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A Pedestrian Halo for the Grand Central of the Future

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The plan to rezone Midtown could bring a lot more tall towers to the neighborhood, making the already-crowded streets even busier, especially around Grand Central. So the Municipal Art Society asked three major firms?Foster + Partners, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and WXY Architecture + Urban Design?to rethink the public space around the terminal. The Journal got a sneak peek at the ideas, and SOM's is by far the best. The firm created two soaring towers, linked by a pedestrian halo that floats above Grand Central. The halo would move up and down between the buildings for different views of the city. Too crazy to work? SOM consulted with engineers, and the plan is technically feasible; the challenge would be to get the building owners and government to all work together.

WXY took cues from the High Line and designed an elevated walkway on the Park Avenue Viaduct. It would have a glass bottom, so visitors could see down to the street, and seasonal plantings would provide greenery. Foster + Partners had the lamest ideas, suggesting larger pedestrian tunnels, more visible entrances, and turning Vanderbilt Avenue into a pedestrian plaza. Bor-ing.
· Untangling the Grand Central Snarl [WSJ]
· Midtown East Rezoning coverage [Curbed]