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Thread: One Beacon Court a.k.a. Bloomberg Tower - 151 East 58th @ Lexington - by Cesar Pelli

  1. #826
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    A Feud Closes A Subway Exit At 59th and Lex

    BY JEREMY SMERD - Special to the Sun
    November 15, 2005
    URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/23022

    A feud between New York City Transit and Vornado Realty Trust will keep an entrance to one of the city's busiest subway stations - on the southeast corner of 59th Street and Lexington Avenue across from Bloomingdale's - closed this holiday season and for the foreseeable future.

    The lines of the battle have been drawn and detailed through correspondence, the most recent copies of which were made available to The New York Sun. The dispute remains at an impasse.

    Meanwhile, the subway entrance is closed, though it is the only entrance to the southern end of a station that serves parts of the city's busiest subway line: the uptown 4, 5, and 6, as well as the N, R, and W lines.

    Vornado constructed the station entrance as part of its 54-story complex known as 731 Lexington Avenue, which was built on the site where the Alexander's department store once stood. The sprawling, block-size building houses the headquarters for Mayor Bloomberg's company, Bloomberg L.P., which completed the move into its new headquarters this summer. Other tenants include Citigroup, the clothing store H&M, and Home Depot.

    But officials at New York City Transit have kept the roll gate the size of a garage door shuttered and locked since the station entrance was completed in February, forcing all of the riders who use the uptown station to exit and enter one block north on the corner of 60th Street and Lexington Avenue.

    Transit official say snow and ice that sometimes blows off the 868-foot building make the entrance unsafe. The concern stems from two incidents this winter when an icicle fell from an upper story railing above the subway entrance and nearly hit a pedestrian.

    In a letter to Vornado's chairman Steven Roth dated September 21, the president of New York City Transit, Lawrence Reuter, wrote: "This entrance will remain closed until this issue is resolved so as to assure the safety of our customers."

    Mr. Reuter then added that transit officials would hold onto Vornado's $1 million bond until "appropriate measures are taken."

    Vornado Realty, however, has refused to install a canopy over the entrance, arguing that it would do little to protect pedestrians and that the chances of snow and ice blowing off the building are rare. The company said it would defer on these matters to the police department, which is responsible for keeping the sidewalks safe. Vornado suggested temporarily closing off the sidewalk when necessary, an idea New York City Transit has rejected.

    In his letter responding to Mr. Reuter and dated October 14, the president of Vornado's New York City office, David Greenbaum, noted that transit officials had previously approved the entrance's plans, which did not include a canopy. Then he went on to list a number of other changes New York Transit officials had requested of the company that were not included in the "MTA approved construction documents," costing the company $114,000.

    Mr. Greenbaum's grievances also included a recent request made by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's to relocate a subway globe light because transit officials feared it would get hit by a truck.

    Mr. Greenbaum concluded his letter, writing, "Your attention to these matters would be appreciated."

    The impasse in the heart of the city's retail district comes as the holiday shopping season gets under way and transit officials offer discount fares be tween Thanksgiving and New Year's, a giveback that will also serve to make the two staircases at the station's 60th street entrance exceedingly crowded.

    Elected leaders have been complaining about the closed station for months. The director of community affairs for city councilwoman Eva Moskowitz said the two parties should find a way to mitigate their concerns in order to open the entrance for the shopping season without compromising people's safety.

    "It's commendable that the MTA doesn't want to compromise on safety concerns but I think both sides need to work things out," the Moskowitz aide, Jennifer Sedlis, said. Riders yesterday struggled to make sense of the locked gates and turnstiles that greeted them as they got off the uptown no. 6. Beyond the gates, the lights shined, the MetroCard vending machines were on and the wide stairs were spotless.

    Diane Gonzalez, an attorney, was already late for a job interview on 57th Street. "You'd think 59th Street would be closer, but now I have to walk 3 blocks instead of two," she said.

  2. #827
    Forum Veteran macreator's Avatar
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    I've been wondering about this station for months now. Glad to have the mystery cleared up but more annoyed now that the entrance may never open.

    The falling ice thing doesn't seem to make any sense. Going by that logic, pedestrians walking anywhere near the building are in danger. Seems like there must be something else to this mystery.

  3. #828
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    Seems like something for Mayor Mike to jump into and get solved PRONTO.

  4. #829

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    Its a pretty lame excuse considering the city hasn't experienced its first frost yet. If there so adamant on not building an overhang, close the entrance on icy days...

