Once again, politics enters the fray...
Lawmakers Vowing To Block United Nations Building Effort
By GRACE RAUH
April 3, 2007
Elected officials are vowing to fight any proposal by the Bloomberg administration to erect a United Nations office tower at Robert Moses Park on 42nd Street, and say they would do everything in their power to stop such a plan from winning approval in Albany if were to come before the Legislature.
The most strenuous opposition is from members of the Legislature and City Council who mounted a vocal campaign against a previous plan to build an office tower on the property. The proposal required legislative approval, which it failed to receive in 2005.
The officials say they oppose any plan to help the United Nations, which they describe as an antidemocratic, anti-American, and anti-Israeli organization.
"When the holiday is over in the next 10 days, I and others will mount the same kind of campaign as we did before," an Assemblyman, Dov Hikind of Brooklyn, said yesterday, referring to the fight against the previous building plan. He said he thinks any future plan to build a U.N. office tower on the property would fail again in Albany.
"I don't know of anyone who feels differently from a year ago or two years ago," he said. "As far as I am concerned, anything with the United Nations turns my stomach."
A spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg, John Gallagher, said in an e-mailed statement the administration is working with the United Nations to provide a range of expansion options, however, no decision is imminent. In the past, Mr. Bloomberg has said having the United Nations in New York is important for the city's economy.
Council Member Daniel Garodnick said that when he met with representatives from the office of Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff a few weeks ago, the city officials discussed their desire to revisit using Robert Moses Park as space for the United Nations.
For Mr. Garodnick's constituents, the issue of greatest concern regarding any possible development is the limited amount of open park space in his district, he said.
"Protecting the parkland that we have in an area that is starved for it is very important," he said. "Nobody will tolerate simply losing a park."
Previously, the United Nations had indicated it needed extra offices to be used as "swing space" during its renovation. Although that need has been met through other arrangements, the entity still is interested in an office building to consolidate employees scattered in rental space around the city, a spokeswoman for the Economic Development Corporation, Janel Patterson said.
A council member who counts himself among those opposed to the presence of the United Nations in New York, Simcha Felder, said it would be a mistake for the city to help it in any way.
"Arguments have been made about the economic benefits that this city has when it comes to housing the United Nations and I would never debate that," Mr. Felder said. "But the economic benefits of having an entity that's evil? It doesn't matter how much money the city makes on it. It shouldn't be here."
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“Office buildings are our factories – whether for tech, creative or traditional industries we must continue to grow our modern factories to create new jobs,” said United States Senator Chuck Schumer.