Last month, on March 2, 2023, the Department of City Planning (DCP) held a Scoping Meeting to give the public an opportunity to make their voices heard about what should be included in the Environmental Impact Statement for the proposal. FRIENDS' public testimony at the meeting (watch it here) pointed out that the massive up-zoning of the block would introduce midtown-level density and destroy the equilibrium of zoning and historic district tools that have been carefully calibrated to reinforce the character of Park and Lexington Avenues with their low-rise midblock corridors. In fact, in a 1983 report, the DCP itself described Lexington Avenue as a uniquely narrow avenue with congested and retail-oriented sidewalks, with "very special neighborhood character."
Quite apart from the impact on the character and sense of place of the Historic District, it makes no sense from a planning perspective to pile a bulky, 436 feet-high building with floorplates nearly the size of the Freedom Tower, on this portion of the site. And beyond the immediate environmental impacts, we continue to question the need for this project. How will further centralizing medical care in a neighborhood already saturated with such facilities improve healthcare for New Yorkers? Were viable alternatives to the proposal seriously explored? Read our full written testimony here and watch this space for news and updates.
On February 28th, Northwell Health presented their proposal at the Community Board 8 Zoning and Development meeting. You can watch a recording of the meeting here. And click here to see the documents filed with the Department of City Planning.