Politics


Sutton Place mystery: Where is Carl Weisbrod?

 

ERFA town hall meeting to to oppose megatower invasion of Sutton Place

Had a developer proposed building a megatower in the middle of a narrow tree-lined street anywhere else in the five boroughs, he’d be laughed clear across the nearest river.  But the small piece of Manhattan encompassing most of the 50s, east of First Avenue, is the only residential area in the city with no height limits on buildings.  None at all.

Hence, Gamma Real Estate’s plan to shoehorn a ludicrous spike smack into the middle of E. 58th Street, just off First.  Although the Kalikow family is trying to portray its massive project as a done deal, it is not quite.

The East River 50s Alliance (ERFA) has submitted a sophisticated rezoning plan for the neighborhood that would impose sane height limits on new construction while promoting more affordable housing than Mayor de Blasio would require under current rules.

Supertower proposed for Sutton Place

ERFA held a packed town hall meeting this morning to engage more residents in the fight against the megatower.   Speakers included Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Councilman Dan Garodnick, Councilman Ben Kallos and New York State Sen. Liz Krueger.  All pledged their support for ERFA’s rezoning plan.

But here is the mystery:  ERFA submitted its plan two months ago to City Planning Commissioner Carl Weisbrod, but has yet to receive a response.  It is the commissioner’s job to certify an application as complete. Once that happens, it goes through a formal review process involving the Community Board (CB6 in this case), the Manhattan borough president, the City Planning Commission and the City Council.

But it’s been radio silence from Weisbrod (and his boss de Blasio).

This has made many in this 30,000-person community worried that  (to use the harsh term) the fix is in.  Adding to suspicions is the ongoing investigation of de Blasio for allegedly trading favors for donations from real estate interests.

New Yorkers in both rich and less-rich neighborhoods have joined in the fear that their quality of life is up for sale.  A tip of the hat to Inwood Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez for stopping a luxury development masquerading as an affordable housing plan.

 

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A four-foot victory in a long war

Victory over 4-foot lot near E. 88th Street just a squirmish in long war.

Victory over 4-foot lot near E. 88th Street just a squirmish in long war.

Let us celebrate the city’s decision to stop an obscene abuse of the zoning laws.  A developer had attempted to use a four-foot-wide lot to build a tall luxury condominium on Third Avenue near 88th Street. The city stopped him.

Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts is doing a victory lap, as well it should.

But rather than regard this decision as a war being won, we we should see it as an isolated case involving an egregious example.  The developer’s tricks were so outrageous that even the deBlasio administration couldn’t let it pass.

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Post primary, proud to be an Upper East Sider

ONWARD

Upper East Side, Land of Sensible Politics

 

Well, good for us.  The Silk Stocking district has shown its customary class.

Special kudos go to the Republicans, who gave the accomplished and moderate John Kasich his biggest boost in New York City.  They may be responsible for his second-place showing in the New York Republican primary — and for keeping the Kasich campaign alive. (It seems Donald Trump’s “very successful garage on E. 61st” failed to adequately impress.)

Democrats came out heavily for Hillary Clinton, the candidate with the most experience and political chops to be president. This is apparently the second most pro-Hillary neighborhood in the country.

Manhattan as a whole did itself proud in giving Clinton 66.3 percent of the Democratic vote . It gave Kasich 45.2 percent of the Republican, edging out Trump’s 41.8 percent. (Ted Cruz got 13 percent.)

 

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