Media Coverage

December 20th, 2018  Park organization: Natural History Museum expansion plans must wait (New York Business Journal) "We have hope that the appellate court will take a hard look at this case," said William Raudenbush, the group's chairman (h/t Crain's). "We feel that there are some important and compelling elements of the case that the decision last week didn't address."

 

December 19, 2018 Natural History Museum's $400M expansion halted despite court victory (Crain's New York Business) "We have hope that the appellate court will take a hard look at this case," said William Raudenbush, the group's chairman. "We feel that there are some important and compelling elements of the case that the decision last week didn't address."

December 19, 2018 Construction on American Museum of Natural History expansion remains halted (Curbed, New York) According to Crain’s, the group of opponents announced that the museum will be prohibited from moving forward with its expansion.

December 16, 2018 Judge unblocks Natural History Museum project “We are deeply disappointed by the court’s ruling,” Michael Hiller, Community United’s lawyer, said by e-mail. “Nonetheless, we continue to believe in the merit of our clients’ case and are considering an appeal.”

November 3, 2018 Museum Gets Court Permission to Start Basic Site Work for New Building, With Limits; Both Sides Declare Victory (WestSide Rag) ""They can’t remove any trees, they can’t remove any benches, they can’t remove a single blade of grass, and they can’t do anything that changes the configuration of the Park,” said Attorney Michael Hiller, who argued the case on behalf of Community United. “I nearly fell of my chair laughing at the Museum’s effort to make their calamitous loss look like a win,” he added."

 

October 31, 2018 Museum of Natural History Forced to Hold Off On Expansion (Leslie J. Garfield Blog) "As of now, the museum can no longer remove any additional trees or continue with construction or demolition work for the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation in Theodore Roosevelt Park."

 

October 30, 2018 Museum of Natural History Expansion Plan Suffers Setback (Crain's New York Business) "If we hadn't taken this case and the museum had been able to take this parkland unopposed, it would have basically meant that the entire park is set aside for the museum and that would have been the end of the park," said Michael Hiller, an attorney representing the community in the lawsuit. "We're trying to prevent that, and winning this temporary restraining order is an important first step."

October 30, 2018 American Museum of Natural History's Expansion Plans Halted by Lawsuit (Curbed New York) For now, construction work, and any planned removal of trees from the park will have to be halted until a court hearing that’s been scheduled for December 11, 2018. Community United has been opposed to the project on the grounds that it will destroy the park, lead to the removal of trees, and that construction work will pose a safety and environmental hazard to the surrounding community.

October 30, 2018 One Small Nonprofit has Just Won a Legal Victory Over a Much Larger One (NYN Media) "One small nonprofit has just won a legal victory over a much larger one.Community United to Protect Theodore Roosevelt Park, a community group in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, is celebrating a temporary restraining order obtained against the American Museum of Natural History, according to an Oct. 29 press release. The order will halt until at least Dec. 11 efforts to construct the Gilder Center, a project aimed at expanding the museum’s scientific and education offerings."

October 30, 2018 Judge Halts American Museum of Natural History Project (NY1) "A Manhattan judge has put the brakes on an expansion project at the American Museum of Natural History. A temporary restraining order has been issued for the construction of the new Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation in Theodore Roosevelt Park."

October 29, 2018 Judge halts Natural History Museum Construction (Politico Pro) A state Supreme Court justice ordered the American Museum of Natural History to halt construction work on a $383 million expansion project on Monday in response to a complaint filed by an Upper West Side neighborhood group.

October 29, 2018 NY Judge Puts Brakes on American Museum of Natural History Project (New York Law Journal)  “I believe in this case and the decision has only reinforced our confidence that we are on the right side of this,” said Michael Hiller of Hiller PC, who represents Community United, of Kotler’s ruling.

 

September 25, 2018 AMNH Expansion Plan Goes to Court (Westside Spirt) "A deep-pocketed mystery donor has pledged to match up to $100,000 in contributions to the cause, Community United to Protect Theodore Roosevelt Park, the local group behind the lawsuit, announced earlier this month."

September 22, 2018 Museum's Expansion Plan Draws Ire and A Lawsuit (Wall Street Journal) "[The] key argument: The plan should be nixed because the museum isn’t entitled to the city-owned land that will be needed for the expansion, despite the city’s approval of the project."

September 21, 2018 Upper West Side Residents Up in Arms Over American Museum of Natural History (NY Daily News) "[Community United] argues that city erred in approving the [230,000]-square-foot Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation. The lawsuit claims that the project would cause “catastrophic environmental damage to the area” and pose “life-threatening health hazards to residents.”"

