OPPONENTS MOUNTING ZONING CHALLENGE TO NEW MEGA BUILDING: ‘WE HAVE A WINDOW’


Renderings of the new building from different angles from the development team.

By Carol Tannenhauser

Community activists and City Council lawyers are combing through hundreds of pages of decades-old legal documents, looking for problems with the zoning lot for the 668-foot building planned for 200 Amsterdam Avenue at 69th street. If they don’t find something and file a challenge with the Department of Buildings by May 15th, what will be the tallest building on the Upper West Side will continue to rise from its foundation, which is already being dug.

“They’re building!” said a woman at a meeting Wednesday night at Lincoln Square Synagogue, crowded with nearly 500 people hoping to halt the construction. Most had essentially the same questions as the woman. “Is it realistic to think we can stop them, and what can we do immediately?”


The crowd at last week’s meeting.

“It’s called a zoning challenge,” said George Janes, an urban planner who is working with the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development and Landmark West!, both longstanding nonprofits dedicated to preserving the historic buildings, character, and environment of the UWS.

“Any person can challenge any zoning approval as long as they do it based only on an error and within 45 days of the posting of the zoning approval on the DOB’s website,” Janes said. “They have 75 days to respond. I’ve been around for awhile and I’ve never seen a zoning lot quite this complicated. It was created in 1987 and subdivided at least two times since. Complicated is actually good when you’re trying to find a problem with something. We have a window, it is in progress, and we will be filing papers on May 15th.”


George Janes speaking at the meeting.

Council Member Helen Rosenthal arrived at the meeting from a forum on immigrant rights too late to address the crowd, but told WSR afterward that “the City Council has land-use lawyers and they have been working on this for a month.” Referring to Olive Freud, president of the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development, Rosenthal said, “Olive’s done a great job of bringing this to everyone’s attention. It was really Olive who brought in the planner [Janes], who figured out how they assembled the air rights. Now that he has pulled it all together, which was hard work because it was buried, we gave it to our lawyers and they’re scrubbing through it. We’re either going to submit an attachment to their challenge or submit our own. We’re also drafting legislation that says if anyone does this kind of thing, it has to be very public information, so no one can surprise us like this again.”


Olive Freud.

Janes explained to the crowd why the surprise was possible this time. “In New York City, we have this concept of ‘as-of-right’ development,” he said. “There’s no discretionary review required. You can all be very angry about this building, but if they can show it’s legal, they can build it. The building department is obligated to give them a building permit. The question is, did they really follow all the rules when they were subdividing the zoning lot they created in 1987? If not, and we can demonstrate an error, then the lot and the project have to be reconsidered.”


Renderings of the new building as presented by opponents at the meeting.

“Did David beat Goliath, I ask in this synagogue, even though I’m not wearing my kippah,” said Howard Yourow, a resident of West End Avenue and 80th Street. “You don’t have to live next door to a super-tall tower for it to have an effect on you. It has an impact on the light and air in the neighborhood automatically. It has an impact on the aesthetics of the neighborhood and the quality of life. We need a new bumper sticker, ‘As of right is wrong.’”

Kate Wood, president of Landmark West! said, “When behind-the-scenes deals take place over years and years and then suddenly produce an enormous tower that seems to come out of nowhere, that is a problem. City planners and policy makers, much less we in the community, are not in the driver’s seat in shaping our future. Developers are.”


Landmark West! sent out the image above, which they say shows how high the building will be as seen from a few blocks away.

Mel Wymore was on the Board of Landmark West!, before resigning to run against Rosenthal in the September Democratic primary for the City Council seat from District 6. He is working directly with Wood and Freud, offering help from his campaign staff to get the research and information they need. At the meeting, he charged the real estate industry with “co-opting our political system completely. At this point,” he said, “the UWS has seen its share of development and the pendulum has swung too far to favor big developers. We have to take that back.”

SJP Properties, which is teaming with Mitsui Fudosan America to build 200 Amsterdam is planning to build 283,000 square feet of residential space with a 3,000-square-foot medical office on the ground floor. The building would have 112 apartments, with the average apartment measuring 2,527 square feet.


Three photos of the site as of last week, taken by Stephen Harmon.

