Nosy Neighbor: The Gehry Building’s Cigar Band

Why does the Frank Gehry building have those three-story windows in the middle? Is something special in there? —Sharon

The short answer is no.

As for the long answer, I wandered over yesterday to find out. I entered the lobby, and here’s what happened:
Lobby attendant: Welcome to 8 Spruce Street. Can I help you?
Me: Is this the rental gallery?
Lobby attendant: Do you have an appointment?
Me: I’m afraid not. I just have a question, though.
Lobby attendant: [Sighs.] Maybe I can help you. Are you an architecture student?
Me: Sure. More of a fan, I guess. Anyway, I’m curious what the three-story band of windows in the middle of the building is.
Lobby attendant: The what?
Me: About halfway up the building, there are windows that are different…. Do you have a photo of the building?
Lobby attendant: You can find photos on our website.
Me: No, I was hoping to show you what I’m asking about. Wait, I think I have one on my camera. [Looks for it.] Here you go. See? There’s a part in the middle of the building where the windows are different. What’s in there?
Lobby attendant: The amenities.
Me: What amenities?
Lobby attendant: [Sighs, hands over a flyer, and points at the paragraph labeled “amenities.”]
Me: OK, then. Thanks for your “help.”

I get so exasperated! It’s not like she was busy with other potential customers. Outside the lobby, where she could still see me, I called the rental-office phone number listed on the flyer. Someone named Michael answered. He explained that “the amenities” are on the 6th, 7th, and 8th floors, not in the middle of the building. He said there’s nothing special behind the windows in the middle; they’re just normal floors. It’s a design thing. Sorry the answer isn’t more interesting—perhaps we can pretend that’s where Frank Gehry plays with aluminum foil.

UPDATE 3/30: Two commenters on Curbed (which picked up this non-story) had this to say:

Commenter #1: “These windows hide a mechanical floor. There are no apartments on this level. If you view photographs of the building going up you will notice that this floor is completely enclosed. If you were to look through the windows you would see a concrete wall.”

Commenter #2: “This is probably the tall floor level where the outrigger beams are. Kind of like when you put out your hands to balance on a balance beam—keeps the structure stable with less mass. Sylvian Markus and Cantor are geniuses.”


Curious about something? Ask me by emailing I’m always interested in picking a fight with lobby attendants.

Recent Nosy Neighbor posts:
New painting at 153 Hudson
55 Warren/55 Murray
P.C. Richard & Son Theater
The Lights at 289 Church
Dream House (275 Church)


1 Comment

  1. I went to visit the rental office this week. I thought the building was beautiful and my family and I are considering moving there. However- I found the sales team to be rude, aggressive, and generally moronic.. Almost turned us away from the whole thing.

    Why do they act like they are too busy for questions? They are sales people for christ’s sake!