HELEN ROSENTHAL BOOED AT MEETING ON MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY EXPANSION

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Helen Rosenthal speaks to the crowd at a meeting on the Museum of Natural History’s expansion project.

Council member Helen Rosenthal was booed at a meeting about the Museum of Natural History on Tuesday night as audience members criticized her for supporting the museum’s expansion plans, according to people who organized and attended the meeting. The Town Hall meeting was held by the group Defenders of Teddy Roosevelt Park, which opposes the building construction, and it attracted about 350 people, said organizer Sig Gissler.

Rosenthal helped the museum secure $16 million in City Council funding for a new educational building it is planning to construct. The new building is expected to be built largely inside Teddy Roosevelt Park, which is adjacent to the museum. The design hasn’t been released so it’s not yet clear how much of the park it will take up. The diagram below shows the general area where the museum will be placed in red. We have more images and an explanation of the project here.

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Gissler, the leader of the Defenders of Teddy Roosevelt Park group, said that many of the speakers asked the museum to re-purpose existing space inside its current buildings instead of building a new structure.

amnh crowdLocals also expressed anger that local politicians — including Rosenthal and Borough President Gale Brewer — had pledged significant taxpayer contributions to the project before it was presented to the community.

“One area resident read a form email that he had received, I believe back in July, from Councilmember Helen Rosenthal where she stated her support of the AMNH expansion,” wrote neighborhood activist Joseph Bolanos, who attended the meeting. “That lit the fuse.”

“More people stepped up and heated up the indictments of elected officials and how they are supporting their donors in this issue and not their community constituents. The crowd was on fire and the applause was non-stop… In 17-plus years of community work, I’ve never seen an elected official slammed, in their/her presence, like I did last night.”

Rosenthal explained her position, noting that she wants to make sure the museum protects the green space, keeps the area accessible to people with mobility issues and doesn’t make traffic worse. In an email, her spokesperson wrote: “There will be several points when the community can be involved in the evolution of the construction design, including a community meeting held by the Museum, two Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) scoping meetings, and meetings held by Community Board 7. This is still very early in the process, and Helen looks forward to hearing more input from the community once we see the Museum’s plan.” Here’s a letter she wrote to the museum explaining her position.

A museum spokesman wrote that several museum officials attended the town hall to listen.

“Many of the issues raised were not new and the project team has been and will continue to consider them as they work on the conceptual design.”

“We understand the concern for Theodore Roosevelt Park and we share it. We do not propose this project casually.  The Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation will help meet a critical need in our society for more and deeper science education both in the formal school context and for all visitors and society at large.”

Gissler told us that the group may resort to demonstrations or lawsuits if necessary. “As far as Defenders are concerned, all options are on the table as we move forward.”

Photos by Joseph Bolanos.

NEWS | 102 comments | permalink
    1. Jeremy says:

      I think this Sig Gissler dude is going to be suffering over this thing, giving it cold stares out of his apartment window and fighting it every step of the way as it lurks right across the street. What a way to live.

      That said, I look forward to the demonstrations . . . as long as they don’t get in the way of the double-wide strollers.

    2. grandmasterbeta says:

      What a big deal about a tiny change. People can be such selfish jerks. Sure it’s a lovely dog walking park. But it’s right across the street from Central Park! The museum is also treasure in our city and expanding it is an investment that will pay dividends for many many years. It will benefit all those school kids and visitors who come to our museums, not just the small group of UWS dog walkers. I’m sure there will still be lovely benches for us all to sit on. People don’t like change. But NYC is all about change.

      • Harriet says:

        Agree completely. Only very selfish people would be against this. Central Park is a block away. No one can possibly say there is a shortage of parkland in this neighborhood.

        • S. Louie says:

          Unless you have a mobility issue! Central Park is too far and too big.

        • Margareta says:

          There is a shortage of parks in this city.
          Not a question of parks but of overdeveloping the few quiet spaces in the city. There is so much under developed space in the museum, just enter on the Columbus Avenue side on Museum.

