Author Archives: FRIENDS

You’re Invited to the 15th Annual Ambassador to the Upper East Side Award Dinner!

Please join us as

FRIENDS OF THE UPPER EAST SIDE
HISTORIC DISTRICTS

proudly presents

THE FIFTEENTH ANNUAL
AMBASSADOR TO THE UPPER EAST SIDE AWARD

to

Arete warren

Photo by Malcom Brown Photography

Monday, October 1st
6:30 p.m. Cocktails
7:30 p.m. Dinner
Festive dress

The Metropolitan Club
1 East 60th Street
New York City

Click HERE to purchase tickets or make a contribution.


Carol and Richard J. Miller, Jr., Chairs
Ann Ziff, Vice Chair
Judith-Ann Corrente and Willem Kooyker, Vice Chairs
Carole and John French III, Vice Chairs
Patricia Begley and George Beane, Vice Chairs
Sanford W. Morhouse, Vice Chair
Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla, Vice Chairs
Dotty and Lionel Goldfrank III, Vice Chairs
Barbara and James Reibel, Vice Chairs


Arete Warren came to preservation when the National Trust asked her in 1974 to establish the Royal Oak Foundation in New York to help preserve historic English houses and open spaces. Still in her 20s, she was already a seasoned art and architectural historian, having studied art history at Northwestern and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum under John Pope-Hennessy, and then at the Cooper-Hewitt. “I never studied preservation,” she says, “But I love history and I learned how to look and understand what I see.”

Since then, we have all benefited from Arete’s passion and trained eye. She is a scholar of decorative arts and architecture and a garden-design expert. She is co-author of Glasshouses: An Architectural History of Greenhouses, Conservatories, and Orangeries (Rizzoli International, 1988) and author of Gardening by the Book, published in 2013 to accompany the major Grolier Club exhibition she curated.

There is hardly an aspect of civic life in New York that Arete hasn’t touched. Her commitment to protecting what makes New York livable is demonstrated by her leadership roles on the New York State Board for Historic Preservation, the Empire State Plaza Art Commission, the Preservation League of New York State, the Metropolitan Opera and The Garden Club of America.

Arete has made the Upper East Side her home since she arrived in 1973. She still lives in the Charles A. Platt building she moved to in 1985 with her late husband William B. Warren.

Arete is a firm believer in grassroots preservation and a long-time friend and supporter of the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts. We are delighted to salute her with the 2018 Ambassador to the Upper East Side Award.

Join FRIENDS for our Fall 2018 Events!

Mostly Clubs: A Morning Stroll

 
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As the 19th century came to a close, many exclusive Manhattan clubs moved northward to the Upper East Side within walking distance of members’ homes. This walking tour led by architectural historian Matt Postal will consider this trend through various distinguished examples, viewing grand and elegant purpose-built clubhouses that were designed by McKim Mead & White, Delano & Aldrich, and Thomas Harlan Ellett, as well as handsome residences that were converted to club use in the mid-20th century. Highlights will include the Cosmopolitan, Grolier, Knickerbocker, and Union Clubs, among others.

Saturday, September 15th
10:30 a.m.
Meeting point will be provided upon registration.
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Rain or shine.
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$15 FRIENDS members, $25 non-members
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To verify your current membership status, please call 212-535-2526 or email us at  info@friends-ues.org.
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Sights, Sounds, and Tastes of Yorkville

 
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Who lives in Yorkville? What makes a neighborhood come to life? Join noted hospitality professional Angela Christensen for an early evening walk as we uncover what makes Yorkville tick. Cultural centers and old-world family businesses have shaped Yorkville into a diverse enclave within a residential neighborhood. We will experience the flavor and charm of this neighborhood with treats along the way including the surprising location of an Andy Warhol studio. On our stroll we pass places of interest that will include: Budapest Café, Czech Consulate, Orwashers Bakery, Schaller & Weber, Suburban Hook & Ladder Company No. 13, and the Hungarian Cultural Center.

Wednesday, September 26th
5:30 p.m.
Meeting point will be provided upon registration.
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Rain or shine.
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$15 FRIENDS members, $25 non-members
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To verify your current membership status, please call 212-535-2526 or email us at info@friends-ues.org.

Photo by Malcom Brown Photography

FRIENDS OF THE UPPER EAST SIDE HISTORIC DISTRICTS

will proudly present

THE FIFTEENTH ANNUAL
AMBASSADOR TO THE UPPER EAST SIDE AWARD

to

ARETE WARREN

Monday, October 1st
6:30 p.m. Cocktails
7:30 p.m. Dinner

The Metropolitan Club
1 East 60th Street
New York City

Click HERE to purchase tickets or make a contribution.


