I show my view so much on my Instagram stories, I thought I’d share more about it here. Particularly since I’ve read a few articles recently about how much New Yorkers hate 432 Park Avenue. See the tall skinny building next to the Chrysler? That’s it. We call it the Cigarette building. I’ve also heard it called the Middle Finger. That’s because it’s the tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere, with no public viewing space. Just a bunch of billionaires perched above the rest of us plebeians. One apartment sold for $88 million dollars. I’ve hated that building ever since I watched it go up a few years ago. Until then, the Chrysler building stood alone, it’s elegant art deco design jutting out above all the other skyscrapers. Deservedly so.
We see new buildings go up all the time from our apartment and have watched the skyline change dramatically since we first moved here over 15 years ago. See that even taller building on the left? It’s not actually taller, but it looks that way from my perspective. That’s One Vanderbilt. It’s new too. The lights on the spire just turned on recently and I like it. It’s a nice addition. It filled in a gap and looks great at night. Although, I don’t like it as much when we drive into Manhattan from Long Island, because from that perspective, it sits directly behind the Chrysler and obscures the outline of the building entirely. But, clearly some thought went into how it would look from afar.
When 432 went up, I got madder and madder the taller it got. When it passed the Chrysler, I thought for sure they were going to build something fancy on top. At least put a spire on it or something! But nope. Nothing. They just ended on a square roof and then sold each apartment for obscene amounts of money. It seems like they cared more about what the views looked like from inside than what it looked like to New Yorkers from the outside.
In the articles about 432, they talk about how unhappy the billionaires are who live in there because the ridiculous height makes the building prone to leaks, swaying, and elevator breakdowns. They also talk about the wind noisily howling through it. I remember when I first moved into my building. It was new and I was one of the first occupants. It’s only 16 floors, but it’s higher than most buildings around it and the wind was unbearably loud. I honestly wasn’t sure I could live like that.
But over time, as more people moved in and filled it with furniture, the whole structure settled and the howling stopped. It was like the building became permanent to the landscape and the wind gave up.
I wonder if a building with 85 floors will ever settle. I bet the billionaires who own apartments there have permanent residences elsewhere and NYC is not really where they call home.
Maybe the wind knows that and won’t ever leave them alone.