DEMOCRATIC CLUB LAUNCHES EFFORT TO STOP MEGATOWER AT SYNAGOGUE SITE

ls synagogue

A Democratic club is exploring ways to oppose the construction of a tower that would be the largest on the Upper West Side. A developer is planning to construct a new luxury tower that could rise 55 stories at the former site of the Lincoln Square Synagogue on 69th street and Amsterdam Avenue. Since the details leaked out, it’s been treated as a fait accompli that the building will get built. In a recent op-ed, Council member Helen Rosenthal wrote that the building doesn’t have to go through a review process — regrettably, in her opinion.

“It will be the tallest building on the Upper West Side, and because the development is ‘as of right,’ there will be no process for community input and no required investment in the infrastructure of the neighborhood. That means that our schools, public transportation, traffic, and streets will continue to be overburdened.”

But the Democratic group plans to try to to find a way to derail the project. They’re meeting this week and sent out the following notice.

Join Park River Independent Democrats

Thursday, November 19th

from 6:30pm to 8:30pm

at Grace and St. Paul’s Church

at 123 West 71st Street

between Columbus Avenue and Broadway for a

Town Hall Meeting

to protest the building of a 600 foot tall luxury coop at the site of the former synagogue on 69th Street and Amsterdam Avenue
Some say, “Done Deal!” – PRID says, “Not So Fast!”

Professor Stuart Blumin
Professor Emeritus of American History at Cornell Universitywill speak about “elements of good urban design, shadows over Manhattan and what can be done to stop overdevelopment”
PRID – Park River Independent Democrats
PO Box 237020, Ansonia Station New York, NY 10023
Supported by The Committee for Environmentally Sound Development
NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 36 comments | permalink
    1. Sherman says:

      Give me a break. Part of the excitement of living in NYC is that it’s constantly changing, evolving and growing.

      If this space has unlimited air rights then the developer should be allowed to develop whatever the law allows.

      Right now there is an ugly and derelict abandoned synagogue in the spot. A new high rise will bring vibrancy to this stretch of Amsterdam.

      • Siddhartha says:

        Agreed that the excitement of NYC is it’s changing nature.

        However, NYC is also about beauty and elegance, which most of these 600 foot towers lack. It only brings ostentation.

        I’m all for new buildings, but it doesn’t need to be a pissing contest for tallest in the nabe.

      • Mark says:

        The fact that you think this building will bring vibrancy to Amsterdam is cute, but you’re entitled to your opinion. But bootstraps right?

    2. caitlin says:

      Does anyone know where the building’s trash would be situated?

      If it is to be situated on Amsterdam Avenue, then – given the size of the building – there will be lots of trash bags piled up and taking up space on the sidewalk – while lots of folks are trying to get by….

      The space is bounded on the other sides by another building, PS 199 and a Lincoln Towers driveway, so unless there is a plan for some sort of inner driveway…?

      There are quite a few new big buildings with similar issues – relatively small streetfront and as a result, on trash pick-up days, huge piles of building garbage essentially block the sidewalk. One such example downtown – there is no space to walk on Beekman Street on the days that the Gehry building puts out its trash.

      • caitlin says:

        should clarify…western portion of site is PS 199 yard/playground…

      • BicycleDeliveryToTheStars says:

        As long as they put a row of bicycle racks on the sidewalk outside for those in the delivery sector, and have fast elevators, I’m cool with it. Most of these new buildings (the whole mile of Trump towers on west end avenue, for example, are constantly serviced by bicycle delivery, and have no place for them to hitch up, and have policies that disallow the bikes to be brought inside the building. Of course there’s always some sign post, or temporary construction-related structure to illegally lock one’s bike to, but I’ve always found it disappointing and denigrating to see how the denizens and designers of high-end buildings rely on bicycle deliverymen to bring them dinner and then treat them as if they shouldn’t exist in their management policies. How hard would it be to show these hard-working folk a little consideration?

    3. robert says:

      What part of its an “as of right building” don’t these folks get !?!?!?!?
      You can hold meetings, gather, petitions etc all you want but it IS going to be built, they already have the needed permits!

    4. Sean says:

      Please film this meeting and post it on YouTube. It should be a “laff riot” as they used to say.

    5. Pedestrian says:

      Glad to see the Dems have woken up but they really need to focus on the Mayor’s new zoning proposal and his spot zoning extravaganzas or should I call it “developers grab bag” NYC has become under DeBlasio.

      Good luck with stopping this oversize and, if history is any teacher, ugly sun and air killer tower.

      Wonder what kind of tax abatments this monster will be enjoying?

    6. Jeremy says:

      For accuracy’s sake, I think it’s better to describe this as a project that “could” be the largest on the UWS, rather than “would.” It’s zoned for 600 feet, but 160 W 62 and 3 Lincoln Center are both built at 598 and 595 respectively, and may end up ultimately being taller.

