New Yorkers: Weigh in on the Swiftly Sprouting ASTOR PLACE "Luxury" High Rise

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Okay, granted, I'm just bitter `cos it's happening in my neighborhood, but really now......does the notion of a luxury high rise condo literally on Astor Place strike anyone else as somewhat ridiculous? I mean, I know change is the only constant in the urban environment and the encroaching gentrification hits all `hoods, but why would someone want an apartment there? Think of it....skater kids, gutter punks, irritating NYU'rs and pretentious Cooper Union brats hanging out at the Cube right in front of your lobby, the constant traffic stemming from Lafayette zooming up to 4th Avenue, the constant spillout of human cattle coming in and out of the Astor Place subway station (6 train). Astor Place is not a quiet square.

Also, would you want to live across the street from a giant K-Mart?

Weigh in.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:02 (10 years ago) Permalink

It's also blocking out the sun like a tower of affluent evil.

ihttp://homepage.mac.com/alexinnyc/.Pictures/Photo%20Album%20Pictures/2004-08-12%2011.35.12%20-0700/Image-96F95EC8EC8D11D8.jpg

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:04 (10 years ago) Permalink

even worse, it's one of those purpose-built loft things. yuck

miloauckerman (miloauckerman), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:05 (10 years ago) Permalink

They will, of course, move in and then lobby and complain to the council and have all the noise and skaterpunks and whatnot "moved on". Thats what richbastards do in Melbourne - move in next to a pub thats been there 30 years and then have it shut down cos they dont like the loud music.

Trayce (trayce), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:06 (10 years ago) Permalink

I thought this was going to be a JBR thread. You just noticed this building? You forgot to mention the selling point of it being one block from 2! starbucks!

Carey (Carey), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:10 (10 years ago) Permalink

move in next to a pub thats been there 30 years and then have it shut down cos they dont like the loud music.

This happens all the time in NYC

I thought this was going to be a JBR thread. You just noticed this building? You forgot to mention the selling point of it being one block from 2! starbucks!

I didn't just notice it (I live a block away from it). I just haven't started a thread about it until now.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:12 (10 years ago) Permalink

You forgot to mention the selling point of it being one block from 2! starbucks!

Same thing in Chicago. People think that being a block from a Starbuck's automatically means they can add $50 to the rent. It's like the ultimate amenity.

grumblegrumble McAmerica and all that

Harold Media (kenan), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:17 (10 years ago) Permalink

(said the man who lives 100 yards from a Starbucks and goes there constantly)

Harold Media (kenan), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:18 (10 years ago) Permalink

I thought this was going to be a JBR thread.

Nah, I know how futile it is to complain about these sorts of things. It doesn't stop them from existing.

stockholm cindy (Jody Beth Rosen), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:19 (10 years ago) Permalink

It's not so much a complaint as an observation.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:20 (10 years ago) Permalink

the council

gabbneb (gabbneb), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:21 (10 years ago) Permalink

the driver

RJG (RJG), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:22 (10 years ago) Permalink

fuck you, and your buffy dvds.

Carey (Carey), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:25 (10 years ago) Permalink

Having once lived in NYC, that image (a building right there) startles me!

morris pavilion (samjeff), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:25 (10 years ago) Permalink

maybe they are building it because of the proximity to the glorious wonder that is the E. Village Cheese shop. I could understand that.

Carey (Carey), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:27 (10 years ago) Permalink

They're going to need a bigger cube.

Carey (Carey), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:28 (10 years ago) Permalink

Never again....

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:30 (10 years ago) Permalink

Starbucks does its research w/r/t which neighborhoods to move into -- they want areas that are already desirable or on their way up. It's not about the big draw of "having a Starbucks in your neighborhood" (meaning "having a place where you can get upmarket coffee drinks within walking distance"), it's about living in a neighborhood that's attractive enough to fit the Starbucks demographic. That's why rents are raised.

stockholm cindy (Jody Beth Rosen), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:30 (10 years ago) Permalink

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:31 (10 years ago) Permalink

Circa September 11

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:32 (10 years ago) Permalink

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:33 (10 years ago) Permalink

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:33 (10 years ago) Permalink

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:34 (10 years ago) Permalink