“These apartments will undoubtedly be condos, and future buyers will have access to a slew of upscale amenities,” New York YIMBY reported. “The sub cellars will hold ‘virtual golf,’ a yoga/stretching room, a gym, pool, sauna, heated lounge, and a salt room. The first and second floors will include stroller storage, conservatory, club room, social lounge, rehearsal room, dining, kid’s room, and a ‘tween lounge.’”

“He’s taking away our air and our sun and he’s leaving us in the shadows,” said Olive Freud, “for virtual golf.”

“He” is Steven Pozycki, founder and CEO of SJP Properties. When asked how he felt about the anxiety his proposed building is causing in the neighborhood and whether any affordable housing or community give-backs are included in the plan, his response through a spokesperson was, “The building is being built in full compliance with all zoning.”

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 93 comments | permalink
    1. John says:

      As a younger person with a family, I welcome more housing on the UWS, even if that means building vertically.

      This corner is surrounded by tall residential and commercial buildings. Will it stick out? Yes. But it’s not out of character and we’re not talking about leveling Brownstones. The benefits of going higher and adding more apartments far outweigh the benefits of going shorter, in my opinion.

      Unfortunately, the future residents of this building don’t have a voice because they don’t exist yet. All we have are a bunch of NIMBYs who have already secured their piece of the UWS and will fight tooth and nail to box anyone else out.

      • Erica says:

        That’s going to be a luxury building. Creating more housing for whom??

        • Paul RL says:

          For the people who will buy the condos and live there, that’s who.

          • Mark says:

            Wealthy people Paul

          • JamesL says:

            For more Chinese investors that is whom.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            so you are saying there is a shortage of high end luxury housing in NYC? of course there isn’t. there is a shortage of AFFORDABLE housing.

            what about the impact on the 500 existing community members who showed up at this meeting, and the many thousands more they represent?

            • Paul RL says:

              @Bruce, where in my comment did I say there was a shortage of high end luxury condos in NYC?

              @Mark, yes wealthy people in this case. As I’m sure you’ve gathered, I believe that affluent residents have a positive effect on neighborhoods, as presumably they will be spend their money local businesses, pay taxes, and “create” jobs for doormen, handymen, porters, etc. within the buildings in which they live.

              @JamesL I don’t know if Chinese investors will be buying the condos. But an empty building does nothing to enhance the neighborhood, so I’m only in favor of this development of the buyers live there or rent their condos out.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              @PaulRl said:

              “@Bruce, where in my comment did I say there was a shortage of high end luxury condos in NYC?”

              I thought that was your point, based on the following dialog:

              @John started the dialog: “As a younger person with a family, I welcome more housing on the UWS, even if that means building vertically… The benefits of going higher and adding more apartments far outweigh the benefits of going shorter, in my opinion.”

              @Erica then said: “That’s going to be a luxury building. Creating more housing for whom?”

              @PaulRL replied: “For the people who will buy the condos and live there, that’s who.”

              So my understanding is that we were talking about some sort of housing shortage, and the “benefit” (to the community, not the individual) was “more housing.”

              if this is the issue at hand, i agree with Erica’s point. there is no shortage of luxury housing, on the UWS or in NYC as a whole. there IS a shortage of AFFORDABLE housing. Affordable housing is the community and societal benefit.

              this building adds a small amount of luxury housing. on the negative side are what it does to the existing thousands of community members — it lowers their quality of life in their neighborhood. obviously the residents of Lincoln Square believe this. i wouldn’t want that monstrosity next door.

            • Paul RL says:

              You are correct only with regard to the chronology of the thread. I read it a few times myself just to be sure, but I did not post anything about “a shortage of luxury high-end condos in NYC.” Neither did John, who simply welcomed more housing in the area. Erica did take a swipe at it for being a luxury building, but my response was to her question about for whom (or who?) the housing would be created. Was I wrong?

