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Sunday, February 1, 2015
Read This and Weep for NYC
Where does our man and REBNY pal Dan stand on this? No surprises. In typical fashion, he kinda takes the middle road in his statement by raising a "strawman" argument--and goes along with the deal. From the article:
“The current zoning doesn’t respect the needs of the city,” said the Hon. Daniel R. Garodnick, a New York City Council member whose district includes all of Midtown East, a 73-block area surrounding Grand Central. He regards the Vanderbilt Corridor proposal, in which the city stands to gain infrastructure improvements in exchange for increased FAR, as a decent alternative to “unfettered as-of-right development” (that does not require review or approval by City Planning), “which would be the other extreme.”
More from the above article:
These, of course, are not opinions shared by those in the preservation community (none of whom were represented in the MCNY program). Architect Peter Pennoyer, a longtime preservation activist and author of The Architecture of Warren & Wetmore (W.W. Norton), points out that Grand Central was conceived as the centerpiece of Terminal City, a visually unified urban planning scheme in which dozens of hotels, office buildings, and apartment houses were built atop the station’s railroad yards in the 1910s and 1920s. “It was an urban ensemble, a mythic place, arguably more important than Rockefeller Center,” he says.
About three-quarters of Terminal City’s original buildings, which extended north into the East 50’s and east to Lexington Avenue, disappeared during the post-World War II building frenzy. The Vanderbilt Avenue building (51 E. 42nd Street), the Roosevelt Hotel, and the Yale Club are among those that remain. Efforts to preserve them have been hampered, thus far, by a public that hasn’t loudly taken up the cause. Pennoyer believes that’s because Vanderbilt Corridor is not a residential district. “There’s no natural grass-roots constituency to get engaged,” he says. “Instead of thousands upon thousands of people in apartments getting upset about zoning changes and demolitions, you have a few real estate companies."
And this is what NY Times reporter Charles V. Bagli, who wrote the book on the ST/PCV real estate deal, OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY, warned against recently:
At a January 20 panel discussion titled “Is the Vanderbilt Corridor the Future of East Midtown?,” held at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY), moderator Charles V. Bagli, a New York Times real estate reporter, raised the specter of Dubai-like towers potentially looming not just over Grand Central Station but even obliterating the nearby Chrysler Building, designed by William Van Alen and completed in 1930.