|Model of the planned tower, looking west from First Ave. Nos. 25 and 45 in foreground.|
Reaction to this proposal is typified by the Daily News' mince-no-words editorial, below.
The New York Times editorial agrees, in a more moderate tone:
Mr. Helmsley is said to favor one very large building on a bridge over 42nd Street. This Pan-Am-type of monumental obstruction would block the East River except for a view under its nose. This is a poor solution.
By far the best proposal is one to shift the air rights over the parks to another part of midtown Manhattan entirely. . .
Transferable air rights was a relatively new concept at the time, enacted in 1961 during a revamp of city zoning regulations. Helmsley likes the idea and abandons his plans for a 42nd Street tower, but air rights prove to be a thorny, complex issue that drags out the battle over the parks for years to come.