Worldwide Plaza

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350 West 50th Street, New York City

Worldwide Plaza
WorldwidePlazaNYC.jpg

Two Worldwide Plaza in Hell's Kitchen, NYC
Building Information
Developer William Zeckendorf
Architect Frank Williams
Number of Units 268
Number of Floors 38
Year Built 1989
Construction Method Concrete
Type of Roof Copper
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350 West 50th Street, New York City
Distance to Public Transit 113 nearby routes
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning C6 - 4
Title of Land Condominium


Contents

Background

Built on the site formally occupied by Madison Square Garden, Worldwide Plaza played an integral role to the revitalization of the neighborhood of Clinton. In 1968, Madison Square Garden closed its doors and moved downtown to its current location on West 34th Street. For years, the abandoned site was used as a parking lot and West Midtown devolved into one of New York City’s sketchiest districts, mostly known for the abundance of porn stores and peep shows up and down Eighth Avenue. In November of 1985, developer William Zeckendorf announced plans for a massive commercial and residential development on the site, with construction beginning the following year.[1]

In 1988, Zeckendorf announced that the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore, as well as the advertising company Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, had leased the majority of the space in the commercial building, thus lending some much needed credibility to the project. Since then, the development has been cited as one of the key factors in the area’s renewal and new found popularity, and the residential buildings in Worldwide Plaza remain one of the most sought after luxury buildings in the neighborhood.[2]

Location

Worldwide Plaza occupies an entire city block, spanning from West 49th Street to West 50th Street north and south, and from Eighth Avenue and Ninth Avenue east to west. The neighborhood is technically called Clinton, although its more commonly used name is Hell’s Kitchen. The neighborhood is bordered by the Upper West Side to the North, Midtown to the East, the Hudson River to the West, and Chelsea to the South, and Hell’s Kitchen was for decades one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Manhattan, at times being labelled as the most dangerous neighborhood in the country.

With a long and storied history in violence and crime, Hell’s Kitchen first came into being as an Irish neighborhood, housing many refugees from the Great Famine of Ireland. As immigrants flocked to the neighborhood, the increasing population gave rise to high levels of poverty, and many of the residents turned to gang life to survive. By the early 20th century, the area was mostly under the control of these gangs, and the bootlegging industry created with Prohibition only served to strengthen this stronghold. Eventually the street gangs were replaced with organized crime units, and the violence in the area increased dramatically. The 1950s saw a dramatic increase in Puerto Rican immigrants to the area, and the subsequent ethnic tensions were dramatized in the famous musical West Side Story. Hell’s Kitchen continued to live up to its name until the 1980s when gentrification finally made its way into the area, and by the early 2000s, Hell’s Kitchen had become a high end neighborhood with its ever increasing rents becoming some of the highest in Manhattan.[3]

Residents of Worldwide Plaza enjoy convenient access to many of New York’s famed cultural institutions, such as the theater district of Broadway to the East, and Lincoln Center to the North. In addition, Hell’s Kitchen is home to numerous shops, restaurants, and home services, and the 50th Street Subway station runs under the Plaza.[4]

Construction

Construction on the massive city block development Worldwide Plaza began in 1986 and was completed in 1989. The residential buildings were designed by architect Frank Williams in the Postmodern style of architecture, and the residential tower is noted for its beige colored brick exterior, and copper pyramid roof.

Altogether, Worldwide Plaza consists of one commercial office high-rise building, known as One Worldwide Plaza, one high-rise residential tower, known as Two Worldwide Plaza, and one low-rise residential building, known as Three Worldwide Plaza.

The building with the address of 350 West 50th Street featured in this article is Two Worldwide Plaza, located mid-block of the development.[5]

Layout and Features

Two Worldwide Plaza distinguishes itself from the other residential building in the complex with its height of 38 stories, and its pale beige color, and masonry structure. Similar in style to the office tower, Two Worldwide Plaza is capped with a copper pyramid, and the building features a canopied entrance that opens into a lobby decorated with wood paneling. There is a landscaped public plaza separating the commercial and residential towers that houses several cafes, public seating, and a large fountain and sculpture designed by Sidney Simon. Underneath this plaza is the New World Stages, an off-Broadway theater center housing six different venues for off-Broadway theatre productions.[6]

Apartments within Two Worldwide Plaza feature hardwood floors, over sized windows, and 11 foot ceilings. Many of the apartments have balconies or terraces, and every floor of the tower holds two separate laundry rooms. [7] The gourmet kitchens are fully equipped with stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops, while the bathrooms have marble finishing, standing showers, and soaking tubs. [8]

Floor Plans

With over 170 floor plans available, a selection is presented.

Amenities

Two Worldwide Plaza is fully staffed with 24 hour doormen, concierge service, a live in superintendent, and valet parking. Additional amenities include a Bally’s Total Fitness Center, a pool, a parking garage, and a luxuriously landscaped garden that is reserved for residents only.[9]

The amenities for this building are managed by Douglas Elliman Property Management.[10]

Bylaws

Worldwide Plaza Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Age No


This building allows rentals and pied-a-terre, and there are no age restrictions.


Sustainability

Two Worldwide Plaza was built before the era of sustainability awareness and therefore the building is a product of its time.

However, as new residents begin to renovate their apartments, individual owners can contribute to the building’s overall sustainability by installing more energy efficient appliances and window paneling.

Trivia

The opening of Worldwide Plaza saw the first prestigious office building to open west of Eighth Avenue in over 55 years.[11]

There was so much press and anticipation surrounding the development of Worldwide Plaza, that its construction was the subject of a five part television mini-series on PBS, as well as an accompanying book called Skyscraper: The Making of a Building, which was written by Karl Sabbagh.[12]

References

  1. City Realty - Review
  2. Street Easy
  3. Wikipedia - Clinton
  4. Walk Score
  5. City Realty - Review
  6. City Realty - Review
  7. Luxury New York Condominium Website
  8. New Construction Manhattan
  9. Street Easy
  10. New Construction Manhattan
  11. City Realty - Review
  12. Wikipedia - One Worldwide Plaza

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