Jacob K. Javits Convention Center

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Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
Javits Center 11av jeh.JPG
Front (east side) of the convention center
Address 655 West 34th Street
Location New York City
Coordinates 40°45′26.64″N 74°0′9.12″W / 40.7574000°N 74.0025333°W / 40.7574000; -74.0025333Coordinates: 40°45′26.64″N 74°0′9.12″W / 40.7574000°N 74.0025333°W / 40.7574000; -74.0025333
Operator New York City Convention Center Operating Corporation
Built 1980-1986
Opened 1986
Enclosed space
 • Total space 1,800,000 sq ft (170,000 m2)
 • Exhibit hall floor 840,000 sq ft (78,000 m2)
 • Breakout/meeting 103,204 sq ft (9,588.0 m2)
Parking Pay parking nearby
Public transit access Penn Station
Website www.javitscenter.com
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center from a distance

Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, or Javits Center is a large convention center located on Eleventh Avenue, between 34th and 40th streets, in Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan in New York City, United States. It was designed by architect James Ingo Freed of I. M. Pei and partners. The revolutionary space frame structure was begun in 1980 and finished in 1986 and named for United States Senator Jacob K. Javits, who died that year.[1][2] The Center is operated and maintained by the New York City Convention Center Operating Corporation.

The convention center has a total area space of 1,800,000 square feet (170,000 m2) [3] and has 840,000 square feet (78,000 m2) of total exhibit space.[4] Planning and constructing a convention center on Manhattan's west side has had a long and controversial history,[5] including efforts starting in the early 1970s to produce a West Side development megaproject.

When the Center opened, it replaced the New York Coliseum as the city's major convention facility, making way for the demolition of the Coliseum and future construction of the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle.

In 1995 the Independent Review Board charged that jobs at the Center had come under Mafia control.[6]

Early convention center planning[edit]

Proposals for a convention center to replace the New York Coliseum date to 1962, only six years after the Coliseum was completed. A new convention center between 38th and 42nd streets was included in the City's 1962 plan for the West Side waterfront. Several other sites were subsequently proposed, including the New York Central rail yard between Tenth and Eleventh avenues (now known as the Eastern Rail Yard site at the Hudson Yards) and the west 50s between Eighth and Ninth avenues. Eventually the Lindsay administration included a new convention center between 10th and 11th avenues in the west 40s along with an extensive redevelopment of the West Side in their 1969 "Plan for New York City." Opposition to the massive residential displacement that this development project would have caused, and the failure of the City to complete any replacement housing, led the State Legislature to kill the convention center proposal in 1970. The City then moved the convention center site to the Hudson River, in place of Piers 84 and 86,[7] despite the high cost of foundations and the lack of space for future expansion. That 44th Street convention center, designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, was approved by the Board of Estimate in 1973 despite renewed opposition from the local community. In exchange, the community received a special zoning district that offered some protection from development.

However the 44th Street convention center was never built because of the City's near bankruptcy in 1975, which led instead to a search by the State for a less expensive site with some opportunity for expansion. Two sites were considered — the Penn Central rail yard between Eleventh and Twelfth avenues north of 34th Street and Battery Park City. (Another site — the west 40's near Times Square, either between Seventh and Sixth avenues or between Seventh and Eighth avenues — was proposed by the Regional Plan Association, but not seriously considered by the City.[8]) The Battery Park City site was rejected because it was considered to be too far from midtown hotels.

The rail yard site was originally proposed by the local community because of their concern about the major office and residential development project that would accompany the convention center. As an alternative to forestall the negative impacts of both, Daniel Gutman, an environmental planner working with the Clinton Planning Council, proposed that the convention center and all major development be located south of 42nd Street. The proposed convention center site — between Eleventh and Twelfth avenues from 34th to 39th streets — was later promoted by Donald Trump, who had obtained an option on the rail yard from the bankrupt Penn Central in 1975. With the City now out of the picture, the State chose the rail yard site. The rest of the community's proposal that major office and residential development also take place south of 42nd Street was realized thirty years later when Mayor Bloomberg proposed the Hudson Yards project for the area.