Carol and Richard J. Miller, Jr., Chairs
Ann Ziff, Vice Chair
Judith-Ann Corrente and Willem Kooyker, Vice Chairs
Carole and John French III, Vice Chairs
Patricia Begley and George Beane, Vice Chairs
Sanford W. Morhouse, Vice Chair
Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla, Vice Chairs
Dotty and Lionel Goldfrank III, Vice Chairs
Barbara and James Reibel, Vice Chairs


Arete Warren came to preservation when the National Trust asked her in 1974 to establish the Royal Oak Foundation in New York to help preserve historic English houses and open spaces. Still in her 20s, she was already a seasoned art and architectural historian, having studied art history at Northwestern and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum under John Pope-Hennessy, and then at the Cooper-Hewitt. “I never studied preservation,” she says, “But I love history and I learned how to look and understand what I see.”

Since then, we have all benefited from Arete’s passion and trained eye. She is a scholar of decorative arts and architecture and a garden-design expert. She is co-author of Glasshouses: An Architectural History of Greenhouses, Conservatories, and Orangeries (Rizzoli International, 1988) and author of Gardening by the Book, published in 2013 to accompany the major Grolier Club exhibition she curated.

There is hardly an aspect of civic life in New York that Arete hasn’t touched. Her commitment to protecting what makes New York livable is demonstrated by her leadership roles on the New York State Board for Historic Preservation, the Empire State Plaza Art Commission, the Preservation League of New York State, the Metropolitan Opera and The Garden Club of America.

Arete has made the Upper East Side her home since she arrived in 1973. She still lives in the Charles A. Platt building she moved to in 1985 with her late husband William B. Warren.

Arete is a firm believer in grassroots preservation and a long-time friend and supporter of the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts. We are delighted to salute her with the 2018 Ambassador to the Upper East Side Award.


Behind the Scenes at Peter Pennoyer Architects

Credit: Peter Pennoyer Architects, 151 East 78th street. Photography by Eric Piasecki.

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Peter Pennoyer Architects
 is an award-winning 50-person firm of architects, interior designers, and related professionals. Founded in 1990, PPA has been recognized as a leading design firm for its substantial and varied body of work for residential, institutional and commercial commissions across the country and abroad. On October 11th, founder and principal Peter Pennoyer will lead a behind the scenes tour of PPA’s office and studios exclusively for members of FRIENDS of the Upper East Side. Join us for a chance to explore the environment in which the PPA team creates the designs for sophisticated details and craftsmanship that strike a balance between comfort, luxury, beauty, and continuity with the past.
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With special thanks to Peter Pennoyer Architects
 
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Thursday, October 11th
6:00 p.m.
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Location: Peter Pennoyer Architects
136 Madison Avenue
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Free for current members of FRIENDS of the Upper East Side.
Advance registration is required.
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To verify your current membership status, please call 212-535-2526 or email us at info@friends-ues.org.
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Kleindeutschland in the East Village: A Walking Tour

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Prior to the massive influx of Eastern European Jews after 1880, the Lower East Side, often referred to as “Kleindeutschland” or “Little Germany”, comprised the largest German-speaking community outside of Germany. This population tragically diminished with the noted General Slocum Disaster in the East River, when over a thousand German immigrants perished on a steamship hired for a Sunday School picnic for St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. Within a year, most of the German community had left the neighborhood – many who moved north to Yorkville, which became the “new” home of St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. Join noted tour leader Justin Ferate to discover the remnants of the German roots of the Lower East Side including the Astor Library, the German-American Shooting Club, the Ottendorfer Library, an original Turnverein, Tompkins Square and the haunting memorial to the children who died in the General Slocum Disaster. The tour will also include a private visit to the former St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.
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Sunday, October 14th
1:00 p.m.
East Village meeting point will be provided upon registration
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Rain or Shine.
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$15 members , $25 non-members
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To verify your current membership status, please call 212-535-2526 or email us at info@friends-ues.org.
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FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Book Launch!

