The Real Deal New York

Robert A.M. Stern weighs in on how to revive Midtown East

April 22, 2013 12:30PM

Renowned architect Robert A.M. Stern feels so strongly that the city’s plan to rezone Midtown East is too high-density that he wrote an op-ed column published in the New York Times.

Stern, who described himself in the commentary as “nearly always an advocate of density,” listed several objections to the city’s plan, which envisions a taller, denser neighborhood around Grand Central Terminal.

“The advantage of density can go only so far without the infrastructure to support it,” wrote Stern, who is also dean of the Yale School of Architecture. “And the appropriateness of tall buildings is a question of where and when, and what they contribute to the public realm. Let’s all admit that the Pam Am Building, now MetLife, was a mistake in 1963, and is still a mistake from an urbanistic point of view … Are we preparing to make the same mistake again, on multiple sites?”

Stern also makes a case for preserving older buildings, such as Shanghai did in the early 1990s in a plan similar to the Midtown East proposal, released last summer. [NYT] –Hayley Kaplan