They raised one somewhat valid question (about the open space), but it was clear that the NIMBYs were on a fishing expedition. These wealthy NIMBYs spent money hiring a consultant to think of any and every possible problem with the application, including a lot of clearly absurd and disingenuous complaints. NYC’s zoning ordinance is 4,108 pages long and incredibly complex, so every construction application for a building in NYC probably has some ambiguities.
At this point, it is clear that the NIMBYs will eventually lose, but winning is not their goal. Their goal is to try to delay it to drive up costs, like crawdad said. They’ll take it to court and try to delay this for several more years, and provide a bonanza of legal fees to the lawyers, but it’s just spiteful obstructionism.
As far as the concerns that led to blocking the new schools, yes, there were valid concerns, but you have to look at the benefits vs the costs. Every change has a downside. On balance, building more schools would’ve been good for the neighborhood; more housing is good for the neighborhood–the UWS is a desirable neighborhood because it has the density and urbanity to support all sorts of services and retail. It is one of the few places in America with such a high level of mass transit access and capacity.
NIMBYs are very negative people who look only at the costs and downsides, and if they had had their way, the Upper West Side wouldn’t even exist in the first place, because it’s too dense, because its construction of the many buildings on the UWS was disruptive, because it wasn’t in keeping with the previous neighborhood character of 2-story shacks, because everything should be the way that it’s always been, etc. If you look only at the downsides of any change, you will paralyze the city and no change is ever possible.