Image from Municipal Arts Society presentation.
By Brittany Loggins
The massive luxury apartment towers being built just South of Central Park continue to multiply, and Committee Board 7 is considering sending a message to policy-makers that they want development halted, at least temporarily. The board’s land use committee held a meeting on Tuesday night to discuss whether to support a resolution from Community Board 5 (located South of the park) to call for a moratorium on the development of tall towers.
The meeting opened with a brief overview of the proposed buildings, as well as some photos that had been prepared by the Municipal Arts Society.
Shadow studies have been conducted to determine the amount of land that the buildings’ shadows will cover at varying points throughout the day. These studies compelled Community Board 5 to unanimously vote for a moratorium that would place a temporary hold on the buildings’ development.
Among other points, Committee Board 5’s moratorium says, “The new mega-towers will cast significantly longer shadows over Central Park than were ever anticipated by the by the NYC zoning resolution.”
However, shadows are not the only concern.
The document continues by saying, “There is no analysis as to the impact of mega-tall buildings on the infrastructure of New York City, including transportation, sanitation, sewage, storm resilience, parks, emergency services, historic resources…”
Olive Freud, community member and head of the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development agrees. Freud filed a petition against the buildings in which she says, “It is time to rethink our zoning and the manipulation of air rights that allow this unprecedented mega-development to be built, meanwhile placing a moratorium on further construction.”
For now the commonly held opinion is that Committee Board 7 will support Board 5’s moratorium until more concrete regulations can become a topic of debate.
“That’s what is concerning people,” said Page Cowley, co-chairperson of the Land Use Committee. “This is a change that effects not only a green space, but a landmark.”
Who are the developers who are proposing to build the mega-towers? How have they gotten their plans approved? Who, exactly, are the people who signed any approvals for the towers? Then look to see how they were convinced to sign the approvals . . .
There are only a small handful of these greedy developers, led for sure by Gary Barnett of Extell.
You can read much more about him on this tracking site:
… and in this excellent piece by Paul Goldberger about a year ago:
Barnett is responsible for One57, and the soon-to-rise obscenity a block away named the Nordstrom Tower.
Does anyone seriously believe that Gary Barnett and his colleagues are shaking in their boots over anything CB 7 will or won’t say?
Barnett and Extell have already left their gross footprint on my part of the UWS with the Ariel East and West eyesores (between 99th-100th Streets on Broadway). These projects were apparently put through with virtually no community input. They were the direct result of Barnett’s greed combined with equal avarice on the parts of both John Catsimatidis, the corpulent Gristedes owner (whom many consider to be the the most dishonest grocer in all of NYC), and George Brandt, the retired rector of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church who signed away air rights while apparently feigning ignorance in the newsletter to his own parish after the deed was done.
I had a big chuckle some years back on the summer day when they started to demolish the already-crumbling Gristedes on the West side of Broadway and a bunch of my grey-haired activist neighbors showed up to march back and forth in protest.
The whole thing caught everyone by surprise. Especially amusing was the appearance by several politicians who had never-before showed their faces around here. One of them was Scott Stringer (in his three-piece dark July suit) boasting that he, single-handedly had stopped the development of the West Side Stadium and he would do the same with the Ariel buildings. A blast of hot air if there every was one. (Someone ask now-Comptroller Stringer where he stands on the mega-development of needle buildings now going up on that West Side rail yard!) Where were these pols when this project was being rubber-stamped?
Anyway, I’m digressing too much.
In my view, these needle (pencil… whatever you want to call them) buildings pose serious dangers besides the loss of sunlight in Central Park and elsewhere.
In case anyone forgot, it was Gary Barnett’s One57 where that crane dangled for many days after being hit by the high winds of Hurricane Sandy. West 57th was closed for about a week, if I remember correctly, inconveniencing thousands.
Don’t these architects and engineers realize the climate is changing? Suppose we’re hit by another derecho? That’s a non-rotating violent storm, and the naked, bark-free trees (in Riverside Park) stand as silent witness to the violence of the derecho that hit us a few years back and went on to fell hundreds of precious trees in Central Park.
