Neighborhood’s Tallest Building ‘Tops Out’ And is Already Making Its Mark on the Skyline


200 Amsterdam can been seen next to the San Remo from the Metropoitan Museum of Art across the park.

Construction workers have quickly put up the frame of a 52-story building at 200 Amsterdam Avenue at 69th Street and it recently hit its top point.

The 668-foot-tall building has drawn protests and legal challenges over its zoning, but the developers SJP Properties have so far prevailed in court. Opponents recently launched another challenge in State Supreme Court. Stephen Harmon, who took the photos above and below on August 5, wrote “This is just heartbreaking!” because “it will alter the skyline forever.”

SJP told NY YIMBY that “200 Amsterdam’s distinctive crown feature is expected to be completed in September. Construction commenced in the fall of 2017 and has continued unabated since. We look forwarding to officially launching sales also this September.”

Apartments will start at $2.95 million, a teaser site for the building said last year.

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 63 comments | permalink
    1. Jay says:

      Looks like it fits in with the skyline just fine.

      • Suzanne R. MacAaron says:

        No, it doesn’t fit in. This photo is taken from far away and shows a Central Park West building, not the ones surrounding this one. It is twice as tall as most of its neighbors and is so thin, it looks like it would blow over in a windstorm. An ugly eyesore!

        • Jay says:

          It’s less than 100 feet taller than several buildings within a couple of blocks.

          Again… fits right in with the neighborhood.

    2. Gerry valentine says:

      If the city had skylines/views preservation this new structure would not have been built. But,since developers run the city….
      Out here, in northwest New Jersey, some municipalities have protections for scenic views. That Westside skyline was an iconic view,too bad.

      • Recovering ex-suburbanite says:

        Re: “…Out here, in northwest New Jersey, some municipalities have protections for scenic views.”

        Ummm…exactly WHAT scenic views in NW New Jersey?
        Ummm#1: architecturally-beautiful skyscrapers as in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards or W.57th’s amazing VIA building? NOPE!
        Ummm#2: sunsets over the Hudson River as seen from Riverside Park? NOPEx2!
        Ummm#3: The beautiful contrast of cityscape/landscape visible from anywhere in Central Park? NOPEx3!

        Oh, wait! In New Jersey there ARE views, of: shopping centers with Target, GameStop, and other generic stores, Route 17 or Route 4 with their endless traffic, and every chain restaurant imaginable!

        Of course, Jersey-ites could get in their cars (yet again) and motor over to Edgewater or Fort Lee at dusk for a truly scenic view…that would be Manhattan, all aglow with lights.

        • gerry valentine says:

          well, I have no idea where rt. 17 and rt. 4 are. I mentioned northwest New Jersey (Warren, Sussex, and parts of Hunterdon County). wide open spaces, farms,forests low mountain ranges, the Appalachian Trail (runs through part of Sussex), the Musconetcong and Delaware Rivers. Check out NJ tourism sites for these counties. Ignore the highways and travel on the back roads like I do. Can go for miles without seeing another vehicle. Visit the small towns with local restaurants, shops. Sure we have some shopping strips with the usual pizza and nail and hair salons ( all independently owned). BTW, I grew up and spent most of my adult life on the Upper East Side. So I appreciate living behind a farm and being able to take forest hikes within a five minute drive or 20 minute walk of my house. Otherwise I can walk around my small town where everyone says hello and there are dogs and horses walking and the occasional cat sitting on a porch.

          • Effy says:

            What a lovely reply to nasty snobbery. I guess instead of the “generic” shops that regular people frequent, the other poster prefers unique shops like Bergdorf Goodman?

    3. Roger Thornhill says:

      actually the noise torture began early in 2016, then was halted, and resumed late 2016 for six months of demolition and jackhammering. Anyone who praises this building DEFINITELY doesn’t not live within earshot of this structure or the three others that have gone up since July 2007.

      • Dale says:

        You’ve got that right. I live across from the monstrosity going up between 65th and 66th St. The machines that break through bedrock went on for 9 months where not only was the noise unbearable, you could FEEL the pounding. Non-stop from 7 am until 5:45 pm through every type of weather. Who approved a 7:00 am start up time clearly doesn’t live near ANY construction sites.

        • JerryV says:

          The ONLY useful thing that came of the noise that broke through the bedrock is that small boulders (Manhattan Schist) showing sparkling mica particles were used to line some of the pathways close to the river in the south extension of Riverside Park. The pedestrian pathways near the river are gorgeous.

