Save Central Park from tall building shadows, lawmaker says

By Lisa Colangelo

With the city’s skyline growing taller by the year, a Manhattan lawmaker is reviving his efforts to get the city to study the impact of its shadows on city parkland.

City Councilman Mark Levine is set to introduce a bill on Wednesday that would create an interagency task force to make recommendations on how to prevent buildings from blocking sunlight that is vital to the parks and the people who use them.

“We want to tackle this problem before the next boom on super-tall towers attacks Central Park,” Levine told amNewYork. “They cast shadows that can be a mile or longer in the park. If it was just one, you would wait for it to pass, but there are potentially seven more and that’s going to affect the ecosystem of the park.”

Levine introduced a similar bill in 2015 and it was the subject of a City Council hearing. But the bill was never approved.

In a 2015 report, the Real Estate Board of New York called concerns over the shadows “overblown.”

But Levine said, “Now is the right time to do it because the market has slowed down some.”

Levine pointed to six towers being constructed along the 57th Street corridor in Manhattan that measure over 1,000 feet tall.

According to shadow studies by the Municipal Art Society, new luxury towers will block sunlight in some areas of the park all day long,

“Currently, there is no process in the zoning resolution to assess, let alone mitigate, the impact of buildings on parks and open space,” Layla Law-Gisiko, chair of Community Board 5’s Central Park Sunshine Task Force, said in a statement. “As a result, we have seen numerous parks throughout the city plunged into shadows with no ability to protect the public's access to sunlight. We need to urgently equip ourselves with better zoning tools.”

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