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Thread: Can anybody here build anything?

  1. #1

    Default Can anybody here build anything?

    This article certainly sums up how I've been feeling about NY lately...

    June 12, 2005
    NY Newsday

    Like a model built of Lego blocks that had worn out its welcome on the dining room table, another bold public-works plan got rudely swept away last week.

    There will be no New York Sports and Convention Center on Manhattan's West Side - at least not as Mayor Michael Bloomberg had conceived it. And barring a miracle, there will be no 2012 Olympics in the city, which means another Bloomberg dream is dead.

    So strong was Albany's distaste for the $2.2-billion New York Jets stadium that its executioners didn't even bother to cover their tracks. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Brunswick) killed it in broad daylight without the usual subterfuge.

    Meanwhile, around Ground Zero in lower Manhattan - nearly four years after Osama bin Laden laid waste to the World Trade Center - the state has yet to order a single beam of steel for the new iconic Freedom Tower, as Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) noted in a speech last month. And it has yet to draw up solid plans for a new rail line that will link downtown with Kennedy Airport and Jamaica Station.

    We have dreamt big before

    What's the matter with New York? Why did our creativity seem to pack up and head for parts unknown circa 1970?

    This is the state that put together the Erie Canal, Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge and Long Island's great network of parkways and beaches. But what great public works have we built lately?

    The record is embarrassingly thin.

    Now it is possible to make too much of what happened last week. Indeed, on the merits, Silver and Bruno were correct to bludgeon the stadium.

    The arena would have put taxpayers on the hook for about $1 billion worth of subsidies in all. It was a bad idea, a reckless bet designed to bring us the Olympics, even though Paris had an inside track. What's more, the stadium - 30 stories tall - would have loomed over prime commercial and residential space near the Hudson River, blocking sun and water views. It would have cast a pall over the vibrant neighborhood that Bloomberg wants to build there.

    But for all that, something is missing here. If only the public passion to plan and to build were as great as the public passion to delay and destroy. In a place that bristles with as much creativity as New York, things don't have to be this way. Yet they have been this way for what seems an eternity.

    Whatever happened to Westway - the six-lane highway that was supposed to serve the West Side of Manhattan? It died in the late 1980s because, among other reasons, it would have disturbed the Hudson River's striped bass.

    Whatever happened to the Second Avenue subway project in Manhattan? That one has endured more red signals than a rush-hour No. 1 Broadway local. It's moving ahead right now - but a tag team of gophers burrowing under the street could probably get downtown faster than folks from the cash-starved Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

    And whatever happened to the urgency this region felt after Sept. 11, 2001 to rebuild lower Manhattan? So slow has the state been on some projects that Washington is making noises about taking back some of its money.

    What's the problem here?

    Were we so traumatized by the genuine excesses of Robert Moses, who reigned as lord of public works here for decades, that we forgot about the value of his genius and drive?

    Did our society grow so litigious that it ultimately paralyzed itself?

    Did our politicians grow so sensitive to the caviling of the NIMBY groups that they felt most comfortable saying no to everything?

    Did the fiscal crisis of the 1970s make all new public-works projects sound like profligate ideas as the city fought just to rebuild its infrastructure?

    Only this is clear: At some point, our political system - not to mention the media - started to emphasize the plight of the inconvenienced few at the expense of a taxpaying majority. The price of that mistake is obvious now.

    Hosannas for change

    In his speech last month to a group of city business people, Schumer broadly attacked what he regards as a "culture of inertia." He was met with a chorus of hosannas. Unsurprisingly, this notion grew to a crescendo last Monday after Silver and Bruno wrote out the death certificate for the West Side stadium.

    "One of the great dangers," mused the mayor, as he reflected upon the worst defeat in his short political career, is that big-time developers are "going to get disheartened" and say they can't build anything in the city "because the politics always get in the way."

    But here's where the story gets really interesting - because Bloomberg isn't necessarily right.

    Today, happily, redevelopment plans are everywhere. There's the blueprint to remodel the old main post office in midtown as Moynihan Station. It will serve as a center for cafes and other amenities and also as a gateway to the trains that serve Pennsylvania Station.

    There's the plan to turn Downtown Brooklyn into a district of offices, shops, homes and its own professional basketball team. There's the project to rework the Greenpoint-Williamsburg waterfront. These don't have the glitz of Bloomberg's West Side proposal, but neither do they have the drawbacks.

