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

  1. #1

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

    Marcel Breuer's Proposed Tower

    Image from

    Thank God the preservation movement was dedicated to preserving Grand Central as an active railroad terminal! *This proposal is the better of two, as Breuer also drafted one that completely obliterated the facade! *

  2. #2

    Default Grand Central Terminal original post for this topic seems to have been wiped out, so I'll try to redo it. *It went something like this...

    "Whoa! *Our forum and all its historic posts were wiped out! *Thank God New York's grand railroad gatway didn't suffer the same fate and looks great after a recent renovation! *Lets get this forum going again!"

    The Exterior

    Image from

    Image from

    The Interior

    Image from

    One of my NYC favorites! *Post more thoughts/pictures, please!

  3. #3

    Default Grand Central Terminal

    The view on Bear Stearns World Headquarters and Grand Central Terminal from Park Avenue. On the right is the Metlife Building.

  4. #4
    Member Giovanni's Avatar
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    Oct 2002
    Etats-Unis d'Amérique

    Default Grand Central Terminal

    Grand Central Terminal is a beauty! *I hope no tower is built over it. *What are some people thinking?

  5. #5

    Default Grand Central Terminal

    Interestingly enough guys, Grand Central was designed and engineered with the intention that a skyscraper be built over it at some point in the future, unlike Penn Station (the builders of Penn Station wanted a hotel *on top, but the architect convinced the oweber of the railroad against it, for the sake of beauty). *Thus the lack of any skylights over the main concourse and the robustness of the four corners. *There are some very old renderings of it capped by a classy hotel (don't ask me to find them). *I don't advocate building anything on top of it, I just like to think of how thoroughly innovative and incredibly far-sighted a work of urban engineering Grand Central was. * Unfortunately, I don't think anyone today could come up with something compelling enough to put on top of Grand Central.

  6. #6

    Default Grand Central Terminal

    You mean like this?

    "There have been many plans to erect an office tower over Grand Central Terminal in New York: Reed & Stem designed an office tower as part of the original plan, left, and I. M. Pei created the spectacular design at right for the same site in 1956."

    For completeness, Emery Roth's design linked from

  7. #7

    Default Grand Central Terminal

    That's it! *This forum is great. *You rock.

  8. #8

    Default Grand Central Terminal

    How typical that Emery Roth would come up with an unsightly box...

  9. #9

    Default Grand Central Terminal

    Who knows, maybe if that Emery Roth box had been built instead of the Metlife Building, the view to the terminal would have been a lot less impeding.

  10. #10

    Default Grand Central Terminal

    Im a big Pan-Am fan, its juxtaposition all the better.

  11. #11

    Default Grand Central Terminal

    The Grand Central Partnerships offers a free tour of the terminal every Friday at 12:30 PM, led by Justin Ferate. *The below is excerpted from my site page entitled "The day the ICBM put a hole in Grand Central" (

    "Mr. Ferate has given this tour for years. He typically asks attendees if they taken it before, and the tours vary accordingly (on his other Justin-led tours around the city, the Rube has seen the itinerary instantly change depending on what stairway the group happens to exit the subway from). In Grand Central, he may take you across the precarious-looking glass floors high up inside the tall windows at back of this picture, or he may sit down on the floor to demonstrate that it is proportioned and patterned like graph paper, and that's why you don't see people bumping into each other like they do on the sidewalks.

    Or, he may tell you about the time back in the 60's, when, in a patriotic display of our military might, they brought in a nuclear missile (OK, probably it had a dummy warhead) and set it up in the middle of the concourse, but then had to punch a hole in the ceiling to be able to stand it upright."

  12. #12
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village

    Default Grand Central Terminal

    I had no idea they did that.

  13. #13

    Default Grand Central Terminal

    June 26, 2003

    25 Years Ago, Landmarks Law Stopped a Skyscraper


    NEW YORK CITY'S landmarks law took effect in 1965 but gained its real power 25 years ago today.

    That was when the United States Supreme Court ruled, 6 to 3, that the city had the constitutional authority to regulate landmarks even when it meant — as it did at Grand Central Terminal — that an owner was prevented from developing its property as allowed by zoning, thereby suffering a financial loss to create a public benefit.

