Substantial piers (possibly containing hefty steel) flank both long sides of the main space.
If you look at this Google Map street view you can see that the stretch along the base of the Met Life building on Vanderbilt corresponds with the colonnaded base of the early proposal posted above. Seems the perspective is playing tricks, giving the appearance that the old proposal might rise over the main GCT space, when in fact it seems that the old proposal was for the Met Life Tower site.
Substantial piers (possibly containing hefty steel) flank both long sides of the main space.
Look at all three (the rendering, the street view, and the overhead).
On the rendering, note that the front facade of the office structure starts where the western facade of the existing station building bumps out from the line established where that facade joins the southern facade. Now look at tha overhead. This bumpout starts maybe 20-25 yards from the edge of the south facade. You can also see the edge of this bumpout on the streetview.
Looking at the rendering, I would guess the office structure was designed to run north from the start of the bumpout, to the end of the main terminal building where the mansard roof ends.
Also looking at the rendering, there was another collonade running along a lower roof section of the terminal, behind the main terminal building. This is what was replaced by the Pan Am building.
The question is about the Met Life building ....
The entire colonnaded northern end of the base -- the "upper" portion as seen in both images from different perspectives -- runs up to 45th Street. A map view shows that particular portion is 2/3 of the GCT structure, running two blocks long between 43rd <> 45th. That area between 43rd <> Vanderbilt <> 45th <> Park Avenue is nearly square in shape. Counting the columns across the front of the Beaux Arts design I find ~ 20 columns and a similar number (if not more) running to the north. This is clearly a deep building, a good portion of which is situated to the north (or behind, in the drawing) of the more massively columned GCT that we know today.
I don't see any way that it doesn't take up the entire space where the Met Life building now stands.
We clearly need a referee.
Or a Poll.
Did you happen to walk around the area when the street was blocked off?
ON the Saturdays when Park Avenue was closed? No, I didn't.
It was interesting as you could see how close the buildings are together.
New Pedestrian Plaza Planned for Grand Central's Doorstep
Community Board 5 will be holding a forum to discuss plans for the new plaza Monday night at 6 p.m.
By Jill Colvin
The Department of Transportation will be holding a forum Monday evening to discuss proposals for the space.
CITY HALL — The southern entrance of Grand Central Terminal will soon be a bit more pedestrian friendly.
The Department of Transportation will hold a forum Monday nighy with Community Board 5 to discuss plans for the new Pershing Square pedestrian plaza, which would permanently bar vehicle traffic from the southbound lanes of Park Avenue between East 41st and East 42nd streets — just south of Grand Central.
The Grand Central Partnership has been using the stretch as a temporary plaza outside of Pershing Square Café during the summer months.
The location was selected as a winner of the "NYC Plaza Program" in 2009, which is aimed at making better use of public space.
The Grand Central Partnership describes its vision for the permanent park as "an urban oasis in the heart of midtown."
They envision a thriving plaza, filled with trees, café tables and chairs.
"Once completed, the project will transform the site into a permanent year-round plaza for the benefit of visitors, commuters, and residents of the Grand Central neighborhood," the project description reads.
Dave Roskin, a partnerships spokesman, said that the area is in serious need of public space since there are no parks or seating areas nearby.
"I think it will be a focal point for the neighborhood," Roskin said.
So far, neither the city nor the partnership have come up with any concrete plans about what exactly the space will look like.
An engineering firm and landscape architect were selected by the city in August, but they have been waiting for the public's input before moving forward with a design, Roskin said.
"Before pens are placed to paper, we want to reach out," he said.
Nonetheless, those who work nearby seemed excited to hear that a plan is in the works.
"That would be a welcome change," said Christopher Caoili, 46, who has worked at a tourist information desk across the street from the proposed plaza for the past two years.
Michael Laytin, 28, who lives in the East Village and works nearby, agreed.
"There's not much traffic anyway," he said.
Monday's meeting will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at St. Bartholomew's Church at 109 E. 50th St.
The Transportation Department hopes to have a final design by the end of August 2011 and expects to complete construction by March 2014.