      • Nj says:

        For those who have no caring or value for trees and oxygen this is a good idea. Most of us who love trees nature and a quiet place to sit and read or just stop and breath this is the importance of nature. This park is where my child took naps , ran around the trees with friends and just enjoyed the beauty of a little park. Most parks for kids are overcrowded, loud and not very nice. Central Park is the place my friend said we could go. Well that’s crowded too and very long blocks to walk to if all you can do is go one block. Why would this be selfish to keep a beautiful park? We don’t need the museum to be bigger. Period!!!

    3. Jeff says:

      Does the argument just boil down to “are you anti-science or anti-park-next-to-another-much-bigger-park?”

    4. boopsie says:

      The interior of the museum hasn’t had a good rethinking of space in sixty years or more. I have little doubt that space within the existing building could be found, ones uses the interior space more effectively.

      • The museum has made many changes to the interiors. Any plan for construction or redesign would be intolerable to the surrounding community. Adding floors to the existing buildings or demolition would require staging areas and sequencing plans that would require use of the park space. The exterior design would probably offend many who don’t like modern architecture.

    5. Spence Halperin says:

      Every park has a purpose. Theodore Roosevelt Park, particularly the area in question, has become the place for children to roam safely with their parents or nannies. Because of its easy access from Columbus Avenue, disabled people and the infirm elderly are better able to find a shady bench in the summer. It is a public space that has been created by the community in the sense that it fills a need and should be preserved.

      • Jeremy says:

        I dunno. I consider myself part of the community, and I feel a much closer connection to the iconic AMNH than this little plop of park inside a much bigger park, next to a giant park.

        I’m sorry if this addition impacts the views from the nice condos at 101 W 79th, but it’s NYC and dems da breaks.

      • anon says:

        I’ll a little ashamed to live in the same neighborhood as you (assuming you actually live on the UWS). I live on 81st, near Columbus and heartily applaud this new education/update endeavor. Have we really come to a place where we defraud our nation’s future (children) a great chance to better learn science so that some people have 100 benches to choose from rather than 95? Or so that some lazy dog owners can walk less and burn fewer calories? My goodness, the pearl-clutching and selfishness is strong on this one.

        • I couldnt agree more, Anon.!! 85th and Broadway checking in and I think you are right. UWS folks sure can be self-interested to a crazy degree. Nice to know there are some sane people here…

          • EricaC says:

            I actually agree that the building should go forward – and I agree with your conclusions (though I don’t see why you have to insult dog owners). I do think they should replace the dog run in another area. If you have a dog, there is a big difference between a dog run and Central Park. I don’t let my dogs off leash, for their protection and to avoid disturbing others. The dog runs are a place where they can run (and no matter how in-lazy I may be, I can’t run fast enough for them) and get their energy out. So Central Park is not interchangeable with a dog run, and I think they should replace the amenity.

            I also think that this park does serve a different function than Central Park. I think the point is that they seem to be keeping a good chunk of that – and it is ok to give up some of that to support this incredible institution.

            It does hurt to lose views you thought were protected, and I think sympathy is in order, but not a cancellation of the project.

            • 92nd street says:

              NYC needs more buildings and the best place to put them are in Parks. Trump wants to build in Central Park and why do we need Tompkins Park, Union Square is not far away!

              Lot’s of available real estate out there.

              Good work AMNH, lead the way!

              (Sarcasm)

        • Zelda says:

          “My goodness, the pearl-clutching and selfishness is strong on this one.”

          Apparently, so is the contempt for the elderly. “Pearl-clutching”?

      • nitpicker says:

        Please, Folks, take a look at the diagram showing the proposed footprint (outlined in red). VERY LITTLE PRECIOUS “PARKLAND” will be lost in this expansion of OUR world class – public – institution.
        Mostly, IT’S A DRIVEWAY.
        Don’t be deceived by the misrepresentations of a few disgruntled (cause-I-might-lose-my-Central-Park-views-over-the-AMNH-rooftops) but well situated residents posing as “Defenders of Teddy Roosevelt Park”. It is their own self interest, devoid of any concern for the public good, that is leading them into this charge.

    6. Carrie says:

      The proposed building is 218,000 SF. Not exactly a quick construction job. Get ready for YEARS of construction, noise, dust, traffic and street closures. More space=more visitors. Enjoy those additional bus fumes. I rent and this bothers me. If you own a place nearby and you like the valuation of your property, you should consider getting involved. My two cents.

      • Jeremy says:

        Nah. Unless Gig Sizzler is hammering 311 and DOB with constant complaints that delay and draw out the process, there’s no chance that exterior construction takes “years.”

        But, more importantly, the deadly “bus fumes” that this research center will bring will be nothing compared to the chemtrails and noise from the black helicopters! *That’s* where they get you, of course.

      • RK says:

        All those construction negatives accrue because normally there’s no room around a project for staging. But there’s plenty of parkland around the AMNH so I doubt there will be much of an impact on the street.

        Plus.. I hate construction as much as the next UWSer (especially my upstairs neigbor’s!!) but without construction there is no change.

    7. Romolo says:

      Simple solution – In exchange for the lost parkland, AMNH should be required to create new parkland within 5-10 blocks that are not part of the landmark district. Have them buy an equivalent-sized non-landmarked area, say along Bway or WEA, create and maintain a park, and when done they can build their extension. If anything, that will make them understand the value of the parkland they plan to use. My view would not be taken away as I don’t live withing sight of AMNH.And I don’t have a dog nor a double stroller. But if anyone wants to use a public park area to build on it they should be required, at a minimum, to create an alternative and equivalent park area nearby.

      That said, there is lots of space in between the AMNH buildings that could be used without destroying parkland and/or diminishing the historic outside facade of the existing building.

    8. Gretchen says:

      For once, I agree with Helen Rosenthal. Thank you for standing up to the NIMBYs!

    9. Joseph Bolanos says:

      First, I have no doubt that some of the posters here are probably Helen’s supporters and/or staff. That’s OK with me. It’s expected after the bruising that she took last night. And, yes, it WAS a bruising. Elected officials are supposed to represent their constituents, not their donors. (As a resident stated at the open mic)
      Secondly, I doubt that many comments here are made by people that were actually here last night (except a couple of HR staffers)
      Third, there are two types of UWSers nowadays. The ones that are opinionated without any community engagement or long time residency. These are “spectators” who lack any sense of the real Upper West Side. The character, the history and the strong sense of community. I know this well because I witness these types more often than not. Some how they’re Upper West Siders because the pay high rents, shop at Fairway and occasionally watch an “Import” at the Lincoln Plaza. Sorry, but you’re only UWSers by proximity, not spirit or pedigree.

