skyline wars

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Architecture, Carter Uncut, Features, Starchitecture, Urban Design

Carter Uncut brings New York City’s latest development news under the critical eye of resident architecture critic Carter B. Horsley. Ahead, Carter brings us his ninth and final installment of “Skyline Wars,” a series that examines the explosive and unprecedented supertall phenomenon that is transforming the city’s silhouette. In this post Carter takes at aim the quality of design of those towers rising around the city right now, and how they fail to inspire when compared to those found internationally.

The explosive transformation of the New York City skyline now underway is occurring without any plan in a very haphazard fashion. Some of the new towers are not ugly but compared to many new ones elsewhere, especially those that are free-standing, they’re not going to win many top honors. Many are very thin, mid-block incursions. Others arrogantly abut and loom over landmarks with nary a thought to context. Some clearly are aimed at one-percenters and offer lavish amenities and layouts. But many others are squeezing potential residents like sardines into very small apartments in attempts to set new “density” records.

The towers that got it wrong, and right

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Architecture, Carter Uncut, Features, Urban Design

Skyline Wars: Accounting for New York’s Stray Supertalls

By Carter B. Horsley, Wed, May 11, 2016

skyline strays

Carter Uncut brings New York City’s latest development news under the critical eye of resident architecture critic Carter B. Horsley. Ahead, Carter brings us his eighth installment of “Skyline Wars,” a series that examines the explosive and unprecedented supertall phenomenon that is transforming the city’s silhouette. In this post Carter looks at the “stray” supertalls rising in low slung neighborhoods.

Most of the city’s recent supertall developments have occurred in traditional high-rise commercial districts such as the Financial District, the Plaza District, downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City. Some are also sprouting in new districts such as the Hudson Yards in far West Midtown.

There are, however, some isolated “stray” supertalls that are rising up in relatively virgin tall territories, such as next to the Manhattan Bridge on the Lower East Side and Sutton Place.

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Architecture, Battery Park City, Carter Uncut, Features, Financial District, History, opinion, Urban Design

Skyline Wars: In Lower Manhattan, A New Downtown Is Emerging

By Carter B. Horsley, Mon, April 18, 2016

carters view downtown manhattan

Carter Uncut brings New York City’s latest development news under the critical eye of resident architecture critic Carter B. Horsley. This week Carter brings us his fourth installment of “Skyline Wars,” a series that examines the explosive and unprecedented supertall phenomenon that is transforming the city’s silhouette. In this post Carter looks at the evolution of the Lower Manhattan skyline.

Lower Manhattan at the start of the Great Depression was the world’s most famous and influential skyline when 70 Pine, 20 Exchange Place, 1 and 40 Wall Street, and the Woolworth and Singer buildings inspired the world with their romantic silhouettes in a relatively balanced reach for the sky centered around the tip of Lower Manhattan.

Midtown was not asleep at the switch and countered with the great Empire State, the spectacular Chrysler and 30 Rockefeller Plaza but they were scattered and could not topple the aggregate visual power and lure of Lower Manhattan and its proverbial “view from the 40th floor” as the hallowed precinct of corporate America until the end of World War II.

The convenience and elegance of Midtown, however, became increasingly irresistible to many.

More on the the history of Lower Manhattan and what’s in store

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Carter Uncut, Construction Update, Features, hudson yards, Major Developments, Midtown West, Starchitecture, Urban Design

hudson yards skyline

Carter Uncut brings New York City’s breaking development news under the critical eye of resident architecture critic Carter B. Horsley. This week Carter brings us the third installment of “Skyline Wars,” a series that examines the explosive and unprecedented supertall phenomenon that is transforming the city’s silhouette. In this post Carter zooms in on Hudson Yards.

The Hudson Yards neighborhood in Far Midtown West is one of the country’s most active construction areas. Construction cranes dot its emerging skyline and dozens more are promised now with the district’s improved connection to the rest of the city. Last fall, the 7-line subway station at Eleventh Avenue and 34th Street opened with one-stop access to Times Square. The newly-minted station features a lengthy diagonal escalator bringing commuters to the front-door of the huge mixed-use project being created over the rail yards west of Tenth Avenue between 30th and 33rd streets. Originally, a second station was contemplated on 41st Street and Tenth Avenue but transit officials claimed it could not afford the $500 million expenditure, despite the enormous amount of new residential construction occurring along the far West 42nd Street corridor.

Nevertheless, the finished Hudson Yards station deposits straphangers into a new diagonal boulevard and park between 10th and 11th Avenues that will ultimately stretch from the Related Companies / Oxford Property Group’s Hudson Yards master plan northward to 42nd Street.

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Carter Uncut, Features, Major Developments, Midtown East, Starchitecture, Urban Design

carters view

Carter Uncut brings New York City’s breaking development news under the critical eye of resident architecture critic Carter B. Horsley. This week Carter brings us the second installment of nine-part series, “Skyline Wars,” which examines the explosive and unprecedented supertall phenomenon that is transforming the city’s silhouette. In this post Carter zooms in on Midtown East and the design of One Vanderbilt, the controversial tower that is being pinned as the catalyst for change in an area that has fallen behind in recent decades.

Despite some objections from community boards and local politicians, New York City is moving ahead with the rezoning of East Midtown between Fifth and Third avenues, and 39th and 59th Streets; and earlier this year, the de Blasio administration enacted an important part of the plan, a rezoning of the Vanderbilt Avenue corridor just to the west of Grand Central Terminal. The Vanderbilt Avenue rezoning included approval of a 1,501-foot-high tower at 1 Vanderbilt Avenue on the block bounded by Madison Avenue, 42nd and 43rd Streets. The tapered, glass-clad tower, topped by a spire, is being designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox for SL Green. Mayors Bloomberg and de Blasio have championed the 1 Vanderbilt proposal despite serious concerns voiced by numerous civic organizations over the rezoning scheme that some see as “spot zoning” and the fact that the city has still not finalized nor published its complete rezoning package.

Using air-rights transfers from the Grand Central Terminal area and zoning bonuses for providing $210 million for infrastructure improvements in the area, the tower will significantly alter the midtown skyline, rising several hundred feet above the nearby Chrysler Building and the huge and bulky but lower MetLife Tower straddling Park Avenue just north of Grand Central Terminal. Its 63 stories are several less than the Chrysler Building and just a few more than the MetLife Tower, which might be interpreted by some observers as indicated that it was in “context” with such prominent neighbors, but they are wrong.

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Featured Story

Architecture, Carter Uncut, Central Park South, Features, Midtown, real estate trends

Carter Uncut brings New York City’s development news under the critical eye of resident architecture critic Carter B. Horsley. This week Carter kicks off a nine-part series, “Skyline Wars,” which will examine the explosive and unprecedented supertall phenomenon that is transforming the city’s silhouette. To start, Carter zooms in on the biggest developments shaping the southern corridor of Central Park.

They did not come from outer space when they landed on our front yard while the NIMBY folk and the city’s planners and preservationists weren’t looking. Some are scrawny. Some are dressed like respectable oldsters. They’re the supertalls and they’re coming to a site near you.

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