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Old Posted Aug 14, 2020, 1:33 AM
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Smile NEW YORK | Civic Center proposals | FT | FLOORS

A few of the old proposals for the civic center north of City Hall.


1960's Proposal


https://www.archives.nyc/blog/2018/1...nter-plan-1964

















Manhattan’s Civic Center Plan, 1964

Kenneth R. Cobb
October 19, 2018


Quote:
While selecting architectural plans of buildings in lower Manhattan for a display in connection with the recent Open House New York event, City archivists came across an over-size multi-page set of detailed plans and elevations for a “Manhattan Civic Center,” circa 1964.

If implemented, this grand scheme would have demolished 31 Chambers Street (home of the Municipal Archives) and radically transformed City Hall Park and the blocks between Broadway and Lafayette Street, from Chambers Street north to Worth Street.

The plan called for a 54-story office building that anchored a three-level landscaped platform with reflecting pool, restaurants, shops, and two levels of underground parking for 1,400 cars. Only the City Hall and Municipal Building remained; every other extant building would have vanished to accommodate this grand vision. But it never happened. Why? For answers we turned again to the always rewarding Municipal Library vertical files and publications, and Municipal Archives collections.
Quote:
Proposals to increase the capacity of New York City’s City Hall were promulgated almost as soon as the building was finished in 1811. Mayor Hugh Grant in 1889, and Mayor Thomas Gilroy in 1893, even went so far as to advocate demolishing and replacing City Hall, widely admired and beloved as an architectural “jewel box.” After creation of the Greater City of New York in 1898, and the concurrent expansion of municipal government, the need for office space became acute. Although construction of the Municipal Building, opening in 1914, took the pressure off City Hall, calls for an improvement in the overall civic center area—charitably called a “hodgepodge” of buildings and traffic—continued unabated through the early years of the 20th century.
Quote:
In 1949, the City Planning Commission proposed a “Master Plan for the Civic Center” that resulted in some modest changes—a new Civil Court and improvement to the approaches to the Brooklyn Bridge. But it was not until November 1961, when Mayor Robert Wagner budgeted $3 million for a new office building on the site of the Tweed Courthouse that any comprehensive planning would take place. Wagner’s proposal met with a storm of protest from civic organizations who decried desecration of City Hall Park. In response, Wagner launched an in-depth study for a Civic Center plan, which would take into consideration building functions, traffic patterns, parking, pedestrians, transit and future expansion. Wagner appointed a Civic Center Committee that subsequently hired architectural and traffic consultants to carry out the study.

On December 7, 1962, the Civic Center Master Plan was released with a full-scale press conference covered by newspapers, radio, television, national magazines and technical journals. It was lucky they chose that day; the next day all of the New York City newspapers embarked on a strike that lasted 114 days.
Quote:
But there were obstacles ahead. Among them was the already-underway Federal government plan to construct an office building adjacent to Foley Square that complicated the City’s new scheme. On January 2, 1963, Mayor Wagner wrote to President Kennedy: “We respectfully urge that you …take the necessary steps to bring the new Federal Building into harmony with the great Civic Center which we hope to realize in New York City.” Kennedy replied via his Administrator of the General Services Administration, saying, essentially, it was too late.
Quote:
Local business owners in the area whose properties would have been seized for the Civic Center also objected to the plan. Notable among this group was Henry Modell, proprietor of the sporting-goods chain, a long-time tenant at 280 Broadway. A greater and more tenacious obstacle came from the architecture and design community. In a letter to Mayor Wagner, dated February 4, 1964, Jack Kaplan, writing on behalf of thirteen prominent architects, including Philip Johnson, Walter Gropius, Edward Larrabee Barnes, and I.M. Pei, offered his foundation’s (The J. M. Kaplan Fund) support to Mayor Wagner if he would open the plan “…to conduct an international competition for the purpose of securing a better design for the proposed Civic Center.”
Quote:
In May 1963, the City had started to address concerns like these by commissioning noted architect Edward Durell Stone, along with architects Eggers & Higgins, to coordinate the actual design of the Civic Center. Released to the public in April 1964, Stone’s new proposal followed the basic recommendations of the earlier studies, but combined two office buildings into one 54-story skyscraper.

Reporting on the new building, New York Times architecture writer Ada Louise Huxtable commented that its façade of “…slender panels of white marble aggregate, with gently cured surfaces, alternating with gray glass … is meant to lessen the impact of its size in relationship to the diminutive 19th-century City Hall.”

In replying to the Kaplan letter on February 17, 1964, Mayor Wagner expressed hope that the Stone proposal “… will interpret the intention of the overall plan with enough latitude to produce a distinguished architectural concept.” Based on the correspondence found in Mayor Wagner’s “Civic Center” subject file in the Archives, it was clear that the architecture and planning community did not agree with Wagner’s hope. They continued to protest, right up to the last days of his administration in December 1965. And with that it looked like the clock may have run out on the vision of a great new Civic Center.
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Old Posted Aug 14, 2020, 2:23 AM
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https://neverwasmag.com/2018/12/unbu...center-design/

Quote:
1930-31 design for a New York Civic Center in Lower Manhattan by Chester B. Price

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Old Posted Sep 2, 2020, 1:28 PM
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“Office buildings are our factories – whether for tech, creative or traditional industries we must continue to grow our modern factories to create new jobs,” said United States Senator Chuck Schumer.
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Old Posted Sep 2, 2020, 1:35 PM
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"Welcome to DCAS, your civil service exam is on the 102nd floor"

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click here too see hunser's list of the many supertall skyscrapers of New York City!
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Old Posted Sep 2, 2020, 1:43 PM
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^ Yeah. I’m glad they didn’t demolish some if those buildings, but the last two would be awesome on the skyline.

The Stone proposal got built in Chicago, on a larger scale.
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“Office buildings are our factories – whether for tech, creative or traditional industries we must continue to grow our modern factories to create new jobs,” said United States Senator Chuck Schumer.
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Old Posted Sep 26, 2020, 3:28 PM
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Just imagine what New York would look like without the crash of 29. WW2 in Europe might have been avoided too.

Be nice if the crash had happened in the late 50s and cancelled a bunch of modernist towers instead.
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