Thursday, July 30, 2015

Radio silence as Mayor de Blasio ignores PS75 & community

Just an update: no response at all from the Mayor's office in response to letters from PS 75 parents, community members, and Community Board 7.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tenant Protection Plan "fails drastically": Independent engineer's report on 711 WEA development

The tenants at 711 W.E.A. have published a report from an independent engineer who reviewed Kalikow's permit application. The report is here (page 2 of the linked document.) It finds that the Tenant Protection Plan "fails drastically to account for both the size and complexity of the project, and ultimately falls short on every code requirement" the developer is required to address.

Developers used 4-week lapse in building code to win permits that would now be illegal

Tenants of 711 West End Ave. have issued a press release explaining how the developers managed to secure construction permits that are widely believed to be unsafe, and would now be illegal.

Current NYC building codes for tenant protection don't allow developers to claim they're constructing a "new, unoccupied building" on an occupied site unless they vacate and demolish the existing building. But Kalikow (the developers at 711 W.E.A.) have done just that. They submitted their applications during a short window of time when NYC building codes weren't in effect.

We don't know why the codes weren't in effect during that time, or how Kalikow knew they could build their huge project around that short time gap.

Read the press release here. The PDF includes an independent engineer's report, which finds that the developer's Tenant Protection Plan (required by DOB) is deeply inadequate. It also includes information from tenants' meeting with DOB Commissioner Rebholz.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

CB7 calls on City Hall for intervention in construction, coordination of agencies

July 1, 2015



Hon. Tony Shorris                                           Hon. Richard R. Buery, Jr.
First Deputy Mayor, City of New York          Hon. Alicia Glen
City Hall                                                          Deputy Mayors, City of New York
New York, NY  10007                                     City Hall
                                                                        New York, NY  10007


Re: Construction Surrounding PS 75/03M075 – Emily Dickinson School


Dear First Deputy Mayor Shorris and Deputy Mayors Buery and Glen:

As community leaders and members of Community Board 7/Manhattan, we have great concerns about the increasing number of significant construction projects adjacent to schools.  We appreciate that construction is a reality of living in our City, but are keenly aware that schools present special situations in need of heightened attention and protection from the impacts of development. 

We seek a coordinated response to the most pressing concerns raised by such construction adjacent to PS 75 (03M075 – the Emily Dickinson School) located on West End Avenue between West 95-96 Streets.  In particular, we need to provide support and meaningful assistance to address the multiple safety issues and disruption to the learning environment that inevitably follow major construction next to this school.  The need goes beyond the continuing issue of whether our schools have the capacity to absorb the enrollment of children who will reside in the family-friendly buildings that continue proliferate in our District.  We have worked closely with the PS 163 community in our District for over a year in connection with monumental construction less than 30 feet away.  Now PS 75 is in a similar position. 

PS 75 is surrounded on three sides by soft sites that are expected to be in active construction beginning in as little as a few months and potentially continuing for many years.

The first, and perhaps most threatening, project likely to affect the school is the claimed as-of-right proposal to build a platform over the top of the existing building at 711 West End Avenue (across West 95th from the school), and then construct multiple additional floors of luxury housing above it.  This complex project will create logistical, engineering and safety issues that will materially compromise the learning environment for students, teachers, administration and staff.  It will also create enormous safety concerns for the school community not limited to drop-off and pick-up.  This project is already having a negative impact on the residents of the existing building at 711 WEA.

Among the most pressing concerns are the blasting, noise, dust and debris that a project of this scale will have on the school, and the interference of a crane, construction materials and deliveries on West 95th Street outside a principal school entrance.   West 95th Street is a busy street providing egress from the southbound Henry Hudson Parkway.  Less than a year ago a neighbor was killed in front of the school by a willfully careless driver.  Children should not be put is such harm's way.

Looking to the near future, the former Salvation Army Williams residence at 720 WEA across from the school, and the soft development site at the northwest corner of West 96th and WEA, will likely ensure that at least a full generation of students will come and go at PS 75 under the barrage of construction.

