Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Time is Running Out for NYC!

111 West 57th Street by SHoP Architects (under construction); one of 13 developments planned or in construction along Central Park South.  It is happening here... and everywhere!
Let's cut to the chase.

Please sign this petition, New Yorkers for a Human-Scale City, and please add your individual name, or your organization's* name, to the growing list of co-sponsors endorsing the petition.  The list is long because it strikes a chord in every neighborhood throughout all five boroughs of New York City.  

This petition may not be perfect.  What single, straightforward document on any complex issue is?  But it is the result of a broad-based coalition of often unheard voices on the unprecedented and focused assault on our neighborhoods, landmarks, small businesses, parks, playgrounds, sunshine, shadows, and quality of life.  The evidence of this assault is all around us, and exploding -- 100 story towers, plans to increase height limits all over NYC, attempts to gut our 50-year-old Landmarks Law, shedding civic institutions, closing libraries and schools, rising rents and public parkland giveaways -- all in the name of Mayor de Blasio's untenable "affordable housing" scheme.  

The real beneficiary = plain greed.

Let's park our collective cynicism -- what good will another petition do?  First, this isn't just another petition.  It is uniquely broad, multi-borough-based, and unusually direct and finger-pointing. No time for a massive group edit or letting the perfect be the enemy of the necessary.  Please sign now.  Tomorrow may be too late.  This petition provides space to add your personal comments -- fire away!

Finally, if not now, when?  We must focus, and press, and this petition is a good start.

Make sure to watch Bill Moyers powerful PBS program, The Long Dark Shadows of Plutocracy, shown Nov. 28, 2014.

*Neighborhood groups, block associations, community boards, etc!

If you find the petition asks for too much personal information, email us with your name and LANDMARK WEST! will make sure your support is registered.   

45 West 67th Street
New York, NY 10023

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Continuing Education: "Preservation 101" on Tuesday November 17

Above: View of West 71st Street in the Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District

Join LW! for a full day workshop: "Preservation 101" 
Ideal for Real Estate Professionals
(Approved for 7.5 hours M11987)

The more you know about historic buildings,  
the easier it is to sell them!

This seminar is designed for brokers who buy and sell properties in historic districts. Expert speakers will discuss the history of development of the Upper West Side, working with the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, and regulatory aspects of living in a landmark building and historic district.  The day will end with a walking tour of the neighborhood with Professor Andrew S. Dolkart.

When: Tuesday November 17, 2015, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Where: Telepan Restaurant, 72 West 69th Street (nr. Columbus Ave.)
Registration: Contact LW! to reserve your spot & pay by check, or RSVP online here
Cost: $100 for LW! members; $125 for non-members* 

*Please call LW! to check your membership status.

Participants will receive a New York State certification for 7.5 hours of study approved by the Secretary of State in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 868 of the Laws of 1977.

With thanks to Chef Bill Telepan of Telepan Restaurant for generously opening his space to us.

NEW YORK, NY 10023
(212) 496-8110

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

UPPER WEST SIEGE! Neighborhood Character Under Fire



Mayor de Blasio's rezoning plan will raise height limits.
The Upper West Side among the neighborhoods hardest hit!  

Thanks to the efforts of neighbors like you, the Upper West Side's character is protected by hard-won Historic Districts and contextual zoning - in other words, rules that ensure any new development maintains the existing character of our neighborhood.  

Mayor de Blasio wants to increase height limits in some cases by 20-30%.  Under this proposal, swaths of landmarked mid-block brownstones (including 88th Street, above) within our West End Historic districts could rise twenty feet -- two full stories taller.  Skylines along Central Park West and Riverside Drive could rise forty feet.   Nearly every block of the Upper West Side would be affected.

Come to the public hearing at Community Board 7 on
Wednesday, October 21, starting at 7pm
at 250 West 87th Street, 2nd Floor

Learn more about how this plan would affect YOU!
Maps released by City Planning this year show corridors where Inclusionary Housing would allow heights to rise by 20-40' [translation: two to four additional stories] in height over current zoning (blue areas, map left) and where Senior Housing use would allow developers to bypass existing envelope restrictions in form and/or height (rose areas, map right).

