New Manhattan skyscraper to rival Empire State

A soaring new office building planned for midtown Manhattan has won the approval of New York City Council, despite objections from the Empire State Building's owners.

The proposed 67-storey building, known as 15 Penn Plaza, would be built two blocks away and stand nearly as tall as the landmark that has stood unobstructed in midtown Manhattan since it was built in 1931.

A spokesman for developers Vornado Realty Trust said the building will be "an outstanding addition to New York's skyline".

"As the current stewards of the Empire State Building, the most iconic image on the skyline of New York, we thought that 15 Penn Plaza was too close to the Empire State Building for its height and design," said Anthony Malkin, of Malkin Holdings, co-owner of the Empire State Building.

The council approved the construction nearly unaminously by a vote of 47-1. Speaking to reporters New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg dismissed the objections of the Empire State Building's owners.

"Anybody that builds a building in New York City changes its skyline. We don't have to run around to every other owner and apologise," he said.

"One guy owns a building and he'd like to have it be the only tall building. I'm sorry, that's not the real world," said Mr Bloomberg.