I’m not entirely sure why I like this picture. Maybe it’s the brightly colored mural? Or maybe it’s that the mural is so huge, dwarfing the people on the floor below? Or maybe it’s just the sheer size of the space. Whatever it is I do like it.
In reading up on the Citigroup Center (now referred to as 601 Lexington Ave) I was surprised to find the building, started in 1974 and completed in 1977 was found to be structurally unsound in 1978 and in danger of collapse under certain high wind conditions. Emergency repairs were hastily undertaken and this was hidden from the public for 20 years. Apparently a disaster was only narrowly averted (partly by chance). According to Wikipedia after the problem was discovered:
For the next three months, construction crews working at night welded 2″ steel plates over each of the skyscraper’s 200 bolted joints. They worked during the night, after each work day, almost unknown to the general public. Six weeks into the work, a major storm (Hurricane Ella) was off Cape Hatteras and heading for New York. With New York City hours away from emergency evacuation, the reinforcement was only half-finished. Ella eventually turned eastward and veered out to sea, buying enough time for workers to permanently correct the problem. Citicorp did work out emergency evacuation plans with local officials for the immediate neighborhood.
Because nothing happened as a result of the engineering gaffe, the danger was kept hidden from the public for almost 20 years. It was publicized in a lengthy article in The New Yorker in 1995