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Thread: New-York Historical Society

  1. #16


    I don't know for whatever reason I don't feel a tower should be built on-top of the New York Historical Society. One its a very nice old building in a pristine setting. And second, I just can't get over a glass tower above a building called and that is the New York Historical Society.

  2. #17
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    NYC - Downtown


    Quote Originally Posted by Derek2k3 View Post

    The opposition campaign is called SOS ("Save Our Skyline"), it should be retitled SOV, "Save Our Views."
    The pic of the proposed tower is so bogus ...

    Shows the tower from the farthest possible angle -- and from so low that the existing base covers as much of the tower as possible.

    If the NYHS people are serious about this then they should step up and show what they are proposing in full -- various angles and elevations.

  3. #18



    Boston's Custom House was a nice classical building in historical surroundings:

    Amni B. Young, architect, 1837. Photo ca. 1910.

    In 1913, Peabody and Stearns plonked a skyscraper on top that was so sympathetic to the original that not one person in twenty who passes by this building knows it was built in two separate campaigns 73 years apart.

    That's because it's a completely harmonious whole. The second building strives to produce what the first architect would have, if asked to design a high-rise from scratch.

    Exactly contemporary with the Woolworth Building, another great Beaux-Arts skyscraper.

    In today's Boston, Custom House rivals Hancock as the city's most esteemed skyscraper.

    Amni B. Young, 1837, with Peabody and Stearns, 1913 --a collaboration over time.

    To those who claim you can't design like this today, I say: "Balderdash!" Sez who?

  4. #19


    March 7, 2007
    Historical Society Loses Round in Fight to Renovate a Landmark

    In a stormy two-hour meeting before 200 neighborhood residents last night, the New-York Historical Society was rebuffed by Community Board 7 in Manhattan, which resoundingly opposed the group’s proposal to renovate the exterior of its landmark building at 170 Central Park West.

    The board voted 40 to 2 against a plan that would replace the society’s eight-foot-wide doorway, built in 1908, with a 40-foot glass entryway and granite portico at the main entrance between West 76th and 77th Streets.

    Because the board is an advisory body, its decision does not block the renovation. But as a signal of strong community opposition, the vote could carry weight with the New York City Planning Commission and the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which is likely to hold a hearing on the plan this month. Both groups have veto power over the project.

    Louise Mirrer, the historical society’s president, said the community board inappropriately linked the renovation plan to the construction of a 23-story luxury residential tower that the society has proposed as an addition to its four-story building.

    “I’m disappointed,” Dr. Mirrer said, adding that the community board’s vote, if used as a precedent, “would prevent any landmark anywhere from ever doing anything new.”

    Kate Wood, executive director of Landmark West, an Upper West Side preservation group, said that the historical society’s project “deserves to be stopped in its tracks.” She described it as “a Trojan horse” for the luxury tower and added, “Please don’t open the gate.”

    Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president, said he could not take a position for or against the plan. “But we should call it what it is,” he said. “It’s going to be a large tower. It’s not about phase one tonight — it’s about what comes after the facade.”

    Dr. Mirrer argued that the renovation is essential to make the building more inviting and its exhibitions more accessible, and, she added, that it might be years before a tower could be approved. But Peter M. Wright, co-chairman of the Park West 77th Street Block Association, termed the design “an ill-conceived facade.” The tower, he said, would intrude upon the Central Park skyline and cast a shadow on the park itself.

    “I’m pleased,” Mr. Wright said of the vote, adding that it was a step toward defeating the tower plan.

    For weeks, preservation groups that oppose the renovation had been e-mailing their members to attend the meeting, held in an auditorium at the American Bible Society at West 61st Street and Broadway. The society, meanwhile, had been exhorting its members to lobby elected city officials to support the plan.

    The debate — which followed an hour of discussion on other projects — was punctuated with catcalls and applause. The society’s plan proposes changes not only to the Central Park West entrance, it also would de-emphasize the West 77th Street entrance and reconfigure existing windows there for the construction of a cafe.

    The opposition of the community board “bears the hallmark of a group that has campaigned against the historical society,” Dr. Mirrer said. “Of course we will press on.”

    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

  5. #20


    Quote Originally Posted by Kris View Post
    The tower, he said, would intrude upon the Central Park skyline and cast a shadow on the park itself.
    Trees do this too.

