Thursday, October 4, 2007

Astor Place Facelift

Today I got the sad news that the venerable old Astor Place newsstand has been replaced by a regulation glass box.

I went by to investigate and chatted with a guy who works the newsstand. "It looks just like that building," I said to him, pointing to the glassy green monster condo looming behind us.

He nodded and said, "It's supposed to."

the box is yet another billboard

He added that soon everything is going to look like this. Then he dropped the following bomb: Cooper Union, he said, plans to move its Engineering School to their new building going up on 7th St and 3rd Ave and then they're going to tear down the low-rise brick Engineering building on Astor Place and replace it with, you guessed it, another glassy high-rise. Maybe a hotel.

I'd like to say this is just a rumor, but it sure sounds plausible. When is this going to end?

astor place stand a couple weeks ago,
asking the question on many minds


Anonymous said...

"When will it end?" I suppose it might end if NYC goes back to being the crime-graffiti-and-drug ridden place it was for most of my childhood. Everyone with money, a family or common sense will just head elsewhere and you can have your cruddy newsstand back. In the mean time, remember there a plenty of cities in the world (and even in the U.S.) that would be thankful for even one shiny new glass building let alone a few of them. Grow up, be grateful, stop living in the past and stop complaining.

Anonymous said...

This is what is known as "bifurcation".

Chaim said...

Yeah, I heard about the Cooper Union thing a while back. It's ridiculous. It's crime enough to get rid of the building in the first place, but to then replace it with such a heinously ugly building is truly a joke. I just can't understand why people do this...

the argoteer said...

To anonymous:

Why is it that whenever someone like this blogger criticizes overdevelopment and shiny glassification of everything, they always point to how it is actually an improvement over the old days?

It is, but is that all an urban citizen can choose from: total blight or total uniformity? Enough with the at-least-the-trains-are-running-on-time BS.

Anonymous said...

I think the Cooper Union building is majorly landmarked.

But I just noticed the new newsstand this morning at 5am and I was revolted. Also, due to the way they cemented it in the ground, the side walk now floods, forming a giant impassable lake. This never happened before, and I lived there for 4 years.

I really hope someone paints that entire box green in the middle of the night.

Anonymous said...

I just wonder if any or all of the pro-development commentators have ever extolled the beauty and virtues of European cities? I know you all must have taken a trip to Italy at least once and "LOVED IT!"
Beautiful cities are a combination of past and present urban cultures. The past defines a place as much as the present; too bad we Americans will never accept this concept. We not only obliterate our past urban spaces but we destroy our rural and natural environment as well, all in the name of progress, development and improvement.