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Thread: Mt. Sinai Center for Science & Medicine - by Skidmore Owings & Merrill

  1. #31

    Default Puzzled

    Then I'm puzzled. My understanding is as follows:

    Mount Sinai wants to build a science building. They need money to accomplish that task. To raise the money, they decided to sell 1212, a property they have held for several decades. Their plan to sell 1212 included the sale of air rights that wouldn't ordinarily be part of the 1212 property. This is why they are asking so much more for 1212 than they did for 1200, a property they sold a couple of years ago.

    The sliver plan has enormous opposition from the residential community that surrounds Mount Sinai. Occupants of 1212, 1215, and the apartments on Madison Avenue bordering 102nd Street all have come together to oppose what will be a significant change to the community. The view of 5th Avenue as seen from the park will change significantly. Lighting to back apartments of 1212 would be cut to nothing. Lighting to the Madison avenue apartments during afternoon hours would also be cut off. The community board is in opposition. I don't believe this will come to pass.

    I'm connecting the 1212 site to the sliver site because Mount Sinai is selling the air rights for the sliver and the property rights to 1212 as a single package.

    Unless this sale goes through as Sinai hopes, the science building as planned won't happen (due to the financial costs of such a project and the lack of funds on Mt Sinai's part).

    Your last point doesn't make much sense. A 30+ story building pushed up against the back of 1212 will cut off all the sunlight to all the east-facing apartments of that building. The short squat science building would not do any such thing. A 30+ story building will block all the afternoon sun from the Madison avenue apartments and from that avenue itself. A short squat building would do no such thing. A tall skinny building always blocks more sunlight and sky than a short squat building. And in this case it would do substantial damage to surrounding residential buildings.

    The worst part is that all the buyers who went into 1200 were specifically told that they would have their east-facing views and that Mount Sinai was not planning anything that would result in those views being blocked. Since Mount Sinai owns the land behind 1200, those buyers thought they were reasonably safe. Instead, they were lied to.

  2. #32
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    On a Park’s Border, Fears of Long Shadows



    A rendering of Mount Sinai’s
    proposed addition.


    By GREGORY BEYER
    Published: June 15, 2008

    SINCE its completion more than 30 years ago, Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Annenberg Building, at 99th Street off Fifth Avenue, has been regarded by some people as the sore thumb of East Harlem, a 31-story black monolith that intrudes on the mostly pristine skyline on the northeast border of Central Park. But if a plan put forth by the medical center gains city approval, the Annenberg may be relieved of its pariah status, surpassed in height and maybe local resentment by a condo tower.

    The Mount Sinai proposal offers a pairing. The medical center itself plans an 11-story Center for Science and Medicine, on Madison Avenue near 101st Street. To help pay for it, Mount Sinai has sold some development rights to the Durst Organization and Sidney Fetner Associates; they plan to build an adjacent condo tower along 102nd Street that would rise to 564 feet, more than 100 feet taller than the Annenberg. Mechanical equipment for both buildings would occupy the lower floors of the tower, which would have 32 stories of apartments.

    One local opponent of this two-building plan is Robert Rodriguez, chairman of Community Board 11.

    “We’re caught between a very highly valued community partner and our desire for affordable housing,” said Mr. Rodriguez, alluding to the fact that the condo units will all be sold at market rate. “Affordable housing is very much in danger in East Harlem.”

    Critics also say the condo tower would leave part of Central Park and local playgrounds in shadow. A city environmental review found that a tall, narrow building, like the proposed tower, would cast less shadow on open spaces than would a shorter, wider building. But opponents of the project are dismayed by the fact that, according to Mount Sinai officials, during the morning at certain times of the year, its shadow would stretch about two-thirds of the way across the park.

    Jordan Barowitz, a spokesman for the Durst Organization, confirmed that all the apartments would be sold at market rate, but added that the proposal would generate permanent health care jobs — 650 by Mount Sinai’s estimate — as well as temporary construction jobs and improved health care services for the neighborhood.