  6. #21


    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc View Post
    To those who claim you can't design like this today, I say: "Balderdash!" Sez who?
    It depends on whether one seeks thw approval of one's peers. Just look at the ignominous reception by the architect mafia) of the splendid new concert hall in Nashville...

    If Cass Gilbert were alive today he would get as many commissions at Quinlan Terry, i.e. not many.

  7. #22

    Default Schermerhorn--Nashville's OTHER Temple

    I happened to be in Nashville last Fall when the new Schermerhorn Symphony Center had it's grand opening.
    It's located just two blocks off the Broadway entertainment district,right across the street from the Country Music Hall of Fame and an additional block's distance from the fabled Ryman Auditorium.It is a worthy addition to a place that calls itself "Music City".
    As you stroll down Broadway,you are afforded glimpses of the building,and being a curious urban explorer I had to know more about it,so I detoured from the club scene long enough to check it out.

    Nashv.,of course,is famous in architectural circles for another classic structure,a faithful reproduction of the Greek Parthenon,so adding yet another neoclassic interpretation of an ancient European temple/concert hall was no great leap for the city.Frankly,the building is so well done that I thought,for a brief moment,that it was a refurbishment and cleanup of an old structure,something that had been in DT Nashville for generations.I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that it was brand spanking new.

    I walked around the building,impressed with the fine details and the faithful adherance to what has become almost a lost art,architectural-wise.Nobody builds in the neoclassic Greco-Roman style anymore(outside of some structures on college campuses),and a building of this scale,in this design,has not been put in place anywhere recently in an American Downtown,as far as I know.It's grand entrance closely resembles the formality of the Main Public Library or the 5th Ave entrance to the Metropolitan Museum.It's very imposing,yet friendly,and a real tribute to the culture mavens of Nashville.

    As an aside,I was also taken aback with the vibrancy of DT Nashville.I never expected to see what I saw.
    On the same night that the Schermerhorn hosted it's black-tie Grand Opening,Green Day had a concert at the Ryman Entertainment Center--two blocks away on Broadway--George Jones' 70th birthday party was going on at the old Ryman/Grand ol' Opry building a block up the hill and Toby Keith's "Bridges" movie was debuting at a DT movie house with all the pomp and ceremony of a Hollywood premiere.Downtown was jumping,with crowds and traffic that could rival Times Square.I was very impressed.Among smaller cities,only Austin has given me this particular vibe.

    Vanderbilt had just opened their football season that day (they lost),the Titans were having their pre-opening game party (across the river but walkable from DT--they lost,too)and Broadway and Second street (loaded with dozens of live music venues)were as lively as The French Quarter on a busy pre-Katrina Saturday.The State Fair was also in session a few miles away,and on Music Row,a dozen Grammy parties were happening.A million things were going on in Nashville.

    But it was Downtown wher the party was.Within a very few square blocks were Classical Symphony,Rock,Country and dozens of house bands with everything from sole six-stringers plunking out old folk songs to longhair punk rockers imitating Linkin Park.Music overload.I loved it.

    This town is a hair away from being a GREAT party city,and could easily steal New Orleans' reputation as a definitive destination for music,party and architecture lovers.And the beer is only 3 bucks a bottle.

  8. #23
    The Dude Abides
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    NYC - Financial District



    Landmarks agency reviews Historical Society's renovation plans 18-APR-07

    The Landmarks Preservation Commission held a hearing yesterday on an application for a certificate of appropriateness to make facade changes to the New York Historical Society on Central Park West to provide improve disable access, emergency egress, improved interior circulation and new elevators and mechanical equipment.

    The commission did not make a decision and asked the society to review and revise its plans.

    An e-mail from Landmark West, a civic organization active on the Upper West Side and opposed to the society's plans to develop a mixed-use tower on its site, said that the plans were sent back by the commission "to the drawing board, but with clear encouragement to move ahead."

    "The commissioners peppered the Society with many specific questions about doors and windows, access and egress," the e-mail continued, but "carefully avoided asking about the 280-foot-tall tower that the Society has advertised as part of a grand, windfall scheme to seal its future. Indeed, Chair [Robert Tierney gave Society President Louise Mirrer an easy softball pitch to restate her mantra that the facade changes are completely separate from any future project."