              By the way, I agree with your assessment of the building’s aesthetics. It’s fugly! I agree with you on something else as well, and that is if the majority of the apartments are used as pied-a-terres, it will not benefit the neighborhood as would a building with full-time residents.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              @PaulRl, why would John want “more housing” in the community unless there was a shortage? i don’t think it’s a public good to make the community more crowded, just on GP.

              i want to buy an orange. i go to the local fruit stand. if there are plenty of oranges on the shelf, i don’t say “we need more oranges.”

              now, i might say, “we need cheaper oranges” or “better oranges.”

              we need more affordable housing in NYC. as James points out below with a clear economic analysis, more ultra-luxury housing of this type has a negative economic impact, not a positive one, and makes it harder to build affordable housing, at least in this neighborhood.

        • Nathan says:

          Why does it matter? Are you saying you’re better than these people? That they don’t deserve a nice place to live because they have more means than you?

      • ScooterStan says:

        Re: “All we have are a bunch of NIMBYs who have already secured their piece of the UWS and will fight tooth and nail to box anyone else out”.

        THANK YOU, John, for daring to say what needs to be said and for daring to “defy the mob” who would rather have an ugly boarded-up construction site lasting for who-knows-how-long while the lawyers earn big-bucks for opposing progress.

        As for the NIMBY kvetch that ‘the building will block sunlight’:
        1) LOOK at the renderings!! Nearly half of the building tapers significantly, in classic NYC-style so that it does NOT ‘create shadows’, and also;

        2) that kvetch ‘it will block sunlight’ was used about the “super-talls” like 432 Park, OneFiftySeven W. 57th, and 220 Central Park South. Hmmm has anyone noticed ANY affect on our glorious Central Park ??

        Yes, 432 Park is ugly, but are any Central Park trees dying b/c of its shadow ??

        The answer is “NO!!”…but why should truth stand in the way of NIMBY’s eager to show how they can stop “the greedy developers”, without whom every building in this city would resemble a public school or a NYCHA building..

        • Nathan says:

          I think 432 Park is beautiful.

          • Chrigid says:

            I wouldn’t go so far as to say 432 Park is beautiful, but I’ve come to realize it makes the design of the other tall buildings in the skyline it look desperate.

        • Bella says:

          If you look at the renderings, the wide portion of the building is aligned north-south, which means it will fully block the light whenever the sun is in the east or west.

        • allie says:

          @ ScooterStan…… seems you’re ignoring the scientists and the EPA who’ve said that the 4 new 57th St buildings will actually change the entire ecosystem of the south end of the park…….GRADUALLY, not in the very few years those buildings have been there.
          Do you believe that climate change is a hoax too because (insert any hairbrained Republican and/or “christian” bullshit here)

      • 212808 says:

        This will not create any housing except for largely foreign 1%er investors who won’t even live there. Those are the only people who can afford these super skyscrapers. You are sorely naive.

      • allie says:

        John….You might welcome new housing, but have you considered the need to welcome another subway station, more supermarkets, another public school or 2 to accommodate the hundreds of additional residents??
        Will you still feel so hospitable when you have to stand in line at Trader Joe’s or Chase for twice as long or can’t get on your train in the morning? When your kids have to go to the Bronx because there’s no room for them in the school in the neighborhood?
        We will indeed fight tooth and nail to keep the neighborhood from getting so OVER developed that it becomes an unbearable place to live.
        It’s got nothing to do with pulling up the drawbridge because I already secured my piece of the UWS. I’m all for new development and for moving forward as a neighborhood. I’m only a NIMBY as far as being against idiotic ideas like this.
        Building vertically is a great idea in theory, but there are just so many people that can fit comfortably into one neighborhood. Cramming more people than the infrastructure can handle is infeasible and just plain foolish.

        • Upper West Siders have resisted resource upgrades to the community. When it was proposed to build replacement school buildings, the elected officials said no. When additional retail space was proposed again there was resistance and ineffective protectionist zoning was enacted.

          An additional 200 residents in a community of 200,000 will not cause the infrastructure to collapse. We need better long term planning rather than reacting to individual buildings being built.

    2. jezbel says:

      It’s true we need more affordable housing. But this building will not be the answer to that question. No new building ever is. There will be maybe a handful of middle income residences (MAYBE) and the rest will be an abomination. That building is an abomination to this neighborhood. It’ll certain cast additional shade across blocks & blocks of shorter apartment buildings in a City where light is a precious commodity. And it’s ugly too.

