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Thread: Grand Central Terminal - 89 East 42nd Street @ Park Avenue - New York's Great Gateway

  1. #76
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    The original plan for the Grand Central Terminal building was by the architectural firm Reed & Stem, based upon the engineering of William J. Wilgus, chief engineer for construction and maintenance of way (track) and later the vice-president in charge of construction.

    Their 1902 plan was for a large building above the main terminal:



    It included the initial plan for what later became Terminal City:





    In 1907 there was another terrible & deadly accident, this time involving a new electric train. Wilgus was forced out and architects Warren & Wetmore were brought onto the project. Essentially the track & circulation lay-out devised by Wilgus was kept, but the exterior was completely revised.

    An early plan:





    The final plan with provision for building above the GCT at a later date:


  2. #77
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Wow. The "early plan" for Grand Central was an even more dressed up (and IMO even better) version of the one we ultimately got, which is saying a lot since the existing one is still a treasure. Would have loved to see that one became reality.

    Look at the oodles of fine and elegant detail on every square inch of surface. The people back then had artistic skills.

    The hacks we have today that we have re-doing the whole entire city (Kaufman, Kondylis, et al) don't have the skills to even shine the shoes of those guys back then.







    Sadly, I have a feeling this building wouldn't have made it past the 1960's. They would have either felled it and put up the Metlife building or re-skinned it in shiny glass ala the Commodore hotel or HBO building.



  3. #78
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    The final design for the new Grand Central Terminal, from a 1907 plan from Warren & Wetmore in conjunction with Reed & Stem ...



    The plan for the new Grand Central Terminal and Terminal City (with the Biltmore Hotel to the left):





    The plan for the Biltmore Hotel, situated to the west of the new Terminal at Vanderbilt Avenue and East 44th, by Warren & Wetmore (1913):



    The subterranean double-level track lay-out to the north of the Concourse and showing the plan for the new Park Avenue ...



    Park Avenue, with tracks covered north of the Terminal;



    The Terminal seen from the south, showing the Commodore Hotel just to the east at 109 East 42nd (now re-clad in glass and operating as the Grand Hyatt), circa 1919:





    The Terminal with the newly-built New York Central Building tower at the north end (now the Helmsley Building), circa 1930:



    The Concourse, circa 1913:



    Grand Central Terminal:


  4. #79
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    ^Great posts. I'm a very big fan of these stories on the development process and never-built projects of the classic New York era.

    Here is McKim, Meade & White's Grand Central Proposal (which lost to Warren & Wetmore):


    Fortunately for all of us, what was built was on a similar level of greatness and remains an electrifying public space.

  5. #80
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Gorgeous ^ . If others find images of the proposals for GCT please post them here.

    Another shot showing Fourth Avenue (later park Avenue) north of the Depot, circa 1874 (after the tracks where beamed over, but still open to the sky above) ...


  6. #81
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Covering Its Tracks Paid Off Handsomely

    By CHRISTOPHER GRAY


    There are still remnants of what was conceived as Terminal City, a unified matrix of development on the new real estate
    created when the tracks surrounding Grand Central Station were covered. The view north on Park Avenue in 1930.



    The 26-story Hotel Biltmore, at 44th Street and Madison Avenue,
    seen here in 1914, was set back along Vanderbilt Avenue so as not to crowd the terminal.



    The Vanderbilt Avenue side of the Hotel Biltmore, photographed in 1914,
    featured a broad terrace.



    A
    n enormous twelve-section apartment house at 277 Park Avenue was organized around a central court and 432 apartments.
    But the open space in the middle, though grand in size, was lifeless.



    Looking south from 50th Street during the construction of Grand Central and the railroad yard in August 1909.



    The Commodore Hotel at 42nd Street as seen in 1960. The smokestack
    seen at the upper left in this photograph survives.



    The Park Lane, an apartment-hotel that opened in the mid-1920s,
    featured a central dining room with tapestries and a coffered ceiling.



    Looking south from 50th Street during the construction of Grand Central and the railroad yard in August 1909.



    The smokestack visible above what is now the Grand Hyatt New York Hotel at 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue is a remnant of the
    old Terminal City development surrounding Grand Central.


    IT’S a common hobby, searching for surviving pieces of the 1910 Pennsylvania Station, like ironwork, brass handrails and other fragments, amidst its vulgar replacement of the 1960s.

    With Grand Central Terminal, opened in 1913, no such quest is necessary, but there is a network of fragments of what was conceived as Terminal City, a unified matrix of development atop the new real estate created when the tracks and railroad yards were covered. Much of Terminal City has fallen, although there is still enough left for the dedicated urban archaeologist.

    In 1902, William J. Wilgus, an engineer for the New York Central Railroad, came up with the concept of roofing over the yards around Grand Central and building hotels, offices and apartment houses. Among the earliest concepts were a 20-story tower over the terminal itself, and an adjacent hotel, later erected as the Biltmore, from Vanderbilt to Madison Avenue, between 43rd and 44th Streets. In 1910, The New York Times published a design for a ceremonial Park Avenue showing tall, income-producing office buildings, but also new structures for the National Academy of Design and the Metropolitan Opera, their cultured imprimatur blunting the nakedness of the railroad’s commercial quest.

