HOW ONE WOMAN ORGANIZED THE FIGHT AGAINST AN AMSTERDAM AVENUE MEGATOWER; CAN SHE WIN?


Olive Freud at a rally against the new building at 200 Amsterdam on Tuesday.

By Carol Tannenhauser

It was the proverbial “done deal.” The Department of Buildings had issued SJP Properties a permit to dig the foundation for 200 Amsterdam Avenue, at 69th Street, and preparations had begun for what was to become the tallest building on the Upper West Side.

But developers SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan America hadn’t figured on Olive Freud, president of the nonprofit Committee for Sound Environmental Development. After reading about the project in January, Freud hired George Janes, an urban planner, to study the complicated zoning lot that SJP had pieced together, allowing it to build 668 feet high, twice the height of the buildings immediately surrounding it. Janes was looking for an error in the zoning lot that would force the DOB to reconsider the project.


A rendering of the proposed building.

On Tuesday morning, at a community rally in front of the building site, Janes told a crowd of about 100 that he had found something – several things, in fact – and that Freud and he, with the signed support of City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and Kate Wood, president of the nonprofit Landmark West, had filed a “Zoning Challenge” with the DOB on May 16.


The rally was held next to 200 Amsterdam, the site of the proposed building. Photo by Morgan.

“I think the arguments that we have in the challenge are real; they’re substantial; they’re not things that can just be brushed away,” Janes said at the rally. “Most deal with the use of the open space. I’m not going to get into the technical details, but they’re really contrary to the zoning code.

“The Department of Buildings will review the challenge and within 75 days, make a decision,” Janes explained. “We can appeal that decision within 15 days of that, and if we still don’t like what they’re saying, we can appeal to the Board of Standards and Appeals. So, even if they decide against us on our first pass, we have a second and third bite of the apple.”


George Janes speaks, with Helen Rosenthal on his right.

We’ve posted the challenge here. A spokesperson for SJP Properties recently told us that “the building is being built in full compliance with all zoning.”

Janes and Freud emphasized that their action could be the start of something bigger. Freud told WSR that she was “already getting calls from the Upper East Side.”

“This is the first of these very tall buildings to go up on the Upper West Side, but it sets a precedent,” she said. “Maybe the Upper West Side is the place to start [to show] that this isn’t going to happen in the city. With Helen’s help, we’re going to all 51 Council members. There has to be an ordinance limiting the height of buildings. The builders have ‘as-of-right,’ but what about the rights of the people who live here? Do we have a right to the sky, to the sun?”

“Yeah!” “Sure!” “Good for you!” crowd members shouted back.

“I don’t know where this is going,” Freud concluded. “It may be that it’s going to a lawsuit, because we’re not going to let it happen. My committee is known for undoing done deals.”

Photos by Carol Tannenhauser.

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 111 comments | permalink
    1. Sherman says:

      A quick Google search of this woman shows she has been living many decades in a rent-controlled apartment on the UWS.

      In other words, she is the beneficiary of entitlements and her lifestyle is being subsidized by her fellow UWS residents.

      Yet, she is trying to dictate new construction and who can move into the neighborhood.

      I respect her energy but I don’t respect her hypocrisy.

      • Mark says:

        Sherman – just because one lives in a rent-controlled apartment doesn’t mean that one gives up their right to free speech and assembly.
        Looks like your jealousy of her good fortune has interfered with your ability to think logically.

        • Upper West Side Wally says:

          Hear, hear!

        • Bob says:

          No one said rent controlled apartment residents don’t have a right to free speach!

          What is being said is that unless more buildings come into the UWS that rents will only keep getting higher and the only people who will not much care will be residents like her who live in rent controlled apartments while the overwhelming majority of UWS residents suffer, with many having to move out of the UWS.

          That is all we are saying.

        • John says:

          Mark,

          It’s hypocritical because the problem with restricting development is that it causes prices for existing housing stock to rise dramatically. The cost of renting and buying both go up.

          Because this women got the deal of the century with her rent controlled lease (hats off to her!) she doesn’t have to worry about rising prices. She gets to have her cake (low prices) and eat it too (low housing stock).

          She of course has every right to protest and try to shape her neighborhood as she sees fit. I’d just ask her to respect the fact that lots of people want to move to Manhattan, and that means building new buildings (especially tall ones!). This lot on the UWS is already surrounded by tall residential and commercial buildings, so a tall building won’t be detrimental to the neighborhood in my opinion. The benefits of lots of new homes will outweigh the negatives of a building being “too tall”.

          • Mark says:

            “…lots of people want to move to Manhattan”.
            That is true. And it requires money.
            Lots of people want to fly first class. That also costs money.
            What’s your point?

