SEPTEMBER FULL BOARD Meeting minutes
Minutes of the regular Community Board Five meeting held on Thursday, September 09, 2021 via teleconferencing, at 6:00pm. Vikki Barbero, Chair, presided.
John B. Harris Jr.
Maki Thomas Livesay
Sarah BJ Sung
Manhattan Borough President
Maddalena Nappi Reidy
Borough President Gale Brewer: reported on the success of the ferris wheel in Times Square. She spoke about the Empire Station Complex that several parties, including Community Board Five, have been focusing on, and her delight in having the new Governor and starting a new discussion on the topic. She spoke about issues at the Hotel Commodore and its open space and also thanked CB5 on its comments on 415 Madison Avenue and working on the 5th Avenue Busway. She reported on the vaccine and climate change discussions held on Tuesdays at 3pm. She spoke of joining with DOT and others at an electric charging station press conference which will soon be available all over Manhattan. She spoke of the school reopening and expressed concern that there was no “Plan B” available to parents and students. She announced that on September 23, NYC Planning will present the Open Restaurants Text Amendment and NYS Independent Redistricting Commission will present the timeline of their process. She spoke about the eviction moratorium being extended and encouraged that people get their forms filled out. She spoke of virtual meetings and also announced funding within the CB5 district.
Justin Flagg, Senator Krueger’s Office: announced that there was a special legislative session to extend the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums until January 15. He also announced that legislature has also expanded the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance Program known as ERAP and the ability of state and local government bodies to meet remotely. He announced that the MTA will begin the Environmental Assessment Process for the Congestion Pricing program which will include a public consultation period.
Laurie Harjowaroga, Speaker Johnson’s Office: announced three events: an annual community resource fair on September 23, a bike helmet fitting and giveaway at 54 West 54th Street and 11th Avenue on September 25 and they will be starting their food bag program for seniors.
Betsy Schmid, Congresswoman Maloney’s Office: reported that Congresswoman Maloney met with leaders in the New York Fashion Industry to kick off Fashion Week and to reinvigorate the industry. She announced that the Congresswoman joined President Biden, Governor Hochul and other members of the NYC delegation to discuss the devastation caused by Hurricane Ida. She stated that the Congresswoman, as Chairwomen of the Committee of Oversight and Reform, provided critical funding to electrify the General Services Administration and the US Postal Service vehicle fleets as part of a provision of the Build Back Better Act. She also announced voting on HR 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which will restore critical protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. She announced that a new report was released showing an estimated 30,000 people in the district who currently purchased health insurance.
Erica Overton, Assembly Member Rosenthal’s Office: introduced new liaison Alex Levin. Spoke of extension of the Eviction Moratorium. She spoke of letter by Assembly Member Rosenthal regarding the United States Postal Service constituent complaints of people not getting mail. She announced hosting of Mammography day.
Senator Brad Hoylman: spoke of the vaccination booster trial. He introduced Legislative Aide Justin Shea, who will be covering CB5. He stated that he was grateful to all his colleagues who passed the legislation to extend the eviction moratorium. He also announced the extension of legislation as part of the package called the Tenant Safe Harbor Act. He spoke of the temporary extension of the legislation that will allow public meetings to remain remote until January 15. He stated support for legislation that would add COVID-19 vaccine to the list of vaccines children are required to receive to attend schools in New York State. He thanked CB5 for their work on the Empire Station Complex and the working group’s submission of a comprehensive set of recommendations.
Alexis Richards, Councilmember Rivera’s Office: introduced herself as the new liaison to Councilmember Rivera. She announced the passing of legislation to create a preliminary care service and patient navigation program to better connect uninsured New Yorkers to health care citywide. She announced two hearings on the alarming trend of residents dying by suicide and oversight hearing on vaccine mandates for municipal employees. She announced that the Councilmember joined with Councilmembers Brooks and Powers to introduce a new bill to amend the Gender-Motivated Violence Act, which will create a two year look back window for survivors of assault to file civil actions using the GMVA even if the stature of limitations has expired. She announced hosting of mobile office hours at the Kips Bay Library on September 16.
Franklin Richards, Councilmember Powers’ Office: announced the passing of Bill 2311, which empowers restaurants who use third party delivery application services to access their customer’s basic information. He also shared that Councilmember Powers wrote a letter to Governor Hochul urging her to sign into law the Less Is More Act which will help address the ongoing crisis at Riker’s Island and help decrease the population by removing those who are only there for parole violations. He also announced the sponsoring of legislation that calls on DCP to remove outdated dancing restrictions that put unfair burdens on smaller bars, restaurants and other businesses. He also announced the passing of Intro 1811 to help improve the pedestrian experience and strengthen public safety measures in Times Square.
Roberto Robina, Fashion Institute of Technology: spoke of reopening of FIT and upcoming exhibition. He also stated that FIT was voted the safest college in America.
Paul Krickler, applauded DOT for the changes that iy laid out for the extended sidewalk for the bike lane and the busway.
Rosemary Weigman, agreed that the new vision for 5th Avenue was superb but asked that DOT stop the southbound traffic at West 57th Street and make either a westbound or eastbound movement on West 55th Street.