    3. bravo says:

      Landmark West is now a self-appointed arbiter of all things Upper West Side and purports to be “the voice of the people”. Well, it is neither. It can demand and throw tantrums because something is not to its liking. But guess what: people who will live in the new building are fellow humans and part of community, and Landmark West is not entitled to define what is and not a community. So builders will build, people will move in and out and life will continue long after the self-serving Landmark West is gone.

      • Jay says:

        They are clearly just a bunch of nimbys that just want to put up their own walls around the UWS.

        They are only a few loud people and I think no one is really concerned about their lawsuits in the long run.

        • Ground Control says:

          I thank God for Landmark West who have maintained a human scale for the people of the UWS who actually live and raise families and contribute to the soul of NYC because they have better than money. They have vision and humanity and integrity. Were it not for grass roots organizations like them there would be ugly, unaffordable towers eating the sunlight on every square inch of this community. These towers are vastly changing New York for the worst. There are now 315,000 condos in NY unlived in, just held as safety deposit boxes in the sky. When they start invading middle class neighborhoods, all living there can start packing. The reassessed tax burdens of your homes alone due to the proliferation of luxury condos will push out all but the very richest. It is a city in decline where towers replace communities, owner occupied businesses, a human scale infrastructure, and a place where in the potential future New Yorkers will want to live. Go ahead you RebNY’s-kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            thank you Ground Control. well said.

            what is your source for 315,000 unoccupied condos in nyc?

    4. B.B. says:

      Am sorry but it must be said; whenever one hears about this or that society bent on “preserving” a said area it almost always means keeping something or one they don’t want out.

      Years ago such local “preservation” efforts were code to keep out various minority groups (blacks, Asians, Latino/Hispanic, etc….) or maybe Catholic, Jewish, Irish, German… anyone that simply wouldn’t do.

      Irony is going by the picture above and reality the new structure at 200 Amsterdam is *NOT* that much higher than several surrounding buildings in area.

      Large parts of the UWS as indeed NYC are already “preserved” either as landmark/historical districts and or individual structures. To this add the huge amount of RS housing that is difficult to impossible to get around and you’ve got already places that haven’t “changed” in fifty or even one hundred years.

      Meanwhile NYC has some of the oldest housing stock in the United States *and* is in desperate need of more.

    5. Shahandeh Rosenblum says:

      does anyone know how I can contact the lawyers? I might be able to help as an environmental analyst.

    6. EGF says:

      So if the building was half as tall, or AS tall as the rest of the surrounding buildings nobody would be saying a word about it? Come on people, whats really going on here?

      • Anon says:

        I don’t recall any outrage about the building with the concrete Xs at Amsterdam and 68th before it went up. There has been some complaints about the ugly roof from Lincoln Tower reassurance it’s completion. So, yes, if the building were 1/2 the height there wouldn’t be as much of an outcry.

      • Carlos says:

        That is how I feel. I don’t have a big problem with tall buildings, particularly in that area where there are already plenty of tall buildings. But this one seems much taller than anything else around it. If they scaled it back 20%, I would be fine with it.

        At the same time, for all of those who are so concerned with affordable housing and taking care of the poor, there are a lot better ways to spend your time than kvetching and protesting.

    7. Nathan says:

      Looks good, keep building.

    8. Mary says:

      If this building were a housing project or designed specifically with poorer people in mind, most of the supporters of this building would be up in arms. But since it’s a bunch of transient wealthy folks who will be the ones coming in all of a sudden it’s a travesty to be against this for one reason or another.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        well said.

      • Jay says:

        Nope. I would be supportive of anything that takes an unused plot of land and creates new housing or business for the neighborhood.

        Most people in this neighborhood understand that the neighborhood has been adapting to change since people first started to live here. It’s people who refuse to allow change is what’s holding this neighborhood back.

    9. Paul says:

      This building, with its full height and 50+ floors, has been openly discussed for about a decade — since the Synagogue made the deal with the developer.

      And, on a superblock with 10 other buildings and about 3,000 units of housing the addition of 115 units is not going to cause “overcrowding.”