            • John says:

              Mark,

              The point is simple. We need new housing to accommodate more people. The fact that prices have risen so dramatically in Manhattan is evidence that demand has long outstripped supply. It’s not right for incumbents to throw up a moat and say “no new people allowed! I already got mine so everyone else go away!”.

              Yes, new housing demands trade-offs, and maybe even some sacrifices on the part of existing Upper West Siders. There might be some shadows, and some people might not like modern architectural styles, and we might even have to build a new school to accommodate more families. That’s OK. That’s part of living in a vibrant, evolving neighborhood.

            • Mark says:

              Do you always branch off in your responses and not answer the actual question?

            • B.B. says:

              Not a very good analogy IMHO.

              Anyone who racks up enough points and or has decent credit can fly first class. True they may be paying for that ticket years or decades later at minimum about due, but never the less it is possible.

              OTOH no one is getting a below market rate RC apartment, not a soul for neither love nor money. Outside of those lottery/affordable units chances are pretty slim of getting a below market rate RS apartment as well.

              Both rent control and stabilization benefit those who obtain or obtained their apartments when rent was low, and basically never moving out.

              Vast number of pre-1971 RS apartments and all RC units are occupied by those who are by now middle aged (50-55) and or senior citizens/elderly who have lived in those apartments on average for >20 years.

              OTOH you can fly first class to Paris from NYC for about $7k to just under $10k at current ticket prices. That is easily doable with a credit card. Again you may be paying off the trip for years afterwards, but still odds are far better than trying to get an below market rate RC or RS apartment.

          • Jessica says:

            Rent-stabilization is what kept middle class people in NYC, rebuilding neighborhoods after White flight in the 1970’s. It gave them the long-term promise that it was worth fighting for, the city and state were behind them.

            So, the real hypocrisy lies in people coming along 30 years after the fight and deciding that the fighters need to go. Really?? We should be erecting monuments to them.

            Great job, Carol Tannenhauser! Love your work!

            • B.B. says:

              Am sorry but that is just wrong.

              RS laws were created in *1969* as a successor to the 1940’s rent control system.

              http://tenant.net/Rent_Laws/RSL/rsl.html

              http://www.nycrgb.org/html/resources/faq/rentcontrol.html

              Neither RC nor RS largely staunched the flight of whites (and anyone else who moved to the suburbs) in the post war years and that includes right through really the 1980’s.

              That flight “ended” when steps were taken first by mayor David Dinkins, then continued by his successors (Giuliani and Bloomberg) to turn New York City around by cleaning up Times Square/Hell’s Kitchen for a start. Things progressed further with decreasing crime, filth, and other “evils” of city living.

              Furthermore all this noise about RS or RC apartments is rather recent, and borne out of the fact they are often the only “below market” rate apartments aside from public housing and a few others. That and the pro-tenant protections make it very difficult to shift a tenant after they have signed a lease.

              Right through the 1980’s and even a good part of the 1990’s finding a RS apartment wasn’t a big deal because virtually everything was; that is very little housing was market rate. What concerned most was finding a unit they could afford.

        • Sherman says:

          Her “good fortune” comes at everyone else’s largesse.

          She has the right to protest whatever she wants but it’s chutzpah of her to deny others the opportunity to live in this neighborhood which she lives in for a song.

          • Mark says:

            Your logic is unsurprisingly flawed.
            But you are entertaining.

          • UWS40 says:

            You must be making 6 figures. Why else would you be in favor of this building.

          • bravo says:

            I agree. The entitlement creates the sense that you are owed everything else: what is being built, sold, developed, etc. I do hope these litigious “committees” will have no impact on the rights of OTHERS to do and live as they see fit, as long as there is no criminality. New York, and the Upper west Side, is much more than the usurpation of others’ rights by a self-appointed “dissident”.

          • Gobackwhereyoucamefrom says:

            There’s no chutzpah in sticking up for what is right. The chutzpah is for the original developers and purchasers to think they can waltz in here and take away our rights on the upper west side.

        • allie says:

          well said, mark

        • Tomtom says:

          Grow up. My taxes pay for her ridiculously low priced pad. Adding a bug building adds inventory and lowers prices for everyone

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        there are several groups that some angry WSS commenters seem to think it is ok to disparage and demonize in the comments section of WSR.

        one group is people living in public housing. Another is people living in rent stabilized and rent controlled apartments.

        in my experience, the vast majority of UWSers don’t buy into this sort of ignorant stigmatization and prejudice. But when a few people post comments like this again and again, it has bad effects. it puts limits on the voices of a large section of our community. It is an attempt at intimidation. And it actually hurts the dialog on WSR, because large portions of the community think there is no place for them here.