    A sense of purpose

    Yet here's what the New York region still lacks as it tries to get them done: As Schumer points out, it lacks a clear sense of purpose - from ordinary New Yorkers as well as from its media. With any major public works project, the press must do a better job of explaining not only the needs of a self-interested few but the needs of the larger community.

    Do New Yorkers want to build things again? Well, how nice. But if they're serious, they need to unite and pressure the pols to make it happen. They could start with some of the red tape that is holding up Moynihan Station.

    And hey, if Bloomberg is still serious about his resolve to redevelop the West Side, this could still happen, but "organically," without the help of a huge football stadium. The catalyst in fact could be Moynihan Station. When that project is done, it's not so hard to imagine high-end development spreading westward across the urban netherlands toward the Hudson just as Bloomberg had hoped.

    Pick the right projects

    As for downtown's laggardly pace of reconstruction, one business booster had this to say: "I think our indulgence of distraction is a serious problem."

    The politicians are easy enough to blame for our inertia. But they shouldn't take the rap alone. To be effective, they need public support. They need money. And - Mr. Mayor, please note - they need to pick the right projects to push. New York can build anything it wants to build. But it needs the will and it needs discipline.

  2. #2


    New York Times Op-Ed

    June 12, 2005
    How New York Can Get Its Groove Back

    HAVE New Yorkers lost their chutzpah? The demise of the proposed Jets stadium on the Far West Side (and the attendant blow to the city's 2012 Olympic hopes), along with the politically induced inertia at the World Trade Center site, has led to speculation that the Big Apple is turning into a crab apple. So the Op-Ed Page approached several prominent New Yorkers with a question: If the city wants to start thinking big again, where should it start? Their suggestions follow.

    Olympian Dreams

    I DON'T think that politics has paralyzed Gotham's once vaunted ability to get big things done. At this very moment, New York is driving City Water Tunnel No. 3 through bedrock 60-odd stories beneath Manhattan, one of the most colossal construction projects on earth. Nor (happily enough) did every enterprise proposed in the Good Old Days come to fruition - like the proposal in 1893 to tear down City Hall, or Mayor William J. Gaynor's suggestion in 1910 to ram a new street through Midtown between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

    There are, certainly, large-scale transportation proposals now on the table that are worthy of our collective consideration, like the the Cross-Harbor Freight Tunnel to link New Jersey and Brooklyn. But arguably more important are less flashy initiatives for struggling economic sectors: to revitalize our manufacturing base by developing new eco-industries; to bolster communications by creating the world's first totally wireless city; to reinvigorate our creative base by increasing financing for cultural institutions and enhancing cooperation between our academic institutions; and to gear up tourism, in part by throwing an improved hat in the ring for the 2016 Olympics.

    Mike Wallace is a professor of history at John Jay College and the co-author of "Gotham."


    Back on Track

    NO project would yield more tangible benefits for our region than Moynihan Station. As a child, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, my late father, sold newspapers and shined shoes in the old Penn Station. As senator, he secured nearly $1 billion in federal, state and city funds to rebuild the station in the landmark James A. Farley Post Office.

    Moynihan Station offers a rare chance at civic redemption for that act of urbanicide in 1963, when the original Penn Station fell to the wrecker's ball, forcing millions to enter our city through a hole under a basketball court. Compare the bistros and boutiques of Grand Central to Penn Station's joyless junk-food stalls. Consider the risks of not upgrading the security of our public transport systems. (Think: an open, well-protected space above ground versus an antiquated network of tunnels and warrens below ground.) Try to imagine reviving the West Side without a modern, functional station to spur development, trade and tourism - it can't be done.

    Senator Moynihan said that money used for infrastructure is not spending; it's investing. But federal appropriations that sit for too long unspent can be rescinded, and the station is now nine years behind schedule. My father assembled the permits and the financing; McKim, Mead & White left us a grand Beaux-Arts structure. The governor, the mayor and our senators support the station. All we need is for the state to give the job to a developer.

    Just days after 9/11 my father said that the best thing New York could do would be to build the station. "Architecture," he once wrote, "is inescapably a political art, and it reports faithfully for ages to come what the political values of a particular age were." Moynihan Station would reflect our deepest, most cherished values. Let the jackhammers begin.

    Maura Moynihan is a senior fellow at the Regional Plan Association.