      For 50 years retail business on Amsterdam between 66 St and 70 St has been a disaster. Stores turn over constantly and some storefronts have been empty for years – this long predates the current retail recession. The Avenue needs more life, not less.

      • UWS Lifer says:

        “This building, with its full height and 50+ floors, has been openly discussed for about a decade — since the Synagogue made the deal with the developer.” Not so! The development rights derived from the synagogue site by itself allowed for a much smaller building. But the developer has absorbed additional development rights from the adjacent grounds of Lincoln Towers that no one even knew existed. It’s that legerdemain that has produced this grotesquery.

    10. Sprinkles says:

      What the hell is a salt room?

    11. GG says:

      Can’t foreign billionaires launder their ill-gotten fortunes somewhere else?

      Kidding!!! I love this building and I think it adds to the character and economics of the city in many positive ways. Welcome to our soon to be neighbors.

      And to those who say “it provides apts, but to WHO?”….would you rather them build a homeless shelter or more public housing (Amsterdam Houses around the corner)?? I got news for you, new construction is always going to be high end. People don’t build garbage. And why should people that can’t afford it get new construction while most of are happy to live in our crappy old 5th floor walk ups with the rats?

    12. Jane says:

      A building this enormous will only have 112 apartments? What possible benefit will it have for the neighborhood? Even Lincoln Towers, ugly as they are, provide actual housing.

    13. Sherman says:

      I live right near 69th & Amsterdam and I’m 100% in favor of this building.

      All these boneheads who are complaining about this tower are likely the same crowd who complains about housing affordability on the UWS and how small businesses can’t survive on the UWS.

      Guess what – construction will increase the supply of housing. An increase in housing supply will lower housing prices.

      Guess what – more people moving to the neighborhood will be good for small businesses.

      New development and construction is what makes living in Manhattan exciting. The neighborhood has changed quite dramatically and for the better since I moved here in 2000.

      • allie says:

        @ Sherman……it’s a shame you didn’t live here in the 60s and 70s when this neighborhood was hip and cool, as opposed to the antiseptic, looks-like-everywhere-else snoozefest it’s become.
        Please also read my reply to John above.
        Mr. Peabody would be very unhappy with you!

        • Sherman says:

          Don’t tell me how great the UWS was in the 1960s and 1970s.

          It was a liberal dystopian hellhole back then. The UWS was a frightening place. Zombies roamed wild through the streets. People were killing each other and eating their flesh. Residents rode through the neighborhood in armored tanks for safety.

          I prefer the pricy and sanitized UWS of today to the past.

      • James says:

        Sherman,
        Your statement that more housing will reduce cost of housing in incorrect. Based on the demand elasticity, if supply of new housing has the impact of increasing demand, then prices will not go down. If this building makes UWS more attractive to wealthy-people, costs could increase overall.

        Only if all housing were of equal value, your statement would be accurate. But if the demand for this building are folks who would not otherwise be shopping for housing in the UWS, there will be no impact. In other words, is the same person who is going to inhabit this building currently in the poor of tenants and owners of the current UWS housing-stock? I would think not, to be frank.

        More generally, the economic analysis that says taller neighborhoods will reduce housing costs is also incorrect. If the same lot were to be allowed to hold larger buildings, this will increase the value of the lot. This will in-turn result in higher costs for owners of land to acquire it. These costs will be passed on to tenants. In the long-term costs will not go down.

        When lots are allowed to hold taller buildings, the only winner is the owner of the lot at the time the height increases. This is why Developers acquire land, re-develop it, and sell it.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          hurrah!!! someone who knows basic housing and land economics.

          thank you, James.

      • Via Ventana says:

        Honestly, you must be kidding. Right?

    14. Paul RL says:

      How cute! Upper West Siders again trying to preserve some sort of phantom character that left our neighborhood a long time ago. I’ve got news for you, my friends – if we don’t make a concerted effort to reinvent ourselves and attract new residents and amenities like other neighborhoods have done, we will wither like an October flower. It’s time to stop behaving like a crotchety old man and join the rest of our vibrant city.

    15. John says:

      Rich Folks need somewhere to live otherwise they would be living at Trump Towers.

