Our mission is to actively engage residents and business establishments

 in efforts to maintain and enhance the quality of life in 

Sutton Area Community.

Having learned earlier to-day of the passing away of the famous architect I. M. Pei who is without a doubt, Sutton Place's most famous resident, 

we decided that it would be apropos to re-run the following article which originally ran in SAC's newsletter in April of last year.  We join his family 

and friends in the morning of the passing away of such a famous and accomplished man.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Charles Coutinho, Ph. D.

RIP I. M. Pei, 1917-2019 - Our neighbor on Sutton Place.
Always impeccably turned out, Pei projected the image of an architect able to appeal to big business, museum trustees and the public. In fact, he managed to create monumental, elemental and brutally powerful structures in an age of largely anodyne architecture. His best works moved people. Pei might have looked like the corporate-friendly face of architecture but, with that famous charm, he used big business and friends in high places to leave the world with some awesome buildings.”  1

I admit that I detest the pyramids I. M. Pei foisted on Paris at the behest of the crafty and morally dubious Francois Mitterrand in the 1980’s.  For those of us both old and lucky enough to have seen the old Louvre museum, Pei’s architectural pastiche, a parody of post-modernism, cannot be viewed other than as a crime, morally and aesthetically. Yet I. M. Pei is without a doubt Sutton Place’s most famous resident. He has resided at 11 Sutton Place since 1973, in an English-style townhouse, which oddly enough Pei never cared to renovate and or change, despite aesthetics completely at variance with his own. He is about to turn 101.
Pei’s life and career are in some ways illustrative of the changes in 20th century America and the world. In a great many ways, he is a worthy symbol of what is banally called: ‘the American dream’. Born in 1917 in the Chinese Republic, less than 6 years after the fall of the centuries’ old Manchu dynasty and the Chinese Empire, Pei grew-up in comfortable circumstances as the son of a wealthy Chinese banker. Young Pei was attended a British-style private school, where he acquired a very good command of English. In 1935 he moved to the United States where he was a student at the University of Pennsylvania, MIT, and finally Harvard University. Ironically enough, Pei for a time left the field of architecture for that of engineering, as he was intimidated by the high levels of draftsmanship demanded by the then prevailing beaux-arts aesthetics. After graduating from MIT in 1940, Pei spent the World War Two years at the National Research Council on special duty. Earlier, Pei married a Wellesley College graduate who was like Pei of Chinese origins, Eileen Loo.
Pei’s life and career underwent a fundamental change in 1948, when he left Harvard (where he had returned after the War). He was recruited by the famous New York developer William J. Zeckendorf to join his firm of Webb & Knapp. Soon Pei was engaged in the suburban style designs (such as the shopping mall in Nassau County, Roosevelt Field), which was a mass-market version of the newly established International Style of Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, and others.
In 1955, Pei formed his own company and fame and fortune soon followed. Among famous projects that Pei designed were the J. F. Kennedy Library (which he called the most important commission in his life), Dallas City Hall, the Hancock Tower in Boston, the National Gallery East building in Washington, DC, and the Louvre project discussed above. Notwithstanding his advanced age, Pei still managed to design in the current century both the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar and the Macao Science Center. Perhaps the high point of Pei’s career was his being awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1983, the highest award possible in architecture. Pei’ wife of seventy plus years passed away three years ago. The happy marriage produced four children: three boys who followed in their father’s footsteps and a daughter who did not (she is an attorney). 
1. Edwin Heathcote, "IM Pei, architect, 1917-2019: the last of the great American modernists who learned his craft from Bauhaus giants". The Financial Times. 17 May 2019, in www.ft.com.


With the passage by the legislature and the governor, congestion pricing after a long and hard struggle has finally come to New York. Unfortunately, while many people, indeed many SAC members have heard something relating to congestion pricing, few people seem to know all the facts and consequently, there is a good amount of confusion about what exactly ‘congestion pricing’ does and does not entail. In order to bring some light to this matter, we at SAC bring you the following primer.

a) Congestion Pricing – what is it exactly? 