So, they tore down that Carl Fischer building? Or is the new building in front of that?

morris pavilion (samjeff), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:34 (10 years ago) Permalink

In front of

Jimmy Mod, Man About Towne (ModJ), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:36 (10 years ago) Permalink

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:36 (10 years ago) Permalink

It's still there, it's just behind it now.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:37 (10 years ago) Permalink

Oh shit. I have a picture of myself "holding up" that cube.

dean? (deangulberry), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:37 (10 years ago) Permalink

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:37 (10 years ago) Permalink

http://www.tombeau.com/art/pics/nyc02.jpg

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:38 (10 years ago) Permalink

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:38 (10 years ago) Permalink

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:40 (10 years ago) Permalink

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:40 (10 years ago) Permalink

haha, that cube.

RJG (RJG), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:41 (10 years ago) Permalink

Harold Media (kenan), Thursday, 12 August 2004 22:53 (10 years ago) Permalink

Is this what it's going to be?

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 23:15 (10 years ago) Permalink

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 23:17 (10 years ago) Permalink

(x-post)

That's like the Statue of Zeus at Olympia as rendered by Christo.

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Thursday, 12 August 2004 23:18 (10 years ago) Permalink

By the way, Alex, I *love* this thread.

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Thursday, 12 August 2004 23:19 (10 years ago) Permalink

Astor Place in 1947

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 23:20 (10 years ago) Permalink

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 23:22 (10 years ago) Permalink

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 23:23 (10 years ago) Permalink

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 23:25 (10 years ago) Permalink

The New York way: people answering the high demand for housing in 'interesting' neighborhoods by constructing large apartment buildings that completely destroy all the reasons why people thought those neighborhoods were interesting in the first place.

I actually wouldn't mind the building if it wasn't so fucking tall.

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Thursday, 12 August 2004 23:28 (10 years ago) Permalink

I mean, the scale of the building is completely wrong for its surroundings...it dwarfs everything else!

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Thursday, 12 August 2004 23:29 (10 years ago) Permalink

Here's a photolog of the building, I think named The Sculpture of Living.

http://pith.org/core/related-astor/

Carey (Carey), Thursday, 12 August 2004 23:32 (10 years ago) Permalink

alex can weigh in on this one too.

http://www.curbed.com/archives/2004/07/23/the_tower_of_bowery.php#more

I, like jbr, am addicted to Curbed.

Carey (Carey), Thursday, 12 August 2004 23:35 (10 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, the Bowery is chock'a'bloc of new, bizarre-o highrises...in fact, i was strolling up that avenue today...

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 23:45 (10 years ago) Permalink

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 12 August 2004 23:46 (10 years ago) Permalink

Elvis Telecom (Chris Barrus), Friday, 13 August 2004 00:01 (10 years ago) Permalink

Remember that Dunkin Donuts commercial, the last one with the Time to Make the Donuts guy, where he dreams that another version of himself already made the donuts?

David Allen (David Allen), Wednesday, 16 March 2005 15:20 (9 years ago) Permalink

Mary, thanks for posting that link. I was trying to make sense of a lyric by Lloyd Cole in his work with the Negatives that mentions Astor Place. The article changes the context, as I imagined it.

youn, Wednesday, 16 March 2005 15:33 (9 years ago) Permalink

Really great thread. I have a lot of memories of meeting people at the Astor Place Cube. That new building does seem annoying...

Michael F Gill (Michael F Gill), Wednesday, 16 March 2005 15:49 (9 years ago) Permalink

WTF, this is like bizarro world.

Je4nne ƒury (Jeanne Fury), Wednesday, 16 March 2005 16:01 (9 years ago) Permalink

aw, that cube.

RJG (RJG), Wednesday, 16 March 2005 16:03 (9 years ago) Permalink

Fuck, no more cube :(

Your search - borg cube nyc - did not match any documents.

Dr. Eldon Tyrell (ex machina), Wednesday, 16 March 2005 16:03 (9 years ago) Permalink

Never liked that cube / corner, and actually like the new building.

paulhw (paulhw), Wednesday, 16 March 2005 16:07 (9 years ago) Permalink

Anyone know what the rents are in that thing?

