Day: September 12th, 2006

Kang & Soto (and Pam)

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006 | All Things, Friends, Music

Attended a lunchtime concert by The Julliard School’s Kang & Soto Duo: Judy Kang (Violin) and Josu de Solaun Soto (Piano). The performance took place in the glass atrium of 180 Maiden, formerly known as the Continental Center, just south of South Street Seaport. It was built for the Continental Insurance Company by The Rockefeller Group in 1983 at a cost of $115 million. In August 2004, the building was sold to The Moinian Group for $355 million.

A blurry shot of the performance in progess (after which I asked to put the camera away.)

Kang and Soto

I’d taken a different view of this building from the anniversary cruise last month, and it’s clear how the glass tower rises above its surroundings (here, the leftmost building, behind Pier 17):

Continental Center

The tower was enabled by the transfer of unused air rights from the low-rises in the South Street Seaport historic district. Air rights allow developers to build taller towers than the zoning ordinarily allows by buying the space over low-scale buildings and transferring it (on paper, if not in reality) to spaces over adjacent buildings. From wikipedia, an explanation of how Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) works:

EXAMPLE: A historic building is surrounded by skyscrapers. The building is only three stories high, but each building in the area has the right to thirty-five stories of airspace. The community doesn’t want the historic building to be destroyed. The owners of the historic building could make a great deal of money by selling their building and allowing a thirty-five story office building to be built in its place. But if they sell their air rights to someone developing an office building nearby, they can make almost as much money, if not more, without demolishing the historic building. And the person who purchases their air rights can now build a sixty-seven story office building.

TDR makes it possible for there to be a free exchange (buying and selling) of development rights without having to sell land. Critics of this model argue that the plan rarely generates much money for historic low-rise properties, and is more often used as a real estate scheme to undermine zoning protections.

Group dinner at Pam Real Thai — second time there this week. JS, who spent a year in Thailand after college, did the ordering, which worked out well for everyone; we shared an abundance of tasty dishes, including the tangy sliced squid salad and the deep-fried whole snapper with lime dressing and shreds of fresh mango. So good! He and I agreed on this point: Pam’s has the best Thai food in Manhattan. The original Wondee Siam is a close second — though some on the Chowhound boards would have you believe the reverse. I really have to make it out to Sripraphai in Woodside, Queens one of these days…

Afterwards, AC, CS, CC and I walked over to the Time Out New York Lounge which opened two weeks ago in Worldwide Plaza. Sort of an odd expansion of the “Time Out” brand (Jossip likened it to Jimmy Buffett bars or Teen Vogue television) but at least the lounge was low key enough to allow for audible conversation. The subterranean space that was once home to the Cineplex Odeon $2.00 (then $2.50, and just before closing: $3.00) second-run movie theater complex now houses New World Stages and its five Off-Broadway theaters.

From the lounge, we could hear the thumping beats from a television industry fête in full swing around the corner in the lower-lower level (former movie theater) space. It was tempting to crash the party — and in fact, we had some half-hearted discussions about making the attempt — but ultimately decided against infiltrating. Just as well: the party was breaking up just as we were leaving around midnight anyway.

There are 5 comments