in Industrial Activity
Greenpoint and Williamsburg developed more than
100 years ago during Brooklyn’s great industrial
age, when both sides of the East River were dominated
by large factories, oil refineries, and shipyards.
The neighborhoods adjoining the waterfront housed
the workers and, within these areas, homes and
factories intermingled, setting a pattern of mixed
use that still shapes the neighborhoods today.
Over the years, these neighborhoods have grown
and adapted to changing economic conditions. The
refineries and shipbuilders have gone, and new
generations of businesses, entrepreneurs, artists,
and residents have emerged. Today, Greenpoint-Williamsburg
is once again a vibrant community, from the bustling
commerce of Manhattan and Bedford Avenues to the
many distinctive side streets. The waterfront,
however, remains largely derelict, dominated by
empty lots and crumbling structures, and almost
entirely inaccessible to the public.
the Community 197-a Plans
The Greenpoint and Williamsburg Waterfront 197-a
Plans, sponsored by Community Board 1 and officially
adopted in January 2002, were the result of years
of community effort and collaboration with the
Department of City Planning. The plans articulated
a number of principles that have guided the Greenpoint-Williamsburg
Land Use and Waterfront Plan, including:
waterfront access. Both plans place the
highest priority on new and improved public
spaces along their waterfronts.
housing and local commercial development.
Recognizing the need for new housing to serve
diverse income levels, both plans propose new
development on vacant and underused land, at
a scale compatible with surrounding neighborhoods.
rezoning actions. Both the Greenpoint
and Williamsburg 197-a Plans encourage expeditious
rezoning actions to address these issues and
Building upon these principles, the Greenpoint-Williamsburg
Land Use and Waterfront Plan seeks to accomplish
the following objectives:
changing conditions. Enact comprehensive
zoning changes to address the dramatic changes
that have taken place in recent decades, and to
prepare the communities for the twenty-first century.
housing opportunities. Capitalize on vacant
and underused land for new housing development,
addressing both local and citywide needs.
the city’s commitment to affordable housing.
Under the Mayor’s housing plan, New York
City is committed to investment in affordable
housing, particularly in areas rezoned for residential
neighborhood context. New development should
fit in with its surroundings, building on the
strong character of the existing neighborhoods.
important concentrations of industrial activity.
While industry in the area has been declining
sharply for decades, manufacturing zones should
be retained where important concentrations of
industrial activity and employment exist.
a continuous waterfront walkway and maximize public
access to the waterfront. Establish a blueprint
for a revitalized, publicly accessible East River
development that will reconnect the neighborhood
to the waterfront. Taking into account
the difficulties of waterfront redevelopment,
shape new development so that it connects the
inland neighborhoods to the waterfront.