    In the next 20 years, Mr. Wilgus’s plan remade the dozen or so blocks north of the terminal. The Biltmore was the best known, 26 stories high but set back along Vanderbilt Avenue to give the terminal breathing room. With no stores on Madison Avenue, a main dining room 120 feet long and a terrace on Vanderbilt, it was a particularly debonair work. Inside, the Palm Court had a timepiece on a wooden screen; “under the clock at the Biltmore” became a legendary meeting place.

    Vanderbilt filled up with structures like the high-rise Yale Club, at 44th and Vanderbilt, and the Roosevelt Hotel, from 45th to 46th. Along Lexington, buildings included the giant Commodore Hotel at 42nd and the streamlined Graybar Building at 44th.

    But it was the width of Park Avenue that offered the canvas for a much grander design, something really worthy of the name Terminal City. There were a few commercial buildings, like the New York Central Building, with its signature tower, spanning Park at 46th; and the crisp, cool Postum Building at 250 Park from 46th to 47th.

    Office construction here was premature, though — the newly developed apartment house was in demand, as the well-to-do began to abandon town houses and pare their servant rosters.

    Just north of the Postum Building rose 270 Park Avenue, with 3,000 rooms and, according to the magazine Buildings and Building Management in 1920, 100 millionaires. Its arcaded central courtyard, with triumphal arches, struck a particularly civilized note.

    Directly opposite rose 277 Park Avenue, a colossal 12-section apartment house organized around a central court and 432 apartments.

    The Hotel Chatham went up at 280 Park, from 48th to 49th, with a delicious terra cotta frosting along the top stories. Opposite, at 299 Park, the discreet Park Lane opened in the mid-1920s, an apartment hotel whose central dining room had tapestries and a coffered ceiling. In 1924 Arts & Decoration magazine referred to these as “the new apartment buildings which now constitute the social background of New York.”

    They were, it is true, enclaves of the rich and well born, with names like Aldrich, Betts, Dodge and Rutherfurd. But there were also those whose families and fortunes were newer, like the developer Charles Paterno, the actor Rudolph Valentino and Frederick T. Ley, who started work in construction at age 15 but later was the contractor for the Chrysler Building.. The development of the residential section of Terminal City continued up to 50th Street, and was matched by construction farther north.

    Terminal City began to dissolve after World War II, when commerce swept the avenue almost clean of residential buildings. The construction along Lexington has survived, except for the old Commodore at 42nd Street, refaced around 1980 for a new Hyatt. But its original gritty black smokestack still juts up from its back corner.

    On Vanderbilt Avenue, the Biltmore was gutted and refaced with red granite in the 1980s to create the present, hulking office tower at 335 Madison. Here the legacy of Terminal City strikes a few poignant notes. Along 44th, the sleek, modern facade is interrupted by a taxicab ramp, descending to the concourse level of the station. The connection is now walled up, and the area is only a garage, but it is still roofed with the Guastavino tile seen elsewhere in the station.

    The Biltmore’s sleek interior carries only one trace of the grand design of Terminal City.

    Above the security desk is a vintage timepiece — the fabled clock. On a recent weekday there were two guards on duty. Asked if anyone still came to meet there, one first said no, but then thought and said, “Well, two people meet here every morning,” pointing to the other guard on duty and saying, “She and I do.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/re...apes.html?_r=1
    Last edited by Merry; September 2nd, 2010 at 10:10 AM.

  7. #82

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    Thread deserves a bump.


    Larger=williamderby

  8. #83

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    Pint at Annie Moores anyone?

  9. #84

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    Any reason why this shouldn't be built (even stretched upward)?

    Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #85
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Who wants to build that design? Or pay for it?

    Besides, you'd have to tear down the Met Life Tower for this to go up.

  11. #86

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    The MTA could team up with a developer as a profit making venture (and the MTA could use some profit right about now).

    No tearing down the Pan Am building necessary. However, whoever owns it would not be happy, as a lot of southern view would be cut off. I don't know if an easment against this was included in the contracts to build the Pan Am building.

    Go to the googlemap image below:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...03347&t=k&z=19


    The design of the office building has it over the southernmost part of the station (basically over the main public areas). The Pan Am building is further north. It would fit, tightly, but it would.

  12. #87

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    Seriously, what has changed in these pictures?


  13. #88

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    Quote Originally Posted by BBMW View Post
    The design of the office building has it over the southernmost part of the station (basically over the main public areas). The Pan Am building is further north. It would fit, tightly, but it would.
    How does support for the tower get to ground?

  14. #89

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    ^
    The station was designed to have this built on top at some point in the future. The support is already there. That's why it would work.

  15. #90

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    ^
    The design you refer to was further north. You've proposed to pull it forward to the southern end.

    How are you so sure the "support is already there?"

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