23 October 2007

Does the Empire State Building Deserve This?

The Empire State Building, New York City's most famous building (the country's?), will soon be the home of the toddlin' town biggest Starbuck's, the New York Post reports.

I ask you, is this anyway to treat a landmark that has survived a plane crash, a huge gorilla and millions of tourists? The coffee monopoly will occupy a three-level space and a total of 8,400 square feet on the 34th Street side, the same area that was once blighted to TGI Friday's.

On a happier note, Landmarks Commission gave the go-ahead to plans to to restore and revitalize the Art Deco lobby. Architects Beyer Blinder Belle will oversee the project.


Nesta said...

The Empire State Building is already a tourist trap. To many, that's probably all it is. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. I'm just saying, what makes it what it is is not any inherent "New York-ness," but its height, its history as a symbol of NYC, its history as a place to see and to visit. Pardon my ignorance, but has it had any really famous tenants? I see the ESB as being famous for being famous. And I'm guessing (I'm no expert on this subject) that it may struggle to earn as much rental income as other buildings because it has less available floor space than some comparable buildings due to the old-style architecture. So if it requires Starbucks $$ to keep the building maintained, so be it.

That said....I don't drink coffee and therefore don't frequent Starbucks, but what can they do with 3 floors? That does sound somewhat frightening.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Point taken, Nesta. No doubt the ESB needs plenty of money to keep running. However, despite the hoards of tourists, I do think the building has many more fine qualities beyond being tall. A visit to the lobby will take you right back to the 30s. I wish some insightful restaurant owner would realize the ground floor space would make an ideal location for a high end dinner destination. Bring back some New Yorkers to a New York landmark.