Jason Schwab, spoke of retail tenants who are suffering right now because of too little traffic going down 5th Avenue and strongly encouraged the Board to not pass this plan but have DOT look elsewhere to ease congestion due to there already having two bus lanes between 57th and 42nd Streets.
Robert Siegal, spoke of 5th Avenue drawing the traffic that pays all the benefits to the poorer middle class and stated that it would be naïve to eliminate car traffic which will devastate the shopping and attracting the best consumers who pay the taxes that support our needs.
Lee Manaheim, spoke in opposition to the city restricting traffic on 5th Avenue which will hinder financial recovery.
Janet Liffe, spoke in support of the DOT 5th Avenue Busway plans.
Melody Bryant: spoke of the issue of global warming and the fact that NYC is being affected by it and public transportation with efficient buses and bikes and wider sidewalks and urge the board to vote yes on the DOT plan.
David Warren: travels by public transportation or bicycle and supports the 24/7 busway plan by DOT but would like to make a friendly amendment to continue to have traffic go south of 57th Street and not to have the 55th Street turn lane.
Jerome Barth: thanked the Board for taking up this complicated issue and proposed that DOT pause their projects at this time, since we are in the middle of a pandemic that has put New York recovery on hold. He noted that many businesses are making decisions on whether they want to move forward and noted that it is close to the holiday season, which is critical to businesses.
Fred Cerullo: spoke about his concerns about the timing of the program and the restriction of traffic, which is unnecessary as two bus lanes already exists. He noted that there is still concerns in this period of recovery and the approaching holiday season. He thanked the board for their consideration of the request to pause this hearing.
Dylan Kane: offered some concerns about the Busway and the unintended negative consequences.
Andrew Rosenthal: spoke in support of the DOT 5th Avenue Busway and asked for there to be no delays.
Jane Selden: spoke of devastation caused by Hurricane Ida and a reminder that climate crisis has arrived. She stated that there is a short window of opportunity to drastically lower greenhouse emissions and that the transportation sector plays a key role with private vehicles being the largest contributors and questions if the scaled back version of the DOT plans for 5th Avenue is enough. She urges CB5 to reject this compromised version of the plan and approve the original plan.
Daniel Cuthbart: spoke in support of the DOT 5th Avenue Busway plan.
The July 2021 minutes passed with a vote of 33 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstaining, as follows: IN FAVOR: Achelis, Athanail, Brosnahan, Chou, Diggins, Frewer, Garcia, Goshow, Haas, Harris Jr., Hershberg, Heyer, Johnson, Kaback, Kahng, Kalafarski, Kinsella, Law-Gisiko, Levy, Lione, Livesay, Maffia, Miller, Shapiro, Sigman, Slutzkin, Smith, Spandorf, Spence, Stern, Webb, Whalen, Yang. ABSTAIN: Barbero.
Chair Barbero announced that on September 1st, Governor Kathy Hochul suspended compliance with the in-person requirement of the Open Meetings Law and allowed virtual or hybrid meetings until January 15, 2022, so for 15 months, Community Boards conducted virtual public meetings to a really fabulous success. She stated that the ability to join remotely whether online or by phone has allowed board members to perform their duties safely and has increased engagement from the public many of whom were previously unable to attend in-person meetings due to their schedule personal commitments or just by being not ambulatory. Every Manhattan Community Board has described an increase in attendance from not only members but members of the public attending virtual meetings. She said that since we are required to go back to in-person meetings in January, the Community Boards are continuing to contact State Officials and the Governor to pass legislation that amends the Open Meetings Law to allow virtual and hybrid meetings permanently. She encouraged Board Members and members of the public to do the same and contact their elected officials with this request to amend the open meetings law.
Chair Barbero announced the ratification of the emergency action by the Executive Committee on the resolution regarding an application from S Projects on behalf of Moschino for a marketing event in Bryant Park featuring a live fashion show for the public on September 9, 2021. A role call was made for ratification with a vote of 33 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstaining, as follows: IN FAVOR: Achelis, Athanail, Brosnahan, Chou, Diggins, Frewer, Garcia, Goshow, Haas, Harris Jr., Hershberg, Heyer, Johnson, Kaback, Kahng, Kalafarski, Kinsella, Law-Gisiko, Levy, Lione, Livesay, Maffia, Miller, Shapiro, Sigman, Slutzkin, Smith, Spandorf, Spence, Stern, Webb, Whalen, Yang. ABSTAIN: Barbero.
Chair Vikki Barbero invited new board member, Samir Lavingia, to give a brief background and reasons for wanting to serve on the Board.
LAND USE, HOUSING AND ZONING – Layla Law-Gisiko
Ms. Law-Gisiko gave a brief presentation on the following resolution on behalf of the joint committees:
ULURP Applications C 210453 ZSM & C 210454 ZSM - The Applicant, 415 Madison Avenue LLC, is seeking special permits pursuant to Zoning Resolution (ZR) Section 81‐645 (Special permit for a public concourse) and ZR Section 81‐685 (Special permit to modify qualifying site provisions) (the "Proposed Actions") to facilitate development at 415 Madison Avenue in the East Midtown area of Manhattan (Block 1284, Lot 21; the "Development Site"). The Development Site is located at the northeast corner of the intersection of Madison Avenue and East 48th Street, and is in a C5‐3 zoning district in the Southern Subarea of the East Midtown Subdistrict in the Special Midtown District. The Applicant is in the process of obtaining two non‐discretionary certifications pursuant to ZR Sec. 81‐643 to allow the Applicant to rebuild overbuilt floor area in a new development, as well as a certification pursuant to ZR Sec. 81‐642 to allow for floor area to be transferred to the Development Site from a landmark in the area (St. Bartholomew’s Church). In addition to these certifications, the Applicant is seeking the special permits pursuant to the East Midtown Subdistrict regulations to facilitate the proposed project.