    Moreover, said Brad Beckstrom, a Mount Sinai spokesman, no tenants or businesses would be displaced.

    “There’s just not the revenue,” Mr. Beckstrom said in explaining why Mount Sinai had to make the two-building arrangement. “Our options were very limited.”

    The plan is subject to the city’s approval because, according to Mount Sinai officials, the layout requirements of the labs would violate current zoning rules; the medical center must also seek permission to build a structure that will result in less light over the narrow side streets. The city’s Board of Standards and Appeals is scheduled to hold a hearing on the matter on July 1. If the plan is approved, Mount Sinai plans to begin the three-year construction project this summer.

    Gorman Reilly, president of the preservation group Civitas, hopes that the project does not go forward. But he will admit one thing. Referring to the condo owners, he said, “I concede that they will have the most magnificent views on the East Side.”

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

  3. #33

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    I'm disappointed the Times published such a negative article. The tower is already assumed to be an eyesore before the design has been released.

  4. #34

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    Typical for the Times, which is reflexively anti-development.

    The Sunday City section always has one reliably NIMBY article.

  5. #35

    Default Eyesore

    Of course such a building would be an eyesore. It will dramatically alter the skyline of Fifth Avenue as seen from the West Side, will destroy eastern views from the pre-war Fifth Avenue apartments now in place, will diminish the views from the Madison avenue residential buildings between 101 and 102nd St., and will add to the already overcrowded streets around Mount Sinai Medical Center. Yes, the building itself might be pretty. At that height, it might even look as nice as the Chrysler Building if the architect has any skill. Fine...put it in midtown, where skyscrapers belong, not in the midst of a residential neighborhood that has long been limited to 15 story buildings. The ONLY exception to that through all these years has been Mount Sinai's (again) Annenberg building, which we all acknowledge as being one of the most hideous buildings to surround Central Park.

  6. #36
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    The streets around Mt. Sinai are hardly overcrowded.

  7. #37

    Default Crowded streets

    You must not live in the area. Because of Mount Sinai, there is no cross street between 101st St and 98th St running from 5th to Madison. The first eastbound cross street from Fifth Avenue after 104th is 98th because the direction of 102nd was flipped to westbound a few years ago. That means all traffic going to Madison between 98th and 104th is stuck on 5th Avenue until reaching 98th. This has caused significant pile-ups, particularly during both morning and afternoon rush hours, on Fifth in those blocks. Because Mount Sinai now has entrances, ambulance bays, etc., on 98th, 101st, and 102nd, there are significant pile-ups on those streets as well. A ban on parking on 101st helps there, but of course, that's another problem for the local residential community. Visitors to 1200, 1212, and 1215 no longer have many parking choices and Sinai recently closed the one garage that served the area for decades on 102nd between 5th and Madison. Mount Sinai has mistreated the residents of the community that was next door and is now in the midst of a Sinai building zone - nothing here has changed.

  8. #38
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Default I assumed you were talking about pedestrians.

    It's not a good idea to bring a private automobile into Manhattan.

  9. #39

    Smile

    LOL. Yes, there's no question that you're right about bringing a private automobile into Manhattan. For those of us who live here, though, and who need to frequently go where public transportation doesn't, a car is part of life. Come to think of it, that's true everywhere in the country. The truth is that it was always reasonably easy to have a car here. The garage around the corner from 1215 and 1212 and plentiful on-street parking were both available until recently. Now, suddenly both are gone and there are frequent traffic jams due to the new traffic pattern. It has turned a nice quiet neighborhood into a mess.

  10. #40
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Many Manhattan residents keep their cars in Queens.

  11. #41

    Default Cars in Queens

    I've never seen numbers for that statistic, but it makes sense to an extent. Somehow, though, I just can't see those days where we all try to escape to the country for a long weekend starting with a 45 minute subway ride to Queens, then bringing the car back to Manhattan to load up the family and travel gear, and then finally getting underway.