Similar to PS 163, PS 75's enrollment includes a significant number of families who are zoned for other schools but choose this one.  That choice enrollment greatly enriches the diversity of the student body, and is highly valued by the entire community. At the same time, parents and administrators are working hard to boost enrollment so that the school can continue to support the enrichment programs central to its success. The looming threat of disruptive construction at PS 163 has already seen scores of families leave and choose different schools.  We fear a similar result will happen at PS 75, meaning the loss of a diverse, high-quality school.

Our schools are focal points of our community but we don’t do enough to support them when they are facing external threats.  We have grave concerns about these construction projects overall.

Our immediate concern is that the resources and expertise of City government be available to the PS 75 community to help them analyze the impact, understand what concerns and questions need to be addressed in order to mitigate any impacts and protect the student population, and secure meaningful protections.  While the DoB may have limited leverage over as-of-right construction permits, careful oversight to ensure the safety of children and the vitality of a school requires a coordinated plan that includes DoB’s and other agencies’ expertise and engagement to meet these particular concerns.

To that end, we request that you convene a meeting or working group of all relevant City agencies, including the Departments of Buildings, Education, Transportation, Environmental Protection, and Health & Mental Hygiene, as well as the School Construction Authority, to meet with the PS 75 school and community leaders.  The goal of such a meeting is to be proactive in protecting our schools in much the same way residential neighbors are required to be protected during construction. 

We implore you to advocate for meaningful protections for the entire community, including the school community, and not to allow construction to go forward until such protections are secured.

We look forward to working with you to achieve these necessary goals. 



Respectfully submitted,





Elizabeth Caputo                      Eric Shuffler                Blanche Lawton
Chair, CB7                               Co-chairs CB7 Youth, Education & Libraries Committee        

Copy:   Hon. Melissa Mark-Viverito, Speaker, New York City Council
            Hon. Helen Rosenthal, New York City Council, 6th District
            Hon. Mark Levine, New York City Council, 7th District
Hon. Gale A. Brewer, Manhattan Borough President
Hon. Scott M. Stringer, New York City Comptroller
            Hon. Letitia A. James, New York City Public Advocate
            Hon. Jose M. Serrano, New York State Senate, 29th District
Hon. Bill Perkins, New York State Senate, 30th District
            Hon. Adriano Espaillat, New York State Senate, 31st District
            Hon. Linda B. Rosenthal, New York State Assembly, 67th District

            Hon. Daniel J. O’Donnell, New York State Assembly, 69th District

Friday, June 26, 2015

Video: Protest of shady DOB permit approvals - June 25, 2015

video
NYC Councilmember Helen Rosenthal


video
P.S. 75 Parents & PTA


video
NYC Councilmember Helen Rosenthal

NYT: Researcher tracks harmful impacts of noise, especially on students & schools

'[In the 1970s] someone suggested that she examine an elementary school near elevated tracks of the No. 1 line in Inwood, at Manhattan’s northern tip. Some students there were lagging in their studies. What Ms. Bronzaft found, in a widely publicized 1975 study, was that children in classrooms facing the tracks performed far worse than those on the other side of the building, the quieter side. 
“Not only were the trains disruptive, the teacher had to stop teaching,” Ms. Bronzaft recalled. “Teachers stopped about 11 percent of the time.” 
“Bottom line: By the sixth grade, the children were nearly a year behind those on the quiet side,” she said. 
On the heels of that study, transit officials cushioned the rails with rubber pads, and school administrators put insulation panels on classroom ceilings. A few years later, Ms. Bronzaft returned to that school. Reading levels had equalized on both sides of the building, she found. “What it demonstrated,” she said at lunch, “is that when you correct for noise, you can help children.”'
Read the article:
Raising Her Voice in Pursuit of a Quieter City
Arline Bronzaft Seeks a Less Noisy New York
(New York Times, by Clyde Haberman, Oct. 6, 2013)

DNAinfo: Opponents of UWS Project Protest Last-Minute Construction Approval

"The tenants said they pooled funds and hired an engineer to evaluate the developer's Tenant Protection Plan, which typically outlines mitigation for factors like dust, noise and points of egress. The engineer found the plan inadequate, they claimed. 
"Tenants officially submitted a challenge to the developer's plan, but a DOB examiner already approved the safety plan Monday. Opponents still have until Aug. 2 to submit other challenges to the project. 
"Part of the problem is that not all of the developer's plans are publicly available, specifically the plan to excavate under the building, said tenant Terry Galo."

