Wednesday, March 27, 2019

What might have been at 51 Astor Place in the early 1960s — and beyond



Today, the Cooper Union Library Instagram account shared the above image... Per their post: "51 Astor Place Engineering Building Initial Proposal — Harrison and Abramovitz, NY, Associate Architect Prof. Esmond Shaw of Cooper Union ... "

Instead, the Cooper Union Engineering School was housed in this building below off of Third Avenue between Astor Place and Ninth Street for years ...



That building was demolished in the summer of 2011 to make way for...



Whoops! Sorry! This!

14 comments:

Donnie Moder said...

The Deathstar was the straw that broke my camel's back. I just am too exhausted to care if they demolish every building on St. Marks and sell Thompson Square Park to a Russian oligarch for development.

noble neolani said...

If ever an example of good, bad to EVIL.

XTC said...

So basically what they put is a building that looks like a modernist glass toilet bowl.

cmarrtyy said...

We used to have pols that cared about the community. .. even if it was ONE PARTY RULE. They cared. They were answerable to the community... their neighbors. Today we live in a detached political system. Votes only count for party/donors/influence peddlers. The rest of us count very little... and sadder still... a lot of people don't care.

Anonymous said...

Mind Numbingly FUGLY.

Anonymous said...

Like Times Square,I just try to get through this area ASAP.

Anonymous said...

That is an ugly building that is so out of character for the neighborhood but I do like to take a look at the Koons Red Rabbit sculpture that is on display in the lobby of the building. It is a nice looking sculpture.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why the 1960's era plan that is shown wasn't carried out by Cooper Union? It looked pleasant and human-scale.

noble neolani said...

"It looked pleasant and human-scale." you answered your own question.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I don't see how the earlier proposal for this space can be thought of as human scale. The buildings look to me to be two mid to late 1950s structures devoid of any interest. The open space, facing the Foundation building seems to have been a constant in all designs for this plot.

Anonymous said...

@9:35am: If you can't see the difference between the Death Star and the rendering that never got built, I can't help you!

BTW, what would you expect those buildings to look like? The Cooper Union instagram account identifies the photo of what wasn't built as being from 1959 - so yeah, there's a reason they look like 1950's designed buildings.

Anonymous said...

Okay @5.59 PM. It seems de rigueur that anyone who posts on EV Grieve has to denounce the Astor Place building (Death Star) as a horror. Sorry I don't feel that way. It isn't my favorite building of the last decade, but I just can't garner the energy to keep denouncing it (as if denouncing it as a mantra will make it disappear--for that we probably need to resurrect Syible Leek). My point was that the plans for the buildings never built were in the tradition of non-distinguished CU architecture (i.e., the classroom building torn down for developers to build Death Star). I won't venture to post on the CU building on the Bowery (7th-6th Streets) lest I be verbally stoned.

Scuba Diva said...

@Donnie Moder: Do you not live in the neighborhood? Since when is "Tompkins Square" spelled "Thompson Square?" Do you also refer to "Thompson Street" as "Tompkins Street?" (Do people look at you funny?)

Sorry, I couldn't just let that one go by.

Giovanni said...

It’s not fair to keep calling that building of the Death Star. No, the Death Star was a giant mobile space station and galactic superweapon. This building is just a giant glass box that sits on the ground looking like broken mirror in search of a bathroom.