Letter New York City 5G Poles – Environmental Health Trust


Letter from Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, City of New York, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, City Council Majority Leader Keith Powers, City Council Member Julie Menin to New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission Commissioner Carroll.

Dear Commissioner Carroll:

We write to you today regarding the proposed siting of Link 5G towers in historic districts on the Upper East Side. While this project aims to expand the city’s 5G infrastructure, the proposed 32-foot tall towers do not blend with the existing architecture of the Upper East Side, and have generated widespread concern throughout the community.

In November 2022, the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation (OTI), in partnership with CityBridge, released their plan to install 32-foot tall, 5G towers at 18 separate locations within Community Board 8. Of the 18 proposed sites, 12 are within historic districts. OTI claims that the towers will address gaps in the city’s existing 5G network, and have been sited based on data from the major mobile carriers (e.g., Verizon, AT&T, etc.).

The locations proposed for many of these towers are within the Upper East Side Historic District, Expanded Carnegie Hill Historic District, or Park Avenue Historic District. The siting of massive cellular towers in historic districts is antithetical to the purpose of preserving these districts, as they are meant to have “coherent streetscapes” that reflect particular historic periods and styles of architecture.

It is always our goal to find harmony between the needs of the city and the need to keep our neighborhoods beautiful. However, there is still a question as to the necessity of these towers on the Upper East Side. Before LPC proceeds with the application, we request data and information regarding 5G coverage currently, and where service gaps may exist or are expected to exist in the immediate future.

We are concerned about moving forward with a project that will have a permanent presence without hard data to confirm the actual need for these towers.

As OTI’s proposal goes through the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s approval process, we want to state our continued concerns with regard to the proposed locations for the Link 5G towers.