    Constructing Jobs

    WE suffer an unemployment rate of nearly 30 percent among black and Latino young people. This crisis must be addressed through the city's commitment to recruit, train and open the doors of union membership to unemployed minority youths.

    To that end, we should rebuild Lower Manhattan and pursue three additional projects. We should develop the Hudson River waterfront from 125th to 131st Streets and the upland area from the piers to Broadway to include entertainment venues, open spaces, housing and office space. We should rebuild the Victoria Theater site on 125th Street to include a performing arts theater, a museum, rehearsal space, condominiums and offices. And we should create a plaza of stores - big box and otherwise - on the river in East Harlem. The projects are not meant to be substitutes for the stadium; they are meritorious in themselves, both in their purpose and in the thousands of construction jobs they will create for young people.

    Charles B. Rangel is a Democratic representative from New York.


    Pleasure Principles

    MARSHALL McLUHAN waited for the reporter's lips, mine, in fact, to stop moving, leaned back in his seat in the rear garden of that year's (1967) restaurant of the century, Lutèce, looked up at a brilliant blue New York-in-May sky, lifted a forefinger and twirled it above his head in a loop that took in the 30-, 40-, 50-story buildings that rose all around and said, apropos of nothing anybody at the table had been talking about:

    "Of course, a city like New York is obsolete. People will no longer concentrate in great urban centers for the purpose of work. New York will become a Disneyland, a pleasure dome ..."

    At that stage of his mutation from unknown Canadian English teacher to communications swami and international celebrity, cryptic, Delphic, baffling, preposterous predictions were McLuhan's trump suit. Intellectuals argued over whether he was a genius or a dingbat. If the case of New York is any proof, however, the man was a pure genius.

    Twenty-first century New York is fast becoming what Marshall McLuhan saw as he looked up in that garden out back at Lutèce almost 40 years ago: a one-industry town, strictly in the pleasure dome business, with a single sales pitch, "You're Gonna Love Gothamland."

    When it comes to the industries that created the metropolis 100 years ago, New York, like many big American cities, is a ghost town. Manufacturing, most notably New York's once famous garment industry, has moved to sweatier shops in China, Thailand, Mexico and Fiji. Mainstream retail has long since departed for the suburban "edge cities" Joel Garreau writes about. New York's original reason for being, shipping, is so far gone that the great piers on the Hudson River are now used for everything from an aircraft carrier welded to a dock as a museum to a golf driving range with a net to keep the balls from landing in the water.

    Real estate development and the construction industry have never recovered from the commercial real estate crash of the 1990's that left nearly 60 million square feet of office space vacant, much of it in lonely and still unlovable Lower Manhattan. In terms of the location of the big investment firms, Wall Street today should be called Sixth Avenue and Broadway. Moreover, it is now obvious that there is no sound economic or geographical reason a financial market should consist of a great mob of men with sopping dark half-moons on their shirts beneath their armpits flailing about on "the floor" of some antiquated "stock exchange"... or in New York at all. The hemorrhaging of corporate headquarters from New York during the 1990's was stanched finally by a drug available only in Manhattan - Lunch.

    Many a chief executive who knew it would save his corporation a fortune if he moved it to Pleasantville, Cincinnati or South Orange could not conceive of ... life without Lunch ... that daily celebration of his royalty at the sort of peculiarly Manhattan restaurant where a regular ensemble of maîtres d' and captains hovers about the great man and his guests cooing sweet nothings in movie French ...where nothing so vulgar as a three-martini lunch ensues but, rather, a refined one-gallon-of-Côtes-du-Rhône lunch ... and his majesty the chief executive feeds in a supragustatory bliss upon Brazil-nut-and rosemary-encrusted day-boat halibut lying on a bed of millet infused with a double fermentation of malbec grape ... and the waiters arrive bearing the artistry of a chef for whom the owners of this restaurant, this month's restaurant of the century, all five years of it, combed the earth.

    Such an ambrosial experience is a product not of the food industry but of the pleasure dome. None of Gothamland's stocks in trade are tangible. Rather, all offer the sheer excitement, even euphoria, of being ... "where things are happening."

    Humanity comes to New York not to buy clothes but, rather ... Fashion ...not to see musicals and plays but to experience "Broadway," which resembles the turn-of-the-19th-century trolley town one finds himself in upon entering Disneyland in California. If the traffic on Broadway should ever lack congestion, if the people ever stop spilling over the sidewalks and out into the street, if they ever stop hyperventilating in a struggle to get to the will-call window before the curtain goes up, the producers and theater owners should hire hordes of the city's unemployed actors to serve as extras and recreate it all.