The congestion pricing law(officially called “The Central Business District Tolling program”), as passed, mandates that the MTA charge for entry by motor vehicles into Manhattan south of 60th Street beginning in January 2021. This will be done along the lines of the existing ‘E-Pass’ system. And it does not require that one be an existing ‘E-Pass’, customer or not. Cameras will take photographs of vehicle licenses and will invoice the registered owner of the vehicle in question.

b) How much will it cost to enter into the zone in question?

So far we do not know what the fees will be. It has been suggested that the one-time a day fee, will range from 10 to 14 dollars for cars and 20 to 25 dollars for trucks.

c) Who if anyone will be exempt from paying the fees? 

So far (and the list might or might not be extended – we will not know until much closer to January 2021), the list of those exempted from paying include: 

1) those who drive on the West Side Highway and the FDR Drive but do not attempt to leave those highways;  

2) Emergency vehicles and those vehicles transporting people with disabilities are exempt; 

Manhattan residents who live within the so-called Central Business District and who make less than $60,000 per year will be exempted from the fee. So (and this has been a rather popular question from SAC members), if you currently reside on say 25 Sutton Place South, as you full-time residence, and you take your car for a drive north of 60th Street, and then return, you will indeed be liable for paying the fee. Unless of course you fit one of the already mentioned categories which have been ruled as being exempt. We will report back to our members if and when the congestion pricing law becomes further fleshed out. Please do feel free to write with any question that you might have about this matter.


Charles Coutinho, Ph. D.


Sutton Area Community


Dear SAC Members,

Please see the following link to an event which I as
President, attended on behalf of SAC last Friday, celebrating the installation of security cameras in the Sutton Place and Sutton Place South Areas. Due to the efforts of City Councilman Ben Kallos and Keith Powers we now have security cameras in the following Sutton Place area parks:

East 58th Street & Sutton Place Cul-de-sac. 
East 57th Street & Sutton Place / Sutton Place South Cul-de-sac.
East 56th Street & Sutton Place South Cul-de-sac.
East 55th Street & Sutton Place South Cul-de-sac.
East 54th Street & Sutton Place South Cul-de-sac.
East 53rd Street & Sutton Place South Cul-de-sac.
We wish to thank both of our wonderful Councilmen for their efforts in this matter.

Most sincerely,
Charles Coutinho Signature.jpg
Charles Coutinho, Ph. D.
Sutton Area Community 

The Bridge to Nowhere: An Update.

Dear SAC Members and Members of the greater Sutton Area Community,


It has been now eight months since our community first found out about the horrendous plan by the New York City Economic Development Corp (EDC), a master-plan to destroy our beloved Clara Coffey Park at Sutton Place South and East 54th street. We at Sutton Area Community (SAC) have tried our utmost to stop this plan from proceeding. We have attended various meetings held by Community Board Six (6), we have met with both of our local Councilmen (Powers and Kallos) and have solicited assistance from all of our local officials: from congresswoman Mahoney to Assemblyman Dan Quart. We have met twice with EDC itself. And while all of these officials have made noises about assisting us in stopping this hideous act of official vandalism, so far we have not been able to obtain an assurance that New York City EDC will re-think its project.

According, you may rest assured that we at SAC will endeavor to try our utmost to stop and prevent this project from proceeding. We will keep you updated and informed as to how matters proceed.


Warmest Regards,

Charles Coutinho Signature.jpg

Charles Coutinho, Ph.D.


                               Sutton Community Area             

June 19, 2018



Please be advised that the new date for the opening of the enlarged Park at the East 57th Street Cul de Sac is now tentatively scheduled for November 2018. We will notify one and all if there are any further updates concerning this matter. Thanks for SAC member Erica Mullen for the information. 


