OHNY intern, Jordan Mazza, participated in the OHNY tour of the top floors of 7 World Trade Center. Through both year-round programs and during the Weekend, OHNY has provided rare access to this space, which is not open to the general public. Jordan reports on a hidden aspect of the building taking place on the 48th floor.


Normally, when high rise speculative office buildings are built, the un-rented, vacant floors remain just that – vacant. However, the vacant 10,000 square foot space on the 48th floor of 7 World Trade has been opened up for a small group of artists, who have set up their canvasses to capture this stunning panorama.  The artists include Gerard Flynn, Diana Horowitz, and Todd Stone.  Silverstein Properties, the building’s owner and the developer of the entire World Trade Center site, has allowed the artists to work in this space for free — and for as long as they wanted.

The floor-to-ceiling windows offer 360-degree views of the Manhattan skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the waters of New York Bay and the Hudson and East Rivers beyond.  And of course, the building directly overlooks the 9/11 memorial and World Trade Center reconstruction.  One World Trade Center, formerly known as the Freedom Tower, is rising rapidly adjacent to the site.

 

The view includes the Brooklyn Bridge and New York by Gehry.

 

Art is also featured in other parts of the building.  The centerpiece of the lobby is a striking piece by Jenny Holzer, known as the “wall of words.”  Thousands of words of poetry and prose scroll across a massive screen. Just beyond the lobby, in the middle of a small park opposite the building, is an eye-catching sculpture by Jeff Koons called “The Red Balloon Flower.”

The average passersby might not be aware that artists are working and given free access to studio space high above.  In presenting art installations throughout the 7 World Trade Center property an by allowing artists in, Mr. Silverstein demonstrates that he values philanthropy highly.  For many, it is a welcome contrast from the corporate greed highlighted by the Occupy Wall Street movement — which began just down the street.

One side features a classic skyline view of New York landmarks, like the Empire State building.

 

But recently, Silverstein leased the top floors of the building after a five year vacancy.  Now the artists will have to leave next month to make room for an investment advisory firm.  The OHNY tour was one of the very last opportunities for the public to see this incredible space.  Watch the video above for more information and images.

The artists' canvasses overlook the Hudson.

 

Completed in 2006, building 7 was the first of the World Trade Center buildings to be reconstructed.   The Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill-designed structure was also one of the first commercial office buildings in New York City to receive LEED certification.  It emphasizes both a “green” and “safety-oriented” design approach.

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