Check out FRIENDS’ Summer Events!

Grand Acquisitors: A Walking Tour

For more than a century, New York City’s most prominent art collectors have made the Upper East Side home. Architectural historian Matt Postal will lead a walking tour of some of the historic district’s finest and most memorable blocks, viewing distinguished early 20th century town houses and apartment buildings where many a masterpiece has hung. Artistic patronage and philanthropy associated with major museums will be discussed, as well as the history of leading commercial art galleries in the area. Highlights include sites related to George Blumenthal, Leo Castelli, Dorothy Norman, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and (possibly) Michelangelo.

Sunday, June 3rd
10:30 a.m.
Meeting location will be provided upon registration.

Rain or Shine.

$10 members, $20 non-members
To verify your current membership status, please call 212-535-2526 or email us at info@friends-ues.org.

Click HERE to register 

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Roosevelt Island: Past Present and Future

Photo Credit: Iwan Baan and Cornell Tech

Curious about our neighbors across the East River-new and old? Join us on Thursday, June 14th for an evening exploring Roosevelt Island!  First, Kyle Johnson, AIA will lead a tour of the island’s Modern and Brutalist gems constructed during Roosevelt Island’s transition from an enclave of prisons and welfare services into a middle class residential community. This jaunt down Main Street will culminate in an exclusive tour of Cornell Tech, New York City’s first tech-centered university. Director of Design and Construction Diana Allegretti will lead this walking tour of the newly completed first phase of Cornell Tech’s Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and James Corner Field Operation designed masterplan, which includes buildings by acclaimed firms Morphosis, Weiss/Manfredi, and Handel Architects. Take this opportunity to explore these sustainably designed eco-friendly buildings on the lush green campus in the Upper East Side’s backyard.

Thursday, June 14th
5:00 p.m.
Meeting location will be provided upon registration.

Rain or shine.

$10 members, $20 non-members

To verify your current membership status, please call 212-535-2526 or email us at info@friends-ues.org. 

Click HERE to register

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The Hunt: Yorkville/East Harlem

Yorkville and East Harlem’s history in the palm of your hand? You bet! FRIENDS has partnered with the Historic Districts Council and Urban Archive in creating “The Hunt,” a mobile app-based scavenger hunt. Create a team of 1-4 people and download the Urban Archive app on your phone, lace up your sneakers, and race around East Harlem and Yorkville to see who can identify the most traces of the past–hidden in plain sight. Prizes will be awarded to the top teams! Roughly two miles of walking.

Saturday, June 16th
2:00 p.m.
Starting Location: Church of the Holy Trinity
316 East 88th Street (Between First and Second Avenues)

Rain or Shine.

Free to the public, registration required.

Click HERE to register

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Tenement Chic on the Upper East Side: A Walking Tour

The architecture of the Upper East Side evokes mini mansions and extravagant townhouses along the “Fifth Avenue Gold Coast,” but it is the richly ornamented side street tenements that housed the working and middle class residents of the neighborhood. Join FRIENDS of the Upper East Side and the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy for a closer look at Yorkville’s not-so-humble tenement architecture with urban historian Barry Feldman. Admire the beautiful botanicals, mythical beasts, garish grotesques and ornate cornices that richly adorn 19th century tenements. Learn more about the anonymous artisans that created these treasures, and what motivated the building developers to employ them. Trace the development of the typical tenement from the mid-19th century to more contemporary housing styles and explore a middle class area which pre-dates the Civil War, and learn how building ornamentation influenced residential architecture in this ever-evolving immigrant enclave.

Co-sponsored by Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts and The Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy.

Tuesday, June 26th
5:00 p.m.
Registrants will be informed of the starting point upon registration.

Rain or Shine.

$18 members and seniors, $22 non-members
There is an additional $2 charge for tickets purchased on the day of the tour.

To verify your current membership status, please call 212-535-2526 or email us at info@friends-ues.org.