  5. #830

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    ^Exactly. Why keep it closed all summer because of ice? Idiots.

  6. #831

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    HAHAHAA, excellent point

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  8. #833
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    Here's an interesting article shedding some light on the inner activities at Bloomberg HQ and how they affected the design of the tower. The article provides a tour of Bloomberg's new offices and an in-depth explanation of how things are layed out that I have not seen anywhere ese.

    Some pictures from the offices are also included in the article -- the first I've seen

    Brand Central Station

    Found the article on Bloomberg's website

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  10. #835
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    Beautiful photo. Do you all like the emptiness of the "courtyard"? It is so forbidding and creepy- the way guards stand there, discouraging passage.

  11. #836

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    Some other awesome shots of the court. It really looks more impressive now that it is filled with some pedestrians and cars!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/beaconcourt/

  12. #837
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    Honestly, I don't really like the look of the atrium. Too many bars, looks like a giant cage.

  13. #838
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    Pedestrians and cars? I've never seen those there. It is lifeless and barren except for the security goons. The best it ever looked was at Christmas time, when there was a tree"thing" in the middle supplying a little warmth, but even then, picture takers were standing sheepishly outside the "court".

    Is it even allowed to walk through as a short cut?

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    I've done it, at least. No one stopped me.

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    Le Cirque's Velvet Touch Returns to a Jeans Scene



    Cardinal Edward M. Egan and Sirio Maccioni at an opening party for Le Cirque.


    By DAVID CARR
    Published: May 24, 2006


    FOR months, as the latest incarnation of Le Cirque has been built out in the Bloomberg tower on East 58th Street, regulars have stopped by, ostensibly to check the progress of construction, but mostly scouting to see where they will sit.

    Le Cirque, the 3.0 version, is a huge bet — with $18 million already invested — that New Yorkers still yearn for the social validation bestowed by a good table from Sirio Maccioni and his three sons.

    They are betting on a restaurant that exhibits all the virulent Darwinism of a high school cafeteria — everyone wants to sit with the cool kids — and further requires them to dress as if they were going to the prom.

    Even though the current dining scene is dominated by downtown casual, "people want some glamour, they want to dress up," said Ruth Reichl, editor of Gourmet magazine, rather decked out herself on Monday night at a party held by the magazine at Le Cirque for its own invited guests and attended by some of the sharpest knives in chefdom.

    Near the end of the night some pricey French reds were decanted near the chef's table, which was surrounded by members of the New York dining elite including Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Danny Meyer, Rebecca Charles, Dan Barber and Mr. Maccioni himself. The cool kids at the party, as generally happens, had ended up in the kitchen.

    And so continues a story as old as the city where it's told. An immigrant, by dint of hard work and long hours, finally gets a restaurant he can call his own. His sons, in spite of his protestations, follow him into the business. They, like their father, are destined to feed the needs of others every day before collapsing into bed, only to wake up and do it again.

    Except that this story ends with the family owning the reincarnated Le Cirque, as well as the Manhattan trattoria Osteria del Circo and two more Le Cirque locations in Las Vegas and Mexico City.

    For the time being, Marco, the middle son, will work with his father at Le Cirque; Mauro, the youngest, will run Circo; and Mario will return to Las Vegas.

    After a string of opening parties, the fancy circus tent at 151 East 58th Street will fling open its doors to actually seat people — carefully, strategically, hierarchically — next Wednesday.

    THE latest incarnation of Le Cirque — Le Cirque 2000 served its last meal as 2004 closed — is a stab at a kind of immortality in a business where heat is measured in weeks.

    Mr. Maccioni, at age 74, is working in a medium he all but invented, where haute cuisine combines with a carefully managed social hierarchy to create a kind of entertainment combustion.

    "Le Cirque spawned certain disciplines that we all follow," said Drew Nieporent of Nobu.

    But will a dining scene now stuffed with casual excellence respond to the gaudy elegance of a Cirque feathered into a huge tower on the East Side?

    Corby Kummer, an editor at The Atlantic Monthly who writes about food, called Sirio the consummate maître d'hôtel but said the next generation of Maccionis will have to attract a new generation of swells.

    "They are out there, but will they dress up and come?" Mr. Kummer asked. "They like Perry Street, they like Mario Batali, they like good food with a more casual approach."

    Le Cirque redux is, as the circus décor in the new location suggests, a bit of a high-wire act in a city that is now rife with ambitious chefs and knowing mâitres d'hôtel, many of whom were schooled by Sirio.

