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Letter to Our Neighbors | June 12, 2015

Dear Neighbors of Friends Seminary, We are writing to update you on Friends’ Campus Redevelopment Project and to share the revised plan, which was presented and approved unanimously by the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission on May 19.The Project now has the backing of Community Board 6 and the City’s Landmarks Commission, an important public acknowledgement of the necessity of the Project, and the sensitivity our design team has shown to our program needs and the historic context, which our campus shares with our neighbors. We are very grateful for this. In response to concerns of neighbors and the Landmarks Commission, the plans have evolved to reduce the height and mass of the Project.

  • The top of the new playroof structure has been reduced approximately three feet and will now only be 13 feet, 10 inches higher than the playroof structure you see on the roof of Hunter Hall today. The greenhouse roof has also been lowered and will be the same height as the playroof.

  • The roof of the playroof has been reduced in size, so that it just covers the play area, and not the adjoining mechanical equipment and stair bulkhead.

  • An art installation by noted Quaker artist James Turrell will extend five feet above the playroof. We are looking into ways to open the art space to the public.

  • The stair bulkhead adjoining the historic Old School has been redesigned and integrated into the new structure, so that it does not overpower the old building and is less visible from the park.

We will keep you apprised of construction start dates, but in the meantime, we reiterate that when construction begins, we have agreed that:

  • There will be no Sunday construction.

  • Any permitted work on Saturdays will not begin until 9 a.m. However, trades may arrive prior to set up for a prompt start at 9. Neighbors will be notified of permitted Saturday work days ahead of time.

Further, following LPC’s approval of our project, the mockup on the roof and the scaffolding along the front of the campus will be removed, beginning Tuesday, June 9 and completed by Saturday, June 13. Out of respect to our neighbors, we have elected to remove the scaffolding now – at some cost – rather than simply leaving it up for later construction.

Lastly, we are planning another information meeting with neighbors and will notify you as soon as a date is finalized. In the meantime, please visit We also have a dedicated information line, 646-979-5225. Questions and comments can also be sent to With thanks for your continued engagement, support and patience, Friends Seminary

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