Midtown East

Midtown East, Urban Design

Fisher Brothers unveiled on Tuesday the 17 finalists chosen for its “Beyond the Centerline” design competition after receiving more than 150 submissions. Participants were asked to think of creative and ambitious ideas to transform the traffic medians along Park Avenue between 46th and 57th Streets. The finalists did not disappoint. Proposals call for an Alpine mountain, a massive aquarium, floating gardens, mini-golf, an elevated walkway and more. Although a jury will select the grand prize winner, all 17 proposals will be on display for public voting at Park Avenue Plaza, located at 55 East 52nd Street, from March 5 to March 9 for the second-place prize. Below, check out all of the unique projects.

See the ambitious ideas

Featured Story

Features, History, Hotels, Midtown East

Photo via Wally Gobetz/Flickr

You know that Old King Cole had a pipe and bowl, but did you know he also had a cloak and dagger? New York’s hyper-illustrious St. Regis Hotel, home to the famous King Cole Bar, has a clandestine pedigree that goes straight to its core. Founded by a family of spies, the Hotel became headquarters for the nation’s wartime spy service, and in the process helped inspire not only the Bloody Mary cocktail but also the Invasion of North Africa.

Read on for the history of Midtown’s preeminent spy den

Hotels, Midtown East

The Chinese government now owns the Waldorf Astoria

By Devin Gannon, Fri, February 23, 2018

Photo via Wikimedia

The Chinese government has taken control over debt-ridden Anbang Insurance Group, a Beijing-based firm known for snatching up prominent properties around the world for billions of dollars. One of those high-profile properties includes New York City’s iconic Waldorf Astoria, which the group purchased for $1.95 billion in 2014. According to the New York Times, the government takeover comes after Abang violated regulations, although the exact violations committed are unclear so far. Anbang will be overseen for one year by a group that includes China’s central bank, the country’s securities and banking regulator, the regular of foreign exchanges and other government agencies.

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Major Developments, Midtown East, New Developments

270 Park Avenue via MikePScott’s Flickr

Plans to replace JPMorgan Chase’s current headquarters at 270 Park Avenue with a much taller tower at the same site is facing opposition from architecture and preservation buffs, shortly after the proposal was announced. Not only will the project become the largest intentionally demolished building in history, as YIMBY reported, the landmark-worthy Union Carbide Building was also designed in 1960 by Natalie de Blois, a pioneer of American architecture and one of the few female senior designers at that time. As the first project under the Midtown East rezoning, JPMorgan Chase’s existing 700-foot tall structure will be bulldozed to make way for a tower that will most likely be over 1,200 feet tall.

More this way

Major Developments, Midtown East, Policy

A model of what the future 270 Park Ave building might look like via CityRealty

Mayor Bill de Blasio and JPMorgan Chase announced on Wednesday plans to build a new 70-story world headquarters at the site of the bank’s current offices at 270 Park Avenue, the first project under the East Midtown Rezoning plan. Approved by the City Council in August, the rezoning affects 78 blocks running from East 39th Street to East 57th Street and from Third Avenue to Madison Avenue. The updated zoning code is expected to clear the way for 6.5 million square feet of modern office space and allow for taller buildings. JPMorgan Chase’s new building will have enough room for about 15,000 employees, compared to the old building’s capacity of just 3,500 employees.

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Midtown East, real estate trends

Photo via Wikimedia

The landlords of New York City’s most iconic skyscraper are looking to fill 50,000 square feet of retail space by 2020, even as brick-and-mortar businesses in Manhattan have struggled to stay open. According to Bloomberg, owners of the Empire State Building are marketing the tower’s ground-floor, concourse and second-floor real estate, as the building undergoes a retail renovation for the first time since opening in 1931. Plus, the tower’s observatory entrance will be moved from Fifth Avenue to 34th Street.

More this way

condos, Hotels, Midtown East, New Developments

Waldorf Astoria will lose 1,000 hotel rooms in renovation

By Emily Nonko, Mon, November 13, 2017

Photo via Wiki Commons

In the coming weeks, the renovation of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel will finally begin–a three-year process to convert much of the building to luxury condos. Hilton Worldwide Holdings, who had owned the landmark since 1972, agreed in 2014 to sell the 1,413-room hotel to Beijing-based financial and insurance company Anbang Insurance Group for $1.95 billion. Since then, the interior was landmarked, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill was tapped to design the project, and the building closed to begin work. Now the New York Post reports that post reno, the Waldorf will only hold 350 hotel rooms–a number that’s “at the low end of recent estimates and much smaller than the number former Waldorf owner Hilton had expected,” according to the paper.

It’s caused some tension

Midtown East, real estate trends

Trump Tower prices slide since 2015 presidential campaign

By Michelle Cohen, Fri, November 10, 2017

Photo of Trump Tower via Krystal T’s Flickr

Sales prices at the tony Midtown condo building at 721 Fifth Avenue have dropped sharply since Donald Trump began his presidential campaign, according to the Wall Street Journal. The median sale price and average price per square foot are down since 2015 and are now reaching the lows experienced during the last financial crisis. Brokers aren’t exactly sure whether the “Trump effect” has caused the slump–including issues specific to the tower such as heightened security, protests, and a general antipathy toward all things Trump–or it’s part of an overall softening of the luxury condo market.

Is it the Curse of Trump?

Design, History, Midtown East

AT&T Building, Robert AM Stern, Phillip Johnson

Photo of the protest courtesy of Nathan Eddy

After Olayan America and Chelsfield revealed plans last week for a $300 million renovation of the building at 550 Madison Avenue, known as the AT&T Building, criticism quickly followed. Members of the architecture community, including New York architect Robert A.M. Stern, rallied together last Friday at the base of the Philip Johnson-designed skyscraper, to protest Snøhetta’s proposal to replace the building’s base with a scalloped glass front (h/t Dezeen). Protestors held signs that read “Hands off my Johnson,” “Save the Stone,” and “Save AT&T.” Plus, a petition is currently being circulated on Change.org in an attempt to preserve Johnson’s iconic AT&T Building by having the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission officially designate it as a city landmark.

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Architecture, Midtown East, New Developments

Nearly a year ago, developer SL Green confirmed that their 1,401-foot supertall One Vanderbilt, set to be the city’s second tallest building behind One World Trade Center, would boast a 1,020-foot observation deck, which would have made it the third-highest indoor-outdoor observatory in the city after the forthcoming 1,100-foot deck at 30 Hudson Yards and the 1,050-foot deck at the Empire State Building (One World Observatory is at 1,250 feet, but it’s not outdoors). However, new details and diagrams uncovered by NY Yimby show that it may actually stand at 1,100 feet, tying for the city’s highest.

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