September 20, 2018 Museum of Natural History Closes Part of Surrounding Park for New Building as Opposition Heads to Court (Westside Rag)

July 31, 2018 Goodlawyas: Three Lawyers Who Challenge New York’s Real Estate Empire (Commercial Observer) 

April 10, 2018 Lawsuit filed to block AMNH expansion (Westside Spirit) "Community United claims that in granting its approval, the Parks Department failed to adequately consider adverse impacts that could occur as a result of the project, including construction noise, impacts to transit and pedestrian safety as a result of a new museum entrance facing Columbus Avenue, and the potential release of hazardous materials during construction." 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 2, 2018 Opponents File Suit to Block Museum Expansion Approval, Saying It Will Cause ‘Catastrophic Environmental Damage’ (Westside Rag)

 

March 31, 2018 Nonprofit claims American Museum of Natural History expansion is ‘illegal’ (New York Post) "Community United is asking a Manhattan Supreme Court judge to vacate the approvals for the museum’s planned 203,000-square-foot Richard Gilder Center in Theodore Roosevelt Park, claiming it would cause “catastrophic environmental damage to the area.”"

January 26, 2018 Curators at Museum of Natural History Object to a Trustee (New York Times) "curators expressed their “profound concern” about Ms. [Rebekah] Mercer’s alliances with and donations to organizations that they say “challenge and politicize climate change science.”"

January 25, 2018 Open Letter from Scientists to the American Museum of Natural History (Museum of Natural History.org) "We are concerned that the vital role of science education institutions will be eroded by a loss of public trust if museums are associated with individuals and organizations known for rejecting climate science, opposing environmental regulation and clean energy initiatives, and blocking efforts to reduce pollutants and greenhouse gases."

January 25, 2018 A Science Denier at the Natural History Museum? Scientists Rebel (New York Times)

 

January 17, 2018 Museum Trustee, a Trump Donor, Supports Groups That Deny Climate Change (New York Times)

January 12, 2018 What’s a Climate Denial Funder Doing on the American Museum of Natural History Board? (Village Voice)

December 14, 2017 AMNH Gets Go-ahead, but Lawsuit Looms (Westside Spirit) "[Community United believes] the Gilder Center will stand on what is now public park land, the project should have been subjected to the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. “I think it’s clear that the museum thinks that they own that park, but that’s not the case.”"

December 13, 2017 INTERVIEW: Zoning and land-use attorney Michael Hiller fights to uphold the Landmarks Law (6SQFT.com) “So if [the AMNH] were to build onto any of [the park] areas around the museum—and this expansion would do that—they would violate New York State law.”

December 4, 2017 Museum Wins Approval for Expansion, But Opposition Group Vows to Sue (Westside Rag) “I look for something that has public policy importance, citywide, statewide or nationwide impact ... I can’t remember the last time I brought a case that I didn’t think I could win. I always feel I can win a case if I’m on the right side of it.

November 24, 2017 Museum Expansion Opponents Highlight Asbestos Risks, Push for Last-Minute Commenting Blitz (Westside Rag) "[The museum] disingenuously buried unclear answers to serious concerns over public health and safety under a mountain of paper.”

November 20, 2017 Gilder Center Review Nears End (Westside Spirit) “Dedicating more money to the park doesn’t change the adverse impact on the community in the present as well as in all the years to come...We will be taking decisive action to halt this project in its tracks in any way that we can, and we feel that we have a very strong case”

November 16, 2017 Final Analysis Released for Museum of Natural History’s Expansion as Museum Commits to $100K Annual Park Investments (Westside Rag)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 26, 2017 Public Pressure Mounts Over Use of Damrosch Park for Circus (Westside Spirit)

September 26, 2017 Public Pressure Mounts Over Use of Damrosch Park for Circus (Westside Spirit)

September 7, 2017 UWS Independent Candidate Opposes AMNH Expansion (Manhattan Express) "It just seems so natural to me that we would want to continue to have our quiet, peaceful, tranquil outdoor space.... People don’t realize it, but it’s so quietly rejuvenating. You don’t miss it until it’s gone." - William Raudenbush, Independent Candidate, NYC Council District 6

September 7, 2017 Tough Words as Council Candidates Face Off Final Time Before The Primary (Westside Rag)

September 6, 2017 UWS City Council Candidates Round Table (West Side Spirt)

August 30, 2017 The Preservation Lawyer (West Side Spirit) "What [the AMNH] would be doing is expanding into the grassy green areas of the park that don’t belong to the museum.... That land belongs to the city and to the people. If the city wants to cede that land to the museum, they have to go through the ULURP process.” - Michael Hiller

August 24, 2017 Museum Expansion, School Re-zoning Dominate District 6 Council Debate (Manhattan Express)

 

August 17, 2017 Albanese Joins Fight Against High Rise Building on Kids Playground (NY Post)

August 16, 2017 Museum of Natural History Files Building Permits, But It's Not A Done Deal Yet (Westside Rag) "The Museum of Natural History has filed building permits for its new education center, but that doesn’t mean shovels are about to hit the ground. The museum still hasn’t completed the public review process.... ...it hasn’t yet gotten a full public review or vote."

