NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Plans for a high-rise have launched a sky-high debate in a quiet Manhattan neighborhood.

As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, residents have raised their voices over the planned skyscraper on a tiny side street in a quintessential New York City neighborhood – Sutton Place.

The street was once home to the Vanderbilts, the Morgans and Marilyn Monroe, and its residents want to keep its charm.

“We care about our life here, and we are going to say no to mega-towers in residential neighborhoods,” said Lisa Mercurio, director of communications for the East River 50s Alliance.

Those living in 16 co-ops on Sutton Place have teamed up with Councilman Ben Kallos (D-5th) and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer to form an alliance against a skyscraper on East 58th Street.

They were rallying for rezoning Wednesday.

“We’re here to stop the parade of super-scrapers across 57th Street,” Kallos said. “Draw the line at a residential neighborhood.”

Residents advised looking around at the block, which has mostly six-story buildings. They said if a luxury high-rise is built as high as planned, 90 stories would drastically change the dynamic on the block.

“This is neighborhood; it’s a very tiny, narrow street. There was no precedent for such a thing in New York City,” Mercurio said, “and we do not want to see that change the context of the life that we have been living here.”

Herndon Werth, 81, has lived in the Sutton Place area since the 1970s. He said the developer tried to buy him out.

“There’s a man that lives in my building – he’s in his 80s or early 90s, and he has a nurse that has to come every day. There’s a couple that has three children,” Werth said.

Werth is staying put, and wants to make sure his neighbors do too.

But after a meeting last December with Bauhouse Development Group and its shareholders the co-op owners agreed to sell their air rights for $11 million, under the assumption that the new high-rise would be no more than 30 stories tall.

Bauhouse said it looks forward to a productive dialogue with community members.

The zoning dating back to 1961 allows skyscrapers to be built on the main streets, but not on side streets, due to congestion.

The new building would be situated in the middle of the side street.



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