    Millions roam New York's art museums each year, not to enjoy the artwork but to experience the ineffable presence of ...Culture. People throng Yankee Stadium game after game, season after season, not to see the Yankees play, not this year's Yankees, as the fellow might say, but to inhale ...The Myth ...

    Which brings us to the fate of the West Side stadium proposal. In the short run, it may look like a foolish expenditure of billions desperately - it's inevitably desperate, government's "need" for money - desperately needed elsewhere. In the McLuhan-length run, however, a few billion might prove to be a bargain, especially if it led straight to holding an event the magnitude of the Olympics in New York. After all, what does our city now live on? Why, something about as solid as a sharp intake of breath: the world's impression that Gothamland and only Gothamland where things are happening.

    Tom Wolfe is the author, most recently, of "I Am Charlotte Simmons."


    Site Lines

    WHETHER or not one supported building the West Side stadium - or even the city's Olympic bid, which I did - the problems that ultimately killed the project underscore the difficulty of doing any kind of large-scale building in New York. But great cities, in the end, are defined by their ability to move past politics and local issues to create the unexpected.

    What New York needs today, if it wants to be a leading city in the future, is a comprehensive citywide plan that takes into account the potential of all the boroughs, Brooklyn and Queens in particular. The Museum of Modern Art operated in Long Island City, Queens, from 2002 to 2004 and continues to have a presence there through its affiliate P.S. 1. This area, especially Queens Plaza, offers special opportunities to reimagine the city without the kind of debilitating battles that took their toll on the West Side. Think, for example, of Queens Plaza as a direct extension of the East Side of Manhattan, anchored by a core group of distinctive buildings and a network of small parks, not as a bleak tangle of train tracks, roads and the worst of 1960's architecture.

    The greatest challenge facing the city is the need to rethink the World Trade Center site. There is no greater opportunity for any city in the world to define itself than this project. Success, though, requires the recognition that the status quo is unacceptable. New York is an extraordinary city, but it needs an extraordinary solution to the competing and conflicting demands of this project. This can come only from a clear vision and the will to resolve who really controls the site.

    Competing levels of government or the needs of the developer are no excuse for the current situation. It is time for the legislative and executive branches of government in Albany to realize that someone has to be in charge of the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan and that no one has a greater stake in this area than the city itself. Responsibility and authority must go together if anything is to get done. We will be remembered for the intelligence of the plan we ultimately pursue in Lower Manhattan, and for the quality and integrity of that plan's realization, not for how quickly the site has been rebuilt. The demise of the West Side stadium is a clarion call.

    Glenn D. Lowry is the director of the Museum of Modern Art.


    Convention Wisdom

    NOW that the stadium is less likely to be built, one may wonder what would be the best use for the area around the Javits Convention Center (a k a the Hudson Yards). All told, we are talking about 40 to 50 blocks south of Javits that extend over the rail yards and down to 28th Street. My proposal would be to use five of those blocks to expand the Javits center to 3 million square feet, from 800,000. Here's why.

    During my three years as chairman of NYC & Company, the city's official tourism marketing arm, I found that the uniform view among industry leaders was that the Javits center is drastically undersized. For New York, the biggest city in the United States, to have the 18th-largest convention center is an embarrassment. Even the state's current plan to expand the center to 1.1 million square feet won't make it stack up to the facilities of other cities. Chicago, for example, has 4.5 million square feet of convention space. Las Vegas has 5.5 million, with a million more under construction.

    With the extension of the No. 7 subway line, an expanded Javits would become a major engine for economic growth. Some experts have estimated that a 3-million-square-foot Javits center would pump $3 billion a year into the New York economy - not to mention 33,000 permanent jobs and a huge number of construction jobs.

    With the expansion, we will be able to attract conventions from around the world, even from Europe, where convention costs are far higher than here. The new influx of visitors would be of enormous benefit to our restaurants, stores, hotels, theaters and cultural institutions.

    Given the economic consequences of this project, Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg should appoint a panel to take responsibility for the intelligent development of the entire 50-block area, with the expansion of Javits leading the way.

    Tim Zagat is the publisher of Zagat survey guides.


    A Little Vision

    SMALL steps are sometimes the better way to achieve a vision.

