Empire State Plaza

Between Eagle and Swan Streets at Madison Avenue
Albany, NY

Submitted by: Jon Winslow

This plaza is so out of scale it could *almost* make Boston's City Hall & Plaza look good.

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Why It Doesn't Work

This Government Center for the State of New York is one of the largest urban renewal projects ever in US. It is Le Corbusier's vision of the modern city and the antithesis of urbanism. An enormous elevated plaza the size of an airport runway surrounded by many identical 1960s high rises plus an egg shaped building. A freeway runs under the plaza. If that’s not bad enough, it leveled almost 100 acres of historic urban neighborhoods and cost $1 billion in 1974 dollars.

What Puts Empire State Plaza in the Hall of Shame?

This is an empty, wind swept plaza with no human scale what-so-ever.

The plaza is made completely of hard surfaces, has very few places to sit, ugly architecture, and most of all, an out of scale feeling.

The only use for the plaza is walking from point A to point B.

There is no way you could meet anyone here because (1) it is so inhospitable, and (2) so large you wouldn’t be able to find them.

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