    Among his feats of hospitality, none has been more Olympian than the one last Thursday night, when 1,400 people showed up to inspect the new restaurant.

    "I worry about everything, everything," Sirio said, rocking on his heels in a black patterned tux as the first guests began streaming in. His Old World charms were draped over Bill Cosby, Billy Joel and Tony Bennett. Many of them were lavish in their homage, and he responded with a Tuscan warmth specific to him, speaking Italian to some, French to others, a musically accented English to most.

    But the A-list is somewhat ossified, and it is the stream of Euros, downtown scenesters and newly nouveaux riches that must come back if Le Cirque is to elbow its way back to the table.

    "Sirio is a complete natural," said Julian Niccolini, a partner at the Four Seasons, standing outside the tent. "You can't go wrong at his restaurant."

    "But we are all going after the same clientele," Mr. Niccolini said, "and it will take time to see how it settles out. It is competitive for all of us."



    Video: Le Cirque's Opening Party.


    The party looked much like a rave for seniors, with former regulars trolling to see where they might be sitting once things get under way. But as the night progressed there was enough boldface so that everyone, even Mr. Maccioni, had trouble knowing where to look.

    Martha Stewart and Woody Allen were back in the kitchen, sampling the output of the chef, Pierre Schaedelin, at close range, sitting at the chef's table. But word came that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg would be arriving in 10 minutes, and, oh, by the way, Donald Trump was just pulling up. "If they wanted to destroy New York society this would be a good place to start," Joan Rivers said.

    PEOPLE keep telling me what a big success it already is, and I tell them, 'Please don't say that,' " Mr. Maccioni said in between air-kisses. "Talk to me in a few years about that."

    He is a weave of suave assurance and maniacal insecurities. When he borrowed $100,000 and opened Le Cirque in 1974, he had dashing good looks, years of European training and, perhaps most important, a deep-seated belief that the orphaned son of a Tuscan waiter could fall on his face at any moment.

    "It still is that way," he said. "Many times a night, I will go into the bathroom and splash cold water on my face. Not that I am complaining. I have a beautiful restaurant and a great family. I can't expect everything to be easy."

    Marco, who has his father's touch with people, left nothing to chance at the party on Thursday night. When a drizzle threatened to ruin people's entrance into a tent that was girded by a host of paparazzi, he ran out into the rain over and over with an umbrella to welcome the returning regulars.

    "It's just a little bit of God's blessing on our event," he said, shaking off an umbrella near the entrance.

    Just then, Cardinal Edward M. Egan showed up. The rain stopped immediately after his arrival. "We made a special request," Marco said with a wink as his father led the cardinal back to the kitchen.

    The implied tent of the main dining room, designed by Adam D. Tihany, is a metaphor for what has been a movable feast. After 22 years in the Mayfair, Sirio took his blend of theatricality and hospitality to the New York Palace Hotel, operating Le Cirque 2000 from 1997 until New Year's Eve 2004.

    But Le Cirque 2000, with its two separate dining rooms, did not play to Mr. Maccioni's strength.

    "There were two rooms connected by hallway, and he could not keep the same eye on everything." said Clark Wolf, a restaurant consultant.

    Mr. Maccioni has very catholic tastes — he was a friend to both Frank Sinatra and Frank Zappa — but while diners will rave about the peerless white truffle risotto, a trip to the new 100-seat dining room will be an opportunity to have their social status examined and affirmed. And even as the rest of New York dining will let in someone dressed in a sweatshirt as long as he's accessorized by a big wallet, Le Cirque holds to a standard, providing a jacket for any man clueless enough to show up without one.

    Inside the restaurant during the party, a big clutch of people marveled at the two-story wine tower, painted in "iPod white," and a growing collection of monkey statues in a huge glass case that serves as the centerpiece of the main room.

    Ms. Reichl said that the most important decoration at Le Cirque, then and now, is the Maccionis. "A large part of the charm is that he was so great-looking, and now he has three great-looking sons standing with him in the business," she said.

    The torch was suspended between them on Thursday night. By 9:30 Sirio, who had spent the night working the door, finally cozied up in a banquette in the new dining room with old friends. Nearby, Marco gathered a bunch of bright young things around a bar serving only tequila. Downing shots, they toasted the future.

    "It was chaos," Marco said with a laugh, adding, "The ones who couldn't find my dad just wanted to make sure they have a table when we open. They all said, 'Make sure your dad knows I was here.' "

    Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

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