Cityscapes: New Landmarks

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The WNYC Culture department is launching a new project on the changing NYC architectural environment. Throughout the month of April, the New Yorker's architecture critic Paul Goldberger will discuss the cityscape all around us. Hugh Hardy,, founder of H3 Hardy Collaboration and called "Mister New York" by architects throughout the city, is one of the four prominent architects participating in the project.


Paul Goldberger and Hugh Hardy,

Comments [29]

Pat Merino from Astoria

Anyone who truly loves this city should read
Jeremiah's Vanishing New York on a regular basis!

It's the only honest commentary on our disappearing city and the culture of working class neighborhoods and community ;-(

Apr. 05 2009 08:13 PM
Iris from from the street

I'm nothing but a pair of eyes, but super contemporary NY architecture is a real bore. There is no thrilling and thoughtful stir to the facades; one doesn't feel the sense of intimacy on these modern pre-made buildings. Or perhaps I have been watching too much of the construction process; big slabs get air lifted with the touch of a button; they get pegged on like a cut of meat on a butchers rack. But, I know I'm supposed to appreciate the diversity in all things NY (as taught by Jane Jacobs), so at least there are reflections of these glass structures. Reflections have an ironic New York wink to them; especially if they are neighboring the old classic buildings.

Apr. 01 2009 05:33 PM
Michael D. D. White from Brooklyn Heights

When you look at something like the (AOL) Time Warner Center, which we don’t particularly like, you have to evaluate it not in terms of what it IS, but in terms of what it COULD HAVE BEEN. This is something that is hard for most people to do.

Yes, the Time Warner Center is a net positive over the Coliseum that it replaced but its bland generic mallishness is nothing like the much greater net positive that it could have been. That comparison is necessarily the real yardstick against which to measure of its success. For instance, we consider that the Brodsky organization’s design to replace the Coliseum which lost out to Related’s bid to build the AOL/TW Center would have provided a better base design with which to start.

We do admit, however, that the TW Center is superior to what was previously proposed to replace the Coliseum. The MTA had it in mind to go up to 130 stories. And people ought to remember that developer Mortimer B. Zuckerman’s plan to build two 68-story (925 feet) Moshe Safdie-designed needle/prism towers at the southwestern corner of Central Park would have transformed the park into a giant sundial. That plan with an unusually high 18 FAR, though later reduced several times, was defeated.

Michael D. D. White
Noticing New York

Apr. 01 2009 12:21 PM
allie from brooklyn

instead of taking over neighborhoods and pushing artists
out by building and raising rents (soho, east village, williamsburg) it would take a great leap for any commun ity-ie . williamsburg to BUILD IN AFFORDABLE STUDIO AND LIVING SPACES for artists. williamsburg has lost
many artists and has turned into condoburg. this city needs to think differently.

Apr. 01 2009 11:08 AM
HW from Manhattan

I think this is part and parcel of why Bloomberg shouldn't be elected back in, it's just money-driven "development" with no care for the areas that these buildings are being built or even if people are going to buy them. So long as the developer gets paid, it seems liek the object.

Apr. 01 2009 10:59 AM
rubyvrooom from manhattan

What about Lincoln Center and the all the work they have done to open up Julliard to the street? I think the work that has gone on there is a perfect example of what happens to bad decision over time.

Apr. 01 2009 10:59 AM
karao from Boston, MA

Curious if more architects are designing buildings that expand OUT from bottom to top (buildings that grow wider as they get taller), like the blue condo at Delancey Street and Suffolk Street by Bernard Tschumi Architects.

Apr. 01 2009 10:59 AM
Gary from UWS

The Hearst Building looks like an alien ship searching for Area 51 that had to make an emergency landing in Manhattan.

The building is hideous and completely out of scale for that neighborhood.

Apr. 01 2009 10:58 AM
steve from Staten isl

the only building on staten island has been homes, from condo and duplex developments to homes jammed into every corner of allowable land.

also the south shore has a new shopping center.

the rest (infrastructure such as roads, highways, railways and bridges) is falling apart with no attention paid by the mayor or albany.

Apr. 01 2009 10:58 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

Change. Change for who and for the benefit of who?

Apr. 01 2009 10:58 AM
Phil Thomas DiGiulio from Brooklyn

I think this is a great idea. There's no better way to showcase places (cities, neighborhoods, etc.) and spaces (real estate) than with video.

Check out what Halstead's doing with videos showcasing New York Neighborhoods and developments:

Apr. 01 2009 10:56 AM
Darius from Prospect Heights

You Manhattanites can keep your glass condos (high rent) and skyscrapers! Brooklynites aren't interested.

Apr. 01 2009 10:56 AM
CMH from Manhattan

Is there any connection between the cultural rise of narcissism (where we make our lives public in every way)and these glass houses?

Apr. 01 2009 10:56 AM
MikeInBrklyn from Brooklyn

New York is becoming similarly boring to modern cities like Hong Kong. The historic character that made NY interesting, is all but gone. People should take time to scan the old buildings and take time to notice the aesthetics of architects of the past. With every new glass and steel building built to meet the greed of some developer, the soul of NY is brought ever closer to death. And this soulless feel leaves me wanting to leave.

