PARENTS SUE TO STOP NURSING HOME CONSTRUCTION ON 97TH STREET

jewish home rendering2

Parents at PS 163 have filed a lawsuit to stop the construction of a 20-story nursing home next to the elementary school. Jewish Home Lifecare has received state approvals to build the nursing home, which would have more modern amenities than its current location on 106th street. But parents say construction noise and toxins released during the construction will severely disrupt the learning environment. The school’s playground is about 30 feet away from the school and its playground.

In a release announcing the site, the opponents said:

“The parents and children at Public School 163 on W. 97th St. in Manhattan filed suit today in New York County State Supreme Court challenging the NY State Department of Health’s irresponsible approval of a dangerous construction project to be built directly next to the school. The project will cause years of significant harm to the children, ranging from ages 3 to 11, at this high-performing, racially diverse, and majority socio-economically disadvantaged elementary school. The harms include acute and prolonged excessive noise that are totally inconsistent with a learning environment, lack of fresh air in the classrooms mandated by City code, air fouled by toxic dust released into the air during construction and dangerous traffic, all seriously hurting this prized primary public school that until this year attracted children from all over the Upper West Side, Manhattan Valley and Harlem.”

Local politicians have also spoken out against the project and urged Jewish Home to rebuild at 106th street instead.

But Jewish Home Lifecare representatives have said that they couldn’t upgrade the 106th street location with the same innovative model that they plain to build on 97th, where they’ll be building from the ground up. The new nursing home is set to have a “green house” model that allows for more shared spaces. “Each Green House home will be comprised of 12 private bedrooms with individual bathrooms situated around a centrally-located living area, open kitchen and dining room,” JHL says.

Bruce Nathanson, Senior Vice President of Jewish Home Lifecare, said the following in a statement:

“Given the extensive environmental review conducted by the New York State Department of Health and the fact that Jewish Home Lifecare has gone above and beyond standard industry practice and regulatory mandates to assure that PS 163 and the surrounding neighborhood is not adversely affected by construction, it is sad that some parents and elected officials would try to scare other parents and children in a misguided effort to impede the development of a modern, critically-needed skilled nursing care facility. Despite the hyperbole, this project is typical of  construction in Manhattan that moves forward every day, often next to school buildings.”

JHL has also said it will go to great lengths to ensure the safety of the children, but local residents are skeptical, citing the nursing home’s reluctance in the past to accommodate their concerns. Several parents have already pulled their children from the school, and we have heard from one resident of nearby apartments Park West Village who moved away in anticipation of the construction.

A state environmental review of the project last year imposed some restrictions on construction, but gave it the green light to move ahead.

NEWS | 88 comments | permalink
    1. Patricia Gilman says:

      I think this is a wonderful idea. The location may not make neighbors happy, but I glad to see they are building something that will feel more like home than an institution. Nursing homes are so depressing.

    2. diane says:

      Sorry to disagree here, but the nursing home will add to the community and the parents have to stop worrying so much. We live with toxins around us all the time and we live!!! Your children will too. Let the construction begin.

      • Kim Lang says:

        Have you lost your mind. Have you ever lived with construction and lied to. That space was supposed to be green space for PWV. Guess money buys things these days sad….

    3. Rudie says:

      There will be fewer beds at the new space. Yes its swell to have a shiny new building for the few who actually get to live there, but at what cost to the community? You can barely get down that block of 97th Street now. Its the cross town artery and the traffic becomes a dead standstill at certain times. They will be jack hammering less than 30 feet from the entrance to the elementary school. Teachers cannot speak above those decibel levels. And honestly, the building on 106th is massive with a garden in the back and huge north & south facing windows. It is mid-century construction. They could work with it or they can sell it for $200 million or whatever it is. The asphalt parking lot where they want to build has been absorbing leaded gasoline drops since the 1940s. All that will he airborne as soon as the jackhammers start. And we’ll just keep our fingers crossed that there are no crane collapses. Fingers crossed cause 640 kids are in that building under the crane. Its just greed in its plainest form. So painfully irresponsible.

      • Jeremy says:

        Yeah . . . so hopefully their crane collapses at 106th?

        Man, the tone-deafness of some of the anti-senior elements is pretty stunning. I mean, let’s unpack this for a second. Those opposed to building on the vacant lot on 97th because of kids’ exposure to “noise” and “toxins” next door would be more than happy to expose at-risk seniors to “noise” and “toxins” created during renovation of the 106th Street building **while they live there**.

        These people should just step back for a moment and reevaluate exactly what they’re advocating. It’s a little bit evil.

        • Bobert says:

          The toxins being discussed are latent lead and gasoline in the ground from the half century this brown site was used as a parking lot. That doesn’t exist on their already approved plan at 106.

          • Jay says:

            I don’t know what a ‘brown site’ is, but I do know that this isn’t a brownfield. The subsoil is probably no different than any other site in the city.

            How are these kids going to be exposed to these toxins? Are you expecting them to eat the dirt?

            Are you not concerned about the emissions from the 80 cars there? Seems to me that’s a bigger issue.

            • Jeremy says:

              Not sure what a “brown site” is, or how he expects the kids to eat leaded gas accumulated over the past 50 years (wait, when was lead phased out?), but whatever he’s spewing, I think it’s certainly the result of the “brown noise.”

              Speaking of noise . . . interesting that Bobert kinda ignored that point.

            • Independent says:

              How are these kids going to be exposed to these toxins? Are you expecting them to eat the dirt?

              You do realize, don’t you, that ingestion is by no means the only pathway by which toxins can and do enter the human (and other) organism(s)?

              A great deal of toxic substances enter the lungs and bloodstream through inhalation,during the course of normal everyday breathing.

              That pointed-out, everything is relative and all of the numerous relevant factors must be carefully taken into consideration and weighed.

              The question here is whether the exposure to toxins that the construction at issue would cause the children in the neighboring school is, considering all other relevant factors, a sufficient argument– in and of itself– to oppose the construction project under discussion. Not having undertaken the breadth and depth of study that would be necessary in order to reasonably offer an opinion on this question, I cannot and will not weigh-in on it.

            • Jay says:

              I’m well aware of the different pathways for toxins to enter a body. Fortunately, the permit issued requires the soil to be sprayed with water as it is being excavated, which would prevent the inhalation of the any potential toxin present in the soil.

    4. Paul RL says:

      A lousy project in a lousy location, made possible by a lousy deal between Chetrit and JHL, and lousy City zoning laws. This monstrosity should have stayed on 106th Street, where it was ALREADY APPROVED.

      • cait says:

        Respectfully – unless I am wrong – it seems that in other West Side Rag commentary you have been in favor of increased development on the West Side.
        Aside from the concern about the school during the construction phase, is there a specific reason why you are not in favor of this particular development?

        • Paul RL says:

          Cait,

          I appreciate your question and I’m happy to answer.

          Firstly, I’m not in favor of all development. For example, I’ve spoken out against the new condos on the property of St. John the Devine, as well as the design of the proposed Sackman condo tower on 96th Street. I am indeed strongly in favor of smart, market-rate housing (as well as more street-level commercial space) above 86th Street. My reasons range from providing the area with an influx of folks with expendable income which would help our struggling local businesses, to offsetting what I see as a declining quality of life due to the proliferation and oversaturation of homeless and other supportive shelters over the last few years.

          Setting emotions aside for a moment and speaking strictly in terms of streetscapes, I don’t believe that a giant nursing home will enhance this area. Most corridors in the city that have large hospital-type complexes in their midst are pretty miserable, providing little or no street life, except for ambulances and traffic. And the additional traffic and ambulances from this particular development will flow from a narrow, already over-congested East-West thoroughfare into one of the most dangerous intersections of the city, which has seen numerous deaths and injuries over the last couple of years.

          This nursing home already exists – In My Back Yard – on 106th Street, where its rebuilding and modernization was already approved. The original land-swap between Chetrit and JHL would have put it on 100th Street – also In My Back Yard – which would have been a much better location for it as that street is much less congested traffic-wise.

          To sum things up, my preference is that nothing gets built here. But yes, if something absolutely had to be built, I’d prefer market-rate housing and commercial space, for the reasons I mentioned above. That said, if it’s going to be the nursing home, I prefer a smaller, less-utilitarian looking structure, perhaps with commercial space at street level to warm things up.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        Paul has also supported the construction of a large building across from a school on 95th and W End. I don’t see how this is any different, in terms of its effects on children.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          I don’t know enough about this project to take a stand one way or the other, though I am sympathetic to the existing residents of Park West Village — it seems like it might cut down on their green space.

          But it’s worth pointing out that Paul also supported eliminating hundreds of units of affordable senior housing at the Williams — he is a cheerleader for the Salvation Army selling it and it being turned by the notorious Brack Capital into luxury condos.

          So there appears to be a pattern here.

          • webot says:

            BB continues to his propaganda campaign of half truths and lies. I know there he was no “cheerleader” but said the salvation army has the right to sell. Despite being chastised he continues to pull stunts like that. His defamation on others is appalling.

            Personally I am okay with the nursing home being built , and yes I think this lawsuit is without merit. I just wish they designed a more architecturally distinct building.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              He did more than say the Salvation Army had “the right to sell” (and it’s not clear if they do). He said that changing the site to high income condos would improve the neighborhood… the exact same argument he makes above (in favor of more “market rate” housing).

              i cite arguments, i don’t call names.

              And if the Salvation Army has “the right to sell”, why doesn’t JHL have “the right to build”? it seems inconsistent.

              anyhow, I’m convinced that this nursing home is bad idea… because of overcrowding.

    5. Lynn says:

      Someday you might need a nice nursing home. Quit complaining. The kids will live and so will you.I grew up amidst construction on the Upper West Side since the 50’s and I’m still alive and kicking.

    6. amelia says:

      I am all for improving conditions I was very pro whole foods but i am stunned over lack of concern with how close this is to a school with growing lungs+organs of young children. Remember the lungs of firefighters+police from wtc why would u intentionally impose construction dust on little kids growing lungs? It will probably create asthma on innocent lives starting out.perhaps choose land a few blocks away for the grown up lungs looking for a happy space. I trust the residents of the home would not want to feel they are damaging babies lungs right?

    7. Lisa says:

      But if the nursing home does not go up, won’t a luxury high-rise be built anyway? With same construction, traffic etc issues?

      • Bobert says:

        Nope. The zoning of the space does NOT allow residential. The current JHL location at 106 does, however, which is why they are planning on selling that to a developer who CAN’T build at 97 for an 8 figure sum.

        • Jay says:

          I don’t know where you are getting your information.

          The site is zoned as residential (R7) which means medium density residential with a max height of 80 feet.

          All this stuff is on the NYC.gov website and easily found.

          • Bobert says:

            You’re right, I misspok, but 80 feet of R7 is extremely different than 200+ feet of nursing home on a crowded block where ambulances currently can’t get through.

            • Erica says:

              Is the environmental impact on kids during the construction phase really all that different if it is a nursing home versus any other construction – including tearing up the parking lot to provide green space? If the issue is lead and toxins in the soil, then ANY construction or removal of the dirt will release those into the air. So unless it is to be kept exactly as it is for all time, those toxins will have to be dealt with.

              I don’t know enough about the project to really take a stand for or against it either, but I do know that it would be wonderful if there were a nursing home in the neighborhood for my mother, as her health is failing and assisted living will not be enough for her soon. I would like to see more nursing homes interspersed through the neighborhood.

              Obviously, I do not want the site built on in a manner that imperils the kids, but I do think there are means of containing toxic dust and waste now that should be used. If that is done, the other objections – that it is tall, that it is not beautiful, that it will bring seniors and their vehicles and needs into the neighborhood – do not seem to me to outweigh the benefit of having a nursing home that much closer to this part of the city. And how much the better it would be if someone were to build one on 106th as well. There just aren’t enough suitable facilities in the neighborhood for seniors in need of more extensive care.

    8. K says:

      It is naive to think that another company or institution wouldn’t build on this open space even if Jewish Home were blocked from doing so. It is Manhattan, people. I think it is fantastic that this innovative model of care will exist on the Upper West Side. It is clear that Jewish Home is going to great lengths to make sure that the children at PS 163 will be safe.

    9. Yoneet says:

      I am so sick of over protective whiney parents!! You live in a city. We are surrounded by noise and toxins and God knows what else all day long! Every time a building is put up or taken down, it is a mess for the neighbors no matter who they are. If you are so worried, no one is stopping you from moving!

      And as everyone else pointed out- SOMETHING will get built there. So why not take care of our elderly?

      • Bobert says:

        Actually the space is currently a parking lot and can NOT be zoned for residential. The nursing home can move there because there was an exception made for a community center. JHL already has a plan approved to build at 106, but when Chetrit offered them $35 million dollars to move the project so they could build a huge luxury building at 106, JHL suddenly found the (much larger) space at 106 inappropriate.

      • Independent says:

        If you are so worried, no one is stopping you from moving!

        How can you know that? Are you familiar with the personal circumstances of each and every one of the people who live in the vicinity of this proposed project and oppose it? Some people may have family, work or other obligations or legitimate needs that make it impractical, if not nearly impossible, to move. Of those who live in rent-regulated housing, many simply cannot afford to move. Placing their children in a different school is no doubt simply not a viable option for many of the parents in question. Even for those for whom it may be, changing schools can be highly disruptive for a child or adolescent.

        As I stated in a previous post, I do not know enough to have a position on the question of whether the effects upon the children of the construction are, in and of themselves and considering all of the relevant factors present, sufficient grounds to block the project. (I do, however, find the arguments concerning the increased traffic that the project would bring to an already-excessively-congested area quite compelling. As I do the arguments about decreased ability in the proposed new location for evacuation of residents in the event of a fire, decreased accessibility of residents to the outdoors and natural light and the fewer number of beds that people have said the proposed new facility will have.)

        I am simply refuting what seems to be a rather common refrain from at least certain people who post comments on this site: this “No one is stopping you from leaving” bit. I find it simplistic, presumptuous and arrogant. It brings to mind the old, “America: Love it or Leave It!”, slogan that the late radio artist Gene Shepherd ascribed to the proverbial “slob” as representing the depth of his views on foreign policy. Ironic, considering that many of the same people invoking the former would no doubt dismiss and even condemn the latter (with more than a whiff of self-righteousness, I might add). (I.e., these individuals would dismiss and condemn, “America: Love it or Leave It!”, as characteristically ignorant and chauvinist; worthy of the infamous Archie Bunker character with which the slogan and the mindset it conjures is likely associated.)

    10. VERA says:

      I think those who are opposing (parents of students at ps.163) are selfish, ridiculous
      and over reacting. I for one am a senior in
      the neighborhood and think it is both a necessity and wonderful idea. the kids and the parents will learn to deal with it, as we all learn to deal with mANY problems on the U.W.S.
      U.W.S.I PERSONALL WILL CAMPAIGN TO SEE IT HAPPEN.

      • Bravo says:

        Vera – absolutely correct. Also this: how about the noise and nuisiance associated with a school? Oh, those poor darlings cannot “learn” when there is a construction. In Manhattan. In 2015. And of course there is a ” diversity.” Card although god knows what is has to do with anything.

    11. Sonia Garcia says:

      Even with the best of intentions and precautions (which are doubtful)neither JHL nor the State can guarantee safety or noise control for the children or the residents. They are so set on this Project that they refuse to listen to the concerns of the community, the logic in everyone’s opposition, and they could care less for the residents of the new facility. There will be nothing Green about this Project at 97th Street. The toxins and honking noise congestion from the backed up traffic will not allow thse seniors to enjoy a real Green environment. They would be better off looking at a “Green mural” painted on the walls. Truly. The children are not the only ones who will be affected by this construction. The elderly and individuals with respiratory issues living in its immediate surrounding are at risk for the duration of the construction. Does anyone really care? Shame on anyone who doesn’t get it. 106th Street is the perfect location for the home. Not an already overly congested 97th Street. If you don’t live on 97th Street – you are not in a position to give a favorable opinion in an intelligent manner.

    12. kaz says:

      upgrading the 106 location will create the exact same construction noise and toxins to the PS145 scholls on 105th st.
      The difference is that the parents there wont have the money to hire lawyers/

      • Bobert says:

        The lawyers are working pro bono and this construction is 40 feet from the school not down the block. But go on with your bad comparisons.

    13. Gretchen says:

      This is all about the NIMBYs and they will lose.

      • Paul RL says:

        Of course we’ll lose. We’re the West ’90’s. Unlike other neighborhoods, we get EVERYTHING dumped in our back yard.

        • Steen says:

          Please take a deep breath and listen to yourself: you just equated a modern, light-filled senior residence with garbage. Having been in the senior center at 106th to visit a friend, I can attest that is a most depressing, run down place that you would not want any loved one to live in. While I realize that it will be a loud inconvenience to have to deal with this construction, that is how a densely filled, thriving city operates: things are built and things are taken down.

          I have to say, shame on you for talking so horribly about the desire for people at the end of their lives to have a decent place to live.

          • Paul RL says:

            I hear myself loud and clear and will not apologize to you or anyone else that feels the need to judge others. This project is just plain wrong for the neighborhood, and will cause many adverse effects on an already grim and congested block. Just because it’s Senior housing shouldn’t preclude me or the many others that oppose it from speaking our minds without getting shaken down by the Guilt Police.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              just for the record, she didn’t judge YOU, she judged your words… which did indeed make some pretty over the top metaphors to a senior home being “dumped” into the neighborhood like garbage.

              I am against this project because of the overcrowding in the area and the effect on the school, not just during construction. But i am suspicious of Paul’s motivations on this… you seem to support all developments of luxury (“market rate”) housing but everything else is “dumping”.

            • Paul RL says:

              Bruce, you can spend all your free time scouring the comments section to create ways to attack me, but your repreated posts in which you defend criminals, shrug off rape, and even accuse parents of being “wusses” for being upset when their kids are mugged makes you quite irrelevant in my book. Carry on.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              When Steen disagrees with you he or she has “the need to judge others” and is part of the “Guilt Police”, shaking you down. When I disagree it is because I “defend criminals” and “shrug off rape” (both lies).

              Wouldn’t it be more helpful to deal with the substance of the arguments? Both Steen and myself made arguments about viewpoints, not personal attacks. If you want to ignore our arguments, that is your right. But I thought the tone of how you responded to Steen was out of line, and thus my comment… which was met with the same tone, or worse.

            • Paul RL says:

              Bruce, you seem like a bright fellow at times, but what amazes me is how you continually troll this site, provoke people, then cry like the bully on the playground when people lash back at you. In this comment section alone, you went after me four times – FOUR TIMES – before I even responded to you. Twice you were replying on others’ threads and once you even invoked me in a reply to one of your OWN comments! And while I appreciate the attention, I assure you I’m not that important.

              I don’t mind when someone disagrees with my opinions. That’s the beauty of a blog. Sometimes, I take opposing views to heart if I feel that I can apply them to my own life and make me a better person. Yes, sometimes even YOUR views. And although I am diametrically opposed to many of your views, especially on crime, I do believe that deep inside you care about people. But unfortunately that attribute gets buried when you’re more interested in concocting phantom motives for others so you take out your gavel and play judge.

              That said, I’m happy we’re in agreement on the subject of the nursing home. Maybe there’s hope for us yet!

          • K says:

            Here here!

            • K says:

              “Here Here” was in regards to Steem. And to Paul RL- shame on you and your NIMBYism.

            • webot says:

              BB said: “When I disagree it is because I “defend criminals” and “shrug off rape” (both lies). ”

              These are actual and factual truths. You defend criminal behavior to the death as long as it promotes your political agenda.

              For you to deny it, just lessons your arguments even further.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              do you seriously expect anyone who has ever read anything i have written here to believe that?

              stating that crime is down (a fact) and opposing racial profiling “stop and frisk” does not mean “defending criminal behavior.” i hope you can understand the difference.

