New York billionaire seeks permission for ‘temple for a titan’

New York billionaire seeks permission for ‘temple for a titan’
Neighbours are wary that the penthouse will ruin the famous views

Billionaire hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman is seeking permission from New York’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to build a “flying saucerpenthouse on top of a historic building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Mr Ackman has won the backing of Manhattan’s Community Board 7 on the Upper West Side for the plan to build — what he likes to call — a temple for a titan, on top of the 120-year-old building that overlooks the Central Park.

The penthouse apartment on West 77th Street in New York City would replace a pink stucco penthouse on the 17th floor of the building.

Mr Ackman, 55, and his partner, Neri Oxman, bought it in 2017 for $22.5m.

In his video appeal to the Community Board 7 members, Mr Ackman said: “We love the site. We love the Upper West Side. My wife and I would like to raise our new family here, we have a two and a half-year-old child. Our approach here was to build something that would be additive to the neighbourhood.”

He added: “Everything is as minimal as it could possibly be. The bottom line is that no one will care as much as us about designing something that will be beautiful [and] have a minimal impact. We want to live peacefully with our neighbours, we do not want them to get angry with us.”

However, locals fear that the penthouse would ruin the world-famous New York views. One local said: “The indecency of the penthouse apartment is unsettling, it uses the 6-16 building as a strap for a platform stamp for a titanium. It stares at humanity and the wildlife below.”

The unidentified neighbour added: “New Yorkers, Americans, people all over the globe visiting the Museum of Natural History … would find Ackman-eyrie in their field of vision and wonder who made this happen, what on earth possessed them.”

Currently, the billionaire lives in the Beresford apartment building in New York City.

The 13-bedroom apartment that Mr Ackman wants to turn into a “temple for a titan” was previously owned by feminist and gender policy writer Nancy Friday.