New York skyline battle

Look at Manhattan from afar, and
the first thing you notice is the Empire State Building, spiking like a needle
above the carpet of skyscrapers that coats Manhattan from tip to tip.

Now it’s got some competition- a
proposal for a nearby glass office tower that would rise almost as high and
alter the iconic skyline.

The tower would spoil the famous
view of the 102-story skyscraper for millions of tourists, the Empire State
Building’s owner, Anthony Malkin, is arguing.

It “defines New York.” he
said.

“We view this 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 City Council is to vote this
week on whether to allow a developer to erect a 67-story tower that’s only 34
feet lower than the 79-year-old Empire State Building, the city’s tallest
skyscraper.

The proposed tower’s developer,
David Greenbaum, says 15 Penn Plaza would provide critically needed and
state-of-the-art office space to midtown Manhattan, creating at least 7,000 new
jobs.

If the council’s Zoning and
Franchises subcommittee OK the plan, the final word would lie with the City
Council _ unless the mayor objected.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg supports
the tower, which was approved by the City Planning Commission last month,
spokesman Stu Loeser said.

The building would stand two blocks
west of the Empire State Building on the site of the current Hotel Pennsylvania
on Seventh Avenue, steps from Madison Square Garden and Penn Station.

Renderings of the proposed building
_ designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects _ portray a skyscraper shaped like
a giant chisel atop a block. It tapers to a flat edge at the peak and is marked
by a top-to-bottom groove on its face.

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