Our Current Initiatives

Welcome to our most recent documents, testimonies, and announcements. Additionally, our current initiatives can be found below as well.

Second Avenue Subway

Click here to read CIVITAS’ response to the MTA’s 2018 EIS report.

Marx Brothers Playground Judicial Appeal

    • In 2017, AvalonBay Developers proposed an out of context 710-foot residential tower on the Marx Brothers Playground site.
    • CIVITAS, along with Carnegie Hill Neighbors, Municipal Arts Society, Friends of the Upper East Side Historic District, Mr. Diego Barberena and Mr. C. Edward Harrison, filed a lawsuit to protect parks that are also used by schools in the City of New York.
    • CIVITAS believes that parks do not have development rights and Marx Brothers Joint Operated Playground is a public park per state statute. CIVITAS has contacted the Governor and State Parks Commissioner regarding the legal status of Marx Brothers Playground.
    • The City of New York includes Joint Operated Playgrounds in their calculations of the total number of parks and acres of parks citywide.
    • CIVITAS believes that the developer misrepresented the park’s status during the public review process. This resulted in an illegal transfer of development rights from the park to the building.
    • This precedent will place more than 250 playgrounds at risk across NYC.
  • CIVITAS has a longstanding advocacy record of fighting over development, out of context development, access to public parks, and transparency to the public.Click here to read more.


Rendering of 321 East 96th Street, Source: This East Side        Map of NYC’s JOPs, Source: MAS


Marx Brothers Playground, Source: awalkintheparknyc Blog   Moore Playground: Madison Avenue between East 130th Street & 131st Street,

                                                                                                  Source: NYC Parks

Overdevelopment on the Upper East Side

In recent years, the Upper East Side has seen the development of several high-rise buildings that are not in scale or architecturally sympathetic to our neighborhood’s existing built character. In the early 1980’s the Upper East Side was rezoned, allowing higher density development on the avenues within a contextual building envelope that had specific street-wall requirements and height limits. However, advances in high-rise building construction, higher floor-to-floor heights, the use of as-of-right zoning lot mergers to transfer unused development rights to generate more floor area on development sites, and BSA zoning variances have produced unforeseen consequences and challenges to our community’s underlying zoning regulations. To read more, please click here.

If you would like to read CIVITAS’ full C1-9X Proposal, the link is provided:

FULL REPORT: C1-9X Zoning Analysis: Recommendations for a new C1-9X Contextual Zone for the Upper East Side

On June 6th, 2018 CIVITAS organized a Land Use Forum. Below is the presentation and recording from the event.

Source: BFJ Planning 

249 East 62 Street

Source: George Janes                                               Source: cityrealty

Council Member Kallos Overdevelopment Forum

On June 14th, CIVITAS presented at Council Member Kallos Overdevelopment Forum along with MAS, East River Fifties Alliance, Manhattan Community Board 8 and Friends of the UES Historic Districts.

CIVITAS advocates for efficient and accessible subways and buses, and safe pedestrian conditions to access transit and neighborhood amenities.

Read More

CIVITAS supports uncluttered sidewalks, healthy street trees, and vibrant retail activity at street level.

Read More

CIVITAS makes recommendations for clean air initiatives, access to healthy food, and environmentally sound development.

Read More

CIVITAS promotes urban planning, zoning and land use policies that are sensible and sensitive to residential life in our neighborhoods.

Read More

CIVITAS advocates for the landmarking of sites with historical, cultural or aesthetic value.

Read More

The East and Harlem River Esplanade Waterfront Park is an under-appreciated asset for passive and active recreation. While CIVITAS is pursuing work to improve the Esplanade both south of Gracie Mansion and north of 125th Street, its focus has been on a stretch of the Esplanade from 90th to 125th Streets that has been severely under-maintained. At the same time, with the completion of the first phase of the Second Avenue subway and the prospect for the second phase extending to 125th Street, the growing population east of Lexington Avenue could benefit from an improved waterfront.

Read More