NEW YORK | Freedom Plaza | 650 FT | 550 FT

A pair of skyscrapers connected by a cantilevered “skybridge” and a rooftop infinity pool is set to join the New York City skyline, as developers unveiled a proposal for a new megaproject just south of the United Nations headquarters on Monday.

Designed by architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the 615-foot-tall towers will contain two hotels, while a soaring lobby across the top will house restaurants, bars, an art gallery a glass-floored (and glass-ceilinged) viewing platform and — should a license be granted — a subterranean casino.

Along with two new residential towers, the skyscrapers will flank the newly unveiled Freedom Plaza development, a three-block-long public park with retail spaces and a new “Museum of Freedom and Democracy.”

The Midtown Manhattan site, which overlooks the East River, is currently occupied by a large-scale art installation “Field of Light,” by British Artist Bruce Munro, that was commissioned by the charitable arm of Soloviev Group, the property developer behind the plan. But the 6.7-acre patch of prime real estate, roughly the size of Madison Square Park, has sat largely unused since the 2000s.

Bjarke Ingels, the Danish founder and creative director of BIG, said his firm’s design looks to extend the greenery that architects Le Corbusier, Wallace Harrison and Oscar Niemeyer created at the neighboring UN building.

“We continue to build on these architectural principles by uniting three city blocks to form a public green space reaching from 1st Avenue to the East River overlook, creating a green connection all the way to the water’s edge,” said Ingels in a press statement.

The two hotel towers are set to host the city’s first five-star Banyan Tree property, as well as a hotel run by casino operator Mohegan. A 150,000-gallon infinity pool will be built on the roof of the connecting skybridge, with BIG describing it as “one of the largest rooftop pools in North America.”

The 50- and 60-story residential towers, meanwhile, nod to the modernist New York City buildings of the 1950s and 1960s thanks to their striped glass and aluminum facades. Measuring 550 and 650 feet tall, the two high-rises will be connected by a podium housing a food market and retail space.


The key question here is: is this viable without the casino? I sincerely hope the answer is yes.


I’ve generally been against this one because I think the Casino’s should only be going in spots with good transit access. Far east side is kind of a dead zone. But if the State/ MTA want to charge a SAS tax, for the future Phase 3 ,i’d be down for that. Kickstart the southward extension, in conjunction with Phase 2.