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Tina Fey Becomes Target of Natural History Museum Expansion Protesters

By Emily Frost | December 14, 2015 4:17pm | Updated on December 14, 2015 5:31pm
 A group of Upper West Siders is planning to protest Tina Fey's support of the American Museum of Natural History's expansion.
A group of Upper West Siders is planning to protest Tina Fey's support of the American Museum of Natural History's expansion.
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AMNH; Getty Images/Theo Wargo (inset)

UPPER WEST SIDE — Opponents of the American Museum of Natural History's expansion plan intend to protest at the opening of Tina Fey's new movie "Sisters" Friday with the hope of persuading the comedienne to use her star power to stop the development.

Fey, who lives on the Upper West Side, serves as a trustee on the museum's board, which approved the initial design plans for the new $325 million Gilder Center in early November.

The Gilder Center will add new exhibition halls and classrooms to the American Museum of Natural History campus. The new building would require some loss of space and trees in the surrounding Theodore Roosevelt Park, a major sticking point for nearby residents who use the public green space.

One group of residents, who oppose the expansion altogether and want the center to open in The Bronx instead, hopes Fey will hear their side of the story and change her mind.

They plan to try to persuade her so "she'll be able to become a voice that goes the other direction" from the museum, said Cary Goodman, who lives near the museum and is the lead organizer of the protest. 

Fey told The New York Times she "might stroll into 68th Street," referring to the AMC Theater on Broadway at West 68th Street, to see her film, in which she co-stars with pal Amy Poehler.

Goodman is hoping she will attend the Friday opening so he and others can intercept her from 5 p.m. onward. Fey has not publicly confirmed she will attend.

The official premiere, which Fey did attend, happened on Dec. 8 at the Ziegfeld Theater in Midtown.

"She is a smart person, hopefully a nice person," Goodman said, "and if we can just have a conversation, she can have a big voice."

The protesters' intent is two-fold and also involves educating Fey's fans about the museum's plans and her involvement, he said. 

The informal group of about a dozen neighbors will hand out hundreds of copies of a "Science Report Card" for Fey, giving her Fs for her support of the plan, they said.  

"There’s nothing funny about this... Ms. Fey owes her neighbors an explanation: why did she vote for this plan?” Goodman said in a statement.

The group has overlapping membership with the nonprofit Defenders of Teddy Roosevelt Park Inc., but is not formally aligned with the group.

The museum said the trustees' decision to approve the expansion design has been "greeted favorably by so many."

"Like all decisions of the Board of Trustees, they are made by the Board as a whole and not by any single member," the museum said in a statement on behalf of Fey.

"We also know that there are many discussions and public meetings ahead and they will provide an ongoing opportunity for members of the public to express their views and get information."

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