What is the maximum wind force these towers are rated for? I, for one, will never go up in one of these building (not that I’ve been invited).
I’d like to know more about the approval process for any of these buildings? I think most of the projects were started under Bloomburg. But de Blasio doesn’t seem to be objecting. He supposedly gave his blessing to yet another monstrosity soon to start going up next to Grand Central, which will be the new headquarters for TD Bank and much higher than the Chrysler building.
Re: “…the Ariel East and West eyesores (between 99th-100th Streets on Broadway”
And exactly HOW have these two very-tall (NOT super-tall) buildings affected life in the surrounding neighborhood?
Do they prevent residents from going about their everyday lives?
Do they make people shudder, avert their eyes, and cross the street to avoid passing by??
Have they depressed real estate values in the surrounding area???
NO, NO, and NO! Sure, they seem a bit out-of-place, but how many really pay them much attention…except those permanently opposed to everything new.
Same can be said for the existing and proposed super-tall’s. Yes, they stand out… as they were meant to do. Unfortunately, OneFiftySeven’s architect has taste only in his mouth, but 432 Park is an elegant sleek limestone tower that evokes awe. And, hopefully, the Nordstrom Tower and the tower adjacent to MOMA and the S&L Tower on Vanderbilt will be architecturally fascinating, as some of the Hudson Yards towers and that amazing sail-tower on W. 57th are already.
This is NEW YORK CITY, not Cleveland! We are a world-class city and well-deserving of startling, even controversy-stirring world-class architecture.
And, as far as Developer-Greed…thank goodness! Imagine a city designed by municipal “architects”…the same hacks who have given us red-brick elementary schools and red-brick public housing projects.
WOW! Normally all we get from you is silly jokes and puns but look at how awesome your serious comments are….well said and I couldn’t agree more.
My grandmother used to say that there are some people that just aren’t happy unless they are complaining. Many of them seem to have found their way to this website. How about we focus on the greatness of this city and the blessing that we all share to be able to live in it?
And Scooter, you rock!!
Scooter – you do not rock
These hideous structures with zero style that litter generic trash in what was the most iconic city on the planet, but will become just another Dubai of tall ugly buildings. Is it so difficult to demand that these mega towers reflect the skyline of NYC.
The community boards that allowed these eyesores to be erected in the first place are as much to blame as the developers that could care less about the greatness of the City.
Nothing will be done. Within years the icons that define our City; Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, etc. will be no longer visible as more mega tall, zero style towers are erected all over the City. Accept it, the days of our greatness are numbered. While we are at it, lets get rid of boutiques, Mom and Pops, Art, Parks, and culture in general. Like these pathetic mega towers our future can be summed up in one word: Lame.
Hey WSR – did you get a sense about what type of construction they’d look to prohibit through the moratorium? You figure it’s just CPS?
Calling for the overall end to “tall towers” by CB7 seems a bit vague and very unrealistic.
Here’s the text of the moratorium: https://www.cb5.org/cb5/resolutions/may-2015/#may-2015
We’ll add a link in the piece too. WSR
Wow. It is geographically overbroad, but 600 feet is pretty tall, at least for residential.
I’d like to throw a question in related to buildings:
Is it legal for elite East Side buildings to post signs like the one I saw on a chrome stanchion, which read, in part, as follows:
“Do not stand underneath the awning as it blocks the entrance to the building.”
The sign is located at the curb on a wide cross street, six feet or so from the bus stop.
Is this not public space?
Stand where you want and ignore the audacious sign.
The sidewalk is indeed public space.
There are buildings that also have obnoxious “no parking” signs in front of the entry doors…..also illegal.
I heard that buildings with illegal “no parking” signs are subject to a fine.
With what City agency would I report the sign that I saw?
I’d like it removed, because I feel for those who, 5 days a week, wait there for a bus, under the hot sun, or snow and rain, and are too intimidated to go under the building-to-curb awning.
