New York Needs a Wrecking Ball

New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff argues that some buildings make the city worse, and lists of some that need to be demolished. Included in his list are Penn Station, Madison Square Garden and Astor Place.

"Instead of crying over what can't be built, why not refocus our energies on knocking down the structures that not only fail to bring us joy, but actually bring us down?"

"Ugliness, of course, should not be the only criterion. There are countless dreadful buildings in New York; only a few (thankfully) have a traumatic effect on the city."

"So the list will not include affronts that are merely aesthetic. To be included, buildings must either exhibit a total disregard for their surrounding context or destroy a beloved vista. Removing them would make room for the spirit to breathe again and open up new imaginative possibilities."

Full Story: New York City, Tear Down These Walls



Two More To Demolish

I am amazed to read an Ouroussoff column that I like. I would add two more to the list of buildings to be demolished:

1- The Federal Building on Foley Square. In addition to being out of scale with the older classical buildings on Foley Square and clashing with them stylistically, this building was set back behind a plaza that ruins the definition of the square. I think that, if they had filled its whole site rather than setting it back, they could have gotten the same square footage into a building whose height would have fit in with the other buildings around the square.
For a picture of the Federal Building, see
and for pictures of other buildings around Foley Square, see

2-2 Broadway on Bowling Green. Another sterile modernist intruder in what could be a great classical cityscape focused on the Custom House building.
For a picture of 2 Broadway, see
For the classical office buildings around Bowling Green (with a sliver of 2 Broadway visible on the right), see
For the custom house, see

Charles Siegel

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!
Book cover of Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Featuring thought-provoking commentary and insights from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month