FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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How do we know the money from the sale of land and buildings will not be diverted for other purposes? The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) would specify that certain funds will be deposited in a special fund that by law would be available only for providing active recreation space to replace the blacktop at the Robert Moses site, build the Greenway, and complete the other Eastside open space projects under consideration. There would be a board that would include representation of local elected officials and would have the power to oversee the allocation of these funds and ensure that they are spent for their intended purpose. Will people be able to physically access the water from the Greenway? Maybe. There is no specific design at this point. The community would have input on this and other issues related to the design of the Greenway and the other open space projects under consideration. Why can't the United Nations obtain office space elsewhere in NYC? They can. The United Nations already has office space in many locations throughout New York City, including One and Two UN Plaza, which would be sold under the terms of the deal under consideration. However, the purpose of a new building would be to consolidate operations and to alleviate security concerns. An underground tunnel would be built connecting the campus to the new building to ensure secure passage for employees and dignitaries. It just so happens that the UN’s space needs also give an opportunity for the local community to unlock the funds for a long-sought waterfront esplanade and other open space projects. Why can't the City build the esplanade without this proposal? An enormous amount of capital funding would be necessary to build a waterfront esplanade that would be more than a mile long, with substantial portions extending out over the East River. Anything might theoretically be possible at some point in the future when the City’s and the State’s fiscal situation might change for the better, but at this point, there is no foreseeable source of funding for this project. Without the proceeds from the sale of UN Plaza 1 and 2 and the alienation of the Robert Moses Playground, the City and State do not have sufficient funding for a project of this magnitude. If the terms can be worked out, we believe that this proposal could provide the capital that would be needed to build the full esplanade and other open space projects.

Will the community lose the Robert Moses Dog Run? No. The dog run will not be affected by any agreement regarding Robert Moses Playground. The current proposal being discussed would alienate the western portion of Robert Moses Playground, on First Avenue between 41st and 42nd Streets. The dog run, basketball and handball courts, and bathrooms on the eastern portion of Robert Moses Playground would not be affected, and could not be alienated without a new act of the State legislature. How did this deal come about so quickly? It wasn’t that quick. There have been many discussions over the past decade about the East Side’s need for parkland and waterfront access, and the United Nations’ desire to create a new space for its workers. Last year, on June 6, 2010, the local elected officials and community board convened a forum, attended by many of the people who are active in the current discussions, to consider parkland improvements that could accompany a negotiated deal with the City and the UN. It is widely understood that the UN will be making decisions about its space needs this fall, which created an opportunity for us to work out the terms of a deal for the community this year. It was not possible to work out all of the details of a plan before the end of the legislative session in June of this year for two reasons – first, because it is extremely complicated, and second, because there would not have been adequate opportunity for community consultation. Accordingly, the State Legislature passed and Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law allowing the details to be set forth in a Memorandum of Understanding, and gave the City and the community’s representatives until October 10th to work it all out. The legislation was written such that it will expire and have no effect whatsoever if the MOU is not signed by October 10th. How tall will the new building be? By law, the new building would not be allowed to exceed the height of the Secretariat Building, which is 505 feet and 39 stories. We believe that it will also be set back significantly from First Avenue. Will funds be available to maintain the esplanade? Yes. As part of any agreement, money would be set aside to ensure the esplanade would be properly maintained.

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