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  #1  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2007, 5:08 AM
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NYC - The Whitewashing of an Era.

I’m nostalgic for a number of late modernist building’s that are undergoing refacings in New York City. While they are not great works of architecture, each were thoughtful works, employing the architecture of the day. The Viacom and Verizon Building both near Times Square create strong images, I think of the city then and myself respectively, they still create a strong image today as I am reminded of how not even ten years ago Times Square was considered the Wild West. These buildings are quintessential 1960’s New York, they were somewhat tenacious for being built on the edge of a business district; they were frontiers and had a certain dynamism to them. I am also saddened by the loss of 2 Columbus Circle. Countless movies and TV shows from the 1960's era will show this beautifully tacky building as an integral part of the cityscape and although failed as a museum, its architecture was quintessential New York. The worst part is that I would have no problem if these buildings were going to be replaced for some dramatic statement, such is the name of progress, but my problem is that these buildings are being replaced for something wholly forgettable. I feel much of New York, at least Manhattan, is becoming whitewashed and monotonous, the refacings verify this, the faceless replacements reaffirm a current misdirection in idealism.


Verizon Building:



Its oh, so forgettable replacement:



The needless destruction of a perfectly fine building:



2 Columbus Circle, quintessential 1960s NYC:



The faceless, unnecessary, and lastly ugly replacement:



More needless destruction:



The next building rumored to have a needlessly, white-washed fate:

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  #2  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2007, 7:34 PM
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I agree, I prefer the original facings on Verizon and 2 Columbus Circle, but I think Astor could actually look better with a newer skin.
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  #3  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2007, 7:41 PM
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the verizon building is only getting a new facade, right?

I like the white lines better myself, its part of avenue of the americas right?
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  #4  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2007, 12:05 AM
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It's a real shame for all these buildings. Even if they aren't gems, they're still placemarkers that help illustrate the story of New York. If this happens too much it will appear as if the city was built within a decade instead of over the last few centuries.
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  #5  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2007, 2:22 AM
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This whole sheet of glass upgrade is a fad which will blow through faster than a speeding bullet.
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  #6  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2007, 3:30 AM
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I liked the verison building a lot. Now it's glass will probly just look like whats being built next to it (bank of america). It's sad that all of these buildings are being changed.
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Old Posted Feb 6, 2007, 3:47 AM
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They need a cleaning but a whole makeover? No.
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  #8  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2007, 4:58 AM
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[QUOTE=STERNyc;2611711]

Verizon Building:



[QUOTE]


That's a shame. The reason the white columns are thicker at the bottom is a historical reflection of NYC architecture. The older and shorter buildings are faced with stone and brick facades and the newer and taller buildings are glass. Pelli got kudos for this trick with his World Financial Center.
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Old Posted Feb 6, 2007, 9:54 AM
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Oh God; 2 Columbus Circle has been in need of a facelift since the day it was created!! That's just my opinion though. To each his own.
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  #10  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2007, 4:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STERNyc View Post
The next building rumored to have a needlessly, white-washed fate:

after verizon they want to waste even ona astor plaza ??? omg.. silly...
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  #11  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2007, 4:35 PM
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Astor is getting refaced? What the hell? All of this is senseless, but while I don't terribly mind Verizon or Astor, the Lollipop is just getting totally raped. What a total shame.

Lamentably it's nothing new. Remember how back in the 60's and 70's developers would cover up vintage, Beaux Arts buildings with screening to appear streamlined, many of those buildings are being restored today. I hope in the decades to come the same is done for Lollipop.

They just better keep their paws off the AT&T Long Lines.
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  #12  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2007, 8:04 PM
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New York fundamentally did not accept the whole premise of historical preservation. It's important to understand this to understand it as a city. Change and progress are ingrained into the soul of the place.

If you want to see a Victorian brownstone refinished inside into a modernist white-walled loft, go to New York. To find a simliar mansion with original woodwork and tacky Victorian animal shaped lighting fixtures, try Philly or San Francisco.
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Last edited by LostInTheZone; Feb 6, 2007 at 8:11 PM.
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  #13  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2007, 8:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LostInTheZone View Post

If you want to see a Victorian brownstone refinished inside into a modernist white-walled loft, go to New York. To find a simliar mansion with original woodwork and tacky Victorian animal shaped lighting fixtures, try Philly or San Francisco.

Tacky? So everything outside of NY is tacky, but anything done within city limits is "modernist" and acceptable? There are plenty of tacky ugly buildings and architecture right in NY. By far not the most beautiful or well thought out city...
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  #14  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2007, 9:41 PM
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^I tried to make that post as balanced and neutral as I could. I must have succeeded, because I'm actually actually not fond of that aspect of New York, and prefer tacky anarchonisms- like the Republic Steel cabinets in my kitchen or the 1950s mimosa pattern wallpaper in my bathroom. Check out the front reception room of the Parker Guest House on Church St, and you'll see exactly what I was picturing when I said that.

Reread what I said without looking for offense.
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Last edited by LostInTheZone; Feb 6, 2007 at 9:52 PM.
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Old Posted Feb 6, 2007, 10:40 PM
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My main complaint with your argument was that you referred to the buildings of preserved victorians of cities like SF as a whole as "tacky" when the definition of tacky is "showing poor taste or quality." And I think we can all agree that the quality of substance, whether it be ornamentation, structure, and so on, is, by this definition, far more "tacky" today than it was in the Victorian era which you knock.
However, the subjectivity of "taste" has developed, or rather, transformed, throughout generations, but I think it is hard to find somebody with admirable credentials in the field of history and architecture that would tell you that, by its definition, architecture design and structures of the Victorian era was at all "tacky."
And is it not the experts such as these who have always dictated what "taste" and "quality" is and always has been?
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  #16  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 4:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LostInTheZone View Post
New York fundamentally did not accept the whole premise of historical preservation. It's important to understand this to understand it as a city. Change and progress are ingrained into the soul of the place.

If you want to see a Victorian brownstone refinished inside into a modernist white-walled loft, go to New York. To find a simliar mansion with original woodwork and tacky Victorian animal shaped lighting fixtures, try Philly or San Francisco.
Hmm, I lived in both NYC and SF. SF strangely seems to have more art deco percentage wise than NYC (e.g. alot in pacific heights, lots in the finanicial area, and a good amount in the Marina which also has tropical like buildings.)

Yes S.F. has victorian buildings with preserved old fashioned elevators, etc., but with all the modern kitchen appliances, bathrooms, security, etc. NYC does not have these types of victorians, but they do have many classical brownstowns and tenement walkups. S.F. does not really have these.

Both cities are getting a large number of modern buildings, but in S.F. there are entire neighborhoods of modern buildings being built with neighborhood structure, while in NYC the new buildings appear scattered around without any citywide plans.
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  #17  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 5:04 AM
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The Verizon Building went from whatever to whatever. 2 Columbus Circle went from ugly to ugly. Basically neither building really changed it's look, just updated it.

Like a librarian who looked like a librarian 40 years ago and looks like one today, even though she's wearing period appropriate clothing.

Anyway, if there is any building in NYC that is hurting for a new look, it is this monstrosity.



For it's location it falls far short of the spendor required.
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Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 6:07 AM
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"For it's location it falls far short of the spendor required."

Really? It's by far the best thing in that picture!
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  #19  
Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 6:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eigenwelt View Post

Anyway, if there is any building in NYC that is hurting for a new look, it is this monstrosity.



For it's location it falls far short of the spendor required.
Peace to that.
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Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 7:40 AM
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Sad indeed. I like that Verizon building (the original version) very much.
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