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Battle of the Skyline

skyline night midtownCurrently there is a debate about whether the proposed 15 Penn Plaza development should go forward as planned. Vornado Realty Trust wants to build a skyscraper at 15 Penn Plaza (where the Hotel Pennsylvania now stands), which would rival the Empire State Building in prominence in the city’s skyline. Vornado’s skyscraper, which was approved by the City Planning Commission in June, would be only 34 feet shorter than the Empire State Building. Because of the two buildings’ close proximity, 900 feet apart, 15 Penn Plaza would partially obstruct views of the Empire State Building. Some fear Vornado’s building will crowd “the distinctive skyline in the city,” as Malkin Properties President Anthony Malkin, who owns the Empire State Building, said in yesterday’s New York Observer. To read the full article, click here.

Although MAS does not oppose the project, we submitted testimony on 15 Penn Plaza in June to the City Planning Commission, raising concern for the need for a comprehensive transportation plan in the area, considering the influx of people that the proposed development would bring to the already congested Penn Station neighborhood.

Now that the project is before the City Council, MAS thinks that it is an appropriate time to discuss the impact 15 Penn Plaza will have on the Empire State Building and on our skyline,” said MAS President Vin Cipolla. “The viewsheds and view corridors of certain iconic buildings should be considered in these cases,” he continued.

So what do you think?