The Loophole Behind NYC's Skinny Skyscrapers – Cheddar Explains

New York has always been home to some of the world’s tallest towers, but in the last 10 years the city has seen an influx of super skinny buildings towering over Central Park, built exclusively for the ultra-rich. With demand for luxury high-rise vistas being higher than ever, building developers are using every zoning opportunity they can to push height limits – and there’s one loophole that’s helping make that happen.

Further reading:

The Guardian

New York Times


Building The Skyline



1961 New York City Zoning Resolution


Municipal Arts Society

Accidental Skyline

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  1. If the martian colony were to move underground with tunnel boring machines & micro nuclear reactors then these skinny sky scrapers, private jets, and mega yachts will become a thing of the past. I'm not saying all of the rich would move to Mars, I'm saying that the rich would sell those assets off to build underground structures that could potentially last a few centuries which would be sold & resold over time to individuals who'll eventually sell them off to scientific institutions.

  2. Measuring contests by proxy. If anyone is actually in one of these things when they catch fire, they're boned. I wager they're mostly investment properties anyways. The "mechanical" floors aren't the only ones empty.

  3. One of the best things that can be done to make sure there is bountiful housing is to remove barriers to construction. At the root of every housing crisis is a zoning board.

  4. Regulations created these skyscrapers. By limiting the available space for building, the city has artificially driven up housing costs. It is unsurprising that the inflated costs have led to only billionaires being able to enter that market. Meanwhile the poorest are driven from their homes that otherwise might not be so expensive. Regulation is all about what incentives you create, and New York has poorly designed incentive programs.

  5. In my country we call the FAR the "plot ratio" instead, & we allow higher ratios; ~3-5 in suburbs (so you could typically build ~15-storey apartment blocks, though with larger ~5-10m setbacks, & newer ones are pushing 30-50 floors) & up to ~16 in downtown (office/hotel & apartment towers there top up ~60-80 floors since planes landing @ 1 of our air bases fly nearby, so there's also a 290m height limit (~951')).
    4:48 Previously over here, the area occupied by balconies & bay windows (a ~50cm/20" high & deep ledge in front of a window) were also excluded when calculating the plot ratio/FAR as the gov't wanted to promote more green spaces, so you had condominiums with balconies built as big as your living room (~10m^2/100'^2) as well as more bay windows, since that was still floor area the developer could charge for when selling housing units. These caused unhappiness as our climate is tropical & thus felt to be too hot to savour the outdoor weather for long e.g. on a balcony, while bay windows break up your house's floor area & makes it feel smaller

  6. Were I a firefighters there, the day some billionaire is stuck at the top of a burning 1400' tower would be the day I walk someone through fighting their own fire via facetime.

  7. People are so stupid, those waste so much energy just from opening a faucet and getting one cup of water.
    Have to build around national park so you're closer to nature while being as far away as possible.. just stupid.

  8. Do I love skyscrapers? Well, I moved out of the Chicago area after 50+ years, giving up all my work and family relations to live on 3 acres in the middle of Tennessee. There’s your answer.

  9. I'm mostly worried about safety and the risk of terrorist attacks. I feel like such buildings are magnets for terrorists, and will be dangerous to live in. Not to mention what will happen to the surrounding buildings if there is another 9/11 style event.

  10. I think it is safe to say this revolutionary prohibitively expensive project is virtually a dead loss and /or in default. I believe the job was slated to be completed 3 years ago. At that time there were 30 floors still to be added and all the interior work. Does anyone have accurate, unbiased update on the project?

  11. These buildings have ruined the NYC skyline IMO. No other buildings should have be allowed to exceed the height of the Empire State Building except for the WTC.

  12. This guy is speaking in a strange way that makes it so uneasy to understand what he's saying, subtitles don't help much either coz he's changing his pace quickly and randomly; turning an otherwise enjoyable video into a frustrating one

  13. At the very least a city with a housing shortage should stop incentivising developers to build unoccupied floors – perhaps change number of floors to hight to the tallest occupied floor.

  14. I don't get the appeal of big cities. if it was made for a few people in a more wooded area but not as tall, with a pano view of everything in that area…that would be insanely cool

  15. Don’t know if a person really really owns airspace above his/her property. Something to think about every time aircraft flies over the property.

  16. The engineering on 432 park is no good. Working as an Ironworker in NYC I know there have been crew in there multiple times through the years trying to stop swaying of the building including reinforcing those mechanical rooms, allowing the wind to blow freely through them, and mostly making adjustments on the dampener system. I was there working on the dampener a few weeks ago and when we had it dogged off the building moved so much the elevators jammed and they sent us home and had to wait for better weather

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