By Carter B. Horsley
Very vigorous in its modeling and prominent,
this 55-story, pale green giant is one of the city's stellar residential
It is one of the few aluminum-clad towers in the city. Whereas
some of the others are office buildings with patterned panels,
this tower's "skin" is plain and its color does not
belie is metallic nature. The color, in fact, is the most questionable
element of this project.
Clearly, the architects, Davis, Brody & Associates, one of
the city's most innovative residential designers, were in a courageous,
experimental mode. The pale green probably looked great in pastel
renderings, but in reality, it is a bit weak-looking, especially
for such a very robust structure.
Indeed, imagine this building in stainless steel, or polished
black granite! What a knockout that would be, enough to sock it
to "high-tech" master architects.
A deeper shade of green would probably have been more effective,
and given its name, more appropriate.
Regardless of color, however, this tall, 160-unit
tower affords fantastic views of Central Park and its site is
such that such views are not blocked significantly from the Time
Warner Center just across 58th Street on the former site of the
New York Coliseum on the west side of Columbus Circle.
The views are incredible because most of the units have very large
and deep bay windows that afford comfortable views in three directions.
For connoisseurs of water-tank enclosures,
this tower boasts one of the prettiest, an octagonal shape that
is the perfect cap to this very modern "pneumatic" tower.
When the project was completed in 1988 by William Zeckendorf Jr.
and his partners, this area was still something of a no-man's
land. Fifty-Seventh Street, of course, was making a strong comeback
to the east, but Eighth Avenue to the south was, and to a large
degree still is, an unattractive avenue that may have shed much
of its famed X-rated imagery, but not all its rundown-shabbiness.
(Zeckendorf, incidentally, has been a fantastic pioneer on the
avenue, having built, with his partners, the immense and very
handsome World Wide Plaza project on the former Madison Square
Garden site at 50th Street.)
A decade after it was erected, this project's location was bustling
with large computer stores, household goods stores, theme restaurants
and the continued boom of the nearby Lincoln Center district.
The Time Warner Center, of course, would up the ante with its
expensive restaurants, its fabulous Whole Foods store, curved
retail atrium and expensive condominiums. It was soon followed
by Sir Norman Foster's notched office tower addition with stainless
steel diagonal bracing to the Hearst Building on the southwest
corner of 57th Street and Eighth Avenue and in 2008 the owners
of the full-block Newsweek Building directly across Eighth Avenue
from this tower announced they would replace its dark brown masonry
facade with one of reflective glass.
With neighbors like these, its unlikely property values are going
to plummet in this building especially since the Zeckendorfs completed
another project nearby in 2007 at 15 Central Park West that set
new residential records for price per square foot.
Just to the south of Columbus Circle, this project might appear
to be at the hub of a major traffic bottleneck. Surprisingly,
the circle's traffic is nowhere near as terrible as the approaches
to the Queensborough Bridge across town.
Within walking distance of Central Park, Lincoln Center, the theater
district and the Plaza office district, this location is hard
to beat. It also has excellent public transportation.