        • B.B. says:

          By law NYC allows construction between 7am and 6pm M-F. Has been this way for decades.

    4. chuck D says:

      The “distinctive crown feature” is… HVAC ventilation?

    5. Sherman says:

      How exactly is this “heartbreaking”?

      It looks like a nice addition to the skyline (which is constantly changing).

    6. Skylark says:

      It’s really not as tall as I thought it would be based on all the protesting.

    7. ST says:

      New Yorkers have zero say as to what happens in their city. Period. There is no adequate representation. The city is owned by the building industry and real estate IMO.

      • max says:

        ST you got that right, and dont forget to vote on election day

      • B.B. says:

        Guess that’s why Albany recently passed tighter and expanded rent control laws, along with making them permanent.

        This and under current administration RS increases have been nil to zero for six years now.

      • Fred DuBose says:

        ST, that wasn’t the case when park-block residents on West 76th and 77th banded together to defeat the New-York Historical Society’s plan to build a 53-story building in their backyard — Phase 2 of the NYHS’s effort to bring the society into the 21st Century. I whole-heartedly approved of Phase I: restructuring their existing building. In short, 1 win + 1 loss for the NYHS = a better-than-ever museum and library on the Upper West Side.

    8. Suzanne Borget says:

      Completely took away any chance of me seeing the beautiful sunsets I have been viewing from my terrace for the past 35 years. This neighborhood is already over crowded and filled with empty storefronts. Insanity.

      • Rob G. says:

        You mean that same terrace that blocked your neighbors’ views when your building was built? No irony here.

    9. AC says:

      I too used to complain about the over development of the UWS. As a resident of 52 years on the same block, I hated it. Then it dawned on me, when I spoke to an elderly resident. I wonder if the Upper West Sider of 1900 complained and whined when the Dakota, San Remo, or Apthorp were being built?

      My point is simple, with every passing generation there is change, some good and some bad. We need to get over it and move on. And in another 100 years there will be more changes . . . such is life.

    10. Anne says:

      It is horrible that this was allowed to happen—
      Please unite to prevent another atrocity like this— a blight on the skyline!!
      Boycott living there and work to preserve the beauty we have on the UWS!!
      I grew up in San Francisco, and over the last 30years they have RUINED/lost the once- beautiful/distinctive skyline they had— PLEASE don’t let that happen here!!!

      • AC57 says:

        They also have a crippling housing crisis going on there, and it’s impossible to build there as well.

        And let me say this: if a preservation group executive is saying that it’s impossible to build somewhere, there is something very VERY wrong.

      • B.B. says:

        No offense meant, but how many regular WSR readers do you honestly think are planning on buying in 200 Amsterdam Avenue?

        As for rest of us “boycotting” what do you propose? Marching out front in a picket line calling anyone who buys or lives in building bad names?

    11. Marianne says:

      $2.95 Million — insane. Is that for a 1 Bedroom??? Why would you pay that amount of money for such a “meh”building??

      Oh well, let’s see how the sales go in light of the new Trump tax law. I hope it sits empty for years and years.

      • West End Observer says:

        There’s the Trump tax law, and there are a lot of rumors about a recession in the not-too-distant future. When the bonuses (and the jobs!) get cut, we’l see who is happy to pony up $2.95M for an apartment next door to Rite-Aid.

    12. Virginia says:

      I’ve written about this before. For me, the disappointment is that the obscene amount of money and energy that was spent on legal fees should have been used to change the law. This building, much to the chagrin of myself and many others, is being built legally.It’s not the height for me, it’s the logistics overwhelming the neighborhood. My dream would be for every huge building, a 10-20 story building would be built. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say all I want is a clean, safe, decent building with minimal services. An elevator, a laundry room, a video intercom at a true affordable price. I don’t want, nor do I need a pool, a gym, a kids room, a rooftop lounge, a movie theater. Endless amenities. The goal to eliminate the middle class is almost reached. For that, I’m heartbroken for the changes in this city.

      • AC57 says:

        You’re getting the 10-20 story buildings above 72nd Street, and they are contributing nothing, and all but two of them start at a HIGHER price than 200 Amsterdam

        That’s what happens when you have high land costs and a short building.

        Again, 200 Amsterdam is a missed opportunity, but generally, taller buildings and denser projects generate affordable housing, and they are in and of themselves more affordable on the market rate level as well. If we had more buildings closer to the size of 1865 Broadway or maybe a bit bigger, I think we could go somewhere.