WHEREAS, 415 Madison Avenue (“Applicant”) is a commercial office tower located at the corner of Madison Avenue and East 48th Street, built in 1955 and owned by Rudin Management; and
WHEREAS, The building was built in 1955, prior to the 1961 Zoning Resolution and is currently overbuilt; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant, 415 Madison LLS, a subsidiary of Rudin Management, wants to demolish the building to build a new tower using the new zoning provisions from the East Midtown Special District enacted in 2018; and
WHEREAS, The Proposed Actions and the non‐discretionary certifications would together facilitate the development of a new 40 story, 605 foot tall commercial development, totaling approximately 343,100 gross square feet (gsf) (24.6 FAR) on the Development Site with a ground floor retail pavilion and an open air public concourse (the “Proposed Development”); and
WHEREAS, The LIRR concourse is being constructed in connection with the East Side Access project to connect the LIRR to Grand Central Terminal, pursuant to an agreement between the Applicant and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). Under an agreement with MTA, the Applicant must also construct an entrance leading to the below-grade LIRR concourse and MNR passageway on the ground floor of the Proposed Development along East 48th Street. The below-grade transit concourse and entrance from the street would also be constructed on the Development Site absent the Proposed Development; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant wishes to retain the overbuilt density as permitted under ZR Sec. 81‐643, Under these certifications, new development on the Development Site is permitted to incorporate approximately 40,900 sf of existing non-complying floor area, upon payment into the Public Realm Improvement Fund created by the East Midtown Subdistrict text; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant wishes to transfer development rights from individual landmark St Bartholomew’s Church, This certification permits the transfer of approximately 36,100 sf of development rights from the St. Bartholomew’s Church landmark to the Development Site; and
WHEREAS, Air rights appurtenant to St Bartholomew have been acquired by JPMC and are being sold by JPMC to 415 Madison under a separate agreement reached between JPMC, 415 Madison LLC and MTA; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant is seeking a 3 FAR bonus in exchange for a 2400 sqft public open air concourse located within the footprint of the development site, the Applicant believes that this concourse would improve the public realm by adding circulation space along the sidewalk leading to the LIRR East Side Access entrance to be constructed on the Development Site.; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant is seeking a special permit pursuant to ZR § 61-685 to allow for modification of height and setback and mandatory district plan elements (as outlined in ZR §§ 81-66, 81-42, and 81-43) allow for non-compliance with retail continuity, and Day Light Exposure; and
WHEREAS, The proposed development provide improvements to the public realm, in conjunction with a major transit improvement negotiated under a separate agreement by the applicant or its representatives and the MTA, it would facilitate the sale air development rights from a landmark hence promoting its conservation, and it would enhance the building stock of East Midtown; therefore be it
RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the proposed special permits as well as the non-discretionary certifications.
After much discussion the above resolution by the Land Use, Housing and Zoning Committee passed with a vote of 34 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstaining: IN FAVOR: Achelis, Athanail, Bahor, Brosnahan, Chou, Diggins, Frewer, Garcia, Goshow, Haas, Harris Jr., Hershberg, Heyer, Johnson, Kaback, Kahng, Kalafarski, Kinsella, Law-Gisiko, Levy, Lione, Livesay, Maffia, Miller, Shapiro, Sigman, Slutzkin, Smith, Spandorf, Spence, Stern, Webb, Whalen, Yang. ABSTAIN: Barbero.
