worldwide plaza

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Architecture, Carter Uncut, Features, History, Urban Design

Image of WWP via Macklowe Properties

What does it take to jump-start an unglamorous neighborhood? A huge development? A mixed-use project? New transit facilities?

When this full-block, mixed-use development project was conceived in the mid-1980s the area in and around Times Square was one of the city’s worst. It was riddled with crime and pornography and was run-down, especially along Eighth Avenue. The proposition to add a building that was the scale of the full-block One Worldwide Plaza development, therefore, was not only surprising, but shocking and downright unthinkable.

The legendary Madison Square Garden designed by Thomas W. Lamb had occupied its site from 1925 to 1966, but its second incarnation here was rather ramshackle especially in comparison to its previous glorious building on Madison Avenue at 26th Street. When it moved south next to the “new” Penn Station 16 blocks to the south, this site became the city’s largest parking lot and it took about a decade and a half for it to find a new life. The site was finally developed and completed in 1989 by a syndicate headed by William Zeckendorf Jr. that included Arthur Cohen and Worldwide Realty partners Frank Stanton and Victor Elmaleh.

more on the rise of worldwide plaza and how it revived midtown manhattan

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