St. It depends on what your expectations were I guess. It's not like they had much of a choice.

  9. #9

    Default Greenwich Street 'Restoration'

    You'll get to peer. Thanks. Still a huge improvement.

  10. #10

    Default Greenwich Street 'Restoration'

    The perception will be different when 7 WTC (are they keeping the name?) is surrounded by other towers. *
    "It was a shock," said Fredric M. Bell, executive director of the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects, after he walked those blocks on Tuesday. "I said, `How could we not have noticed this?' "
    Not to be immodest, but I noticed this when the plans were released, and it was obvious when construction began on the substation. *How could the AIA not notice this until now? *Makes you wonder about the level of dilligence they have regarding the WTC redevelopment:
    "This is a perfect example," she said, "of what can happen to the rest of the site unless there's a watchdog approach to every step of the development."

    Wasn't Greenwich street going to be a pedestrian street through the site anyway?

  11. #11

    Default Greenwich Street 'Restoration'

    I put this in the category of the wedge of light "discovery". *The street wasn't restored for the "views" down Greenwich. *But if they really wanted to make a point, show old and new photos of the street and tower from Greenwich and Barclay Street (northside of building). *

    What will they find to whine about next? *

    (Edited by NYguy at 5:56 pm on July 10, 2003)

  12. #12

    Default Greenwich Street 'Restoration'

    Probably why the rendering above Larry's head is from that point of view, it minimizes the effect.
    What is in 101 Barclay? *This building seemed to be skulking in the shadow of the WTC complex, boring and quiet.
    If someone puts a 34' addition on the facade, or two more modules - problem solved! *

  13. #13

    Default Greenwich Street 'Restoration'

    The first rendering though is still from the street, not the sidewalk, and the second is from just right of the center - the perspectives aren't the most extreme. There will be a park across the street from the tower, so it should be fine.

  14. #14

    Default Greenwich Street 'Restoration'

    (Above and below) The view down Greenwich St., with the rising 7 WTC in the center of the frame and the set-back Bank of New York Building to the right.

  15. #15


    Tribeca Promenade to WTC Site Proposed

    Sidewalk outside Bank of New York

    By Carl Glassman
    POSTED DEC.4, 2006

    A group of green-minded Tribeca residents is proposing a bold new plan to turn Greenwich Street into a tree-lined pedestrian promenade, connecting Tribeca to the World Trade Center site.

    Friends of Greenwich Street, the non-profit group that maintains the street’s gardens and trees from North Moore Street to Duane Street and plants new trees in other parts of the neighborhood, submitted a $20 million request last month to the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.The application was among those submitted for a share of $45 million in LMDC “community enhancement funds.”

    “We think it is important to welcome future WTC visitors who, following their visit to the Trade Center Memorial, will very often wish to explore Tribeca…” Friends of Greenwich Street president Steve Boyce wrote in his introduction to the proposal.

    Two design firms with major Lower Manhattan projects to their credit—SHoP Architects and Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects—have signed on to the proposed project. No designs have been drawn up, but the proposal suggests including revenue-generating kiosks and open-air cafes, new seating and signage, and plantings and trees along the now barren stretch north of Barclay Street.

    Signe Nielsen, who lives and works in Tribeca, was the landscape architect for the “Greening of Greenwich Street” (now called “Phase 1”). That project, completed in 2000, narrowed the street by half and created trees, planters, benches and new pavers along the west side of Greenwich, from Chambers to Hubert Streets. She said there is good reason to extend the landscaping, where visitors and others will exit the World Trade Center site beyond 7 WTC.

    “People are logically going to pick Greenwich Street to walk up,” she said. “Church Street is miserable and Broadway is nothing to write home about. With the planned Barnes and Nobles and Whole Foods on Greenwich Street [between Warren and Murray Streets], that’s a huge deal. Then, farther up, there’s the great restaurants and outdoor cafes that make Tribeca fun.”

    Along with its designers, Friends of Greenwich Street has gathered an eclectic advisory board from along the street that includes Citigroup, the Tribeca Film Center, Stellar Management (owners of Independence Plaza), the Washington Market Park’s board of directors, P.S. 234 PTA, and Bank of New York.

    “We want to show that we have the community together with us. We’re not a lone wolf,” said Mark Winkleman, a Tribeca architect who is spearheading the plan with Steve Boyce. “We’re a group that’s going to come up with the solution for Greenwich Street and we need to bring in the stakeholders.”

    As far back as the late 1980s, the city had planned an elaborate “greening” of Greenwich Street that was to stretch from Hubert to Barclay Streets. There was money to pay for it, from a special tax fund set aside when the corporate tower at North Moore and Greenwich Street (now the Citigroup building) was constructed. Additional money came from the corporate anchor at the other end of the street, Bank of New York.

    In 1995, it was revealed that the city had nearly depleted the fund. Eventually the city restored enough money for the modified “Greening of Greenwich.”

    Back then, no one could have imagined that Greenwich Street would extend not only to the World Trade Center site, but through it, with huge new residential projects along the way. That is what makes the new proposal all the more compelling, say its backers.

    “How do we start to deal with all the cars and pedestrians and merchants, and reconnect this with the World Trade Center site?” said Bill Sharples, a principal in SHoP Architects. “Ultimately it will happen, but on whose terms?”

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