Responding to pressure from civic groups including Carnegie Hill Neighbors and FRIENDS, in addition to our elected officials Council Member Ben Kallos and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and the power of the press, the New York City Buildings Department has ordered a stop to all construction on the luxury condominium tower at 180 East 88th Street.
An article in Monday’s New York Times, “4-Foot-Wide Lot, Carved Out by Developers, Causes Big Stir in Manhattan,” highlights the issues, which involved the improper creation of a four foot wide lot in order to circumvent zoning and construct a taller building.
We will continue to hold the city accountable by speaking out against developments which threaten to diminish quality of life on the Upper East Side, and will keep you posted as this issue progresses.
See today’s article:
“Developer Ordered to Stop Work on Upper East Side Luxury Apartment Tower,” by J. David Goodman, New York Times, May 25, 2016
Read more, including past press coverage, on the FRIENDS here.
An article in Monday’s New York Times, “4-Foot-Wide Lot, Carved Out by Developers, Causes Big Stir in Manhattan,” highlights a development project of serious concern to FRIENDS and other neighborhood advocates.
Located on an L-shaped lot near the northwest corner of East 88th Street and Third Avenue, 180 East 88th Street is projected to be the tallest building north of 72nd Street, measuring up at 521 feet.
New information released by Council Member Ben Kallos in partnership with Carnegie Hill Neighbors raises questions about a zoning loophole exploited by the developer to unlock additional height for the building.
Through the creation of a tiny, unbuildable lot only 4′ deep and 22′ wide, the developer circumvented the zoning law to allow for a taller building with just 48 luxury units. This differs from plans previously submitted for a Department of Buildings (DOB) determination which proposed a lot 30′ in depth.
“The Zoning Resolution exists to protect the public while guiding development. Deliberate lack of compliance with the process makes a farce of the Zoning Resolution and we urge City agencies to work together to ensure that interpretation of policy truly serves the public interest,” said Rachel Levy, Executive Director of FRIENDS in Council Member Kallos’ press release. “The creation of this four foot lot subsequent to DOB determination obscures the applicant’s intent and decreases much-needed, but sorely lacking, transparency in the development process.”
“The only thing this micro-lot is good for is two coffins, laid end to end, but the developer gets 60 extra feet on his building. How does that serve the public good?” questioned Franny Eberhart, President of FRIENDS.
Together with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Council Member Kallos has called for the DOB to re-open the determination. Join FRIENDS in opposition to such disingenuous zoning schemes which violate the spirit of our city’s zoning code.
What can YOU do?
– Voice your support! Direct your letters of support for the DOB to reopen the determination on 180 East 88th Street to:
Hon. Benjamin Kallos, City Council District 5 244 East 93rd Street New York, NY 10128 (212) 860-1950
On Saturday, April 30th, FRIENDS and the Historic Districts Council hosted “Yorkville: A Celebration of Home” at the lovely Bohemian National Hall, an individual New York City landmark. Held in the Hall’s stunning Grand Ballroom, Majda Kallab Whitaker of the Bohemian Benevolent & Literary Association provided a fascinating overview of the Hall’s history and careful restoration. The event was made possible in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with City Council Member Ben Kallos. This year, Yorkville was selected as one of the Historic District Council’s “Six to Celebrate” neighborhoods, and the event celebrated the melting pot of German, Czechoslovakian, Hungarian, Irish, and other immigrants who have shaped Yorkville into the vibrant neighborhood it is today. Over 125 friends from near and far gathered to listen, learn, and lunch!
The symposium featured an oral history panel, moderated by Alexandra Kelly of the New York Public Library, with panelists Thomas Pryor, Peter Walsh, Irene Mergl, and Edward Kasinec. Our wonderful panelists shared colorful stories of growing up in Yorkville and what makes the neighborhood special to them. The NYPL is currently conducting a series of oral history interviews as part of their Upper East Side Community Oral History Project, and the panel was recorded as part of this initiative. Other highlights included a demonstration by Vít Hořejš of the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre, where he showcased his 200 year old puppets that he discovered in the attic of Jan Hus Presbyterian Church on 74th Street. The final presentation was an architectural discussion by Gregory Dietrich of Gregory Dietrich Preservation Consulting and Elizabeth Fagan, Director of Preservation at FRIENDS. The talk highlighted some of Yorkville’s treasured buildings, including the wooden house at 412 East 85th Street. The wonderful afternoon concluded with a lunch sampling of some of Yorkville’s ethnic culinary traditions, including food from Schaller & Weber, Glaser’s Bake Shop, Grünauer Bistro, Patsy’s Pizzeria, and more!
Thanks to all who were involved and helped to make this event so special!