Posts Tagged ‘New York skyscrapers’

“New York Riverfront at Night”

December 27, 2011

By day, the turn of the century waterfront must have looked industrial and gritty, the air choked with smoke.

But at night, as this vintage postcard shows, it’s another world. The city is enchanting—lit up by the glow of the moon and electric lights inside and outside buildings.

Plans for New York that never came to pass

October 14, 2011

Developers are always coming up with shiny new proposals for a smarter, better, more future-focused city.

Thanks to the city’s bureaucracy, financial downturns, as well as the sheer ridiculousness of some of these ideas, most never seem to get past the sketch stage.

But it’s fun to see what could have been—like this 130-story telescope-looking structure, one of 11 proposals received by the city in 1985 to redevelop the site of the Coliseum at Columbus Circle.

Popular Science‘s very cool PopSci blog has a great writeup on it, based on their original 1985 article about the tower.

Of course, the Coliseum did get the boot, replaced by the less rocketship-like Time Warner Center in 2003.

I really like the look of this Art Deco cityscape sketch. But for the Lower East Side? I’m glad it didn’t happen.

This was the original design of the Chrystie-Forsyth Parkway, a four-lane sunken drive between Chrystie and Forsyth Streets from Houston Street to the Manhattan Bridge.

Bridges built over the parkway would accommodate traffic. Skyscrapers and high-rises would replace tenements.

Dreamed up in 1931, Mayor Jimmy Walker disregarded it and opened Sara Roosevelt Park here instead.

Before there was an Empire State Building . . .

August 22, 2011

There was just the plain-old Empire Building, an 1898 neoclassical office tower at 71 Broadway at Rector Street.

Impressive enough to warrant is own postcard, it held the distinction of being one of the city’s first steel-framed skyscrapers and was praised for its ornate beauty.

[One critic, however, did complain that it had a “grotesque resemblance to a waffle iron” according to this 1996 report by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.]

For 33 years, it was the only skyscraper with Empire in its name. Then in 1931 came the Empire State Building—82 stories taller and an instant icon.

The humbled Empire Building stuck it out until 1997, when it was converted to apartments.