When we arrived at the One Bryant Park construction site on 42nd between Sixth and Broadway, our guide seemed miffed. "I told you to wear tough shoes," he said, looking down at the pointy red flats we recently purchased at Beacon's Closet. "I'd hate to see what your dainty ones look like." The teasing didn't end there. He mocked our so-called small head (requiring hard hat adjustments) and our camera, but we won't continue to bore you with the details.

2006_09_rendering.jpgSo why One Bryant Park? One, it's being co-developed by Durst, an early adopter of green building technologies. Two, it's next to Durst's Condé Nast Building at 4 Times Square, which, built in the pre-LEED certification era, essentially sparked the city's green high-rise craze. Three, when finished, it will be one of the city's tallest. Four, like its neighbor, it has radio repeater responders! Five, it will be the new home of the Henry Miller Theater with its original Neo-Georgian 1917-18 facade. Six, an underground walkway will link the B, D, F trains to Times Square (ah, the little things)!

Designed by Cook + Fox in the glass and steel style of the 1853 New York Crystal Palace, the crystalline skyscraper is being touted for its LEED Platinum certification, which means it's more green than most green buildings now being certified (less energy and water consumption, for example). In case you haven't heard, like many of its counterparts, it features high-performance glass, floor-to-ceiling "windows" and reusable rainwater (which saves 10.3 million gallons of water per year). It also boasts double wall technology that, supposedly, dissipates the sun's heat and a 5.1 megawatt on-site power plant. The pricetag? $100 per square foot.


So what did we see? Fuel tanks, rebar, metal studs, steel piping, scaffolding, what will be a BoA trading floor, some iron workers, some distressed Condé Nast staffers ogling the site from above and one foreman. In other words, it was a (mostly) typical construction site -- except for the clean elevator view to Grand Central.


Really, what's most salient about the BoA Tower (and other such high rises) is that developers and architects actually are quibbling over whose structure is the most green, an unthinkable notion just a decade ago. To even greener green buildings.