TRANSPORTATION AND ENVIRONMENT – e.j. kalafarski
Mr. Kalafarski gave a brief presentation on the following bundled resolutions:
Proposal by the New York City Department of Transportation for creation of southbound busway traffic restrictions on Fifth Avenue
WHEREAS, The New York City Department of Transportation ("DOT") is planning on introducing new traffic restrictions as part of their Fifth Avenue busway proposal; and
WHEREAS, At the June 21, 2021, meeting of the Transportation & Environment Committee of Community Board Five, DOT gave a presentation on the lane reconfiguration of Fifth Avenue, including creation of a protected bike lane, improved curb access, and pedestrian improvements including wide painted sidewalk extensions and the reduction of one travel lane from 57th Street to 34th Street; and
WHEREAS, At the June 21, 2021, meeting, the Transportation & Environment Committee declined to take a position regarding the lane reconfigurations for three main reasons: first, the proposed changes did not include anticipated busway restrictions, and therefore represented only a piecemeal element of all changes planned for Fifth Avenue; second, the three-day advance notice and timeframe in which the community was asked to evaluate the proposed Complete Street was far too short to allow for a full consideration of the issue, as Community Board Five had not heard a full update on the project from DOT since August 2020 after DOT had cancelled their promised presentation at the September 21, 2020, meeting; and finally, the June 21, 2021, presentation did not address long-standing concerns regarding enforcement of existing bicycle regulations to ensure pedestrian safety, as DOT has failed to address Community Board Five’s requests to brief on data collected and efforts to address the behavior of cyclists with regular education and enforcement; and
WHEREAS, Initial versions of DOT’s busway traffic restrictions proposal, presented in prior months to Community Advisory Board (“CAB”) meetings including community residents, retailers, and business advocacy groups, said that only buses, bikes, and emergency vehicles would be able to travel through on Fifth Avenue between 57th Street and 34th Street, and that all other vehicles could access individual blocks from side streets, but would have to make the next available turn off of the busway; and
WHEREAS, The updated and current proposal from DOT calls for scaled-back traffic restrictions at a limited number of locations and reduces vehicle traffic along the corridor to ensure bus speeds are maintained, reduce conflicts between buses and right turning vehicles, and allow for added bike lane and pedestrian space, and the updated proposal allows vehicles to travel through the corridor in two segments and maintains vehicle access to all blocks; and
WHEREAS, DOT is planning the busway implementation for September 2021 and anticipates increased traffic congestion and slower speeds due to the return to office for many workers, full in-person school learning, and the holiday season; and
WHEREAS, The new busway restrictions maintain that vehicles traveling southbound on Fifth Avenue are required to turn before 55th Street—where no vehicles will be allowed to continue southbound—and entering vehicles south of 55th Street are required to turn before 45th Street—where no vehicles will be allowed to continue southbound; and
WHEREAS, The busway restrictions also maintain existing holiday turn restrictions that vehicles are prevented from turning right at 51st Street, 49th Street, and 47th Street to keep bus lanes clear of vehicle conflicts and to improve pedestrian safety; and
WHEREAS, DOT will enforce busway restrictions and maintain traffic flow as well as start in-person monitoring to make live signal timing adjustments and will continue to record traffic data to compare volumes on Fifth Avenue and adjacent corridors as well as monitor traffic and bus speeds along the corridor; and
WHEREAS, The Fifth Avenue Association believes that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, now is not the time to “experiment” on Fifth Avenue, and that the introduction of short-term traffic reduction measures may result adversely in added confusion and further depressed economic activity; and
WHEREAS, The Fifth Avenue Association is proposing a capital project to construct Fifth Avenue into a green corridor from Central Park to the New York Public Library Main Branch that encourages diverse sidewalk use and proposes a reconfiguration of the street with permanent materials to create a boulevard where New Yorkers can work, eat, and play by prioritizing pedestrians over cars and making sure that the new Fifth Avenue can jump-start the recovery of Midtown, entice tourists back, bolster retail sales and businesses, and fortify the City’s tax base; and
WHEREAS, The Fifth Avenue Association suggests that DOT not focus on the busway and turning restrictions, but rather focus on a re-imagined vision for Fifth Avenue and hopes that all city agencies will work together to create this vision; and
WHEREAS, Members of the public consistently expressed support for the proposed busway as well as other street reconfigurations, such as the creation of the protected bike lane, as they protect both cyclists and pedestrians by removing a lot of vehicles from the corridor and with the attempt of reducing pedestrian/cyclists conflicts with vehicles; and
WHEREAS, While there were calls by members of the public to expand the proposed busway restrictions to twenty-four hours a day and to extend the busway further south to 34th Street, Community Board Five does not call for these extensions at this time; and
WHEREAS, DOT indicated that CAB meetings to engage the community would continue, throughout the implementation of the busway rules and prior to any further changes on the Fifth Avenue corridor; and
WHEREAS, Community Board Five judges the short-term, scaled-back busway traffic restrictions proposed by DOT to not conflict in any way with the proposed permanent reconfiguration imagined by the Fifth Avenue Association, and that the lane reconfiguration implemented by DOT in July is extremely consistent with the long-term vision of pedestrian, bicycle, vehicular traffic, and bus lane use imagined in the Fifth Avenue Association vision; and
WHEREAS, Community Board Five strongly endorses the goals of the Fifth Avenue Association vision for a long-term capital project, including increased greenery, a holistic approach to street use planning on the Fifth Avenue corridor, a focus on growing economic activity for the coming decides, and a global view of competitiveness for the city’s premier retail district; therefore be it
RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of DOT's proposal for the implementation of busway and traffic restrictions on Fifth Avenue from 57th Street to 42nd Street starting in September 2021, contingent that DOT continue CAB meetings with the community after implementation and prior to further changes, to hear and implement ongoing community feedback appropriately; and be it further
RESOLVED, Community Board Five supports the vision of the Fifth Avenue Association for a capital project to implement a long-term vision for Fifth Avenue between Central Park and Bryant Park, and further expresses an intent to work with the Fifth Avenue Association on the funding and community engagement for such a plan, and encourages DOT to work with the Fifth Avenue Association to design and implement a plan that meets both short-term traffic needs and long-term street use plans, as a potential model for future permanent pedestrianization and beautification plans on city streets.
Proposal by Department of Transportation to Mitigate Pedestrian Congestion on Lexington Avenue from 41st St. to 51st St.
