Seen & Heard: 56 Leonard Ambivalence

••• Am I the only one feeling underwhelmed about 56 Leonard? The first few floors, with those cantilevers, are interesting, and I have hope for the top, but the middle is a bit more downtown Miami than I had expected.

56 Leonard from Varick ••• Something called “Kid Witness” is filming tonight in the Warren Street area. The only thing I could find online was this Panasonic thing.

••• The NYC Yogurt on Broadway has been “closed for remodeling” for a while now. Has anyone seen any signs of work?

••• Reminder: The JCP Downtown pop-up consignment shop is at 102 Franklin on Nov. 2-5.

••• Winter must be coming—the crosswalk signs are failing.

crosswalk sign



  1. re 56 Leonard – if you look at the full building models or pictures like here (, you can see that basically the lower 80% of the building is pretty boring.

    I don’t know how to best describe it, but I’m also not a big fan of those alternating wide silver frames that outline every other window. Not sure what purpose they serve (maybe those are the windows that can open) but they distract from the glass wall and are more prominent than they appeared in the renderings.

  2. Agreed, another case of overhyped renderings and overblown expectations, there is some hope for the remaining 20% though.

  3. I think the word lowphat is looking for is ‘mullion.’ And on 56 Leonard they’re pretty thick and ugly in my opinion. The building’s reflective glass is not to my liking either. I think this building will look at its best at night…from the BQE or a helicopter. Let’s hope this is the last Tribeca version of the 57th Street/Dubai/Miami ‘monuments to money laundering’.

  4. If you judge at a building before it’s completed you’re not getting the full picture. You may be right to be disappointed, but I think you will be better able to draw that conclusion when the building is finished. Having grown up watching a lot of construction, this phenomenon still surprises me. That said, some of the architectural decisions here clearly lean heavily on financial ones. Developers always place pressure on architects (even “starchitects”) to build X% of units that can sell at $X per foot, etc., and that often compels them to scale back certain types of articulations that cost more to construct and must necessarily sell for more, and increase the volume of more mundane constructed units. Even the Anish Kapoor sculpture (last I checked) had been modified by the artist to be less expensive to make and maintain.

    One other thing: despite my affection for this building and [the prospect of] others in its vein in the neighborhood, Troy Torrison’s point is very well taken. Great and adventurous architecture can be proportioned to modest, humane needs and goals. I’m constantly amazed by the innovative, beautiful, contemporary residential architecture going up everywhere in The Netherlands. Creative, whimsical, sensitive, practical. I’d love to see more like it in our nabe and less billionaire-bait. Nothing against billionaires, but there’s still lots of room for them and their bullion elsewhere.

    • David, this is a blog! We judge long before it’s due!

      The mullions look like aluminum siding. I hold out hope that they’ll be finished somehow, and that the concrete will be polished (or something).

      And the whole thing is going to look a lot worse when there’s random outdoor furniture on every balcony.

      • I really hope you’re right about the mullions. I was taken aback by them as well.

      • Erik also reminded me about the unfinished concrete. I originally thought it would be covered with something or at least polished but it’s starting to look like what we see will be the final product.

  5. 56 Leonard is the quintessential eye-soar in TriBeCa now… and not just for the few blocks around the building. Walk south on Church from Canal and notice how a large chunk of the skyline is blocked out by this mountain of modernistic garbage. And just wait until it’s lit up at night! I hope everyone likes the new lighthouse this will become, offering 24 hour lighting for the entire neighborhood to enjoy! Yuk

    Thanks a lot LPC for protecting the neighborhood! Great Job! (oh I forgot… they wouldn’t landmark that part of TriBeCa because the LPC wants to leave room to cater to big, corporate developers…)

  6. How many strollers can 56 Leonard comfortably fit without being either a fire or trip hazard? Not including balconies.

  7. not only is it ugly but it’s poorly built as well. i’ve been watching the construction closely. the terraces are not integral to the floors meaning that they will eventually have issues with cracking cement, etc. this is a classic case of a developer building something flashy, cashing out and leaving a mess behind.