Local Elected Officials Win Battle Against 32-Foot Sidewalk Cell Towers

New York Carnegie Hill Neighbors today celebrated this week’s State Historic Preservation Office’s decision to advise against adding the final planned CityBridge sidewalk cell tower in the neighborhood. The massive, out-of-scale, and unnecessary towers had threatened to destroy one of the city’s iconic historic districts until Carnegie Hill Neighbors led the charge to propose a better connectivity plan.

While other towers are still planned in historic districts across the city, SHPO’s decision means all 10 towers originally planned in Carnegie Hill have been removed from active installation timelines. The Office determined the final proposed site in the neighborhood, at 1190 Madison Avenue, would “impact the historic setting and be incompatible in design, massing, and height.”

“New York City deserves better connectivity, but massive, out-of-scale, and unnecessary sidewalk cell towers were never the way forward in historic districts. We look forward to convincing City Hall to reconsider this entire plan in favor of something smaller and more contextual. Today, we’re proud to have successfully made our case to lawmakers, experts, and the community at large. When our community comes together, nothing can stop us,” said Joanna Cawley, Executive Director of Carnegie Hill Neighbors.

In November, CHN stood with U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler, Assembly Member Alex Bores, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, and Council Member Keith Powers as Assembly Member Bores unveiled a new report, “Navigating the 5G Revolution: Solutions for New York City’s Connectivity Challenges,” which outlined alternatives to the 32-foot towers. 

These elected officials, longtime champions in the effort to protect historic districts, also co-signed letters to the Landmarks Preservation Commission and FCC in protest of the City’s proposed plans.

“Today’s announcement reflects what we’ve known to be true all along— that Link5G towers are out of context with the historical nature of many of New York’s neighborhoods,” said Congressman Jerry Nadler. “I applaud this victory which represents how strong our community can be when we raise our voices together toward a common goal.”

“I commend the SHPO’s comment stating the 5G tower proposed for 1190 Madison Ave is incompatible with the historical setting. Just this week, I questioned Mayor Adams about the unknown health and environmental impacts of 5G technology and the proliferation of towers in our neighborhoods during a budget hearing at the Capitol. I continue this advocacy because New Yorkers deserve to know how 5G technology could impact their lives, especially using their tax dollars,” said Assembly Member Rebecca A. Seawright.

"The State Historic Preservation Office's decision to request movement or redesigning of the proposed tower only highlights how important it is to consider alternatives when placing towers in historic neighborhoods. Cities such as Los Angeles, Portland, and Denver already use aesthetically-pleasing smart pole technology and New York City can and should do the same," said Council Member Julie Menin.

“Since the beginning, I have raised community concerns about the LinkNYC 5G towers being out of context with the surrounding neighborhood. I have also been proud to advocate for sensible compromises that allow us to continue expanding digital access without sacrificing our valuable public spaces, and am pleased that our voices are being heard,” said Council Member Keith Powers.