Lenox Hill Neighborhood advocates push pols to oppose hospital project

BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH | Almost a week after the Upper East Side community board voted to reject Northwell Health’s $2.5 billion Lenox Hill Hospital revitalization plan, the Committee to Protect Our Lenox Hill Neighborhood isn’t giving up on defeating the project.

The committee sent a letter on Tuesday, Oct. 29 to both Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Upper East Side Councilman Keith Powers urging them to “formalize a position on this plan and oppose it.”

The plan calls for the creation of a 516-foot hospital tower and a 41-story apartment complex next to the hospital. Revenue generated from the residential building would fund the hospitals renovations, transition to single-patient rooms, a new mother and baby center, a new emergency room, a new ambulance bay and a new diagnostic center.

Members of the committee are concerned that the project would cause traffic congestion, noise and air pollution and large shadows cast by the towering buildings, but a Northwell spokesperson has said in the past that Northwell Health and Lenox Hill Hospital are dedicated to creating a facility that is for the community and plans to engage in more the hospital’s neighboring residents.

On the day of the community board vote, Brewer and Powers both sent a letter to Northwell asking the healthcare corporation to re-evaluate the 77th Street and Park Avenue project’s scale, timeline and scope.

Andrew Soussloff, president of the Committee to Protect Our Lenox Hill Neighborhood, said the letter was not enough, despite the community board rejection.

“While we appreciate with your willingness to engage with Northwell and the community at this stage, you did not explicitly state your objection to Northwell’s plan and requested zoning changes or advise Northwell that they need to withdraw their plan and go back to the drawing board,” he wrote to the leaders in response.

“We ask that you, and all our elected officials, follow the clear expression of Community Board 8’s position and enforce the zoning code.” According to Community Board 8, the height limit on buildings in the area is 210 feet.

The community board and borough president cannot force Northwell to withdraw a proposed project from the city’s ULURP process because they are both advisory in nature.

“Everyone knows that I take community input very seriously,” Brewer said in response to the letter. “While this specific process is currently in the very early stages, I am committed to listening to the members of the Lenox Hill neighborhood every step of the way.”