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Mapping 15 of New York City's ugliest buildings

We asked Curbed readers to weigh in on the city's unloveliest buildings, and they had plenty of opinions

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Back in June, we asked Curbed NY commenters to weigh in on the most unattractive buildings in New York City—and oh, did they deliver. Dozens of you were eager to share opinions on the city's ugliest buildings, with nominees ranging from modern supertalls to the quotidian architecture found in outer-borough neighborhoods.

But there were some clear winners (or, well, losers) whose architecture was derided time and time again—sorry, MSG, though it's not like anyone is surprised—and so we've rounded up 15 of the buildings that got the most unfavorable mentions from the Curbed commentariat. (Don't worry, we're also going to round up the most beautiful buildings in the city soon!)

If a structure that you find particularly objectionable didn't make it onto the list, let us know in the comments below—and remember, we're just the messengers here.

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1. Madison Square Garden

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4 Penn Plz
New York, NY 10121
(212) 465-6741
Visit Website

It should come as no surprise that many, many commenters named this building as the most unappealing in the city. (Its creation famously inspired OG archicritic Ada Louise Huxtable to write, "We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tin-horn culture.") And the descriptions commenters gave were perhaps not as eloquent, but were still colorful: "it's horrid inside and out"; "MSG is bad for your health"; and "it replaced a beautiful building, the original Penn Station, not the current commuter snake pit."

2. Verizon Building

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375 Pearl St
New York, NY 10038

Coming in just behind MSG—and your Curbed NY editor's pick for the city's ugliest building—is the Verizon tower at 375 Pearl Street, a white monolith that's made all the less attractive by the huge red "Verizon" logo emblazoned on it. Even though it's in the midst of a makeover, it still looks like a supervillain's lair—and really, the new glass addition isn't exactly helping that image.

3. Port Authority Bus Terminal

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625 8th Ave
New York, NY 10018
(212) 564-8484
Visit Website

Commenters were no less disparaging of the beleaguered Port Authority Bus Terminal, which one person referred to as a "piece of trash." Even though Port Authority wants to reimagine the ailing building, plans to do so are currently mired in a battle between the transit organization, and city and state officials. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.

4. 432 Park Avenue

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Rafael Viñoly's supertall tower has been controversial since it was first revealed, both for its height—towering nearly 1,400 feet over Manhattan—and the fact that it was inspired by a very, very high-end garbage can. "It is a blight on a world-famous skyline, it is devoid of any aesthetics or architectural qualities. It is a tiny, skinny cube," said a commenter.

5. 3 Park Avenue

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3 Park Ave
New York, NY 10016

"Nothing redeeming about it," one commenter said of this mid-1970s skyscraper. "From its orientation and complete disregard for the street to seven or eight stories of blank facade." It does indeed stick out—a modernist monolith on otherwise staid Park Avenue. Fun fact: the architecture firm that designed it, Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, is the same firm responsible for the Empire State Building. Who knew?

6. New York by Gehry

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8 Spruce St
New York, NY 10038
(212) 877-2220
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Frank Gehry's sole New York City skyscraper is the rental tower at 8 Spruce Street in Lower Manhattan, and though it's generally regarded by critics as a nice enough building—the Times's Nicolai Ouroussoff called it "the finest skyscraper to rise in New York since Eero Saarinen’s CBS building went up 46 years ago"—others aren't as complimentary. Several Curbed commenters called the twisted metal tower out as their least favorite, with one giving it the moniker "Gehry's metal turd." Welp.

7. The Westin New York at Times Square

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270 W 43rd St
New York, NY 10036
(212) 201-2700
Visit Website

Designed by Arquitectonica, the colorful hotel at Eighth Avenue and 43rd Street has never been especially popular, least of all with Curbed commenters; several named it as the city's least appealing building. But it inspired a glorious quote from former Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp in 2002: "This is New York. We live in one great ugly town. Not being too hung up on beauty is what makes life here possible, even thrilling. In exchange for surrendering refinement, we get a kind of urban poetry that is the envy of the world. Sometimes it takes outsiders to see it. Often, outsiders introduce new rhymes. The beauty resides, in some sense, in staying an outsider. The Westin is the consummate outsider's hotel." Lovely words about an un-lovely building.

8. Trump Tower

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725 5th Ave
New York, NY 10022
(212) 832-2000
Visit Website

Donald Trump's hulking Fifth Avenue tower was controversial long before the developer became a household name (and an even more controversial presidential candidate). Trump erected the skyscraper on the site where Bonwit Teller once stood, after a battle over the beloved building's Art Deco ornamentation ended with the Donald destroying it, seemingly willy-nilly. The Der Scutt-designed building tower, per a commenter, "screams ’80s capitalism and excess."

9. Downtown Brooklyn

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Less a single building and more a cluster of uninspired towers, the Downtown Brooklyn skyline was named by commenters as being blah, but it also has more famous detractors. Deborah Berke recently called it "banal," and the Wall Street Journal examined the reasons why it lacks a distinctive profile—and the answer was, unsurprisingly, money.

