Beware and prepare for nostalgia. The New Year is certain to ring in new towers for the Big Apple. It won’t come without a hefty price tag though, namely older, smaller and sometimes “iconic” architectural treasures throughout the city will be sacrificed. New York City has already seen plenty of beloved stores, restaurants, and buildings laid waste to make room for grander and more modern enterprises. We lost Lord & Taylor, the Lincoln Plaza and Sunshine Cinema, Cornelia Street Café, “Historic” small buildings on the Bowery, Canal Street and St. Marks Place. Henri Bendel will join the list on January 1st.
In 2019, we will surely have to say goodbye to more sacred spaces. The old charm will have to make way for new headquarters and mounting skyscrapers. It’s all part of the game of gentrification. Surely, it’s not a bad thing. It’s not a great evil that developers will create newly minted homes and many more workplaces. Rezoning is a necessity due to the lack of new land. Property values will actually increase, and new money will rush into to the areas. But it is not without consequence. New York will need to give up more small businesses. The fast-track of change, like the digital revolution, will have its victims.
In the Diamond District, and the former “Garment District”, many buildings will fall like dominos to make way for new hotels. Even synagogues and churches with dwindling memberships, will not be immune to huge buyout offers, similar to the shuttered Christ Church on West 36th Street. The shiny new buildings, speedily designed by computerized architecture, will undoubtedly be more efficient, more practical, more spacious, better organized, and most importantly more profitable.
In 2019, developers will think bigger. It won’t be enough to demolish minor buildings, large buildings will fall pray as well. As reported by the NY Post, one of the first to go will be the renowned 60-story skyscraper at 270 Park Avenue. The JP Morgan Chase headquarters was designed in the 1950s by Gordon Bunshaft and Natalie de Blois for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. It too demolished its predecessor, a 12-story hotel built in 1917, to make way for its rise.
Standing 707 feet tall, for 50-years it had the title of being the tallest woman-designed building in the world. Preservationists, who never cared much for the building, will suddenly sing its praises and surely put up a fight to save it. Their efforts will not be fruitless, but the revolution will sustain in the end. Demolition is already scheduled to begin in early 2019, with the slated completion set for 2024. Tishman Construction Corporation has meticulously planned for the new building to exceed the height of the current building by 500 feet. The replacement, 70-story headquarters will be able to fit 15,000 employees, whereas the current building fits 6,000 employees.
So, welcome to 2019. The future is ours, and we are lucky enough to live it. When we feel like reminiscing, the old movies will still show off our old skyline, our favorite old nooks and crannies and the architectural treasures lost to our modern times.
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