Stop The Tower at 857 Riverside

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Mr. Mayor, Comissioners La Rocca, Carroll and Lago:

We are residents of Washington Heights and concerned New Yorkers. We are asking you to put a halt to an inappropriate, unwanted and invasive new skyscraper planned for our mid-rise neighborhood, and to stop the destruction of the last known building in Upper Manhattan connected to the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Washington Heights is not for sale. Stand with us to stop the tower at 857 Riverside Drive at 159th Street, and preserve Upper Manhattan's last link with the battle against slavery in the United States.

Commissioner La Rocca, We ask that you put a hold on the demolition of the historic Harris-Newhouse Home at 857 Riverside Drive (permit number 123923219) and carefully examine the past record of the developer, Sigmund Freund, whose other properties are riddled with violations, Stop Work Orders and violations of Stop Work Orders. Is it safe to let him start another project?

Commissioner Carroll, We ask that you consider our emergency request for evaluation of the Harris-Newhouse Home with its links to the abolitionist movement, the Underground Railroad and the expansion of New York City.

Commissioner Lago, We ask you to consider whether the planned new construction is appropriate to this neighborhood, and in fact, whether the zoning for this entire R-8 district is still appropriate 60 years after it was enacted.

Mr. Mayor, Please heed the wishes of our community. We hope that an intact, vibrant and affordable Washington Heights, and a living monument to the anti-slavery movement will be part of your progressive legacy.

The Upper Riverside Residents Alliance, has been joined in opposing the tower at 857 Riverside Drive by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council Member Mark Levine, state Senator Robert Jackson and Assembly Member Al Taylor.

You can learn more about the remarkable history of the Harris-Newhouse Home at 857 Riverside Drive, and pioneering New York abolitionist Dennis Harris on our website at