Politicians oppose 5G cell phone towers in UES, face criticism for NIMBY stance.
Upper East Side liberal politicians, including Rep. Jerry Nadler, are opposing the installation of 32-foot cell phone towers in the neighborhood. The towers are part of the city’s Link5G program which aims to expand broadband and phone services across the city. Nadler and other pols have sent a letter to the city Landmarks Preservation Commission objecting to the towers going up in historic districts along Park Avenue, Carnegie Hill and UES. The letter expresses concern about the impact of the towers on the community and the lack of hard data to confirm the need for them.
However, the liberal NIMBY campaign has raised eyebrows, with some political activists pointing out the hypocrisy of opposing cell phone towers while supporting the closure of Rikers Island. Political consultant Hank Sheinkopf, who resides in Nadler’s district, called his opposition to cell phone towers “hypocritical and ridiculous” in light of the serious quality of life issues the city is facing.
Mayor Eric Adams has defended the Link5G program, saying that accessible broadband and phone service is a necessity, and that the administration is committed to ensuring all city residents have access to tech services. The city Office of Technology and Innovation has said they welcome feedback and look forward to continued engagement with community members.
Former Knicks basketball star John Starks has also objected to the installation of a 5G tower in front of his car dealership in Queens. His objection is similar to the Kennedy family’s opposition to a planned electricity-generating off shore windfarm near their summer compound in Cape Cod.
Overall, the installation of 5G towers across the city is a contentious issue, with some politicians and residents objecting to them, while others point out the need for digital services and the importance of bridging the digital divide. The city is open to feedback from elected leaders and community members, and will continue to engage with them as the process of siting these towers continues.