      • Sherman says:

        There is no space on the UWS for affordable mid level buildings.

        There is a huge shortage of space. When a tiny plot does become available – like @ 200 Amsterdam – the developer has to pay a very hefty price. The only way he can recoup his investment is to sell very expensive apartments (or create high rent apartments).

        The UWS is riddled with old and decrepit and inefficient walkups. In a normal economy these buildings would have been torn down decades ago and replaced with modern, efficient and affordable buildings.

        This is what happens in virtually every big city on the planet.

        Unfortunately, most of these buildings are filled with rent-regulated tenants and therefore can’t be torn down (or at least can’t be torn down without hefty payouts to these tenants).

        The very policies that are allegedly keeping the city “affordable” are actually making the city very unaffordable.

      • NYYgirl says:

        Don’t forget the ‘dogwash’ which one of these new buildings along Bway will supposedly have, omg.

        • Kat Lover says:

          Re: “…the ‘dogwash’….”

          What’s wrong with a dogwash?

          In such a nice building who wants a bunch of “dirty dogs”?

          Unless that refers to the management company!

    13. Jean Luke says:

      It’s actually quite a nice looking building and there are so many ugly buildings constructed from the 1950’s through the 1980’s that this is a great improvement for the surrounding area. Lincoln towers is an oversized monstrosity so anything that obscures that ugly development I’m in favor of. Also the new development Waterline Square is a beautiful new addition to the West Side.

      I’m all in favor or preserving nice architectural buildings but also in favor of new developments as long as the architecture is nice. I also happen to think the super tall buildings are a nice addition to the skyline.

    14. AC57 says:

      It looks shorter than I thought it was gonna look, even considering what’s still supposed to rise.

      I don’t think the skyline alterations are the problem, as I look at it’s top from Dante Park. I think that the problem is what’s going in. Both this project and 50 West 66th Street are beautiful designs, a vast improvement of what’s gone up in the area, but they contain vast missed opportunities, just like their 57th Street counterparts (minus the Max and Via 57 West). I’m a sucker for tall buildings, I will admit that, but I think that if they’re done right, they could be very beneficial to the neighborhood. Maybe not as tall as these two projects, but closer to 30-40 stories would be perfect.

    15. Anne says:

      The other thing is who wants to live in the “sky??”
      It’s gross— my girlfriend lived about 40 stories up, and it was awful— cold, sterile, indeed GROSS! She moved because it was so “isolating “(her words)—- now she has a lovely “home” about 7 stories up where she can actually SEE trees, and if she wants to, PEOPLE. Too sterile and industrial way up there, and”enjoy” it with the inevitable, if occasional “ blackout/power loss getting your groceries, your dogs, and yourSELF up 66 flights! No thanks!
      And I love the comment about shelling out that kind of money to live next to a Rite Aid— lol! Good luck— I hope it wakes developers up when the UWS actually votes with iits wallet!

    16. B.B. says:

      Meanwhile two new “tower” buildings are going up on UES (80th and 81st at Second) that can be seen for miles, and no one over there has made more than a peep.

      Just goes to show when people’s minds are on their own affairs….

    17. Arthur says:

      My heart isn’t broken.

      I read the WSR comment section because I find the NIMBYism hilarious, but let me add a YIMBY voice.

      You can complain that housing is too expensive, or you can complain that tall new buildings are unsightly and not “in keeping” with their surroundings, BUT YOU CAN’T DO BOTH.

      Preferably, do neither.

      • Higher, Faster says:

        I certainly don’t oppose the new development, even the super-heighted buildings which seem to fit in nicely with the surrounding neighborhood, whining naysayers be damned.

        But I don’t understand (or agree with) the argument that luxury condominiums (which will sell starting at $3million) are going to affect the rents for 6th floor walkup rentals.

        Different market segments, different demographics.

        Indeed, one can argue against both tall buildings and high rents. Whether the arguments are logical and coherent is another question.

    18. NYC10023 says:

      “heartbreaking”? Someone is a bit dramatic (looking at you Stephen)
      What is so breathtakingly beautiful about that non descript white building and behind it to the left, that boxy brown building?
      The San Remo still stands majestically on CPW. Had you framed the picture a few feet to your left you could have captured it in such a way where it doesn’t look like the new building overtakes it’s place in the skyline.