    Let's put the charm back into New York with small projects like the High Line, rooftop greening, park enhancement and continuing development of the waterfront. We should turn the dilapidated mansion on Roosevelt Island into an open-air theater. And why not build an arts center over the West Side rail yards as an extension of the Javits Convention Center? It could be a crosscultural stock exchange, offering lofts for visiting artists, architects, writers and poets who would enhance our city with their ideas.

    Amy Sacco owns Bungalow 8 nightclub and Bette Restaurant.


    Use and Use Again

    THE inability to get large public projects off the ground in New York reflects less a lack of ambition than a failure to come to consensus over the role of government in land use. There is a tendency to criticize any public investment in projects that are not absolutely needed. We take for granted our great public works, like Central Park and the Public Library, as if they were handed down by Moses. Actually, they were created by real people with precious dollars, public and private (including some by another Moses, Robert). These are our temples.

    Today, however, instead of investing in public buildings the government tries to cut corners and generate financing for projects like the Moynihan rail station by selling zoning rights so that public buildings and parks find themselves in the shadow of oversized private development. This approach also leads to single-developer schemes with super-blocks and large plazas, which destroy the organic vitality of the city. Their public space is too calculated and cold. Just as important as placing a higher priority on public buildings and parks, we must ensure that private development is set in the traditional street grid, so that it is easily adapted for new uses as the economy and city evolve.

    Philip K. Howard is chairman of the Municipal Art Society of New York.


    Connecting Dots

    BIG projects capture the headlines but, aside from the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site, it's time to focus on smaller development opportunities.

    A good example is the restoration of the Victoria Theater in Harlem, which will anchor a new entertainment district. There are plenty of other worthy candidates: JetBlue is prepared to build a new terminal at Kennedy Airport that could double the 4,000 jobs the new airline has already created and could also complement the adjacent landmark T.W.A. terminal designed by Eero Saarinen; the city is set to build New York's first commercial science park on the Bellevue Hospital Center campus, which could jump-start the biotech industry here; and there are plans for a major cultural center around the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which would ensure that my native borough will be a magnet for the next generation of the New York art scene.

    These are just a few of the many projects that have been in the works for years, and with just a little extra attention we can bring them to reality soon. In sum, the Next Big Thing may be a whole lot of little things - call it economic pointillism.

    Richard D. Parsons is chairman of Time Warner.


    The French Lesson

    EVERY two years, the Venice Architecture Biennale awards a prize for the best urban planning and architecture to a city. New York has never received this award because, apart from a handful of great old buildings, it has had little to show of architectural innovation for the past 50 years. Great architecture has rarely been a goal of our political decision makers, as we have witnessed in recent weeks.

    There are two good models New York could use to begin to change this condition. One is grand projects of Paris under François Mitterrand, which involved international architects competing with French architects for major public buildings. These were financed before the competitions were even announced, and thus ultimately built. Another format is Berlin's International Building Exhibition project in the 1980's, which involved international competitions for public housing projects throughout the city. While these were of a more modest scale than Paris, they too attracted international press attention and still attract tourists today.

    Government-led projects would of course be difficult in New York, where the interests of developers reign. So let's begin in a place where developers never tread: I propose 30 design competitions - both open and invited, national and international, and juried by peers - to create a new image for New York through its schools. These would be spread across the five boroughs. If the $600 million in public subsidy for the Jets stadium was put where it is needed - in our neighborhoods - not only would our children study in world-class environments but our city could also boast of creating a new concept in education.

    Peter Eisenman is an architect.


    O.K., Let's Give Up

    IT is much easier to defeat something in New York City than to build something. With that in mind, we should consider whether we want the easy way out or if we can accept a challenge. New Yorkers have been known for their energy, their strength and, especially in the past few years, for their courage. Maybe we're just worn out after pulling together so well after Sept. 11, 2001. It's been a haul. So maybe we just want to sit back and let things take care of themselves - elsewhere.

    The process in New York is very tough, and that's why I am building major projects in cities like Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Have you heard the term "contextual zoning" yet? It's a biggie in New York. So are the community boards, which like to make things close to impossible.

    I win many battles with community boards, but the project that is completed is never as good as what I started with. It gets beaten and battered by people who are often more interested in hearing themselves talk than in what is best for the city. The originality of the architecture gets taken away from me as a developer and artist, and from the city. I don't want to build buildings that have the same height and look as the buildings next door. Take the spires off the great old New York buildings and see what our skyline would look like - not much!