        Just for the record, the largest housing “entitlement” or welfare benefit on the UWS is the mortgage interest tax deduction. you can be in favor of it or against it, but if you’re against subsidizing people, you might want to stop subsidizing upper income people through this.

        thank you again, Olive, for your activism and community spirit.

        • Sherman says:

          Don’t you have anything better to do than to stalk me on WSR and hurl insults at me?

          Im sure there’s some commentator guidelines for WSR that you’re violating.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            for someone who has been making personal attacks on Ms. Freud, none of which are true (“hypocrisy”; “lifestyle subsidized by her fellow UWS residents”; “trying to dictate… who can move into the neighborhood”; “her good fortune comes at everyone else’s largesse”; “it’s chutzpah of her to deny other the right to live in this neighborhood”), you sure have thin skin.

            Actually, i didn’t mention you. I criticized certain ideas that are expressed by some commenters on this web site. But if the shoe fits, wear it.

            • Sherman says:

              Actually, everything I said about Ms Freud us 100% true.

              It’s also 100% true that you’re obsessed with me and you stalk me on WSR.

            • Izzy says:

              Good points, Bruce. I move that we all vote to ban Sherman from Wsr comments for two weeks.

            • Jen says:

              @izzy
              As much as most of us are annoyed with Sherman, he has a right to speak. However, his comment that someone should be kicked out of forum when they didn’t agree with him, crosses the line. He even suggested that he was stalked (paranoid much?). He can say whatever his opinion is regarding any issue, but trying to play a victim when someone is not agreeing with him is not acceptable. Most of us disagree with him but we don’t “stalk” him. He needs to be disciplined or reminded of basic comment policy.

          • GG says:

            SHERMAN, you google stalk this woman and do research on her finances and living situation and then YOU claim that YOU are being stalked??!? By someone responding to your very provocative comment??

            That is really amusing to me. Self-awareness anyone??? hahaha

            You are not doing yourself or your side of the argument any favors. And I thought us liberals were the “snowflakes”.:)

        • Ground Control says:

          You said it Mr. Bernstein. Sorry Sherman, even rent stabilized tenants pay rent, sometimes very high rents, and they have a right and a civic responsibility to be good citizens and protect totally out of control developments in their communities. Such cheap shots have no place on this community blog! Bravo Olive Freund. Even those who own their apartments, or houses believe the building of such towers is harmful to the ecosystem of the larger community-privatizing light and air for the very richest and leaving the rest in shadow. Straining an already crumbling infrastructure, and creating a community where few but the very richest can afford to live. The UWS will never succumb to the developers and private equity investors as they try and turn our neighborhoods into casinos to grow even richer, destroying the middle class neighborhoods we have worked hard to create and where we have raised our children.

          • John says:

            “Even those who own their apartments, or houses believe the building of such towers is harmful to the ecosystem of the larger community-privatizing light and air for the very richest and leaving the rest in shadow.”

            Of course they do. The prices of their homes will rise if they block development.

            As a renter with a young family who lives on the UWS, I would love to see more responsible developments to add housing stock to the UWS. I don’t want to see rows of townhouses demolished, but this development is in an area with tons of tall residential and commercial developments. It’s not going to destroy any “character”. I just don’t find the arguments against this development compelling when weighed against the benefits of more housing for more families.

            • Ground Control says:

              Actually John-the taxes are reassessed yearly based on the rents per square foot of the new luxury condo rentals. They have very little to do with anything around them but they spike property taxes in every neighborhood nearby. In a typical middle class co-opon the UWS taxes have gone up 60-75 per cent in 4 years. But the apartment prices have remained flat. So the carrying costs of being invaded by unwanted luxury rentals and condos will push out the middle class rather than make their properties more valuable. Given many of the responses on this blog, I assume the commenters are benefitting from the proposed building or don’t live in Manhattan. Not being concerned about out of scale development in our human scaled neighborhoods would be more appropriate in Dubai, not on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

            • Nomorebloodmoney says:

              The new building is slated to have 2 apartments per floor and huge multi-million dollar apartments. This is not “family housing”. These are brand spanking new buildings that will only attract more blood money from Russian and Asian thugs who stole from their countries and bought up apartments in New York (like the Trump towers). We don’t need more blood money on the UWS.

        • B.B. says:

          Sorry, but no, the mortgage tax deduction is *NOT* the largest or whatever welfare system on the UWS or even Manhattan.

          On the UWS and most everywhere else in Manhattan the largest share of people *RENT* their homes, thus the MTD is of no value to them what so ever.

          Of those who do own a home you can only take the deduction if you itemize your taxes. While it may come as a shock to you many who own a home or shares (condo, private house, co-op) take the standard deduction, again making the MTD worthless.

