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  • Writer's pictureElenah Mae Salen

Alternative New York

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

New York City is a city of constant change. Buildings are repositioned, torn down and new ones are built in their place.

For every significant project there are alternative versions that never came to be.

Here are some examples of what some New York City icons may have been.

• The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), 1930s - A design by architects Howe and Lescaze featured cantilevered galleries that took the form of a Jenga tower about to topple. It was considered radical as it went against the Neoclassical style that was typical for institutions at the time. Ultimately the design was rejected as it was believed to be unsuitable for the site.

• Grand Central Terminal (GCT), 1950s - Architect I.M. Pei proposed demolishing Grand Central Terminal and replacing it with a sleek hourglass office tower and transit hub. This project, known as the Hyperboloid, was never built.

• The Guggenheim Museum, 1930s - The museum’s architect, Frank Lloyd Wright proposed painting the museum Cherokee red, orange, or pink. Ultimately he selected a beige color which Robert Moses vetoed in favor of white, which is how it currently stands today.

There are many versions of what New York City could have been. Similarly, there are many versions of what New York City could and will be.

As the city continues to evolve and face the challenges before it, no matter what version it becomes, New York’s next chapter is sure to be bold.

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