    16. Dr. Cary Goodman says:

      Isn’t it hypocritical of Helen Rosenthal to talk about the need for, “very public information” concerning over-development? She is the one who steered tens of millions of dollars to the museum of natural history’s proposed expansion without one public meeting or community board hearing.

      • GG says:

        Hi Doctor,

        Again with the museum?? Do you find a way to work that in to every single conversation you have??

        We LOVE the museum and can’t wait for the expansion to bring our families and have students from all over the city and the world come to visit our beautiful neighborhood. Thanks.

    17. West88 says:

      I’m totally for this building. NYC can’t grow unless you go vertical. It’s the natural progression of population growth.

      People hate change. Continue to fight, it’s your right (although I’d suggest using your voice for something substantial like human rights, civil rights, etc. rather than an inanimate object). Just don’t get mad when the world moves forward.

    18. UWS40 says:

      How long have any of you lived in the now “Upper Westside?”

      Housing and development has changed drastically since it was just the “Westside.”

      Politicians and Landmarks have manipulated the area for decades. The Koch era started the closed meeting and agreements between politicians, landmarks and developers.

      It’s a losing battle folks, I know.

      Tried fighting the powers that be and guess what! Lost a window and the right to air and sun, which is granted to the occupants of new buildings.

      To those of you fighting. You have no rights.

      • GG says:

        Now this guy gets it. Just take a deep breath and give in.

        Resistance is futile!!:)

        In all seriousness though, there are many more important things to worry about than trying to control other peoples property in the era of Trump, Sessions, Devos & Co. (sounds like the law firm from my nightmares)

    19. William H Raudenbush says:

      The existing zoning regulations need to be reformed to comport with the spirit of the laws as they were written.

      Taking advantage of bulkhead and a manipulation of F.A.R. (floor area ratio) this building should rightfully be much shorter and be in line with the rest of the neighborhood. I certainly don’t begrudge developers for using lawyers to run circles around those at the Department of Buildings with regards to this Michelangelo-level zoning job (see Craine’s article about this.) The bottom line is if there was not a manipulation of the stated intent of the zoning laws, this building would be several hundred feet shorter and there wouldn’t be such a kerfuffle. I’d like to know the CONCRETE proposals of our council candidates in regards to how we move forward with progress while also making sure the wealthy aren’t the only ones who are entitled to sunlight in our fair city. PS, I was one of the people who spoke at the meeting.

      • Transfer of air rights allows this type of high rise to be built as of right. Reactions to high rise buildings have only resulted in rezoning changes to make transfer of air rights slightly more difficult. The action against Extel in 2007 resulted in a small section of the UWS that had height limitations. Tall buildings with air rights transfer could still be built, less in the district but unrestricted across the street.

    20. Catherine says:

      There is already a glut of building right now on the UWS along Broadway in the 80’s and high 70’s and more. Adding this many more apartments to the growing inventory makes no sense – why developers never see this always amazes me. The Park Belvedere which stands on W79th/Columbus still remains 1 of the ugliest buildings ever built on UWS and sticks out like a sore thumb. Let’s hope this can be stopped before we add another non-descript unappealing blight to our neighborhood.

      • B.B. says:

        Hey, don’t blame The Park Belvedere on anyone but NYC and its zoning restrictions/land use rules.

        That corner is surely zoned R10A, which means “tower on base”. See: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/planning/zoning/districts-tools/r10.page

        While there are ways to gussie up such architecture, basically things are what they are.

        If you notice most anything built on a wide avenue since the 1970’s is “tower and base”. Largest to my mind is 301 West 57th at corner of 8th avenue.

    21. UWS40 says:

      And no group does the “deal” better Community Board 7.

    22. Joy says:

      What hypocrisy that only two blocks away, residents of “Landmarked” districts cannot even change a window design without going through a rigorous vetting process, but this monstrosity is allowed….

    23. Concerned and proud public school parent says:

      Has anyone spoken about the potential increase in elementary school enrollment and an already overcrowded District 3? What measures are being required of this buildings developers toensure the addition of their high rise doesn’t further tax already strapped public school resources? Many may assume thos children would go to private school based on their families means, however with District 3 having the strongest public school base in Manhattan, many may opt for public school…where does that leave existing families whose kids already have 32 kids in a class?