          As of 2015, the UWS had around 25,000 RS apartments.

          http://www.westsiderag.com/2015/08/26/nearly-a-quarter-of-uws-rent-stabilized-apartments-have-disappeared-since-2007

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            … except that rent stabilization is not a government subsidy or welfare benefit. like the Mortgage Interest Deduction.

            it is controlled pricing. there are many things like this, such as your electric bill.

        • larry says:

          THANK YOU!!!!! AGREE With everything you said. Only thugs use intimidation to stop people from speaking. The ONLY beneficiaries of this development are the developers. Period. We on the UWS (as a co-op owner) don’t want this building. Period. Go away.

      • Fido Shame says:

        And her dog looks so embarrassed!

      • Florence says:

        So, moving from a rent controlled apartment into a market rate apartment is now a condition precedent to advocating for one’s neighborhood?

      • Sara says:

        Your logic does not make sense. Living in a rent controlled apt does not preclude her from being the spokesperson for common sense in our neighborhood. At no time has this protest involved keeping wealthy folks of the neighborhood. The building is wildly out of context. Do you realize it is 69 stories high? You must have money invested in the development of this behemoth. That’s the only way one can understand your point of view.

      • UWS40 says:

        Jealous? Get over it.

      • Jen says:

        Sherman, you always come across as one of these infamous landlords. If that’s the case, your lifestyle is supported by us, hard-working people coughing up insane rent (don’t start about market, etc. ). All you do is sitting on the property and make demands.

        In either case, your constant posts supporting survival of the fittest and greediest rubs a lot of people the wrong way. We should be living in a civilized society, not feudal, which you apparently represent in your every post.

      • Len says:

        Sounds like a comment only someone who stands to benefit from building this ridiculous building would make. Making ad hominem attacks on her because you have nothing better to argue on your side is not cool. She is not the beneficiary of entitlements. The greedy developer is the beneficiary of entitlements. She is not the one threatening to interfere with our right to sunshine and a quality neighborhood.

      • Tal says:

        I actually respect her more after hearing that. She is taking her time to fight the good fight on behalf of all of us. Great job Olive. We’re with you.

      • Toomuchgreed says:

        I can’t even stoop down to respond to you Sherman. That’s how ridiculous and irrelevant your comment is.

      • Sally Smile says:

        Someone needs to alert Olive Freud that she may have a cyber stalker on her hands. How dare this West Side Rag troll known as “Sherman” post personal info he says he dug up on her online and then use it to make his extreme libertarian political arguments. This is precisely what is wrong with the politics of personal destruction we have today–people attack and demonize anyone they do agree with. The West Side Rag really needs to do a better job of enforcing your comment standards which seem to fall apart every few months, and even led to the total suspension of all comments in the past. You are a good blog that is obviously being targeted by people with a political agenda out to attack others; these are not the people who love and support this community, and their comments only divide and polarize your readership. Now the question is are you going to just stand by and let them attack memebers of the community too?

        • Jen says:

          Agreed. Sherman posted personal details that he googled that may or may not be true. It should be unacceptable. Why did WSR publish it? Sherman can be entitled to his opinions however despicable they might be but disclosing other people personal details is a different matter whatsoever. I hope WSR takes appropriate measures towards Sherman only instead of punishing everybody by banning comments for some time. We are not all Shermans.

          • West Sider says:

            Fair point, in general we need to tighten comment moderation and will continue to work on that.
            WSR

        • Sherman says:

          You’re obviously very schooled in basic economic and political theory.

          I’m clearly not intelligent enough to debate with someone who believes that my insistence that everyone should pay their fair share of living expenses somehow constitutes “extreme libertarian political arguments”.

          You – and several other online ranters – clearly follow an Orwellian logic that when it comes to housing all UWS residents are equal but some are more equal than others.

          Yep, I’m the extremist – not you.

          I believe in housing discrimination – not you.

          (I’m not sure how WSR allowed that atrocious comment to go thru that this building should not go up because it might attract Asians to the neighborhood).

          I guess you’re also correct that entitled residents who have been living for decades in this area while paying a pittance in rent – while everyone else has been subsidizing them – should be self-anointed “community leaders” and gatekeepers as to who is allowed to move into the neighborhood and should determine what the “character” of the neighborhood should be.

          Instead of addressing my very rational and legitimate arguments you hurl insults at me and make ridiculous accusations about me.

          Truly pathetic.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          i agree with Sally SMile and Jen above. the very personal attacks on Olive Freud, including boasting about Google searches and denigration of her “lifestyle”, really turned my stomach.

