This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Vikki Barbero, Chair
450 Seventh Avenue, Suite 2109 New York, NY 10123-2199 212.465.0907 f-212.465.1628
Wally Rubin, District Manager
November 28, 2012
Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo Governor of New York State NYS State Capital Building Albany, NY 12224
Dear Hon. Governor Cuomo: We are writing with regard to the Mayor’s East Midtown rezoning initiative and the recent events that have so changed our city and state. The tragic events of the past few weeks have brought to light our city’s unique vulnerabilities in a world of climate change. Throughout the city, waterfront and low-lying areas, including Lower Manhattan and the far East and West sides of our borough, were devastated by storm surges while our transportation network ground to a halt as subway lines and tunnels were flooded. Incredibly, parts of North America’s largest central business district lost power for an extended period of time. These events have called into question all that we thought we knew about our city’s future needs and demonstrated that we must look with fresh eyes at how, where, and what we propose to build. In addition, the needs of our regional transportation infrastructure and our ability to withstand nature’s assaults must become, as never before, our priority. New York has always been an international leader in innovation; now the eyes of the world are on us to see how a global metropolis can reinvent itself in the face of a crisis. Our expectations and our priorities must change. We must rethink not only how to protect ourselves and fortify our infrastructure but also at where businesses will seek to locate and what these changes will mean in the decades to come. We need to think about our power and communications grid in new ways. We must look beyond just floor plates and columns – challenges that the City has said are driving this re-zoning - to issues like the necessity of transportation access, economic resiliency, environmental sustainability, diversity of uses, and the changing needs of future businesses and residents. We believe that a rezoning of East Midtown that incorporates all of the environmental, transportation, and economic concerns outlined above can provide improvements upon which we can all agree. However, to move
forward with this proposal before such a comprehensive examination and analysis is completed would represent a failure to seriously confront the world as it is today. We hope that in light of recent events, both the City and State will take a long, responsible, and critical look at how this East Midtown proposal, and other similar development proposals, can reflect altered circumstances, ensuring we build smarter. The current timetable does not allow for that. As always, we are willing partners and look forward to working with all stakeholders to achieve the best result possible.
Lola Finkelstein Chair, Tri-Board Task Force on East Midtown