It’s a fight between Wave Hill Gardens and the Garden State, with Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joining the fray.
Diaz penned a letter to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, demanding he step in to halt the construction of a new office tower on The Palisades, spoiling the view of the pristine natural wonder from the Bronx.
The 18-story tower, if built by LG Electronics Corporation,, would overlook the Hudson River in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, near the west bank of The Palisades Interstate Park and diagonally across from Wave Hill, a historic cultural institution long considered an escape from the Bronx’s urban milieu.
“For hundreds of years, the residents of your state and ours have enjoyed unspoiled, pristine views of The Palisades,” wrote Diaz Jr. “This proposal threatens to change that forever.”
Wave Hill Gardens was donated to the City of New York in the 1960s by relatives of George W. Perkins, a philanthropist and preservationist who served as the first Commissioner of The Palisades Park Commission that protects the scenic views.
In a statement, Wave Hill spokeswoman Martha Gellens urged LG Electronics to reconsider its design.
“We respectfully request that LG Electronics honor this important legacy by redesigning the building so that it does not interfere with these majestic vistas,” said Gellens.
Several municipal planning boards across the Hudson River okayed the firm to move its North American headquarters, approving a variance that allows them to build beyond the 35-foot maximum height allowed for buildings.
But Riverdale’s Community Board 8 voted against endorsing the project in May, joining other groups to urge the electronics firm “to be a responsible corporate citizen and to re-configure its proposed headquarters building to respect the historic status of The Palisades…”
“People would be flabbergasted,” said Community Board 8 Chair Robert Fanuzzi, adding that he sent letters to local state Sen. Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz asking for support.
Even the federal Environmental Protection Agency has reneged in approving LG Electronics, withdrawing its support for the move in early June after realizing the project could put a dent in the view.
But John Taylor, a spokesman for LG Electronics Corp., said the $300 million project is not an actual tower but a sprawling complex, where a tiny portion of it will peak above the tree line.
“The building’s been designed to blend into the environment,” said Taylor, adding other buildings, including a pair of 20-story buildings, can be seen across the Hudson River.
The dent would directly impact Wave Hill’s fellow cultural neighbor, Fort Tryon Park in Manhattan, more so than Wave Hill.
Still, Fanuzzi has adopted a zero-tolerance stance on building structures along The Palisades, “drawing a line in the sand” to prevent corporations from finding loopholes to building along the mountainous region.
“Once you start making exceptions,” said Fanuzzi. “There’s no telling when this will stop.”
David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383