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Greenacre Park Under Threat of Afternoon Darkness

Afternoon sun on Greenacre Park threatened by tower development.

Greenacre Park is a public oasis at 217 East 51 Street between Third and Second Avenues. Friends of this precious bit of natural elegance smack in the middle of the commericial hardscape oppose Mayor Bill de Blasio’s crusade to “upgrade” the zoning of Midtown East.

(Editor’s note: So do we.  So should anyone who values quality of life in one of Manhattan’s most densely packed districts.)

This “upzoning” would let surrounding buildings in the 78-block vicinity of Grand Central Terminal go higher and higher. Old buildings would make way for more muscular towers, leaving more and more streets and sidewalks in shadow for more and more hours of the day..

The upshot, according to The Gothamist, would be to downgrade the daily allotment of sunlight for such public amenities as Greenacre Park. The aggrieved parties would be many.

(Check out PIX11’s #FightForLight feature on Greenacre Park.)

Afternoon sun at Greenacre Park may get blocked out by new towers.

Greenacre Park is at 217 East 51st Street.

Greenacre Park fought for its sunlight in 1980 and won

Back in 1980, the Greenacre Foundation scored a victory over a proposed nearby tower. The building would have gone stories higher than zoning  allowed at the time. That win gives the park’s partisans some reason to hope that the mayor’s rezoning plan can be blocked. A similar rezoning effort was blocked near the end of Michael Bloomberg’s administration.

(Editor’s note: They never stop trying, and we should never stop fighting back.)

 

Greenacre Park: Natural elegance in so little space.

The rezoning, which would extend from East 39th to East 57th between Third and Fifth Avenues, is now making its way through a seven-month public review process.  It would conclude after vetting by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and the City Planning Commission. The City Council could vote on it as early as late July.

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David Brussat

David Brussat edits the Architecture Here and There blog (https://architecturehereandthere.com), promoting traditional and criticizing modernist work, mostly in architecture, but also in other arts. In 2002, he received the Arthur Ross Award for architectural writing, bestowed by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (then Classical America).