People get pretty emotional about their New York skyline. Recent news has swirled around Comcast wanting to put its name atop Rockefeller Center (goodbye, G.E.), the soon-to-be obstructed view of Manhattan from New Jersey’s Lincoln Tunnel entrance, and the super-slim ultra-tall residential skyscrapers sprouting up along the south edge of Central Park.
What’s going up at Hudson Yards? Will more sky-high slivers be overtaking the Empire State Building? The downtown skyline? Thankfully, the Skyscraper Museum is walking us all through the plans in its show, closing this weekend, Sky High & the Logic of Luxury. In a fantastic on-line and in-gallery show, the museum lays out the thinking behind six super-tall residential real estate developments, gives us the historic context of tall buildings here, and introduces us to the architects and developers behind the trend.
The show – both in the museum and on the web – begins with a definition of “slim” skyscraper and the long history of super-skinny in Manhattan. The history goes as far back to 1889 with the super-tall (at eleven stories) Tower Building at 50 Broadway – the beginning of the first phase of super-slim buildings. The MetLife Tower, finished in 1909, still towers to the east of Shake Shack at Madison Square. (Note, however, that the clock face is the only original part of the exterior left after a 1960s renovation.)
After New York’s zoning laws went into effect in 1916 (the first in the United States), hotels started growing taller and skinnier (e.g. the Sherry Netherland in 1927, the Pierre in 1930). Residences didn’t get that way until much more recently with the post-1961 legal change that allowed developers to buy air rights and build really high.
Enter Trump in the 1980s with multiple residential towers covered in dark glass, and the super-tall building (One Madison Park) that went bankrupt during the recession. But now, the entire movement is gaining steam again, with prices, views, and amenities reaching higher and higher.
The buildings featured in this show (in case you haven’t looked up) shoot up between 50 and 90 stories. Some are clustered at the foot of Central Park (check out 432 Park Avenue, One57, and 111 West 57th). Some are rising downtown – Four Seasons at 30 Park Place and 56 Leonard.
And, of course, some will be encircled by the High Line Phase III, such as Hudson Yards Tower D.
Take a look at the fantastic, detailed museum exhibition site and get to know your new neighbors.
Want to see the future? Take a look: