In its recent report Landslide 2017: Open Season on Open Space, the Cultural Landscape Foundation named Greenacre Park
one of the nation’s most threatened open space. Click here to read more.
WE ACHIEVED SOME VALUABLE RESULTS
Patrons and supporters of Greenacre Park can take pride in the “Fight for Light” campaign’s recent, vigorous efforts to persuade City Hall to include protections for the park’s sunlight under the new Midtown East rezoning.
Our many supporters lit up social media, sent letters, and sent emails. We attracted high-profile media coverage, and we won support from prominent elected officials.
Unfortunately, however – despite our bold and energetic advocacy – the language of the final rezoning, as adopted by the City Council on August 9, omitted formal protections for the Park’s sunlight.
It’s disappointing. But we still achieved some valuable results.
The City pledged to take three steps that will help keep the issue of shadow impacts front and center in the minds of both policymakers and developers when plans are filed for new, taller buildings:
- First, the Department of City Planning will convey all rezoning-related applications to The Greenacre Foundation, the Park’s private developer and owner.
- Second, the Planning Department will advise applicants to discuss their development plans with The Greenacre Foundation.
- And third, the Department will meet with the Foundation to discuss potential shadow impacts from both within and outside the rezoning area.
Our campaign extends a huge “thank you” to Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Councilman Dan Garodnick, Community Board 6, and the Manhattan Borough Board for supporting efforts to preserve the Park’s sunlight.
THE PARK HAS WON BATTLES LIKE THIS BEFORE
In 1980, a planned new building at 805 Third Avenue would have stood three stories higher than permitted and restricted sunlight reaching the park.
Under the leadership of Greenacre Foundation, park patrons mounted a campaign to curtail the building’s height. And we won.
In rejecting the application, Planning Chairman Herbert Sturz said: “Greenacre Park is one of the most beautiful and useful private parks available to the public [and makes a] tremendous contribution…to the quality of life in this city.”
The Foundation then analyzed all nearby sites that might threaten the park’s sunlight. As a result, an adjacent property was purchased in 1985 — and then resold it with height restrictions protecting the park’s northern end.
Also, in 1987, the Durst Organization agreed to curtail any potential shade encroachment that might be triggered by its property across the street from the park.
Image courtesy of Sasaki
GREENACRE PARK PLAYS A SPECIAL ROLE ON MANHATTAN’S EAST SIDE
A lovely, sunlit park is a rare joy on Manhattan’s East Side. In fact, more than 30,000 people used the park this past summer
While an average City Council district devotes 19 percent of its total acreage to parkland, the percentage in District 4 — home of Greenacre Park — is only two percent.
Moreover, District 4 ranks 49th out of the 51 Council Districts when it comes to parks and playgrounds per 1,000 residents.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Looking forward, the “Fight for Light” campaign is poised to advocate on behalf of Park sunlight when public debate commences on possible First and Second Avenue rezoning.
In addition, the campaign will be working together with park and planning groups citywide to mandate sunlight preservation as part of the development process. Our aim will be to effectuate changes in City policy so that when development occurs, public access to sunlight must be taken into account and mitigated.
On behalf of Greenacre Park and the hundreds of thousands of people who use the Park annually, we thank you for your continued support and advocacy.
And always remember:
Sunlight adds life. And New York City is a wonderful and unique place — especially when it has a chance to sparkle in its glorious sunlight!