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Buildings Department Halts Work on 180 East 88th Street

Friends of the Upper East Side - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 16:22
Picture2

Left: Developers of a 32-floor luxury tower got approval from the city to slice off a four foot-wide piece of the property behind the corner brick building, facing 88th Street. Right: Rendering of the new building along Third Avenue.

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.

Categories: Blogs, News

East 88th Street Tower: Zoning for New Heights Sinks to a New Low

Friends of the Upper East Side - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 15:07
Picture2

Left: Developers of a 32-floor luxury tower got approval from the city to slice off a four foot-wide piece of the property behind the corner brick building, facing 88th Street. Right: Rendering of the new building along Third Avenue.

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.

Lot Diagram

The area in red depicts the new, unusable 4 foot lot. Courtesy New York Times.

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?

– Read the DOB letter signed by Council Member Kallos and Borough President Brewer, and the press release

– 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

See a sample message here, and click here to send a message. 

 

Categories: Blogs, News

This Week's Chef's Table Menu: Week of May 23rd!

This week's daily hot lunch menu ($10) from our "chefs table" at Butterfield Market!
Categories: Blogs

The Man Who Knew Infinity

Upper East Side Theater - Sun, 05/22/2016 - 20:09
       Buried among the start of the summer "blockbuster" season is this gem of an Indie film, based on the true story of Indian Mathematician, Srinivasa  Ramanujan, the first Indian to be awarded a Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge.        Fans of "A Beautiful Mind" and "Good Will Hunting" will certainly appreciate a story centered around mathematics. But rest assured, you don't need be a math scholar to appreciate the moving and human story of this brilliant man. Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) plays Ramanujan, and once he leaves India for England in 1918, he begins a five year collaboration with the mathematician G. H. Hardy (played by Jeremy Irons).        The friendship that develops between the two men is the core of the story. The very human drama doesn't shy away from the racism and class struggles of the period. Mr. Ramanujan's life in England is far from easy but his early critics and scholarly snobs soon can't ignore his brilliant mind. Mr. Hardy and John Littlewood remain his biggest supporters and working together amass volumes of work that are still studied and applied in today's mathematics.          Mr, Patel and Mr. Irons have wonderful chemistry together and Mr. Patel is such a charming and engaging actor, it's easy to root for his character to succeed. While the script focuses on the two men, there is a sub-plot of Mr. Ramanujan's wife, (Devika Bhise) and mother (Arundhati Nag) that he left behind in India that becomes integral to the story.           The is a terrific drama anchored by two excellent performances and a story not easily forgotten.
Categories: Blogs

This Week's Chef's Table Menu: Week of May 16th!

This week's daily hot lunch menu ($10) from our "chefs table" at Butterfield Market!
Categories: Blogs

Tiramisu!

Butterfield is pleased to announce that we now offer individual Tiramisu (small jars)! Give our catering office a call at 212-772-8782, press 3, to order yours!
Categories: Blogs

Money Monster

Upper East Side Theater - Mon, 05/16/2016 - 20:03
     Director Jodie Foster brings out one of George Clooney's best performances in years in this new thriller. Mr. Clooney plays Lee Gates, the host of a TV financial advice show, high on entertainment as well as stock tips. His director, Patty Flynn, is played by a very effective Julia Roberts.       What starts out as typical episode for them soon escalates into a tense hostage situation when a young man named Kyle ( Jack O'Connell) takes over the studio with a gun and an explosive packed vest. Ms. Foster balances comedic moments with real suspense as she brings together the puzzle pieces of a story more complicated than it seems.       Mr. Clooney completely disappears into his role and is generous sharing his screen time with Mr. O'Connell. Except for two short moments, Mr. Clooney and Ms. Roberts have no scenes together. Her character Patty spends most of her time talking into Lee's earpiece, keeping him focused while investigating Kyle's motivation for his desperate action. Mr O'Connell's Kyle is all blue collar and jitters as he stalks the TV studio with his finger on the detonator, demanding answers.       Co-starring is Giancarlo Esposito as the police captain in the street trying to avoid a violent end, Dominic West as the oily CEO of the company that lost all of Kyle's savings, and Caitriona Balfe as Mr. West's Communications Director. Also co-starring  is Christopher Denham as a sorely put upon producer and Lenny Venito as a gutsy cameraman, both providing welcome comedy relief.        This fast paced thriller with a cautionary message is a safe investment of your time at the movies.
Categories: Blogs

This Week's Chef's Table Menu: Week of May 9th!

This week's daily hot lunch menu ($10) from our "chefs table" at Butterfield Market! 
Categories: Blogs

Captain America: Civil War

Upper East Side Theater - Sun, 05/08/2016 - 18:26
         The Marvel Studios juggernaut rolls on.  This latest installment in the Marvel film universe does not disappoint. Filled with terrific action sequences but anchored by an strong and emotional script, the film works on every level.        While Captain America may be in the title, make no mistake, this is a full blown Avengers outing with the team choosing sides after the U.S. Government decides Superheroes should be regulated and not given free reign to act on their own. The concept is taken from a terrific event story line in the comics that was so successful, Marvel is launching a "Civil War II" this summer in the books.       What works so well is the balance of screen time for the characters. While Captain America, The Winter Soldier, The Falcon and Iron Man have the majority of screen time, all the characters have excellent moments of their own including an "amazing" cameo or two. And the additional balance of emotion and gravitas to the action all make for a very well rounded film.       You can argue illogical plot points but it's a superhero movie after all and you have already checked your logic at the door. This is pure escapism and fun so I can't argue a few origin changes to suit the story or illogical actions by the characters. Fans should be attending with full knowledge of the characters and backstories. If you are coming in as a novice, it's best to brush up on earlier films or the comic archives.       Kudos to everyone at Marvel studios for getting their movies right. There is a grand plan in motion and so far, there hasn't been a misstep unlike a certain other brand. As they used to say in the old days, "Make Mine Marvel".
Categories: Blogs

A Celebration of all things Yorkville!

Friends of the Upper East Side - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 12:51

 A Celebration of Home

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!

 

Categories: Blogs, News

This Week's Chef's Table Menu: Week of May 2nd!

This week's daily hot lunch menu ($10) from our "chefs table" at Butterfield Market! 
Categories: Blogs