Stand where you want and don’t pay any attention to the sign. The sidewalk IS public property and the building has no authority to claim it as “theirs.”
The greatest insult to injury is that many of these apartments will remain empty much of the year, used as investment pied a terre for wealthy foreigners…
While the homeless remain on our sidewalks.
What has that got to do with this thread, seriously?!
You’ve never looked out the window on Broadway and seen the homeless sleeping in the medians and hurt thinking of all those empty buildings?
… and apparently Nelson is pretty proud of himself that he’s “never thought that.”
No. I have never thought that.
Furriners! And WEALTHY FURRINERS !!!
Buying super-expensive apartments to use as Pied-a-Tierres!
OY-VEY, there goes the entire city! We’re all doomed!!!
Just as doomed as London? Or Miami? Or any of the other world-class cities that attract the wealthy because of all that they (NYC, London, Miami) have to offer and because the buyers believe their money is no longer safe in their home countries?
And SO WHAT that these apartments go unused for a large part of the year! That only REDUCES the impact upon “…the infrastructure of New York City, including transportation, sanitation, sewage, …emergency services….” etc. that their antagonists use as an argument.
And SO WHAT that there MIGHT be pencil thin shadows in the park. The earth’s rotation makes the sun appear to move, and as the sun “moves” so do the shadows.
BUT, in this era of faux-populism, to have bona-fides as an upstanding card-carrying ‘Librul’ it is mandatory to complain about such things, to pretend that one is standing up for nature and bunny-wabbits when really all one is doing is KVETCHING about strangers with more wealth than oneself.
LOL, Stan, thanks for the laugh! Apparently most of these “NIMBY” commentators have never visited places like Hong Kong, Dublin, London or other modern metropolis where Old & New architecture lives in harmony. While I’m proud of my decision to make the UWS my home, I’m equally proud of the overall design diversity all over the city…from block to block and neighborhood to neighborhood.
Great. Now can we take down some of the ones already built? It used to be oyu sat in the theater at Shakespeare in the park and the only thing you saw was Belvedere Castle. Now you see the castle and this ugly, stubby, pencil shaped monstrosity. More to come?
I actually prefer the skyline to some silly (imho) Disney-esque looking castle. And why, in any supposed democracy, would a liberal wax poetic about a classic sign of royalty/the aristocracy? Seriously. If a skyline offends you, don’t look up and instead close your eyes and give thanks for how lucky you are to have the luxury of multiple free hours to stand in line for free tickets (or the luxury to afford to buy the paid seats).
Art and Culture is so silly Anon.
New York City should get rid of all of it, starting with Central Park, all the old magnificent architecture, Museums, Landmarks, all of it. That way the entire city can be your very tall unattractive buildings for the super rich. I suppose the only non-plus for these Developers is that they and their families will always be remembered by these pathetic structures. Let’s hope New York City’s sons do not revolt. They are unsettled.
New York needs to study how Tokyo handles this problem: people in the shadow of tall buildings are compensated by the builders for the number of hours of sunshine they will lose each year, making the cost of such buildings more expensive. People, parks, and infrastructure are all affected: we need to rethink these buildings, which are usually out of context and often ugly. We have not paid attention to the real costs to the city and the people.
How are the people in Tokyo compensated for selling their sunlight?
Are those who bow to monster-builders able to think beyond money?
How do future generations live under these done-deals?
These buildings are for rich people. You lose.
Why is this just being done now. It should have been done years ago when the permits for the buildings were beginning to be filed.
This is was in the news a few times over the past few years. I think the midtown community board took it up once before as well. So far, no change. Let’s hope this effort gains some traction. Already late in the game w 2 built and at least 2 more under construction.
The sweet smile of Central Park South now has those massive fangs changing the entire face of the city. What a shame…..
They are building most of those midtown tall buildings without parking. The parking fees will go up astronomically. Anyway these are said to be all money laundring projects for rich Asians.