    24. Anonymous says:

      Gee – Helen Rosenthal told me several times last year that 200 Amsterdam was a done deal; that there was nothing anyone could do and to drop it. Funny how political pressure in her re-election year changed her mind. Another phony we need to push out of office!

    25. jezbel says:

      The Landmarks committee has fought for years to keep the integrity and the “feel” of our Upper West Side so that it doesn’t look like mid-town or worse. It’s a noble job and I appreciate what they do. I don’t want high rises on every block. We’d become just a nameless faceless part of NYC, an impersonal mess. This part of town has a feel, a vibe which needs to stay close to the way it has always felt – more like a neighborhood. This building will bring more cars, more traffic, more bicycles, more foot traffic, more strollers, to an already crowded part of town. No to more 50 story highrise buildings.

      • Sean says:

        It’s below W72. This really is Lincoln Square these days.
        Tall buildings are expected. The real. UWS is further north.

      • UWS40 says:

        The Upper Westside lost its “vibe” in the early 1980s.

        You haven’t been in the neighborhood that long. Right!

    26. JW says:

      As someone who lives next door at 212 Amsterdam/200 W. 70th and who’s apartment will look directly into this building (as my unit faces south) instead of the natural light I had before and side view of Amsterdam, I am against this.

    27. ellen zaroff says:

      Would love to know what to do to contribute to the rejection of this building. One would think a neighborhood would be able to control it’s own feel to a degree.

      • Via Ventana says:

        I suppose that the former (50-60 years ago) residents of what is now Lincoln Center, Lincoln Towers, or any of the 60s and later-era buildings on the upper west side might say the same. If they did, Ms Zaroff, about your building, what would you say? At what point to residents get to say, “Enough!”? At the point they are settled into their apartments?

      • Via Ventana says:

        I suppose that the former (50-60 years ago) residents of what is now Lincoln Center, Lincoln Towers, or any of the 60s and later-era buildings on the upper west side might say the same. If they did, Ms Zaroff, about your building, what would you say? At what point do residents get to say, “Enough!”? At the point they are settled into their own apartments?

    28. Wendy says:

      Please, NO mo’ humongous & too tall : buldings for the very worldly wealthy. Also, W. 136th St. very busy; NOISY w doings at , maybe, 5 construction/remodeling sites. Stop immigration into Central Harlem until 2025 ? I’d like to have deported @ 2 million folk of my choice fr0m N.Y.C.. I’d rather be back with my surviving “talking” pet bird; than dozens of certain folk in my dialy lie — have prayed. I’ve complaints @ some of social work; & some of 10 gov’ts…..Shaloha.

    29. Via Ventana says:

      Of course, “If it’s legal, they can build it.” We need to be told that? The point is to make it NOT LEGAL. As of right must be changed. Gale Brewer, where are you? Isn’t land use your big thing?

      • As of right is not the problem, transfer of air rights is. The zoning code sets maximum allowable development by using Floor Area Ratio, street wall and setback requirements to mitigate high rise building effects on the community.

        Past performance has shown that Gale Brewer does not understand how to use zoning. The Enhanced Commercial District that targeted banks is a complete failure. It did not save mom and pops nor did it add any supermarkets to the district. Mel Wymore another proponent of the regulation uses it as a item on his resume. I don’t think we can rely on them to make effective change when they are resistant to market forces and have NIMBY attitudes.

      • Stephen says:

        Sadly, sensible zoning laws are out of control in this town. It’s not about maintaining the integrity or character of neighborhoods anymore. Those days seem to be gone.
        It’s become about wealthy developers and their cozy relationships with our elected officials.
        More important issues seem to matter more to those that benefit from these deals. Like attracting uber wealthy foreign investors having gorgeous Hudson River or Central Park views. Does this intruding projectile adversely effect the sight lines and visual integrity from INSIDE of Central Park…a designated U.S. National Historic Landmark?

        And what kind of civic public good will this architectural middle finger be offering? A splendid NYC Public Library? A meaningful public indoor atrium and seating space, perhaps?

