Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Gehry eclipses Gilbert on the Brooklyn Bridge

June 7, 2008. On a hazy summer morning, Cass Gilbert's magnificent Woolworth Building, near the 95th anniversary of its completion, can be seen at the left of this photo taken near the center of the Brooklyn Bridge.

January 6, 2009. On a chilly, overcast winter morning, the view from near the same spot has changed, as Forest City Ratner's luxury Frank Gehry designed Beekman Tower is rising, has begun to block the view of the Woolworth Building, and a construction crane slashes across the upper part of the tower. Not long after this picture was made, Forest City announced that, because of the financial crisis, it intended to truncate the Beekman Tower at about the level it had then reached, rather than building it to its planned seventy six stories. This would have preserved at least part of the view of the Woolworth Building from the Bridge.

June 24, 2009. According to a recent New York Magazine article by Justin Davidson on Gehry,

For a while, it seemed as though [Beekman Tower], too, would add to the architect’s miseries. Ratner halted construction halfway up and toyed with the idea of saving money by leaving it stunted. Eventually, he extracted concessions from the construction unions, and the tower resumed its upward march. The result will be an ordinary structure in a shiny dress.
Nevertheless, the website Lower Manhattan.info, reporting on "daily activities" and updated to June 16, 2009, says "Superstructure erection is on hold; the building is now 41 stories tall". The photo above, taken this morning, shows it at forty one stories; the top of the Woolworth Building's tower still peeks over its top.

Update: The eclipse is now complete (see photo below taken on September 1, 2009):