Click HERE to register

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Along the Avenue: Fifth Avenue

This early evening walk celebrates sites that border Fifth Avenue, both within leafy Central Park and inside the Upper East Side Historic District. Led by architectural historian Matt Postal, we’ll amble east and west, discussing the history of our beloved park and the development of the stately blocks that border it. From Gothic Revival to mid-20th century Modern, we’ll view a varied selection of structures that illustrate and exemplify specific eras and styles, including such notable works as the Arsenal, the Ernesto & Edith Fabbri Mansion, Temple Emanu-el, and the recently-restored 72nd Street Playground. This walk, will follow East Meets West: CPWow!, an accompanying walk hosted by LANDMARK WEST!. At 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 12th, join Sean Khorsandi of LW! to take a stroll down Central Park West to learn about its parallel development on the West Side.

Thursday, July 19th
6:00 p.m.
Meeting point will be provided upon registration.

Rain or shine.

$10 FRIENDS and Landmark West! members, $20 non-members
To verify your current membership status, please call 212-535-2526 or email us at info@friends-ues.org.

Click HERE to register

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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.


Advocacy Alert: New York State Tries AGAIN to Remove Building Density Cap

Advocacy Alert: New York State Tries AGAIN to Remove Building Density Cap

Photo From 6sqft.
This week, the New York State Senate Rules Committee passed a bill including language that would remove the statewide cap on the density of residential buildings that has been in place for nearly 60 years. This bill, titled S.6760, is backed heavily by the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) who have lobbied for this amendment that could “explode New York City’s skyline“.
Supporters of this bill including REBNY, Mayor DeBlasio, and the Regional Plan Association (RPA) claim that lifting the cap would create more affordable housing, but there is nothing in the language of the bill to guarantee that. When a similar proposal was defeated at the State Legislature in 2016, Senator Liz Krueger was a key voice of opposition. In a June 2016 Community Bulletin, Senator Krueger stated that mega-towers are “the opposite of affordable, and there is nothing in this legislation that will change that.” This is yet another tactic for creating ultra-luxury megatowers that pad developers’ pockets.
In reality, it would allow for nearly unrestrained development that would open the door for developers to introduce excessive density into urban neighborhoods already burdened with strains on infrastructure and neighborhood necessities like city parks. Furthermore, this bill would create even more routes for the exploitation of zoning loopholes in New York City construction.
This bill could come to a vote on the Senate floor any time between now and the end of the session in June. It is essential to contact all of our elected officials in Albany to ensure that this dangerous and precedent-setting bill is not passed.
Here’s how YOU can help:
Contact Governor Cuomo, and your State Senator and Assembly Member:
Urge them NOT to support measures to eliminate the 12 FAR cap.
 x
Don’t see your Assembly District listed? Use the
New York Assembly Member search engine to find your local representative.
Don’t Know your State Senator? Use the
Find My Senator search engine to identify yours.
 x
Contact your City Council Member:
Let them know that your neighborhoods will only be further
vulnerable to overdevelopment if this passes.

Development Alert: First Avenue

Extell Files Demolition Permits for 1514-1528 First Avenue

Google Street View of 1514-1528 First Avenue in Yorkville

As reported in YIMBY, The Real Deal and the Upper East Side Patch, the Developer Extell has just filed demolition permits for an entire block on the east side of First Avenue between East 79th and East 80th Streets in Yorkville.

Though no New Building plans have been filed, this developer is responsible for the construction of several supertall residential towers in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The developer has also been buying significant swaths of land in other areas of the Upper East Side, though no New Building permits have been filed for a significant portion of those sites either.

Check out FRIENDS’ Development Tracker Map on our website for up-to-date information on this and other upcoming developments in and near the Upper East Side.