Matthew Weiss, Monday, 21 March 2005 02:36 (9 years ago) Permalink

Dude, the ad copy on the side of this thing is hilarious:

"SCULPTURE FOR LIVING: Undulating. Provocative. Abstract. Reflective."

Abstract??? Undulating???

Hurting (Hurting), Wednesday, 30 March 2005 15:20 (9 years ago) Permalink

If the building is going to undulate, let me out first, kay? Bye.

Hurting (Hurting), Wednesday, 30 March 2005 15:49 (9 years ago) Permalink

The building, I think, was supposed to look like this....

...which explains the undulation theory. However, rather yawnsomely, it actually just ended up looking like this:

Now, granted, this picture doesn't really do it justice, but it quite clearly demonstrates that any architecturally sensuous undulation is quite out of the question. It basically looks like a giant tube of blue shampoo that divides the East Village from the Village.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Wednesday, 30 March 2005 23:10 (9 years ago) Permalink

I will definitely see this in May when I'm out there 'cause my gf has clients at Lafayette & E4th. It doesn't look like much, right now.

M. White (Miguelito), Wednesday, 30 March 2005 23:18 (9 years ago) Permalink

Alex, that kind of looks like a tree.

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Wednesday, 30 March 2005 23:20 (9 years ago) Permalink

i.e. do you have a more complete pic?

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Wednesday, 30 March 2005 23:21 (9 years ago) Permalink

Not at the moment, but stay tuned.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Wednesday, 30 March 2005 23:52 (9 years ago) Permalink

But in the interim, the building in questino is behind that tree.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Wednesday, 30 March 2005 23:52 (9 years ago) Permalink

Che?

M. White (Miguelito), Wednesday, 30 March 2005 23:58 (9 years ago) Permalink

Yes, I know. I was being clever.

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Wednesday, 30 March 2005 23:59 (9 years ago) Permalink

Yes, I know, and I was being a smartass.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Thursday, 31 March 2005 00:00 (9 years ago) Permalink

I should have known!

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Thursday, 31 March 2005 00:04 (9 years ago) Permalink

Some very recent pics....

Further down the Bowery, CBGB's is getting squeezed like the proverbial zit.

That eyesore of an NYU dorm occupies this old space...

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Wednesday, 6 April 2005 12:37 (9 years ago) Permalink

Wow, i never realized how out of place that useless dorm looks

lemin (lemin), Wednesday, 6 April 2005 19:16 (9 years ago) Permalink

The "sculpture for living" looks like three bad office buildings in one.

Brian Miller (Brian Miller), Wednesday, 6 April 2005 19:24 (9 years ago) Permalink

very ugly.

RJG (RJG), Wednesday, 6 April 2005 19:26 (9 years ago) Permalink

bleccchhhh. Having that building there really diminishes the public space -- the non-building entity of the old parking lot did a lot to open up the area that the developers may have overlooked in their planning. I mean, the openness is desirable -- but you lose it when you build on it.

57 7th (calstars), Wednesday, 6 April 2005 19:31 (9 years ago) Permalink

space that provides only enjoyment is "unproductive".

RJG (RJG), Wednesday, 6 April 2005 19:51 (9 years ago) Permalink

i.e. I'm sure the developers thought about it.

RJG (RJG), Wednesday, 6 April 2005 19:53 (9 years ago) Permalink

3 weeks pass...
Zoe of NYC Magic Garden fame writes:

In 1748, what is now Lafayette and Astor Place, was New York City's first botanical garden, established by a Swiss physician, Jacob Sperry, who farmed flowers and hothouse plants. A mile from what was then the edge of the city, Sperry's gardens became the destination of weekend strollers. In 1804 Sperry sold his gardens to John Jacob Astor, who then leased the property to a Frenchman named Delacroix, who transformed the property into the fashionable Vauxhall Garden, where New Yorkers could sniff flowers as well as eat, drink, listen to music (just like the buskers playing at the big black Cube in the 80s), and view fireworks and theatrical events.

By 1825, with real estate values skyrocketing on nearby Bond, Bleecker, and Great Jones streets, Astor cut the street, reducing the garden to half its size, which created Lafayette Place. Astor realized a great profit for the lots here, named LaGrange Terrace. Four of the original nine “mansions” remain as Colonnade Row - they're those Greek Revival townhouses housing Blue Man Group that you'd kill to live in. The other five were destroyed in 1902 to make way for an annex to Wanamaker’s Department Store.

