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New York is Worth Fighting For

New York is Worth Fighting For

A donor emailed last Friday wondering how we can use the phrase “the city we love.” The man listed “the nonfunctioning of every system I can think of” among some specific reasons he is concerned about New York.

“But,” he added, “I contribute to your organization because I believe in preserving or conserving the few things worth saving.”

We think there are a lot of things worth saving. But this is a difficult time for preservation. Historic districts are under attack. The full Council will almost certainly approve upzoning SoHo/NoHo this week, opening these unique historic areas to massive real estate development.

Council Committees approved the upzoning plan last week with few changes, despite considerable opposition and thoughtful alternative proposals which would allow the creation of new affordable housing without destroying the area’s historic character.

We appreciate that there has been some reduction in the size of buildings in limited areas. But most of SoHo remains threatened.

Proponents used terms like “affordability” and “inclusiveness,” but this is just another real estate deal. There has been new development in these neighborhoods through the years. But the buildings have largely fit with their historic neighbors. This proposal will result in out-of-scale development that will forever erase the area’s unique attraction.

The proposal will hurt what has been an economically important area for the City. It will result in relatively few “affordable” units while tripling the number of market-rate apartments. It ignores the many quality of life issues residents have consistently raised over the past almost three years.

Yes, the area has good subway access. But it is the incomparable building stock that has drawn artists, businesses, and tourists. The plan ignores the value of these historic buildings. Instead, it targets more than 80 of them for destruction.

Thanks to all of you who emailed key Council Members last week in an attempt to stop this reckless plan. There will be a new administration and a majority of new Council Members in January. We will need you to help us let them all know that people care about the historic buildings and neighborhoods that help define New York.

Don’t give up. New York is worth fighting for. Please continue to join us in the fight.

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