    So, should we forget about being on the cutting edge? We can shrug our shoulders and say "C'est la vie" and maybe sip some cappuccino at an outdoor café. We can let the work be done elsewhere, and by other people, and for a change we can be the audience instead of the performers. Let's give other cities a chance; let's keep thinking small. Or, if we want to think big, let's just start thinking. Believe me, the answers for New York are not very complicated.

    Donald J. Trump is a real-estate developer.

  3. #3


    This is the same city that only took a year to build the ESB? This is the same city that built one of the world's most expansive subway systems? This city was actually able to create one of the world's greatest parks?
    You're right about this. NIMBYism is too prevalent in New York. Granted there have been some developments that deserved to be killed (Moses' Lower Manhattan Expressway for example, and if only we could have stopped the building of the current hell-hole that is the "new" Penn Station) but the fact that we let knee-jerk NIMBYs kill every project, or that we let litigation to kill everything is bad for NY in terms of thinking big. Can you image what would have happened if the NIMBY's had been around 100 years ago? They would have killed the subway system, most of our bridges, the Singer, Woolworth, Chrysler, and ESB.

  4. #4


    Big Projects: Does any one remember Phillip Johnson´s fascist-style plan for Times Square? Or Trumps original laughable kitshy plan for "Television City"? Imagine if they had been built. And not only did they tear down Penn Station they also tried to tear down Carnegie Hall..... and Grand Central!! Imagine. Is the city really better off with out the Lunt Fontaine, the Helen Hayes, the Morrosco? Aren´t you happy that there are crazies who love architecture and the theatre and history and culture enough to stand in the rain and the snow and picket... even if you´re not completely in agreement with them? Isn´t it interesting that the residential areas of NYC that are the most expensive, are those most tightly zoned and preserved? Funny that Tribeca is now one of the US´10 most expensive residential zip codes. Just because it´s a "Big Project" doesn´t make it disirable. Yes, they did tear down the original Waldorf to build the Empire State and blah... blah....blah... but back then developers gave back to the community with beautiful, expensive materials... artistic details and exquiste workmanship.... today in too many cases, we get junk. Sorry for rambling am in a rush...

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by Fabrizio
    Big Projects: Does any one remember Phillip Johnson´s fascist-style plan for Times Square? Or Trumps original laughable kitshy plan for "Television City"? Imagine if they had been built. And not only did they tear down Penn Station they also tried to tear down Carnegie Hall..... and Grand Central!! Imagine. Is the city really better off with out the Lunt Fontaine, the Helen Hayes, the Morrosco? Aren´t you happy that there are crazies who love architecture and the theatre and history and culture enough to stand in the rain and the snow and picket... even if you´re not completely in agreement with them? Isn´t it interesting that the residential areas of NYC that are the most expensive, are those most tightly zoned and preserved? Funny that Tribeca is now one of the US´10 most expensive residential zip codes. Just because it´s a "Big Project" doesn´t make it disirable. Yes, they did tear down the original Waldorf to build the Empire State and blah... blah....blah... but back then developers gave back to the community with beautiful, expensive materials... artistic details and exquiste workmanship.... today in too many cases, we get junk. Sorry for rambling am in a rush...
    Donald's Trump's original Television City was not kitsch, it was exactly what NYC needs modern architecture on the waterfront, glass reflective by nature is entirely fitting for water, reflective by nature. The Westside highway would’ve been buried and NYC would’ve had the World Tallest Building that alone would’ve attracted people to a residential, commercial, and cultural upper Westside waterfront. Kitsch is the post-modern, lifeless garbage that was built.

  6. #6


    "Modern architecture on the water front" is fine... a heavy handed wall of skyscrapers lined-up in a park (including one at 152 stories high) should give pause...

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by Fabrizio
    "Modern architecture on the water front" is fine... a heavy handed wall of skyscrapers lined-up in a park (including one at 152 stories high) should give pause...
    Heavy handed is what is there now. Helmut Jahn's towers were not made of stone, they were all glass and without anything blocking their views they assumed their own identity standing as stationary architecture.

  8. #8


    Ok, Ok fine...