In honor of Shakespeare's birthday, which is sometime around now, let's learn a little about one of the most infamous associations with Astor Place - the Astor Riot on May 10, 1849. Years after heated anti-English sentiment, NYC witnessed one of the most violent confrontations in the city's history - an angry mob of Irish and German workers and nativists (that's us folks!) descended upon the Astor Place Opera House during a staging of Macbeth, to protest the appearance of the English Shakespearean actor, William Charles Macready, a fancy aristocrat who was thought to look down upon Americans as "boorish and uncultured." Us? The protesters were there in support of Edwin Forrest, an American-born Shakespearean actor who was fiercely patriotic, epitomized the democratic ideals of America and did not want to be dominated by elite outsiders. Hmmm, sounds like the MAGIC GARDEN. Forrest was the first American-born actor to become an international celebrity and by the mid-nineteenth century was earning $2,000 a week. And he was idolized.

Here's how it started - the Astor Place Opera House was built in 1847 by a group of philanthropists at the juncture of Broadway and the Bowery. Broadway was a playground for the wealthy. The Bowery was lined with saloons and boarding houses. Remember a few years ago? Sigh. There was dress code at the Astor Place Opera, white gloves and silk vest, which offended the locals - in particular, the "Bowery B'hoys," a gang of Irish and German working class toughs who felt that such elitist standards violated the basic principles of the American democracy, and they pretty much hated the English and all things aristocratic. The Opera House served as a divisive emblem, which pitted the leisure class against the laboring class. One look at the Bowery today and this schism is still frighteningly apparent.

On May 7, 1849, the evening when the three leading theaters in the city presented Macbeth, the Astor Place Opera House was packed with Forrest supporters, who interrupted Macready the Brit's performance with yelling, throwing of rotten eggs, potatoes, and chairs, and all around misbehaving. After his performance, Macready announced that he would leave the city. But the upper class community of NYC was outraged and a petition decrying the antics of the Forrest supporters was signed by 48 prominent New Yorkers, including Washington Irving and Herman Melville (who is a distant relative of musician and vegan Moby, born Richard Melville Hall) and sent to Macready as well as local newspapers. Macready was promised protection and support and so he agreed to perform. Signs were posted around the city announcing his appearance in Macbeth on the night of May 10, 1849, but some of the rowdy Bowery B'hoys also posted notices, urging a protest during Macready's performance. In preparation, a police force of 250 was stationed in and around the Opera House. The doors and windows of the theater were closed and barricaded, and the National Guard was put on alert.

And so, on May 10, a volatile crowd of 10,000 and 15,000 people assembled in the streets outside the Astor Place Opera House. They began throwing stones and broken pieces of brick at the police outside, and as the police took refuge inside, the mob began hurling stones at the windows, destroying the flimsy barricades, and hitting the audience. The mob dispersed only when the National Guardsmen opened fire. It is said that 23 people died, and over 100 were wounded, including 50 to 70 police officers. It was the first time that American troops had ever fired on Americans. New York City and the nation were devastated. In the days following the Riot, rallies were held in Washington Square Park to protest the killings. The National Guard troops kept vigil at the Astor Place Opera House to prevent further violence. For three days after, the city remained under martial law (that's a state in which all civil laws, rights and liberties are suspended and the military has direct rule). Sort of like that comforting feeling we had during the RNC, when we were greeted on our daily commute by stern-faced, gigantic-gunned toting, camouflaged-clad youngsters on the subway and throughout the streets, all in the name of patriotism.

Remembered as the site of a massacre, the Astor Place Opera house never recovered. In 1854, the building was converted into the Mercantile Library Building, and then was home to the Chinese consulate in the 1920s. Later the District 65 Building, which housed the National Writer's Union for more than 50 years. I think it's now the highly respectable Kinkos and Starbucks. Starbuck was the name of the first mate in Melville's Moby Dick. Melville spent 19 years as a customs inspector on the New York docks. And this building, if it's not already, will soon be available if you want to spend 4 million dollars on a condo.

