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Old Posted Jun 13, 2018, 4:28 AM
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Sloper Sloper is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Park Slope
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Originally Posted by NYer34 View Post
You're kidding, right? Or perhaps just taking advantage of Comrade DeBlasio's new "do 'em as much as you want" policies on public drug use?

1. The UES east of Lexington is full of some of the world's ugliest, ungainliest high rises - on horrendous pedestals, with ugly-as-sin materials, big, rectangular shoeboxes with terrible massing and hideous balconies going up 40 stories. Most built in the '60s/'70s. The ones built more recently are a mixed bag - some of them (like the one at 3rd and ~94th) nice-looking, others almost as bad as their 1970s predecessors. I know this because I spend my weekends walking around them.

2. What remains of tenements on the avenues has a high % of restaurants and small retail. Some of it is crummy, check-cashing-style crap. Some of it is high-end. Plenty in between. It's lively.

3. Some of those tenements have been cleaned up and look great (like the one at 3rd and E71st). The ones that haven't been cleaned up would look great if they were (and given the rents the apartments command, there's no excuse for any landlord not to keep their building in decent shape). Of those that haven't been cleaned up, plenty of them are due to developers deliberately running their properties to the ground only to knock them down at some point in the future (like pretty much anything Extell touches).

4. In addition to filling the sky with visual crapola, the high-rises also tend to use their awkward-as-f*** pedestals to house 1-2 businesses, more often than not a Duane Reade or maybe a giant party goods store or whatever other random business. A few of them have been cleaned up and don't look terrible ... but even these are 1/100th as lively as the tenement retail/restaurants. Oh, and if you look up you want to vomit.

That's the UES east of Lexington. It's where I live. But maybe I'm just missing something.
I think that's a fair description. I'm all for densification, but I'll be damned if Yorkville wasn't a much livelier place when I grew up there in the 70's and 80's, before developers went gangbusters on tearing down so many tenements supporting shops and affordable residences on the Avenues, and replacing them with some very bizarre, lifeless podiums and lobbies. York and First Ave were hit particularly hard and even 86th became almost a ghost town in the 90's. It doesn't help that the neighborhood had some impactful class change from majority middle and upper middle class families to far more wealthy, childless couples who aren't really full time residents. It seems like the development has been getting a bit smarter as of late and I don't begrudge progress, that's inevitable, but it sure did seem much livelier and therefore more dense back in the day. Of course I'm sure smartphones, Netflix and Amazon have had their share of impact on street life. Thankfully my family's favorite diner (The Mansion) has so far been spared, and my favorite pub still stands.
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