May 31, 2008

The Lollipop Building: 2 Columbus Circle


Every once in a while a busy New Yorker stops to smell the roses or in my case stops looks up and notices a new building.

Heading back to my office after an appointment yesterday on a particularly beautiful New York day, I leisurely strolled around Columbus Circle.

As I paused in front of the Time Warner Center deciding if I should get in a cab, take the subway or walk I looked up and saw a glimmering new building with my initial H on it at 2 Columbus Circle.

The former "Lollipop Building" that for the longest time was covered in scaffolding.

It had the nickname The Lollipop building because it's Venetian inspired vertical palazzo had perforated port like holes at the base - hence lollipops.

The building was erected in 1964 as the Gallery of Modern Art by Huntington Hartford. The museum lasted only five years.

In 1969 Mr. Hartford turned the building over to Fairleigh Dickinson University, which in 1970 used it to house the New York Cultural Center.

The city eventually took it over for use as a visitors center.

One of New York's most photographed buildings it never received landmark status. It has been on the National Historic Trust's 100 most endangered sites on earth.

For years preservationists have been fighting to stop them from changing the facade. The architecture is 1960's urbanisim. Since it was not a pre-war but post war the landmarks commission never held hearings to save the facade. Many argued that it should be saved because it is bizarre looking.

In 2005 a judge allowed the sale and redesign of 2 Columbus Circle. It will be the new home of The Museum of Arts and Design scheduled to open soon.

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