WHEREAS, The New York City Department of Transportation (“DOT”) has undertaken the Vision Zero project to eliminate all deaths from traffic crashes regardless of whether on foot, bicycle or inside a motor vehicle; and
WHEREAS, As a part of the Lexington Avenue Vision Zero project, DOT has proposed a series of street treatments for blocks of Lexington from 41st St. to 43rd St., 43rd St. to 45th St., 45th St. to 47th St., 47th St. to 49th St., 49th St. to 51st St. and 51st St. to 53rd St.; and
WHEREAS, DOT installed top of the T curb extensions in 2015 and a temporary sidewalk expansion in 2020 from 42nd St. to 48th St.; and
WHEREAS, Compliance with the new roadway geometry is intermittent, additional treatments are needed to create a fully functioning project; and
WHEREAS, DOT has proposed converting one travel lane on the west side of the avenue to a painted sidewalk; and
WHEREAS, DOT has proposed painting the bus lane with red paint to improve compliance; and
WHEREAS, DOT has proposed adding curb extensions on the east side of the avenue; and
WHEREAS, DOT has proposed consolidating multiple bus stops; and
WHEREAS, DOT has agreed to return to Community Board Five at the end of the Winter 2021 to provide an update on the implementation of the treatments on the selected blocks; and
WHEREAS, DOT has conducted traffic analysis, surveys, and stakeholder outreach regarding the blocks to be redesigned; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, Community Board Five supports DOT’s proposed treatments to Lexington Avenue from 41st St. to 51st St.; and be it further
RESOLVED, Community Board Five requests that DOT return at the end of Winter 2021 to update Community Board Five on the progress of the proposed changes and their effects on pedestrian, bicycle, and automotive traffic, as well as on surrounding properties and blocks, and to provide an update on their engagement with impacted community members.
After much discussion, the above bundled resolutions passed with a vote of 29 in favor, 4 opposed, 1 abstaining on the 5th Avenue Busway and 33 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstaining on the Lexington Avenue Sidewalk Extension as follow: IN FAVOR: Achelis, Athanail, Bahor, Brosnahan, Chou, Diggins, Frewer, Garcia, Goshow, Haas, Harris Jr., Hershberg, Heyer, Johnson, Kaback, Kahng, Kalafarski, Kinsella, Law-Gisiko, Levy, Lione, Livesay, Miller, Shapiro, Sigman, Slutzkin, Smith, Spandorf, Spence, Stern, Webb, Whalen, Yang. OPPOSED: (Only on 5th Avenue Busway) Achelis, Brosnahan, Hershberg, Heyer. ABSTAIN: Barbero.
LANDMARKS – layla law-gisiko
Ms. Law-Gisiko gave a brief presentation on the following bundled resolutions.
30 Rockefeller Plaza application for upgrades to TOP OF THE ROCK including work on the ground floor, mezzanine, 69th and 70th floors.
WHEREAS, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, aka 30 Rock, (“Applicant”), is a skyscraper that forms the centerpiece of Rockefeller Center, located between 48th and 51st streets between 6th and 5th Avenue, in Midtown Manhattan; and
WHEREAS, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, a 68 story building (plus 2 roof top elevations), completed in 1933, was designed in the Art Deco style by Raymond Hood, Rockefeller Center’s lead architect and John D. Rockefeller, Jr was the developer; and
WHEREAS, The complex was designated an individual landmark in 1985, and parts of the interior lobby and mezzanine were designated an interior landmark in 1985 as well; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant is proposing the following modifications to the ground floor, interior mezzanine (interior landmark), as well as exterior modifications on the 69th and 70th floors; and
WHEREAS, modifications include:
WHEREAS, The Applicant wishes to accomplish two general goals with these requested changes:
1). On the ground floor lobby and mezzanine, to improve egress, circulation, ticketing, and merchandise operations, specifically changing storefront windows on West 50th street to double and revolving door entrances, adding ticketing and gift store operations on ground floor, widening passage for people to circulate after purchasing tickets, creating an exit on the mezzanine level by creating a large opening and lastly, updating existing ceiling lighting.
2). On The Top of The Rock, the 69th and 70th Floors, updating the observation deck to enhance the quality of ticket holder experience further evolving an historic objective of 30 Rock to provide an “amusement park-like” experience for visitors. These changes include three primary additions: a beam that raises and rotates for improved views and ticket holder photographs on 69th Fl; a Beacon or kinetic, illuminating globe structure, a viewing platform with 360 unobstructed views, and the updating of flooring with a mosaic tiles in a celestial-like design, all on the 70th floor.
