Not everything happening on or near Billionaires’ Row is supertall. Some of it is supersmall, relatively speaking. Two months ago, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the restoration and renovation of an individual landmark in the midst of the coming towers. That gives us the perfect opportunity to tell you a little bit about Engine Company No. 23.
The stunningly tall towers rising along 57th Street are taking the Manhattan skyline to a whole new level. Despite their relatively small footprints, some projects are actually replacing true architectural gems. Between the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2016, the LeFrak Organization and Vornado Realty leveled three pre-war buildings at 27-33 West 57th Street. Although the latest reports indicated a “seven star hotel,” final plans are still unknown. Given the site’s Billionaires’ Row location and proximity to Central Park, whatever gets built will most likely be very tall, and very expensive.
As we have reported, the Landmarks Preservation Commission is in the process of dealing with the backlog of 95 items that have been on its calendar since before 2010, some for decades. That process took a big step forward Tuesday, with 30 sites remaining on the calendar as priorities for designation vote by the end of 2016. Five sites were removed from the calendar for lack of merit.
The year 2015 marked the near-complete demolition of Times Square’s second oldest structure. The Columbia Amusement Co. Building, which opened at Times Square’s northeast corner on West 47th Street in January 1910. 701 7th Avenue was known by a variety of names during its century-long life span. Like the slightly older yet much more famous One Times Square at the opposite end of the square, the building engaged in the neighborhood’s classic disappearing act, where giant billboards seen by millions made their renovation-scarred hosts all but invisible. But behind the ads, standing on a 16,000-square-foot lot, was a building with a history as dramatic and diverse as that of the famous square on which it stood.
In November, a plan for a commercial revitalization of the south side of a block of Gansevoort Street, in the Meatpacking District, went before the Landmarks Preservation Commission. In a rare, but hardly unheard of occurrence, the hearing was paused before the commissioners could discuss the proposal. With the continuation of that session likely to come soon, YIMBY sat down with the architects behind it to talk about its place in the history of the area.