A block without construction seems to be the exception rather than the rule these days, as scaffolding, sidewalk sheds and tall cranes have become almost as common a sight as pigeons on the streets of New York.
And like those birds, the building boom isn’t universally loved.
A loud howl seems to erupt every time a shovel hits the ground, and often well before that moment. As apartment houses multiply, residents are taking aim at the disruption caused by construction, the uprooting of cherished institutions, the buildings’ designs and the ever-higher prices attached to the housing that they fear will alter neighborhoods fundamentally.
Many of these detractors aren’t sitting on the sidelines, either. They are phoning City Hall, filing lawsuits and staging protests to try to stop, slow or at least influence construction.
“Forcing something on people that they don’t want is never a good thing,” said Marion Palm, who opposes a plan to create apartments on the site of a library in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. “There just seems to be something lacking in the decision-making in the powers that be.”
Of course, New Yorkers love to complain. So, blowback about change may be inevitable. And in a city that is chronically short of housing, new apartments solve a fundamental problem, even if they kick up dust in the process.
And forgiveness is a possibility, as unloved towers often eventually fade into the background and become just another feature of the skyline. […]