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Community Board Rejects Trump’s ‘Masterpiece’ New York Development

July 24, 1992

NEW YORK (AP) _ A community board overwhelmingly recommended against Donald Trump’s $3 billion plan for the city’s largest undeveloped waterfront property Thursday night.

Community Board 7 voted 35-1 against the proposal, with two abstentions. Its vote is only advisory. City officials eventually will have the final say, and Trump, who has called his proposal an ″architectural masterpiece,″ predicts he will prevail.

Most of more than 600 people who showed up at two hearings this week virulently protested Trump’s proposal to transform nearly 75 acres of old rail yards on Manhattan’s Upper West Side into apartments, businesses and a park.

Public hearings on the plan were so rancorous that officials threatened to clear the room two minutes after one meeting began.

Trump has scoffed at the criticism, saying critics are more concerned with preserving their views of the Hudson River than creating construction jobs or improving the city.

At stake is the development of the abandoned Penn Central rail yards, a rare chunk of vacant Manhattan real estate over which developers and community leaders have battled for more than a decade. Trump bought the site in 1984.

The plan, called Riverside South, calls for 14 apartment buildings, a 1.8 million-square-foot film production studio built beneath twin office towers and a 21.5-acre public park along the water.

Many residents claim the proposal, Trump’s third for the site, will block their river views, further congest the area and tax the local subway station. They also said it’s short on affordable housing.

″We’ll be living in a canyon,″ said Joan Lufrano, one of the hearings’ more subdued participants. ″We’ll be living in shadows. Not to mention all the traffic and overpopulation.″

Trump snorts derisively when asked about his opponents.

″These are just people who want to save their views,″ he said. ″This is going to provide 25,000 construction jobs. It’ll provide housing, access to the waterfront and a tremendous park. It’s an architectural masterpiece.″

Trump is not the plan’s only supporter.

″Riverfront land is so scarce, it doesn’t make sense to just leave it there,″ said another one of them, resident Priscilla Lundin. ″It’s kind of an eyesore the way it is.″

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