    Community Board 7 voted 40 to 2 March 6 to recommend that the commission deny the application, making references to a mixed-use tower that the society is considering on its site that is not part of the application now before the Landmarks Preservation Commission, expressing concerns that approval of the facade changes "will be used to bootstrap arguments that the Phase 2 design is appropriate use."

    While the co-chairs of the board's committee, Lenore Norman and Klari Neuwelt, maintained that the vote was only about the society's proposed facade changes that they found inappropriate such as the "use of bronze and glass, rather than masonry, for the walls and railings of the new ramps on each of the affected facades," the resolution adopted by the board made reference to plans by the society for "a mixed-use museum/residential building on its site fronting 76th Street."

    A New York Times article by Glenn Collins November 1, 2006 reported that the society had invited 8 developers to make proposals for the erection of a mixed-use building that could be 23 stories and 280 feet high on a vacant lot it owns at 7-13 West 76th Street behind its building that fills the Central Park West blockfront between 76th and 77th Streets. The new tower would provide about 75,000 square feet of space for the society beneath 18 floors of condominium apartments and part of the tower would be cantilevered over the society's existing building, whose original center section was designed in neo-classical style in 1904 by York & Sawyer and expanded with wings at the north and south in 1937 by Walker & Gillette.

    Under plans prepared for the society by Paul Spencer Byard of the architectural firm of Platt, Byard, Dovell & White, the narrow Central Park West entrance would be widened with its bronze doors probably moved perpendicularly to the sides and a broadened staircase would extend 15 inches further onto the sidewalk to permit long flanking ramps for disabled access and the somewhat steeper staircase would permit a major redesign of the society's first floor coupled with a redesign of its 77th Street entrance where a caf¿ with a Keith Haring-designed ceiling would be installed overlooking the gardens of the American Museum of Natural History across 77th Street.

    Existing torch¿res at the entrance would be removed, but saved, and tall kiosk stanchions would be installed for announcements on either side of the entrance.

    The society has a major collection of Hudson River School paintings, including many major works by Thomas Cole, original watercolors by Aububon. It recently held an exhibition on slavery in New York State.

  9. #24
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    Historical Society Drops Plan for Expansion and Condos

    Published: July 9, 2008

    After a year and a half of controversy and intense opposition by preservationists and neighborhood groups, the New-York Historical Society at 77th Street and Central Park West has abandoned its pursuit of a $100 million, 23-story luxury condominium tower, along with a five-story annex that would have risen above an adjacent empty lot the society owns at 7-13 West 76th Street.

    Instead, the society has embarked on a $55 million, three-year renovation of its galleries, entrance and facade that will create a permanent main-floor exhibition hall showcasing some of its treasures, an interactive multimedia orientation program in its auditorium, an 85-seat cafe and a below-ground children’s gallery and library, society officials said.

    And during the months while main-floor galleries are closed in the third year of construction, the society will collaborate for the first time with El Museo del Barrio in mounting an exhibition across Central Park in its museum at East 104th Street and Fifth Avenue, to be called “Nueva York,” celebrating the city’s Hispanic history.

    “We don’t have plans for a tower,” said Louise Mirrer, the society’s president, adding, “We think we can meet our needs over the next few years by focusing on our building.”

    Preservationists and neighborhood groups consider the abandonment of the tower as a victory — and a precedent. “It’s a victory for communities because it reinforces the idea that they can preserve their character and at times avoid useless development,” said Joseph Bolanos, president of the West 76th Street Park Block Association.

    Mr. Bolanos said the demise of the tower “is a signal to other nonprofits that are trying to change the character of neighborhoods to their benefit,” but added: “We’re not popping any corks yet. It is a victory that can be savored for a few days until the next shoe drops.”

    The society has already raised the $55 million cost of renovation, Dr. Mirrer said, adding, “We hope to raise a total of $70 million to increase the society’s endowment.”

    A wide coalition of opponents had criticized the height of the tower — 280 feet, doubling the 136-foot height of the current structure — and had charged that the tower would deform the skyline of Central Park West and cast a shadow on Central Park. The society’s building has landmark status individually, and as part of the Upper West Side-Central Park West Historic District and a smaller domain, the Central Park West-76th Street Historic District.

    “Our members feel relief that there won’t be this thing over them, this great unaesthetic vertical shadow,” said Peter M. Wright, co-chairman of the Park West 77th Street Block Association, who lives in the 92-unit cooperative at 6-16 West 77th Street where the tower would have blocked some views.

