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Midtown rezoning hearing draws crowd; new study announced

May 17, 2013

DOCOMOMO New York/Tri-State testified Monday May 13 at the City Planning Commission’s Multi-Board Community Task Force public hearing with regard to the East Midtown Rezoning, which proposes to upzone many sites around Grand Central Terminal and north. In the packed auditorium of Lighthouse International, attendees spoke to a panel of midtown community boards and Amanda Burden, Chair of the City Planning Commission, and commission staff. Many spoke on the issue of the unruly speed of the ULURP process and the need for infrastructure to come first, prior to the densification of the area with skyscrapers.

At the hearing Burden announced the city’s plan for a new study to look at public realm concerns. The effort, which will result in an “East Midtown Public Realm Vision Plan” next fall, will incorporate three public workshops. 

The preservation community addressed the need to evaluate additional buildings and to push the Landmarks Preservation Commission to calendar the buildings they have selected for evaluation from the RFEs received to date. DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State’s focus was to increase the potential for the safeguarding of additional Modern buildings besides those the commission has agreed to consider for designation. On the Commission’s list so far are: Universal Pictures (445 Park Avenue); Girl Scouts Building (830 Third Avenue); Union Carbide Building (270 Park Avenue); and the United States Post Office (909 Third Avenue). DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State has a list of ten additional buildings that it would like to see considered.
—Nina Rappaport

909 Third Avenue, incorporating the FDR Station Post Office, Max O. Urbahn and Emery Roth & Sons, 1968. Photo: Julie Rosen.