    30. Gretchen says:

      Well, they can name this building The Sore Thumb (or maybe The Finger). Though with all the other skyscrapers now on Amsterdam, I’m not sure that it’s so out of place — though it’s sure to stick out.

    31. Jake Malloy says:

      Rent control laws were the worst thing to ever happen to this city.

    32. patrick says:

      I can’t think of a better place on the UWS for this tower to be built. It will be next to all the other tall buildings in an area that lacks the character that all the NIMBYs say they want to preserve.

    33. Chrigid says:

      This is not about housing or neighborhood. It is about real estate, pure and simple.

      I would love to see a study of how many paid-up but unoccupied apartments there are in New York.

    34. Only residents of the UWS are so bold to think they get to veto or approve every real estate project in the neighborhood. I have never heard of such a thing. Anywhere.

      Talk about Chutzpah..Crazy.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        the existence of public zoning policy means the city can veto or approve large numbers of real estate projects in every neighborhood, if not all of them. the city is made up of its residents. so of course residents of the UWS demand public input into construction that affects their lives.

        this is Local Democracy 101.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          … and any city anywhere in the world that has zoning laws will have similar processes, to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the level of local democracy.

          you might want to read a little Jane Jacobs.

    35. Troy says:

      Arguing against something just because it’s “the tallest north of midtown” or it offends your personal sensibilities is pathetic.

      You’re just as bad as the GOP using everything they can to derail Obamacare because it goes against their idealism.

    36. James says:

      Build build build! This will be good for the neighborhood!

    37. Stephen says:

      Here comes another unsightly projectile – solely designed for the benefit of real estate interests and the top 1% ultra wealthy, seeking drop dead views of the Hudson River and Central Park at the expense of the general public.
      Will the magnificent vistas from the iconic Central Park Mall and from iwithin the Sheep Meadow be adversely compromised by these interruptions and intrusions? What if an architectural structure actually hurts or undermines the uniquely intended purpose and mission of Central Park, an Official US Historic National Landmark?

      • Stephen says:

        To better understand the adverse ramifications by surrounding architecture that undermines the integrity of Central Park…

        Read:
        “Central Park, History and Design” (the professional papers of Frederick Law Olmsted,1853-1895
        -Published by C.P. Putnam’s Sons

        Also:
        Read about the “Greensward” Plan” …the winning 1858 design – and its intended purpose – of Central Park by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux (correctly pronounced as Vox, like lox!)

    38. MJ says:

      I am completely perplexed by the uproar. Where were you people when the school zones were being revamped to include this building and exclude buildings that had been in the school district forever?? This building is a done deal. It makes no contribution to the neighborhood other than the shadow it will cast over the school yard next door. Not one floor in the building was contributed to address the overcrowding in P.S. 199.

      This is a typical NY Real Estate Deal. They pay really good lawyers to make sure they can do as they please. So good luck on finding an “out” this late in the game.

    39. I assume this building is going to replace the former Lincoln Square synagogue…interesting to see the photo of members of that congregation meeting in protest against it. Why did they sell their lovely building to this particular developer in the first place? obviously, to fund construction if its gargantuan replacement nearby. were they allowed any input about the design of the new building? why didnt they or the community speak up at that time? can we see a photo if the originnal buulding to compare “before” and (potentially)”after?” as an ex-resident of the neighborhood, I protest this continuing uglification of the UWS!

    40. neighborhood_charm_is_lost says:

      The UWS used to be a neighborhood. While I was one of the first people who moved into Riverside Blvd when there were only 3 buildings, I worried that the area would get overly crowded as highrise upon highrise seemed to replace everything in the area. The thing that bothers me is that UWS is turning into the transient UES and the new influx of people don’t want the neighborhood feel. I’m not a NIMBY but people used to be nice in the neighborhood. Sad to see that go.

    41. uwsnewbie says:

      Personally, I am all for free market and building new housing, more development etc. But in this case, this isn’t housing. This is an asset for super wealthy to store their wealth in. These apartments will probably price starting at $5m (2.5k sft on average at $2k/sf on average). Who’s gonna buy them? Super rich, foreign oligarchs, etc. that’s who. It’s not going to be young families or professionals from the area. So, I don’t really give a shit if a bunch NIMBYs kill it. Cry me a river…