Planes Trains & Automobiles
With buses regularly crawling along 125th Street at less than 3 miles per hour and the vast majority of residents dependent on public transit, everybody agreed that Harlem’s busiest crosstown corridor deserves better bus service. In theory, at least.
But after a year of workshops, meetings, charrettes and other assorted public input buzzwords, the New York City Department of Transportation pulled the plug on a select bus service plan.
In the Rezone
Recently, the City Planning Commission approved plans for the rezoning of West Harlem, a plan meant to protect the smaller-scale of the neighborhood. Some locals believe it still allows for outsized development in some places, specifically along the 145th Street corridor. They have written a letter to the City Council, which will make the final decision on the rezoning in the next month or so, urging it to reduce the height of buildings on 145th Street. The letter, provided to The Observer by a concerned citizen, can be read in full after the jump.
In the Rezone
It was a busy day at the City Planning Commission Wednesday. Not only did the commissioners debate the upzoning of the Chelsea Market, which they unanimously approved, but they also approved the downzoning of two historic neighborhoods, West Harlem and Bed-Stuy. The contextual rezonings seek to limit development on side streets, which tend to be chock-full of 100-year-old brownstones, while directing new development—with affordable housing!—to the broad avenues running through the neighborhoods.
In the Rezone
Back in 2007, in order to win his vote for Columbia’s contentious Manhattanville rezoning, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer got the city to agree to rezone the blocks north of the new 17-acre campus as well, a stanch against over development. Today, the borough president gets to vote on the rezoning he requested for West Harlem, and he is touting it as a triumph of community planning.
“This rezoning reflects the input of thousands of stakeholders in West Harlem and five years of work toward crafting a community-based planning consensus that could be a model for the rest of our City,” Mr. Stringer said in an email. “It is a promise kept to the residents of West Harlem—and a proud moment for all who are involved.”
Like many parts of the city, the zoning has not been updated since 1961. The Department of City Planning has created, through a multi-year consultation with the community, a contextual zoning package that will largely maintain the same density of development in the neighborhood while imposing new height limits and street wall requirements to ensure that sliver buildings and other uncharacteristic buildings cannot be built.
THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
The Times has uncovered an unseemly side to gentrification in West Harlem. No, not economic inequality, housing displacement or racist crime. It is something far worse: dog doodoo.
On a gray Friday in January, a largely empty church on 121st Street and Broadway was immaculate in the way of a rarely used living room. Even on a slushy winter morning, Corpus Christi’s floors gleamed.
At noon sharp, in the rectory next door, the Rev. Raymond Rafferty, the church’s pastor, leaned forward, checked his Read More
In the Rezone
When Columbia announced its plans to create a new 17-acre campus in the Manhattanville neighborhood of West Harlem, those living just next door were understandably worried. The university has had a fractious relationship with Morningside Heights, from the controversial 1960s gymnasium that sparked riots to its imposing campus that is seen as off-limits to Read More
Block By Block
Amid Columbia University’s ongoing border skirmishes–the result of its planned 17-acre expansion northward–even the name of the embattled neighborhood is contested.
Some favor Mahattanville, a moniker harking back to the 19th-century Quaker village that sprang up, as contemporary guidebooks put it, a whole “eight miles from New York.” Others contend the area is simply an Read More
It’s been a pretty good month for Nick Sprayregen.
On Dec. 3, the owner of a set of warehouses in the footprint of Columbia University’s planned West Harlem expansion, with his lawyer, Norman Siegel, were handed a highly unexpected victory in a suit that challenged the use of eminent domain for the project.
And Read More
Harlem state senator asks Paterson for moratorium on land takings, no appeal in Columbia case. Read More