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On November 7th, FRIENDS of the Upper East Side is proud to launch Shaped by Immigrants: A History of Yorkville, an illustrated history of Yorkville’s development and its immigrant roots. This original publication, researched and written by FRIENDS of the Upper East Side, uncovers the compelling story of Yorkville’s immigrant past and patterns of development, and places that history against the backdrop of representative buildings remaining today where immigrants lived, worked, shopped, and prayed. These buildings play an integral role in defining Yorkville’s character, but until now the comprehensive story of Yorkville has not been told.
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We are thrilled to finally share Shaped by Immigrants: A History of Yorkville with you! Prepare for a night of celebration, discussion, and the screening of an original documentary mini-series produced by FRIENDS of the Upper East Side. Be one of the first to enjoy the finished product for yourself, or as a gift for one of the Yorkville fans in your life.
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Books will be for sale for the very first time at the event, and online to follow. Active FRIENDS members will receive a special discount on all book purchases. JOIN or RENEW your membership today!
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Wednesday, November 7th
6:30 p.m.
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Location: National Society of the Colonial Dames of America
215 East 71st Street
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Free to the public. Advance registration required.
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To verify your current membership status, please call 212-535-2526 or email us at info@friends-ues.org.
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Click HERE to register


After Postmodernism: From Laughed-At to Landmarked

  
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The Postmodern style, the defining look of the 1980s, is not commonly associated with the architecture of the Upper East Side. However, amidst a sea of bricks, brownstone, and Beaux-Arts Classicism, glimpses of Postmodern design sensibility can be found both within the streetscape and in a number of notable interiors in the neighborhood. Buildings that were originally mocked are now respected, and even landmarked, as they are reevaluated decades later. Join Judith Gura, author of Postmodern Design Complete and Interior Landmarks: Treasures of New York for a discussion about the origins of this sometimes-controversial style, its influence on architecture, objects, interiors, and graphics, and the indelible marks it has left on the Upper East Side in particular, both inside and out.
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Thursday, November 29th
6:00 p.m.
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New York School of Interior Design,
170 East 70th Street
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$15 FRIENDS members, $25 non-members
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To verify your current membership status, please call 212-535-2526 
or email us at info@friends-ues.org.
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Click HERE to register


These programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


Click to view our PAST EVENTS.

“Fix our zoning rules,” say Manhattan Borough President and City Council Speaker

“Fix our zoning rules,” say Manhattan Borough President and City Council Speaker

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (center) speaking at a July 2018 press conference held by Council Member Ben Kallos (left) regarding the doctored zoning lot at 180 East 88th Street

Last week, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Council Speaker Corey Johnson wrote a letter, supported by the entire Manhattan delegation of the City Council, to Department of City Planning Chair Marisa Lago to encourage the agency to address and prevent the suite of loopholes being exploited by developers.

From their letter:
We are writing to follow up on some tremendous work done by our community stakeholders and advocacy groups in the effort to curb excessive, illogical development. All across our borough, developers have found numerous novel workarounds to circumvent the limitations we commonly understood to apply to them under zoning. The resulting out-of-context buildings have spurred community organizing like never before, as everyday residents have committed significant time and resources to highlighting arcane but deeply impactful issues in our zoning rules.” To read the full text of the letter, click here.

They go on to acknowledge the huge need for clarity on the loophole issues like excessive void spaces, mechanical space, floor-to-floor heights, and basic principles such as the definition of a zoning lot that are all being exploited to build out-of-scale megatowers that defy predictability, do nothing to alleviate our city’s housing pressures, and flout the regulations laid out in New York City’s Zoning Resolution.

FRIENDS of the Upper East Side is a leader in this battle as we continually challenge out-of-scale developments in our neighborhood that do not adhere to zoning laws, and fight for the livability of the Upper East Side and all residential neighborhoods. This letter shows that our advocacy is working!

We thank Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Council Speaker Corey Johnson for taking up the mantle on these pressing issues and the entire Manhattan delegation of the City Council, especially our East Side representatives Ben Kallos and Keith Powers, for their support. This progress would not occur without the continual partnership of our elected officials, colleagues across the city, and of course our supporters.

With continued advocacy, education, and thoughtful collaboration with our elected officials, common sense zoning reform can be achieved now, before it’s too late.

We need your support to save Marx Brothers Playground.

We need your help to tell the City that
OUR PARKS ARE NOT FOR SALE.

Dear Friend,

Rendering of Marx Brothers Playground development, known as 321 East 96th Street, seen from Park Avenue and 96th Street. (Image by George M. Janes & Associates)

When the City agrees to give away the public’s parkland to a private developer with deep pockets, you know we’re in trouble.

