in Industrial Activity
During the early development of Greenpoint-Williamsburg,
before the advent of zoning, housing was built
in clusters or sometimes interspersed with factories.
Some areas, including the center of Northside
and along Franklin Street in Greenpoint, were
primarily residential then, and remain primarily
Elsewhere, older residential buildings are located
in areas currently zoned for industrial or automotive
use -- such as along Berry Street, Wythe Avenue,
and Grand Street in Williamsburg, and Calyer and
Clay Streets in Greenpoint. Although these buildings
contribute to the area’s enduring mixed-use
character, existing zoning does not permit new
residential uses or the reactivation of residential
buildings that have been vacant for more than
With the conversion of loft buildings to residential
use in recent years, new residential uses have
been emerging within industrially zoned areas.
Though many of the conversions occurred illegally,
they have nonetheless activated the once-vacant
upper floors of many older loft buildings. The
animated graphic of residential growth in Williamsburg
(below), and the map of residential growth throughout
the rezoning study area (above-right), show the
extent to which residential use has spread from
the traditional core of Williamsburg and Greenpoint
onto virtually every block of adjoining areas.
These surrounding areas contain a varied mix of
older residential buildings, loft conversions,
and industrial and commercial uses, a pattern
best suited to the mixed use zoning proposed in
the Greenpoint-Williamsburg Rezoning.