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Central Park is now Central Dark

 The new skyline over Central Par, with the proposed development (below).

The Municipal Art Society of New York

These before-and-after pictures show the potential skyline over Central Park with the proposed development of 57th St. mega-towers.

Welcome to Central Dark.

A new generation of mega-tall skyscrapers being built along 57th St. for foreign billionaires will cast a long shadow over New York’s premier greenspace, a new report shows.

Shadows will go creeping across Central Park as the day drags on, if a slew of mega-towers gets built along Central Park.

JR/New York Daily News

Shadows will go creeping across Central Park as the day drags on, if a slew of mega-towers gets built along Central Park.

“It’s troubling that the sky’s the limit when it comes to one of our most precious public spaces,” said Vin Cipolla, president of the Municipal Art Society, which conducted the report to highlight the need for oversight of development around parks.

“We need to protect these spaces,” Cipolla added.

Numerous Central Park amenities wouldn't be able to escape the shadows of proposed skyscrapers on and near W. 57th St.

Municipal Art Society

Numerous Central Park amenities wouldn’t be able to escape the shadows of proposed skyscrapers on and near W. 57th St.

The shadow report reveals the worst-case scenario — every Dec. 21, the winter solstice, the sunless zone will extend 20 blocks into Central Park and reach the Lake and Ramble.

Every Sept. 21 at 4 p.m., shadows would stretch a dozen blocks — as far as Sheep Meadow and the Naumburg Band Shell near the 72nd St. transverse.

The One57 residential building, shown still under construction in October near New York's Central Park.

Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

The One57 residential building, shown still under construction in October near New York’s Central Park.

The skyscrapers in question are rising “as of right,” meaning the public has no say over their size. Developers are able to build so high because they bought air rights from neighboring buildings — and technological advances now allow for the construction of super thin mega-towers on small footprints traditionally suited for 40 story buildings.

One of the studied towers, the Gary Barnett-designed One57 across from Carnegie Hall, reaches 1,004 feet. Just down the block is the proposed 1,350-foot minaret at 111 West 57th St., next door to the Steinway Building. It’s only 43 feet wide — the width of two townhouses — and it’s higher than the Empire State Building’s observation deck.

'Accidental Skyline,' published by The Municipal Art Society of New York, outlines issues related to tall buildings and their influence on scarce open spaces in New York City.

Municipal Art Society

‘Accidental Skyline,’ published by The Municipal Art Society of New York, outlines issues related to tall buildings and their influence on scarce open spaces in New York City.

Nearby, Harry Macklowe is building the 1,397-foot 432 Park, taller than the World Trade Center minus its spire, and Barnett is working on a follow-up at 57th St. and Broadway that could reach 1,500-feet, making it the tallest apartment building in the Western Hemisphere.

The reach-for-the-sky mentality is all fueled by a seemingly insatiable appetite for high-end Manhattan real estate among super-rich out-of-towners.

The mirror-shiny One57 at least can reflect images of the Central Park amenities that it might overshadow.

Marchmade

The mirror-shiny One57 at least can reflect images of the Central Park amenities that it might overshadow.

Meanwhile, real New Yorkers are left in the shadows.

“Central Park was designed for everyone, but the tall buildings pushed me further into the middle of the park to be in the sunshine,” said Elyse Fox, who was in the park with her 3-year-old.

The tallest building here is 432 Park Ave., viewed from Central Park at dusk.

dbox for CIM Group & Macklowe Properties

The tallest building here is 432 Park Ave., viewed from Central Park at dusk.

The Municipal Art Society proposes that any project with significant shadow impacts on major public spaces should undergo public review. This would give public officials and the community board the opportunity to weigh in.

“We should be studying these impacts before the buildings are going up, not after, when it’s already too late,” said Cipolla.

432 Park Ave. towers above its neighbors — and it can literally overshadow scarce New York City open spaces nearby.

dbox for CIM Group & Macklowe Properties

432 Park Ave. towers above its neighbors — and it can literally overshadow scarce New York City open spaces nearby.

Skyscraper boosters disagree.

“I don’t think it’s right to change the rules overnight,” said Carol Willis, director of the Skyscraper Museum.

The 1,550-foot tower at 215 West 57th St. would be the tallest building besides One World Trade, and would cast a larger shadow accordingly across Central Park.

Community Board 5

The 1,550-foot tower at 215 West 57th St. would be the tallest building besides One World Trade, and would cast a larger shadow accordingly across Central Park.

This is not the first time the Municipal Art Society has taken up the cause of shadows over Central Park. In the 1980s, the group led a campaign with former first lady Jackie Onassis to stop a pair of towers on Columbus Circle.

The buildings were eventually build — but the resulting Time Warner Center was hundreds of feet shorter and set back from the park.

The Muncipal Art Society's report 'Accidental Skyline' reveals how the southern part of Central Park would be almost entirely covered by shadows in winter thanks to new mega-towers.

Municipal Art Society

The Muncipal Art Society’s report ‘Accidental Skyline’ reveals how the southern part of Central Park would be almost entirely covered by shadows in winter thanks to new mega-towers.


Lifestyle – NY Daily News

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