Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Time Warner Center

The Time Warner Center, located on Columbus Circle (intersection of 59th Street, 8th Avenue and Broadway), originally had a different name: The AOL Time Warner Center.

With construction beginning in 2000, this building was yet more proof of the so called erection effect: Cities, countries, and most notably companies, inevitably build monuments to themselves right at market tops. Construction of many of Asia's biggest skyscrapers began just months before the late 1990's Asia crisis. The Empire State Building was begun literally months before the 1929 stock market crash.

And in a fit of poetic irony, AOL had just made their top-of-the-market bid for the old media company Time Warner in January of 2000. And in one of the worst acts of timing from any tech company during this era, AOL announced plans for the combined companies' audacious new headquarters.
Construction on this building officially began in November of 2000, just months after the tech bubble had popped.

By the time the building was complete, AOL went from the "owner" of Time Warner to a despised and irrelevant subsidiary.

Now the building is not just a popular tourist destination, it features a number of excellent restaurants, lots of shopping outlets, and of course one of Manhattan's most popular Whole Foods Market stores.
We were here just before Christmas this year, and thoroughly enjoyed the enormous decorations suspended in the building's atrium. These stars changed colors in a beautiful and stunning display.
However, some people in this town still don't have much respect for this building:

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