Co.Design

Worse than Kong! New Tower Threatens Empire State Building

The building once scaled by King Kong (twice on screen) is now facing a more monstrous threat.

Fifteen Penn Plaza is the new gorilla on the Empire State Building's back, a 1,190 foot glass tower designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli that the New York city council approved plans for earlier this week. Slated to rise within 34 feet of the Empire State Building's 102 stories, the new addition will reside a mere two blocks away and is poised to become an imposing addition to the city's revered skyline.

Needless to say, the owners of the 1,250-foot Empire State Building recognized early on the new tower's threat to their exclusivity. They were not pleased and waged war on the new plan. The Council rejected the owners' arguments.

But my first thought was: 34 feet short? Why not add a foot or two for the dubious honor of being the tallest building in New York? Or better yet, incorporate a 200-foot needle-like spire and land an architectural knock out punch.

If you're going to compromise a New York icon, I say, don't be timid. Be bold. Top it off with a cell tower to improve phone reception in midtown or a satellite dish, sponsored by DirecTV, of course.

In addition to constructing the $2 billion building, developer Vornado Realty Trust will spend an additional $150 million on Penn Station improvements, fueled by their desire to promote development close to a major transit hub. They pushed the "jobs, jobs, jobs" hot button to seal the deal. There is no determined date for the start of construction, and Vornado says they have yet to secure a major tenant. No problem. I?m sure they can cook up a deal with a major brand that will be hard to pass up.

And if all fails, I'll gladly move my agency to the top northeast corner of the new building and enjoy an unobstructed view of the one of the greatest landmarks of our great city.

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