Sixteen Ways of Looking at 56 Leonard

If you think 56 Leonard is utterly without merit, skip this post.

But if you think it’s finally once again getting interesting, you may enjoy this…. Personally, I’m not sure it’ll ever be more compelling than it is now. The cantilevered top floors are taking shape, and they have yet to be ruined by the unfortunate choice of glass and siding. The Jenga-ness is more visible from farther away, so I walked around the building today, snapping photos as the shape changed. All of the photos get larger if you click on them, and often less blurry; if there’s a second photo in a location, it’s always a close-up from the same spot. Starting from the north and working our way west….

Greene and Broome:

56 Leonard from Broome and Greene56 Leonard from Broome and Greene close upSpring and Sixth Ave.:

56 Leonard from Spring and SixthVarick and Spring:

56 Leonard from Varick and Spring close upLaight and Hudson:

56 leonard from Laight and HudsonGreenwich and Beach:

56 Leonard from Greenwich and BeachGreenwich and N. Moore:

56 Leonard from Greenwich and NMooreGreenwich and Harrison:

56 Leonard from Greenwich and HarrisonGreenwich and Jay:

56 Leonard from Greenwich and JayGreenwich and Duane:

56 Leonard from Greenwich and Duane56 Leonard from Greenwich and Duane close upWarren between Greenwich and W. Broadway:

56 Leonard from Warren between Greenwich and West Broadway56 Leonard from Warren between Greenwich and WBroadway closeupWarren and W. Broadway:

56 Leonard from Warren and West Broadway56 Leonard from Warren and West Broadway close upChurch and Warren (in the second photo, there’s clearly water blowing off the left side):

56 Leonard from Church and Warren56 Leonard from Church and Warren close upBroadway and Worth:

56 Leonard from Broadway and Worth56 Leonard from Broadway and Worth close up2Broadway between Leonard and Worth:

56 Leonard from broadway between Leonard and WorthBroadway between Franklin and Leonard:

56 Leonard from Broadway betwen Franklin and Leonard56 Leonard from Broadway between Franklin and Leonard close upBroadway and Franklin:

56 Leonard from Broadway and FranklinBroadway between Walker and White:

56 Leonard from Broadway and WhiteThere’s probably another good shot from the northeast—I know you can see it from Canal and Bowery—but I didn’t get that far today. Maybe I’ll go back and add it.

An unintended consequence of this endeavor: It really points out how visible the building is from all over downtown, although some of these vantages (especially the Broadway ones) will be reduced or erased completely as the next wave of new buildings goes up.

A second unintended consequence: Striking as 56 Leonard is, it fares rather poorly compared to the older buildings it shares the frame with….



  1. Erik,

    I like the fact that this glass essentially reflects the sky and makes the building less conspicuous.
    Reminds me a bit of the finish at the Trump Hotel on Spring.

    I have to admit it is pretty interesting – could have certainly been worse.

  2. What a great photo essay. As I was ‘following’ you along your route, I was struck by how visible this building is from everywhere! I know you noted this at the end, but it bears repeating. Although I do find the cantilevering interesting, one can only hope that the glass curtain wall does make it blend with the sky somewhat (much like 4WTC). Again, as you note, it’s interesting to see the beauty of the older buildings that surround it as part of the same view. Protecting those buildings and many more that are at risk is paramount, and at the heart of Tribeca Trust’s efforts.

  3. Interestingly, while driving down on West Street, we noticed the building from above Canal–very prominent as it is significantly taller than everything around it. I have no opinions on the building itself, but I hope the rush to erect buildings of this size abates a bit.

    • Yes, I am sure developers will look at it, and magically think one is enough, why spoil the views of the 1% living on the top of it, why keep making money off the neighborhood we tout as great as a main selling point, while we systematically set out to tear it down, and destroy the very fabric and character that makes Tribeca so desirable… hope springs eternal. Then I wake up.

  4. Terrific pics of 56 Leonard and neighboring buildings/streetscape.

  5. Want to add to the chorus of thanks for this terrific study!

  6. Great shots! I see this from my apartment window (I face north). I am glad they topped it off with the funky jenga penthouse. If they’d stopped at the stubby part just below that, the building would be just awful. The glass is very pretty on a cloudy day, reflecting the sky. And, at certain times of the day, it bounces thick sunlight back into my apartment. It sure beats the big tall (boring) building on Park (I think) and Church. I will be interested to see if there will ever be lights on in there at night.

    I don’t mind it.