View Full Version : Manhattan-UES Plans for Spence School's Atrium Anger Neighbors

06-15-2011, 08:24 AM
From DNAinfo.com (http://www.dnainfo.com/20110615/upper-east-side/plans-for-spence-school-atrium-angers-neighbors) by Amy Zimmer:
The Spence School, the elite girls school that inspired the rarefied world of Gossip Girl, has outraged its tony Carnegie Hill neighbors with plans to build a glass atrium connecting two of its buildings.

School officials say they need the atrium between 22 East 91st St. and the townhouse located behind it at 17 East 90th St. to spare students from having to climb up and down a few flights of stairs, and walk across an outdoor courtyard.

Spence parents have said their girls get "scrapes and bruises" speeding up and down stairs to class during the estimated 3,200 trips made each day.

But neighbors abutting the shared courtyard say the plans are too big and the glass atrium will rob them of light and air.

They want the school to scale back its plans, saying that the 20-foot wide, 30-foot-tall atrium, which will connect the first and second floors of each building, will still mean students have to walk up and down stairs to reach the passageway.

Because the the ornate landmarked townhouse at East 90th Street, that Spence bought in 2008, and the adjacent building on East 91st Street are part of the Carnegie Hill historic district, and because the proposed changes violate existing zoning laws, the plans require permission from the city.

"Our privacy, our life is getting boxed in," said Roger Levin, of 15 E. 90th St., claiming his bedroom window will be five feet away from the school's new connector.

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