From: New Directions: A 197-A Plan for Manhattan Community district 11 (Revised 1999)
The Community District 11 is primarily zoned residential. Commercial zones
("overlays"--mixed commercial and residential) are located along avenues
and major cross streets. There are four manufacturing zones in the district.
I illustrates the distribution of land uses in East Harlem exclusive of
streets and sidewalks. The table
also reveals that 40 percent of East Harlem's land acreage is owned by
the City of New York.
SOURCE: Department of City Planning Community District Needs, Manhattan p. 233 (New York: 1995).
Most of East Harlem is zoned R7-2 which allows for medium density apartment buildings. The floor area ratio (FAR) ranges from 0.87 to 3.44, which produces building types that range from a five-story tenement to a 14-story building set back from the street, such as the Johnson Houses on Park Avenue and 115th Street. The R7-2 zoning districts has a high open space ratio (OSR) and requires parking for one half of the new units built.
East Harlem also contains a small number of R8, R9, RIO and RIOA zoning
districts. The R8 and R9 zones produce tall narrow buildings set back
from the street. RI 0 is the highest residential district in New York
City. Its companion, RIOA, a contextual zone, regulates lot coverage and
height. The Quality Housing Program is mandatory in all contextual districts.
East Harlem also contains R-6 districts in some sections of Randall's and Ward's Islands which are the least dense zoning in Manhattan. Usually R6 buildings range between 3 and 12 stories high, Table 2 summarizes the residential districts found in East Harlem.
New York City Department of City Planning Zoning Handbook (New York 19%).
The secondary commercial corridors are located on the north side of East 96th Street between First to Park Avenue; East 103rd Street between Third to Park Avenues; East 106th Street between First to Madison Avenues and East 110th Street between First to Madison Avenues.
East Harlem has several commercial zoning districts and overlays. The zones comprise of C 1 -9, C4- C8-3 and C8-4. The overlays comprise of Cl-I through C1-5, C2-1 through C2-5. The CI-9 category allows local retail and services on the ground floor. The C8-3 zones (FAR 2.0), typically used as automotive service facilities and showrooms which require substantial parking.
The C8-4 district (FAR 5.0), which allows warehouses, is located along
the eastern side of Park Avenue between East 106th and East 110th Streets.
Housing is not, permitted in C8 districts.
The C4-4 district is mapped across 125th Street and along Third Avenue.
C44 permits regional commercial centers such as department stores, theaters
and entertainment facilities. Residential and community facilities are
permitted in C4-4 zones, while service and repair shops are prohibited.
The maximum FAR is 3.4.
The C I - I through C 1-5 commercial overlays typically include local services such as grocery stores, dry cleaning establishments, restaurants and barber shops. The C2-1 through C2-5 commercial overlays, which he parts of I 10th Street, permit uses that serve more than one neighborhood. These uses include funeral homes, trade schools and small lumber yards. Parking is not required since the Zoning Resolution states that these commercial uses do not generate a significant amount of automobile traffic. The maximum FAR for these districts is 2.0.
There are a few fight, medium and heavy manufacturing districts exist
in East Harlem. A small light manufacturing M1-2 district (FAR 2.0) extends
along upper Park Avenue and 126th Street. Another block of manufacturing
uses is located south of Jefferson Park, a loft building the neighbors
still call "the Con Ed building". --because it was a local drop for paying
the electric bills.. It is now a warehouse building serving many downtown
Almost all industrial uses can be located in MI areas if they meet certain
performance standards. Retail and office uses are also permitted, as are
some community facilities by special permit. The MI 2 and M 1-4 districts
differ in parking requirements.
An M2-2 district was mapped along the Harlem River between East 116th
and East 119th Streets for steel wire manufacturing of a former time.
Now called the East River Plaza, an application has been filed to amend
East Harlem has two types of heavy manufacturing districts: M3-1 and M3-2.
These districts were designed for industries that generate noise, traffic
and pollutants. They are usually near the waterfront and are buffered
from residential areas.
The portion of Randall's and Wards Island that contains the water pollution treatment plant is mapped M3-1. Two sites (East 110th Street and First Avenue and East 127th Street and Second Avenue) are mapped M32. The FAR for M3-1 and M3-2 districts is 2.0. The only difference between the two districts is the parking requirements.
Light manufacturing may offer employment and business growth in the community. The Federal Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, the NY State Economic Development Zone, a Park Avenue industrial and manufacturing corridor and the western boundaries of the East Harlem Triangle all serve as incentives for future fight manufacturing establishments to move into East Harlem. Two areas require special attention: Park Avenue between 119th and 122nd Street and the East Harlem Triangle. The land along Park Avenue (which is adjacent to the Metro North Viaduct) is zoned R7- Federal regulations prohibit land 100 feet from the Metro North to be developed for subsidized housing.
Museums and other cultural institutions such as El Museo del Barrio, the
Museum of the City of New York and the Puerto Rican Workshop, are also
important institutional presence in the community district. Institutional
uses, or community facilities, are allowed in all zoning districts except
C7, C8, M2 , M3.4
East Harlem has over 100 religious institutions; channeling faith-based energy into hundreds of positive enterprises. Some provide accessory school programs. In addition, there are many nonprofit civic and multi service organizations with facilities for youth, seniors and alcohol and substance abusers. East Harlem has two police precincts, the 23rd and the 25th, and five active firehouses.
Although the district has more than 435 acres of parkland to East Harlem residents this number is deceiving because there is limited access to East Harlem's parks especially to Randall's and Ward's Islands. In addition, the island is home to a number of uses that are not compatible with recreational open space uses such as the large sewage treatment plant, sanitation facilities and social service facilities. The programming of ball fields are highly contested by schools and organizations inside and outside the community district. Randall's and Ward's Islands are discussed in more detail in Chapter VIII: Waterfront.
This creative impulse is not limited to the Latino residents of East Harlem.
Community gardens and murals give the area local flavor. They express
Latino, African-American, Italian and Irish cultures. Community Board
# 11 gave hearty support to the erection of a statue honoring Edward "Duke"
Ellington at Fifth Avenue and East 110th Street. These artistic expressions
provide a way for the community to celebrate its struggles and collectively
influence and experience their culture.
According to the 1990 US Census population count there are 42,629 children under the age of 18 years. Presently this large population does not have access to good parks and open space. The quality of the well spaced parks has declined since the removal of park attendant personnel, forcing the City to spend more on rehabilitation than would have been spent on employing the recreation leaders and summer workers in the parks. Many of the parks and playgrounds have been "rehabilitated" over and over again. Parks and playgrounds above 125th Street need upgrading and attendants.
To accommodate a future Second Avenue subway which was proposed in 1951,
the Special Transit Land Use District was mapped along Second Avenue from
East 105th to East 110th Streets and 120th to 126th Streets. Any new development
in this district must provide easements for subway related use and public
access. Although the fiscal crisis of New York City halted construction
in 1976, the regulations for easements, curb cuts, uses, parking and planting
remain in effect.
The Special Park Improvement District is bound by Park Avenue to Fifth Avenue and from East 96th Street to East 111th Street. This district was created to preserve the character and quality of Fifth and Park Avenues. It mandates building height and street wall continuity.
The Special Madison Avenue Preservation District is mapped along Madison Avenue and extends to the north side of East 96th Street. It regulates height, facades and a continuous retail frontage that characterizes Madison Avenue.
Sections of the 197-A Plan
Maps (all pertain
to Community Board # 11)
Board District # 11 (162K)