In the Rezone
This afternoon, the City Council voted to approve the Hudson Square rezoning. The rezoning—a plan five years in the making that allows for the creation of a denser, mixed-use district with significantly more residential and retail development—is now in effect. Bordered by Tribeca and Soho, there’s little doubt what the rezoning will mean for Hudson Square’s future. Behold New York’s next hot neighborhood.
Full Council approval was largely a formality after the Council’s land use and zoning and franchise committees voted to approve the plan last week, but it was significant: the last step in a lengthy approval process that will transform a neighborhood currently characterized by old printing plants and quiet sidewalks.
Best Laid Plans
Last Friday night on far west Spring Street, the Ear Inn was crowded as usual. A mix of neighborhood regulars and happy-hour-indulging co-workers from the nearby loft buildings—architects, ad execs, programmers, writers—were crammed around the mahogany bar imbibing. Others were gathered outside around benches on the uncrowned sidewalk two blocks from the West Side Highway.
The bar has been there for 195 years, but forget asking for some sort of mixological cocktail that could be found at hundreds of establishments citywide pretending at this sort of authenticity. Above the bar, beyond the shelves of dusty liquor bottles, are glass carboys, ruddy green and brown glass, the size of harbor buoys. They held wine more than a century ago and disappeared into the bowels of the basement, only to be excavated in the 1970s when the bar was made over by a band of eccentric artists. One of their rank tended bar until five years ago. He has since moved upstate. Things change, then they don’t.
“We’ve gotten the holy trinity of Pret a Manger, Starbucks and Hale & Hearty soups, but otherwise the neighborhood looks the way you imagine it did 100 years ago,” said James Parvin, a segment producer at NBC who lives in a loft he converted himself on nearby Charlton Street.
In the Rezone
A decade ago, Hudson Square was not even a neighborhood, just a printing district on the wane with Soho expats moving into many of the soaring brick loft buildings. It was an unglamorous cobblestone neighborhood north of the Holland Tunnel where garbage trucks and tour buses frequently idled.
Since then, new super-luxe condos and even Read More
When Queen Anne of England bestowed Trinity Church with a large land grant in 1705, the aim was to establish an Anglican foothold in the New World, not a commercial hub for New York City’s creative underclass.
But with 6 million square feet of property situated, lucratively, in what is now considered Read More
Trinity Church had a problem. The venerable Episcopal parish of lower Manhattan was possessed of the largest single real-estate portfolio in the neighborhood, and one of the largest in town, including some six million square feet of office space in the 27-block waterfront area west of Soho called Hudson Square. But vacancy rates were lagging, Read More