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NYC Tenants Fight Against Rooftop Cell Phone Tower

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Residents at Salem House on the Upper East Side crowded the roof to protest the installation of a rooftop T-Mobile cell phone tower.

Residents at Salem House on the Upper East Side crowded the roof to protest the installation of a rooftop T-Mobile cell phone tower.

johnslattery John Slattery
John Slattery is a four-time Emmy Award-winning general assignment...
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NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A battle is under way on the Upper East Side between residents of a condo building and cellular giant T-Mobile.

It’s a case of “antenna anxiety,” reports CBS 2’s John Slattery.

Residents on the rooftop of an Upper East Side building looked on with glee as a crane down on the street drew in its tentacles and left.

“It’s just a sweet site to watch,” one resident said.

The standoff began at around 8:30 Sunday morning when the crane was positioned on East 81st Street.

The crane’s objective was to begin installing rooftop cellular antennas, but two dozen residents of the 164-unit building, called Salem House, took up positions on the roof to prevent it.

“The plan is to stay here – to stay here all day,” resident Pat Phillips said.

Opponents to the plan said they not only fear radiation and the spoiling of their rooftop garden, but said the 30-year plan with T-Mobile was devised behind closed doors by the condo board members only.

“They never let anybody in the building know this deal had come to the table,” Phillips said.

The president of the board, Regina Ford, declined comment to CBS 2.

Jane Builder, a spokeswoman for T-Mobile, released the following statement: “We’ve worked with the resident-elected board of directors at the Salem House for more than a year to bring a new site on-air that blends in with the surrounding area and delivers the biggest service improvement for local families.”

With the police trying to mediate the situation, the crane was taken down.

The tenants have won the latest skirmish with T-Mobile, but it appears that battle will continue in court.

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