Why Some Neighborhoods Want Them Gone – NBC New York

There has been great confusion — and some concerns over safety — in neighborhoods across New York City after large, mysterious towers suddenly sprung up throughout the streetscape.

So what are they for, and why are people concerned?

The structures are new 5G wireless towers, and thousands of them are going up mostly in areas of the city where cell service is considered weak. The towers are meant to eliminate so-called “internet deserts” in NYC’s underserved areas, with the city in the process of installing 2,000 units across the five boroughs.

“I actually noticed. I’m not from here, I’ve never seen 5G on my phone before until I got to New York,” said one person.

While many can get behind the intent of the structures, some are upset over their placement. The three-story towers popped up right outside apartment windows in some cases.

On the Upper East Side, neighbors know what the towers are, and they’re not just worried about their view or potential resale impacts. They’re worried about their safety.

“They were supposed to change a light bulb. And they changed this!” said Virginie Glaenzer, who lives in Yorkville. “Once this enormous, threatening box was installed, the world was flipped upside down.”

Airlines have known about the impending rollout of 5G cell signal for years now – and had time to prepare for how it would potentially impact planes’ instruments, said Hugh Odom, a former attorney for AT&T. Airlines have warned they may cancel or change some flights , while cell companies have agreed to limit 5G signal around some airports .”The aviation industry has kind of dropped the ball,” Odom said.

Neighbors at the The Chelsea Gardens Coop on East 90th Street organized a petition to get the tower moved away from their homes.

“We have a 5-month-old baby who sleeps right here. Ten feet away from it,” said Joe Formica, who said he’s worried about the medical risks due to the tower’s position. “We haven’t been given information. Just went up. We are right there, definitely a concern.”

The city’s Office of Technology and Innovation, as well as industry experts, maintain the towers and 5G technology are safe, were legally installed and will help give New York a digital edge.

But instead, the installation of the towers has put some residents on edge.

“As a courtesy, they could communicate what’s happening. We as citizens should have a say,” said Glaenzer.

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