BY BRUCE A. SILBERBLATT
After a wait of more than four months, the New York State Appellate
Court unanimously ruled in favor of the Trump World Tower. In substance,
it endorsed the decision made by lower court Judge Figueroa that
the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) had acted reasonably
in granting approval to this megalith.
According to the courts, the zoning law is so arcane and convoluted
that it must be delegated exclusively to the so-called "experts,"
a self-appointed group of elitists to whom the people of New York,
not to mention the court system, must kowtow. This is dangerous
While the Coalition for Responsible Development intends to pursue
the issue to the highest judicial body in the state, the Court of
Appeals, its chances of even being heard there are dim. The Court
of Appeals seldom will consider a case in which the Appellate Division
has ruled, as it has here, unanimously.
In the meantime, Trump World Tower has "topped out"
at 861 feet; its dreary shrouding is more than 50 floors high. It
is visible from a distance of 15 miles, lording it over the East
Side skyline and humbling the United Nations and Turtle Bay. Trump
expects the first occupants to take up residency in January 2001.
Unified Bulk Zoning
The process of approval for the Unified Bulk Zoning, which is intended
to prevent a repetition of Trump World Tower, has been delayed a
month; it is not expected to reach the City Council until September.
It still includes a section allowing zoning restrictions to be waived
for so-called "outstanding architecture." This is an opportunity
for great mischief to be wrought.
Architectural esthetics are highly subjective whereas zoning supposedly
is objective; the two do not mix. Who is to determine what is good
architecture? Certainly not the New York City architectural community,
which has produced an abundance of meretricious buildings. Only
a precious few of the past generation of new buildings might in
anybody's mind be deemed "great." Architects utter fancy
words with little sub-stance. As a case in point, one architect
has proclaimed his work to be of cinnamon color and inspired by
the great Seagram Building. That worthy is the man who designed
Trump World Tower. So much for the idea of architects evaluating
their own colleagues' work. Should we defer to these so-called "experts,"
as the Appellate Court would wish us to do, given their dubious
track record here in New York? TBA says NO!
Unified Bulk is, in general, good for the city; the waiver for
good design must be stricken from it forthwith. Turtle Bay members
are urged, even exhorted, to write their councilmembers (Moskowitz
and Miller) to make their views known. (Eva Moskowitz: 370 Lexington
Ave., Suite 2001A, NYC 10017; Gifford Miller: 336 East 73rd St.,
Suite C, NYC 10021.)
Plans for the United Nations
The United Nations has announced its intent, should it raise the
money ($1,000,000,000) to so do, to thoroughly rebuild its headquarters.
Proposals include a six-story building at the north end of the gardens,
an addition atop the library near 42nd Street, and placing 10 or
so floors atop the Secretariat (this latter would, ironically, block
some of the views from the reviled Trump World Tower).
Since it is in international territory, the United Nations is
not required to comply with zoning regulations. Whether it will
heed, let alone hear, some input from the community (such as the
Turtle Bay Association) remains to be seen.
Additionally, the United States Department of State has announced
it will replace the existing U. S. Mission to the United Nations
(the only such facility on American soil!) with a newer and, presumably,
The Turtle Bay Association will monitor both developments closely.
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Turtle Bay Association is a nonprofit (501c3) community
224 East 47th Street, New York City 10017
Fax (212) 751-4941