A Towering Mistake

Love it or hate it, the Empire State Plaza defines Albany’s skyline, and the jewel in this crown is the Corning Tower.

Maybe you’ve noticed that the building’s distinctive profile has been sullied by the construction of some sort of storage shed on the roof.  It’s bad enough that the Corning Tower has sprouted antennas in recent years, but the shed is nothing less than a huge wart on the nose of one of the city’s most important landmarks.


Most of you probably don’t care, but it’s wrong to mess with the vision of the architects — and of Nelson  Rockefeller himself — by ruining the clean lines of the building. According to Joseph Persico’s terrific biography, Rocky was an aesthete who was famously controlling over the design of the Plaza; the shed would have driven him mad.

Worse yet, according to All Over Albany, the structure is a permanent fixture.

What were they thinking? I’m guessing there was no serious consideration at all. It’s hard to imagine that an architect would be that disrespectful of a building so important — or that anyone could look at the plans and not see the damage they were doing.

There are buildings all over downtown that have had various structures and equipment piled on top of them. That’s a routine practice and most of it goes unnoticed, but what they’ve done to the Corning Tower? That’s an abomination.

A wider view after the jump…

4 responses to “A Towering Mistake

  1. Cant see it from the gov’s mansion

    Do you think Nelson might have loved the ‘I heart NY’ in lights look ?

    • You know, I think he would have liked the idea of spelling things with the Tower lights. I’ve always thought the ultimate prank would be putting up something subversive on the building…

  2. With that much metal, it’s no good for antennae, so maybe it really is just a glorified tool shed. However, once the radome gets built…

    More that once I’ve heard the Plaza referred to as ‘Rocky’s Last Erection’, though Ms. Marshak would be the final arbiter of that question.

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