View Poll Results: Which is New York's Fourth Iconic Skyscraper?

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  • 40 Wall Street (Trump Building)

    4 5.00%
  • American International Building

    8 10.00%
  • Citicorp Center

    32 40.00%
  • Seagram Building

    2 2.50%
  • United Nations Building

    10 12.50%
  • Trump World Tower

    0 0%
  • Hearst Tower

    1 1.25%
  • Time-Warner Center

    4 5.00%
  • PanAm Building (MetLife)

    4 5.00%
  • RCA Building (GE)

    15 18.75%
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Thread: New York's Fourth Iconic Skyscraper

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by pianoman11686
    I don't know, lb, I find myself disagreeing even more strongly now. Broadway is much more than a district. It spans the entire length of the city and is central to almost every important neighborhood in Manhattan. Think about how many important landmarks are on it: Lincoln Center, virtually all of Times Square, Macy's/Herald Square, the Flatiron, not to mention the dozens of theaters that have made it world-famous. The word "Broadway" itself is synonymous with theater and with New York. People come from all over the world to see the "Great White Way." The pinnacle of success for someone in theater is to perform or be involved with a production on Broadway. And 5th Avenue is in the same company as Madison, with Riverside and Bleecker right behind? How can you say that as someone living in New York? It has the Guggenheim, the Met, the Plaza, St. Patrick's, Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, the NYPL, Saks, the Flatiron, and arguably one of the single wealthiest stretches of pavement in the world, bordering Central Park...need I go on?
    No doubt about it, to a New Yorker Broadway and Fifth Avenue are lightyears ahead of Park as far as resident iconic structures, cultural insititutions, importance as a pathway through the city, history, etc. I'm not arguing that. What I am saying is that more people have heard of Park Avenue and can associate it with an image moreso than fifth avenue (or even Broadway with the exception of Times Square). Does the average tourist know that the flatiron is at the intersection of 5th and Broadway. No, few make it down to Madison Square Park to see the flatiron. Do they know that 5th avenue borders the park on the east. No, most people assume that's Central Park East. To people outside of New York, Broadway is the Theater District, Wall St is the financial District, and Park Avenue is the beautiful street where all the rich people live. 5th ave is just another numbered ave that tourists get to know by virtue of constantly walking up and down it. I'm talking famous to the rest of the world, not just New Yorkers.

    As far as the buildings themselves are concerned: Like I said, everyone's entitled to an opinion, and I won't say anyone's wrong for voting for a particular building. That being said, I found your choice of words odd. You called MetLife "the best emblem of the architectural style." While you may believe that, I don't think that makes it more iconic. As you say, the UN is more famous, and that's why I voted for it.
    Fame doesn't imply iconicity.

  2. #32
    The Dude Abides
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    I'm not sure if you misunderstood my post, but throughout it, I emphasized what makes these streets famous to tourists and "people all over the world." I still don't see what makes Park Avenue so famous. Because "all the rich people live there"? While that may be true to some extent, we all know that the wealthiest of the wealthy call 5th Avenue home. Ever seen Ransom? or A Perfect Murder? or A Devil's Advocate? They all depict the main character living on 5th Avenue, with that famous Central Park view. What about Home Alone 2, the Day After Tomorrow, or Spider-Man? 5th Avenue plays host to all of them. And I'm sure I don't have to mention that Times Square is probably the most commonly used backdrop for movie scenes in history. I don't know how you can call that an exception when talking about Broadway.

    What I truly am confused about is the notion that "structures" on these avenues shouldn't be considered. What else makes certain streets famous if not what has been built on those streets? Park Avenue has only one, truly famous structure: the combination of Grand Central and MetLife. Park Avenue may be famous as an important thoroughfare in a very important city, but GCT is the only reason any tourist would venture to explore it. Almost every other important site in New York is located either on 5th or Broadway. That's what makes them more famous.

    Fame doesn't imply iconicity.
    Neither does being an emblem of an architectural style.

  3. #33
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    Lets just agree to disagree. I'm out.

  4. #34
    Forum Veteran TREPYE's Avatar
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    I think that the fact that the Metlife tower actually got votes is the most surprizing result of this poll.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by lbjefferies
    Lets just agree to disagree. I'm out.
    Agreed!

  6. #36

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    from a foreigners point of view fifth avenue is much more famous than park, fifth avenue is famous for shopping what is there to know about park for someone whose never been there?

  7. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc
    Btw, Hearst Tower finally got a vote. That leaves only the world's tallest apartment building out in the cold...named for the world's most famous developer.
    I don't understand those who would vote for either. A building just can't become a famous icon in less than ten years, unless it got extraordinary publicity like the FT and Chrysler etc. Neither Hearst nor TWT got anywhere of the sort, and thus only time will tell their status.

  8. #38
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    I voted for American International Building. It's proportions are just beautiful and it is one building that you catch through all the slivers of downtown streets that causes you to do a double-take. The night lighting is perfect. Perhaps if 40 Wall were lit at night I might have had a tough choice, but this one is classic. I like RCA, but I only like the Fifth Avenue elevation.

  9. #39

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    Originally posted on ArchBoston by kz1000ps:



    Architect of NY's Citicorp Center, Boston's Federal Reserve dies


    July 10, 2006

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. --Hugh Stubbins Jr., an architect who often used his cocktail napkins to sketch designs for buildings such as Manhattan's Citicorp Center, Boston's Federal Reserve Bank or Congress Hall in Berlin, has died. He was 94.


    Citicorp, NYC.

