New York Bears

I feel like staying out of Perth another day. Bartenders Skills with a Manhatten sends Bears, which has a perthworst feel.

And then takes it back with some Noo Yoik worsting on a grand scale which puts our crap to shame.

BSWAM says.
Midtown includes some of the world’s earliest (and I would argue best) skyscraper architecture. It is one of the largest neighborhoods in Manhattan without a historic district (although there are several individual city landmarks, including the tall red building in this picture, a rare skyscraper design by Delano and Aldrich).

“Such architecture is rapidly being replaced by what are called “McSams” – hotels developed by Chinese developer Sam Chang and his in-house architect Gene Kaufman. This magnificent example interrupts a wall of Art Deco previously unchanged from the Great Depression and makes up for the fact by causing a new great depression every time one sees it.”



About The Lazy Aussie

Commended Haiku writer. A lover of The West's Worst. Perth stand-up comedian, photographer and writer.
This entry was posted in The Worst of New York, worst architecture and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to New York Bears

  1. Bento says:

    Magnificent. I love what they’ve done with the green bits.


  2. Pete F says:

    To cement the WA connection, I believe the mcsam’s pictured was a modular design – a vertical mining camp in the middle of a city.


  3. Russell Woolf's Lovechild says:

    I’m in a New York cocos state of mind.


  4. scanners says:

    I was in New York a few months ago, and this post is spot on. There must have been a brief period when skyscrapers were all fantastic, only to be replaced by rubbish, since some time in the 1950’s I’m guessing? Or is it a post WW2 thing?
    That said, I feel we need a “McSam” in Perth, and we need it now. Come on Col, if Dixie Marshall can get $245,000.00 a year for her “expertise in placing advertisments and in using social media”, surely we splash out for a McSam? And if we could have it bursting through the roof of a heritage listed building that would be ace!


    • I like your linking of Dixie with New York desecration. Who says we can’t merge?


      • Russell Woolf's Lovechild says:

        Let’s wait and see what they do with the State Treasury building and that hotel development before we say anything about Perth’s long track record of heritage preservation. Who could fail to be impressed with Bondy’s triangular erection rising rampant from the old Palace Hotel?


      • Pete F says:

        Alannah and…


      • scanners says:

        Nothing against Dixie, obviously; if my employer was idiot enough to give me a 52% pay rise I’d barely knock it back. Alas I feel my employer is too savvy and that would be an unlikely event.


    • BSWAM says:

      The period of skyscraper development began in the late 1870s with the original New York Insurance Building (which burned down at the turn of the last century); it got a dramatic boost from the 1916 setback zoning resolution which led to the stepped profiles of the most famous examples, such as the Empire State. New regulations that allowed for plazas, parks and public atriums created the slab effect of the post war period, many of which I think are stunning – the Seagram Building, Lever House and the magnificent Union Carbide tower all date from this period. (I realize this form of Modernism is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love it – my favorite building in Perth is the Council House, which I think is a masterpiece).

      NYC architecture fell into the abyss in the late 1970s and floundered through the Postmodern 80s and 90s with very little good to show – but this was also the period where the historic districts and restoration of key buildings and parks became a major focus of development. Central Park, Bryant Park, Grand Central Terminal, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Chrysler Building, the New York Public Library, Columbus Circle and the Guggenheim Museum were all extensively restored and rebuilt during this period.

      The last decade or so has seen some of the best new architecture in the country: the Standard Hotel, the High Line Park, and dozens of small “jewel box” works from national and international architects (40 Bond Street is a personal favorite of mine) as well as the master plan for the West Side and the World Trade Center.

      It has also, inexplicably, seen the McSams.

      Accusations have been made that any other developer working in the city would be unable to get away with building McSams. Whether it is a function of some terrible collection of orgy photos owned by Mr. Chang or he is canny enough to acquire sites where all neighborhood associations, building codes, aesthetic regulations and sundry miles upon miles of red tape have magically gone up in a puff of smoke is unclear. What is clear is that he and his horrible “architect” are well-nigh single-handedly wrecking the potential for the type of restoration and growth seen in the Flatrion District, where the architecture of the sort shown in my first photo is protected by district codes and which is currently the most popular neighborhood in the entire city. No one wants to invest in rennovating a 1902 Sullivan style loft building if the view is of a McSam across the street.

      I should also point out that the typical McSam is a budget hotel, somewhat akin to a Holiday Inn type, and its purpose is to provide inexpensive accommodations for tourists. This is not the first example of people ruining a place by going to see it, but it might be one of the most literal examples on the planet not involving a stretch of beach.

      Sorry for the screed, pant, pant, red mist of rage, etc.


  5. BSWAM says:

    I have been informed by a contact in architecture that Mr. Chang has declared his intention to retire this December.


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