SAVE OUR SEAPORT testimony at the Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing December 12

SOS Testimony – December 12, 2017 – NYC Landmarks Application PC – 19 – 1 9 352

SAVE OUR SEAPORT remembers LPC’s 2012 and 2015 discussions about Pier 17 where we expressed our concerns about building height, view corridors, and most importantly, placemaking in the South Street Seaport Historic District. We remind you that an uncovered public/private open space was a most welcome outcome.

The permit for the approved building states that it “…will be comparable to the existing building in terms of footprint and height.” The proposal before you today would add 46 feet to the LPC-approved building (a “temporary outdoor”shade structure of 41 feet in height, raising a rooftop that would now be 108 feet 4 inches in height, a full 33 feet higher than permitted (we are adding in the 5 feet for the new pier platform, which is also higher than originally proposed.)

Moreover, the LPC approved the application for Pier 17 based on the applicant’s testimony that the rooftop would be programmed as a movie theater. Today, the use has changed and the Historic District will pay for it with a loss of public open space, pay for a corporation’s change of mind as it now prefers to replace it with the ”premiere boutique entertainment venue in the world”. Community Board #1, also concerned about the height, cites the need for “safety in high wind areas providing shelter for large gatherings of people.”

For an undefined period of less than twelve months each year, HHC will privatize views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan for ticket-holders, forcing their neighbors to become unwitting concertgoers. The examples of historic recreational piers provided in the drawings provide a palette of what this new pier should aspire to, a clear view of the Brooklyn Bridge, the historic collection of ships at the Seaport, and open-air decks for the public to enjoy (something that the former Pier 17 actually provided).

SAVE OUR SEAPORT (“SOS”) advocates for the enforcement of the height restrictions that the City Planning Commission agreed to in the 2013 Pier 17 ULURP. We ask LPC to reject this application for a “temporary” structure which denigrates this historic site, ignores ULURP mandates, and creates a new seasonal strategy for developers to privatize their rooftops.