Final Segment of 53 West 53rd Street’s Apex Installed Atop Midtown Manhattan

The window washing rig that cleans the upper portion of the tower will sit atop the apex and be housed within the hollow triangular segment. Photo by Giles Ashford

Last week, the final piece of the third and highest apex of Jean Nouvel’s first residential skyscraper was anchored and installed over Midtown. 53 West 53rd Street now stands 1,050 feet tall, and is currently the 7th-tallest skyscraper under construction in New York City. With its distinct pointed crown and dark diagrid facade, it is certainly a very unique building, and has been in the making for over a decade. The tower is being developed by Hines, while SLCE Architects and Adamson Associates are the architects of record. The condominiums are being marketed by Corcoran.

Recent photos on 53W53’s Instagram show the last triangular segment being lifted above the street and brought to the top of the steel structure that was constructed over the past several months to house the tuned mass damper, mechanical equipment, and rigging machine, for window washing.

The final segment at street level before being hoisted to the top of the tallest apex. Photo by Giles Ashford

Construction workers at the top ready to swing the last piece in place and cap the top of 53 West 53rd Street. Photo by Giles Ashford

Installed in place 1,050 feet above Midtown. Photo by Giles Ashford

Thanks to the tapering shape of the tower on the north and south elevations, the 145 residential units all come with different floor plans and layouts. This makes each residence a one-of-a-kind, complemented with large diagonal columns that become part of the interior design. Thus, the views through the floor-to-ceiling windows and slanted white columns are unrepeated and uniquely framed for each space.

The duplex on the upper floors has a double height space with a sloped northern wall on the end of the floor plate, with views of Central Park and the rising supertalls of 57th Street.

53 West 53rd Street, rendering via 53W53 website

53W53rd’s distance from buildings of equal or taller heights also gives the project better privacy, and more space to enjoy the views over Midtown. Lower Manhattan can also be seen from the upper floors.

The view of Central Park from the upper floors, taken in May 2018. Photo by Michael Young

The view of Sixth Avenue and Midtown with Lower Manhattan in the distance looking south. Photo taken in May 2018 by Michael Young

432 Park Avenue looking to the east of 53 West 53rd Street. Photo by Michael Young

The impact on the skyline can be easily seen looking from either Queens, the ramps to the Lincoln Tunnel toll booths, or as far as the New Jersey Turnpike, just north of Newark International Airport. 53W53 stands far enough from the cluster of supertalls along 57th Street and the rise of 42nd Street for its  distinct profile to truly distinguish the silhouette from the majority of flat roof parapets that have capped the northern Midtown skyline for decades. It may not be as tall as the supertalls of Billionaire’s Row, but Nouvel’s creation nevertheless stands as a new architectural and sculptural icon atop the skyline.

53 West 53rd Street and 111 West 57th Street rising four streets to the north. Photo by Michael Young

53 West 53rd Street seen next to 432 Park Avenue, taken from the New Jersey Turnpike. Photo by Michael Young

The expansion of MoMA on the lower floors is also the next big milestone for the project, which will make the site and the museum a bigger and greater experience for tourists, locals, and future residents alike. Residents of 53 West 53rd Street will have Benefactor MoMA memberships, curated benefits, and the chance to hold private events in the sculptural garden.

Completion of the new wing and residential tower is expected sometime in 2019.

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