Will Central Park Become Central Dark?
Led By Lisa Mercurio (East River Fifties Alliance) and Sheila Kendrick (Save Central Park NYC)
The East River Fifties Alliance’s (“ERFA”) Lisa Mercurio joins Save Central Park NYC to explore megatowers in development and invading our skyline. Casting shadows on residential blocks, landmark designated buildings and Central Park, it’s a creep-like phenomenon with strong implications. Walk and explore how and why cities need to grow, why suitable development is good, and why New Yorkers need to protect the New York they know and love. Read more by clicking here.
Saturday, May 5 | 11:00 AM | 1.25 Hours
Meeting Place: In front of Le Pain Quotidien, Central Park (2 W. 69th Street)
Accessibility: Family-friendly, Senior-friendly, Pet-friendly
Welcome to Save Central Park NYC
Save Central Park NYC is a grassroots, community-based, all-volunteer organization concerned with the negative impacts of megatowers clustered around Central Park. Our members care about protecting and preserving the air, light and open space of this scenic and historic landmark. Supertall buildings already completed or under construction will cast long shadows in the Park, blocking playgrounds, open fields, pathways and vegetation from sunlight. We believe that the voice of the public needs to be heard and that zoning laws must be updated so that buildings are massed in a way that protects the park from being covered further in shadows. LandmarkWest!, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the Upper West Side, provides insight into the urgency that we face as New Yorkers! Read "Will Central Park Become CENTRAL dark?” here and its study on the future of Central Park West's skyline here (you must have a PDF viewer to view these documents).
The mission of Save Central Park NYC is to mobilize the public to share their concern with elected officials about the impact of the proliferation of Megatowers on all sides (south, north, east and west) of Central Park. We need to halt the frenzied pace of new construction around the park pending adoption of zoning modifications that will benefit the city for generations to come.
Community Board 7 has passed a Resolution (see page 2 of document): Amending the Zoning Regulations to address oversight of tall buildings
The Resolution addresses that two supertall buildings, now under construction, are out of context with their neighborhoods and cast large shadows on the streets and in Central Park. These West Side buildings evade existing zoning regulations by utilizing creative loopholes including:
· Incorporating large “voids” as high as 100 feet
· “Mechanical Spaces” that far exceed their function
· Ceiling heights that are double the standard (20’)
· Gerrymandering open spaces to amass larger than imagined zoning lots
· Added height/development rights for affordable housing that is transferred over long distances.
Who Are Our Allies?
Numerous Advocacy Groups, journalists, and some elected officials have been fighting on behalf of Central Park in recent years. In July of 2015, a pro-active group of legislators wrote a joint letter to the former City Planning Commissioner, Carl Weisbrod, an appointee of the Mayor. The Commissioner dismissed their urgent request! Click here to read the letter and response.
As voters, we should ask: should an appointee be able to dismiss the serious concerns of our elected officials so readily?
Advocacy groups all over NYC have made a multitude of appeals to elected officials in an attempt to impact zoning regulations. Our antiquated zoning laws never anticipated the technological advancements that allow for the construction of SuperTalls, nor did planners envision the developers' ability to bypass the intent of the zoning laws as they assembled air rights. This abuse is vividly illustrated by the map of assembled air rights for The 200 Amsterdam project as shown here:
The Committee for Environmentally Sound Development has had a recent success with a zoning challenge of 200 Amsterdam. But the fight will go on! Developers are making an appeal so that they can be grandfathered and accordingly build a 668’ Mega Tower! We need community activism and letters to elected officials so the electorate is heard.
Advocacy Groups like Alliance for a Human Scale City caution that deregulation in Washington will leave real estate developers unencumbered and it is the citizens of New York who will pay the price. Click to read their flyer here.
The East River Fifties Alliance, a community based group, is fighting for a rezoning plan which will protect their neighborhood and quality of life in light of a pending SuperTall. Read more here.
Friends of the Upper East Side asked noted Zoning Expert George Janes to review NYC zoning to determine why this is happening now and what can be done about it. His study laid the ground work for Community Board 7’s sweeping Resolution. Read more here.
Contact your elected officials (click below). Ask that they support common-sense regulations that will promote growth and protect New York. Click here for specific controls that would have immediate impact.
...And Now, the Tallest Tower on the Upper West Side
50 West 66th Street, just steps off Central Park, will now be home to the 775 foot tower which will eclipse the Time Warner Center. This Superscraper is out of context with the residential neighborhood and will cast an enormous new shadow on Central Park.
Supertalls will continue to be built as long as our mayor and legislators allow "as of right" development.
Demand action of our mayor, city council and all our legislators. The very character of our neighborhood is in jeopardy as darkness falls on our streets and in our parks.
Visit our take action page to connect with your elected officials. The time is now, but CB7 can not go it alone. We need you to get behind this effort to make it a reality.
Photo by Binyan Studios.
To learn more, read West Side Rag: New Project Set to Become Upper West Side’s Tallest Building.
Visit Our Gallery
As superscrapers dominate the skyline, will Central Park get any sun?
Click here to visit our photo gallery.
Featured Story: Accidental Skyline by The Municipal Art Society of New York
Too often, New Yorkers are caught off guard by new development in their neighborhoods. The Accidental Skyline offers tools to help demystify the city planning process and bring the public into the conversation. Read more.
Demand Action From Your Elected Officials
It is time to get organized and to demand action from our elected officials.
Demand that zoning laws be modified to prevent additional shadows from being cast into the park; thus protecting our rights to air and light. The zoning laws currently in effect have not been significantly updated in over 50 years!
See the Take Action page for a sample letter that can be used when writing elected officials or candidates.
Or simply ask that they stop developers from casting any new shadows in Central Park!
Contact Your Local City Officials:
Manhattan Borough President: Gale Brewer - 212-531-1609
City Council: Click here to contact your local city council.
Community Board: Click here to contact your local community board.
Mayor: Bill De Blasio - Click Here.