What defines the neighborhood?
The East Village, Lower East Side, and Two Bridges study area is located in Manhattan Community District 3 and encompasses approximately 54 blocks that span 2.2 miles of the East River from 14th Street to the Brooklyn Bridge. Nearly 70,000 residents live in over 26,000 dwelling units within 700 buildings throughout the area. Approximately 70% of the dwelling units within the study area provide affordable housing for local residents, and are housed primarily in either tower-in-the-park developments or mid-rise tenement-style buildings.
The eastern and southern portions of the study area are bounded by the FDR Drive. Open space within the study area includes the East River Park, located in the East Village and Lower East Side, and the East River Waterfront Esplanade, located in Two Bridges.
Approximately 42% of the lots in the study area contain multi-family residential developments. There are also a significant number of mixed-use residential and commercial developments—accounting for nearly 25% of buildings within the study area. These mixed-use buildings are located primarily on Avenues B, C, and D in the East Village, and to a lesser extent on Madison, Monroe, and Catherine Streets in Two Bridges.
Multi-Family Affordable Housing in Two Bridges
Mixed-Use Development on southwest corner of Avenue C and East 8th Street
Flood Risk and Neighborhood Resiliency
What type of flood risk exists?
A significant amount of the land that lines Manhattan’s coast was created by man-made fill. As the city transitioned from its maritime roots, the boat slips along the water’s edge were filled in, expanding NYC’s coastline. The last of these efforts happened around the turn of the 20th century. This man-made ground provided new areas on which to develop, and gave way to the built environment that is there today. It is also lower lying than the adjacent original land mass, and as a result is more vulnerable to coastal storms and flooding.
Hurricane Sandy demonstrated the risk associated with this low-lying elevation, impacting a larger area than was previously thought to be vulnerable to coastal flooding. Since the storm, FEMA has issued updated flood maps for New York City which include more of the East Village, Lower East Side, and Two Bridges than were originally included. The number of blocks in the flood zone within the study area increased by 28%, the number of buildings increased 131%, and the number of dwelling units increased approximately 27%. In addition to new areas being added to the 100-year flood zone, the new federal flood maps also have generally higher base flood elevations, ranging from approximately 11 to 13 feet, or 2 to 6 feet above ground level. Buildings within the flood zone are subject to building code requirements for flood resistant construction and federal requirements for flood insurance, which may affect both residents and business owners.
What are the challenges to resiliency?
Property and business owners in the area face multiple obstacles to making buildings more resilient. In addition, the high concentration of multi-family buildings, many of which contain affordable housing, presents its own set of challenges. This study will explore options available for the retrofitting of multi-family housing developments, and identify zoning, insurance, other regulatory or financial issues related to these retrofits, and identify potential strategies to improve the ability of buildings to undertake these retrofits.
Retail in the East Village, Lower East Side, and Two Bridges, which relies on an active streetscape and heavy foot traffic, but often is housed in older, attached buildings, may face additional challenges to meet flood resistant construction standards. In addition, some portions of the neighborhood have limited access to neighborhood retail. The study will identify retrofitting options for local retail and potential zoning changes or other measures to support resilient retail that serves the community.
Example of tower-in-the-park multi-family affordable development
Example of mid-rise tenement style affordable housing - East 10th Street Between Avenues B and C
How Are We Working With Communities?
The Department is working with CB3 to identify local strategies to facilitate resiliency in the neighborhood. DCP will also work closely with all of the local organizations that have been engaged in these issues since Sandy.
On June 11th and 18th, 2014, DCP met with the Economic Development and Land Use committees at CB3 to present the goals of the study. The presentation can be viewed here.
On October 14, 2014, DCP met with the CB3 Land Use Committee to present updates on research done for the Resilient Neighborhoods Initiative in the East Village, Lower East Side, and Two Bridges. The presentation can be viewed here in English, Spanish and Mandarin.
Check this page for notifications on public meetings and future updates.
Related Projects and Initiatives In This Area
This effort is part of the city’s comprehensive approach to climate resiliency and hazard mitigation to recover from Hurricane Sandy. In working toward these goals, the Department of City Planning will coordinate with initiatives that have been underway at the federal, state, city, and local levels including:
View a flyer in English, Spanish or Mandarin on the Resilient Neighborhood initiative in the East Village, Lower East Side and Two Bridges.
For more information contact: ResilientManhattan_DL@planning.nyc.gov
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