New York City's Ugliest Buildings: Your Choices

Thursday, June 10, 2010 - 08:20 PM


To celebrate the release of AIA's new Guide to New York City last week, we came up with a totally arbitrary list of New York City's ugliest buildings. Now you've had your say.

New Yorkers not being retiring types, we've heard from citizens of all stripes about the architectural blights that drive you crazy. At the top of the list: condos−in all their sunlight-grabbing, neighorhood-dulling blandness. (Too many to list here.) Also the target of some verbal whoopings: Richard Meier's Grand Army Plaza and West Village structures, the redone Museum of Arts and Design, and the Cooper Union structure by Morphosis. (I gotta confess: I seriously dig that Morphosis building, so I'm going to have to respectfully disagree.) Also on the ire list: the smoke-puffing thingie on the south side of Union Square. (I'm with y'all on that one. It's heinous.)

Below, a visual round-up of some of your choices for ugliest buildings in NYC.

Adam Kuban/flickr
The sort of structure that would have made Mussolini proud: Big, symmetrical, practically fascist -- on 4th Avenue in Brooklyn.
Kurt Strahm/flickr
One listener helpfully dissected the influences of a Williamsburg condo tower, which appears to be equal parts wood-panelled station wagon and juke box.
Gwathmey Siegel's Green Monster on Astor Place: Not a local favorite. At all.
Like a mirage (not a good one) on the Lower East Side--and, ironically, part of the School of Visual Arts.
Frank Gehry's IAC building is divisive. Some like it, many loathe it. (I think it looks best at night.)
ty law/flickr
In the foreground, a downtown Manhattan building that can't seem to make up its mind on a look.
Sometimes it's not the architecture, but the details that get folks riled--such as the universally dumped-on Fedders air conditioning units.
Luca Zappa
The dreaded AT&T building in TriBeCa, a structure that some folks I know have christened the Death Star.
Bernard Tschumi's blue thing: Like a fist to the lower Manhattan gut.
In Brighton Beach: When condos come with exoskeletons, run for your lives.


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Comments [1]

Maria Berger from Jamaica Estates, Queens, New York

I live in Jamaica Estates, Queens, and have for the last 40 years. I have never witnessed the destruction of beauty as I have in the last 5 or 6 years. "How ugly is ugly? that is the question. You must see it to believe it.

Jan. 04 2011 09:56 PM

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About Gallerina

Carolina A. Miranda is a regular contributor to WNYC and blogs about the arts for the station as "Gallerina." In addition to that, she contributes articles on culture, travel and the arts to a variety of national and regional media, including Time, ArtNews, Travel + Leisure and Budget Travel and Florida Travel + Life. She has reported on the burgeoning industry of skatepark design, architectural pedagogy in Southern California, the presence of street art in museums and Lima's burgeoning food scene, among many other subjects. In 2008, she was named one of eight fellows in the USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program for her arts and architecture blog, which has received mentions in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. In January of 2010, the Times named her one of nine people to follow on Twitter. Got a tip? E-mail her at c [@] c-monster [dot] net


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