Read the article: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20150626/upper-west-side/opponents-of-uws-project-protest-last-minute-construction-approval

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Photos from today's school/tenant protest

Photo credit: Gerson Romero











Assemblymember O'Donnell's statement

 “This proposal is a recipe for disaster. There are so many red flags, from the idea of erecting a 10 story addition on top of a fully occupied building in the first place, to the presence of a school immediately across the street, to the dangerous highway exit running alongside the proposed construction. I have been strongly opposed to the development at 711 West End Avenue since I learned about the proposal. It is crucial that the City take a proactive stand to protect learning environments for students and the safety of all residents. Our children’s health and education, and our community’s safety should not be damaged in the interest of real estate development.”

PS75 parents' statement at this morning's protest



Just two days ago, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to extend the West End Ave. historic district to cover our block and 711 West End Ave.
Designating the block as “historic” means that developers can’t just throw up a building – it means they have to acknowledge that there’s a community here, with a history and an integrity.
But the developers knew the vote was coming, so they slammed through a bunch of permits to avoid being accountable. The Department of Buildings issued permits on June 22 – the day before the LPC hearing – and apparently even on June 23. 
We already had concerns about tricks the developers were using. They’ve applied for a million little permits instead of transparently submitting their whole project. They tried to claim the building had no tenants! Now we know for sure they’re trying get around the accountability mechanisms that are supposed to protect the community.
But our questions are for DOB, and for the Mayor. What is DOB’s involvement with these developer tricks? After months of community efforts to work with DOB to address huge concerns, how did DOB just happen to approve the projects at the precise moment before the LPC’s vote? 

And to the Mayor: where are you? This community has written to you, emailed you, called for your help in the press. We have heard nothing from you.

DeBlasio is supposed to be the Mayor for affordable housing, and here’s a developer warehousing rent-stabilized apartments and dodging their responsibility to protect existing tenants. 

DeBlasio is supposed to the mayor for Vision Zero, and here’s a project that will bring heavy traffic dangers to kids at the deadly corner where he launched Vision Zero himself.

DeBlasio is supposed to be the mayor for education, but this amazing community school is about to be destroyed by years of construction noise and danger literally hanging over our kids’ heads. And when we call on the Mayor for help, we get silence.
We may just be public school parents and not real estate developers, but we are out here to demand answers and accountability. DOB issues construction permits that affect communities on every level, from affordability to safety to education – and they don’t have to coordinate with a single other agency. That doesn’t make any sense. Vision Zero convenes six agencies to collaborate just on street safety! But DOB doesn’t have to collaborate with any other agency, much less community, in deciding where it’s okay to launch massive multiyear construction.
We’re calling on the mayor to step in and make DOB accountable to standards set by other agencies – we need DEP, DOH, DOE, DOT, and HPD, and we need them now.
And we need the Mayor to look at these totally suspect construction permits issued to luxury developers at the 11th hour, and ask the hard questions about what kind of shady business is going on here between DOB and the developers.
Mr. Mayor, we are waiting for your answer.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

UPDATED Thurs 6/25: Parents, tenants, electeds will protest planned construction

UPDATED: PRESS ADVISORY
Date: June 24, 2015

Contact: Emmaia Gelman (917) 517-3627, emmaia.gelman@gmail.com

UWS WILL RALLY TO OPPOSE LUXURY CONSTRUCTION THAT WOULD HOBBLE TWO PUBLIC SCHOOLS, SHRINK AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Parents demand answers on suspect DOB permit approval just the day before the Landmarks Preservation Commission vote that would have slowed development.