Charles Coutinho Signature.jpg 






Our Past

In 1976 a small group of residents got together, with the desire to preserve the Sutton neighborhood's character, and incorporated two years later as a non-profit (501c3) organization using volunteers to serve as a catalyst for change.

SAC's volunteers continue to help preserve a high quality of life for those residing and working in the area between 52nd to 59th streets, Second Avenue to the East River.?


Our Present                                                          

Our mission at SAC is to actively engage residents and business establishments in efforts to maintain and enhance the quality of life in the Sutton Area Community.

Acting as watchdog and advocate, SAC is a voice for the community: SAC monitors city services such as police, sanitation, fire and transportation; watches over zoning and development; looks after parks and sidewalks; supports local merchants, fosters historic preservation; and, through its website, mailings, and First Avenue bulletin board, informs the community about what is happening in the neighborhood.

Traffic concerns continue to be paramount. SAC is closely monitoring the New York State Department of Transportations five-year project to reconstruct the FDR Drive from 54th to 63rd Streets. We are committed to keeping the community informed about its past, present, and future. 

We publish Bulletins periodically which are distributed to members as well as government agencies and elected officials, to keep them abreast of our positions and concerns. ? Ever-mindful of the importance of the areas rich history, SAC has always been interested in collecting and sharing archival information and artifacts through publications, exhibitions, and walking tours. 

Join SAC

Join Sutton Area Community!


Our mission is to actively engage residents and business establishments in efforts to maintain and enhance the quality of life in the Sutton Area Community


What we do:


  • Address environmental, safety, traffic, transportation, and zoning issues
  • Enhance the aesthetic quality of our streets and parks
  • Encourage participation of all Sutton area residents, merchants, and practicing professionals in community activities
  • Act as liaison with the police and fire departments
  • Interact with government agencies and political representatives to promote the interest of the community
  • Award grants to worthwhile SAC community programs, projects, and services
  • Sponsor neighborhood events
Your membership not only makes you involved in your community but makes our valuable work possible.

Sutton Area Community Memberships


Each membership is tailored to your and/or your families' lifestyle. The membership fee is nominal but goes a long way in helping enhance this already beautiful community. Memberships are good for one (1) year from date of payment, and you will receive a membership card that unlocks discounts through our footprint and beyond.

#1 membership

Senior Individual Membership.:


#2 membership

Individual Membership.:


#3 membership

Senior Couple Membership.:


#4 membership

Family/Couple Membership.:                 


#5 membership

Merchant/Business Professional Membership.:


#6 membership

Building/Co-op Membership.:               


Additional Donations

Looking to give a little more? A little goes a long way! Donations to Sutton Area Community are accepted year-round!


Do You Wish To Join Premium Sac Merchant Membership?


  • Do You Wish To Stand Out?
  • Do You Wish To Be a Bit Up On The Competition?
  • Do You Wish To Obtain That Little Bit Of Extra Exposure For Your Business?


Well if You Do. You Are In Luck: Sutton Area


    Community has a new programme which is right up your alley. called PREMIUM MERCHANT MEMBERSHIP, this is SAC'S way of providing our merchant friends something special. for a per annum fee of s350.00.

    Premium Merchant Membership Provides All Of The Following

    A) Featured Monthly Exposure On SAC'S Ever Popular Website, Instagram, Facebook Page and Twitter;
    B) A Quarter Page Advertising Spread In SAC'S twice a year Bulletin;
    C) Featured Listings On SAC'S 1st Avenue Bulletin Boar;.
    In Short SAC'S Premium Merchant Membership is Something That Is Right Up The Alley For those Merchants Who Wish To Stand Out Just a Little Bit From The Crowd. For More Information, Please Contact Agnes Our Office Manager At office@suttonareacommunity.org



    MERCHANT Membership.:



    Contact Us

    Sutton Area Community, Inc.
    Tel: 212-838-9770
    60 Sutton Place South // New York, NY 10022
    E-mail: office@suttonareacommunity.org

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