          • Sonia G says:

            Really? who’s not getting this? No one is opposed to senior housing. We have family and friends who use JHL services and are damn near being residents ouselves. We’re opposed to senior housing or any additional construction on 97th Street between Columbus and Ámsterdam Avenues. Has anyone seen how many ambulettes are needed and parked on the wide and open 106th Street? 20 stories will require much more..in a very tight and busy Street. Has anyone seen the level of traffic on 97th St with traffic to a health center, four active parking garages, school buses to drop and stationed to pick up children, two supermarket deliveries locations, a daycare, and a farmer’s market every Friday? And let’s not forget the drivers exiting the Central Park transverse who don’t care that tney get backed up at a residential block and honk with no respect? The plan should have incorporated how to rebuild witho0ut relocating. Because their present location is an ideal spot. Come and take a look for yourselves.

    14. Alena says:

      I just hope we don’t lose the green market on Fridays

    15. Verity says:

      Let’s be honest. This is a smoke screen because condos will fetch higher prices at the sunny wide 106 st site than on 97th street. The city is at the mercy of weathly developers.

    16. Justina says:

      I heard (through channels) that if the Nursing Home is not built, an SRO will be built in its place.

    17. Lis says:

      Noise & construction always stressful and concerning for neighborhood for many reasons – but for what it is worth, PS 199 managed with the construction right next to it, the luxury building at 200 West End Avenue; and Beacon and PS 191 with construction of luxury buildings on 63rd Street. And Calhoun with construction to its building. And other similar situations….

    18. Saving Grace says:

      There is a whole lot of misinformation here-which is sad. Because people who think that it’s just fine to breath in toxins from a construction site feet away, and have cranes suspended over our children’s public schools, in land that was created as the air and light space for a dense middle income housing project, are either enormously self-centered, or misinformed. In fact, the space this 22 story nursing home is being shoe-horned into is robbing those apartment complexes around them of their green space-in order to create green space for the senior citizens who will have no green space anywhere other than inside a tall tower. When in fact they have a nursing home with far more available space, more beds, and the ability to renovate or be able to evacuate it in the event of a massive fire, a whole lot better than they can in a 22 story space 30 feet from the school. At present that larger facility is on a two-way street, not on a one way street which serves as the transverse to cross from East to West which sits on normal days in traffic congestion from the park onward. This is no service to seniors, and it is a disservice to the community, who along with every UWS politician, nearby schools, and churches opposed this project! The only one for whom this is a service, is Mr. Chetrit the developer of the projected massive luxury condominium complex on the site where JHL sits now, and JHL who will pocket $35 million from doing the deal. A deal by the way, which was originally planned for the other side of 100 St. til the Police and Fire Departments nixed it as it would interfere with the space they use for parking their vehicles and create too much congestion.

      I applaud the parents who have brought this suit for standing up for their children’s rights to a safe environment and good education-and who defend their right to live in a community which does not put those children, or the thousands of residents in such close proximity in unnecessary danger. We cannot predict the future, but I cannot imagine a good outcome from this ill-conceived venture.

      • Jay says:

        The only misinformation being spread is from those like yourself.

        It’s funny that you aren’t concerned about the toxins coming from the cars in the parking lot. Those toxins are a lot more detrimental to the kids at the school.

    19. Beebee says:

      If I recall, the land where some of the buildings, that are now Columbus Square, were once parking lots for Parkwest Village. And somehow thre area “survived”. I would hazard there are a couple of kids that live right there.
      Something will surely be built in the location under discussion here. I think that senior housing is a good plan. How many of these naysayers have an aging parent or loved one? The existing facility on 106th is old and sad. It lacks everything.
      Our seniors deserve more.

    20. Wendy says:

      That seems a perfectly appropriate place to build the NH, although 20 stories seems a bit high. That is not a heavily residential street, like 106th is. I’ve been to the NH on 106th street many times, and traffic there is not bad at all. NIMBY – really! Your parents will all soon be living there,or perhaps you!. Be grateful they’ll have a nice place to go and you can go walk to visit them. We need more facilities for the elderly. I think the toxins argument is a smokescreen.

    21. Gerald Sider says:

      It is an important question to ask about the project itself, separate from the problems of its construction. It is a nightmare, at best. A narrow building of 20 or so stories makes it impossible to get the majority of the elderly out in case of a disaster — for example a fire, smoke, whatever. And on a daily basis it makes it difficult if not impossible for many residents to come down to the tiny garden space, which is roofed over by the upper floors of the building and so does not have sun, or to get out onto the sidewalk and the neighborhood which is crucial for the emotional health of most elderly. All this is possible on 106 Street. This project is about making money for JHL, not about the well-being of the elderly. That corporation has in the past received the lowest passing ratings for its facility in the Bronx.

    22. Bravo says:

      I do hope that these paretns’ suit will be thrown out and they will never be able to influence what’s built where and why. Kids go to schools and learn in much, much much less welcoming surroundings than Upper West Side in Manhattan. And I do hope that the children of these litigious parents learn to deal with (horror!) construction of a nursing home near their place of supposed learning. Jewish Home, build it. Now.

