INWOOD: Just another zoning change…or is it?

The Re-Zoning Sherman Creek and Inwood

The rezoning of the Sherman Creek waterfront and Inwood’s core area began at the behest of the Economic Development Corporation in 2001. It ended shortly thereafter. Details are found on the EDC website and the DCP website. The reasons for this particular initiative may be generalized to three political influences.

First, New York City’s bid for the 2012 Olympic games and beyond stimulated a massive search for “sites.” Failing this (even though it was a valiant effort), the work retained its second value as a strategy within an overall plan to fulfill the Bloomberg administration’s interest in the production of affordable housing, largely through tax expenditure investments and zoning changes.

Changing the zoning and adding in some bonus floor area minimizes the city’s expense and capital budget to the greatest degree possible—the Japanese call this “minkatsu” to “stimulate the private sector” as a partner.

Third and ultimately, local interest in wealth creation is satisfied. It is a small but influential group of investors with substantial landholdings in this area that need a boost in land value. The entire effort began to play out in the Fall of 2007, and its effects might begin to show almost immediately by the time it gets to the City Council 120 ULURP days later.

The area is predominately composed of immigrants of the Dominican Republic who are steeped in the family but still edgy poor.  The area is also dominated by a high-grade stock of art deco architecture perched for the most part on a hill with a median household income that dwarfs that of the residents just below. Washington Heights/Inwood community contains about 2800 properties, of which less than 4% have been identified as the landmarked property, of which 95% are in Historic Districts.

The Complications? North of the Creek

This community of the hill and the valley of Inwood is just north and east of the Inwood Hill “wilderness,” the last of the original growth of Manhattan and the only known home of the Golden Eagle in New York City. In 1987, four large trees, known as Paulownia tomentosa, mysteriously vanished one night from Inwood Hill Park.

The Rare
Paulownia tomentosa

This just the beginning. I found an image of one and have no idea if it was this rare type, but why else would they get jacked? Henry J. Stern was the commish then and grew up near the park to plant a new Paulownias grove. I have to head back up there.

Highbridge Park Trails Grand Opening Festival May 19, 2007 mountain bikes, mountain bikers, trails Mountain Bikes … years of lobbying and meetings, and a year and a half of actual trial design and … Urban Trailblazers.

The New York City Mountain Bikers Meetup Group: See Map First Meeting: Sat, May 19, 2007, at 10:00 AM. In 2019 $200 Million in Investments to Enrich Inwood Community and Open Waterfront Access, but the zoning change is now listed as inactive (PDF). A sweetener, obviously. Please visit the New York City Economic Development Corporation website to view this project’s most recent updates.