      The other kind of UWSer is that individual…yes, INDIVIDUAL… that understands the unique character of the UWS not just from the historic architecture and movie locations, but from the social quilt that makes us fortunate, and sometimes privileged, to experience all those things that are unique to our area. Whether it’s Riverside Park, The Ansonia, Verdi Park…wherever…we “long timers” were here long before the gentrification plague of the 1980’s. And so, my friends, I only ask from the latecomers to”take a breath” and try to look beyond your Ikea lounge chair and appreciate, for once, the inherent value of those things that we call The Upper West Side. Some day, when you’re in Cold Spring with your 2.5 kids, and your Golden Retriever, you’ll be happy to come back, visit and appreciate the buildings…still untouched… that you once dismissed.
      As for Helen Rosenthal…she’s a very nice person. I’ve known her for over decade. This is why it’s so difficult for me to process her unfortunate choice of supporting AMNH over community.
      And because most or all of you weren’t at the meeting last night…you should know a few things:
      The planned entrance to the proposed building will be on Columbus Avenue between 77th&81st Streets. The buses, cars and other vehicles that will be dropping children and visitors alike will wreak havoc on Columbus Avenue traffic which, in turn, will create an unprecedented amount of noise and pollution.
      And another point that wasted was the fact that kids from other boroughs have to be bused in to experience the AMNH. A suggestion that was made was that the new Glider edifice might be better off installed in other boroughs where such cultural and educational entities are lacking. After all, why should anyone have to be bused out of their neighborhood to experience the wonders of history?
      No, friends, this is not so much about learning and expansion. It’s about the legacy of billionaire who has stretched his tentacles into the AMNH and NYHS among other cultural institutions for over decade. And during that process he has apparently seeded his influence on elected officials. And in a city where environment and sustainability are the mantra of the day, losing even the smallest patch of green for the whim of a tycoon’s remembrance is really quite hypocritical.
      And so you have it. Those that are spectators that don’t have a clue of the essence of the Upper West Side. And those that understand that it’s not change that they resent. That it’s change that is forever and eroding those small things that make our area so priceless. Really.

      • RK says:

        Lots of words but no real refutation of the underlying criticism of NIMBY “oh no, something’s changing!”. Other than the bus thing, which I admit is a bit concerning, but not so much to outweigh the value to our society and increased prestige to our neighborhood and city that this incredible institution brings. And by the way, they own that land.

      • RK says:

        And BTW, your characterization of the old-time UWSers who “get it” vs everyone else is offensive. This coming from someone who has lived on the UWS since 1978. Yes I resent the loss of La Fortuna, Morris Brothers, Menash, New Yorker Theater, etc and being replaced with chains and banks. But I also enjoy not getting mugged on Amsterdam Avenue any more. Everything changes.

        • Nathan says:

          Yeah, no kidding. I’m not real Upper West Sider because I’ve only lived in the neighborhood for 4 years?! Ok then. What an ass.

      • richard says:

        Joe, this is the most arrogant, asinine posting I’ve seen in a while. YOU and those who feel the same way as you are the problem. So I can only be a card carrying UWS’er if I cherish YOUR values – pardon my French, but Screw Off.
        I actually love the fact that the demographics of the neighborhood are changing and that it drives people like you crazy. Perhaps you can convince the folks at AMNH to create a diorama in the new addition to recreate life on the UWS as you recall – drug dealers and muggers included.
        The great thing about NYC is that it is constantly changing and recreating itself, do you really want to go back to the “good old days” when you were afraid to walk in many areas or take the subway after 10pm? Change is hard to accept for many people, but it’s a fact of life deal with it!

        • Jay says:

          I totally agree, richard.

          The folks that showed up to that meeting and booed are part of a very small percentage of the UWS. Their reasoning is simple… change is bad.

          We would be without a number of great cultural institutions if anyone listened to that simple-minded reasoning. Luckily, they are part of very small group that has zero vision.

        • Cyrus says:

          THIS +1000

          Bolanos is a blow hard

      • Jason says:

        What an arrogant rant. In sum, “if you accept change, you are not a true upper west sider”. First of all, your identity should come from who you are, not where you live. But putting that aside, us “newbies” who seek to raise our families on the UWS have just as much a right to seek amenities beneficial to our children (as this would be) as you do to maintain a dog park so that you can fraternize with other angry old timers talking about your dogs and the “destruction of character” that no doubt you whine about daily. We live here too, we want convenient access to walk-in health care, pharmacies, take-out, all those things that you likely decry. But we’re moving in, taking over, so get used to it.

        • cs says:

          Jason,
          Kind of curious about your comment…

          “But we’re moving in, taking over, so get used to it”

          Who is “we”? And “taking over”?
          What is that you mean?

