We recently discovered the Toren Flip Project, apparently designed to help market the Toren, one of the many luxury towers that went up in the condo building frenzy that was unleashed by the 2004 rezoning. According to the site, each of the unedited video snippets featured have “something really interesting to reveal” about the “very cool and creative people” that are deciding to live in the Toren, and “collectively paint a picture of the growing Toren community.” Check it out.
It’s not every day that the Wall Street Journal covers the Fulton Mall, so this recent article, re-posted thanks to Brownstoner, was a bit of a surprise, even if its racist undertones weren’t. The basic narrative replicated here is familiar enough: the once-great Fulton Street of the (white) department store heyday was “replaced” by an unfortunate “grungy” (read: black, lower-income) strip selling “cheap goods” and “knickknacks.” But there’s now hope of finally cleaning it all up, thanks to all the new (half-empty) luxury condos everywhere and the potential for attracting “Manhattan-type residents.” Notably, the piece fails to mention a major reason for much of the current blight: the displacement caused by the 2004 rezoning which, combined with the economic crisis, has kept many storefronts empty and construction sites stalled for years now.
At last count, New York City’s Department of City Planning under Mayor Michael Bloomberg had rezoned a total of 104 neighborhoods. Many of these rezonings did not go down without a fight. Sources offer a mixed assessment of this legacy. Some compare the city’s aggressive rezoning effort to Robert Moses’ historic urban renewal agenda decades ago, while others point out that that it has had surprisingly little impact. A Furman Center report from earlier this year suggests an explanation for these opposing perspectives: The city approached zoning differently depending on the neighborhood, a process that seems to have largely played out along lines of race and class.