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New York deserves better than Andrew Cuomo’s towering folly Rowan Moore

The state governor seems determined to give the city’s famous skyline a lumpy revamp

Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York state, is currently resisting calls to resign over allegations of sexual harassment. So what better way to prove that he is definitely not a phallocratic bully than to “ram through”, as one outlet puts it, a super-tall tower called Penn 15, and a vast development around it?

It’s not just that its name reads like the personalised licence plate of an inadequate and not-literate male. It is also that this lumpy object will compete on the New York city skyline with the nearby Empire State Building – Penn 15 would be bulkier than its famous neighbour and almost as tall. It is part of the Penn District, a proposed “campus” that will rip up several city blocks and replace them with what, on the available evidence, looks like further big lumps swathed in bland and generic design.

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