Why 57th Street Is the Supertall Tower Mecca of New York

It’s clear that 57th Street is where it’s at for really tall and skinny new buildings that are reshaping the Manhattan skyline. One57 and 432 Park Avenue are the most visible examples so far, SHoP’s 111 West 57th and Extell’s Nordstrom tower will follow, and they are all within four blocks. Part of the trend along this specific corridor has to do with floor area ratio (FAR), the formula that equates to maximum developable floor space allowed at a property. FAR can be stretched really tall with a few tricks and trades, and it underlines the debate over how liberal or restrictive the city should be with height limits and the air rights market. Just how easy it was for developers to stretch FAR on 57th Street is made clear in a 2010 report by architecture students at Columbia University’s graduate school.

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