          And this is being done by a commenter behind the curtain of anonymity.

          this appears to be an attempt to intimidate MS. Freud and force her to curtail her effective activism.

          one can express one’s opinions on the project without doing google searches into the “lifestyles” of people in opposition.

          Go Olive Freud!!! the majority of the community is with you!

          • Sherman says:

            I truly wish you would stop stalking me and no, the majority of the community does not agree with you or this woman.

    2. GG says:

      I hate to be the bearer of bad news to these folks but…did you see that picture of the lot? with the construction equipment sitting there? That building is going up. Period. At this point there is nothing that is going to stop it.

      I’m no expert but I do know a few things about real estate development and these folks are at least a year or two too late.

      All the architects and engineers are done, the planning, zoning, environmental, etc. is all done. The construction loans are closed, the GC and subs are all ready to go. Millions of dollars have already been spent and the construction equipment is literally sitting on a paved and prepped parcel of land!

      And now you are protesting?? I’m not necessarily for or against it because I don’t really know enough about this particular project but timing is everything, ya’ll.

    3. Bruce Bernstein says:

      hurrah Olive!!! thank you. i am confident the majority of UWSers are with you.

      i know a LITTLE bit about zoning laws — probably much less than Olive and her team, but maybe more than some of the naysayers above — and i believe Olive has a chance. Gale Brewer would not put her name on something that is pie-in-the-sky.

      Thank you WSR for portraying an UWSer in the true progressive tradition.

      • Frank says:

        I live on the UWS and I support building this. We need more housing in this city and in this neighborhood. NIMBY’s are one of the reason there is a housing crisis in major cities. Anything to put downward pressure on rents is a positive.

        • Pedestrian says:

          Not really! Developers who build luxury condos but get major tax breaks for 15, 20, and 25 years do. They suck up tax dollars and they drive the political system to get more and more while they steal the basics like air and light from the rest of us.

          There are serious issues that need to be addressed. Criticizing the living arrangements of an active community leaders is petty and wrong.

          • Sherman says:

            They get massive tax breaks only for putting aside a certain # of “affordable” apartments in their new buildings.

            This is a wildly expensive and inefficient way of creating “affordable” housing. In fact, this actually makes the city more unaffordable.

            But it gives DeBlasio cheap political points.

          • B.B. says:

            *WRONG*

            Those “tax breaks” only kick in if developer seeks them from NYS or NYS; 200 Amsterdam is being built as of right and on the developers own dime/credit. As such there isn’t any “affordable housing”, and developer along with future owners of property (condo units) pay full freight in terms of NYC/NYS property and other taxes.

            • GG says:

              I always love your comments B.B.!!! Keep up the good work…you are saving me a lot of typing.:)

              You are something we need more of these days, a serious adult who knows what he is talking about. Bravo.

          • Lucy says:

            Pedestrian – you are right on!

          • UWSider2 says:

            Can someone show me in the NYC Code or NYS law where those of us who live in apartment buildings are entitled to the light that these developments are “stealing” from us.

        • Stephen says:

          Really, we need more $3000+ psf apartments.

    4. West88 says:

      SO say she wins. Then we have an empty lot among empty storefronts. How is this fight good for the neighborhood again?

      Retirement leads to boredom which leads fighting to preserve “the way things used to be.” This is a WIN for the neighborhood.

      Seriously, all this “fights” and “protests” for buildings, new stores (like the previously mentioned Target)…how exactly is the UWS supposed to evolve? Or would you rather us remain a time capsule??

      • Jay says:

        Most of these NIMBYs do want the UWS to be a time capsule. They want to keep new things and new people from coming here because they are scared. It’s sad, considering at one time they probably moved here and changed the neighborhood in their own way.

        They are not representative of the neighborhood, thankfully. That’s why they are destined to fail eventually.

        • Ground Control says:

          I’d say they are entirely representative of the neighborhood.

        • And They Will Come says:

          Yeah, it’s like these old-time UWSers are yokel ‘townies’ railing against … development? …progress? …evolution? What does the opposition want? For nothing to be built? Do they want to offer input on the design? How about offering to put some skin in the game?

          Reminds me of a recent local-option election in the town where I grew up, with the local fundamentalists fighting tooth-and-nail-to-the-death to prevent alcohol sales inside the city limits.

          Guess what? The measure passed. Alcohol is sold. Guess what else? The erstwhile opponents patronize the restaurants where alcohol is served. There are live music performances, and what passes for a semblance of nightlife. The town collects more sales tax. Life is better.

          Provincial is provincial, be it the UWS or small-town America. And Progress is progress.

          On the other hand, I am not yet persuaded that the building of luxury apartments will do anything to alleviate upward rental pressures for working and middle class families. I’m open to being educated, but that link is far from clear for me.