WHO:

Parents of P.S.75 & West Side Collaborative Middle School
Tenants of 711 West End Ave. and surrounding buildings
NYC Councilmember Helen Rosenthal
NYS Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell

WHAT:

RALLY to protest DOB’s suspect approval of permits construction at 711 West End Ave., and call for Mayor de Blasio to protect schools and communities against catastrophic effects of NYC’s luxury construction boom.

WHEN:

Thursday, June 25th, 8:10am
WHERE:

Rally: NW corner of West 95th Street and West End Ave.


BACKGROUND:
In the wake of DOB’s last-minute gimme to luxury developers, UWS community members call for the Mayor to engage DOB with city agencies responsible for the right to education, safety, environmental quality, and affordable housing.

Proposed experimental high-rise construction at 711 West End Ave. would overwhelm PS 75 and West Side Collaborative middle school, and exacerbate dangers at the deadly intersection where Mayor deBlasio launched Vision Zero. The construction as proposed will make it impossible for students to learn and create an exodus from the schools. Affordable housing is also threatened. Rent-stabilized apartments have been vacated and warehoused, and the disruption to surrounding buildings is expected to be shattering.

The Department of Buildings does not require developers to account for their impact on the community.

The community is calling on the Mayor to direct DEP, DOE, DOH, DOT, and HPD to engage with DOB to ensure safety, student rights, and tenant rights are addressed in permit applications. Such coordination is not unprecedented: Vision Zero requires most of the same agencies to collaborate on street safety. The city should implement Community Protection Plans for all such construction, parallel to the mandatory Tenant Protection Plan.

To date, the community’s requests for the Mayor’s help have gone unanswered.

###

http://dontdestroyUWS.blogspot.com

West Side Rag: [Some] construction permits approved under the wire

"A controversial proposed development at 711 West End Avenue received building permits just before the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to include it in a new historic district, a blow to opponents who had been trying to scuttle the project. The most recent design we’ve seen shows that the developers want to place a new building as high as ten stories on top of an existing seven-story rental building...  In fact, some of the building permits for the building at 95th street and West End were issued on the exact same day as the landmark hearing. If the building had received historic designation prior to the permits being issued, the project would likely have been slowed or stopped."

Read the article: http://www.westsiderag.com/2015/06/24/controversial-building-gets-building-permits-approved-just-before-receiving-historic-status

Breaking news from 711 W.E.A. tenants fighting construction

BREAKING NEWS!

 TAG Challenges Developer’s Tenant Protection Plan
On June 14 TAG filed the strongly worded report of our structural engineer with the Department of Buildings (“DOB”) to challenge the “Tenant Protection Plan” (TPP) submitted by developer Kalikow in support of its application for a permit to construct a ten-story luxury condominium atop 711 West End Avenue, our rent-stabilized, mid-1950’s combustible red brick building.  Note that 711, which has144 units, is nearly fully occupied.  While the DOB initially approved the TPP on May 29, 2015, under the New York City Building Code there is 15-day post-approval period within which to revoke the plan. Our submission of the engineer’s powerful report fell within that challenge period.

TAG also sent copies of the engineer’s detailed, five-page report to Council Member Helen Rosenthal and State Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell, both strong supporters of TAG, as well as to a number of other elected officials.

Key Conclusions from Engineer Report
Under the New York City   Administrative Code a developer must file a tenant pro­tec­tion plan for any dwelling that will be occupied during on-site construction. Under the Code: "The elements of this plan… shall make detailed and specific provisions” for the safety and well being of the extant tenants. The TPP must address the issues of noise, dust, egress and fire.

The engineer wrote, “It is my finding that the Tenant Protection Plan submitted is very general, fails drastically to account for both the size and complexity of the pro­ject and ultimately falls far short on every code requirement cited above.” He found that the TPP neither makes any provision for the structural safety of the building nor for the tenants living in it.