Apr. 01 2009 10:55 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

The building boom in Williamburg has totally destroyed the feeling of community. Besides being built out of the cheapest materials possible, the scale of the buildings are totally character with the neighborhood. Whenever I am in the northside of Brooklyn, I feel like the Manhattan ripped off the Brooklyn waterfront for its own benefit. I feel like the big foot of greed has stomped on it.

Apr. 01 2009 10:54 AM
eastvillage from nyc

The new CooperUnion building and the other giant steele/glass building just south of it in the eastvillage are both bloated new buildings that examplify the taste for bigness of the new architecture that ruins the local atomosphere. Especially the Cooper Union one: it looks like a fat buy sucking in his belly, thusting his chest out.

Apr. 01 2009 10:53 AM
Melissa from Jackson Heights, Queens

I think the area of greatest change is the East 20s where 19th Century buildings have been razed and replaced with ugly concrete structures. This isn't about redevelopment, or architectural beauty this is about making money.

Doctoroff was Bloombergs director of business development the only development he did was real estate.

Apr. 01 2009 10:52 AM
Michael from Greenpoint

Chicago has design review of most of its large skyscrapers, which is why they look much better and much more integrated with each other.

Apr. 01 2009 10:49 AM
Zak from Washington Heights

Woo hoo! Hearing New Yorkers praise Chicago's skyline always does me proud, as a transplant. New York's skyline is a forest; Chicago's skyline is a sculpture. Both have their virtues, mind you...but there is a very conscientious effort to the skyline as a whole in Chicago.

Apr. 01 2009 10:49 AM
Sabrina from Manhattan

New York University new buildings on Third Avenue from roughly 11th Street to 23rd St. redefined this area architecturally. And it's awful.

Apr. 01 2009 10:49 AM
Andrew from East Harlem

Although the New York Times building can look a bit drab in certian light, I think it's fairly successful, especially at the groung plane. Now we just need to move that level of thought/design across the street to Port Authority.

Apr. 01 2009 10:47 AM
Dan Kaplan from Chelsea

The Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking, by Polshek, The Yohji Yamamoto Boutique AT 1 Gansevoort St, 40 Bond st, by Herzog & DeMuron, The new Nouvel Hotel on the West Side in Chelsea, The Folk Art Museum by Williams Tsien, the reno of Lincoln Ctr, by Diller Scofidio & Renfro

Apr. 01 2009 10:47 AM
RLewis from The Bowery

Having lived through the death of SoHo as an artist community, I'm now again living in an artist zone thanks to the New Museum. No doubt, the massive changes on the Bowery lead to the New Mu, but it's arrival has spawned a new gallery scene that has mushroomed under its shade. Both good things and bad things about the Bowery are disappearing; both good things and bad things are springing up all around it - the empitome of the constant love/hate relationship we have with Manhattan. But it does raise the question - what kind of populas do we want to comprise the borrough (a variety of income levels or just the highest bidders)?

Apr. 01 2009 10:46 AM
Hugh from Brookyn

Two interesting/contrasting examples very near me in Brooklyn.

1. The area, especially the fountain, in front of the Brooklyn Museums redesigned entry. People have really taken to this area as just a calm gathering spot -- more so than the park that is just across Washington Ave.

2. The Richard Meier glass condo building that is right on Grand Army Plaza. I think it's a pretty nice building, but it remains _mostly empty_! The finish work has just dragged on and on because there is no incentive to finish since there is almost zero interest in the condos.

Apr. 01 2009 10:45 AM
Susan Brailove from midtown east

Weren't "Needle buildings" forbidden some years ago? so what about the new buildings which are now being called "beanstalk buildings"?

Apr. 01 2009 10:44 AM
Betty Anne from Ridgewood

Without a doubt the absence of the Twin Towers is the most striking difference in the city scape. What is most startling is the fact that massive buildings and stadiums have gone up in the window since 9/11.

Why can the Bank of America building or the new Yankee Stadium go up so quickly but the Freedom Tower will not be completed this decade?

Apr. 01 2009 10:44 AM
shaun from brooklkyn

Does anyone know about the condo on N7th btw Bedford and Berry? Its been unfinished for almost 3-4 years, yet they still have lights on.

Apr. 01 2009 10:44 AM
Brian Douglas

Gowanus Green, a planned condon on top of what has been a superfund site on smith street in Brooklyn.

Apr. 01 2009 10:43 AM
tom from nyc

I paint architectural scenes all over the city, and 90 percent or more of all people who talk to me really dislike what is happening to the city. Contemporary architecture is hugely unpopular, and only the 'experts' don't realize this. Now we will watch the Flatiron get gutted -- all the mosaics, the stairways, the old decorative ceilings, will be torn out. Will Mr. Goldberger comment on this? Does anybody in the field care? Of course not. I also talk to working architects all the time they seem to be the only ones who really like most new buildings. I predict Mr. Goldberger will say there are some very interesting additions to the city, and some awful things as well. He fiddles while New York turns -- into a city with no character and very little historic

Apr. 01 2009 10:32 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.