    "This was the first time that the High Court had ratified landmarks as an exercise of the police power analogous to zoning," said Leonard J. Koerner, now the chief assistant corporation counsel, who argued the city's case.

    Without the power upheld by the decision in Penn Central Transportation Company v. City of New York, "thousands of historic buildings that stamp a place as special would be gone," said Jerold S. Kayden, an associate professor at Harvard, who is writing a book on the subject. "Acres of crucial wetlands would be filled. Coastlines and lakefronts would be over-developed."

    And the sunlight that so brightened the terminal concourse yesterday would have been blocked.

    What is striking is not that a quarter century has passed since the Penn Central decision, but that the constitutionality of the landmarks law was under a serious cloud so recently. Two of the dissenting justices, William H. Rehnquist and John Paul Stevens, still serve on the court.

    And the current owner of the Grand Central air rights, Carl H. Lindner's American Financial Group, still has 1,264,364 square feet of unused development potential on its hands.

    In 1968, Penn Central, which owned the terminal, struck a deal with the developer Morris Saady to build a skyscraper on top of the landmark and pay Penn Central at least $3 million a year.

    That plan was rejected by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which said that "to balance a 55-story office tower above a flamboyant Beaux-Arts facade seems nothing more than an aesthetic joke."

    Penn Central returned with plans for a 59-story tower that would have obliterated the south facade. The commission responded: "To protect a landmark, one does not tear it down. To perpetuate its architectural features, one does not strip them off."

    To Penn Central, this amounted to a taking of property by the government without just compensation, which the Fifth Amendment forbids. Justice Rehnquist agreed.

    "Penn Central is prevented from further developing its property basically because too good a job was done in designing and building it," he wrote. "The City of New York, because of its unadorned admiration for the design, has decided that the owners of the building must preserve it unchanged for the benefit of sightseeing New Yorkers and tourists."

    "A multimillion dollar loss has been imposed," Justice Rehnquist wrote. "It is exactly this imposition of general costs on a few individuals at which the `taking' protection is directed."

    The majority believed otherwise.

    "It is, of course, true that the landmarks law has a more severe impact on some landowners than on others, but that in itself does not mean that the law effects a `taking,' " Justice William J. Brennan Jr. wrote for himself and five other justices, all of whom are now dead. "Legislation designed to promote the general welfare commonly burdens some more than others."

    Landmark designation permitted Penn Central "to use the property precisely as it has been used for the past 65 years: as a railroad terminal," he wrote.

    AS for air rights — the development potential represented by the difference between the size of the existing terminal and the largest building that zoning would allow on the site — Justice Brennan said Penn Central's ability to use those rights had "not been abrogated," since they were made transferable.

    Daniel M. Gribbon, senior counsel at Covington & Burling, who argued the case for Penn Central, said yesterday that the "decision opened new avenues on regulatory takings but didn't really resolve anything."

    The rights are now owned by American Financial of Cincinnati, whose founder, chairman and principal shareholder, Mr. Lindner, is also chief executive of the Cincinnati Reds and former chairman of Chiquita Brands International.

    Until the city created a special subdistrict in 1992 to expand the sites eligible to receive Grand Central air rights, only one new development had used them: the Altria building at 120 Park Avenue.

    Since then, 285,866 square feet of air rights were transferred to the Bear Stearns building at 383 Madison Avenue; 67,679 square feet to the CIBC World Markets building at 300 Madison Avenue; and 19,582 square feet to 360 Madison Avenue. An application is pending to transfer 38,225 square feet to 340 Madison Avenue, said Edith Hsu-Chen of the City Planning Department's Manhattan office.

    Based on recent sales, American Financial puts a value of about $50 million to $60 million on the unused air rights. But thinking about the compensation issue, Mr. Gribbon said, "That's not the same thing as cash."

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  14. #14

    Default Grand Central Terminal

    And the current owner of the Grand Central air rights, Carl H. Lindner's American Financial Group, still has 1,264,364 square feet of unused development potential on its hands.

    This would allow for a more appropriate arrangement. Air Rights intensify the canyon effect by alignments of height and relief.

  15. #15

    Default Grand Central Terminal

    I don't like the late 60s and early 70s because a lot of the historical architecture in NYC was stripped of it's greatness(or destroyed). It's a good thing they didn'y do anything to Grand Central.

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