      Yeah, Helen Rosenthal misstated the facts, but that’s sort of par for the course.

    7. Roberta Katz says:

      Please keep me informed. I cannot attend this meeting. I live in Lincoln Towers. This should be sent to all the managers of LT to disseminate to its residents via e-mail.
      Thank You

    8. Bonnie says:

      Hey, at the meeting see if there is any space for all the homeless who have literally set up bedrooms on every other block on the West Side.
      Dems that care about the building how about caring about the homeless!!!!

      • Claire says:

        Oh poor you, having to look at poor and destitute people living in the cold outside. You have it so hard, why don’t you stop complaining and show some compassion? Move to the East Side if you want to be callous toward your fellow man, we behave better than that on the Upper West Side. Sorry.

        • aj says:

          sure…. “poor and destitute”… give me a break. most are just being opportunistic and taking advantage of the affluent neighborhood. why not go live in rockland county in the forests? also, most homeless and beggers i see are nuisances. just yesterday i was walking down columbus and one was standing outside the old harrys burritos just screaming at the top of his lungs at anything and everything around him. there is a common group of beggars that MAY be homeless that set up in front of AMC Lincoln Center.. every time i pass by the smell of weed and seeing them smoking it in the public is pathetic. if they are so poor and homeless why are they spending it on cannabis? yes dems thinking they are morally superior should take care of that problem first before a tower being built…

          • ScooterStan says:

            Re: “why not go live in rockland county in the forests?”

            Because:
            (1) there really are no “tree forests” in Rockland County anymore, just ‘forests’ of ticky-tacky hi-ranches on quarter-acre lots;

            (2) the homeless would surely starve to death there, as (a) there are no “public areas” where they could panhandle, as the dozens of strip-malls are private property and the local polizia would quickly chase them off, AND (b) no card-carrying ‘slob-burbanite’ would dare be seen giving money to someone so unkempt, unwashed, and just different from the norm;

            (3) even the homeless should not have to spend their days in such a sterile, vapid, boring Land-of-the-Bland where the only entertainment is watching the obese pushing carts of fattening food from the supermarket to their leased cars.

    9. Susanne says:

      The footprint is far too small for a 600 ft tower. The trash will undoubtedly be cluttering up the sidwalk (like the trash from the Aire bldg) never mind parking or space for delivery bikes. Apart from being another eyesore, and making our overcrowded neighborhood even more so, it’s just not practical – it’s too small a space.

    10. Judy Kass says:

      I can’t come to the meeting. How can I help in another way?

      thanks

      Judy

      • Reynold says:

        You could try e-mailing the Park River Independent Democrats at prid.info@gmail.com.
        I also located this information on their office, though I did not verify:
        Address: 253 W 72nd St # 211A, New York, NY 10023
        Phone:(212) 362-7544

    11. james Roe says:

      The dead Synagogue is directly menacing all my building, the one on the left,my home of 39 years. This is insulting to a residential area, after the atrocious new bldg immediately south of this spot, which we call the “paper towel tubing”
      building recently opened, perhaps the most un-aesthetic bldg in the west-a title formerly held by the NY Cultural Center, rehabbed, thank the Heavens, @ Columbus Circle. PLEASE MOVE IT TO 6th Avenue!!!!!!!

    12. margaret David says:

      The Synagog is an attractive, modern building. Why is it being demolished? Was it sold by the Congregation? Did they agree with this mdgalithic building project? We do not need any more huge skyscrapers. I hope to join this fight. Best Regards, M. David

      • ScooterStan says:

        Welcome back!

        You must have been away, or you would KNOW that your “attractive” synagogue has been CLOSED for at least a year, as the congregation now occupies its new building a bit further down Amsterdam.

        BECAUSE your “attractive” synagogue is no longer occupied THERE IS NO ONE TO KEEP THE SIDEWALK FREE OF ICE/SNOW, making a trip to Trader Joe’s or Fairway ESPECIALLY HAZARDOUS for the mainly older residents of buildings south of that area.

        AND your “attractive synagogue” is definitely not-so-attractive, as its doors are covered with plywood, its gates are locked, and there are weeds growing through the cracks in its concrete.

    13. david zelman says:

      For those of you who feel that allowing a developer to build “as of right” is ok you’re just apathetic. It’s much easier.
      For those of you who feel that this building will bring shadows, noise, and traffic you’re right, but then again you aren’t willing to put the time in to stop it.
      Helen’s husband is a real estate developer and so there’s a reason to allow this, our local politicians don’t mind because they already got their tithe. (I wonder how much tax abatement’s the developers have received)?
      If we got together, we could “make a deal” that would result in the developer deciding that maybe a 55-60 story building isn’t a good idea, isn’t something that “fits into this neighborhood”. Helen knows how to do this, as does Gale, Linda, Scott, and Jerry but for them there’s no downside in shrugging their shoulders and saying Oh, that’s terrible but “as of right”
      While we’re on this, notice the difference between the two structures, the old synagogue and the new. The old synagogue was white, free, airy, inviting. The entry way mimicked a mother with open arms. The new synagogue is just the opposite, dark, cold, and uninviting.
      The Upper West Side was vibrant in that there were thinking, talking, listening, and interesting individuals living here. Now we have restaurants and bars. The conversations are different so they can build 55-60 story buildings with total disregard.