      Roger states that anyone who lives within earshot of the building is DEFINITELY not praising the building. Well, Roger, I probably couldn’t live any closer unless I was living in the construction trailer, and I find it quite appealing. The only noise complaint I can make about the neighborhood is further down on 69th street where they are *still* digging that damn pool for the 2 townhomes-turned-single-family-home. Walking my dog past there each day is much more infuriating than this skyscraper, noise wise.

      I find it odd that people want to live in NYC but want the skyline and neighborhoods to stay status quo. I must say I’m glad that this mindset wasn’t around during the early days of the development of Manhattan. Otherwise we’d all be living below 14th street (ok maybe 23rd) unless we were rich enough to buy a stately mansion up this way.

      • Bill Ditt says:

        Beautifully stated NYC10023, esp. your last two paragraphs !

        We also live relatively near 200 Amsterdam, and frequently pass the building. What immediately stands out is that a clear majority of construction folk are, to use today’s-trendy-term, “People of Color”. And whether-or-not they are union, they STILL bring home a paycheck and are probably proud to tell their kids “Daddy has a good job!”

        Memo to the anti-200 crowd who are still fighting the building: How would you feel if you got construction stopped, PUTTING ALL THESE FOLK OUT OF WORK just to satisfy your self-righteous concern that SJP may have played fast-and-loose with the air-rights.

        • Robert Goodman says:

          Daddy, or mommy, however complected, won’t have that job tomorrow once the building is finished and the issues with the building will remain. And, since the apartments start at about 3 million, ordinary folk won’t be living there. For ordinary folks, with say a couple of kids, our neighborhood is just about as out of reach as the stately mansions were when the city ended at 23rd street.

      • Robert Goodman says:

        So the idea is that the skyline is great if you stand in the right spot. Like the idea behind the quarter mile high matchsticks, built for absentee, and often foreign, quadrillionaires, that stick up out of the distant landscape from almost any vantage point in Central Park unless you duck behind a stand of trees. In our city now the plan is for the view to be stolen from the park for the benefit of oligarchs rather than a view given to the park of a beautiful feature that pops out from a surprising and cloaked vantage point within its precincts.

    19. Nj says:

      Jackie O and Koch are turning in their graves with all this skyline rearranging and much more!

    20. UWS Craig says:

      I’m disgusted. I will not be purchasing a unit in this building.

    21. Honest Abe says:

      I’d be in favor of this, if the apartments didn’t *START* at $2.95M. Here’s hoping they have trouble selling it through.

    22. JerryV says:

      Another issue not mentioned is that people moving in to 200 Amsterdam will have zoning access for their children to PS 199, one of the best schools in the City. This comes at the expense of other buildings (such as 185 WEA), whose occupants have just been zoned out of PS 199; children currently attending PS 199 will now have to go elsewhere. This will make a huge selling point for new people buying into 200 Amsterdam. Of course, the developers and the realtors selling new apartments in this building will have had nothing to do with this favorable change in school zoning for them. Big bucks open up lots of doors.

      • B.B. says:

        So, what of it?

        Anyone buying an apartment in 200 Amsterdam will pay a huge amount of state and local taxes. This now includes NYS mansion tax of between 1%-3% on prices > one million.

        All this piles onto high taxes anyone but the poor have to pay for luxury of being a NYC/NYS resident.

        So if parents at 200 Amsterdam choose to send their children to local zoned public elementary school, they have more than paid and will continue to pay more than their fair share of taxes, and like the rest of us deserve to get something back in return.

        • Evan Bando says:

          BB, Jerry V makes a good point. One that you seem to miss. The issue is equal public education, not better public education for those who pay more nominal tax but most likely pay less tax proportionate to their income. But that aside, the biggest problem with all of these new tall, high volume buildings going up in the city is that NYC’s infrastructure is already under great stress and little is being done to improve it to accommodate more and more residents. Views and vistas are one thing. They always disappear over the years. But the quality of life on the ground is really how most NYers suffer as a result of overbuilding.

          • Jay says:

            The point is not missed… The city and state are collecting a lot more taxes from the people who will live in 200 Amsterdam. Those taxes are supposed to pay for additional infrastructure and schools, etc.

            If our politicians mis-allocate those additional tax funds, then we should be upset with them (the politicians), not the people who pay them.

    23. B.B. says:

      Take issue with WSR’s comment “construction workers have quickly put up the frame….”, as if there is some inherent danger in the design or construction of this building, and or an insinuation developer is being sloppy.

