Upper East Side residents whose kids love to romp at the Holmes Tower playground say the city is making a big mistake by allowing it to be razed and replaced with a 47-story apartment building.
“We deserve better from the people we elect,” said Tryan Pryce at a community protest Tuesday.
Pryce, 39, said his 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter get much of their needed exercise by running in the playground — and he labeled elected officials “thieves” because they want to “steal” it from the neighborhood.
The New York City Housing Authority announced this month that it had tapped Fetner Properties to build a 330-unit mixed-income building on East 92nd Street between First and York avenues as part of its “NextGeneration” program, started two years ago to develop “underutilized” public land.
But Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said the area is already plenty crowded.
“You’re taking their light and air and playground,” she said, standing in the play area alongside parents.
Maloney said the proposed project — for which the city would receive a $25 million payout from the developer in exchange for a 99-year lease — is short-sighted.
“We need more green, not greed, in the city,” she said.
Councilmember Ben Kallos said he has attended dozens of meetings where the details of the lease and the construction plans are being hashed out.
Although half of the units in the new building are intended to be affordable housing, Kallos says he suspects the project would not benefit the existing community.
“I don’t think the NYCHA residences should be trapped in the shadows of the wealthy,” Kallos said.
“I want to save this playground.”
Protestors vowed to fight the plans.
“We’ve been given so few details, we can fit them on one hand,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, calling the project a “cash cow” for the housing authority, which plans to spend it on needed renovations to Holmes Tower.