10. One World Trade Center

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1 World Trade Ctr
New York, NY 10007

The spire of One World Trade Center is a point of contention with commenters, who called it "atrocious" and "embarrassing for the tallest structure in New York." The spire that tops the skyscraper was initially supposed to be covered in an ornamental shell, but the developers cut that at the last minute to save costs—a move that many, including building architect David Childs (of Skidmore Owings & Merrill), decried. Now, it's a stark, skinny piece of metal that helps push the supertall to its symbolic height (oy) of 1,776 feet. "A building of this prominence and symbolism should be better," said one commenter.

11. The Cooper Union

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41 Cooper Sq
New York, NY 10003
(212) 353-4000
Visit Website

No, not the grand old Great Hall—the Cooper Union building that commenters can't stand is the new, metal-sheathed structure at 41 Cooper Square, designed by Pritzker Prize winner Thom Mayne. Not everyone agrees that it's an eyesore, though; no less an authority than Ada Louise Huxtable praised the building when it opened.

12. One57

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157 W 57th St
New York, NY 10019
(212) 570-1700
Visit Website

No surprise here—commenters generally aren't fans of the skyscrapers coming to Billionaires' Row, and Christian de Portzamparc's One57 has been a lightning rod for criticism since it was completed in 2013. Michael Kimmelman has also reserved harsh words for it, calling the tower "a cascade of clunky curves" and concluding that "it’s anybody’s guess how the building got past the drawing board."

13. Astor Place

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445 Lafayette St
New York, NY 10003

Specifically, the curved glass tower at 445 Lafayette Street, a glass-covered behemoth in the otherwise low-slung East Village. Commenters hate it, and archicritic Paul Goldberger especially hated it when it opened more than a decade ago. His New Yorker takedown of the building, titled "Green Monster," criticizes Charles Gwathmey's design as "an elf prancing among men." He continued, "Its shape is fussy, and the glass façade is garishly reflective: Mies van der Rohe as filtered through Donald Trump." Ouch.

14. Blue Tower

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105 Norfolk St
New York, NY 10002

We'll let the Curbed commenters take this one: "This is a giant pimple on the Lower East Side’s ass," one said. Okay then!

15. The Pan Am Building

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200 Park Ave
New York, NY 10166

Ada Louise Huxtable called it "gigantically second rate." New Republic writer Wolf Von Eckhard criticized its "arrogant disregard for its surroundings." And more than 50 years after it rose on Park Avenue, the Pan Am building is still controversial—commenters in our informal poll namechecked it, and was even the subject of a design competition last year to reimagine its modern edifice. Of course, it's sort of unfair to deride the building too much—after all, it's sitting right behind Grand Central Terminal, widely considered one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, if not the world.

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1. Madison Square Garden

4 Penn Plz, New York, NY 10121

It should come as no surprise that many, many commenters named this building as the most unappealing in the city. (Its creation famously inspired OG archicritic Ada Louise Huxtable to write, "We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tin-horn culture.") And the descriptions commenters gave were perhaps not as eloquent, but were still colorful: "it's horrid inside and out"; "MSG is bad for your health"; and "it replaced a beautiful building, the original Penn Station, not the current commuter snake pit."

4 Penn Plz
New York, NY 10121

2. Verizon Building

375 Pearl St, New York, NY 10038

Coming in just behind MSG—and your Curbed NY editor's pick for the city's ugliest building—is the Verizon tower at 375 Pearl Street, a white monolith that's made all the less attractive by the huge red "Verizon" logo emblazoned on it. Even though it's in the midst of a makeover, it still looks like a supervillain's lair—and really, the new glass addition isn't exactly helping that image.

375 Pearl St
New York, NY 10038

3. Port Authority Bus Terminal

625 8th Ave, New York, NY 10018

Commenters were no less disparaging of the beleaguered Port Authority Bus Terminal, which one person referred to as a "piece of trash." Even though Port Authority wants to reimagine the ailing building, plans to do so are currently mired in a battle between the transit organization, and city and state officials. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.

625 8th Ave
New York, NY 10018

4. 432 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10022

Rafael Viñoly's supertall tower has been controversial since it was first revealed, both for its height—towering nearly 1,400 feet over Manhattan—and the fact that it was inspired by a very, very high-end garbage can. "It is a blight on a world-famous skyline, it is devoid of any aesthetics or architectural qualities. It is a tiny, skinny cube," said a commenter.

5. 3 Park Avenue

3 Park Ave, New York, NY 10016

"Nothing redeeming about it," one commenter said of this mid-1970s skyscraper. "From its orientation and complete disregard for the street to seven or eight stories of blank facade." It does indeed stick out—a modernist monolith on otherwise staid Park Avenue. Fun fact: the architecture firm that designed it, Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, is the same firm responsible for the Empire State Building. Who knew?

