1707127587 Get that skyscraper out of my sight

Get that skyscraper out of my sight!

Skyscraper at 262 Fifth AvenueThe new skyscraper at 262 Fifth Avenue reduces the visibility of the Empire State. George Etheredge (New York Times

Of all the definitions of the word skyscraper, a pretty brilliant one can be found in the book and podcast The Invisible City by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt: “Machine designed to convert the earth into money.” Cities began to grow taller for economic reasons. It took a lot of technology to get that high and we were lucky that Mr. Elisha Otis found the solution and invented the safe elevator in 1854. The race that began in Chicago is not over yet.

New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman published a lengthy article in October titled “When the Skyscraper You Hate Blocks the Skyscraper You Love.” He was talking about the Empire State Building, a massive and colossal tower , which was greeted with great affection by New Yorkers because in 1931 it was the tallest building in the world and a symbol of overcoming the global economic crisis, in which office workers and textile workers mixed with bankers and diamond dealers. Until recently, if you left the Flatiron Building behind and entered Madison Square Park near Fifth Avenue, you could catch a glimpse of the Empire State Building's hypnotic profile and your entire visual memory would be activated. Today, however, if you go to the square's northwest exit, you'll see a dreary skyscraper that prevents you from appreciating the Empire State. Kimmelman says, “If you spent a dollar in 1931, you could visit the observation deck and see New York like a god.” Like the Brooklyn Bridge in the 19th century, the Empire State Building transformed the city's stratosphere into a public space and the skyline into a resource , which New Yorkers thought they shared. And he regrets that the price today is $72 to have a new 262 meter high luxury tower in front of him. Is this new skyscraper a symbol of progress? Should New York regulate its skyline?

Miriam Berman, conservationist and author of “Madison Square: The Park and Its Celebrated Landmarks” and professional guide, always invited visitors to pay attention to the visual dialogue that the Flatiron's bow has maintained for years with the muscles of the Empire State through Fifth Avenue. In his opinion, “the preservation of a deserving sightline is as important as that of an iconic historical monument.”

The Flatiron was considered the first skyscraper in New York and was the tallest building in the world until 1909 with its 20 floors and triangular floor plan. The Flatiron was considered the first skyscraper in New York and was the tallest building in the world until 1909 with its 20 floors and triangular floor plan. Marco Rubino (getty)

The Empire State is blurry. “Another oversized millionaire anorexic rising up on 29th Street hides it,” says Kimmelman, and in that absence one remembers the time he exited the subway, looked up at the sky, and at himself the iconic skyscrapers, and even remembers the Twin Towers by Minoru Yamasaki, who suffered from acrophobia, the fear of heights.

New York's unrecognizable skyline, Kimmelman continues, “is filled with billionaire apartments and increasingly symbolizes the city's widening income gap and skyrocketing housing costs.” In the course of his investigation, he has learned that the pencil-thin building (at 262 Fifth Avenue), which blocks the view of the Empire State Building, was designed by the Russian company Meganom, will have 56 floors and, according to the Crain's agency, will contain only 26 apartments!

When you're lucky enough to see the Empire again in all its glory from 28th Street, remember Fran Lebowitz talking about her city's skyscrapers in Pretend it's a City; “The incredible thing about Chrysler is the details and its beauty. I think it’s for sale now, not that I’m going to buy it, but for me it’s the perfect size to be a one-person house.”