Midtown

History, Landmarks Preservation Commission, Midtown

State Senators Brad Hoylman and Liz Krueger have asked the Landmarks Preservation Commission to designate the Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library’s main branch and the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room at the 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue branch as interior landmarks, according to DNAInfo. The library’s main branch, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, was given landmark designation in 1967 and Astor Hall and the grand staircases within the building were designated as interior landmarks in 1974. Interior landmark designation would give the two reading rooms–favorites of literary greats including Norman Mailer, E.L. Doctorow and Elizabeth Bishop–the same protection moving forward.

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City Living, Midtown, Policy

Congress agreed to a budget deal Sunday night that allocates money to pay New York City back for funds spent on protecting Trump Tower, reports the New York Daily News. The bipartisan agreement creates a $68 million “protection package,” which will reportedly be split with Florida, where Trump’s Palm Beach Mar-a-Lago mansion serves as his vacation home.

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affordable housing, housing lotteries, Midtown, Upper East Side

Qualifying New Yorkers aching to be in the thick of the city’s performing arts scene now have an opportunity to join the waitlist for two Midtown West rental towers: One Columbus Place and 55-75 West End Avenue. The NYCHDC is currently accepting applications for studio and one-bedrooms priced at $613 and $659, respectively. The towers, both developed by the Brodsky Organization in the mid-90s, boast not only a fantastic location close to Columbus Circle, Central Park, and Lincoln Center, but also come with great perks like roof decks, swimming pools, laundry facilities, gyms, and concierge and doorman service.

find out if you qualify

Midtown, real estate trends

Ralph Lauren announced Tuesday that it will close its flagship store on Fifth Avenue and 55th Street, citing falling revenue and rising rents. As reported by the New York Times, the company, which opened this location in 2014, plans to reorganize by investing more in their online stores. Keeping afloat a business on New York City’s most expensive shopping strip is not a problem unique to Ralph Lauren; Kenneth Cole, Juicy Couture, and H&M have also recently closed their doors. Soaring rents, plus a drop in tourism, has lead to an increase in vacant space along Fifth Avenue.

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Midtown, New Developments

The 103-year-old landmarked Lord & Taylor flagship store at 424 Fifth Avenue may be getting a luxurious makeover. As the New York Post learned, the speculative project includes constructing a steel-and-glass skyscraper and redeveloping the building into an office and residential tower, keeping the 11-story department store as the base. Sources tell the Post that NYC property executive Richard Baker, who acquired Lord & Taylor in 2008, is behind the development talks. And though few details are known, “real estate insiders” point out that nearby towers rise as high as 60 stories.

Find out more here

Midtown, Policy

NYC may have to compete for Trump Tower security funds

By Devin Gannon, Fri, March 31, 2017

While the President has yet to visit Trump Tower since his inauguration, the price of protecting the First Lady and 10-year-old Barron costs the city an average of $136,000 per day, according to the NYPD. Congress offered only $7 million to reimburse the city for the $24 million the police department said they have spent protecting the building between the period of Trump’s election and his inauguration. However, as Crain’s learned, that payment is not guaranteed, and NYC may have to compete with New Jersey and Florida, both places the president frequents, for the money.

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City Living, Midtown

Jeffrey Beebe, BravinLee gallery, Trumpy the Rat

As a symbol of resistance to the Trump administration, Chelsea-based contemporary art gallery BravinLee created a Kickstarter to raise $10,000 for an inflatable, 15-foot rat sporting a comb-over and an ill-fitting suit (complete with an inflatable piece of scotch tape to ensure his tie won’t blow in the wind) that will be placed outside Trump Tower. As the A.V. Club learned, artist Jeffrey Beebe was inspired by Scabby the Rat, the inflatable rat that attends union strikes to signal unfair and unsafe practices by management. With the deadline to fund “Trumpy the Rat” set for April 19, the project has raked in just over $5,500.

Find out more here

Architecture, Design, Midtown

Big Bend Rendering, Oiio

New York City Architecture firm Oiio has proposed a conceptual skyscraper that would curve at the top and then return to the ground, becoming what the firm believes to be the “longest” building to ever be created. As reported by dezeen, their “Big Bend” proposal challenges Manhattan’s obsession with supertall skyscrapers by substituting extreme height with length—stretching 4,000 feet from end to end. If they are able to design this building, Oiio hopes it could potentially provide a solution to the height limitations imposed by city zoning laws.

