A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 17, 2017
Elephant’s Foot (450 W. 33rd Street, or 5 Manhattan West)

The building at 450 West 33rd Street in Manhattan was completed in 1970. It was renovated and painted beige in the 1980s. The massive 16-story structure was nicknamed “elephant’s foot” and called one of New York’s ugliest buildings.

The building was renovated again in 2016-17 and renamed 5 Manhattan West.


Observer (New York, NY)
Daily News to HQ: Drop Dead?
By Dana Rubinstein • 02/23/10 10:10pm
Staff writers at Mort Zuckerman’s New York Daily News may no longer have to work in one of the ugliest office buildings to blight New York’s, or any city’s, streetscape. The Daily News has hired brokerage Cushman & Wakefield to look for new office space. Rumor has it that the paper wants offices roughly comparable in size to the 120,000 square feet it now occupies at 450 West 33rd Street, at 10th Avenue, but the precise square footage could not be confirmed.

This could be good news. Not only are the Snooze’s current offices nearly two avenue blocks west of the nearest subway, but did we mention that the building, which has been compared to both the Death Star and an elephant’s foot, is ugly?

The Architect’s Newspaper
REX revamps the facade of Davis Brody (Bond)’s 1970 Five Manhattan West
By JIMMY STAMP • May 13, 2016
Original Architect: Davis Brody
Architect: REX
Steel manufacturer and installer: Permasteelisa
Date of Completion: 1970
Date of retrofit completion: expected 2016

Before BIG built its pyramid on New York’s west side, there was the concrete ziggurat at 450 West 33rd Street, designed by Davis Brody (now Davis Brody Bond) and completed in 1970. The 16-story office building lost whatever Brutalist charm it possessed when, in the 1980s, its precast concrete facade was painted beige and covered with brown metal panels and it gained the dubious honor of being one of the ugliest structures in New York. Now known as Five Manhattan West, the building is undergoing another makeover, spearheaded by REX, to update its facade with the latest in form-fitting fenestration.

Urban Land Magazine
Transforming Obsolete Downtown Towers into Offices, Hotels
By Ralph Bivins
November 22, 2016
(...)
In Manhattan, Brookfield Property Partners is transforming another 1960s-vintage building at 450 West 33rd Street.

With its precast concrete exterior and undersized windows, the building was the butt of jokes about its unattractive appearance, said Sara B. Queen, executive vice president of asset management at Brookfield.

“We affectionately called it the elephant’s foot building,” she said.

Connect (commercial real estate)
JPMorgan Chase Takes Another 300K-SF at NY’s 5 Manhattan West
June 6, 2017
JPMorgan Chase signed a 15-year lease for an additional 305,000 square feet at Brookfield Property Partners’ 5 Manhattan West in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards District. The deal expands the bank’s presence from 123,000 square feet at the 16-story, 1.7-million-square-foot building.

Brookfield just completed a $300-million redevelopment of the former warehouse property. The property, affectionately known as the elephant’s foot, is now integrated into Manhattan West, a master-planned, seven-million-square-foot mixed-use community.

The Architect’s Newspaper
First look: REX’s sleek retrofit of Brutalist 5 Manhattan West
By JONATHAN HILBURG , AUDREY WACHS (@GRIDWACHS) • November 15, 2017
REX has bestowed a shiny new skin on a late Brutalist office building that was, until recently, one of the ugliest buildings in Manhattan.

Up until the renovation, the building was known as the elephant’s foot, in dubious honor of a horrific 1980s renovation that left the elegant concrete structure clad in brown metal panels and beige paint.

Now called 5 Manhattan West, the building has undergone yet another makeover, spearheaded by REX, to update its facade with the latest in form-fitting fenestration.

Metro (New York, NY)
5 Manhattan West goes from eyesore to eye candy
Brookfield invested $350 million to transform the former Hudson Yards “elephant foot” warehouse into a gleaming mixed-use destination.

By Nikki M. Mascali
Published : November 16, 2017 | Updated : November 16, 2017
450 W. 33rd St. has been one of New York City’s most curious architectural wonders since its completion in 1969, but thanks to a $350 million renovation, it likely won’t be called “the elephant’s foot” any longer.

The building in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards was originally completed in 1969 by Davis Brody, an architecture firm now known as Davis Brody Bond. In the 1980s, it underwent a renovation that gave it its unflattering yet apt nickname after its structural elements were painted beige, and brown metal siding was added.

Brooklyn-based architecture firm REX turned the Brookfield building, now known as 5 Manhattan West, into a gleaming glass structure that is nearly unrecognizable as the former concrete warehouse. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBuildings/Housing/Parks • Friday, November 17, 2017 • Permalink