      • Rodger Lodger says:

        “Real” UWSers? I’m here 2 1/2 years (was also here 1958-1981) and if you want to put me in the “don’t have proper values” category, I can only say in true UWS fashion: kersh mir en tuchas. You wouldn’t put down immigrants to the U.S.A. would you? Typical UWS self-enchanted liberal snot. This is not sarcasm, btw.

        • anon says:

          I’m sure he would put down anyone who puts down immigrants yet at the same time post this drivel. Classic UWS liberal hypocrisy and delusion.

      • anon says:

        hahaha. Are you a real person with critical thinking skills or a ageist and classist NIMBY-sponsored bot just posting nonsense? Hopefully the latter though I don’t doubt a few paranoid/old/hippy/delusional liberals are still hanging on to UWS apartments. Must be nice to have all day to stew and mutter and stomp around trying to prevent progress.

      • Steen says:

        You lost me at “wreak havoc.” You know what wreaks havoc: ISIS terrorizing your land so you need to uproot your family and flee your homeland. A new buidling with a new entrance will not wreak havoc. Honestly, the amount of hyperbole on this site and on the UWS in general is mind boggling.

      • Sean says:

        The revolution will not be televised. Will the real Upper Westsider please stand up.

    10. drg says:

      The utterly deluded elitism manifested by “non-spectator” UWSers is breathtaking in its arrogance and disrespect.

    11. nitpicker says:

      Uh oh. Another UWS/NIMBY turfwar?
      In this case, pity the poor NIMFYs. Those UWSers of any pedigree in coops overlooking AMNH. Especially who enjoy the privatized amenity of a dog run in their “Front Yard”, facing the Museum.
      Lord forbid these folks should have to trek to Central Park (no dog runs there) or all the way to Riverside Park – in poor weather – for puppy to get its exercise.
      Probably some of the same people who whined about the construction of the new Hadyn Planetarium, only to now bask in the glow of its orb at night as they’ve enjoyed their skyrocketing property values.
      Any child who has ever had the privilege of visiting AMNH can probably tell you the moment they first gasped in awe at its revelations.
      That would probably include most of the adult practitioners of the STEM world, including its Nobel prizewinners.
      But sure, why not a satellite campus, where “those people” already live? So’s not to inhale bus fumes?
      Shame on you.

    12. Christian says:

      Everybody involved in this conversation thinks they have the best interests of the neighborhood at heart. It’d be in the best interests of the neighborhood to be more tolerant of each other’s opinions, even as you work to change them with patience and kindness. Also, to hell with dogs.

    13. janice says:

      Perhaps a good solution might be to require a beautiful accessible green rooftop. I recently went to a rooftop concert at John Jay college and it was a wonderful community space which was well designed. It also is nice to look at from nearby apartments in the area, so neighbors might be happy to look at trees and grass.

    14. jsf says:

      I am appalled the news that Helen Rosenthal and Gail Brewer were booed by the group attending a meeting about the proposed new education bldg to be built at The Museum of Natural History.
      I, too, am unhappy that anything will be built on that tiny handkerchief of green aka Teddy Roosevelt Park. But booing two RARE city officials who actually pay attention to issues in our community! Oh Please!
      How about suggesting alternatives or alterations of the proposal, instead of behaving like ill-mannered adolescents?
      While this is on the table, has anyone looked at the crowded mess of carts and displays immediately opposite that teeny spot of grass. No one opposes that – and that really impinges on the tiny green! Anyone objecting to that intrusion to the peaceful atmosphere? And Mr. Gisler’s plan for demonstrations? That’s deplorable.

      • anonymous says:

        I’m in favor of the expansion and also thrilled Helen was booed as I find her and her “work” insufferable. Also, she wore lululemon running capris to the meeting? For some reason that is hilarious to me. Down with Helen Rosenthal. I hope she gets voted out the door at the first opportunity.

        • Mark says:

          Booing is what people do when they can’t actually use words to express thoughts that would relay an alternate position.

