Officials Fight to Keep Empire State Building in View

Owners of the Empire State Building are arguing against a proposed rival that they say will change Manhattan's iconic skyline and block the view from the 102-story skyscraper for millions of tourists.

The proposed competition, a 67-story glass office tower, 15 Penn Plaza, would rise only 34 feet lower than the 1,250-foot Empire State Building, one of the most famous buildings in the world.

The Empire State Building "defines New York," owner Anthony Malkin told the City Council this week.

"We view this (proposal) as an assault on New York City and its iconography," said Malkin, whose grandfather founded the Malkin Holdings company. It's "the end of the image of New York City that billions of people hold dear."

The developer of 15 Penn Plaza testified the new building will provide much needed state-of-the-art office space in midtown and create more than 7,000 jobs. The tower would be located two blocks west of the Empire State Building on Seventh Avenue, on property currently occupied by the Hotel Pennsylvania.

Tourists visiting the Empire State Building's 102nd-floor observatory this week tended to side with the building's owners.

"Wow! Wouldn't that be sad!" said Christa Huggins, a 35-year-old visiting from Utah, of the potential for a partially blocked view.

As for 15 Penn Plaza, the design has been described as looking like "a giant chisel atop a block."

The City Council is expected to vote this week on whether to allow the new tower.

Photo, punxutawneyphil, flickr
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