          • Pedestrian says:

            So why engage in ad hominem attacks on those who have formed an opinion?

            Massive towers will not only NOT SOLVE THE housing shortage for working and middle class families but ihey will also take away the light and air from the rest of us.

            • Jay says:

              First, this building is not “massive”. It is only slightly taller than several other buildings within 500 feet.

              Second, prices are a matter of supply and demand. It’s a fact that our entire economy is based on. This building will increase the supply, not much but more than an empty lot. Perhaps you can explain how to solve the housing shortage without building new buildings.

              These types of illogical statements put forth is what makes these excuses from NIMBYs so mind-numbing.

            • And They Will Come says:

              Do you even understand what an ad hominem attack is? There was no ad hominem attack. On anyone. I may not buy the argument that luxury apartment towers will alleaviate rental pressure, but I don’t agree with the obstructionist mentality of the self-appointed preservationists either. I happen to think that building NEW structures where there is nothing, or where the is a decrepit structure is good for the neighborhood. I live in a pre-war co-op, but next time I will buy into a newer structure, with modern infrastructure, and modern conveniences.

              Your argument seems to be claiming an exclusive right to “light” that others (myself among them) don’t necessarily agree anyone has. You may just be getting priced out of the “light” market. So buy up.

              And air? I categorically disagree that your oxygen intake will be affected.

              Just because I’m willing to listen to counter-arugments doesn’t mean I’m gonna buy your BS.

      • Sara says:

        Duh, they could build a building in general conformity with the rest of the neighborhood.

    5. steve says:

      What a ridiculous waste of time and resources. Although I’m these protestors don’t do much anyway. I sincerely hope that their efforts bear no fruit and the building goes up as planned

    6. Reg Lincoln says:

      The neighborhood welcomes a new building that has assembled development rights legally, rather than the invalid, gerrymandered puzzle that SJP Properties has filed, as detailed in the zoning challenge. PS 199 families should be esp concerned re the darkness resulting from a building twice the height of its neighbors.
      Note that no work has occurred at the site all this week — reasons for optimism!

    7. JC says:

      Bottom Line is, too big for the footprint, bad fro the hood, bad for the school.

      • Saynice says:

        Exactly! The building would be a fine addition to the neighborhood if it were in proportion to the footprint. It is not. Buildings have had to scale back height during construction before, and that is what needs to happen here.

        But the city and developers need to consider infastructure (schools!) when these buildings are being planned. This building with it’s minute footprint is not a contender, but the area is in dire need of a new school somewhere.

    8. THOMAS NEWTON says:

      What in the world does the fact that someone has a rent-controlled apartment have to do with trying to stop the building of an obscenely tall and unnecessary building from blighting the neighborhood?

      Enough of builder greed. Where do the people who call her to task about being a LONG TERM RESIDENT stand about the way greedy builders have colluded to destroy areas of the city by gathering ‘air rights’?
      The Lady is right. Stop the ugly, oversized building from being built. IT IS TOO TALL FOR SUCH A SMALL SITE!

    9. Eln says:

      My, this issue really pushes a lot of buttons. Passion is high on both sides.

    10. George says:

      All of you critical of us who have rent controlled or stabilized apartments and want sunlight, where were you when we pioneered the UWS 30 years ago and moved in when you were comfortable in your suburban apartments. So to you, I say “hypocrites.”

      • Sherman says:

        Give me a break.

        You were no “pioneer”. You were only living here because you had artificially low living expenses.

        Not too long ago the UWS was decrepit and dingy and crime-ridden. It wasn’t folks like you who revived the neighborhood. It was young people who moved in and brought energy and vitality to the neighborhood – and were willing to pay a fair price to live here.

        This Olive Freud is perfectly entitled to her protests. But she has no worries. Her living expenses are artificially capped.

        But more development will increase the supply of housing which will make the neighborhood more affordable to people who aren’t fortunate enough have to lived decades with her entitlements.

        • Sean says:

          The oldsters in Lincoln Towers were the middle class pioneers in this area 50 years ago.

      • bravo says:

        Well, the pioneers, you did not have to build your own housing, bring water from the well and forage for food. You moved into great buildings between the parks and got really, really handsomely rewarded for your bravery. And keep being rewarded, on others’ expense, keeping the supply low for everyone else.

    11. Nancy H. says:

      I apologize and don’t mean to be offensive, but some of these comments are laughable and naïve. Do you really think that limiting the building of hyper-tall, environmentally destructive buildings will drive up prices of housing in Manhattan? No! It’s the greed of developers that will. Incessant, unregulated construction; eternal proliferation of scaffolding; and the destruction of small businesses are among the factors that are contributing to an environmental assault on the livability of the neighborhood for all of us, rent regulated or not.

