Dear David Zwirner,
Let us introduce ourselves. We are your neighbors on the south side of East 13th Street, where you own a home, and on the north side of East 12th Street, where our backyards face yours.
Last week, we discovered that you have bought 232 East 13th Street, the building next door to your current 5-floor, 5-bedroom single-family townhouse with elevator and swimming pool. Congratulations! We are disturbed, however, by the fact that you plan to immediately begin constructing an expansion upon your 7,158-square foot home (71,585 according to your Buildings Department permit, but we assumed the last digit was a misprint), both vertically and horizontally.
We urge you to reconsider this.
First, your home expansion risks permanently blocking off sunlight for many of your neighbors to the west, just as the expansion at your home at 234 East 13th Street did for your neighbors on the other side. Consider this: Your have almost 7,200 square feet in your home. You have multiple homes. Most of us live in 300- to 500-square-foot homes, and these are our only homes. Some of us have lived here for decades. Others have recently saved up money for apartments in this booming real estate market, and some even recently refinanced. Your expansion severely devalues our investments-- the blocked sunlight will cost some apartments 30-40% of their current value.
Second, the demolition, construction, and expansion of your five-story townhouse in 2002 greatly upset the rhythms and the social fabric of the local community. Your construction crew regularly flouted regulations, often beginning before 7 am on weekdays and 8 am weekends, for so many months. Hundreds of people were affected along the way-- We are doctors, nurses, teachers, librarians, sales clerks, photographers, students, children, and retirees. We do not choose our schedules, and the noise from your home-building wreaked havoc on quite a few families' lives. Perhaps you did not know that hundreds of your neighbors were quite upset by your plans. Back then, we had discussions as a community, on how we should respond. We decided to let it go, to make it end as quickly as possible.
You can afford to do this home renovation right, and to not severely devalue our homes and quality of life in the process.