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4 World Trade Center Comes into View; and A Walk on John Street

While walking around the city this month or while visiting friends with lofty views, it's easy to spot the soaring tower of 1 World Trade Center in the skyline of Lower Manhattan. The steel structure of this tallest of the World Trade Center buildings has now surpassed ninety floors, and workers have completed the facade more than half way up. 1WTC has been particularly showy at night during the holiday season, festooned with multicolor lights twinkling all the way to the sky. But walk to a different street - for example, Greene Street in Soho or even Fifth Avenue in the 40s - and look south, and the tower of 4 World Trade Center comes into play on the horizon.

Looking south on Greene Street in Soho. At the end - 4WTC.

Eventually rising to 72 stories, this minimalist work at 150 Greenwich Street by architect Fumihiko Maki, the recipient of the 1994 Pritzker Prize, will eventually become just as an important part of the visual and social landscape as the other nearby skyscrapers. As the building slowly slips into our peripheral city vision, 4WTC is worthy of our attention.



Zoom picture of Fifth Avenue, looking south. Near 42nd Street and the New York Public Library.
The building on the horizon is 4WTC, now under construction. 

Located at the southeast corner of the World Trade Center site, 4WTC will feature 1.8 million square feet of office space on 53 floors and 146,000 of retail on five floors near or below ground level. (see sources at end of this section.) The building very nearly stalled over financing issues. This past fall, Silverstein Properties and the Port Authority issued bonds to complete the building, scheduled to open in 2013. The Port Authority has signed on to move its main headquarters to the tower. While 1WTC's height make it "a proud and soaring thing," to use Louis Sullivan's words, 4WTC's geometrical configurations - the bottom half shaped as a parallelogram and the top floors as a trapezoid - will translate into a bulkier appearance from many viewpoints on the street.

4 WTC, 150 Greenwich Street, up close.

While 4WTC's future seems clearer, the construction schedule for 2WTC and 3WTC, the ones designed by Norman Foster and Richard Rogers, respectively, depends on the success of securing tenants. The 2WTC by Foster, with its sloping diagonal roofs and illusion of four tightly bonded towers, would have been the second tallest building in the city after its neighbor 1WTC and one of the most distinctive in the skyline. The building will be finished to street level this year, but its future is up in the air. In other words, the construction schedule of these two towers depends on market conditions. As the year begins, only 1WTC and 4 WTC are done deals.

For further reading:

For more on the rebuilding projects in Lower Manhattan, consult the website, Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center.

To learn more about the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site, visit the official site.

See website for Maki and Associates for more about the architect.

A Walk on John Street

A walk on John Street, looking back at the WTC site.

The previous post on this site featured another new project in Lower Manhattan, Pier 15 of the East River Waterfront Promenade, along with the suggestion to walk there via John Street. While the World Trade Center and the pier offer views of the new city, John Street reveals a combination of the old, the recent past, and the new. The narrow street is currently lined with old-fashioned convenient stores, everyday diners, new drugstores, and a mix of Beaux Arts, mid-century modern, and older buildings. Several new developments signify the area's residential renaissance, including 99 John Deco lofts, a condo development inside a repurposed office building from 1933 and visited by WOTBA during this past OHNY.

John Street United Methodist Church, 44 John Street. 1841.

No more is this time-challenged mixture on the street apparent than by a visit to John Street United Methodist Church and its little side park. The church here, built in 1841, is the third one built by the congregation, making it the oldest Methodist congregation in the United States. Next to this appealing church, situated close to the street near the intersection of John and Dutch Street, sits a small courtyard. Venture in the space to visit the small sculpted bust of John Wesley. With his back against a relentless office tower wall, the venerable minister seems to be trapped inside a dystopian urban nightmare.

bust of John Wesley in the church's small urban park

The building trapping Wesley is known by its address as 33 Maiden Lane, designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee and built in 1984. Check out the cool "street" within the building that provides access to the Fulton Street subway. In other developments near here, please note, too, that a 21-story hotel is planned for a site between Broadway and Nassau Streets at 24 John Street.


interior "street" at 33 Maiden Lane.

At the end of the street near the water, John takes a playful turn with the "Imagination Playground." Beyond, we see the Seaport. And, finally, needing to take a break from our old and new urban canyons, we finally see boats and piers and the East River and the sky.

Imagination Playground

John Street ends at the South Street Seaport.

Images by Walking Off the Big Apple.

Further reading: Website for John Street Church.


View East River Waterfront Esplanade Pier 15 in a larger map





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