Frank Gehry’s Vision Goes Up, in Flames

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Photo: Jed Egan

New Yorkers like to think of Manhattan as a churning, striving, unsentimental commercial clash of building and rebuilding and change upon change upon change. But in fact, Manhattan’s skyline doesn’t change all that often — not in any appreciable way, anyhow. Even the most recent real-estate boom — with all its grand plans, its renderings, its Calatrava cubes overlooking the East River — didn't actually alter the skyline. That’s all changing. If you've gazed west from Brooklyn in the past couple of weeks, you may have noticed the shimmery, flame-shaped panels on Frank Gehry’s 76-story Beekman Tower are (after at least one work stoppage last year) making their way onto the building, and Gehry’s most significant contribution to the city is taking its remarkable shape. The dues have been paid in full: It has taken Gehry a few decades of missteps and misfortune to get there, but he’s leaving his mark (and with his design mostly unmolested) in the form of a tapered, optimistic, sun-catching tower that’s almost, almost worth a sunrise walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. How’s that for change?

Related: The Unbuilding of Frank Gehry [NYM]
Update: Oh, maybe we spoke too soon. Apparently they've stopped work because those panels have been flying off in high winds.