Communities battle to stop new super-tall towers on Upper West Side

New York City has seen a boom in the construction of super-tall skyscrapers across the skyline, casting shadows over and dwarfing their neighbors. And now, some residents are saying enough is enough.

The city’s Board of Standards and Appeals was the scene of the latest fight between developers and residents who are suing to keep their communities free of luxury super-tall buildings. 

While super-tall buildings have already found their way into midtown, there is a new and desperate fight on as they attempt to enter residential districts further uptown and into other parts of the city. 50 West 66th Street is one of two massive structures going up on the Upper West Side using creative loopholes, drawing the ire of people living nearby.

“The developer doesn’t talk to us, the developer’s bringing nothing to the community, there is 240 feet of empty space in the building that will not create housing for the community, just creating better property values for the people that will buy the penthouse apartments at the top,” said Chris Giordano, an Upper West Side resident.

Since non-residential space in a building doesn’t count against its zoning, many developers have been blueprinting massive mechanical rooms and voids to push the luxury apartments further up. With better views, they sell for eve more, one of the loopholes the city has yet to close.

“The city has fallen behind,” said Sean Khorsandi, Executive Director of Landmark West. “For sure, in regulating voids, mechanical voids and a series of loopholes from stilts to unenclosed mechanical voids.”