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Foes of Controversial Jersey LG Tower March to Jersey to Protest Plan

By Nigel Chiwaya | November 14, 2013 10:32am
 LG Electronics is prepared to build a controversial 143-foot corporate tower in Englewood Cliffs.
LG Electronic's Englewood Cliffs Tower
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ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS — Upper Manhattan residents angry about LG's planned eight-story tower set to rise across the Hudson River along the Palisades section of New Jersey trekked across the George Washington Bridge Thursday morning to protest a groundbreaking ceremony for the controversial project.

Protect the Palisades — a coalition of community groups on both sides of the Hudson planned to meet at 9:45 a.m. Thursday to rally against the development, which they say will harm the landmarked Palisades section of New Jersey and destroy a site that uptowners have cherished for decades, according to emails shared by representatives from state Sen. Adriano Espaillat's office and the Fort Tryon Park Trust.

The protesters, who were accompanied by a black hearse that circled the complex, carried signs denouncing the tower as a "monument to corporate greed." Among the protesters was Larry Rockefeller, whose grandfather purchased 700 acres of the Palisades for preservation in the 1930s.

Protesters on site said they were met with a heavy police force but added that no arrests were made.

The 143-foot glass and metal tower is the centerpiece of the Korean electronic company's new $300 million American headquarters. LG had drawn scorn from several uptown organizations, including The Cloisters, the Fort Tryon Park Trust, the New York Restoration Project and Manhattan Community Board 12.

These groups, joined by counterparts in New Jersey, have argued that the tower will destroy the view of the Palisades, a series of tree-lined cliffs that was landmarked in 1983. The controversy around the tower landed both The Cloisters and the Palisades on the World Monument Fund's 2014 watch list for endangered sites.  

LG's opponents were dealt a blow in August, when the New Jersey Superior Court ruled in favor of the tower's zoning, effectively enabling construction to proceed. However, Protect the Palisades has appealed the ruling, and Espaillat took LG to task for holding a groundbreaking while the outcome is uncertain.

"Upper Manhattan and Bronx residents have watched with outrage as LG Electronics has aggressively pushed through plans for a pointlessly tall building that will irrevocably destroy New York City’s view of the scenic Palisades and set a dangerous precedent for future development," Espaillat said in a statement.

"With our coalition’s legal options not yet exhausted, it is shockingly callous and insensitive for LG to hold this ceremony," he said.

"This will damage not only this natural land but the beautiful vistas from Fort Tryon Park, hurting tourism in Washington Heights," added Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez. "I strongly urge LG to reconsider their actions and push their new building west, away from the Palisades, preserving this beautiful land."