In the 12 years I’ve been in New York I’ve seen plenty of buildings torn down to make way for new ones or old ones get renovated and reborn. Lucky us that directly next to and behind the gallery the tallest residential building in the U.S. is going up at 432 Park Avenue. The Rafael Vinoly tower will be 1,380 feet tall and should be ready by 2016. The penthouse of the 95 story building is rumored to be a 8,255-square-foot-six-bedroom for an easy $82.25 million.
The Drake Hotel once lived in the space but Harry Macklowe bought it and demolished in 2007 to make way for bigger and better. Once the financial crisis of 2008 happened the lot sat vacant.
Closest to 57th street was a row of 3 or 4 townhouses but they took those down about a year ago when construction commenced. It’s perfect for them because they can create a retail footprint on 57th Street. They’ll be across the street from the Four Season Hotel, a Prada accessories store and only a block away from Dior, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton. Watching the demolition of those townhouses was exciting. I’ve never seen buildings eliminated from the top down. The demolition guys would use blow torches or chain saws to cut the beams depending if they were steel or wood. They also had an elaborate way of moving a small crawler excavator from floor to floor as they removed beams, bricks, pipes and concrete.
Once those smaller buildings were out-of-the-way they began breaking up the bedrock and schist to lay the foundations. Have you ever heard those whistles blown at a construction site just before they detonate the dynamite? Imagine hearing those and 2 seconds later the whole building shakes. They also used drills to break up the solid rock into smaller chunks. Whistles, explosions, a shaking building, drilling,this went on and on for a year. Most of my colleagues developed coughs and it certainly didn’t help those with allergies.
They dug down 3 stories, poured the concrete foundations and have put in the first re-bars. Until they hit 10 floors I’ll be able to watch this all from a window in one of our offices. Once I lose the view I can watch it on the building’s website here and you can too! Be amazed by what humans can do!