    Stubbins, who died Wednesday of pneumonia at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, designed buildings that now stand coast to coast: from the Senior Center at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, to PacWest Center in Portland, Ore. He also designed Landmark Tower in Yokohama, Japan's tallest building; the Ronald Reagan President Library in Simi Valley, Calif., and Veterans Stadium, the home of baseball's Philadelphia Phillies and football's Philadelphia Eagles which was torn down two years ago.


    Federal Reserve, BOS.

    "I remember seeing many napkins with the basic design of Citicorp on them, just in doodles," his son, Hugh Stubbins III, told The Boston Globe.

    Among his many honors was the Gold Medal for Excellence in Design from Tau Sigma Delta, the National Honorary Fraternity for Architecture and the Allied Arts.


    Congress Hall, BER.

    Born in Birmingham, Ala., he graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology and received a master's degree in architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard in 1935, where he later taught. He also founded The Stubbins Associates architectural firm. In retirement, Stubbins divided his time between Cambridge and Ocean Ridge, Fla.
    In addition to Hugh, he leaves two other sons, a daughter and nine grandchildren.

    Copyright 2006 Associated Press

  10. #40

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    That's a gorgeous (and accurate) rendering of the Citicorp Center.

    And for the record, I'm kz1000ps. kz is my online handle of sorts, and nyc2k was tagged on for this forum to be "contextual to its surroundings."

  11. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by kznyc2k
    That's a gorgeous (and accurate) rendering of the Citicorp Center.
    Yeah, and it's done by hand.

    Quote Originally Posted by kznyc2k
    And for the record, I'm kz1000ps. kz is my online handle of sorts, and nyc2k was tagged on for this forum to be "contextual to its surroundings."
    Figured that might be so.

  12. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc
    Yeah, and it's done by hand.
    And that's probably the best thing about it. No computers or other fancy electronic doohickeys to assist/interfere. Plus, it's always fascinating to see the state of an area at a specific point in time, in this case being Lex/3rd Avenues in the 50s circa 1972.

  13. #43

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    Icon: An important and enduring symbol.

    There are only 3 buildings in NYC that could be considered for 4th place.

    The old RCA building at Rockefeller Center, the Flatiron, the Secretariat. These are "must see" buildings. These are the buildings that are singled out on post cards, calenders and posters...and how many times have they turned up in TV and film?...and there´s a reason for that: they are indeed, "important and enduring symbols".

    The UN is in the papers and magazines around the world every day.

    Everyone in the world knows Rockefeller Center and the rink at the foot of the old RCA building and it´s (horrid) Prometheus statue. It´s been in how many films?

    And millions of posters have been sold of Steichen´s photo of the Flatiron.

    ( One could also make a good argument for the Seagrams: it might not be as recognizable to many... but it is generally considered to be a masterpiece of design.... and is always mentioned as perhaps the finest post WW2 skyscraper in the world among those in the know. Has any other modern building in NYC (besides the WTC) ever got so much press? )

    The Citicorp? Wha.....?

    THIS is an icon:

    http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/pict/ho_33.43.39.htm
    Last edited by Fabrizio; July 15th, 2006 at 06:37 AM.

  14. #44

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    Several people have regretted the Flatiron's absence from the poll, and if I were doing it over I'd probably include it --though I don't know what I'd omit to make room for it.

    Though it has the slender, vertical proportions of a skyscraper, the building's architect thought of it as a boulevard building, like the "flatirons" at many a Parisian carrefour. He anticipated and hoped that its neighbor would match it in height and give New York's avenues a uniform cornice line, though at over twice the height of Paris's. West End Avenue and upper Park Avenue conform to Burnham's vision, and the buildings that comprise those are about the height of the Flatiron.

    Are those skyscrapers?

    * * *

    Curious how Citicorp's great popularity with Americans is not shared by Europeans.

  15. #45
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    ablarc: I just saw your STREETWALLS OF PARIS post -- incredible! Thanks ...

    A couple of weeks back I was going to argue that the Flatiron, while an iconographic NYC building, didn't necessarily fit into the "skyscraper" category.

    Then I did some research and realized how little I know about what I think I know

    As I'm sure you're aware: at 285' the Flatiron was not the tallest building in NYC when it was built in 1902 -- it was preceded by the 309' New York World Building (1890 - demolished 1955), the 348' Manhattan Life Insurance Building (1894 - demolished 1930 [ ??? ]) and the 391' Park Row Building (1899 - still standing across Park Row from City Hall Park).



    The word SKYSCRAPER apparently was first used in conjunction with a type of building in 1883 (before any of the above-mentioned buildings were constructed):
    skyscraper

    Origin: 1883

    Before it became a building, Americans knew skyscraper as "a high-flying bird" (1840), "a tall hat or bonnet" (1847), or "a high fly ball in baseball" (1866). But in 1883, a visionary writer in American Architect and Building News declared that:
    "a public building should always have something towering up above all in its neighborhood.... This form of sky-scraper gives that peculiar refined, independent, self-contained, daring, bold, heaven-reaching, erratic, piratic, Quixotic, American thought ('young America with his lack of veneration'). The capitol building should always have a dome. I should raise thereon a gigantic 'sky-scraper,' contrary to all precedent in practice, and I should trust to American constructive and engineering skill to build it strong enough for any gale."
    As seen in this drawing the Flatiron certainly fit the bill of a "skyscraper" in its early days:



    The West End Ave / Park Avenue streetwall buildings, by the very nature that they are a collection of buildings in a row, seems to preclude them from being described as skyscrapers -- even if their individual height puts them in the company of other earlier individual skyscrapers.

    In my eye a building has to have some individual relationship to the sky to earn the tag "skyscraper". This causes trouble for all the 50-story buildings clumped together in business districts -- and leads to the unpopular "plateau" effect that is so often bemoaned here and elsewhere.

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