By Carol Tannenhauser
Monday, June 13, 2022
Partly cloudy. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 84 degrees.
Our calendar has lots of local events! (Click on the lady in the upper righthand corner.)
On Tuesday, June 14, at 11:30 AM, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) will hold a public hearing to decide whether West Park Presbyterian Church will be relieved of its landmark designation, allowing it to be sold to a developer with plans to demolish and replace the 19th-century church with a 19-story condominium. The congregation is claiming “hardship,” saying it cannot afford to pay for the upkeep or repairs the church requires. You can view its argument here.
UPDATE: Here is a link to the case against demolishing the church.
Join Tuesday’s Zoom meeting using the link below:
Or Dial in using the numbers below
646 558 8656 US (NY)
877 853 5257 US Toll-free
888 475 4499 US Toll-free
Webinar ID: 851 8338 0175
You can sign up to speak at the meeting here (closes at 7 AM on the day of the hearing.) Send written testimony to email@example.com (written testimony is accepted until 12 noon on the Monday before the Tuesday hearing/meeting.) The livestream will be available on LPC’s YouTube channel.
On Monday, June 27, the St. Agnes branch of the New York Public Library (Amsterdam Avenue at 81st Street) will close temporarily to facilitate floor replacement and repairs throughout the building. The branch is expected to reopen in September. (Thanks to Harriet Flehinger for the tip.) The Bloomingdale Library (100th between Columbus and Amsterdam) is also currently closed for repairs, but expected to reopen in July.
On Tuesday, July 5, alternate side parking will be fully restored throughout the five boroughs, Ny1 reported. The city partially suspended alternate parking in March 2020, but Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch said at a press conference, “The policy, which allowed drivers to move their vehicles once a week instead of twice, was a pandemic measure to let people stay inside that went on for far too long. It also largely sidelined the best clean streets tool in our arsenal: the mechanical broom,” she added, referring to a type of sanitation truck known as a ‘street sweeper.’”
Last Thursday, the state legislature passed bills extending Mayor Eric Adams’ control of city schools for two more years, and requiring the city to reduce the number of students in each classroom in the public school system. “The class size bill, proposed by Senator John Liu on Tuesday…would require kindergarten through third grade classes to be no larger than 20 students; fourth through eighth grade classes to be no larger than 23 students; and high school classes to be no larger than 25 students,” according to The New York Times. Mayor Adams, who opposes the bill, argued that “unless there is guaranteed funding attached to those mandates we will see cuts elsewhere in the system that would harm our most vulnerable students in our highest need communities.” Check out this analysis of the effects of class size in Chalkbeat.
Developer John Roe designed Charlotte of the Upper West Side, a nearly completed building on Columbus Avenue between 82nd and 83rd, with his three-year-old daughter in mind, Roe told Elle Decor. “The building was really named after Charlotte and her entire Generation Alpha. The hope is that by the time her generation become adults, there will be more of these types of groundbreaking sustainable buildings.” Roe said, “Charlotte was built according to one of the highest global standards in environmental design, those developed by the international Passive House Institute. The idea is to vastly reduce heating and cooling demand in buildings, resulting in greatly reduced energy use while providing quiet interiors with excellent thermal comfort, regardless of season or exposure.” The building’s namesake will be one of its first residents!
“I get a lot of grief from my friends and colleagues for living up here. My friends joke that I’m 28-going-on-70,” Lily Kaplan told the Times. “Most of her friends were either downtown or in Brooklyn, but she didn’t want to leave her neighborhood. She had been on the Upper West Side for nearly a decade; it was the first place she landed after arriving from Newton, Mass., to attend Barnard College — and she was attached.” And then there is the amazing apartment she found. “I knew I loved it, but it was so shocking to me that I found someplace that I felt this way about,” she said. “I thought this is too good to be true.” Click on the Times link to see the apartment.
That will not be the final decision on the building’s fate. Even if Landmarks denies the application to un-landmark the church, it’s still going to be falling down and $50 million short on repairs. Nothing will change that.
The church is not falling down. The necessary repairs are WAY less than $50 million; that is the developer’s spin. AFAIK, the church has not sought to sell air rights or gain grants from larger Presbyterian bodies. I am told that they rejected a purchase offer from the arts group. All this amounts to self-imposed hardship. Self-imposition of hardship disqualifies a hardship application. Listen to Michael Hiller’s testimony on the YouTube record of the hearing, coming in at 3:15.
Ah, Lily’s place is classic UWS charm. If you have to live in a studio, you could do a lot worse. Those chopped-up former townhouses can be surprisingly affordable (by NYC standards, of course!!!) if you’re willing to sacrifice amenities. And a real kitchen. But someone like her probably eats a lot of takeout, anyway.
(One of the odder things about Seinfeld is that those relatively young people were living like alte kockers on the UWS…)
Speaking as a next door neighbor, The Charlotte is deeply unwelcome as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been living next door to construction since December, 2019, which included noise, obstructed views, and SO MANY RATS before the sidewalk shed went down (I literally heard squeaking in the shed tunnel.) Fine, that’s just part of living in a city, but the $11M unit minimum price tag was really rubbing salt in the wound… disrupt quality of life for a bunch of rent stabilized locals with zero communication or compensation, then bring in six obscenely wealthy families. Wheee. I wish the city could stand up to developers like this but I know that’s not how the world works.
The Charlotte looks lovely and it’s nice they took the scaffolding down. But my first thought when seeing the facade is that it’s a pigeon magnet. Looks like there are lots of places there that birds would like.
Click on what link to see the apartment?
Since this seems to be an article about several topics, including the UWS studio which I read about in the NYT on Saturday, I wanted to comment on the fact that Lily Kaplan went to Barnard. I, too, went to Barnard, graduated over 50 years ago, and am still in the neighborhood. My younger daughter also attended Barnard. Even though she lived in the dorms, college was 5 blocks up the street. Bottom line: It’s hard to leave..
West Park is at 86th and Amsterdam, not West End. The church which the falcons bred is St. Paul and St Andrew