      • How are large, modern apartment buildings ‘environmentally destructive’? A lot of people will live there and they will be built to the highest standards of environmental responsibility as far as electric, steam, and water usage. This building will probably use less energy than a CPW or WEA building that still burn #6 fuel oil. Or should we all live in ‘human scale’ single family houses in the suburbs on an acre of land and three cars?

    12. a concerned citizen says:

      Unfortunately this tower is totally as-of-right. What people should be worried about is the 115,601 sf (exactly) of floor area that is still left on the gerrymandered lot…

    13. Florence Janovic says:

      What can we do to help fight this? Maybe every block association should join? Maybe the WS Rag can start a petition? What else? Florence Janovic

      • Ground Control says:

        Join Landmark West or Olive Freund’s organization and call Helen Rosenthal’s office.

    14. Liane says:

      Not wanting a sky scraper is not a sign of been old and boring and, wanting way of life to stay frozen in time. Its human, its civilized. You let one in, many will follow. There is a limit for decent living and neighborhood life. Environmental impact rises, great impact on traffic and parking, school system, garbage collection, etc. All costs go up!
      Conversation very interesting (-) attacking someone’s opinion based on its age.

      • UWSider2 says:

        “You let one in and many will follow.” And who will be the arbiters of those can can come in or not, what can be built or not, how something should look or not??

        I will not pass my judgment on this building, but if the developers are playing within the letter of law who I am to stop it. Rather, I would spend my time fighting to change the law to make sure this doesn’t happen again and working to find political leaders that won’t come out of the woodwork when it is already too late.

    15. Tomtom says:

      I love how Bruce B is against free speach on the west side rag unless it is his speach (lecture)

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        wtf? when have i ever opposed free speech in the comments?

        what i said is comments by a small group of people. who again and again disparage rent stabilized tenants and public housing tenants, are damaging and hurt the dialog, and are hurtful to large groups of neighbors.

        that is not advocating censorship.

    16. Chuck says:

      The issue is land use, not the lease of any objector.
      Another example-
      Fordham U. 50 years ago was all but GIVEN the land for its campus 60th to 62nd, from Columbus to Amsterdam. Law allowed Fordham now take that land given them by taxpayers to build skyscraper condominiums making hundreds of millions of dollars for THEM.
      This is legalized theft and we should applaud anyone exposing it.

    17. drg says:

      While we’re at it, maybe we should retroactively tear down the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building. They are much much too tall compared with their neighbors, should be replaced with maybe a few 5 story walk up row houses.

    18. Sara says:

      Olive Freud for Mayor!

    19. JANET DAVID says:

      GO OLIVE GO!!

    20. B.B. says:

      Seventy percent (70%) of the UWS is either historical district or landmark status. *SEVENTY PERCENT* that takes nearly three quarters of land off the table for development and or puts great impediments in place. This piles on top of the already huge hurdles in building anything in NYC.

      What isn’t landmarked per se is often full of RC and or RS tenants who cannot be shifted, so again development does not take place. Add the vast number of public/subsidized housing, SROs, homeless shelters etc… and you begin to see all this noise about “development” taking over and or changing the UWS is silly. There isn’t enough available land to develop (that barely 25% or less that is theory is free to do so), that would ever shift that balance on its own.

      • GG says:

        I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….B.B. is probably the most reasonable and intelligent poster on this site.

        This, ladies and gentlemen, is a person who knows what they are talking about. His posts aren’t right or left, liberal or conservative…they are just factual and insightful. We could all take a lesson from his example.

        Keep it up, please! You rock!

    21. Veronica says:

      Was it Lincoln Square Synagogue that sold the lot to the developer?

    22. Carol says:

      Why don’t we think about the over stressed sewage system, water lines, subway system, not to mention school system if a mega building is to be built. When either of those systems fail, the whole community suffers. Forget about the snipy remarks…think about OUR quality of life.

      • Jay says:

        Isn’t the additional taxes collected from these new apartments going to help pay for all these things you list?

        There’s certainly not a lot of tax revenue coming from an empty lot. You should be supporting this project wholeheartedly if you are concerned about our infrastructure and schools.

        • Jen says:

          So far it didn’t. Look at the developments around and the state of what Carlos mentioned. That requires planning beforehand. So naive to think that the buildings’s taxes will automatically apply to all that.

          • Jay says:

            If that’s not what we are paying our taxes for then what are we doing paying thousands of dollars a year to the city and state?

            If the government can’t do that planning with your tax dollars, then shouldn’t you be more angry at them than anyone?

