The top image is what a new neighborhood would look like if the city started to fill-in the open land around the superblocks that took over many New York communities during the Urban Renewal years. Some have been wondering why the city has not started retrofitting the massive "towers in the park" that have destroyed the culture of so many neighborhoods. Well, it's actually been happening on a large scale in Manhattan but for some reason, many have not pointed out the obvious.
The above sketch is that of the Columbus Square (originally Columbus Village) development in the neighborhood just diagonally adjacent to South Harlem. We were doing a story on the new Whole Foods that opened up at 97th Street and took the following photos when walking around the housing projects nearby in early spring. This area of the Manhattan Valley from 97th Street to 110th Street has about 30 percent of its land taken over by moderate and low-income towers (click on map to enlarge). Currently, the 4 city blocks towards 97th street has now been developed into Columbus Square with major retail at street level alongside individual towers that are spread out and apart (the third photo down shows a new building next to the old).
The overall result looks like a brand new neighborhood, adds more housing in the area and restores the foot traffic with the (low-level) commercial spaces fronting the avenue. Another point to note is that the buildings have the step-back design after 4-stories and that the new towers still give a sense of open space. Read more about this development in the The Real Deal article from 2008: LINK. We will feature a story on a small scale street retrofitting plan in Central Harlem next week. See our past post on the Radiant City and Urban Renewal in the city: LINK. All photos by Ulysses