Category: News

Advisory: Manhattan Electeds Call on City to prohibit developers from evading zoning regulations

By Team ERFA,

Advisory: Manhattan Electeds Call on City to prohibit developers from evading zoning regulations

Who: Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Liz Krueger (Rep), Council Member Ben Kallos, Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, Carnegie Hill Neighbors, Landmark West!

What: Press Conference calling on the on Board of Standards and Appeals to rule against the creation of small unbuildable lots designed to sidestep zoning regulations and against the gerrymandering of lots by developers for the same purpose.

Where: City Hall Steps

When: Monday, July 16 at 11:30 AM

Why: Allowing the blatant circumvention of zoning rules through the creation of unbuildable lots and the gerrymandering of lots will lead to more abuses of the loopholes and the undermining of Zoning Rules throughout New York City. The buildings under construction at 200 Amsterdam Avenue and 180 East 88th Street are just two cases on the Upper West and Upper East Sides that use these tactics, but if the BSA permits these buildings to stand, such practices will become the norm citywide. The deliberate sculpting and gerrymandering of zoning lots to evade zoning rules are just two examples of the loopholes developers are using that undermine the City’s own rules for private gain. These lead to buildings that are out of scale and negatively impact the character of residential neighborhoods. Tactics like inter-building and mechanical voids and ultra-tall ceiling heights that are exempt from zoning are additional loopholes exploited to maximize height. Mayor de Blasio and Marisa Lago, Chair of the City Planning Commission, committed recently to addressing the mechanical void issue. At a June 27th town hall, the Mayor acknowledged that the City should study all the loopholes, not only voids. He said, “The logical answer is we should look at all the loopholes and come back with a decision… We should come back and look at the whole package.” Now, we call on the Mayor to uphold his word and direct the Department of City Planning to investigate the full package of loopholes contributing to overdevelopment in residential communities citywide and propose a meaningful policy solution.

ERFA Will Take Its Case to Court

By Team ERFA,

Dear Friends of ERFA,

After a three-year battle with this developer — and all that we have stood for and all that we have won, all that we have extended in the form of time, heart, soul and spirit — the Board of Standards & Appeals voted in favor of the developer yesterday and granted it the right to a zoning exception in our neighborhood.

Are we angry? You bet.

Are we going to accept this?   Friends, we haven’t worked this hard for this long to roll over and play dead, blithely accepting a ruling from a City agency that is not a proper court and for all intents and purposes, kowtows to the real estate industry. We haven’t worked this hard to lose the very real chance to win!

This is now a matter for the courts, and the outcome will have public policy implications for the entire city. When you’re right, you’re right and so there is nothing left to do but FIGHT!

For those that have been following our story, it was reported by the Daily News, and subsequently followed by other prominent papers, that this developer has been working with the mayor’s own law firm.

ERFA’s official statement to the news media is as follows:

“Today’s decision by the Board of Standards & Appeals comes as no surprise. The East River Fifties Alliance will now take the community’s fight against this monstrous, out-of-place megatower to the courts and away from a City agency. Unfortunately for the community and the city at large, the Board of Standards & Appeals abrogated its responsibilities under the Zoning Resolution, including especially its obligation to independently assess the invalidity of ill-gotten, after-hours work variances and alleged street closure permits that allowed the tower’s developer to engage in a race to complete the foundation. The Board committed multiple errors of law based upon a misapprehension of what the Zoning Resolution provides.”

Please attend our July 12th Town Hall meeting to understand and embrace the next phase of our battle–what it will require both financially and operatively and how it will differ from other phases of our quest to protect the East River Fifties. Find out how you can help.

ERFA stands with the community in helping to preserve the quality of life of the city we know and love.

Please help us ensure that a wrong decision does not overtake the right that  this community deserves.

We need your support now more than ever. Please donate now.


ERFA Leadership Committee

In Case You Missed It

By Team ERFA,

Dear Concerned Citizens of the East River Fifties Alliance,

As many of you know, ERFA appeared in front of the Board of Standards & Appeals yesterday afternoon, the 19th of June, 2018.

Additional and noteworthy merits of our case were presented by our lawyer, Michael Hiller which were reinforced by our indomitable Council Member Ben Kallos. Supporting community members and ERFA Leadership also supplied testimony as did the office of the Borough President, the office of Carolyn Maloney and the Municipal Art Society. ERFA is most grateful for everyone’s time, effort and spirit.

We have been informed that a decision will be reached by the BSA on the 26th of June.

In the meantime, we are sharing some highlighted press links from these past few weeks which under-score the many dynamics that have accompanied our efforts.

Note: Due to the upcoming 4th of July holiday, we are tentatively scheduling the next ERFA Town Hall for Thursday, the 12th. This meeting will be critical as we will be discussing the next phase in our quest – REGARDLESS of the outcome at the Board of Standards and Appeals.

As always, your support is essential to the full success of the East River Fifties rezoning, To protect the neighborhood we know and love, there is a continuing battle to be fought to assure that the 58th Street development site will not be exempted from the zoning change we achieved on November 30, 2017. Please continue to support us.

With thanks and gratitude,
ERFA Leadership


P.S.  ERFA has been in the news.  Please follow these links for important articles by Greg B. Smith in the Daily News and Sydney Pereira of the Manhattan Press, and Sally Goldenberg of Politico.

ERFA Members: Join us for the last and final chapter of our battle

By Team ERFA,






WHEN:  Tuesday, June 19, 2018, 10 a.m.

WHAT:   2nd BSA Hearing re: 430 East 58th StreeT

WHERE: 22 Reade Street, New York, NY

WHY: Oppose Construction of a Megatower at 430 East 58th Street


SPECIAL NOTE: The BSA hearing is called for 10 a.m.  ERFA will likely be called to appear around 11 a.m., but that is subject to change, without notice.If you have time constraints, please bring a copy of your testimony to the hearing to ensure that it is included with all of our submissions.Winning requires a level of commitment that transcends what is typically necessary in connection with the exercise of rights in the democratic process.We must absolutely bring a show of force to this hearing: speakers, passionate community members, concerned citizens to help us get to the finish line.


Express yourself. Make your voice heard.  

ERFA. We are the power of many voices.  Together we can preserve our city.


Tell the BSA to make them Build it Right.

Support the East River Fifties Alliance. Please donate now. 


By Team ERFA,

WHAT:   This is an OFFICIAL, EXTRA  East River Fifties Alliance update following our hearing at the Board of Standards & Appeals on April 10th.
WHEN:   Monday, April 23rd @ 8 am
WHERE: Morso, Restaurant, 420 East 59th Street
WHY:  The BSA hearing was very well attended by our community members, but due to time constraints and space limitations, it was difficult for many in the ERFA community to hear the testimony and/or to stay long enough to participate.
If you attended the hearing and were unclear about the results, OR, were unable to attend the hearing and are interested in the next phase of our battle, this meeting will answer your questions.
SPECIAL NOTE: Michael Hiller, ERFA’s attorney, will provide insight and latest, breaking developments.