Advocacy update: Inter-building Void at 62nd Street Periscope Tower Endorsed by DOB

Advocacy update: Inter-building Void at 62nd Street Periscope Tower Endorsed by DOB

Credit: Rafael Viñoly Architects

After six months, the Department of Buildings (DOB) has finally responded to FRIENDS’ Zoning Challenge of 249 East 62nd Street filed in November 2017. The DOB has denied any error in its zoning approval for this building, despite FRIENDS’ argument that the 150-foot void at the center of the building is vastly larger than necessary for any possible mechanical use and constitutes a nearly unprecedented exploitation of the city’s Zoning Resolution.

Just steps away from the Treadwell Farm Historic District, the Rafael Vinoly-designed building will contain a 150-foot octagonal core of unlivable, mostly vacant space that is wholly exempt from zoning because of its classification as “mechanical” space. Because the void makes up nearly a third of the building’s height, it will be among the tallest buildings on the Upper East Side, yet it will contain only 25 usable residential floors.

As covered in Crain’s, the DOB partially accepted two other technical issues raised by FRIENDS in the challenge, including basic arithmetic errors and will require the applicant to fix them before proceeding with construction. But DOB’s endorsement of the developer’s tactic to game the system for additional height and the agency’s unwillingness to enforce the intent of zoning, underscores the need for a legislative solution to close the loopholes in our Zoning Resolution that contribute to overdevelopment.

In response to FRIENDS’ concerns, Marisa Lago, Chair of the City Planning Commission, has previously pledged to investigate the exploitation of mechanical voids for extra height. FRIENDS continues to meet with policymakers and experts to devise a policy solution, and will continue to fight the approval of a 150-foot pedestal of empty space set to rise at 249 East 62nd Street, as well as out of context developments at 180 East 88th Street and the Marx Brothers Playground Site on East 96th Street.

Read more:

FRIENDS’ Zoning Challenge to the DOB on 249 East 62nd Street, November 2017.
DOB’s Response to FRIENDS’ Challenge, posted April 26, 2018.
City green-lights UES tower’s height-boosting gambit,” by Joe Anuta, Crain’s, May 4, 2018.
Is this what Rafael Vinoly’s Upper East Side condo on stilts will look like?,” by Tanay Warkerar, Curbed, February 20, 2018.
Another building on stilts challenged by locals,” by Joe Anuta, Crain’s, December 1, 2017.

LANDMARK WEST! presents: The Girl on the Velvet Swing: The Murder of Stanford White and NYC in the Gilded Age

LANDMARK WEST! presents: The Girl on the Velvet Swing: The Murder of Stanford White and NYC in the Gilded Age

The year: 1906. The murderer: millionaire Harry Thaw. The murder victim/alleged assailant: celebrity architect Stanford White, responsible for designing countless landmark buildings in Manhattan. The woman: Evelyn Nesbit.

It was one of the hottest news stories of the newly-dawned 20th century and NYC’s 14 daily newspapers were all battling for scandalous details to boost circulation. Reporters interviewed everyone with anything to say about the affair. Evelyn Nesbit’s testimony was so explicit and shocking that Theodore Roosevelt himself called on the newspapers not to print it verbatim. But the district attorney’s cross-examination of Nesbit was brutal, and the jury was dead-locked. 

LANDMARK WEST! is excited to host New York Times bestselling author Simon Baatz for this lively discussion and reconstruction of the trial of Harry K. Thaw for the cold-blooded murder of Stanford White atop a building he designed. Baatz, in researching the murder for his book, The Girl on the Velvet Swing, dove deep into historic media accounts and found a thoroughly modern tale.

LANDMARK WEST!, FRIENDS of the Upper East Side’s friends across Central Park, wish to extend a special invitation for our members to attend this discussion on May 8th. FRIENDS members may purchase discounted tickets here, with a bonus “two-for-one” deal that admits a guest for free with ticket purchase.

Books will be available for sale and signing.

This Event is hosted by LANDMARK WEST!

 

Tuesday, May 8th
6:30 p.m.
Macaulay Honors College, 35 W. 67th Street, 2nd Floor Screening Room

$10 Members of FRIENDS and LW!
$20 General Admission

 Click HERE to register