How do you follow up managing the building of the city’s newest and most exciting museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art on the Hudson River waterfront in the West Village, that kicks off the city’s most popular architectural extravaganza, the High Line elevated park? You commission Sir Norman Foster, one of the world’s master architects to rise to the starchitect challenge of the High Line, the city’s seemingly overnight sensation that is a phenomenal explosion of really interesting designs in a city too long mired in architectural mediocrity and bogged down mightily by the burden of rampant NIMBYism, the well-intentioned but dreaded Not In My Back Yard syndrome.
Scott Resnick, the head of SR Capital, has asked Foster to design a 19-story residential condominium building at 551 West 21st Street, half a block west of the High Line. “We’ve got the Hudson River,” Resnick retorts, casually destroying the real estate myth of “location, location, location.”
This, of course, is the back story to the supertall onslaught of the south end of Central Park. How can mere 250-footers at best compete with the 1,000-foot-plus stompin’ boots of oligarchs in and around the city’s platinum core of double-height retailing, grand hoteling and horse-and-buggy bashing? Talk about 76 trombones! Still, in a metropolis of more than eight-million yarns, there is eternal hope for the spunky “little guys,” “da bums.”