Sunday, August 22, 2010

Empire State Looter

Next week, the City Council is expected to approve 15 Penn Plaza, a proposed office tower that has generated some criticism from its neighbors — namely the owners of the Empire State Building, which is two blocks east.

The 67-story tower by Vornado Realty Trust is planned to rise as much as 1,216 feet on the site of the Hotel Pennsylvania at West 33rd Street. The tower is expected to get the green light, despite opposition from Community Board 5 and Malkin Holdings, which controls the Empire State Building.

Like guild socialism or fascism: Use the power of the state to get rid of superior competition, in this case of those who want to build a more modern and beautiful building a couple blocks from your aging landmark.

"Community Board 5 had unanimously voted down the project."

Damn NIMBYs.

However, the full City Council is expected to vote on Wednesday to grant Vornado the final approval needed to proceed with the project.

"The height and bulk of 15 Penn Plaza are the result of waivers and bonuses greatly in excess of code. Another waiver granted 15 Penn Plaza the right to build without setbacks," said Tony Malkin, president of Malkin Holdings, in a press statement.

Setbacks make a building apologize for its greatness. Setbacks are bad. And who can't use a bit of shade in the summer?

"At only 67 stories, 15 Penn Plaza would be as tall as the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building…"

So what? What's it to you how many or how few floors the competition has?

In fact, it shows how outdated your building is. No space between floors for modern wiring.

"…and would, if built, be as much a scar on the complexion of New York City as the loss of Penn Station."

Really? If anything, the ESB is the scar on the complexion of New York City. If you look at the rendering in the article, sleekly soaring 15 Penn Plaza is much more beautiful than the ESB with its atrocious setbacks, no matter how much the general public has gotten used to it and thus even grown attached to it. Goes to prove that the general public is stupid.

The City Planning Commission, which gave the development a green light last month, said in its report that "the prominence of the Empire State Building would not be significantly affected because the new building… would be shorter than the Empire State Building (approximately 230 feet shorter), and the two buildings are approximately 1,000 feet apart, which would further diminish the perceived height of the new building in more distant views."

Who cares about the prominence of the Empire State Building? I hope towers twice or thrice as tall will be built all around the ESB.

If anything, the ESB embodies all that's wrong with New York: bad architecture pandering to the bad taste of the masses and a stagnation that would protect views of an outdated building, short by today's standards, instead of building the taller towers the city deserves.

Whatever became of "Excelsior!"?

Damn you, Tony Munchkin, damn you to hell, for stabbing the New York skyline in the back so that you can squeeze some more ill-gotten gains out of your ugly 1,250-foot hand-me-down hovel with its idiotic zeppelin docking mast on top. Damn looter.

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