Salmon: The New Era of the New York Skyscraper

NEW YORK (Reuters Blogs) -- The first time I ever visited New York, the bus from JFK dropped me off in front of Grand Central Terminal. I looked up and up and up at the Chrysler Building towering above me, and I immediately fell in love with a city which so exuberantly celebrated its height and size and weight. Much as I love Chicago, New York will always be the home of the skyscraper for me; no other city has such spectacular examples from all eras, ranging from the Brooklyn Bridge and the Woolworth and Flatiron buildings, through Lever House and the Seagram building, all the way to the newest towers rising both downtown, at the World Trade Center site, as well as uptown, along 57th Street. One of the most awe-inspiring architectural experiences in the world is to visit the little-known but truly amazing top room of the art deco BNY Mellon building at 1 Wall Street, with its three-story-high silver ceilings and its unrivaled views to the north, south, east, and west.

In a sign of the times, that room - along with the rest of the building - might be for sale; one broker told Bloomberg that it "could be spectacular resi." For corporations looking to squeeze a large number of people into a single building, super-tall towers don't make a lot of sense. They waste too much space on service shafts. But for trophy-hunting billionaires, it seems that views are everything, these days -- especially if the views in question are of Central Park. Build a high-ceilinged, full-floor, ultra-luxe apartment a thousand feet in the sky and even closer to Central Park South and it seems there's almost no limit to how much you can charge for it.

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