Ground Floor and Mezzanine: Entrances, Exits, Gift Store, Expanded spaces, Ticketing
WHEREAS, On the Ground Floor, on the 50th Street Storefronts area, the Applicant is proposing to modify the existing atrium and retail space (current tenant J. Crew), along West 50th street into an expanded ticketing center and retail and/or merchandise area by converting three existing storefront viewing windows into a new double door, two new sets of revolving doors and a single entrance doors to accommodate egress; and
WHEREAS, The new revolving double and single door frames are to match existing, using statuary bronze, light and dark colored materials and signage will read “Top Of The Rock”; and
WHEREAS, Existing lobby wall would be extended on the West 50th street side of the Ground Floor North lobby, for egress purposes, using existing details and materiality, and plan includes a new door, new stone and plaster to match existing lobby details and materiality, and a new vitrine to match existing; and
WHEREAS, On the Mezzanine Level, proposed changes include repurposing a room for a retail space by eliminating a wall, door, vitrine, and creating a wide opening punctuated by a new curved marble side wall to identify the entrance where the letters TOP OF THE ROCK GIFT SHOP will be mounted and replacing all existing ceiling light fixtures with new surface mounted LED light fixtures providing an improved illumination with cirque large flush mount tech lighting which would no longer reflect the rounded historic detail but rather have a straight, modern edge; and
WHEREAS, Changes to the lobby and mezzanine may be needed for operational purposes such as egress, circulation, and customer engagement and all alterations use same or similar designs and materials as original and are contextual; and
“Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” Experience
WHEREAS, On the north deck of the Top of the Rock, on the 69th floor, three carbon steel horizontal beam structures would be installed for tourists to sit on and each beam would raise, lower and rotate to simulate the “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” historic photograph to improve on the existing experience presently located on the mezzanine level with unobstructed views of NYC for ticket holders, deck illumination and sound through deck speakers; and
WHEREAS, The proposed removal of non-functional building structures and equipment on the 69th/70th floor is not altering the historic fabric, and the installation of a beam attraction will have a minimal impact on the surrounding; and
“Top of The Top”
WHEREAS, On the 70th Floor, the Applicant is proposing the addition of a rooftop beacon, new mosaic tile flooring, and an additional observation platform called “The Top of the Top”; and
WHEREAS, The proposed rooftop beacon is a 28’-2 ½ “ high globe with rings sculpture using LED media panels and sculpted glass panels that transforms in shape and effect, with an LED video band at the base (digital display) and speakers for audio and the globe rings are antique nickel and the band and base elements are nickel with spun aluminum finish; the pedestal is decorative, comprised of glass lens louvers, rings of LED light, a grill for speakers, an access door panel on the East side and a decorative pediment base with rings and LED light; and the beacon symbolically references the historic iconography of Rockefeller Center (Atlas, Winged Mercury, Wisdom and Dance, Drama and Song) and compliments historic illuminations used on other notable NYC iconic buildings; and
WHEREAS, The proposed celestial mosaic tile would cover all existing flooring surface at the 70th story in complimentary, appropriate historic “art reference” to the historic iconography of Rockefeller Center; and
WHEREAS, On the 70th floor, existing equipment including non-functioning Doppler radar, non-functioning mechanical vent hoods, vacant antenna mast, kitchen exhaust vent, antenna farm and brick bulkhead are proposed to be removed; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant is proposing to build on “Top of the Top” a 110’10” viewing platform with glass railing and metal clad support with new glass elevator shaft and new glass stair, to project and protrude over a pedestal, in a very modern, plain and bulky expression; and would be visible from the street and would be very visible from the existing “Top of the Rock” historic viewing deck; and
WHEREAS, The proposed 70th floor alterations, including the new mosaic tile floor and the beacon are harmonious with the building, the beacon will be visible but the building has a precedent for an illuminated presence at the top; and
WHEREAS, The proposed “Top of the Top” design is not contextual, not harmonious with the rest of the observation deck design, the materials and massing of the platform are incongruent and contextually not reflective of the historic façade (stonework and details) that exist presently on the 69th/70th floor of which 30 Rockefeller is defined and beloved as a historic architectural gem, and while it will be minimally visible from the street, it will be extremely visible and overpowering from the existing observation deck, which is landmarked and is a important historic element of the building visited by 2 million visitors each year; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends conditional approval for all proposed changes, provided that the proposed “Top of The Top” viewing platform expression be made less intrusive, less heavy and more in keeping with the Art Deco style of the building.
744 5th Avenue - Application to establish a Master Plan for future temporary installations, and modifications to the storefront and signage.
