What the New York Skyline Gained in 2013

Lower ManhattanLower Manhattan - One World Trade Center

2013 was a monumental year for New York City, and as the economy has continued to rebound — and prices have risen — the first non-government-backed effects are now visible across the skyline. Work is wrapping up on the Sandy-delayed One57, which is the city’s first residential skyscraper to pass the 1,000 foot mark. Besides Extell’s first supertall, the cranes for 432 Park Avenue are also poking above the Midtown plateau, upping the ante; for a brief moment in 2014, Vinoly’s vision in concrete and ten-by-ten foot panes will become the tallest residential building in the entire world.

432 Park Avenue

432 Park Avenue

Outside of Midtown — where work wrapped up on 500’+ buildings at 1717 Broadway, the Baccarat Tower, and 250 West 55th Street — Lincoln Square saw the addition of Glenwood’s 54-story 160 West 62nd Street, which will begin a marked transformation of a forlorn section of Amsterdam Avenue. Portzamparc’s other major tower, at 400 Park Avenue South, also topped-out, and the world’s tallest Holiday Inn — at 99 Washington Street — is also nearing its opening day.

400 Park Avenue South

400 Park Avenue South

The common trait the above projects share is a sense of anonymity, lost in New York’s gargantuan scale. Even the tallest of the bunch — 1717 Broadway, at 750 feet — is nearly invisible, enveloped within the Midtown jungle. Its only identifying trait is night-time blue lighting; to most, it is just another boxy glass tower. Though the taller buildings generally have better designs, even the stunning 400 Park Avenue South is relatively ‘lost’ outside of a narrow view corridor; the fact that Manhattan can absorb so many new buildings with barely any visual impact is a testament to the island’s existing density, while also begging the question: Why not build taller, if everything is huge anyways?

A vast range of mid-rises were also completed in 2013, defining the bulk of new construction in Midtown and Lower Manhattan. In addition to 99 Washington, Kaufman’s repertoire included 237 West 54th Street, 312 West 37th Street, and 125 West 28th Street — all to be occupied by mid-range chains like Marriott and Hilton. Besides One World Trade Center’s spire, the Lower Manhattan skyline remained relatively constant, outside of its depths — its height concealed new concepts like 6 Platt Street, a hotel that masquerades as a prison.

6 Platt Street

6 Platt Street

On the far West Side, the AVA High Line and Related’s 500 West 30th Street are nearly complete. Both projects are relatively prominent on the sparsely-populated West Chelsea skyline, and will add to the neighborhood’s street-level pedestrian vibrancy. Exterior work is also wrapping up at the Whitney Museum’s Meatpacking expansion, designed by Renzo Piano.

The Whitney Expansion

The Whitney Expansion

Outside of Manhattan, the outer borough boom is just kicking into gear. 388 Bridge Street topped-out early in the year, becoming Brooklyn’s tallest building — a title it will soon lose to the neighboring Avalon Willoughby. Long Island City’s waterfront also saw major progress; TF Cornerstone’s ‘East Coast’ development is wrapping up, and the first two Hunter’s Point South towers are underway. Both DoBro and the western edge of LIC are finally developing into cohesive and vibrant neighborhoods.

Hunter's Point South

Hunter’s Point South

While 2013’s changes on the New York skyline were great, the impact of new construction in 2014 will be even larger — and detailed in a post tomorrow.

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