Residents fight against high-rise set to replace NYCHA playground on Upper East Side

Darla Miles Image
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Residents fight against high-rise set to replace NYCHA playground
Darla Miles has the latest details.

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- There was a protest against a proposed high-rise on the Upper East Side.

It's expected to bring new jobs and playgrounds for people in the area.

It's a cozy little triangle, a playground with iconic metal slides attached to red wrought iron jungle gyms. But soon it will be replaced with a 47-story high rise.

"These buildings are crumbling now. So what's going to happen when you start construction?" a resident said.

The playground at Holmes Towers on the Upper East Side is worth $25 million to NYCHA.

NYCHA sold it to a developer who plans to build 344 units, half of them for affordable housing, but there is much skepticism.

"Yet it's been sold for $25 million, and the amount of repair, just on Holmes 11 is just $37 million, so this is not even covering a third of Holmes houses," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, (D) New York.

Some are hopeful that the new play areas will be nicer than the existing one.

"If there is an opportunity and a commitment to the community there could be opportunities we wouldn't otherwise have," said Gregory Morris, Isaacs Houses Community Center. "I want to ensure that the residents have access to the building, to community space, I want to make sure the residents have access to job opportunities, I want to make sure the residents have working elevators, and this is one way to make that a reality."

NYCHA released the following statement:

"NYCHA is committed to meeting and addressing resident concerns. As a result of extensive resident engagement the developer will be replacing the old, dilapidated playground with two new play areas for children to enjoy. In addition to the two playgrounds, residents will also have a new community center with an indoor basketball court and an open air rooftop playing field."