It was . . . in June 2005, that residents of the Upper West Side got their first glimpse of the two glass-sheathed towers that were to rise on Broadway at 99th Street. The local community board was having its monthly land use meeting — not generally an occasion of high drama — and Gary Barnett, president of the Extell Development Company, came to share renderings of his proposed buildings. As he unveiled them, a gasp was heard throughout the room. "People shrieked," recalls Sheldon Fine, chairman of Community Board 7.Dwarfing their surroundings, these two soaring apartment towers, Ariel East (pictured) and Ariel West, were controversial additions to the skyline of the Upper West Side. The community board was so upset by the enormity of the structures that it pushed through a rezoning plan to limit the height of future buildings in the area. (Somewhat ironically, of course, these height restrictions also effectively protect the commanding views currently enjoyed by those residing on the upper floors of the Ariels.)
What caught my eye, however, was not the height of the pictured building, but the glaring sheet of reflected sunlight it was casting on, and through the windows of, the building to its south (closer look) — which certainly can't be helping it endear itself to the neighbors.