WHEREAS, 744 5th Avenue (“Applicant”) is also known as Bergdorf Goodman building, designed by Ely Jacques Kahn in a modern classical style and was built in 1927; and
WHEREAS, The building is significant for its historic association with Bergdorf Goodman, which continues to occupy the building today except for the southeast corner where Van Cleef occupies the storefront, was designated an individual Landmark in 2016; and
WHEREAS, Applicant proposes to 1) make modifications to the storefront including relocating the signage and also installing a stone veneer at the bottom of the storefront windows; and 2) establish a Master Plan for future temporary installations; and
WHEREAS, Signage has changed over time and seen in different locations and configurations, including in 2012 positioned over the windows and the proposal is to install signage in that same location; and
WHEREAS, Applicant will be working with the signage contractor to utilize as many of the existing penetrations as possible; and
WHEREAS, Proposed signage is reduced in size to 13 ½ inches tall from 17 inches tall and a little over 14 feet; and
WHEREAS, On 57th street where the existing letters are also 17 inches tall are being replaced with the 13 ½ in tall letters to match for that new at the scene level; and
WHEREAS, The approach requires minimal intervention and will not impact any historic fabric or the storefront-framing and it leaves room for future removal and installation of new glazing without any additional alteration to the surrounding architecture; and
WHEREAS, Alterations are in keeping with the existing storefront and signage at the Bergdorf building in requiring minimal impact to the building and furthermore, the lower signage level allows the historic decorative carved stone, which is the only remaining historic piece, to read as the more dominant feature; and
WHEREAS, The second proposal is a Master Plan governing future temporary installations at the store front level. The Applicant has worked with the staff of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) as per existing rules to have two temporary art installations approved recently last fall and spring; and
WHEREAS, Motivation for these installations is in part due to the impact from COVID as an effort to drive interest in the store as well as to highlight artist design; and
WHEREAS, As these two installations were received positively by the public, Van Cleef is planning for another installation later this fall, which triggers the need for a master plan; and
WHEREAS, The area included in the master plan is the Van Cleef storefront at the corner as well as their multi light windows at the second floor; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant worked with LPC to define some of the parameters to include primarily the time frame and frequency, setting it at a maximum of three months in place, with LPC discretion for longer and at least two months between any two installation; and
WHEREAS, All framing will be removed between installations and will not remain in place permanently; and
WHEREAS, These temporary displays, whether art installations, or decorative, are part of a tradition and history to enliven the public space, especially along Fifth Avenue; and
WHEREAS, Applicant is proposing a very elegant and delicate approach to such installations with no new penetration, no new elements that can disturb the façade; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval for the proposed 1) modifications to the storefront including relocating the signage and also installing a stone veneer at the bottom of the storefront windows; and 2) establish a Master Plan for future temporary installations.
21 E 21st Street, proposing a new two-story storefront, retaining wall including lift, planters and railings at a 6 floor multi-family building located within the Ladies Mile Historic District
WHEREAS, 21 East 21st Street (“Applicant:) is a six-story residential brick bin the Ladies Mile Historic District; and
WHEREAS, The building was built in 1878 in the Queen Anne style; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant is proposing to convert the basement and first-floor residential unit into a restaurant; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant is proposing to remove the existing brick curb wall and metal fence; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant is proposing to install a new metal fence; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant is proposing to remove the two 24-paned basement windows and two 24-paned first-floor windows; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant is proposing to replace the entire basement window area with two large modern show windows; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant is proposing to replace the entire first-floor window area with three large windows, each topped by smaller double windows; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant is proposing to replace the main entrance door with a plain new door; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant is proposing to replace the existing stairway to the basement level with a staircase that converts into an elevator to provide ADA compliant access to the restaurant; and
WHEREAS, The proposed changes would entail a major transformation of the front of the building and extensive removal of historic fabric; and
WHEREAS, The proposed convertible staircase is a new device that has not been tested by the owner or architect and has not received necessary approvals by NY City agencies, for use by the city; and
WHEREAS, The proposed changes eliminate the existing decorative columns and intricate designs of the basement and first-floor; and
WHEREAS, The proposed changes remove an architecturally interesting and complex street-level view; and
WHEREAS, The proposed changes are not sympathetic to the character of the building; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends denial of the application.
1123 and 1133 Broadway, application for installation of rooftop tanks.
WHEREAS, The building located at 1123 Broadway and the building located at 1133 Broadway (“Applicant) are in the Madison Square Park North Historic District and are under common ownership; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant is requesting a Certificate of Appropriateness to erect two water towers for fire sprinkler service on the roof of 1123 Broadway and two water towers for fire sprinkler service on the roof 1133 Broadway; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant has demonstrated using rooftop mock-ups that that the proposed towers will not significantly impinge on views from ground level of the roof line of either building; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant will employ traditional New York City wooden rooftop tank materials and construction methods for the water tanks; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant has demonstrated that the new rooftop water tanks will seamlessly join the forest of existing wooden rooftop water tanks in the Historic District therefore, be it
RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness for the proposed rooftop water tanks at 1123 Broadway and 1133 Broadway.
After some discussion, the above bundled resolutions passed with a vote of 33 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstaining: IN FAVOR: Achelis, Athanail, Bahor, Brosnahan, Chou, Diggins, Frewer, Garcia, Goshow, Haas, Harris Jr., Hershberg, Heyer, Johnson, Kaback, Kahng, Kalafarski, Kinsella, Law-Gisiko, Levy, Lione, Livesay, Miller, Shapiro, Sigman, Slutzkin, Smith, Spandorf, Spence, Stern, Webb, Whalen, Yang. ABSTAIN: Barbero.
PARKS AND PUBLIC SPACES – clayton smith
Mr. Smith gave brief presentations on the following bundled resolutions.