[Zoning for Quality & Affordability] appears to move toward the idea of FAR [i.e., development rights] as an entitlement by which developers are now trying to build to full floor area ratio in a building envelope. This risks incentivizing redevelopment with no protection of existing affordable units and no requirement for on-site replacement of those units. [emphasis added]  Click here to read the full report

Make no mistake - the Mayor's plan is a massive give-away to developers who have been trying to "unlock" the Upper West Side by overturning our neighborhood's hard-won zoning and historic district protections for decades.  The result will be higher, bulkier, out-of-character new buildings.   And, because this is part of a citywide zoning plan, there has been no careful study or disclosure of the impacts these new buildings would have.  What is clear is that our neighborhood will bear the burden of new development, with no guarantee that anyone - except big-money real-estate interests - will benefit.

Here's what you can do right now:

Write to Manhattan Community Board 7!
ATTN:  Richard Asche & Page Ayres Cowley, Land Use Committee Co-Chairs, and Nick Prigo, Housing Committee Chair

Here is a sample:

I support efforts to defend our neighborhood from Mayor de Blasio's plan to weaken zoning protections and allow height limits within Community Board 7 to be raised by 20-30%. I am deeply concerned about the disproportionate impacts the proposed "Zoning for Quality & Affordability" plan would have on the Upper West Side, toppling our community's hard-won zoning and historic district protections, with no serious study or disclosure of how the changes would affect our neighborhood's human scale and unique sense of place. This is not the way to ensure affordability, architectural quality, and quality of life in our city. 

Write to your City Council Member, Community Board, and Borough President Gale Brewer (contact info below)
Hon. Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President 

Hon. Helen RosenthalCity Council District 6
District Office Phone: (212) 873-0282

Hon. Mark Levine, City Council District 7
District Office Phone: (212) 928-6814
If you have questions, please contact us at:


NEW YORK, NY 10023

Friday, October 16, 2015

The New York Landmarks Conservancy supports two pending UWS Landmarks

Check, and Check! The New York Landmarks Conservancy has released its position on two Upper West Side items, both calendared with upcoming LPC hearing dates.

Regarding the IRT Powerhouse, which will be heard on Thursday, November 5th, the Conservancy reminds us how Stanford White's work serves as a "reminder of the great pride that cities can take in their own achievements" and further, recognizes this largely intact civic structure as "a soaring tribute to the urban experience".

As for Robert Gibson's St. Michael's Episcopal Church Complex, which will be heard on Thursday, November 12th, the Conservancy recognizes the parish as excellent stewards of their three-building complex and cites the LPC's recent history: "The commission has consulted closely with the leadership of St. Michael's on its development plans over the last decade, and has held off on designation of the church complex, pending the completion of these plans.  However, this designation has now languished for 35 years; it is time to designated this significant church complex."

We at Landmark West! couldn't agree more! 

We thank the Conservancy for its stance on these two items and its continued support of New York City landmarks- those already designated and those which are deserving.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Walking Tour of the UWS: Mansions and Monuments of Riverside Drive

Mansions and Monuments of Riverside Drive

When: Saturday, October 24 at 1:30PM
Where: Meet by the circular fence in back of Grant's Tomb
Cost: $20 for adults; $15 for seniors and students

Information & Reservations:
Reservations recommended but not necessary.

Take a leisurely (mostly) downhill walk along Riverside Drive! Explore Riverside Drive from Grant's Tomb to the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument. Enjoy the views, stretch your legs, and meet interesting, like-minded people. A perfect fall weekend to take in the history contained in this two mile stretch. Please join your "star" NYC licensed Tour Guide for a fun and informative tour.

The walk will start at Grant's Tomb (122th Street and Riverside Drive) and end at Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument (89th Street and Riverside Drive). The walk will take about two hours.

Gen. U.S. Grant's Tomb, New York City, 1907, Used (358) - Click Image to Close

Subway: Take the #1 train to the 116th Street station on Broadway. Walk six blocks North to 122nd Street, and two blocks West to Riverside Drive.

Bus: Take the M11 bus to Amsterdam Avenue and West 118th Street, or take the M104/M4 bus to 122nd Street and Broadway. M5 stops at Grant's Tomb.

Thursday, October 1, 2015