What Next?
Based on the depth of the engineer’s report and its strong conclusions, our TAG attorneys sent an accompanying letter to DOB Commissioner Rick D. Chandler, with a copy to DOB Manhattan Borough Commissioner Martin Rebholz, to urge that they reject the Kalikow Tenant Protection Plan in its entirety.


TAG is now awaiting the DOB’s response.  In the meantime we continue to work with our attorneys, our engineer and Council Member Helen Rosenthal to secure any and all documents supporting any approved applications for the planned con­struction in order to continue to challenge the viability of this dangerous construction.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Landmarked! 711 West End Ave. and PS75/West Side Collab are approved in the Historic District.

P.S.75 represents at the LPC hearing
At a tense meeting of the Landmarks Preservation Commission this morning, the LPC approved the West End Ave. Historic District Extension, including the building at 711 West End Ave. and (in a reversal) the public school building containing PS 75 and West Side Collaborative.

The LPC excluded the school's playgrounds from the Historic District, and also left out many individual buildings, leaving us vulnerable to still more aggressive development -- but it was an important protection for the schools.

The LPC noted emails and letters calling for the public school block to be protected, coming to them from parents, community members, and elected officials. (The LPC didn't acknowledge the other calls from the community for a more transparent process of drawing the lines of the Historic District, and for the preservation of blocks that will now be even more vulnerable to high-priced development than before -- that effort was enormous.)

It's not yet clear what impact the LPC decision has on the construction at 711 West End Ave. Although some permits were apparently approved yesterday (just in time to avoid being subject to the LPC's ruling) it's not clear which ones, and what the developers' claims will be to push forward as-of-right construction.

The Historic District Council mapped the other blocks and buildings that were left out of the Historic District:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Mapping the danger


Above is a simple visual map of the intersection at 95th Street and West End Ave. Compare to Platt Byard Dovell White's rendering of West 95th Street, submitted with their original application to DOB. (In their version, 95th St. is a wide, two-way boulevard with no one parked on it...)


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sign the petition: Mayor de Blasio, we need your intervention!

PETITION THE MAYOR:
https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/stop-developers-from-destroying-uws-public-schools-affordable-housing

Although the proposed construction at 711 West End Ave. would be devastating, there's currently no law or policy that makes it illegal. Developers can apply to do projects that tear apart the community and make our schools, homes, and streets unusable -- and D.O.B. doesn't have too much latitude to reject them.

This particular developer has been tricky, submitting permits to DOB piecemeal to prevent DOB from considering the magnitude of its project. The developer has also outright lied, claiming that the construction project deals with an empty building.

In order to hold this developer accountable, we need the intervention of the Mayor and other city agencies -- DEP, DOE, DOH, DOT, HPD, and others -- to demand real scrutiny of the applications. We need the Mayor's intervention immediately to plug the giant hole in city policy that leaves tenants, public school kids, and residents vulnerable to developers' greed.

The Mayor has not responded to the community yet, so we need to raise our voices louder.

PETITION THE MAYOR:
https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/stop-developers-from-destroying-uws-public-schools-affordable-housing

Launching our blog

The proposed construction project at 711 West End Ave. has been looming over us for a few months. If the community has been slow to organize its response -- at least in comparison to the developers' push to get permits approved -- it's because communities don't generally expect to have to defend ourselves in this way. We take for granted, perhaps naively, that city policies regulating huge, disruptive construction projects must be subject to some limits on destroying streets, affordable housing, and well-functioning public schools. Turns out that's not the case.

The tenants, neighbors, and school community around West 95th Street and West End Ave. have come together to oppose the proposed construction. We're fortunate to have the support of our elected officials, Councilmember Helen Rosenthal, Assemblymember Danny O'Donnell, and Borough President Gale Brewer.

It's jarring to understand that there is currently no D.O.B. policy that requires construction permit applicants to consider or mitigate luxury construction's many deep impacts on a community.

