EARLY-MORNING PROTEST PLANNED AGAINST NEIGHBORHOOD’S TALLEST TOWER


A drawing of the proposed building at 200 Amsterdam Avenue in yellow by zoning expert George Janes.

Council member Helen Rosenthal and preservationist group Landmark West are leading a rally on Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m. to oppose the construction of a 668-foot tall apartment building at 200 Amsterdam Avenue (69th Street).

The rally will take place in front of the site at 200 Amsterdam, which is now a bulldozed lot. It formerly held the Lincoln Square Synagogue, which has moved a block away.


The lot at 200 Amsterdam on Monday. Photo by Stephen Harmon.

The tower, which would be the tallest structure north of midtown, has been in the works for years and has received Buildings Department approvals. But opposition has recently intensified and opponents were planning to file an eleventh-hour zoning challenge on Monday to derail construction. They say it’s out of scale with the neighborhood.

A presentation by zoning expert George Janes, who spoke to opponents earlier this month, is here. Landmark West is helping raise money to fund the legal challenge, securing a $5,000 challenge grant.

The developers were able to piece together a complicated lot that allows them to build a higher building than if they had just used the smallish lot where the building is located. While the developers say it’s fully legal and compliant with city rules, opponents are doing their best to find any problems that can be challenged.


An analysis of the zoning lot by George Janes. Click to enlarge.

“There is reason to believe that the current proposal at 200 Amsterdam Avenue is non-compliant with the zoning code in several respects,” Rosenthal wrote in a statement.

Rosenthal’s opponent for the City Council race, Mel Wymore, also plans to attend the rally, and has criticized Rosenthal for responding too slowly. “We need forward-thinking leadership,” he added in an email to supporters.

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 24 comments | permalink

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    1. Chase says:

      you posted this late. shout it from the mountain tops!

    2. robert says:

      You can yell and scream all you want. Our local pols and the usual group of self appointed community leaders will all be there. They will all raise a hue and cry, not to mention use it to fundraise and bash Trump. But guess what they have all the permits & approvals they need, they are already building!!!!! Unless they can prove that there is some kind of outright fraud in that process and/or the documentation this building is a done deal. A nano sized number of permits, of any kind, in the city are reversed after they are issued. The time to fight this was during the permitting process. Rather than fight them now and not getting anything how about talking to them about community space and/or access to the facilities the new building will offer.

    3. Jay says:

      Just a bunch of NIMBYs wasting time and money.

    4. Jason says:

      NIMBY’s is right. Posters to this site whine and cry over the amount of vacant space on the UWS, and then protest a developer who is developing vacant space. This building will bring with it more residents, which means more people shopping locally, which means more services will be required, which means less vacant space. You would think that means less whining, but if there is one thing that we can count on UWSiders doing, it’s just that.

      • Sherman says:

        You are 100% correct.

        These same people are also protesting how unaffordable the UWS is.

        The last time I checked my economic books an increase in supply causes prices to decrease.

        It’s hypocritical to complain about how expensive housing is and then complain when more housing is being built.

      • Chris Gault says:

        Couldn’t say it better.

      • Paul RL says:

        Agreed!

      • Sean says:

        No. More people shopping online. People who will send their kids to private school. People who will use car services. People who will be in the Hamptons seasonally. They will hire a nanny and a dog walker who does not live in the city.

        • Sherman says:

          With all the social engineering involving PS 199 soon a lot more parents will be sending their kids to private schools or leaving the city altogether (but I don’t mean to digress).

    5. wombatNYC says:

      can’t wait for the retail component of this new building. Ha ! Unfortunately, local and independent stores will not be able to pay the expected rent

    6. West Side observer says:

      “The time to fight this was during the permitting process.”
      Quite right. This brouhaha is probably for the benefit of Ms. Rosenthal’s re-election campaign – no coincidence that her “Campaign Kick-Off” event takes place tonight.

      • Madeline Goode says:

        Helen has been completely absent on this issue and only jumped in now that she sees an opportunity. Where was her office years ago when this was coming together? Asleep. Or doesn’t care- or is catering to her super rich cohorts. I don’t trust a word she says- she has not been involved with this fight till she heard that 350 people showed up to a meeting to oppose it. Now she is racing to oppose it. If the appeal looses you can blame Helen, as she had the time to do something about this long before.

    7. anon says:

      Can someone explain the rules around piecing together a lot? Some of this area appears to be in the Lincoln Towers land. Did Lincoln Towers sell their air rights? If Lincoln Towers ever wanted to build on this land (and I doubt they would) would that be allowed?

    8. ScooterStan says:

      What a PLEASANT SURPRISE to see that EIGHT out of NINE comments (thas’ 88.888888%) so far are Pro-200 Amsterdam!

      But we “YIMBY” (YES In My Back Yard) types cannot think it is all over. The NIMBY, self-appointed preservationist, anti-everything brigade, joined by opportunistic political ‘wh-r-s’ (sorry…family publication) using this for their own purposes, will NOT accept defeat but will continue to do everything-and-anything to prevent 200 Amsterdam from happening.

      “Aux Barricades”, YIMBY-types, and be prepared to fight back!

    9. Bruce Bernstein says:

      of course the vast majority of the people in the neighborhood are against this monstrosity. and apparently the zoning challenge by Rosenthal and Brewer has a good chance of being successful, at least acording to Crain’s.

      but why don’t you guys who are so in favor of this call a mass meeting? let’s see how many turn out!

      http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20170516/REAL_ESTATE/170519920/upper-west-sides-tallest-tower-may-not-get-off-the-ground#utm_medium=email&utm_source=cnyb-realestate&utm_campaign=cnyb-realestate-20170516

      • Jay says:

        “of course the vast majority of the people in the neighborhood….”

        So good of you to speak for everyone. Please, show us a valid poll that shows any support for the NIMBYs blocking this fully permitted project.

        I’m sorry that we have jobs and couldn’t show up to counter-protest. We’ll continue to let you waste your copious amount of time.

        • Cato says:

          I, for one, am with Bruce on this and opposed to this colossal intrusion on the Upper West Side.

          It will challenge the already overtaxed infrastructure, it will not bring anyone to the neighborhood but more bankers and international oligarchs, and it will not add retail.

          And, PS, it’s grotesque.

          That’s why so many people have already objected to it in prior postings. The predominance of monstrosity fans in comment to this particular posting shows little other than the fact that objectors have already spoken.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          i am basing my statement of “the vast majority” opposed on two facts:

          1) the huge crowd that came out to the mass meeting to oppose the project

          2) the fact that all politicians running for office, that i know of, are opposed. Apparently that is where the votes are.

          Jay said:

          “I’m sorry that we have jobs and couldn’t show up to counter-protest. We’ll continue to let you waste your copious amount of time.”

          wow, that was pretty snarky. You assume the people who are opposed don’t have jobs? vs. the people who are in favor have jobs?

          And what if many opposed are retired?

          look, if you’ve got so many people in favor of it, let’s see a candidate run for office on that platform. “Build the Monster building!!”

    10. Alan Bettman says:

      Helen Rosenthal’s entrance into this fight is “too little, too late” and strictly political. She sat on her developer feed hands for three years and now just 4 months before her re-election bid. she makes this token effort. Today’s so called rally was just for show. Rosenthal, in typical fashion, did not make any efforts to even organize the rally at 200 Amsterdam, but then crudely, directed people to her website to “sign up” I’m sure those people will be getting requests for donations in weeks to come. #SayHellNo2Helen