Major components of center[edit]

West (Hudson River) side of the Center
  • 410,000-square-foot (38,000 m2) Upper Exhibition Hall
  • 250,000-square-foot (23,000 m2) Lower Exhibition Hall
  • 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m2) Special Events Hall (seating capacity 3,800), 102 meeting rooms
  • 63,000-square-foot (5,900 m2) cafeteria/restaurant/lounge
  • 75,000-square-foot (7,000 m2) concourse (1,000 by 90 by 75 feet (305 × 27 × 23 m))
  • 65,000-square-foot (6,000 m2) Crystal Palace (270 by 270 by 180 feet (82 × 82 × 55 m))
  • 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) Galleria (360 by 90 by 90 feet (110 × 27 × 27 m))
  • 23,400-square-foot (2,170 m2) River Pavilion (270 by 90 by 135 feet (82 × 27 × 41 m))
  • 50 loading docks on two levels
  • 1.1-acre (0.45 ha) public plaza with water walls and pedestrian link under 11th Avenue
  • 60,000 square feet (5,600 m2) of surface parking for 140 cars[9]


On October 16, 2006, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark the symbolic start of a $1.7 billion expansion project. The project, which would have expanded the center's size by 45 percent, was scheduled for completion by 2010. Architect Richard Rogers led the design team, and Leslie E. Robertson Associates were the structural engineers. However, the physical constraints on the project site imposed by the Bloomberg administration complicated the design and caused the cost to soar to $5 billion.

In April 2008, Governor David Paterson decided to move forward with a renovation and expansion with a severely revised budget of $465 million.[10] The renovation was led by design firm FXFOWLE Epstein, whose redesign of the Javits Center's interior focused on upgrading organization and efficiency, as well as occupant comfort. The more transparent curtain wall, less opaque skylight systems, and light gray paint on the space frame have dramatically transformed the voluminous public spaces. New mechanical systems have improved the indoor air quality, reduced ambient noise, and significantly saved on energy consumption. The diamond-patterned Tuscan red terrazzo of the original floor has been replaced with soft tones of gray terrazzo. A new high-performance curtain wall has simplified and lightened the aesthetics of the original façade by changing the façade's module from 5 by 5 feet (1.5 m × 1.5 m) to 5 by 10 feet (1.5 m × 3.0 m). This allowed for the introduction of more transparent glass with minimal structurally glazed mullions. Solid stainless steel panels replaced the opaque portions of glass to better express the building's functionality.[11]

In January 2012, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans to construct a new convention center on the site of Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens and redevelop the Javits Center site with a mix of commercial space and apartments, similar to Battery Park City.[12] A plan incorporating new office and residential development on the Javits Center site had already been produced in 2007 by Meta Brunzema, an architect, and Daniel Gutman, an environmental planner, for the Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association. Among the features of the HKNA plan is an eastward extension of Hudson River Park and conversion of Pier 76 to public use.

The newly expanded convention center will be served by the New York City Subway 7 <7> trains at 34th Street station (which was built in anticipation for the adjoining Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project),[13] starting in 2015.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Purnick, Joyce (June 18, 1980). "Carey, Koch Join Forces To Celebrate New Center". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  2. ^ Gottlieb, Martin (April 4, 1986). "Javits Center Bustles on Opening Day". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  3. ^ http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Javits_Convention_Center.html
  4. ^ http://www.facilitiesonline.com/pdf/Javitz.pdf
  5. ^ "Convention site called a danger; West Side Group Will Sue on Ground of Pollution Environmental Study". The New York Times (03624331). August 22, 1973. p. 56. Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  6. ^ Raab, Selwyn (May 4, 1995). "Panel Says Mob's Friends Got Teamster Jobs at Javits Center". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  7. ^ Burks, Edward C. (February 24, 1971). "City Planning Convention Center". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ Oser, Alan S. (June 9, 1976). "About Real Estate; Some Urge Convention Center in Midtown". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and Plaza - Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects LLP.
  10. ^ Brown, Elliot (April 2, 2008). "Javits Renovation Plan Doesn’t Go the Way of Client 9". The New York Observer. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  11. ^ http://nyrej.com/67963
  12. ^ Lovett, Kenneth (January 4, 2012). "Cuomo Administration Inks Agreement with Developer to Build Convention Center at Aqueduct Racetrack". Daily News (New York). Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  13. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/07/business/alan-steel.html?_r=0
  14. ^ http://web.mta.info/capital/no7_alt.html

External links[edit]