Published: February 27, 2013 – By DAVID W. DUNLAP

It is possible to look at the 80- and 90-year-old towers around Grand Central Terminal as buildings that give east Midtown the desirable luster of civic history. It is equally possible to look at them as the buildings that give east Midtown the deathly shroud of commercial obsolescence. (As the photos above are meant to show, it is also possible to see the buildings in either light.)

The Bloomberg administration is advancing an ambitious rezoning proposal for east Midtown (PDF) that would increase allowable building density and encourage developers over the years to assemble some large sites for enormous new office towers. To earn greater density, developers would pay for improvements to the subway and pedestrian network. In some cases, with public review, they could build even denser buildings if their designs made what the City Planning Department called “a significant contribution to the skyline” and to the pedestrian realm.

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