      • anon says:

        David,
        Doesn’t “as of right” mean that legally the developer can build as high as he wants? I didn’t think this was a matter of anyone thinking it’s OK but simply that it is legal. The developer wants to maximize his profit. It’s a simple economic matter for him. What can concerned citizens hope to accomplish at this point?

        • angeline says:

          Even though it’s as of right, the practicability of construction comes into play here. 50 story building so close to another building and very close to a school playground… We’ve had some lucky misses. Does no one remember the crane dangling over One57? This area is just as congested.

        • david zelman says:

          Yes, the developers “have the right” to build but we as the people who elect our local officials, the councilperson, the state assembly person, the boro president, have the right and, I believe the obligation, to hold them responsible for protecting the citizens living within their districts. But we don’t. Unfortunately these elected officials have learned that no matter what they do they get reelected. Think of it, for the past 50 years the same people have consistently vowed that “education is our #1 priority,” “affordable housing” “cost of drugs” “our neighborhoods” have all be their mantras and for 50 they’ve failed,yet they’ve been reelected. HOw can education be a priority when the allow a building to be built that will cause one year of schooling to be buffeted by noise, and pollution. HOw can they be concerned about our environment when they give developers the right to block streets, to hold hundreds of people back while they dump a load of concrete, while their workers put a cone on their car and don’t get ticketed.
          So yes they have the right to build, but we have the right to clean air, good schools, peace and quite. We don’t get what we have the right for but they do. Doesn’t seem fair.
          We, the citizens, have to realize that while we all agree that bullying is bad we’re living at a time when the bullies are winning. This needs to change.

    14. Melissa says:

      So the thousands of people who will be living/working here…I already see even MORE overcrowded schools. Longer lines at the grocery store. More sidewalk congestion.

      It’s a small neighborhood. Is it too much to ask that people don’t get crammed in here before there is appropriate infrastructure in place?

    15. Joel says:

      As of right? What about the rights of residents nearby? This neighborhood simply cannot support another mega tower and all of the residents. And there will no doubt be parking for these residents, further congesting this area of Amsterdam. What about the rights of the neighborhood. Why was this never allowed to be discussed? As far as adding vibrancy to the UWS, we don’t need more vibrancy!

    16. Sean says:

      This space must be turned into a Food Emporium, laundromat, and copy shoppe immediately. This is not what I signed up for when I moved here 40 years ago.

      • Kate says:

        I’d love a Food Emporium in that spot.

      • zeus says:

        You signed up 40 years ago?
        Well, well. well
        I never knew you have to sign up anything by moving to the UWS.
        I’m here longer than you. Seen the changes. Seen the city go up – go down.
        It’s on a downward trend now, what with comrade mayor BdB hands off the surging homeless population and the greed of builders, getting years of tax breaks, but hey, you know the drill.
        So you “signed” on something else.
        So sue city hall. I’m with you on this one.

    17. Thomas Newton says:

      The west side of Amsterdam Avenue between 65th and 69th Streets has already been the victim of two monster buildings that are not at all in keeping with the neighborhood. The most recently completed concrete eyesore, stretching between 67th to 69th, resembles an ugly waffle iron on its side and is already showing signs of deterioration and wear. Enough is enough! Stop destroying a vital area for the sake of greed.

    18. buster says:

      The biggest problem is that this new tower will literally cast a shadow over PS199. PS199 already is overcrowded and this tower will make the school population skyrocket. While it might be being built as of right, it (along with its neighboring new high rise rental buildings on the west side of Amsterdam) should immediately be zoned out of the PS199 school zone.

    19. Zeus says:

      Maybe the Democrats should think of replacing comrade mayor BdB in the next election.
      With him on the top of the ticket, they will lose the city and the power that comes with it.
      BdB has got to be the worse mayor since David Dinkins.
      Just look at the surging numbers of homeless people.
      A disgrace.
      And stop this nonsense over tall buildings.
      Uthey bring revenue and jobs, and as a part of the city you can not escape from.
      Want lower one So? Move to Riverdale.

      • 92nd street says:

        Agreed, so what if tall ugly out of place buildings gentrify NYC and will eventually cover our iconic skyline to make us just another lame city. It is happening now in almost every neighborhood. Oh well.

        • Jimbo says:

          Overcrowded schools???What a laugh–I went to Blessed Sacrament School on West 70 St back in the 50’s-60’s.We were taught by one little old nun.There were fifty five kids in each class.We all did fine for ourselves.The youth of today are mostly a bunch of spoiled brats just like most of their parents,