3 Park Ave
New York, NY 10016

6. New York by Gehry

8 Spruce St, New York, NY 10038

Frank Gehry's sole New York City skyscraper is the rental tower at 8 Spruce Street in Lower Manhattan, and though it's generally regarded by critics as a nice enough building—the Times's Nicolai Ouroussoff called it "the finest skyscraper to rise in New York since Eero Saarinen’s CBS building went up 46 years ago"—others aren't as complimentary. Several Curbed commenters called the twisted metal tower out as their least favorite, with one giving it the moniker "Gehry's metal turd." Welp.

8 Spruce St
New York, NY 10038

7. The Westin New York at Times Square

270 W 43rd St, New York, NY 10036

Designed by Arquitectonica, the colorful hotel at Eighth Avenue and 43rd Street has never been especially popular, least of all with Curbed commenters; several named it as the city's least appealing building. But it inspired a glorious quote from former Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp in 2002: "This is New York. We live in one great ugly town. Not being too hung up on beauty is what makes life here possible, even thrilling. In exchange for surrendering refinement, we get a kind of urban poetry that is the envy of the world. Sometimes it takes outsiders to see it. Often, outsiders introduce new rhymes. The beauty resides, in some sense, in staying an outsider. The Westin is the consummate outsider's hotel." Lovely words about an un-lovely building.

270 W 43rd St
New York, NY 10036

8. Trump Tower

725 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022

Donald Trump's hulking Fifth Avenue tower was controversial long before the developer became a household name (and an even more controversial presidential candidate). Trump erected the skyscraper on the site where Bonwit Teller once stood, after a battle over the beloved building's Art Deco ornamentation ended with the Donald destroying it, seemingly willy-nilly. The Der Scutt-designed building tower, per a commenter, "screams ’80s capitalism and excess."

725 5th Ave
New York, NY 10022

9. Downtown Brooklyn

Brooklyn, NY 11201

Less a single building and more a cluster of uninspired towers, the Downtown Brooklyn skyline was named by commenters as being blah, but it also has more famous detractors. Deborah Berke recently called it "banal," and the Wall Street Journal examined the reasons why it lacks a distinctive profile—and the answer was, unsurprisingly, money.

10. One World Trade Center

1 World Trade Ctr, New York, NY 10007

The spire of One World Trade Center is a point of contention with commenters, who called it "atrocious" and "embarrassing for the tallest structure in New York." The spire that tops the skyscraper was initially supposed to be covered in an ornamental shell, but the developers cut that at the last minute to save costs—a move that many, including building architect David Childs (of Skidmore Owings & Merrill), decried. Now, it's a stark, skinny piece of metal that helps push the supertall to its symbolic height (oy) of 1,776 feet. "A building of this prominence and symbolism should be better," said one commenter.

1 World Trade Ctr
New York, NY 10007

11. The Cooper Union

41 Cooper Sq, New York, NY 10003

No, not the grand old Great Hall—the Cooper Union building that commenters can't stand is the new, metal-sheathed structure at 41 Cooper Square, designed by Pritzker Prize winner Thom Mayne. Not everyone agrees that it's an eyesore, though; no less an authority than Ada Louise Huxtable praised the building when it opened.

41 Cooper Sq
New York, NY 10003

12. One57

157 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019

No surprise here—commenters generally aren't fans of the skyscrapers coming to Billionaires' Row, and Christian de Portzamparc's One57 has been a lightning rod for criticism since it was completed in 2013. Michael Kimmelman has also reserved harsh words for it, calling the tower "a cascade of clunky curves" and concluding that "it’s anybody’s guess how the building got past the drawing board."

157 W 57th St
New York, NY 10019

13. Astor Place

445 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10003

Specifically, the curved glass tower at 445 Lafayette Street, a glass-covered behemoth in the otherwise low-slung East Village. Commenters hate it, and archicritic Paul Goldberger especially hated it when it opened more than a decade ago. His New Yorker takedown of the building, titled "Green Monster," criticizes Charles Gwathmey's design as "an elf prancing among men." He continued, "Its shape is fussy, and the glass façade is garishly reflective: Mies van der Rohe as filtered through Donald Trump." Ouch.

445 Lafayette St
New York, NY 10003

14. Blue Tower

105 Norfolk St, New York, NY 10002

We'll let the Curbed commenters take this one: "This is a giant pimple on the Lower East Side’s ass," one said. Okay then!

105 Norfolk St
New York, NY 10002

15. The Pan Am Building

200 Park Ave, New York, NY 10166

Ada Louise Huxtable called it "gigantically second rate." New Republic writer Wolf Von Eckhard criticized its "arrogant disregard for its surroundings." And more than 50 years after it rose on Park Avenue, the Pan Am building is still controversial—commenters in our informal poll namechecked it, and was even the subject of a design competition last year to reimagine its modern edifice. Of course, it's sort of unfair to deride the building too much—after all, it's sitting right behind Grand Central Terminal, widely considered one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, if not the world.

200 Park Ave
New York, NY 10166