          • anon says:

            actually, as someone who has studied communication/language theory extensively I must tell you that you are incorrect – booing (and other non-word-based verbal behaviors) are absolutely adept at conveying a message. Of course for greatest impact, the booing should generally be followed by word-based messages that add specificity.

            • Mark says:

              No, booing conveys emotion. It doesn’t convey a message. A message requires content.
              Perhaps you need to study a bit harder.

            • Zelda says:

              Yes, booing conveys a message of disapproval. And quite clearly and unambiguously, at that.

            • Mark says:

              Ah to be so simple-minded to think that a primitive noise made by small children conveys an actual message…

        • Sean says:

          Her boots were nice.

        • Yugo says:

          “I find her [Council member Helen Rosenthal] and her “work” insufferable.”

          How so?

          I happen to be no fan of Rosenthal (or any of our local officeholders, for that matter) myself. But can’t you see how you lose credibility when you resort to insulting her dress?

    15. SR says:

      You missed the basic and fundamental point. It is that this project was approved before the “community” had a chance to say Yes or No. The reality is that we let our “representatives” get away with this type of behavior over and over. Any time taxes are earmarked for a project that also impacts public space, the community needs to be included. In this case, the horse has left the barn unfortunately.

      I, personally, have no interest in seeing another “educational” complex being built – but that’s only my opinion – if the majority of people vote for it – this is a democracy. Again, in this instance, there was no vote – why? because we’re in a plutocracy at the moment.

      For the sake of transparency: AMNH is a very very large building and to say there is NO interior space to be used is something that MUST be presented to the community – at least to justify their reasoning for using park space.

    16. Michal Simon says:

      Considering that there is not an architectural plan yet – not
      even an architectural sketch – a protest seems premature
      and detracts from the objectivity of the protestors.

      • drg says:

        We live in a republic, NOT a democracy. We, as individuals, do not get to vote directly on public issues, ie, museum plans, liquor licenses, landmarking,bike lanes, etc.

        Our ELECTED representatives do, theoretically after hearing public input…although they dont have to pay attention to it.

        If these decisions are disagreeable, one should attempt to vote out those unresponsive officials.

        Complaining incessantly on a public blog may make one feel better about the rightness of ones cause, but is ultimately non-productive

        • Zelda says:

          Democratic republic.

          “A republic, Madam, if you can keep it.”
          (Benjamin Franklin)

          “A Republic, Not an Empire.”
          (Patrick J. Buchanan)

        • Zelda says:

          “Complaining incessantly on a public blog may make one feel better about the rightness of ones cause, but is ultimately non-productive”

          Couldn’t the same be said about complaining on a public about (or even merely answering) those who complain on a public blog?

          “incessantly”? Isn’t that a bit of an exaggeration?

      • MC says:

        Design details are important but we already know that a 218,000 square foot building would extend deeply into the park and imperil about 10 trees 50-75 years old. That should be sufficient cause for serious concern.

    17. S. Louie says:

      Considering there is so much innefficient use of space inside the museum…I would say the $16 million should be put moved into affordable housing for the working class that was pushed out of NYC over the past decade or so…. You know….the people making under $50,000 BEFORE TAXES!!!

    18. Paul RL says:

      I wish my negative neighbors here would appreciate the fact that a hallowed institution like AMNH wishes to expand its presence on the UWS rather than leave or build elsewhere. Wake up – this will ultimately be a wonderful development and add to the educational and intellectual value and desirability of our neighborhood.

      • MJ says:

        I’ve taken my niece and nephew and many friends and their kids to the museum and it’s a wonderful experience. But the expansion does not need to come at the expense of our public park lands. I think there should be more communication between the museum and the community, because it is outrageous that they literally have taken PUBLIC PARK LAND from us without so much as a by your leave.