One thing that would help this would be a total redesign of the Altria Group building's base. Saying there is no public seating is misleading because there is a "public" space on the ground floor of the building. This would be much better used as some kind of retail/restaurant once the plaza is in place.
A Tennis Court That Will Cost $210 an Hour
Practice Lobs in Grand Central Terminal
By DANA RUBINSTEIN
Only in Manhattan, where indoor tennis courts are rarer than personal garages, would anyone sign up a year in advance for an hour of tennis. And only on this space-strapped island would they pay as much as $210 an hour for the privilege.
Tennis players with thick wallets and ample foresight have already begun reserving hours at the new tennis facility that's being built in Grand Central Terminal in a space that used to house a CBS recording studio where "What's My Line?" and Edward R. Murrow's "See It Now" were filmed.
The price—depending on the time of day, between $100 and $210 an hour—will likely be the highest in the city for an indoor court, according to Anthony Scolnick who is leasing it from Metro-North Railroad. He predicts hedge fund executives, real estate professionals and others will be willing to pay that price when the Vanderbilt Tennis Club opens in September.
Given Grand Central's location and the popularity of the sport with the city's upper crust, he will likely get his wish. Many once played in courts in the train terminal that used to be operated by Donald Trump. Those were closed in 2009 to make way for a conductor lounge.
Since then, well-heeled tennis players have settled for locations that didn't allow them to catch the train to Scarsdale just minutes after beating their partner in a match. "I'm very happy to have it back," says Jonathan Mechanic, one such tennis player and the chairman of law firm Fried Frank's real estate department who used to play ball on Friday mornings.
Indoor tennis in space-crunched Manhattan has never been for the middle class.
Aside from a seasonal tennis bubble a Parks Department concessionaire erects under the Queensboro Bridge, there are no public indoor courts on the island and the private ones are pricey. The Millennium UN Plaza Hotel, for example charges $110 to $165 per hour for the court there. The same amount of time costs $115 an hour for non-members at the Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club.
Players looking for something more affordable and willing to play during off-peak times can play for $75 an hour at the Midtown Tennis Club on Eighth Avenue. Or they can bite the bullet and join a club: Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club has an annual membership fee of $1675, which includes an initiation fee of $300. Once a member, players pay between $45 and $76 an hour for a court.
"We wanted to maintain a sports presence in Grand Central Terminal," says Marjorie Anders, a spokeswoman for Metro-North. "Personally, I think racquet ball or squash would have made more sense. But the people who came up with the money wanted a tennis court, so that's what we'll have."
The opening of the court will represent the latest stage in the space's long and peculiar history. Originally an art gallery, and then a CBS recording studio, it was taken over in 1966 by a Hungarian immigrant who installed a 65-foot ski slope made of astroturf and two tennis courts.
In 1984, Mr. Trump took over operation of the sports club, then just tennis courts, and ran it, in his words, "with great success."
The players "were wonderful people," recalls Mr. Trump, who paid $90,000 a year in rent. "Seymour Durst of the Durst family was there. And lots of celebrities were there. A lot of the tennis pros would play there, because it was convenient, it was in Midtown."
"Seymour and I would play there Tuesday night at 8," confirms Douglas Durst, Seymour's son and chairman of the Durst Organization, via email.
While business executives volleyed tennis balls, Metro-North began eying the space for its conductors, who were forced to spend their federally mandated rest time in cramped, cockroach-ridden locker rooms in the bowels of Grand Central.
"The space that they're in is funky," says Ms. Anders. "And with the sewer pipes, the stench sometimes is overwhelming."
After the latest recession hit, the railroad scored $18 million in federal stimulus funds to build out a new conductor lounge on the terminal's third floor. And so the railroad sent the tennis players packing. Mr. Trump's lease was terminated on May 31, 2009.
A new conductor lounge was planned but there was sufficient space left over in the cavernous Terminal. Metro-North issued a request for proposals for a sports facility to be developed on a new fourth and fifth floors. Mr. Trump says the new space, with room for just one court and two practice alleys, was too small to concern him.