            • Jen says:

              That is true. Government should do better planning. The article is about something else entirely. Besides that, taxes are not exactly applied to the things you want to be improved; it goes to variety of things. So your thinking that this building “will pay for itself” is wrong. Developers will line their pockets first, and whatever miserable amount is left after their write-offs may be applied to the infrastructure. The community is at loss and developers are richer at the community’s expense. Don’t invent economics that suit your agenda. This is not a reality.

            • Jay says:

              Jen,

              What are you talking about? The only people that are inventing economics are those that say this development will cause all sorts of ills on the people of the UWS.

              As has been stated many times here, the development is not getting tax breaks. The city and state will be getting tax revenue on day 1. As opposed to an empty lot that provides no tax revenue. That tax revenue should be used, in part, for our local infrastructure needs.

              You (and others) have stated a concern about the infrastructure. The reality is that the government is responsible for that infrastructure planning and maintenance. If you are concerned direct your comments at your representatives. Or perhaps you are just concern trolling like many others opposed to this development…

      • B.B. says:

        Why is it we only hear about “over stressed” schools, subways and so forth when it comes to market rate housing. But when it is a question of low income, affordable or whatever, then it is a different story.

        New York subway system is a mess largely because it relies upon the same signal system that was installed when most lines opened over one hundred years ago. In parts things have been replaced but nothing will change until the entire signal system is upgraded entirely. That would cost vast sums of which atm neither the MTA, state nor anyone else seems to have.

    23. Si Spiegel says:

      The city council seems to be beholden to the deep pockets of the developers. How have so many obscenely tall buildings taken over the air and land
      “as of right” without a response from those charged with protecting our environment????
      This precious island passed laws in answer to the slums
      our grandparents faced in the fight for sunlight on our streets, windows and rooftops.
      Wake up council members

      • B.B. says:

        Think many of you have no idea just exactly the zoning regulations of 1916,

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1916_Zoning_Resolution

        https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/planning/download/pdf/about/city-planning-history/zr1916.pdf

        and 1961 actually contain and are meant to achieve:

        https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/planning/download/pdf/about/city-planning-history/zoning_maps_and_resolution_1961.pdf

        http://untappedcities.com/2011/12/07/how-zoning-shaped-the-new-york-skyline/

        For the most part density is restricted in most all residential areas of Manhattan (the so called “brownstone blocks” to prevent tall buildings mid-block. However higher buildings are often allowed on the avenues and or wider cross streets.

        Zoning also recognizes the city needs office and other commercial space, along with the fact in certain areas of Manhattan density isn’t so much of an issue. The latter reflects the zoning for much of Mid-Town, large parts of “Lincoln Square” and the East side extending up to about 72nd street.

        NYC needs housing/commercial space. Manhattan is no different and land is in short supply. You could fill in the Hudson and East Rivers (more than they have) to create buildable land it still wouldn’t be enough.

        Since no one is making any more land in Manhattan the logical solution is to build *upwards*. This has been going on ever since the early parts of the last century when technology and other advances made building and living/working in high rise/skyscraper safe.

        The 1916 zoning resolution was meant in part to address the then (and ever since chronic) shortage of housing by allowing taller buildings to replace four or five story brownstones/townhouses and walk-up tenements in certain areas.

        While charming small or even large private homes are *not* the best use of available land in a city that is in perpetual need of housing. This is why few of the once grand estates/mansions and or row houses along with other “low” buildings that once graced the avenues of Manhattan remain. Park, Fifth, Madison, Lexington, Amsterdam, Riverside, etc… all in time lost most of their “small” buildings. However the side streets are often a different story.

        People have been moaning, whinging, worrying or whatever about “development” on the Upper West Side for over fifty years. With many of the same arguments for or against being made over and over. Here is a link to an excellent story done in New York Magazine back in 1969 about “change” coming to UWS. It is worth reading because it points out just how “bad” the UWS was until parts of it were targeted for redevelopment.

        https://books.google.com/books?id=bNYCAAAAMBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

    24. phyllis gurdin says:

      olive and edgar have fought to help people for 60 years I know her We need more people like them

    25. Shane says:

      I believe the development does not fall into the long term residents hands whether RS or RC.

      The development falls on the DOB FDNY ECB HPD hands. The zoning laws applicable are justified what is on paper.

      If the DOB has approved these items and are in compliant with the zoning laws then the residents have no argument.

      If the zoning is incorrect, this can be amended with procedure, inspection and compliance. (Not sure how factual from sources I have found).

      What needs to be reviewed are the “air rights” and “Development Rights”.

      Also, was this development already passed by the NYC Board Of Standards and Appeals.

      The residents have the right to protest the zoning, however it is not the ultimatum to stop development unless there are breaches in their application to the city.

      If the zoning is correct, then protesting is okay but not going to produce much results.