        They do NOT own the land. WE own the land. That is: YOU own the land. It’s unfathomable that you’d be willing to personally give up a piece of what amounts to your own land because a big corporation says they need more space. The public green spaces available in NY are so few already, it seems crazy to want to get rid of what little is left. It’s an oasis in our mad bustling city — and saying “Oh, but Central Park is right next door” also misses the point. It means unless you’re in CP, all you see are streets, cars and buildings. That actually matters for the creation of a genuine community — a meeting area, a place to interact with your neighbors, to sit and enjoy where you work and live. The area immediately around Teddy Roosevelt, aside from offering shade and a respite from our urban jungle, is also home to a bustling farmer’s market each weekend — so building that section out will impact that, too. They also plan to make this section a new entrance — does anyone hang out in front of the current entrances? No, of course not. It’s crowded with school groups and buses. It’s noisy. The side of the park they want to build on is quiet. It’s lovely. And it’s ours. The ANHM should NOT be allowed to just take it for themselves because they supposedly need more space. At least not without a say from the actual community it impacts.

        (Also: I like dogs, even though I’m a cat person and the dog run is great and should stay).

    19. MC says:

      Not everyone has easy access to Central Park because they are aged or disabled and have great difficulty walking. Teddy’s Park is their salvation. Further, Central Park is a teeming international destination. Teddy’s is intimate and tranquil. We need both kinds of parks in a city with far too little green space.

      • Mark says:

        It is surprising to hear that people want to give up green space and park areas for more building. I don’t get it, but I guess that is where many want the city to go. It’s consistent with the Bloomberg model of “more is better” when it comes to buildings.

        As for the dog run, I think that many people may not understand that dogs must be leashed after between 9am-9pm and so dog runs are some of the few places where dogs may run without being tethered to their owner. Whether you are a dog person or not, I hope that people can understand that allowing them off-leash is good for them.

      • Sean says:

        You got it. Central Park is a corporate funded theme park for tourists. All that’s missing is an admission fee.

        • Jeff Berger says:

          Right, lets go back to the non-corporate days when the park was dirty, filled with graffiti, full of muggers, the Ramble filled with gay sex parties and prostitutes, and the Great Lawn was a dust bowl.

    20. ASmith says:

      The basic principle of urban living is that parks are for everyone. The actions of this group are anything but selfish-they are trying to preserve parkland for everyone forever. That’s the way it is supposed to work. The museum is a fine institution but it does not have special rights to take away the public’s property for their personal project. Science education is vitally important but so is parkland. One should not trump the other.

      • Jeremy says:

        Nah – I think the horse is out of the barn on this one. Notwithstanding the nice “Defenders” website, and their adherence to the park-focused message points for a day or two, it’s quite clear that this is just a NIMBY group in Teddy clothing.

        Just look above, “Defenders” are already moving to talk about bus fumes, tourists, and dust. Joseph Bolanos thinks this is a manifestation of the young whippersnapper “latecomer” population with their dungarees and rock music, and that we should ship AMNH’s operations (an institution that has defined our neighborhood)out to the Bronx.

        Make no mistake – there is lots of selfishness on the side of those in 101 W 79 who don’t want this expansion. It’s been dressed up a little better than most NIMBY campaigns, but it’s fundamentally the same anti-progress agenda.

      • Zelda says:

        @ ASmith: One of the best comments in the thread. Kudos.

    21. lynn says:

      I don’t know how to start a new thread, so I’ll ask this question here and maybe someone can direct me to the right place. Is it true that The Children’s Museum is being relocated to lower Manhattan?

    22. janet Fried says:

      I do not wish Roosevelt Park to be made smaller in any way. We need the green spaces inorder to survive in rhis city.

    23. patricia says:

      Every one has a point of view on this, so why be “jerks” about it? Reading all the insults being thrown from either side is ridiculous. Continually amazed at the lack of “emotional maturity” in life and especially on the internet.

    24. Cato says:

      The Museum is “old” and therefore not in keeping with the philosophy of those who have moved to the Upper West Side and now want to change it to meet their own world-view.

