Lollipops, minus the Venetian palazzo
Crews Friday afternoon were taking down the last of the scaffolding from 2 Columbus Circle, revealing the only distinct architectural feature that survived the building's epic overhaul -- Ada Louise Huxtable's lollilops. Well, they belong to architect Edward Durell Stone, of MoMA and GM Building fame, but former New York Times architectural critic Huxtable gave us that great label. Those lollipops -- or, OK, columns -- at the base are now covered in glass, preserving the building's namesake element. Smart move.
But the marble Venetian palazzo of which she wrote so famously in the 1960s has been utterly extinguished. And in its place, well, you decide. The original structure was one of those buildings New Yorkers loved, just loved, to harsh on. We may well have been guilty of said crime during our less forgiving moments. After all, buildings should be judged in part by how successful a home they are to tenants, and 2 Columbus Circle never excelled in this respect. What it needed was a tenant who could appreciate its role in architectural history, its charms, and yes, its quirkiness.(That whole "portholes, but no windows" thing was a nonstarter for most folks, except perhaps for Verizon switching-station technicians.) That proved to be too tall an order, and time ran out for 2 Columbus Circle.
We were expecting more, much more, given the fevered debate over this building's future. At this point, we can say this much with authority: 2 Columbus Circle now blends in perfectly with its sleek neighbors, looking right at home with the Time Warner Center and the reclad Trump Tower across the way.
The circle is corporate, clean, and now, complete.
-- Rolando Pujol
Note: If you haven't yet read the first architectural review of the new 2 Columbus Circle, click here. And this comment thread on Curbed is not to be missed. Here's Urbanite's previous 2 Columbus Circle coverage.