New York City is no exception to the delicate balance needed to preserve the character of individual neighborhoods when facing new development. Many cities rise to the challenge with outreach, partnership and negotiation between innovators and preservationists.
Carnegie Hill Neighbors and other preservation groups play a crucial role by advocating for designation rights of historic districts and supporting implementation of special regulations designed to protect visual context and sense of place developed over centuries.
With technology innovations constantly evolving, preservation efforts and new development often conflict. Modernization and infrastructure improvements often collide with preservation efforts, and it is the outreach, communication, and partnership of developers and city planners to communities and preservationists that mitigates hazard in protected neighborhoods, allowing sustainability, growth, and development that ensures the unique character of designated areas are preserved for future generations.
Elected Officials and Carnegie Hill Neighbors Protest Massive, Unnecessary Sidewalk Cell Towers and Offer Solutions for City’s Technology Goals
Monday, November 6, 2023 – Carnegie Hill Neighbors joined U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler, Assembly Member Alex Bores, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, Council Member Keith Powers outside City Hall today to protest the City’s plans for massive, out-of-scale, and unnecessary sidewalk cell towers in historic districts across the city. At the press conference, Assembly Member Bores released “Navigating the 5G Revolution: Solutions for New York City’s Connectivity Challenges,”
Contrary to the message peddled by LinkNYC/ CityBridge that these towers enjoy overwhelming support but for a handful of New York City's' 'more affluent communities' ', twenty-seven percent, or 16 out of New York City's 59 community boards have registered opposition to the plan. Constituent run, community boards mission is to proactively seek marginal voices and consider social and historical contexts when endorsing or opposing any proposed plan affecting their public realm.
At our coalition's request, this past April, New York Democratic Representative Jerrold Nadler requested a full scale review by The Federal Communications Commission of this specific tower design and the environmental effect on historic districts, triggering a Section 106 Review process and a pause to the plan until September 2023.
Click to read the franchise agreement from March 21, 2020 between CityBridge, LLC and New York City's technology agency DOITT (now OTI). The agreement outlines the 5G tower installation plan that our citywide coalition of preservation orgs, directly affected historic district residents, and others, is seeking an alternative design to contextually align with dense, urban, historic districts.
Stop Sidewalk Cell Tower Coalition Rallies at City Hall
Wednesday, June 7, 2023 - CHN along with our sister preservation organizations, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and City Council Member Keith Powers rallied at City Hall prior to the Committee on Technology oversight hearing regarding LinkNYC's plan to install 5G cell towers throughout New York City.
Federal Communications Commission Orders CityBridge to Conduct Environmental and Historic Reviews
At the request of Carnegie Hill Neighbors, on April 12 Congressman Jerrold Nadler sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission asking that the agency review the proposed installation of 5G sidewalk towers throughout New York City according to the guidelines of the National Historic Preservation Act. The FCC took action and sent a letter to CityBridge, the parent company of LinkNYC, confirming that installation of the proposed towers are subject to the Commission's environmental and historic preservation review process.
Read both letters by clicking on the images below.
LinkNYC 5G Primer: What You Need to Know
1. Why are 5G Towers Planned for Our Sidewalks?
CityBridge, which planted the communications kiosks on Third Avenue and throughout the city in 2014, has a renegotiated franchise agreement with the city to install 5G sidewalk towers as the next step in technology.
2. What is 5G?
5G is the next generation of wireless network technology with faster data speeds, greater capacity and lower latency (networks connection time or "ping"). 5G is already up and running here and throughout the U.S. 5G deployments are utilizing multiple bands of wavelenght spectrum (also known as radio frequencies): low-band, mid-band (rooftops for broad canopy coverage) and high-band spectrum (small cells for dense capacity improvement). To utilize this new technology, consumers just need a recent mobile phone model ("5G" appears in the upper right corner of a phone).
3. Where is 5G?
The "Big 3"mobile operators, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, continue to roll out 5G coverage. In dense urban areas like NYC, the "Big 3" are deploying 5G at existing rooftop cellular sites and through "small cells", small antennae placed on street lights or traffic/utility poles. These "small cells" are connected to the larger cellular networks through underground fiber optic lines. 5G "small cells" can be seen today throughout Carnegie Hill. Because they are on top of existing street poles these 5G "small cells" are often difficult to notice. One global cellular tower/small cell company, Crown Castle, has a strong track record of urban "small cell" deployments including throughout NYC.
4. Why Are 5G Sidewalk Towers Unnecessary in Carnegie Hill?
Simply put, the massive 5G sidewalk towers proposed by CityBridge are redundant and unnecessary because NYC already has excellent 5G coverage utilizing legacy rooftop sites and "small cells" on existing street light/traffic/utility poles. New Yorkers can be proud that 5G coverage is available now, citywide wand with growing network capacity.
In short, the CityBridge sidewalk towers are an unnecessary solution seeking a 5G problem that thankfully does not exist in New York City.
Click here for more information on alternatives to the currently suggested towers.
Renderings of towers at proposed locations throughout Carnegie Hill