About Zeckendorf Towers, 1 Irving Place
One of the city's most important development projects of the 1980's, this full-block complex not only led to the renaissance of Union Square Park, but also anchored the phenomenal emergence of Park Avenue South and the Flatiron District as a chic neighborhood.
The four-towered condominium enclave, which was completed in 1987, replaced many run-down low-rise buildings, several of which had comprised the S. Klein Department Store, one of the city's famous discount stores for decades.
The 29-story towers are each capped with screens in the forms of pyramids that are illuminated at night providing a handsome complement to the famous illuminated clocktower of the larger and older Con Edison Building directly across Irving Place.
The lit tops are a welcome addition to the skyline, especially when seen from the south with the lit towers of the Empire State and Chrysler buildings in the background. From the west, however, the towers partially obstruct views of the Con Ed tower, long the most visible landmark in the area.
The base of the Zeckendorf Towers building contains several hundred thousand square feet of office and retail space. The entrance to the former is through a multi-story atrium fronting on the park that had been famous in the 1930's for demonstrations, but which had become a drug haven in the 1970's and early 1980's.
The city has since renovated the park and its vast subway concourses so that it is now quite attractive except for the ugly trucks of the very popular weekend farmers' market that occupies most of the street area at its north end. For most residents of the area, including nearby Gramercy Park, of course, the farmers' market is a significant and welcome addition to the neighborhood with its variety of fresh produce.