And when that precious open space is smack in the center of the park-starved Upper East Side and East Harlem, you know we need to fight back. Because here’s what we’re getting in exchange: a massive, 1.3 million square foot private development that will rise over 700-feet … the tallest building between the Upper East Side and Boston. Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts is leading the fight against this alarming taking of public land and we are asking for your help.

We have filed a lawsuit to prevent the City from alienating the much-loved Marx Brothers Playground at 96th Street between First and Second Avenues, to facilitate this development. For over 70 years, this park has been the site of Little League baseball games, adult soccer matches and countless recreational uses by countless individuals and families living within a five-minute walk.

The City claims that this is a “playground,” rather than a park, and therefore contains valuable air rights subject to transfer. But in fact, Adrian Benepe, former Parks Commissioner under Mayor Bloomberg has supported our lawsuit with an affidavit stating unequivocally “that it is indisputable that the Marx Brothers Playground is a park with no development rights.”

By allowing this development, the City is setting a dangerous precedent that puts more than 250 playgrounds citywide at risk of being mined for their air rights. This is why three other organizations – CIVITAS, Carnegie Hill Neighbors and the Municipal Art Society of New York – have joined our lawsuit.

Please make a generous donation of $100, $1,000 or more to help FRIENDS stop this attack on our public parks. Designate your contribution toward “Marx Brothers Playground” in our online portal at NY Charities, or write it in the memo of your check.

Our open spaces are not a luxury; they are critical to our well-being and to the quality of life of our communities. Once the Marx Brothers Playground is “demapped” we can never get it back.  Please act today to support this effort.

With thanks,

Rachel Levy
Executive Director

P.S. Please designate your contribution toward “Marx Brothers Playground” in our online donation portal via NY Charities, or write it in the memo of your check payable to FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts.  Additional information about this project is available here.

Rendering of Marx Brothers Playground development, known as 321 East 96th Street, which will tower over the rest of the neighborhood. (Image via 6sqft.com)

 

 

 

 

Great News! LPC Announces Second Public Hearing  for Rules Changes!

LPC Announces Second Public Hearing for Rules Changes!

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The Landmarks Preservation Commission has voted to calendar a second Public Hearing in October to allow the public to comment on the amended proposal for revised LPC Rules. The decision, championed primarily by acting Chair Frederick Bland, is intended to promote transparency and foster constructive feedback from the public during the agency’s rule making process.
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At the first Public Hearing this past March, many preservation advocates, members of the public, and lovers of historic buildings voiced their concerns about how the proposed rules could negatively affect New York City’s significant landmarked building stock. Read FRIENDS’ full statement here. The Commission declined to vote on the rules as proposed and tasked the LPC staff with re-drafting the text with those numerous substantive comments in mind.
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Your voice been heard!
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This course change from the LPC is evidence that our thoughtful advocacy makes a difference! The public process that engenders good government has resulted in the LPC taking a critical second look at the proposed rules changes and altering them to better serve our city’s tremendous historic building stock and the public who so dearly cares for it.
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Click here to see an overview of the amended sections of the rules. The revised text will be available on the LPC website by some point during the week of August 6, 2018 and the Public Hearing will be in October, though no final date has been set. FRIENDS of the Upper East Side will be closely reviewing the new text and testifying at the hearing in October.

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READ MORE:
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180 East 88th Street Has First  Board of Standards and Appeals Public Hearing

180 East 88th Street Has First Board of Standards and Appeals Public Hearing

(Left) L-Shaped building lot pre-construction (Right) Rendering by DDG
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This week FRIENDS, along with other New Yorkers concerned with the impact of megatowers on our city, has been advocating full force for the City to make good on its promises to enforce the misuse of zoning loopholes.
The high profile development at 180 East 88th Street had its first public hearing at the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) yesterday to address the joint community challenge by FRIENDS and Carnegie Hill Neighbors to the Department of Buildings (DOB) approval of the carve out of a 10 foot by 22 foot portion of the property’s zoning lot in order to evade the City’s zoning requirements meant to regulate building’s height and form. 180 East 88th Street has utilized numerous other tactics, including excessive floor to ceiling heights and an unnecessary intra-building void, that undermine the predictability of development in New York, nullify zoning provisions that were designed to promote livability and thoughtful urban design, and threaten our residential neighborhoods.
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The session contained several hours of arguments, thoughtful consideration from BSA commissioners, including pointed questions  from Chair Margery Perlmutter directed at the DOB’s rationale for the prior approval. There was also spirited public testimony in support of this community appeal, including strong comments supporting our position from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Council Member Ben Kallos.
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FRIENDS of the Upper East Side made it clear to the members of the Board that, should they uphold reckless tactics like those employed at 180 East 88th Street, it will set a precedent that threatens to undermine any requirement of the Zoning Resolution based on avenue or street frontage. In her statement, Executive Director Rachel Levy warned that such a decision would threaten decades-old regulations that ban sliver buildings and require tower-on-base building forms that were enacted to avoid what FRIENDS’ founding president Halina Rosenthal called the “out of control hodge-podge at eye level.” Read FRIENDS’ full statement here. The BSA will continue the public hearing this fall.
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Left to Right: Manhattan Borough President’s General Counsel and Director of Land Use Jim Caras, Council Member Keith Powers, Council Member Ben Kallos, and FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Executive Director Rachel Levy

