Is the Empire State Building really in trouble?
The impending construction of 15 Penn Plaza goes to a vote before the City Council today, and a few parties are concerned. Among the most perturbed by the proposed 1,200-foot-high shining hulk of a skyscraper is Friends of the New York City Skyline, a group that includes the Historic Districts Council, the Landmark Conservancy and the very pissed off Malkin Holdings. Malkin currently holds the Empire State Building, which they claim is in jeopardy of being overshadowed by the new construction set to replace the Hotel Pennsylvania some 900 feet away.
To prove their point they’ve drafted a “mawkish rendering” of the new New York City skyline; You can see the Empire State Building cowering behind the big, mean bully of a building in front of it. The current plans for 15 Penn Plaza put it at 42% bigger than current zoning allows, but Amanda Burden and the City Planning Commission have called it “precisely the type of well-designed…office building that New York City needs to stay competitive.” Malkin Holdings couldn’t disagree more, begging the question “Would a tower be allowed next to the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben’s clock tower? Just as the world will never tolerate a drilling rig next to The Statue of Liberty, why should governmental bonuses and waivers be granted to allow a structure as tall and bulky at 15 Penn Plaza to be built 900 feet away from New York City’s iconic landmark and beacon?” Unfortunately for Malkin Holdings, their protest might be too little, too late to impact today’s vote.