Application from Momentum, on behalf of Verizon, for a marketing event in Bryant Park from September 17th to 24th, 2021
WHEREAS, Momentum (“Applicant”) has submitted an application on behalf of Verizon to have a marketing activation on the putting green area of Bryant Park adjacent to 6th Avenue (Lowell Fountain) from Friday, September 17 through Friday, September 24, 2021; and
WHEREAS, The event would take place between the hours of 8:00 am and 10:00 pm, with set-up beginning at 12:01 am on September 17 and breakdown completed by 11:59 pm on September 24; and
WHEREAS, The Applicant will be setting up a 8’ x 8’ cube to promote an augmented reality (AR) experience that viewers can engage with on their phone by scanning a QR code displayed at the structure; and
WHEREAS, The structure will be attached to a surface laid on the putting green in such a way as not to harm or affect the park in any way, and will be able to withstand any high winds or seasonal weather events; and
WHEREAS, The event will be staffed by one staff member to ensure safety protocols; and
WHEREAS, The event will have no amplified sound; and
WHEREAS, The event shall not have any filming or photography take place; and
WHEREAS, In response to Community Board Five’s concerns about the size of the logo that will appear on the structure, Applicant provided renderings that show the logo is not a corporate logo but is simply a logo for the event itself, and the QR code is not of a size that is concerning; and
WHEREAS, In response to Community Board Five’s concerns about the lighting element of the event, the Applicant provided further detail that the lighting being proposed is a 100-watt solar-powered light on the structure that will only be illuminated during hours the park is open to the public; and
WHEREAS, Although Community Board Five notes the prominent location of the activation structure, with its proximity and visibility from 6th Avenue, Community Board Five believes that the majority of event elements are not objectionable in exchange for the contribution being made to the park; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the application from Momentum, on behalf of Verizon, for a marketing event in Bryant Park from September 17th to 24th, 2021.
Application from Madison Square Park Conservancy for “American Express Back to Business Outdoor Workspace,” a marketing event in Madison Square Park from September 22nd to 24th, 2021
WHEREAS, Madison Square Park Conservancy (the “Applicant”), in association with American Express, the event sponsor, has submitted an application to install a temporary outdoor workspace for public use in Madison Square Park from load-in on Wednesday September 22nd to removal on Friday September 24th; and
WHEREAS, The temporary installation will consist of three benches with desks, three privacy “phone” booths, and three branded static charging stations, and;
WHEREAS, The temporary workstation elements are confined to the gravel section of the park southwest of the fountain bordered by 23rd street and Broadway; and
WHEREAS, The temporary workspace elements will not damage the ground surface of the park; and
WHEREAS, Load-in, assembly and removal will take place at night to avoid interfering with the public’s use of the park; and
WHEREAS, All temporary workspace elements will be located to achieve proper social distancing between the elements; and
WHEREAS, The benches are 6’x3’, with room for two people to sit at a time with approximately 4’ of space between them, and will be assigned one per person unless there is significant interest in which event staffers will communicate with the interested users if they mind sharing the other half of the bench; and
WHEREAS, The three charging stations will have two pull out folding work tables each and only one person will be allowed at each folding desk, with about 5-6 feet clearance between them; and
WHEREAS, The phone booths will be equipped with a ventilation port, event ambassadors will encourage the public to use a mask in the booth, the door will be kept open after each use to promote air circulation, and the booths will be thoroughly cleaned by ambassadors after every use; and
WHEREAS, All temporary workspace elements will be sanitized after each use using recommended COVID-19 cleaning protocols; and
WHEREAS, Four brand ambassadors and one production staff member will be present from 8am to 8pm to facilitate the public’s use of the space and maintain COVID-19 protocols; and
WHEREAS, Security will be present at all times during the event; and
WHEREAS, If there is a queue to use the installations, the ambassadors will impose a 30-minute time limit at each element and ask users to accommodate new guests for crowd control, with a standing/ waiting area to be designated if necessary; and
WHEREAS, There is no press component, no service sign-ups, no food, no giveaways, no lights, or amplified sound associated with this event; and
WHEREAS, Release waivers will be provided in the event of any photography; and
WHEREAS, The American Express signage and logos are located only on the pieces of the temporary furniture and are minimal in size and placement; and
WHEREAS, The event sponsor is making a generous contribution to the Madison Square Park Conservancy, as the third of their four allowed annual marketing events to raise funds in order to maintain the park and provide programming for the benefit of the community; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the Application from Madison Square Park Conservancy for “American Express Back to Business Outdoor Workspace,” a marketing event in Madison Square Park from September 22nd to 24th, 2021.
After some discussion, the above three bundled resolutions passed with a vote of 26 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstaining: IN FAVOR: Achelis, Athanail, Bahor, Brosnahan, Chou, Diggins, Frewer, Garcia, Goshow, Haas, Harris Jr., Hershberg, Heyer, Johnson, Kaback, Kahng, Kalafarski, Kinsella, Law-Gisiko, Levy, Lione, Livesay, Miller, Shapiro, Sigman, Slutzkin, Smith, Spandorf, Spence, Stern, Webb, Whalen, Yang. ABSTAIN: Barbero.
BUDGET, EDUCATION AND CITY SERVICES – renee kinsella
Ms, Kinsella gave a brief report on two presentations, first from the Times Square Lions, which gave some great information on the uptick in pet counts there. They noted a new app that they have that would allow people who see something in the district to text or use the app to contact the Times Square Alliance who will be able to address the situation. She also had a presentation from an expert in data privacy that allowed the restaurants in the district to gain information from an intermediary when people ordered from an intermediary. She stated that the committee is putting together the annual submission of budget requests and the community needs statement. She asked everyone on the board and those who live, work and visit the district to fill out the survey that is on the CB5 website.
There being no further business, the regularly scheduled meeting of Community Board Five adjourned at 7:58 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by,