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50 West Street: Review and Ratings

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Carter Horsley
Review of 50 West Street by Carter Horsley

This shimmering sentinel at 50 West Street, a taller, kindred spirit to the glorious, curved reflective glass tower at 17 State Street overlooking the harbor, is a major addition to Lower Manhattan’s celebrated and changing skyline.

The 778-foot-high tower has a roof slanted upwards toward the pinnacle of One World Trade Center, a few blocks to the north.  It has 191 condominium apartments.

It was developed by Time Equities, a real estate company headed by Francis Greenburger.

The 64-story structure was designed by Helmut Jahn of Murphy/Jahn Architects of Chicago, who designed CitySpire, Park Avenue Tower and 425 Lexington Avenue in New York and the great State of Illinois Center in Chicago, and Gruzen Sampton LLC. SLCE is the architect of record.

The slim tower is notable for its stainless-steel spandrels and curved glass corners above its east and west low-rise bases.

Its slanted top is lacy and open and has two observatory stanchions overlooking the harbor and the Statue of Liberty in a short, indented and open, central section of its south façade.

The building will be connected to Battery Park City by the glass-covered West Thames Pedestrian Bridge on which construction has just begun.  The bridge was originally designed by SHoP Architects and was redesigned by WXY Architects.  Its design has undulating curves straddling the West Side Highway and those curves complement the tower’s curved corners that are extremely appealing.

The curved south side of the tower has a landscaped plaza that provides an alternate and more attractive pedestrian walkway from Battery Park City to Greenwich Street than the existing walkway through the Battery Tunnel Garage.

The building will also 15 small offices on the third floor. An earlier plan had called for a 55-room hotel on floors 1 through 13, 48 "full-service residential units" on floors 14 through 18 and 259 residential condominium apartments on floors 20 through 63.

The project required zoning text changes to allow a plaza at the site and to permit the transfer of development rights above the Battery Tunnel garage to be used "only in the at-grade area north of J. P. Ward Street, and by special permit only."

In addition, the project required the demapping of an 8-inch strip between J. P. Ward Street and the applicant’s site and a demapping for "a plane above J. P. Ward and the portion of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel Approach located 37.2 feet above the area between West, Washington, Morris and J. P. Ward Streets.

The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel Approach has about 2.7 million square feet of unused air rights and the 50 West Street project uses 183,000 square feet of those air rights.

Bottom Line

This very sleek tower of luxury condominium apartments with stainless-steel spandrels and a rakish, open, slanted top is a significant addition to Lower Manhattan skyline south of the World Trade Center.  It has been designed by Helmut Jahn and Thomas Juul-Hansen did the interiors.


The tower has a slight setback near its crown that angles up towards to the north and contains an open-air observatory overlooking the harbor to the south.

Some of the stainless steel spandrels that encircle the tower have three horizontal bands.

The entrance has a five-step-up vestibule and the lobby has mosaic terrazzo floors and zebrawood walls.


The building has a doorman, a 60-foot-long swimming pool and hot tub, bicycle storage, and an observatory, but no garage.


Interiors are by Thomas Juul-Hansen and Rene Desjardins.

The tower’s penthouses have three bedrooms and 20-foot-high ceilings in their great rooms, with stone slab kitchen countertops and backsplashes, six-burner stoves, full-height wine refrigerators, two Miele dishwashers and bathrooms have free-standing bus, benched steam showers and radiant floor heating.

Penthouse 57A is a three-bedroom unit with 3,653 square feet with an long entrance gallery that leads to a  29-foot-long living/dining room with a curved window wall facing northwest next to a 19-foot-long breakfast room with a sliding pocket door adjacent to a 15-foot-long enclosed, pass-through kitchen with an island.  The master bedroom is 23 feet long and has a curved window wall facing northeast.

Apartment D on floors 9 through 11 Odd and 14 through 22 Even is a three-bedroom duplex unit with 2,403 square feet duplex with an entry foyer on the lower level that leads to a 28-foot-long, double-height, living/dining room with a curved window wall and an open, pass-through kitchen and one bedroom.  The upper level has the other two bedrooms.

Apartment B on floors 9 through 11 Odd and 14 through 34 Even is a three-bedroom unit with 2,309 square feet and an entry foyer that leads to a 29-foot-long, double-height great room with a long curved window wall and an open kitchen with an island.

Apartment A on floors 36 through 55 is a two-bedroom unit with 1,736 square feet with an entry foyer that leads to a 20-foot-long living/dining room with a curved corner window wall and an open kitchen with an island.

Apartment A Even on floors 10 to 12 and A Odd on floors 15 to 27 is a two-bedroom unit with 1,662 square feet with an entry foyer that leads to a 20-foot-long living room with a curved window wall and an open kitchen with an island.

Apartment B Even on floors 10 to 12 and B Odd on floors 15 to 35 is a one-bedroom unit with 1,087 square feet with a long entry foyer that leads past an open kitchen and banquette with table to a 18-foot-long living/dining room.

Residence D is a 3-bedroom duplex with an entry foyer that leads to a double-height living/dining room that is 25 feet long and one bedroom on the lower level and two bedrooms and a laundry on the upper level.

Residence A is a two-bedroom unit with a foyer that lead to a 20-foot long living/dining room with a curved window wall and an open kitchen with an island.


A January 20, 2015 article by Vivian Marino in The New York Times quoted architect Jahn as stating that “we started in 2006…there was some foundation work and then the crisis came.  Then Francis – Francis Greenburger of Time Equities – changed it.  He made it more on the luxury side.  We made the floor-to-floor height bigger; we had bigger apartments; and we had to adjust the building with a new code.”

Mr. Jahn added that he believed that people will see that the “façade is exquisite.  The façade is stainless steel.  It has a very transparent glass so it lets a lot of light in, and the corners of the building are huge sheets of curved glass.  The stainless steel gives it a little different texture.  Close to the ground it gets more flat.  As the building rises, it becomes more reflective. The idea is always that a building like this in a particular light merges with the sky. The building is on very small site, and has a very small footprint. There was a requirement from a planning point of view, which we fully supported and were actually happy about, that we had to provide a plaza on the ground floor.  And that’s actually why the building toward the base, it pulls in its belly and it slopes so that the urban space is adequate and a required size.”

“This is now not the old New York – this is the new New York.” 


Out of 44

Architecture Rating: 34 / 44

Out of 36

Location Rating: 28 / 36

Out of 39

Features Rating: 21 / 39


CityRealty Rating Reference

  • 30+ remarkable
  • 20-29 distinguished
  • 11-19 average
  • < 11 below average
  • 27+ remarkable
  • 18-26 distinguished
  • 9-17 average
  • < 9 below average
  • 22+ remarkable
  • 16-21 distinguished
  • 9-15 average
  • < 9 below average
  • #31 Rated condo in Manhattan
  • #2 Rated condo - FIDI - BPC
  • #1 Rated condo - Financial District
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Key Details
One Manhattan Square
between Pike Slip & Rutgers Slip
Lower East Side
Enjoy breathtaking views and unparalleled amenities, including spa with 75-foot saltwater pool, hot tub, sauna and a tranquility garden.
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