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We are not fighting alone!
 FRIENDS stood side by side at a press conferencewith colleagues and our partners in government on the steps of City Hall on Monday, July 16th to call for a comprehensive solution to zoning loopholes, like those in use at 180 East 88th Street, 200 Amsterdam Avenue, and numerous other developments citywide.
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We thank Council Member Ben Kallos and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer for their leadership on these issues, and State Senator Liz Krueger and Council Member Keith Powers for their ongoing support. We salute our partners at Carnegie Hill NeighborsLandmark West!, the Committee for Environmentally Sound DevelopmentEast River Fifties AllianceEast 72nd Street Neighborhood Association, to name a few. All gathered to demand common sense zoning reform now, not six months from now, in order to stop the routine DOB approval of egregiously non-compliant buildings.
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FRIENDS will release updates as information regarding 180 East 88th Street is made public. The next hearing at the BSA is tentatively set for Tuesday, October 30, 2018.
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Read More

Press Release:
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Media:
 “UES tower dispute heads to appeal.” by Michael Garofolo, Our Town, July 17, 2018.
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“Electeds, advocates seek to close zoning loopholes.” by Gregg McQueen, Manhattan Times, July 18, 2018.

Next Tuesday: East and West Side Megatowers to be Heard at Board of Standards and Appeals

180 East 88th Street and 200 Amsterdam Avenue Head to the BSA

(Left) L-Shaped building lot pre-construction (Right) Rendering by DDG
Next Tuesday, July 17th, will be a big day for New Yorkers concerned with the impact of megatowers on our city as two high profile projects on the Upper East and Upper West Sides will have their day at the Board of Standards and Appeals.
The project at 180 East 88th Street has been making headlines since its zoning gymnastics were covered in the New York Times, involving the creation of a tiny new lot carved out of the development site for no other purpose than to evade zoning rules applying to that location (see graphic to the left). Under the improper approval of the Buildings Department, this building explicitly violates the intent of zoning rules meant to foster livable neighborhoods and good urban design.
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The Department of Buildings itself acknowledged the intention behind the micro-lot when it issued a Stop Work Order in May 2016, noting that “a zoning lot cannot be subdivided into a 4-foot lot for the sole purpose of avoiding a zoning requirement.” The Department later reversed itself when the size of the lot was increased by six feet, and allowed work to continue.

FRIENDS joined our colleagues at Carnegie Hill Neighbors in 2017 to challenge the Department’s approval of 180 East 88th Street at the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA), with a hearing scheduled for July 17th. At the same hearing, a final decision will be announced regarding 200 Amsterdam Avenue, the gerrymandered “jigsaw puzzle” zoning lot (pictured, right) on the Upper West Side.
Both projects use tactics that undermine the predictability of development in New York, nullify zoning provisions that were designed to promote livability and thoughtful urban design, and threaten our residential neighborhoods. We urge the Board of Standards and Appeals to uphold the integrity of our Zoning Resolution and prohibit the sculpting of lots to evade the City’s own rules.
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YOUR PRESENCE MATTERS! Show your support through attendance or public testimony.
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JOIN US at the Board of Standards and Appeals
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Tuesday, July 17th
Beginning at 10:00 a.m.
22 Reade Street, Spector Hall
Agenda available HERE.

Manhattan Electeds and Advocates Call on City for Immediate Reform

Manhattan Electeds and Advocates Call on City for Immediate Reform

In advance of Tuesday’s hearing, FRIENDS will join with elected officials and colleagues on the steps of City Hall to raise these issues to the citywide stage. The ability to freely sculpt zoning lots, as at 180 East 88th Street and 200 Amsterdam Avenue, that serve no purpose beyond circumventing zoning requirements has serious policy implications for New York City. But these are only two examples of the loopholes, which also include exempt mechanical voids and disproportionate floor-to-ceiling heights, being exploited citywide to game the system for excess height.

