Right now, midtown Manhattan is in the midst of a construction boom, with eight 50-story-plus residential towers going up (or recently completed) in the area just south of Central Park. The tallest one, called Nordstrom Tower, will be the second-tallest building in the US when it's finished in 2018.
These slender luxury condo towers — built to give residents beautiful views of Central Park — will obviously change the look of Manhattan's skyline in a major way. But a study by the Municipal Art Society of New York simulated another way they'll change Midtown's aesthetics: by casting shadows.
The authors of the study calculated the shadows cast by each of the new buildings at particular times on September and December 21st. Here's how the park will change at 4 pm on September 21st:
And here's how the new buildings will change things at 2 pm on December 21st:
The Society doesn't specifically oppose these new projects, but thinks that New York's zoning regulations — which were mostly written fifty years ago or more — should be updated. Zoning laws currently restrict building heights based on the width of the street (in order to make sure some sunlight reaches the ground), but Central Park isn't taken into account for this area.
However you feel about zoning and height restrictions, though, it's pretty interesting to look at these renderings — and see how Central Park will look in a few years, once these towers are finished.