August 1, 2017  20 Races to Watch in the 2017 City Election Cycle (Gotham Gazette)

July 28, 2017 Anger Over Development Schools Fuels West Side Council Clash (City Limits)

June 30, 2017 AMNH Expansion Foes Blast Environmental Impact Statement (Manhattan Express News)

 

June 26, 2017 FINAL Deadline for Written or Verbal Comments on Draft Environmental Study. Submit to Owen Welles, Dir. Environmental Review; NYC Department of Parks. Read our summary of the findings here.

June 21, 2017 Museum Expansion Opponents Pack Meeting: "Teddy Roosevelt is Turning Over In His Grave" (Westside Rag)

June 15, 2017 More than 350 people attended the Draft Environmental Study Public Comment Session to reject the AMNH's proposal and Michael Hiller, attorney for Community United, made a powerful statement about the legality of the project. 

June 14, 2017 Tear Down Those Fences! Section of Park  Around Natural History Museum... (Westside Rag) 

June 6, 2017 It's Crunch Time for Museum Expansion Project as Neighbors Debate New Environmental Study (Westside Rag) "...It will also force residents to endure three years of construction, reduce the overall area of the surrounding park, and only add to the traffic problems in the area."

May 17, 2017 NYC Department of Parks & Recreation released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) which confirmed our deepest concerns. Read our summary of the findings here.

 

May 5, 2017 Sorry, Housing is Number 1: Mayor on Garden Battle (The Villager)

 

May 2017 Community United retains GHD, an award-winning engineering firm, to conduct and independent environmental study of the Gilder Center's impact on the community and environment.

April 25, 2017 NYC Department of Parks & Recreation released the Final Scope of Work Report which expanded the projected area affected by the Gilder Center to encompass W. 72nd St. - W. 86th St. and from Central Park West - Broadway.

March 9, 2017 Op-Ed: Investing in the Parks System New York City Deserves (Gotham Gazette)

January 26, 2017 Fair Trade A Museum Expansion for an Open Park (New York Times) “…we express who we are, and what we believe, in public spaces, not just big ones like the National Mall.”

January 18, 2017 Putting the Stars on Display (NY Press) “What you have to do is stand and fight.”

January 11, 2017 Museum Expansion Looks to Create Buzz Over Bugs (Wall Street Journal)

January 3, 2017 House GOP Rules Change Would Make it Easier to Sell Off Federal Land (Washington Post)

January 2017 - Community United retains attorney, Michael Hiller, to serve as counsel

2016

 

December 1, 2016 Community United hosts a Town Hall meeting for all concerned community members. Attorney Michael Hiller addresses the gathered attendees.

November 19, 2016 Battle Lines over Trumps Lands Policy Stretches Across 640 Million Acres (New York Times

 

October 14, 2016 Museum Gets Vital Votes for Expansion (Wall Street Journal)

The museum is “underestimating their community,” said Claudia DiSalvo, Community United Board President.

 

July 26, 2016 Museum Expansion Inches Forward (NY Press)

May 2, 2016 Public Bucks - Tens of Millions - Already Sunk into Natural History Expansion, Critics Note (Manhattan Express) "Despite the museum’s relative wealth compared to its opponents, Hiller said the opposition is facing a winnable fight. “While the museum will undoubtedly have the superior resources, that’s true in virtually every land-use and zoning fight,” Hiller said. “All that should matter is whether the opposition is right to oppose the project.”"

March 17, 2016 Manhattan Museum Expansion Project Raises Fear of Toxic Chemicals (NY Daily News)

 

March 4, 2016 Opposition Group Forms Against NYC Museums Proposed Expansion (Non Profit Quarterly)

 

February 9, 2016 New Opponents in Museum Fight (NY Press) “This is more than a problem of one park. Urban parks are precious and have to be preserved.”

 

January 7, 2016 Museum Expansion Prompts Residents to Tap Into Non-Conformist Heritage of the UWS (Observer)

 

January 1, 2016 In Museum Expansion A Classic Fight (NY Press)

 

2015

October 7, 2015 Museum Expansion Rankles Pro-Park Residents Uptown (Wall Street Journal) “….the project is expected to eat into the footprint of the public park in which the museum sits.”

 

August 5, 2015 The Man with the Mandolin (NY Press) “You don’t need to go into the museum to learn something about natural history around here.”

 

July 21, 2015 Natural History Museum’s Expansion Plans Launch Tug of War Over Roosevelt Park

 

July 20, 2015 Outrage as American Museum of Natural History Plans to Expand into Park (New York Post) “…the irony of a museum dedicated to natural history gobbling up green space dedicated to a president revered for creating the national parks system…”

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Community United To Protect Theodore Roosevelt Park is incorporated under the laws of New York and is a 501(c)3 not for profit charitable organization (EIN 81-1340091). Donations to Community United are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.