Straight Dope on a NYC building?

So, we’re walking up on 7th ave the other day, and we look down 57th St. and I say to my BIL “that’s a great building. It’s the Grace building. It says it right on the facade in big black letters.”

So, later on, we walked by it, and there were no big black letters on it. “Hmmm,” I thought, “I swear I remember seeing ‘GRACE’ written across that.”

So, even later on, we’re down on 42nd St. and me and the BIL took a leak in that little bathroom right near the public library. Well, we come out of the bathroom and he says, “hey, look” and wouldn’t you know it, the GRACE building is sitting right there. Looking exactly like that bad boy up on 57th street.

So, what’s the straight dope? Same company? What’s the name of the one on 57th St? You just can’t tell an architect “make me a building just like that other one” can you?

The Solow Building.

And yes, they had the same designer, and were built roughly at the same time.

Heh. Same architect. In fact, the Grace Building on 42nd is basically the first draft of what became the Solow building at 9 W. 57th St. That plan was rejected by Solow and put on a shelf until W.R. Grace wanted a similar internationalist design.

That sweeping front is a way to use set-backs – basically, many buildings in NY have to have setbacks so there’s some hope of a teensy bit of sun reaching the street and to reduce the canyon effect. Most buildings have right-angle setbacks, as the Empire State Building, for example. The Grace and 9 W. were another approach.


And thanks for the link.

The black building with the white trim? Is that the building you are talking about? Gah, that is awful?

Have to agree with you on that. Buy then, I think most buildings built in Manhattan since 1935 have been pretty awful (although they have been improving lately).

Is that a question?

I think both buildings are kind of nice looking. The pictures don’t do much justice to showing how they curve away from the street. They make it look just like a big tall rectangle.

The Grace building has the concrete “checkerboard” on it’s front side which I think looks a little nicer than the all black one with the concrete frame.

No, it wasn’t a question. It was a typo. Like Alessan, I think that modern architecture is a blight. But at least I now know who to blame for foisting two of those buildings on Calgary. Here is the first one, and here is the second one.

This is the building that Superman caught the jewel thief on his first night of superness.
(The Solow building, not the Grace)

Ah, the Grace building. I know it well.

Is that the building that looks like the Atari symbol?