10 of NYC’s Worst Buildings

We begin our tour of NYC’s uglies with 33 Thomas Street, what used to be the AT&T Long Lines Building… thanks, AT&T. While this building may at least be trying, trying to pull off Brutalism, it comes across as an imposing, giant Lego. It looks more like a uber-villian’s not-so-secret lair than a skyscraper that belongs in Manhattan.

Avert your eyes!

Next stop: Blue Condominium. This awkward shard of dirty glass designed by Bernard Tschumi in no way meshes with its fellow edifices of the Lower East Side. Even though it’s only 16 stories tall, like a sequined party-crasher, it towers over Broome Street.

Oh, hello, On Prospect Park. We have the fêted Richard Meier to thank for this unconfident calamity. The uninspired color choice and rambling exterior provide an excellent alternative to properly designed condos for those looking for an apartment in Prospect Heights.

While many may disagree with me here, as may be appropriate, considering the architect of our next offender is the world-renowned Frank Gehry8 Spruce Street is next on the shit list. It’s curvy; I get it. But there’s something about the rhythmic façade of the tower—and the awkward floor plans it makes for—that’s persnickety. It tries to be delicate, but its underlying form and materials make it clumsy.

Schaefer Landing, welcome to Williamsburg! Now get out, please. This is the beige, enfecalized protégé of the loathed Karl Fischer. (Check out the NYPost for an indictment of the “designer of glass boxes.”) Units of this building, which is neither contextual nor unique in any way, have languished on the market so horribly the builder has actually lost money.

Brace yourselves: the Westin Hotel, which stands out even in Times Square as comically awful, may be the list’s worst offender. Part two clown cars smashed together, part paint chips passed through a paper shredder and stapled to some cookie cutter curves, this building consistently ranks among the most despised of Manhattan.

15 William Street, the monstrosity which graces the header of this article, is depicted below in its full horror. Even with a facile color scheme and staggered grid exterior, it wouldn’t be so horribly if not for it’s sheer massiveness. However, its 47 floors and gangling footprint were recognized in one respect: as the Curbed-awarded worst condo tower of 2011.


Like the above two buildings, our next building, 5 East 62nd Street, is something of a celebrity. In fact, in Hannah and Her Sisters, a film directed by architecture critic Woody Allen himself, this building was decried. And understandably so; it looks more like a cat carrying case than a synagogue.

Ah, The Alexandria. StreetEasy claims it “abounds in nice architectural touches,” but we’re not buying it. In fact, we’d go as far as saying this relic of 1991 deserves to be demolished, the Upper West Side liberated. 201 W 72 Street looks like a wad of chewed-up food rolled in a cesspool of architectural debris.

We round out our list with— you guessed it—widely panned Karl Fischer! We welcome him back with another banal assortment of rectangles, 1134 Fulton Street. Tragically, this dirty ice cube will soon come to Bed-Stuy. Who knows, though, maybe during the next episode of high winds a leaf will knock it down.


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