Tuesday, June 13, 2017

More High Line Gloss

So this building is gone. Was it the last of the scrappy meatpacking buildings? The only one not to be demolished or gutted and glossed?

It had sat empty for years, blue and gloomy, waiting for slaughter. Nothing this close to the High Line is allowed to live.

I liked walking around it, behind it, where people rarely walked. The tourists and shoppers, so cautious, stayed away from it. It must have frightened them in its ragged old bricks. Now that it's gone, the tourists and shoppers are suddenly there.

What's coming to take its place? As the big machines dig their hole, a sign on the horizon urges, "GLOSSIER." Of course. The new building must be glossy. Made of glass and twist. Even though so many glass towers are bad for city life.

The shiny box coming to 40-56 Tenth Avenue has been named "Solar Carve Tower." Because, in the deadly age of global warming, the sun worshippers will not be deterred.

“In addition to producing a faceted, gem-like facade," reads the press release, "this integrated response allows the building to benefit the important public green space of the High Line—privileging light, fresh air, and river views to the public park—while also becoming a new iconic silhouette on the New York skyline."

Here's the rendering on the plywood wall.

I like to play a game with architectural renderings called Count the White People.

I counted approximately 70 cut-out people total -- on the street, on the High Line, and inside the building itself. They are shiny-happy, strolling, working, talking on cell phones. And 68 of them are (apparently) white.

Then there's this guy. He's the only one who might obviously be a person of color. He's also the only one I found who is used twice--his clone stands across the street, back turned.

Make of this what you will.

Now I'm worried about the Liberty Inn. It stands across the street, behind the construction site, where it was always protected from MePa's reach. Like I said, the tourists and the shoppers never went back there. Now they will. Now the little Liberty will be exposed. We've seen that happen many times before.

Back in the day, the building housed The Anvil. Today, the Liberty Inn is a "romance" hotel. They offer short stays. By the hour. You know what that means. If you want to experience it, I suggest you go sooner than later.

How long will the glossy people let it remain?


dreadlocgrl169 said...

I have spent a few "romantic" hours at the Liberty Inn way back in the early 2000's. My then boyfriend older brother actually worked in the meatpacking district when you know there were actually slaughterhouse businesses there and he told if we wanted to have an intimate night (we both lived with our parents at the time), we should go to the Liberty Inn .
I didn't realize it was still there and open. I cringe that the owners of the Liberty Inn will eventually give in to whatever the developers offer and sell the place, then up goes another shiny glass condo or hotel with "liberty" in its name. Arrgghh.
For the record, I absolutely refuse to visit anything over in the Meatpacking District. No Highline, No Chelsea Market or Whitney Museum of American Art. I refuse to deal with the hipsters and the tourists.

Laura Goggin Photography said...

This was my favorite corner in that area. I especially loved the 10th Ave side where the sun would cast shadows through the old metal structure that jutted out over the sidewalk. Here's a photo I too of it in 2004: https://flic.kr/p/cFkEt

Even then, I knew it was doomed and thought I should remember it as it was. On the 13th St side, the yellow brick of the building glowed gold in the late afternoon sun. That block was mostly desolate and I enjoyed being alone there. I've avoided the whole area now for several years as it makes me too depressed seeing how the neighborhood has been erased, replaced with plastic luxury.

Downtowner said...

The Liberty Inn sits on an island at the edge of an island. How long can it possibly last?

Brian said...

I agree with what Justin Davidson says in the linked Ted Talk video about too many glass buildings. Walking about Hudson Yards, it is just dreadful. Also Astor Place is ruined with the Death Star building.

I also have problems when glass towers reflect the sun's rays on city streets. 1. It can be blinding. 2. During summer it can make an area really hot.

JQ LLC said...

"this integrated response allows the building to benefit the important public green space of the High Line—privileging light, fresh air, and river views to the public park—while also becoming a new iconic silhouette on the New York skyline."

So light, air, and sights are privileges now. And I thought nature was for everyone. Such things, especially in New Fun City, can no longer be taken for granted.

These developers, marketers, and our elected and appointed officials starstruck by them, are all mentally ill and bereft of souls (I hope this isn't potential libel).

My condolences to Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island.

Caleo said...

A white man plays Count the White People.
I'm sure POC are relieved that you're looking out for them and how frequently they're represented in computer generated sketches of condo developments.

Unknown said...

The Liberty Inn is on what used to be called DeLamater Square, named after the huge DeLamater Iron Works that was on this site in the mid-1800s. James Thurber wrote about the area in a terrific piece in The New Yorker back in October 1928 ("Discoveries West").

There is a 1938 photo of the Liberty Inn found in the collection of the New York Public Library Digital Collection, showing the little hotel, then called The Strand: "DeLamater Square: 10th & 11th Avenues W. 13th Street"

More info on the DeLamater Iron Works here: http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=22694&p=356052&viewfull=1#post356052

TommyR said...


Wow, it sure is a good thing that you're here to bravely rectify the gross injustice of Jeremiah oppressing us poor POC by pointing out the inanity of white-washed CG projections made by greedy developers.

Surely, the world is a better place for your wit and sarcasm. Keep up that good fight.