    But some preservationists were already looking ahead. “We always knew the society’s plan was a stalking-horse that would have opened the door to more tower development on Central Park West,” said Kate Wood, executive director of Landmark West, an Upper West Side group. “So, this is a victory for the community that cares about the historic skyline and the park, but the fight is far from over.”

    The tower would have been constructed where the society’s 1937 library-stack structure now stands, to the west of the main building. The society had sought a developer who would provide financing and construct not only the apartment tower and an extra floor atop its four-story building, but also the annex. Real estate experts estimated that such a tower would have cost at least $100 million for construction, the developer’s profit and the cost of marketing.

    The society hoped to double its gallery space, add an elevator and augment educational, administrative and storage space, and would have constructed a fifth floor in the main building; these plans are now defunct.
    In December 2006, the society received bids for the plan from eight developers. “Ultimately, though, the board has chosen not to go forward,” Dr. Mirrer said.

    For decades, opposition from local groups has hindered the society’s expansion plans, and a 1984 proposal for a much larger apartment tower was voted down by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

    Dr. Mirrer denied that community criticism was responsible yet again for toppling a tower plan, but said, “We respect our neighbors and our community, and we like to get along with them.”

    She added that the tower’s demise was not related to the economic downturn or rising construction costs, and offered as an explanation that “the board decided instead to focus on the needs and potential of our existing building.”

    As for the renovation, it “will make the society more accessible, more welcoming and more compelling,” Dr. Mirrer said.

    The society will showcase elements of its permanent collection — including such star exhibits as George Washington’s inaugural chair — in a new permanent installation, the Robert and Clarice Smith New York Gallery of American History, named after its principal donors. It will be at the Central Park West entry on the main floor, incorporating three smaller galleries and the current admissions area.

    “We are hoping, in an arresting and exciting way, to tell the American story through the lens of New York City,” said Kenneth T. Jackson, a Columbia University history professor who is an adviser on the project.

    The society is also creating what Dr. Mirrer called an orientation experience, she said, “a continuously running multimedia presentation” that will occupy the auditorium during public hours. In the renovation, about a third of the 320 seats in its ornate auditorium will be reoriented “so that they all face the stage,” Dr. Mirrer said. Currently, some seats are sideways to the stage.

    The building’s 45-seat cafe on the lower level will move to a new main-floor space near West 77th Street, doubling its size. It will be part of the new Lawrence and Eris Field Gallery, named for its principal donors.
    The lower level will become a children’s gallery and history library. “We wanted to have a permanent space for children, which we don’t have now,” Dr. Mirrer said.

    In public testimony before the landmarks commission, some speakers opposed any changes to the exterior of the society’s landmark building at 170 Central Park West, but in April 2007, after rejecting an initial proposal, the commission approved the society’s request to conduct a more modest exterior renovation.

    The interior is not a landmark, so the commission’s approval is not needed for the remaining renovation.

    Scott Duenow, a senior associate for Platt Byard Dovell White, the renovation architect, said, “We think the renovations to the facade will make the society more of an asset, architecturally, to Central Park West.”

    Dr. Mirrer said the interior construction plans would not violate restrictions imposed by the city and the state, which have contributed more than $25 million for prior improvements inside the building since the early 1990s, when the neglected and nearly bankrupt society closed its doors for two years.

    During the three-year renovation, the society’s library will be open, Dr. Mirrer said. And there will be two exhibitions that she called “blockbuster history shows”: “Grant and Lee in War and Peace” next fall, and “Lincoln in New York” in the fall of 2009. After completion of the new main-floor permanent exhibition, such shows will be presented in the society’s second-floor galleries.

    In the fall of 2010, while the society’s main floor is shuttered during the last year of construction, the society will collaborate with El Museo del Barrio on an exhibition in its building at 1230 Fifth Avenue “derived from the collections of both institutions,” Dr. Mirrer said. The society’s renovations are expected to be completed by the fall of 2011.

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

  10. #25


    The tower by Meier that was dropped. Overly restrained.

    Shame modern architecture has little room for finishing off towers gracefully.

    Last edited by Derek2k3; April 11th, 2011 at 12:00 AM.

  11. #26
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    New Acquisition: A Welcome Mat

    Last edited by Edward; February 15th, 2012 at 05:01 PM. Reason: Full text by Christopher Gray deleted

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