57 7th (calstars), Wednesday, 27 April 2005 17:54 (9 years ago) Permalink

I read something snarky somewhere about how these condos are a great deal because it's the only place in the neighborhood you won't have a view of the "Sculpture For Living"!

teeny (teeny), Wednesday, 27 April 2005 18:28 (9 years ago) Permalink

Paul Goldberger on Astor Place:

http://www.newyorker.com/critics/skyline/articles/050502crsk_skyline

Brian Miller (Brian Miller), Wednesday, 27 April 2005 18:29 (9 years ago) Permalink

What an utterly obnoxious building. I *want* to like it, I really do, and I can see that it's trying hard to endear itself to me, but I can't stop wanting to slap the living shit out of it.

happy fun ball (kenan), Wednesday, 27 April 2005 18:43 (9 years ago) Permalink

the more things change, the more things change

hstencil (hstencil), Wednesday, 27 April 2005 19:05 (9 years ago) Permalink

2 years pass...

um:

Tracer Hand, Thursday, 14 February 2008 17:34 (6 years ago) Permalink

ah, nostalgia for the naivete of '04...

Dr Morbius, Thursday, 14 February 2008 17:37 (6 years ago) Permalink

OH FUCK

Catsupppppppppppppp dude 茄蕃, Thursday, 14 February 2008 17:38 (6 years ago) Permalink

lol

dmr, Thursday, 14 February 2008 17:42 (6 years ago) Permalink

I thought that was a skating rink for a minute!

Catsupppppppppppppp dude 茄蕃, Thursday, 14 February 2008 17:43 (6 years ago) Permalink

coopafeller ice emporium

dmr, Thursday, 14 February 2008 17:45 (6 years ago) Permalink

what is it, the Fortress of Solitude?

Dr Morbius, Thursday, 14 February 2008 17:46 (6 years ago) Permalink

The folks involved with a new building at 51 Astor Place sent out a rendering of the proposed tower last night, and it seems architect Fumihiko Maki plans a building rather reminiscent of his planned Tower 4 at the World Trade Center (a.k.a. 150 Greenwich Street), with a corrugated facade and distinct angles. The site sits just across from the school’s signature 1859 Cooper Union Foundation Building.

Cooper Union has entered into a long-term lease for the site, currently an engineering building, with Edward J. Minskoff Equities, which will build and own the planned 440,000-square-foot mixed-use building. Studley’s Woody Heller represented Cooper Union on the deal.

Tracer Hand, Thursday, 14 February 2008 17:48 (6 years ago) Permalink

This will look about a thousand times better than the Sculpture For Living.

I DIED, Thursday, 14 February 2008 18:16 (6 years ago) Permalink

eater, Thursday, 14 February 2008 19:49 (6 years ago) Permalink

i'm still sort of bummed out that the shrouded, cloth-draped model of the sculpture for living as it appeared just before its unveiling wasn't the actual design of the building

Tracer Hand, Thursday, 14 February 2008 20:08 (6 years ago) Permalink

People suck.

Alex in NYC, Monday, 18 February 2008 18:05 (6 years ago) Permalink

i had to work in the show/sales room for the new phillipe st4rck building in gramercy yesterday. that place is bonkers. i stared at a huge rhino head all day and had to wear all black.

Yerac, Monday, 18 February 2008 18:08 (6 years ago) Permalink

waht the hell

Hurting 2, Monday, 18 February 2008 18:08 (6 years ago) Permalink

I miss the old NY a bit and think the Astor Place thing is great.

gabbneb, Monday, 18 February 2008 18:09 (6 years ago) Permalink

i stared at a huge rhino head all day and had to wear all black.

this will soon be compulsory at every workplace below 14th st and above canal

Tracer Hand, Monday, 18 February 2008 18:12 (6 years ago) Permalink

people kept asking if the rhino was real, I had no clue and just said I didn't think rhino skin was that monochromatic. it was the most ridiculous temp job I think I have ever had. I got a ridiculous amount of money to sit at a desk with nothing on it and give people St4rck water when they showed up for their appts.

Yerac, Monday, 18 February 2008 18:15 (6 years ago) Permalink

lol imperialism

Tracer Hand, Monday, 18 February 2008 18:16 (6 years ago) Permalink


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