MEDIA ADVISORY: Governors Island Rezoning Challenge in Court Feb 8, 2024 – Feb 5th Press conference with City Council Member Christopher Marte

Monday, February 5, 2024 – 1:00 pm

Roger Manning, Metro Area Governors Island Coalition (M.A.G.I.C.) | (email for phone #)

In this notice:
1) February 8 court info.
2) February 5, 1pm Press Conference info
3) Governors Island overview
4) Lawsuit summary

1) Oral arguments in the Article 78 lawsuit challenging the 2021 Governors Island rezoning currently on appeal to the Appellate Division, First Department of the Supreme Court of the State of New York will be heard Thursday, February 08, 2024 2:00 PM at 27 Madison Avenue New York, NY 10010. The case is captioned Manning v City Council of NYC, Appellate Index No. 2023 – 03112.

The lawsuit aims to nullify a rezoning that serves as a gateway to severely compromising a unique public resource that greatly benefits New Yorkers from all the city’s zip codes and millions more don’t even know they have. Manhattan District 1 City Council Member Christopher Marte has been joined by numerous others in filing an amicus brief in support.

The portion of the contested 2021 rezoning that extended the 2013 North Island Special Zoning (introduced commercial uses without increasing building heights) to the rest of the island would be more than adequate to accommodate development needs without violating the letter and spirit of the GI Deed and 2010 Master Plan as is the case with other major sections of the 2021 rezoning. Lawsuit overview continues below.

Come and support in person?
The session starts at 2pm. Our case is #11 out of 14 for that day and it appears that there may be around 3 1/4 hours before our turn.  Consider coming at 4:30 in order to clear security in time etc .


2) Press Conference
Metro Area Governors Island Coalition (M.A.G.I.C.) will hold a press conference at 1 pm on Monday February 5th in Foley Square, NY NY 10013.
Speakers will include Council Member Christopher Marte, attorney John Low-Beer, City Club President Layla Law-Gisiko, Alicia Boyd of MTOPP, East River Park Action and others TBA.

Trees Not Towers Governors Island Legal Fund - click here

3) Governors Island
Governors Island is a 172-acre island in New York Harbor located approximately 800 yards south of Manhattan Island. After some two centuries of U.S. Army and Coast Guard use, the federal government turned Governors Island over to New York State and New York City in 2003, subject to deed restrictions intended to “ensure the protection and preservation of the natural, cultural and historic qualities of Governors Island,” so that the Island would serve as “an educational and civic resource of special historic character and as a recreational and open space resource” for the people of New York. As the 2010 Masterplan recognized, this is a unique environment in the middle of New York Harbor, a “world apart,” a place where one can “leave the city without leaving,” a place of “views, wind, tides, currents, horizon, escape,” an Island of “vast water, big sky.” It is a bucolic, car-free parkland oasis, home to a national monument and a historic district and provides space for education, the arts, recreation, athletics, environmental projects, and wildlife.

4) Lawsuit Overview
The lawsuit aims to nullify an upzoning that in numerous ways violates the letter and the spirit of the deed restrictions placed on the Island by the federal government, as well as the vision of the State/City 2010 Masterplan. This upzoning would replace the existing bucolic environment with a 24/7 destination that embodies the Administration’s view of Governors Island as “the site of a sweeping economic development project,” as Mayor DeBlasio put it in his 2016 State of the City address—”a project to support the City’s economic recovery” by “creating 8K jobs.” In violation of the deed restrictions, it allows industrial and manufacturing uses and residential uses of all kinds, and fails to dedicate 40 acres as parkland, as required by the deed. As Community Board 1 stated in its Dec 2020 Resolution, this “drastic increase in scale of development,” to nearly three times what was envisioned by the 2010 Masterplan, “is unacceptable.”

The City’s response is disingenuous. It argues that the zoning limits industry and manufacturing when it does not, and that it has dedicated 43 acres of parkland when it has not. Moreover, it has never produced any evidence to show that its goals of making Governors Island financially self-sufficient and establishing a Climate Solutions Center require the density and building heights, the industrial, manufacturing, residential, and commercial uses, and the 200 parking spaces provided by the 2021 rezoning. Laudable though the City’s economic development goals may be, they cannot override the deed’s vision of preserving Governors Island as a special place for present and future generations of New Yorkers, adjacent to parts of the City sorely lacking in parkland and open space.

– The lawsuit:
– Court Documents:
– Governors_Island Deed:
– Community Board 1 2020 resolution
– M.A.G.I.C. website: