Cross Roads

A 197-A Plan for Manhattan Community district 11 (Revised 1999)


There are five areas in East Harlem that serve as Crossroads for future development. Over time, these Crossroads have formed naturally and can now be recognized as a nucleus for planning. Each of these Crossroads serves a unique economic and community development purpose as outlined in this 197-A Plan. (Click here to see map - 589K)

106th and Lexington Avenue - The Cultural CrossRoad
This area has a rich cultural and arts history that can be seen around the Crossroad at 106th Street from First to Fifth Avenue. The Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center will reinforce the presence of cultural and arts facilities at this Crossroad location which has already been established by the Manna House Workshop and the nearby Metropolis Television Studio.

The East 106th Street Crossroad offers the opportunity to link cultural and arts institutions in the area. This includes Fifth Avenue's Museum Mile, the Museum of the City of New York, El Museo del Barrio, the Central Park Conservancy Garden, the Duke Ellington Circle, the Dana Discovery Center and the East 104th Street Mural block (between Lexington and 3rd Avenue).

East 116th Street (Fifth to Pleasant Avenues) -- The Retail & Commercial Crossroad
The East Harlem retail and commercial Crossroad along East 116th Street between Fifth and Pleasant Avenues is prime for immediate growth. The area consists of food stores, bakeries, restaurants, funeral homes and clothing stores. This Crossroad traverses the northern edge of La Marqueta. Although retail activity is strong at this Crossroad business turnover, commercial vacancy, expensive commercial space are concerns. In addition, stores along this Crossroad are crowned with vacant residential units above (16). The commercial overlay between Fifth and Park Avenue is the most undeveloped part of 116th Street.

16 ("Documented in the CIVITAS study, op.cit).

The retail strip along the Crossroad could be stronger. A Business Improvement District (BID), which offers a number of services, could strengthen the small businesses along this Crossroad

116th Street IRT subway station serves as one of the gateways into this Retail& Business. At present, this station is in poor condition. This station not only serves as a gateway to this community, but also the station for that will be used to access the East River Plaza Development Site. It is possible that this subway riders and pedestrian traffic could increase significantly.

115th Street and Park Avenue - La Marqueta Crossroad
Since its inception, La Marqueta has been a regional draw for the entire community district. The attempt to revitalize the market began in 1980 and its redevelopment has been slow.. La Marqueta, the market, uses warehouse space underneath three blocks of the Park Avenue railroad viaduct, The future development of fight industry and manufacturing activity in the Park Avenue industrial and Manufacturing Corridor could be very important to restoring a market.

In 1995, the City's development plan took a sudden turn. The Economic Development Corporation (EDC) decided to take control of the development. A meeting was assembled at the request of community leaders. EDC announced that a significant portion of the $5 million in capital funds that had been committed to complete La Marqueta had been rescinded. Instead, the EDC would use about $1 million of the original $5 million to renovate the East 116th Street building into an amphitheater/market. Two municipal garages (proposed for 111th Street and Park Avenue and 115th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues), which was part of the original La Marqueta development no longer had capital funding (and became parking for the NY Police Department). The success of the La Marqueta and the La Marqueta Crossroad would fall short of the capital foods thought to be needed to restore the site,

Presently, La Marqueta, lacks proper exterior fighting, an attractive exterior and sidewalks along the structure, La Marqueta also lacks the variety of goods and unique services that would make it an attractive marketplace. It might serve more reasonably as a non-retail service space.

Pleasant Avenue (East 116th to 119th Streets) -- Business & Education Crossroad
The East River Plaza site is located between Pleasant Avenue and the FDR Drive and between East 116th Street and East 119th Street. The site contains a total of five and half acres and over 240,000 square feet of floor area. The site is extremely close to Randall's and Ward's Islands

This site is considered the significant development anchor in East Harlem.

Despite its excellent location, the Site has transportation problems. The site is served by the MI 16 bus. Although the site's location near Fast 116th Street offers strong ties to retail activity and new opportunity for businesses in the area, it is more that 1/2 a mile away from the nearest subway station.

East 125th Street (Second to Fifth Avenues) -- Tourist & Transportation Crossroad
This tourist and transportation Crossroad along East 125th Street between Second and Fifth Avenues is a crucial transportation and retail nexus for the metropolitan region. This Crossroad is well serviced by public transportation. Over 500 trains pass through the East 125th Site& Metro North commuter rail station daily. The East 125th Street subway station serving the 4,5,6 IRT lines, which has recently undergone renovation, also provides the area with excellent transportation service, as do numerous bus routes. There are currently 12 bus routes that service this tourist and transportation Crossroad area.

Transportation services at the East 125th Street Crossroad conveniently offers access to the existing medical institutions in East Harlem. Transportation is easy to institutions in upper Manhattan, such as Columbia University and the New York State office building at West 125th Street.

This tourist and transportation Crossroad also offers direct bus service to La Guardia Airport connecting Manhattan to the boroughs of the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn within a matter of minutes. Transportation time to La Guardia international airport is usually 15 minutes from Lexington Avenue and 125th Street.. East 125th Street tourist and transportation Crossroad should serve as a link between the existing parks, art and cultural, restaurant and entertainment facilities in the neighborhoods known as El Barrio/Spanish Harlem and Central Harlem.

One of the critical comers is the Corn Exchange located on the northwest comer of 125th Street and Park Avenue. This landmarked structure could serve as an anchor to the Crossroad as professional office or tourist-related uses.