    Bastards for blocking the destruction of Grand Central... we would have been better off with out it. Penn Station.... c´mon it was OLD! Carnegie Hall? Who cares. Who needs those creepy musty theatres? Bull doze em. Cast Iron architecture.... what a joke.... etc. and etc... Let´em do whatever they want, when ever they want, where ever they want...

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


    This says it all:
    ANY building in Dubai right now will outclass 98% of the buildings in NY.
    Take any Dubai building and if it was proposed for NY, people here would jump for joy, that's how bad it has become.
    And it's not ending anytime soon either.
    In a week or two, David Childs will come up with another box for the Freedom Tower.
    We are living on the laurels and forward thinking of past New Yorkers.
    We are leaving nothing for future NYer's.

  10. #10


    Fabrizio, there is a difference between saving things of value and getting absolutely nothing of value new built.

    The last of NY's great projects were all planned from the 60's and early 70's including the water tunnel and Battery Park City. The long list of failures since then is amazing.

    Trump's westside development is a prime example. The architecture was dumb-downed, its a wall of buildings along the water, and the highway never got fixed taking away greatly from the park. Now, IMO, it didn't need to have the world's tallest but it should have had something much better than what the lawyers finally agreed to.

    There's nothing much worth saving around the railyards or the Javitz, let's see if NY can get anything decent built there.

    The 2nd Ave. subway has been going no where for years. Ditto, the new Penn Station. The new Fulton St. station is already shrinking into nothing special.

    You don't need to lose anything of value to build these projects and they still can't get done.

    I can't think of one world class development in the city in decades.

  11. #11


    Quote Originally Posted by JMGarcia
    I can't think of one world class development in the city in decades.
    Atlantic Yards will be the first in awhile.

  12. #12


    I think this conversation is 1000% gloomier than the reality truly is. The fact is that the age of the "Public" work is over. And that applies to everywhere. What's the last major dam built in Nevada? Power Plant in Illioins? Bridge in California? Monument in DC? The answer is that it has been quite a while.

    However, the age of the "private" work in NYC is just beginning. NY is entering a new age of "privatization" of it's grand works. The next big subway/skyscraper/housing development/anything will be private. This is a good thing.

    People no longer see the need for the New Deal-style public works project. It's simply too politcal, too risky and too expensive to the taxpayer. In some ways, this is a good thing. Private design is almost always better than public. And this pumps new money into the economy and stimulates more development.

    OTOH, this can present challenges. The blackout of 2003 proved that there is still a need for government projects and development. As this nation grows and shifts, there must be a new way of building the infastructure we need.

    Also, all those "grand" things we're built by private hands. Not government.

  13. #13


    New York will continue to develop world class projects. Give it time.

  14. #14


    As for NIMBYs, I think this is a conversation that goes way beyond the "skyscraper" specturm. I believe that this is an issue of NY's mentality more than anything.

    NY has a "welfare" mentality. It seems this state is obssesed with taking care of every person and meeting every need. What no one in Albany has realized is that this goal, however lofty, is not realistic. If someone's desire was to kill people, what should we do?

    The answer is that not every need should be met. I have often said on this board, particularly about the WTC, that more "bottom-line" thinking is in order. I have been met with resistance and I believe that it shows NYers really care.

    But the fact is that the rest of America doesn't. I showed you pictures of three fast growing cities and none of them had any appeal whatsoever. Should we be like that? NO! But should we take a sense of urgency and worry more about buidling space of workers and less about what trees are planted? Yes.

    Going back to the "Welfare" mentality, it's simply not feasible. It's admireable that NY has taken upon itself to protect and provide every person. But unless done on a national level, this mission will fail. Every seems to feel for the 80 year old shopkeeper in the way of a new skyscraper project. But in reality, he can go somewhere else. People bitched and moaned about Radio Row, The Singer tower and the like. But without those sacrfices, Lower Manhattan would be even worse off today.

    People need to realize that life is hard and unfair, but you need to deal. Moving across the street to accomdate people is not that big a deal. Get over it.

    Oh, and to those who point out successes like GC and SoHo, yes, there are some good points. However, there are better ways of determining value than standing in front of bulldozers.

    Let's all keep something in mind, without developers, there is no SoHo. Everything you love and cherish will be left in a state of abandonment and negliect as people move to greener pastures. Don't let NY turn into Detroit. Please, move out of the way.

  15. #15


    The reason nothing great has been built in NYC in recent years is not a lack of vision or ambition, its simply NIMBY's and a lack of foresight from the NYC political machine.

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