Community Conversation Two Bridges Luxury Towers: From Temporary Halt to Complete Stop, What Needs To Be Done?

The Two Bridges luxury megatowers are temporarily halted! The court has extended the injunction against the approval of the towers until a decision is made by Judge Arthur Engoron, who disagrees with the Mayor’s approval of these out-of-scale towers. 

Join our community conversation as we discuss the next steps. Our sustained NO TOWERS message was heard loud and clear. As a united community, we can stop these towers once and for all and continue to fight against the Mayor’s city-wide displacement agenda that allows developers to put profit over people.

All are welcome! 

When: July 9 – 6 pm
Where: Lands End II Community Room – 275 Cherry Street
Two Bridges Lawsuit FAQ:
Q: What has the community achieved so far in the fight against the Two Bridges mega-towers?
A: Through outreach, rallies, planning, research, surveys, and hearings, we united people on a ‘No Towers, No Compromise’ stance to prevent the neighborhood from being sold off for crumbs. We compiled community opposition into a robust lawsuit filed against the City of New York, DCP, and the Mayor for approving these out-of-scale towers. These developments violate the zoning law of the neighborhood, which clearly prohibits any construction that will irreparably change the community. But these lawsuits did not come out of nowhere: they came from the people. The lawsuit exposes the City’s intention to enrich developers at the expense of our livelihood, and people are coming together to hold the City accountable for its displacement agenda. That’s how we’ve gotten this far. 

Q: “Why do we emphasize “No Compromise” in our campaign?”
A: A lawsuit filed by a different group allows the judge to rule in favor of a Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP). ULURP gives the decision-making power over the towers to those elected officials who have colluded with the developers, not to the community. ULURP is a common tool that allows the City government to bargain for crumbs as concessions for approving the towers. The ULURP process involves a vote by City Council and the Mayor.  However, no matter the land use process, the towers remain illegal, therefore they should be stopped altogether, not erected through a corrupt process veiledas democracy. 

Q: But the towers have not been stopped yet. What is our next step?
A: We must continue to pressure the City while awaiting the judge’s impending decision, which could come anytime between now and early August. We need to be aware of all the possible outcomes, and develop community-based contingency plans. These may include actions outside the courthouse, putting pressure on our councilmember, and so forth. But no matter the outcome, we will stand as a united community. People have gotten us this far, and are the key to stopping the towers. This means doing outreach to your neighbors, coming to actions and bringing people with you, and participating in the planning of these actions. Beyond that, take an active step by signing the petition (which will be available at the July 9 event) calling on the City to stop the towers and pass the Chinatown Working Group Plan in its entirety. See more info about CWG below. 

Q: What is the long-term solution to stopping over-development and displacement in Chinatown & LES? 
A: We need to pass the Chinatown Working Group Rezoning Plan (CWG). It is a community-led plan that limits height on new developments, limits the number of chain stores and hotels that can be built in the neighborhood, and reclaims public and private land for truly affordable housing that matches the needs of residents. Exclusive zoning leaves the rest of the community vulnerable to displacement, but passing the Chinatown Working Group in its entirety will grant protection and opportunity to our entire neighborhood.  We need to build the momentum and support for passing the CWG Plan prior to the 2021 election, so that candidates who want to represent us have to answer to us.

Two Bridges Towers Judgement from the Court Hearing

June 5, 2019 6:30pm

Today shows the strength of community in the face of wealthy developers and a corrupt Mayor. Years of community outreach, education, and organizing, and months of research and coalition building went into preparation for this momentous day. The Lower East Side Organized Neighbors succeeded in securing an injunction against the Two Bridges megatowers, and presenting a robust and compelling argument in court. 

Many times land use cases where communities sue developers or the City are immediately dismissed, without arguments even being heard. While many of those dismissals are unjust, this highlights how the Lower East Side and Chinatown have truly united to build an unstoppable pressure to do the right thing, and obey the law that forbids these megatowers. 

Judge Engoron, who presided over today’s heading, surmised that the Mayor and the City Planning Commission cannot act independently or outside of the law. He acknowledged that there is a history of how developments like these can alter neighborhoods. He issued an injunction against the developers until August 2. While he will wait until that date to make a decision, he suggested that it is likely the developers and City Planning did not follow the proper process, and their plans might have to be altered accordingly. He said that findings are necessary, the ULURP review process may be necessary, and Authorization based on the LSRD (Large Scale Residential District) might be necessary, meaning the towers cannot block light/air or alter the neighborhood character.

Dozens of residents and neighbors rallied this morning against the towers and the Mayor that approved them. Today shows that their voices were heard.