The Citigroup Center (formerly the Citicorp Center)

It’s big.  It’s imposing.  It’s very clean.  It was nearly one of the great catastrophes of New York City.

It’s also a subway stop, but that has nothing really to do with this post.

The Citigroup Center, located at 53rd Street and Lexington Avenue is notable from a distance if only because of its triagular top.

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But it’s big and just dominates the area around it.

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The gleaming whiteness does set it apart.  But what really sets it apart are the columns at the base.

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They’re almost as wide as some buildings (a bit of an exaggeration).

When it was built in 1978, the original design had the old church that had been on the corner nestled under the columns.  That didn’t work out, but the design was kept after they nixed the church remaining (it’s now nearby).  But, they didn’t redesign the place to account for the missing church.  The rest was nearly history.  If near hurricane speed winds had hit it at a certain angle, there was the real possibility that it would have toppled over.  Folks, it’s a tall, tall building.  It could have wiped out entire blocks.

Instead, they did a fast repair that took months to do (and from what I’ve heard, spoiled the views of a lot of people who had prime window offices inside the place).  And apparently did it more or less in secret.  It wasn’t until the 1990’s that the story became known.

-H

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Explore posts in the same categories: Manhattan, Mid-town, Wanderings

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