Fencing has finally peeled away from the lower levels of New York City’s first residential supertall, and after years of Sandy-related delays, One57 has become part of the streetscape. The building has both condominiums and a Park Hyatt hotel, with separate entrances for the two components.
When viewed from the street, the ends of the supposedly waterfall-like facade become the building’s most noticeable feature, as they cascade into the pedestrian sphere. The end result is nowhere near as fluid as its apparent inspiration, but the stiff feeling could also be blamed on the lack of any retail, which is especially out of character for the emerging 57th Street corridor.
Both 432 Park and 217 West 57th Street will have substantial retail components — with the latter holding Nordstrom’s New York flagship — thereby avoiding any deadening effect on the neighborhood. People may complain about empty skyscrapers, but the aforementioned will contribute to both the skyline and the streetscape in major positive ways, contrasting One57’s failure to engage pedestrians.
Besides problems at the ground level, One57’s facade has also turned out markedly different from renderings, where it was depicted as dynamic, silvery, and shimmering. While the tower is not ugly, the ventilation grills sprinkled along the uppermost floors seem to be placed arbitrarily, and detract from the glass.
The silver stripes that flow into the 57th Street entryways are attractive, but the western and eastern facades are not nearly as cohesive. The size of individual panes prevents a truly mosaic-like appearance, and instead, the different shades of blue seem to clash against one another, especially as hues nearly span to turquoise. Still, as long as it is viewed from a distance, its design can be appreciated.
Despite its problems, One57’s footprint is minor enough that its impact on the block will not be incredibly significant, especially as the goalposts for New York’s most lucrative retail shift west, all the way to Broadway, with the 2018 opening of Nordstrom. Pedestrian activity along 57th Street will soon surge, and the decision to forego any retail component at One57 may soon look short-sighted.
Extell is the developer, Portzamparc is the architect, and the building stands 1,005 feet tall.
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