Gary Barnett, the founder and president of Extell Development Company, likely knew what he was getting into when he showed up to a recent town hall on super-tall skyscrapers rising in New York. The hundreds of people who crowded into a room at the New York Public Library were not there to praise these soaring towers. They were there to see what could be done to stop more from rising.
The town hall, which was organized by Manhattan Community Board 5, was focused on the long, dark shadows that these new buildings will cast deep into Central Park. Barnett’s company is behind two of the projects, but on the rainy February night, he was the face of all of them.
One of Extell’s towers is the nearly completed Christian de Portzamparc–designed One57, which is already blocking sunlight in Central Park. A panelist at the event, journalist Warren St. John, has experienced this firsthand. He told the crowd about the shadows that fell across the park as he tried to play with his daughter on a recent afternoon.