Commercial & Retail
Commercial and retail activity along East 125th Street between Second Avenue and Fifth Avenues is limited. Small-scale new and used furniture stores and beauty shops dominate what is left of retail am East 125th Street from Fifth to Park Avenues Closer to Park Avenue, the retail establishments consist of food shops and budget clothing outlets. Better retail connections will promote the expansion of commercial and retail establishments to the east. At present the 125th Street Business Improvement District terminates at the eastern property line of the National Black Theater which is located on Fifth Avenue,

The Pathmark Supermarket and other retail establishments spur redevelopment along the Street. The site on the southeast comer of Third Avenue and 125th Street is an appropriate site for additional and professional services development. There is a gas station and a number of automotive supply and repair shops near Second Avenue.

Along East 125th Street between Park Avenue to Second Avenue, there are a number of small office and loft buildings. These buildings offer small scale office spare for small professional offices and not for-profit organizations.

Recommendations for this Crossroad are designed to convert East 125th Street into a major commercial and and entertainment area, with music, food, movies, and a hotel across from the Parthmark This would connect the neighborhoods of El Barrio/Spanish Harlem with Central Harlem According to a study conducted by Buckhurst Fish & Jacquemart Inc. there is a development potential for 5,500 square feet of ground commercial floor, 28,000 square feet of upper ground commercial floor that could generate 180 to 220 jobs.


1 . The City should designate the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center as a Cultural Institution Group funding category thus allowing this cultural institution to receive private and public funding.

2. The City should promote the cultural and art activities at this Crossroad The City should promote tourism and attract people from outside the community to this Crossroads Stronger ties with Fifth Avenue institutions and facilities must be established so that visitors to the Museum of the City of New York, El Museo del Barrio and Central Park are informed that they have only a short walk to this Crossroad


1 . Extending the commercial overlay along East 116th Street to Pleasant Avenue, would attract additional retail services such as bookstores, restaurants, stationary stores and delicatessens.

2. The East 116th Street subway station is in dire need of complete rehabilitation. The NYCTA should prioritize this subway station for immediate renovation as this area is developed for retail and
commercial purposes and more importantly to lure in outside consumers.

3. HPD should develop an incentive program for property owners to rehabilitate housing units and to improve the residential quality.


1 . EDC should implement the entire La Marqueta development

EDC should restore the $5 million in capital funds that had been committed to the development of La Marqueta.

3. EDC should construct the two municipal parking garages that were part of the City's original design plans for La Marqueta.

4. EDC should support CB# 11's involvement in a Mayor's Task Force on La Marqueta. The Task Force should include the involvement of all appropriate governmental entities, the area's elected officials,
CB# 11, the adjacent NYCHA tenants associations and the business community.

5. The City should install sidewalks along the La Marqueta buildings on Park Avenue's east and west sides, if possible.

6. The City should increase exterior lighting on the La Marqueta buildings. Artistry from local cultural organizations and artists that reflect the entire area should be sought for the buildings exterior

7 . The City should explore non retail uses for La Marqueta.


1. Develop or extend bus routes connecting East 116th and East 125th Streets to the East River Plaza Development. A loop bus service would tie two of the East Harlem Crossroad areas together (East 125th Street and Lexington Avenue subway station and the East 116th Street and Lexington Avenue subway station). If a loop bus route is not feasible, the frequency of M116 and M101 should be increased.

2. All cross-town busses in East Harlem should be emission efficient, either electric or natural gas

3. CB# 11 encourages development on this site that envisions a direct connection to Randall's and Ward's Islands.


1 . The City should develop a local bus route that connects the El Barrio/Spanish Harlem and Central Harlem neighborhoods and transport tourist to the major institutions in this area.

2. The City should consider East 125th Street as a terminus for a rail transit linking La Guardia and Kennedy airports.

3. Extend the 125th Street Business Improvement District from Fifth Avenue down to Second Avenue when business activity on the street has reamed.

4. EDC and the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone should consider the Corn Exchange Building at the northeast comer of East 125th Street and Park Avenue as one of the first sites to be developed in this Crossroad areas. Potential uses could be a professional service building that would house computer technology services, doctors offices, not-for-profit space, government offices, day care facility, community meeting rooms, etc.

5. The furniture and upholstery retailing along East 125th Street way cohabit with the entertainment complex below.

6. EDC should consider development of an entertainment complex on East 125th Street between 2nd Avenue and Park Avenue that would include restaurants, theater(s), hotel, sports complex, art galleries, live music and cabarets, and other cultural and recreational businesses.

History of East Harlem
Demographic and Socio-Economic Profile
Land Use and Zoning
City-Owned Vacant Property
Housing and Urban Renewal
Economic Development
The Waterfront
Tranportation and Infrastructure
Institutional and Historical Resources
Non-Profits At Work In East Harlem
For Profits At Work In East Harlem

Maps (all pertain to Community Board # 11)
The maps are in Gif format. File sizes are big, but you can better see the details in the maps.

Community Board District # 11 (162K)
Population of Race and Ethnicity by Census Track (679K
Land Use (Color 579K)
Zoning Map (244K)
Major Housing Developments (329K)
Urban Renewal Areas (328K)
Empowerment Zone (630K)
Economic Developement (628K)
Public Transportation (672K)
Historic District and Landmarks (610K)
Crossroads (589K)


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