    23. Victoria says:

      I’m a neighbor to this project and i agree with this article with the parents suing.
      living here on 97th street for 27 yrs. and adding a nursing home plus the over crowdedness of buildings is enough. If you lived in this neighborhood you would understand the community of what we had to deal with the construction of the BUILDINGS built years ago on COLUMBUS CIRCLE .. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH !! Let UWS BREATHE .. I would Protest as well

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        Victoria is right, protesting overcrowding is not “NIMBY”. Could JHL have built a smaller nursing home on the site?

    24. Sharon says:

      I lived in Columbus Square last year. I’m not a senior citizen and not a parent, but the area is overcrowded. Seeing that Columbus Square is owned by the same people proposing the senior home, I am sure the project will get pushed through because they don’t want their elderly living up at 106 so close to the Frederick Douglass Houses (projects). The area is already stuffed full of people as is the rest of the upper west side – why bother continuing to build housing in already populated areas? I hear the Bronx has some space.

    25. drg says:

      Heres a point no one has brought up.

      What about all those displaced cars!!! They have probably been parking there for years. What now!! Will they be homeless and have to park on the street? What if they cant afford the higher rates in local garages? Will they be forced to go to the outer boroughs? The developers should surely be forced to provide some replacement affordable parking.

    26. Jeremy says:

      With the money the city will spend to defend this frivolous lawsuit, we could have bought plastic bubbles for all those kids at the school.

      • jsc says:

        I think you and many other posters have mistaken PS 163 with PS199, 9, 87, 452 – schools that are in wealthy areas with wealthy parents. Clearly you don’t live in the area (or are not a parent to young children). PS 163 is an up and coming school, and very mixed from a socio-economic point of view. The school does not have much. And what it does have will disappear once the wealthy and middle class families – who have options and fund much of the extras through the PTA – leave due to the construction. The only kids there will be the poor kids, the project kids. I can’t imagine that you know how close construction will be to the school – the kids may lose access to their playground and thus all outdoor time for years. That’s OK? Windows closed on the hottest of days due to construction noise, dust, disturbance. And no a/c like the wealthier schools have. Of course, the welfare and education of children is nothing compared to the needs and wants of developers. Shame on you all.

        • Jeremy says:

          Jeez. I live right there. Like many other people in this thread, we’re well aware of what it’s like to live in this neighborhood, and how there’s a contingent that seems to try and impede greater benefits to protect their own pet interests.

          So, this school has the kid of big-firm attorney, and Orrick is suing all of us (not the developers, btw) in order to prevent an already-approved project from proceeding. It’s nutball lawsuit, filed at no expense to the plaintiffs that will cost the rest of us millions to reach a the foregone conclusion that the approved approvals have been approved.

          • Jsc says:

            Oh ok then. The families should just roll over and let it happen. The K classes in the trailers out back will just go a little deaf and a little sick for a few years. Development company did not even agree to any remediations. I’m glad they’re fighting and despite the odds, I wish them all success.

            • Soldier says:

              “Roll over”? How do these parents have more rights to dictate what isbuilt where than other citizens? They should worry more about their children growing up without the sense of enttitlement and accept being a part of the city. By the way, being practically next door to the Frederick Douglas Houses does not bother them, guns and drugs being just fun.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              “Soldier” said:

              “How do these parents have more rights to dictate what is built where than other citizens?”

              they don’t have MORE rights than other citizens. but they do have RIGHTS, which they are asserting.

              Soldier said:

              “By the way, being practically next door to the Frederick Douglas Houses does not bother them, guns and drugs being just fun.”

              there are many derogatory assumptions built into that statement. you are assuming that none of the parents and children suing LIVE in DOuglass Houses. And that parents and children who live in DOuglass Houses — which has a lot of green space and good access to playing fields and a school — do not have the right to take court action about their urban environment, like more wealthy parents do, routinely.

              You also are making vast generalizations about Douglass Houses. of course parents living nearby don’t like crime nor drugs, neither of which characterize the development, despite what some people seem to think.

    27. Norman A Ross says:

      The whole deal smelled from the beginning, when JHL transferred their zoning variation for their site on W. 106th St. to the nasty people who built the new buildings at Park West called Columbus Square. Seems to me that JHL made the deal before they got the zoning waiver and I’m wondering who profits from all that–certainly not those of us who live nearby. When the sponsors were just starting work on all those buildings their reps came to 392 CPW and told us they were going to spend “a million dollars on landscaping” behind the new buildings. Anyone who believed that at the time (and some people did) was a fool. When we were invited by the Community Planning Board to a discussion of the planned JHL building, we were treated to hearing a rep from JHL reciting her resume and telling us that all the rooms in the new building would have private toilets. I think it was a good place for her resume, along with the entire project.

    28. Independent says:

      You can barely get down that block of 97th Street now. Its the cross town artery and the traffic becomes a dead standstill at certain times.

      ~Rudie, March 26, 2015 at 11:05 am

      the additional traffic and ambulances from this particular development will flow from a narrow, already over-congested East-West thoroughfare into one of the most dangerous intersections of the city, which has seen numerous deaths and injuries over the last couple of years.