See the renderings here

Green Design, Midtown, Technology

Image courtesy Murphy Burnham and Buttrick Architects

Nearly two years ago, St. Patrick’s Cathedral removed the scaffolding that had been shrouding its neo-Gothic facade to reveal a restored landmark. The work was part of a larger four-year $177 million restoration and conservation that’s also included an interior overhaul, renovation of the garden, and a new heating and cooling system. This last component is also now complete, as The Architect’s Newspaper reports that the Cathedral has activated their new, state-of-the-art geothermal plant, just in time to warm things up for St. Patrick’s Day. The system will cut the building’s energy consumption by more than 30 percent and reduce CO2 emissions by roughly 94,000 kilograms.

How did they accomplish this?

Celebrities, Midtown

trump tower security

Although the President has not visited Trump Tower since his inauguration, the NYPD plans on increasing the number of officers who guard the tower after struggling with ways to effectively man the building. As reported by TMZ, the police department will choose between 30 and 40 full-time officers with “solid records” to work 12-hour shifts at the skyscraper.

Find out more here

Midtown

On Tuesday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously to designate most of the famed Waldorf Astoria’s first three floors an official interior landmark. The decision came just a week after the iconic hotel closed for what’s expected to be a three-year renovation and condo conversion. But for those who missed their chance to get inside before the doors shut, Google Maps has released a virtual 3D tour of the Art Deco interiors, including the Park Avenue lobby with its bronze-and-mahogany clock tower, Peacock Alley restaurant, the grand ballroom and balconies, and Louis Rigal’s “Wheel of Life” mosaic made from 140,000 marble tiles (h/t Crain’s). You can even go inside the Guerlain Spa and some hotel rooms.

Take the walk through here

condos, Landmarks Preservation Commission, Midtown, New Developments

In news that will come as a surprise to no one, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously this morning to designate the interiors of the famed Waldorf Astoria a New York City landmark. According to Curbed, the decision was made within minutes without hesitation from any of the board members. The announcement also comes hot on the heels of the hotel’s closure just one week ago, as its new owners, Anbang Insurance Group, undertake what’s expected to be a three-year renovation and conversion that will bring forth 840 updated hotel rooms and 321 luxury condos.

more details here

Featured Story

Architecture, Features, History, Midtown

pan am building helipad

Perhaps the most detested Midtown skyscraper by the public, this huge tower has nevertheless always been a popular building with tenants for its prime location over Grand Central Terminal and its many views up and down Park Avenue. It is also one of the world’s finest examples of the Brutalist architecture, commendable for its robust form and excellent public spaces, as well as its excellent integration into the elevated arterial roads around it.

However, there is no argument that it is also immensely bulky with a monstrous height. As shown in the photograph ahead, to its north, the building completely overshadows the Helmsley Building, an iconic product of Warren & Wetmore’s Terminal City complex. The pyramid-topped Helmsley Building once straddled the avenue with remarkable grace, and as one of the city’s very rare, “drive-through” buildings, it was the great centerpiece of Park Avenue. But by shrouding such a masterpiece in its shadows, the Pan Am Building (today the MetLife building) desecrated a major icon that will unfortunately never recover from such a contemptible slight on a prominent site.

Read more about the significance of this building here

Midtown

Trump Tower, Airbnb trump tower listing, illegal airbnb listings

Screenshot of the listing before it was taken down, via NYT

Not even a $500,000 a day security bill or threat of frequent evacuations could stop Airbnb from infiltrating Trump Tower. The Times found a listing on the rental site for an apartment in the Midtown fortress that had been available since at least September until they last week contacted Airbnb, at which time it was taken down. The $300-$450 a night rental didn’t explicitly state the address but was described as “the most secure and unique building” and asked that potential renters be “politically neutral” and not engage in political displays within the building. Despite these strange stipulations and the added nuisance of protestors and having to go through a Secret Service screening, the apartment is booked for most of the next few months, reviews are surprisingly positive, and it has a five-star rating.

But how did this all get past the secret service?

Midtown, New Developments, Rentals

The market for ultra-luxury condos may be cooling down, but developers appear to be much more optimistic about posh senior housing. Last year, 6sqft reported that Welltower Inc., the country’s largest senior housing owner by market value, had teamed up with Hines to develop the “One57 of Assisted Living,” an upscale facility at 56th Street and Lexington Avenue boasting $20,000/month rents. Now, it appears that the project is moving forward as Curbed tells us plans have been filed with the DOB to start construction.

additional details this way

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