Blue is much too young to be a landmark in the historical sense, but it has certainly made its mark in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

The towering (in the local context) cantilevered glass box, with its Mondrian-esque grid of blue and black, stands out like the proverbial sore thumb against the Lower East Side’s historic tenements (the Tenement Museum is three blocks away). Not long after the controversial apartments went up, New York City Council rezoned the East Village and Lower East Side, limiting building heights to preserve “neighborhood scale and character.”

The architect – charged, after all, with the task of creating a profitable building – said the structure was the logical result of maximizing square footage within the separate requirements of two lots. The cantilevered south section (103 Norfolk Street) rises over a commercial zone lot; the north section (105 Norfolk Street) is on a residential zone lot.

You must admit it’s an arresting design from any angle, even on a cloudy day.

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