125th Street Rezoning Still Needs Work
April 3rd, 2008, 5:51 pm
The buildings in Harlem are brick and stone, And the streets are long and wide, But Harlem’s much more than these alone, Harlem is what’s inside. The Heart of Harlem, Langston Hughes On April 1st 2008, the Municipal Art Society testified at the Land-use and Franchise subcommittee hearing regarding the 125th Street rezoning plan. City Planning has been working for almost four years on this plan. It first emerged as the “River to River Study,” a promise to create a vibrant Harlem Main Street, buttressed on either side by access to two of New York’s Waterfronts. The current plan does not, however, extend from “River to River” but covers the area from Second Avenue to Broadway and from 124th Street to 126th Street with 125th Street as the spine. The rezoning initiative held the promise to revitalize 125th Street as Harlem’s vibrant mixed-use corridor, maintaining a specific emphasis on the arts and entertainment industry to support Harlem’s unique position as a local, national, and international destination. The proposed plan under review, unfortunately, still falls short of its commendable vision. At the hearing MAS asked council members to weigh the plan against the following principles:
- Respect the existing neighborhood and its special character and promote integrated new development on 125th Street.
- Foster Harlem’s arts and culture institutions.
- Maintain urban retail diversity.
- Include affordable housing that meets the community’s needs.
- Plan for waterfront access.