Support FRIENDS in 2020 and Beyond

When you drive into Manhattan from any direction, aren’t you still startled by the incongruous “supertalls” that have sprung up across the city, from Lower Manhattan to the edge of the Upper West Side? I know I am.

We have mostly held off the encroaching wave of blockbusters… for now. But three active proposals could change that and take three large bites out of our neighborhood.

We now ask you to once again support our efforts to minimize the impact of ill-conceived projects on our neighborhood by making a year-end donation to FRIENDS.

Here’s what we’re up against:

At 96th Street and Second Avenue the City plans to take Marx Brothers Playground and turn it over to a developer who will build on the lot, and use its “air rights” for a 710-foot high residential tower. Of all the various "loopholes" developers have been using to increase the height of new buildings, ‎none is more fundamentally troubling than this one, which appropriates public parkland for private use.

Lenox Hill Hospital continues to advance an expansion plan that would include a tower on Lexington Avenue 2.5 times the established height limit of 170 feet, and introduce Midtown level density to the entire block.

The New York Blood Center, a modest through-block building on 67th Street between First and Second Avenues, proposes to replace its structure with a bulky 334-foot tower, with a floor plate larger than the Empire State Building’s tower.

FRIENDS is actively involved in each of these, taking the City to court to save the Marx Brothers site. We are working closely with neighbors, other community groups, and our elected officials to oppose the other two.

These are precedent-setting proposals that shatter zoning standards and defy decades of community planning. They will dominate not only our avenues, but increasingly our precious low-rise midblocks. Our community’s character and quality of life are very much at stake.

We urge you to join us in these critical efforts by making a year-end gift of $100, $500, $1,000, or more.

With your support, FRIENDS can continue to be your advocate, safeguarding the human-scale and historic character of our neighborhood, and celebrating it in 2021 and beyond.

Amid these urgent priorities, FRIENDS’ dedication to our neighborhood remains steadfast, even in this most unusual of years. Through our online programming, we continue to educate and enrich our understanding of the Upper East Side, with a range of topics and formats from illustrated essays, to panel discussions and virtual walking tours.

Our Young FRIENDS Education program, that served over 2,400 school children last year, has been adapted for remote teaching, and is proving to be a very welcome resource. And we continue to shine a light on lesser known history and architecture, especially through our own publication Shaped by Immigrants: A History of Yorkville.

Your generous support today will help ensure that we can continue all this important work, fighting to preserve the Upper East Side so we can celebrate it in the years to come.