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Amid Development Boom, UES Residents Want to Form Construction Task Force

By Shaye Weaver | July 22, 2016 5:44pm | Updated on July 25, 2016 8:06am
 The Bearley School will demolish three apartment buildings on East End Avenue in order to expand its programming.
The Bearley School will demolish three apartment buildings on East End Avenue in order to expand its programming.
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DNAinfo/Shaye Weaver

YORKVILLE — East End Avenue is transforming and residents have taken note.

Two new school expansion projects are currently in the works just two blocks away from each other the Chapin School at 84th Street and the Brearley School at 83rd Street, and new condo projects are springing up at 80th and 81st streets.

Seeing the writing on the wall, a group of residents is pitching the creation of an East End Avenue task force that would regularly work with developers and schools to make sure the neighborhood isn't overtaken by noise and other construction-induced issues.

East 84th Street residents, Lisa Paule and Cynthia Kramer, who help lead a group called Serene Green 84, a group of locals who are fighting for quality of life on the block, sent an email to local politicians on Thursday, asking for their support.

"We would like to get ahead of the coming colossal disruption of our neighborhood and make sure safeguards are in place," they wrote. "We would like to set up a community task force to get ahead of all the issues and begin work to maintain the special nature of this residential area. As we enlist support from our neighboring buildings, we appreciate your involvement in this initiative."

Paule told DNAinfo New York on Friday that the group feels it can help preemptively address concerns about the upcoming "massive disruption" of East End Avenue and could offer suggestions given their previous experience working with the Chapin School on their expansion.

Over the spring, residents and the Chapin School worked together to shorten their exterior work hours during weekdays ending at 8 p.m. and at 5 p.m. on Saturdays. No work outside will be done on Sundays.

"We'd like to have a collective voice prior to the beginning of all these East End Avenue projects to set a favorable course," she added. "Our neighborhood is a beautiful treasure of New York that we want to protect, and we're hopeful this can be done through good planning that includes all the relevant parties."

Kramer said the neighborhood is quiet, mostly because there are a lot of seniors in the area and they're having to move out because of the amount of construction in the area. Coming and going has become difficult because the amount of traffic that has built up around various construction sites, she said.

"About 18 months later, after all the rigmarole [working with Chapin School], they've come to see the light of working together, that we can all cooperate in harmony," she said. "With Brearley, it's the same kettle of fish. Let's get ahead of it now so we don't have to go through it the same way."

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who has been involved in discussions between residents and the Chapin School in recent months, said she believes the effort is necessary.

"I support the formation of a task force and am planning to meet with community stakeholders and agencies soon to discuss it," she told DNAinfo New York on Friday.

Here are some of the projects coming to the East End Avenue:

The Chapin School, 100 East End Ave.

The school is building two stories on top of its eight-story building to make room for a gym, a second dining hall and additional classrooms. Residents complained about late night and weekend work during the school's last expansion last year and have been working with the all-girls school to lessen the impact of the new construction on their neighborhood.

The Brearley School,  70-74 East End Ave.

The all-girls prep school is planning to build a new 12-story school building to make room for its growing enrollment. The new building will replace three existing townhouses and include a gym, a large auditorium, art labs, a library, and play space for younger students. Then, once the new building is complete in 2019-2020, the school will renovate its current structure on East 83rd Street. 

► Lightstone Group Condominiums, 40 East End Ave.

The Lightstone Group, recently bought 40 East End Ave. for $32.5 million with plans to erect an 18-story condo tower with a lounge, a garage, an exercise studio and a game room. The current building, which includes 29 apartments and a now-shuttered Gristedes, will be demolished soon to make room for the tower.