      ~Paul RL, March 27, 2015 at 1:11 pm

      Has anyone seen how many ambulettes are needed and parked on the wide and open 106th Street? 20 stories will require much more..in a very tight and busy Street. Has anyone seen the level of traffic on 97th St with traffic to a health center, four active parking garages, school buses to drop and stationed to pick up children, two supermarket deliveries locations, a daycare, and a farmer’s market every Friday? And let’s not forget the drivers exiting the Central Park transverse who don’t care that tney [sic] get backed up at a residential block and honk with no respect?

      ~Sonia G., March 27, 2015 at 5:49 pm

      The above quotes express my own reaction to the JHL 97th street construction/relocation plan. I have yet to see these concerns addressed in any of the defenses of the project that I have seen.

      In addition to the serious hazards and nuisances that the increased traffic and congestion would presumably cause for those in the area (vehicles, pedestrians, residents, people who work in the area, and anyone else who spends time there), what about those who would reside in and be serviced by the proposed new facility? Wouldn’t it take ambulances longer to carry patients between the new facility and hospitals, etc.? Don’t the implications of this go without saying? I am surprised and not at all assuaged that I have yet to see anyone mention this concern specifically.

      Additional concerns that were noted in some of the comments are the claims that the proposed new facility would have fewer beds than the existing one and, more worrisome, would be more difficult to evacuate quickly and properly in the event of a fire or other emergency. These are compelling concerns that I have also yet to see addressed by any of the defenders of the project. Another argument that was made and that I also found compelling was that exposure to natural light and access to the outdoors for JHL residents would be considerably diminished in the planned new structure.

      Based on all that I have written above, I am rather strongly inclined toward opposing JHL’s planned construction of a new facility on W. 97th street. Nonetheless, I do not assume that anyone who takes the opposite position, i.e., who supports said plan, must have nefarious motivations. Or must be callous and indifferent to the welfare of the children who attend the public school that neighbors the planned construction site or their parents. From the comments in this and a number of other threads, however, one certainly gets the impression that more than a few of the individuals who post strong opinions on a given issue are rather quick to assume the worse about anyone who takes an opposing view or position.

      Must it be this way? Can’t people try to assume good faith? Assume, at least, that those who take an opposite view may merely be misinformed or misguided, as opposed to evil* or driven by evil motivations? Furthermore, when people do think someone is misinformed or misguided, is it really that difficult to remain polite and civil– to say nothing of substantive— while making your case? All too often, the tone of the posts here is downright nasty and ugly– gratuitously and childishly so. Besides for anything else, people seem blind to how this makes them look and how much it lessens their own credibility.

      (*Just to be clear: I certainly do believe that evil exists, in the form of ideologies as well as various other entities, including individuals. That would be quite apparent to anyone sufficiently familiar with my views. I am only saying that in discussions such as the present one, concerning topics such as the present one, a number of people here seem to be too quick to ascribe the worst possible motivations to those who take a position on an opposing side.)

    29. Roman says:

      Does anyone have a link to the lawsuit that the parents filed? I can’t seem to find anything about it on the internet. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    30. I am one of the PTA Co-Presidents at the school, and wanted to clear some things up.

      We filed the suit for one reason, and one reason alone – because we believe the mitigation that NYSDOH is requiring of JHL is deficient, both legally and practically.

      This deficiency is as a matter of law and will have real impacts on the health and safety of the children if the proposed project is allowed to go forward under the conditions set forth in the Findings Statement. If the mitigation measures that were required in the Findings Statement and EIS complied with the applicable legal standard, we would not have filed this suit. We would have no grounds if there weren’t actual failures to meet the legal standards. Our legal papers describe in detail the ways in which the mitigation measures are deficient.

      It is also worth noting that Mr. Nathanson from JHL states that he and NYSDOH are well positioned to defend against the litigation since the state environmental vetting process was “exhaustive and the project was approved after intense, extensive review.” However, what NYSDOH and JHL have never done to date is explain in substance the “intense, extensive review.”

      We have clearly explained directly to JHL that if they were to provide proper mitigation, we would gladly avoid a lawsuit. We even sat down with them multiple times hoping to find a solution, but they refused to offer mitigation that would help address the very significant and negative construction impacts.

      Just as one example of the LEGAL deficiencies in the plan, in our lawsuit we very clearly state how the mitigation measures that JHL has offered — individual window air conditioners and undefined noise attenuating windows — will actually aggravate the significant environmental harms on P.S. 163. Not only would the school have no access to fresh air, P.S. 163 would be forced into SUBSTANTIAL noncompliance with the New York City Building Code requirements for minimum access to fresh air.

      Far from being merely a matter of technical noncompliance, this would have tremendous potential health consequences, including the build-up of chemical vapors migrating from contaminated groundwater beneath the school and possibly increasing existing levels of PCB vapors in the school. Additionally, the teachers and staff of P.S. 163 would be given the impossible choice between minimal noise attenuation and no fresh air with closed windows, or fresh air with no noise attenuation with open windows.

