Two Columbus Circle
The Huntington Hartford Gallery of Modern Art was built by and named after the heir to the A&P Supermarket fortune in 1964. The 10-story modernist building designed by Edward Durell Stone and Associates was intentionally iconoclastic. Despite its prime location on the south side of Columbus Circle, the tiny footprint and largely windowless design resulted in a troubled life. After only five years, the museum closed and the building was used by Fairleigh Dickinson University as the New York Cultural Center. The building was sold in 1975 to Gulf and Western Industries and left unused. In 1980, the building was donated to the City and used as the headquarters of the Department of Cultural Affairs and as the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau until being abandoned in 1998.
The abandonment started a fierce dispute between preservationists (who viewed it as a unique example of mid-20th century modernism that should be landmarked) and the city (and many of it's residents) who viewed it as an unusable eyesore. The preservationists finally lost in 2005 and the building was gutted and reskinned for use by the Museum of Arts & Design.
Next: Weber's Closeout