    People inevitably start to weigh their decisions -- do I or don't I live in NYC. With all that NYC has to offer, and none of us would have any argument there, there are certain things one has to give up. Room for all family members, views, noise-free existence - these are all part of the equation. That's what this whole discussion is about. This is a residential area which has been roughly the same for the past 80 years. That's a long time without substantial change in any part of lower Manhattan. The joy of living above 96th Street, though, is that until now, noone knew of its existence. It has been wonderful. Quiet, peaceful, convenient, and even less expensive. 5 years ago, my monthly garage fees on 102nd Street were less than half what they were on 89th Street. Now there isn't even a garage.

    Imagine if you lived in a house for 40 years when one day someone came over and knocked down your garage. How would you feel when your next door neighbor came over, shrugged, and said, "Some people leave their cars the next town over." That's not the point, is it? The point isn't what others do, but rather what you're used to, what good things you've had, and what you had hoped would stay the same. I suppose I'm resigned that even the lobby of 1212, a beautiful work of plaster with all the 1926 fittings and terrazo floor intact, will probably be gutted and redone in some ultra-modern hideous style using an interior decorator with no taste as I've seen in so many other NYC apartment buildings (rather than simply restoring the work to its original splendor). I'm resigned to a few years of noise and the loss of sunlight and views. But it's a shame that my future neighbors will have no idea as to what they missed. I've heard all the complaints from the folks who moved in to the newly renovated 1200 ... complaints that were never there from former residents. Why developers think that pulling out quiet warm steam heat and replacing it with noisy and environmentally wasteful HVAC units in each room is something the new owners would want is beyond me. Who cares if the front of the building has A/C units in an occasional window? The residents sure don't. And the new windows in 1200 don't even open like a normal window. You can't throw the window open and stick your head out to look around or sit in the window and feel the breeze. Whose idea was that? And will the different developer at 1212 try to do the same silly thing? These are the worries I have now. But again...time will tell.

  12. #42
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Default I understand what you're saying

    but it's just not realistic to think that a neighborhood will remain static forever.

  13. #43

    Default

    Still no renderings of the tower. The hospital is typical, boring institutional fare.




















  14. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by drsinai View Post
    Of course such a building would be an eyesore. It will dramatically alter the skyline of Fifth Avenue as seen from the West Side, will destroy eastern views from the pre-war Fifth Avenue apartments now in place, will diminish the views from the Madison avenue residential buildings between 101 and 102nd St., and will add to the already overcrowded streets around Mount Sinai Medical Center. Yes, the building itself might be pretty. At that height, it might even look as nice as the Chrysler Building if the architect has any skill. Fine...put it in midtown, where skyscrapers belong, not in the midst of a residential neighborhood that has long been limited to 15 story buildings. The ONLY exception to that through all these years has been Mount Sinai's (again) Annenberg building, which we all acknowledge as being one of the most hideous buildings to surround Central Park.
    It would not be an eyesore as it would not destroy any pre-war Fifth Ave views that you're talking about. Any destruction of that pre-war skyline that could be done is already accomplished by the Annenberg Building and the adjacent shorter, though no less hulking, buildings such as the East Building and the Guggenheim Pavilion. A slender condo tower will really not make that much of a difference in that sense. Sure it would create a new marker on that portion of the skyline, but it wouldn't bring any dramatic change of scale to the immediate neighborhood. Unlike what you said, it won't be "in the midst of a residential neighborhood limited to 15 stories". It will be on a block surrounded by institutional buildin gs, and aside from a small pocket of pre-war buildings directly to the north and west, the only nearby residentials are the projects, some of which reach as much as 30 stories or more.

    I actually think the hospital postion of the building is quite elegant, as far as hospital buildings go. Compare it to the next-door blockbuster, the Guggenheim Pavilion. Talk about being oppressive on the street level.

  15. #45
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    ^ All very true.

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