FRIENDS in the News!

FRIENDS Executive Director Talks 

Zoning Loopholes at 249 East 62nd Street

NBC New York Channel 4 News Report: “Upper East Side High Rise Derided as Condo on Stilts.” October 9, 2018
Click HERE or on the image above to view the clip from NBC New York Channel 4 News.
This past Tuesday, FRIENDS’ Executive Director Rachel Levy was interviewed along with longtime zoning consultant George Janes about the impending development at 249 East 62nd Street. The proposed Rafael Viñoly designed tower– which has been referred to as “Jetsons-esque“– includes a 150-foot height-boosting void in its core, meant to lift residential units higher into the sky. In the interview, she explains that the proposed design deviates from the “relatively predictable forms” produced by tower-on-base zoning “seen up and down our (Upper East Side) avenues.” This void is an example of a notorious zoning loophole now so frequently abused by developers wishing to reap profits from artificially boosted apartments, at the expense of New Yorkers living in residential neighborhoods.
FRIENDS of the Upper East Side has filed a Community Appeal to challenge the DOB’s insistence that this tower does not violate New York City’s Zoning Resolution. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and the Manhattan Delegation of the City Council have also called for the City Planning Commission to seek immediate solutions for these zoning loopholes that threaten livability of our city’s residential neighborhoods in a joint letter which can be found HERE. For updates on the appeal and for more information on this development, please visit our website HERE.

A New Chair for the Landmarks Preservation Commission

Mayor de Blasio Appoints A New LPC Chair

Sarah Carrol_ pictured far right. Image by Nathan Haselby
Sarah Carroll, right, has been appointed as Chair of the LPC. (Photo by Nathan Haselby for Bklyner.)
Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio nominated Sarah Carroll as the new Chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), a position that has been vacant since June. Ms. Carroll has served as the Executive Director of the LPC since 2014, and she has been at the agency for 24 years, including serving as LPC’s Director of Preservation from 2005 until 2014. She holds an MFA in Historic Preservation from Savannah College of Art and Design.
At a City Council confirmation hearing last week, Ms. Carroll emphasized her plan to continue to increase agency transparency and outreach to both designated and un-designated neighborhoods to educate about the work of the LPC. She also spoke about promoting and maintaining productive communication with community groups, and the need to identify properties for designation early, particularly those with outstanding cultural value. This nomination was met with widespread support and Ms. Carroll’s appointment was approved unanimously at a City Council Stated Meeting this past Wednesday, September 26th. FRIENDS looks forward forward to continuing to work toward our City’s preservation together with Ms. Carroll during her tenure as LPC Chair.

Join FRIENDS on November 7th for our Book Launch!

Join FRIENDS of the Upper East Side for our book Launch Event!

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.
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.
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!
Wednesday, November 7th
6:30 p.m.
Location: National Society of the Colonial Dames of America
215 East 71st Street
Free to the public. Advance registration required.x

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and made possible by the New York State Legislature.

RESCHEDULED: Sights, Sounds, and Tastes of Yorkville

Sights, Sounds, and Tastes of Yorkville


see new date below:

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, October 3rd
5:30 p.m.
Meeting point will be provided upon registration.
Rain or shine.
$15 FRIENDS members, $25 non-members
To verify your current membership status, please call 212-535-2526 or email us at

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

Please join us as


proudly presents



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.