      What is truly sad is that for a relatively small amount of money for proper mitigation, JHL could have ensured the safety and health of the P.S. 163 school children while also building their much needed state of the art facility. And, to be sure, P.S. 163 is not anti-construction or anti-JHL, but rather we simply want construction to be done safely and consistent with applicable law.

      • Jay says:

        What mitigation are you requesting?

        I’ve read the EIS and don’t see anything in it that seems out of place. What do you consider unlawful about it?

      • Jeremy says:

        With respect, you’re not being honest with WSR readers. From your website: “Our aim is to protect our school community by preventing the construction if possible.” and “Please call our elected officials to demand this construction project does not go forward.”

        If you’re not going to be forthright here, what confidence should we have that your claims have any legal merit? far from your claim that you are “not anti-construction or anti-JHL,” it appears that’s exactly what you’re calling for on your website.

        Perhaps if you could articulate the inexpensive remedy you’ve described above, we could all get on the same page.

        • Jeremy,

          I’d be happy to detail them, or anyone else interested, for you in person since you live in the neighborhood on any day that works for you. Coffee is on me. I bet, after a conversation, you’d see that we’re not entirely crazy here. Our lawyers would probably frown upon me divulging the entire legal case in a public before JHL has even had a chance to read and respond to them (their window is still open for a while). I’ll check and see what they say though.

          I can tell you this:
          We’ve been in active discussions for more than a year trying to come up with a solution that JHL and their land swap partner Chetrit could and would support, along with the city. We have met with DOE and SCA both with and without JHL. I have minutes and audio recordings to prove the assurances we were given and were then rescinded.

          They have rejected anything save for windows and AC units on the construction side of the school, whose installation, as I’ve previously stated, would reduce fresh air flow well below the Department of Buildings legal limits. They proposed this solution and put it in the EIS prior to verifying it with the SCA, something verified BY the SCA. This is but one of the deficiencies. The legal findings, when public, will detail the rest.

          • Jeremy says:

            Hi Josh. The claims you make against the city should be articulated in your brief. Obviously, sharing that document would not undermine your case at all.

            Candidly, we think it’s a little curious that you haven’t disclosed your filling, either with the press or on your website. My gut suggests that there’s something in there – possibly the remedy – that you’re not eager to see made public.

            You’ve got to understand how odd your seemingly central argument sounds: that it’s a bad thing that the developer is installing new air conditioners in previously non-air-conditioned classrooms. For most of us, that doesn’t merit a multimillion dollar lawsuit against the state that taxpayers are going to have to fund.

            If you could just tell us what that inexpensive (but not implemented) remedy you described earlier is, I think that would help a lot.

            Thanks!

            • jsc says:

              A more detailed description of how WINDOW a/c instead of central a/c and unspecified noise-reducing windows is deficient is one the website:

              “Not only would the school have no access to fresh air, P.S. 163 would be forced into SUBSTANTIAL noncompliance with the New York City Building Code requirements for minimum access to fresh air.

              Far from being merely a matter of technical noncompliance, this would have tremendous potential health consequences, including the build-up of chemical vapors migrating from contaminated groundwater beneath the school and possibly increasing existing levels of PCB vapors in the school. Additionally, the teachers and staff of P.S. 163 would be given the impossible choice between minimal noise attenuation and no fresh air with closed windows, or fresh air with no noise attenuation with open windows.”

            • Jeremy says:

              *sry – claims against state, not city. Fairly unusual to hide a brief like this.

            • Jay says:

              Their website is full of incorrect assertions.

              Air conditioners would not be a violation of the housing code. Most of New York City would be in violation if that were the case.

              I don’t know where to begin with their chemical vapor and PCB claims…. clearly written by someone who doesn’t have the background to make those claims.

              The fact that they won’t tell what they are looking for in mitigation says a lot about their case.

            • Jay says:

              My guess is that this is a shakedown for a ‘donation’.

      • webot says:

        Them there is some scary words you got there – all designed to frightened the public.

        It’s a parking lot that is being replaced.
        Not a nuclear reactor.
        Hardly anything more dangerous then old oil seeped into into asphalt. If that is so dangerous, then heaven help us all for living amongst far worse.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        Josh, the PTA deserves “props”. What you have done is incredibly difficult.

        You’re doing exactly what a good PTA SHOULD be doing.

        • webot says:

          You are an anarchist and anything that smells like sticking it to the man.

          well, memo, luxury condo owner BB, YOU are th man.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            so if i understand you correctly, I spend all my time gleefully “sticking it to’ myself?

    31. Krista Kimba says:

      This is an EXCELLENT idea!!

      Some of these kids can maybe do some community service by visiting, drawing..or singing for the elderly people there. There can never be enough beds for the elderly and kids and animals visiting them!! They have earned some sense of peace towards their ends and getting “this far” in this insane world…they deserve it.

      As for construction..it’s temporary…and the toxins are NOTHING compared to what some people are experiencing by fracking damage. Some people don’t know what they have and complain about simple construction. Try living near the WTC area.

      FYI – you live in the city that is on an island with millions of other people. Think before you move here.

    32. Geto Boys says:

      Ethan’s boys are getting a good workout in this comments section.