Park-Replacing Development At “No Cost” Sets “Harmful Precedent” In East Harlem

The debate surrounding plans to build a massive development on top of an East Harlem playground as a state investigator reviews the project, according to City Council records.

City officials and advocacy groups delivered testimony Monday in front of the City Council regarding a $1 billion plan to build a 760-foot-high tower with 1,200 apartments atop what is now known at the Marx Brothers Playground on East 96th Street between First and Second avenues.

The city and state legislature approved plans in 2017 to allow private developer AvalonBay to develop the site at no cost to the city in the condition that AvalonBay offer 300 of the 1,200 units.

The city and state legislature approved plans in 2017 to allow private developer AvalonBay to develop the site at no cost to the city in the condition that AvalonBay offer 300 of the 1,200 units. AvalonBay also agreed to provide new space for the three schools — COOP Tech, The Heritage School and Park East High School — and the playground that currently occupy the site, according to City Council records.

The Municipal Arts Society, which is currently suing the city with groups such as New Yorkers for Parks and the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts to stop the development, claims that project sets a “harmful precedent” that will allow development on more than 200 park spaces.

The Municipal Arts Society, which is currently suing the city with groups such as New Yorkers for Parks and the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts to stop the development, claims that project sets a “harmful precedent” that will allow development on more than 200 park spaces.

In testimony submitted to the City Council’s committee on parks and recreation, the Municipal Arts Society called the city’s actions in securing approvals for the development “fatally flawed for multiple reasons.”

“The City’s decision to assign development rights to a park is illegal and unprecedented. Parks do not have development rights and Marx Brothers Playground should not be an exception to the long-standing City policy,” the group’s testimony reads.

The Municipal Arts Society also claimed that the space replacing the Marx Brothers Playground would be inferior and unprotected from development. The community is expected to lose public space for five years during the construction of AvalonBay’s development, according to City Council records.

The advocates seem to have an ally on the council in local representative Ben Kallos, who advocated for the end to “baseless distinctions between parks in order to protect our playgrounds and green spaces from overdevelopment,” Curbed reported.



Read the entire article here.

About Harlem World Magazine

Harlem World Magazine is a lifestyle and brand for anyone who has a Harlem state of mind, dedicated to news, history, the renaissance and stories that celebrate our lifestyle.

Leave a Reply