And we're pretty devastated that the Mayor has not responded to parents' calls for help, made directly and through our elected officials.

This website is an amalgam of community efforts, rather than the product of any one group. It's our effort to provide transparent information about the construction -- and destruction -- at 711 West End Avenue, and to make sure other community members can add their voices.

The blog is currently under development. More information will be posted as we're able. Please comment if there's information you'd like to see added.

Our call to Mayor de Blasio

[Want to add your name to this call to Mayor de Blasio? Click here.]

Dear Mayor de Blasio,

Our community is under siege by developers hoping to cash in on the resurgent housing market. The proposed construction at West End Ave, and West 95th Street will be devastating for affordable housing, it will massively disrupt two public schools and endanger students, and it will exacerbate traffic an already-deadly intersection.

As the city proceeds into a new luxury housing boom, the Department of Buildings’ approval of construction permits has more and more impact – but it’s uniquely uncoordinated with the city’s goals.
  • You set out to ensure all kids have access to pre-K and Kindergarten, but DOB can issue permits that effectively shut down their schools.
  • Your much-touted Vision Zero coordinates six city agencies for street safety – but DOB, which approves major street changes so that heavy equipment like cranes can set up for multi-year projects – isn’t one of them.
  • You’re working to create affordable housing, but DOB can approve permits that effectively force rent-regulated tenants out of their homes.
Because the construction atop 711 West End Ave. will be so destructive, the community broadly opposes it. But DOB is not bound by any policies that make it accountable to our community. DOB’s recent move to bring this particular project into its High-Rise Unit for increased scrutiny is welcome, but it doesn’t address these problems.

Currently, construction must include a Tenant Protection Plan that (in theory) prevents construction from destroying existing tenants' lives. But large-scale construction is impacting communities far beyond existing tenants, and there are virtually no checks on those impacts. In a tightly-packed city where luxury construction is looming over schools, streets, and affordable housing, the construction boom is literally destroying communities.

MR. MAYOR, USE YOUR AUTHORITY TO INTERCEDE IN THE DESTRUCTION AT 711 WEST END AVE. IMMEDIATELY -- BEFORE THE DAMAGE IS DONE. Please direct DOE, DOH, DOT, and HPD to engage with DOB to ensure safety, student rights, and tenant rights are addressed before permits are approved.

We also urge you to act to require a Community Protection Plan for all such construction, to substantively, transparently provide for street safety, air quality, school protection, and the retention of affordable housing.​

52 Pedestrians Hit by Cars on West End Ave. in Past 2 Years (DNAinfo)

"As deadly accidents at two West End Avenue intersections this year prompt demands for change, a DNAinfo New York study found that 52 pedestrians have been hurt on the street in just two years."

DNAinfo.com
Read the article: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20140730/upper-west-side/map-west-end-ave-plagued-by-crashes-with-pedestrians-past-2-years

Report Exposes Lying Landlords, Devious Developers (Chelsea Now)

"On April 16, the Housing, Health & Human Services Committee (HHH) of Community Board 4 (CB4) witnessed an eye-opening power point presentation from CRP’s Andra Mooney — who spoke in front of projections of actual online applications for building construction on which owners had indicated that buildings were not occupied and not rent-regulated, when they were indeed occupied and rent-regulated. The DOB has no digital check that will create a bounce-back for an incorrect filing, even though a building’s current status usually exists within DOB’s very own records.

"Since many vacated apartments are rent-regulated, the end result is that the number of the city’s affordable housing units are being systematically reduced as the vacated apartments are renovated and brought to market value, or transformed into co-ops. This practice, which runs counter to Mayor de Blasio’s drive to retain affordable housing, is moving across the city, throughout the boroughs, like a wave."

Read the article: http://chelseanow.com/2015/04/report-exposes-lying-landlords-devious-developers/

"Upper West Side Sees Largest Jump in Pedestrian Deaths Despite Vision Zero" (DNAinfo)

"In 2014, the neighborhood's 10025 zip code saw six fatalities involving pedestrians compared to just one the previous year — representing the biggest increase anywhere in the city.