      It’s time the Museum was torn down to make way for luxury condos. Perhaps some of the space can also be preserved as “park” (that is, keep some grass planted there) and even a dog-run for the designer-bred pets of the new wealthy residents. (Care should be taken to preserve the view of those in existing luxury condos, of course.)

      That would also provide plenty of right-of-way for double-wide strollers, too.

    25. lisa says:

      It is to be expected that there are differing opinions on this issue.

      But IMO the level of vitriol and pretty personal insults is shocking and concerning.

      To add to the opinions posted (and inferences about “demographics”), I would note that my kids, high school to college students, do not favor AMNH expansion. My kids like the park, the streetscape and the museum just as it is.

      • D.R. says:

        The vitriol is coming from those with businesses in the area who, of course, will benefit by the extra traffic that this addition will generate.

        • Yugo says:

          What about Bolanos’ incredible condescension, arrogance and “nativism”/xenophobia?

          • D.R. says:

            He clearly identifies himself. He clearly defines his campaign, and we understand who he is and what he represents.

            He doesn’t pose as one living up in that area when he actually doesn’t.

            • D.R. says:

              Moreover, Joe’s polemic is deficient in highly magniloquent remarks, such as “Screw Off” (richard says: October 8, 2015 at 8:57 am).

            • Jay says:

              Who exactly is posing about living on the UWS when they don’t? What evidence do you have?

              How do we know you aren’t typing away from a basement in Montana?

    26. Naro says:

      Why don’t they build on top of the present structure and preserve every bit of park

    27. Rob says:

      POLLUTE-TITIONS, like Rosenthal and Brewer before her, and CB7 for that matter, represent only the commercial interests. Sometimes they read the tea-leaves and gain constituents who overlook their sins.Helen’s arrogance was staggering.Our eyes should be wide open to the adversarial position to the public good our “representatives” will be on this issue.
      As to the dubious dissenters to this cause I have read here,why would it be necessary to cannibalize such a necessary green spot for a purported noble project. Where were these politicians when banks acting as glorified billboards were constructed on every corner of the UWS and other neighborhoods,destroying the economy and character of those areas in the process for gratuitous unsustainable expansion? -Cannibalize that before “repurposing” something useful.
      HELEN NEEDS TO BE REPURPOSED OUT OF OFFICE.

    28. Lucien says:

      The fact that the Museum of Natural History gets city tax dollars is the reason I never pay more than $1-$2 admission when I go there. Personally, I think the museum should go the route of the Smithsonian and have free admission for all.

      As far as museum expansion. This is New York, everywhere there is construction. I bet when the Dutch first settled they probably only had a wooden house up for a day before someone decided to expand it. At least having a museum expansion there will be better than a high priced condo that only the ultra-rich can afford or a building that features another drug store or bank. With a museum expansion the UWS will be safe in knowing that for the next 100 years that spot will just be a museum. As far as parks, Central Park is only a block away.

      Oy vey ist mir, there are a lot more things people should get Council member Helen Rosenthal to focus on. Increase in pedestrian fatalities and injuries, rising rents, decrease in small business ownership, and increase in crime.

    29. Glenn says:

      Wikipedia tells us that CURRENTLY the Museum of Natural History has 1,600,000 square feet of space; in the space of this contentiousness rant it is a fact noting.

      The proposed expansion is an increase of over 10%.

      It is normal and appropriate that new buildings, and new construction would go through an analysis of its environmental impact.

      I am an architect and do not live on the UWS however I have looked at the very limited information the museum has released.

      It doesn’t appear that they have really looked at all options including renovating some the incredible amount of existing space.

      In NYC real estate is a monster that continually consumes itself – with developers the primary culprits. Museums and other cultural institutions have a higher calling to be good citizens.

      • Yugo says:

        Glenn has raised what would appear to be valid points, worthy of consideration and discussion.

        Will anyone actually respond to them?