The bidding was won by Mr. Scolnick, the owner of Yorkville Tennis Club and Sutton East Tennis, both on the Upper East Side. He is a former athletic director at Hunter College.
He will pay a starting rent of $225,000 a year to Metro-North.
The court will be naturally lit by the terminal's recently uncovered Palladian windows and have views of Park Avenue South. "We're looking for the same crowd Mr. Trump had, but we're also emphasizing the instructional aspect of the game," Mr. Scolnick says.
I'm surprised this wasn't posted already:
Apple Has Targeted Manhattan For Fifth Store
February 8, 2011
While speculation on Apple’s next New York City store has focused strictly on Brooklyn, the company’s retail team has been scouting for a fifth store in Manhattan that will open later this year, before any new stores in the outer boroughs. The New York Observer reports—and IFO can confirm—that Apple is evaluating the retail space within the Grand Central Terminal (GCT) at Park Avenue and East 42nd Street, less than a mile south of the existing Fifth Avenue store. The location was chosen to draw a massive number of visitors away from the Fifth Avenue store, which is crowded with shoppers, tourists and ne’er-do-wells each of the 24 hours the store is open. Despite the expanse of the ground-level plaza and the soaring glass entrance, Fifth Avenue is the smallest store in Manhattan. And despite its small size, it sells more products than the other three Manhattan stores combined. That track record has made creating a nearby store a priority, higher than providing new stores to New York City’s other four boroughs. Update: A Cult of Mac story says Apple intends this store to be the chain’s largest, although retail space within the Terminal is limited.Grand Central Terminal opened in 1871 and features two underground levels of train tracks. At one time the train station was the largest in the world by number of tracks in service. The building has been renovated several times, in 1994 to add and reconfigure existing retail spaces, and in 2000 to upgrade the building and modernize some features.
Today, the terminal hosts 700,000 visitors a day, most hurrying to trains and the city’s busiest subway stop. But another 250,000 visitors a day pass through the expansive Vanderbilt Hall, the station’s original waiting room that is now rented out for special events.
The 134,000 square-feet of retail space includes 68 shops and 35 restaurants, some on the main concourse level surrounding Vanderbilt Hall, and others on the balcony level just below. Current major tenants include Banana Republic, Kenneth Cole and a Michael Jordan Steakhouse in about 6,000 square-feet of space each, and many other tenants in less than 1,000 square-feet. The historic Oyster Bar restaurant in on the lower level, along with a fresh food market.
Leasing of the retail space within GCT has been controversial, both for the process and the retailers who have been selected. The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) issues a request for proposals (RFP), and interested companies then respond with a description of their retail operation and the amount they’re willing to pay per square-foot. The MTA reportedly has control over restaurant menus, the retail design and architecture, the lighting, minimum store hours and other details. The agency encourages retailers to sign 10-year leases.
According to reports in 2008, the MTA requires proposers to offer rents of about $300 per square-foot annually, with a three percent annual rent increase. At that time, tenants whose sales top a specified amount were also required to pay eight percent of their gross sales.
Apple previously considered a retail space on West 34th Street opposite the Empire State Building, and renderings of the possible store appeared on the Web. But the company later backed away from the project, apparently because the neighborhood was not upscale enough.
Download (pdf) the leasing plan and a brochure about the retail spaces. Also download a RFP for a vacant GCT restaurant space, as an example of the lease conditions that the agency imposes on retailers.
November 23, 2011
Grand Central Apple Store temporary frontage revealed
By Seth Weintraub
The wraps are coming off of the Grand Central Apple store frontage to reveal a ticker sign according to our morning commuter tipster. The screens move like flipping letters of the old Grand Central timetables. The design is reminiscent of Apple’s Green Monster Facade at the Boston Store.
A construction worker on the scene said that the store wasn’t going to be opening any time soon, reiterating a comment from yesterday. Apple had originally hoped to have the store open for the Black Friday shopping rush, but now rumors are floating around of Friday, December 9th.
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