simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: Towers
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Wednesday, 4 April 2007


This is a vista of Zeckendorf Towers and the Con Ed tower, seen from Union Square. Although this area is historically significant as a gathering space for labor and political events (once known as New York's Speakers' Corner), by the 1970s it had seriously deteriorated and was home to drug dealers and considered extremely unsafe (click here for history). In 1983-86, the park underwent an extensive renovation. New retailers moved in such as Barnes and Noble, Virgin Records and Circuit City. In 1987, the Zeckendorf Towers at 1 Irving Place, an enormous project encompassing a city block with 670 condominium apartments, was completed. To make way for this project, a small group of 19th century buildings were leveled, including the Union Square Hotel and S. Klein's on the Square, the renowned (and tacky) original discount department store. Many credit the Zeckendorf development as being one of the primary forces in the revitalization of the this area. There are four towers (only three can be seen in the photo), each with its signature floating pyramidal top. Along with the Con Ed tower, this is one of the most distinctive and identifiable illuminated group of buildings in the nighttime NYC skyline. Like Times Square, this area has had tremendous inertial resistance to improvement. In addition to Klein's, it has been home to a parade of discount stores both small and large (e.g. Mays and then Bradlees), particularly on 14th Street - the most resistant to improvement. With the recent opening of Whole Foods Market and a new residential condo at 14th and University Place, the transformation finally looks complete ...


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