      These mostly glass, and or all glass buildings are faster to build than those clad in masonry. IIRC formula runs about one floor per week.

      Developers like mostly or all glass buildings not just for speed they can go up, but offer other benefits including various cost savings.

      This goes a long way to explaining why virtually all new construction over past decade, and planned is mostly all or mostly glass. You have to look far and wide to find limestone/brick/stone new buildings going up nowadays. Outside of some new development on the UES don’t believe there is much else.

      Also city has tightened up energy requirements for new buildings, including residential. Under BdeB things have become even more restrictive, with an emphasis on “tight” buildings. That is a structure where energy leaking out is nil to none.

      In case no one else has noticed, many of these new buildings have windows that either don’t open, or only partially.

      • JerryV says:

        B.B., The operative point of your argument is, “So if parents at 200 Amsterdam choose to send their children to local zoned public elementary school…” The issue is that the buildings of Lincoln Towers have been zoned for PS 199 for decades and generations of parents have helped to make this an exemplary school by their active engagement in the PTA. Now one of the buildings (185 WEA) has been zoned OUT so that these children will now have to travel to another school further from their homes. Meanwhile, the powers that be have zoned IN 200 Amsterdam to kick out the children of 185 WEA for the benefit of parents yet to buy into 200 WEA. This will obviously be a strong selling point for people purchasing apartments in 200 Amsterdam. As usual, “Follow the Money”!

    24. Ben David says:

      Another sign of progress in NYC. Wonderful to see this modern architecture join the dynamic UWS. The real issue, thanks to our corrupt and incompetent mayor, is the failure to fix NYCHA so that people can live in dignity.

      PS: To all those people whining who have cushy rent-controlled/stabilized deals that you do not really need, keep in mind that when YOUR building was built, the neighbors complained, too. This is the price of life in a big city.

    25. Peter Brandt says:

      The only thing that is constant in NYC is ‘Change’…..and money usually wins out in the end. Think of all the new r/e taxes for NYC..if they don’t give them away again. Con Ed will be happy with more a/c’s and elevators. A good note: will they use solar panels?

    26. ScooterStan says:

      Re: “You have to look far and wide to find limestone/brick/stone new buildings going up nowadays.”

      Not too far!

      Try 220 Central Park South and/or 15 Central Park West, both near Columbus Circle.

      Both are the work of “RAMSA” (Robert A. M. Stern Architects, and both are done in classic Manhattan limestone.

      B/T/W: save the kvetching! Yes, these ARE buildings for the super-wealthy, but even us groundlings may admire them at no cost.

      B/T/W-2: Mr. Stern, now 80, was Dean of the Yale School of Architecture until 2016, and has written and/or co-authored an amazing number of books about architecture.

      • Sean says:

        Yeah and these Stern buildings were built some time ago. More than a decade ago.

        • young man! says:

          You guys have it wrong. The modern technique of construction buildings is called “curtain wall” where pre-made panels – glass,stone,masonry – “hang” from the steel subframe. This results in a simple to build structure that is also tight and energy efficient.
          Most all buildings constructed over the past 30+ years including the CPS and CPW buildings referred to above were also built that way.

      • B.B. says:

        Both 15 CPW and 220 CPS were/are going for a certain demographic. Both are attempting (much as possible given today’s zoning and building regulations and so forth), to develop a modern building that echos the grand pre-war residences.

        Hence you see lots of stone used on facades, marble interiors, etc… Money comes in all sorts these days; and some want that “oligarch”, power or whatever status that comes with pre-war buildings.

        It is interesting that many who first bought in 15 CPW are now moving to 220 CPS. Sting and his wife are a case in point.

        https://ny.curbed.com/2019/3/2/18247521/220-central-park-south-nyc-apartment-for-rent

        https://ny.curbed.com/2019/8/1/20750278/sting-220-central-park-south-condo-sold

        You do still see new development on UES going with limestone/mansory facades over mostly or all glass. Especially the rich heartland of UES/Lenox Hill, Third Avenue going east towards the park.

    27. Richard says:

      An abomination. Or as one infamous NYC developer might put it, “sad”.

    28. Vince says:

      Real estate developers do not decide the fate of the city. In fact, many of the major NY developers and owners are planning to leave the NY.
      https://www.crainsnewyork.com/real-estate/fed-major-landlords-consider-exiting-new-york