The Mayor has acknowledged that zoning loopholes, and specifically oversized mechanical voids as at 249 East 62nd Street, are a problem. Now, we ask for a comprehensive policy solution to address the many tactics leading to out of scale development in residential neighborhoods.
Join, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Liz Krueger (rep.), and Council Member Ben Kallos, together with FRIENDSCarnegie Hill NeighborsLandmark West! and others in calling for a comprehensive solution now, not six months from now.
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Monday, July 16th
11:15 a.m.
City Hall Steps
Media advisory HERE

Save the Date! 2018 Ambassador to the Upper East Side Award Dinner

Photo by Malcom Brown Photography

FRIENDS OF THE UPPER EAST SIDE HISTORIC DISTRICTS

will proudly present

THE FIFTEENTH ANNUAL
AMBASSADOR TO THE UPPER EAST SIDE AWARD

to

ARETE WARREN

Monday, October 1st
6:30 p.m. Cocktails
7:30 p.m. Dinner

The Metropolitan Club
1 East 60th Street
New York City

Click HERE to purchase tickets or make a contribution.


Carol and Richard J. Miller, Jr., Chairs
Ann Ziff, Vice Chair
Judith-Ann Corrente and Willem Kooyker, Vice Chairs
Carole and John French III, Vice Chairs
Patricia Begley and George Beane, Vice Chairs
Sanford W. Morhouse, Vice Chair
Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla, Vice Chairs
Dotty and Lionel Goldfrank III, Vice Chairs
Barbara and James Reibel, Vice Chairs


Arete Warren came to preservation when the National Trust asked her in 1974 to establish the Royal Oak Foundation in New York to help preserve historic English houses and open spaces. Still in her 20s, she was already a seasoned art and architectural historian, having studied art history at Northwestern and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum under John Pope-Hennessy, and then at the Cooper-Hewitt. “I never studied preservation,” she says, “But I love history and I learned how to look and understand what I see.”

Since then, we have all benefited from Arete’s passion and trained eye. She is a scholar of decorative arts and architecture and a garden-design expert. She is co-author of Glasshouses: An Architectural History of Greenhouses, Conservatories, and Orangeries (Rizzoli International, 1988) and author of Gardening by the Book, published in 2013 to accompany the major Grolier Club exhibition she curated.

There is hardly an aspect of civic life in New York that Arete hasn’t touched. Her commitment to protecting what makes New York livable is demonstrated by her leadership roles on the New York State Board for Historic Preservation, the Empire State Plaza Art Commission, the Preservation League of New York State, the Metropolitan Opera and The Garden Club of America.

Arete has made the Upper East Side her home since she arrived in 1973. She still lives in the Charles A. Platt building she moved to in 1985 with her late husband William B. Warren.

Arete is a firm believer in grassroots preservation and a long-time friend and supporter of the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts. We are delighted to salute her with the 2018 Ambassador to the Upper East Side Award.

Making Strides Toward Common Sense Zoning Reform

Making Strides Toward Common Sense Zoning Reform
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Image: Michael Korfhage, Crain’s New York Business
by Joe Anuta, Crain’s New York Business
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This week at a town hall meeting with Mayor de Blasio on the Upper West Side, the Department of City Planning followed up on its initial commitment to address the mechanical void loophole made at a January town hall in response to FRIENDS.
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When asked about their progress since January, a representative from the Manhattan office of City Planning explained that they are studying the issue and are on track to announce a solution by the end of 2018. They are investigating “the extraneous and even egregious voids that are really unnecessary for a building except to loft it taller,” and will deliver a solution this year.
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So far it is unclear the route DCP’s solution will take, and whether it will provide an effective cure to the mechanical void exemption. FRIENDS will continue discussions with the administration, our elected officials, and our neighbors and colleagues to push actively for a zoning solution that rationalizes mechanical space, and also addresses the full scope of loopholes in our zoning that are being exploited including unlimited ceiling heights and gerrymandered zoning lots.
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Despite lingering questions, this is a major step forward in FRIENDS’ campaign to “lose the loopholes” contributing to overdevelopment in our community and citywide. FRIENDS is proud to be at the forefront on this issue impacting buildings in our neighborhood, shining a light on these tactics, and actively challenging egregious buildings, like the “periscope” at 249 East 62nd Street and 180 East 88th Street, that abuse  zoning loopholes to maximize height. Stay tuned for future updates!