"'I am more cynical and disappointed than I ever have been,' said Jane Burbank, 64, a 32-year neighborhood resident. "Changes to local streets have not made the neighborhood feel safer and in fact have caused dangerous traffic backups, she said.

"And with major construction projects like the new Jewish Home Lifecare nursing home planned, Burbank worried the congestion will only increase and make things worse for pedestrians. "'We'll look like a battlefield. It will be very, very dangerous,' added Janet Wasserman, 80, who has lived in the neighborhood for the past 36 years."

Read the article: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20150218/upper-west-side/upper-west-side-sees-largest-jump-pedestrian-deaths-despite-vision-zero

"2015 is looking to be a fatal year for construction" (Crain's)

"So far this year, at least seven people have died as a result of construction accidents in New York City. And despite constant efforts to improve safety, the data show workers and members of the public aren't necessarily better off than they were during the last real estate boom."

Read the article: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20150408/REAL_ESTATE/150409893/-2015-is-looking-to-be-a-fatal-year-for-construction

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Press Release: PS75 & tenants Protest on May 19, 2015

Response from DOB to PS75 Principal O'Brien - April 10, 2015

Letter to DOB from PS75 Principal O'Brien - Jan. 30, 2015

Email the LPC: Include PS75 in W.E.A. Historic District!

On June 23rd, the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission will decide whether to extend the West Side Historic District all the way up West End Avenue. The blocks around 95th and 96th Streets are slated for intensive development over the next few years, and unprotected blocks are at the mercy of a hot market.

PS75's block was initially included in the Historic District as a matter of course -- but was suddenly withdrawn just as the hearing is about to go forward. The PS75 community is asking the LPC to put it back into the historic district.

To add your voice, email the LPC here.
---

Honorable Meenakshi Srinivasan, Chair
New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
Municipal Building
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor, North
New York, NY 10007

June 9, 2015

Dear Chair Srinivasan,

As parents of the PTA at PS 75, the Emily Dickinson School, on the block from 95th - 96th from West End Avenue to Riverside Drive, we are very concerned about the recent exclusion of the school's block from Riverside-West End Historic District Ext ll. This decision goes against the careful recommendations of the former Landmarks Commission four years ago, and opens the block to speculators and developers who will be able to make arbitrary and drastic changes to the block with less oversight.  This will directly affect our school, the wonderful streetscape of the neighborhood, and interrupt the flow of the designation of West End Avenue.

It appears that this block is being designated for development in the future by your organization, a complete turn-around from the previous Commission's decision to maintain the integrity of the area. By adding the block back into the proposal, the LPC will help safeguard against developers whose concerns may be contrary to the well being of the school, residents, and the overall beauty and aesthetic feel of the neighborhood.

Please consider these issues when making your decision.  PS 75 and the PTA are not against development.  But opening up the floodgates to uncertain real estate ventures that permit less regulation or input by the community will result in a degradation of the neighborhood.

In light of all the above, we hope that Landmark and Preservation Commission will consider us, our children, the well being of the neighborhood and choose to include the 95th - 96th from West End Avenue to Riverside Drive  back into the Westside Historic District Ext ll.

Sincerely yours,
The PTA and Parents of PS 75

Saturday, June 6, 2015

West Side Rag on PS75 protest

5/20/15 Parents Protest Construction of 10-Story Building Topper Next To School

"Parents at PS 75 on West 95th street are fighting a plan to build a 10-story building on top of an apartment complex at 95th street and West End Avenue. Tenants in the building and local politicians have also criticized the project, and the Buildings Department has so far denied its applications for a permit.

"The parent group held a protest Tuesday that was attended by Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell — they say that the intersection, where a woman was hit and killed by a vehicle last year, is already too busy for another large project."

Read more...

Community joins together to protest deadly construction

[Here we post info about the protest.]