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Projects & Proposals > Manhattan > Upper West Side Printer Friendly Version
Upper West Side Rezoning - Approved!
Existing Context and Zoning
Overview | Existing Context and Zoning | Proposed Zoning | Public Review
Existing Context and Zoning
Existing Zoning Map
Existing Zoning Map
PDF Document View a larger image.
The study area has a wide variety of built environments, from the modernist "tower-in-the-park" developments of Park West Village and Frederick Douglass Houses, to the three-story town houses between Riverside Drive and Broadway, to the up-and-down character of Broadway itself – the area’s curvilinear commercial center.  Generally, however, the study area can be separated into three distinct sub-areas.
Subarea 1:  West of Amsterdam Avenue
Development in the area west of Amsterdam Avenue is fairly consistent, of a type that has become synonymous with the residential neighborhoods of the Upper West Side, where dense, tall buildings on wide avenues share the same block with small-scale townhouses and multifamily apartment buildings on narrow streets.  Large, pre-war apartment buildings with high street walls are found on Riverside Drive and West End Avenues, and to a lesser extent along Broadway.  Between the avenues, three-to five-story townhouses or multiple dwellings generally line the narrow side streets.  Broadway contains a mixture of building types and styles, ranging from one- and two-story commercial structures to 17-story apartment buildings. 

Broadway between 107th and 108th Streets
Broadway between 107th and 108th Streets
Broadway between 105th and 106th Streets
Broadway between 105th and 106th Streets
105th St between West End Avenue and Riverside Drive
105th Street between West End Avenue and Riverside Drive


Despite the variation in built form, virtually the entire area west of Amsterdam Avenue is zoned R8 (a small area surrounding Straus Park is zoned R10A and C2-8A, which allows 10 FAR and a building height of 210 feet and is not proposed to be changed).  The R8 zoning district, which has remained in place since 1961, is a medium-high density residential district that permits a maximum floor area ratio (FAR)of 6.02 for residential uses and 6.50 for community facility uses.  The vast majority of buildings on the avenues exceed 6.02 FAR while most midblock buildings have FAR's  less than 6.02.  The R8 district is a height factordistrict that does not set absolute building height limits and permits taller buildings set back from the street and surrounded by private open space.  The two mixed-use buildings under construction on Broadway between West 99th and West 100th streets, while not typical, demonstrate the type of buildings that can be constructed on a large site (with development rights transfer) under R8 zoning regulations.

New development on the west side of Broadway
New development on the west side of Broadway
New development on the east side of Broadway
New development on the east side of Broadway


Subarea 2: Manhattan Valley
Manhattan Valley consists of the area east of Amsterdam Avenue generally from West 104th Street to West 110th Street.  Manhattan Valley is notable for its consistent four-to five-story apartment buildings and row houses built to the street line, on both avenues and streets.  This building type, generally constructed between 1900 and 1920, creates a lower-scale neighborhood framed by Central Park West, West 110th Street and West 106th Street, which are wide streets with several larger residential and community facility buildings.

The predominant zoning district in Manhattan Valley is R7-2, a medium-density height factor, residential district that permits a maximum FAR of 3.44 for residential uses and 6.50 for community facility uses.   A smaller portion of the neighborhood, from Manhattan Avenue to Central Park West, from West 100th Street to West 107th Street is zoned R8 which permits 6.02 FAR for residential uses and 6.50 FAR for community facility uses.  Most of the buildings in this area slightly exceed the R7-2 FAR maximum for residential buildings.  As in R8 districts, the maximum height of residential buildings in R7-2 districts is regulated by a sky exposure plane, which begins at a height of 60 feet above the front lot line in R7-2 districts. The potential for taller buildings, set back from the street line, would be inconsistent with the existing built form of Manhattan Valley.  In addition, the disparity between residential and community facility FAR in the R7-2 district creates an incentive for larger and potentially taller community facility and mixed- buildings within this area.

West 109th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues
West 109th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues
West 106th Street between Central Park West and Manhattan Avenue
West 106th Street between Central Park West and Manhattan Avenue


Subarea 3: Park West Village and Frederick Douglass Houses
These two large, "tower-in-the-park" developments were constructed in the 1950s and have a dramatically different built form than the rest of the study area.  These developments are characterized by tall, slender towers between 14 and 20 stories in height that are surrounded on all sides by private open space.  The strong street wall presence that characterizes the other parts of the study area is non-existent here.

Park West Village viewed from West 97th Street
Park West Village viewed from West 97th Street
Park West Village
Park West Village

Park West Village and Frederick Douglass Houses are zoned R7-2, which permits a maximum 3.44 FAR for residential uses and 6.50 FAR for community facility uses.  The types of towers constructed in this area exemplify the R7-2 development.

Commercial Overlay Districts
Within the study area, two commercial overlay districts (C1-5 and C2-5) provide for retail uses intended to serve the area’s residents.  The C1-5 and C2-5 overlay districts are mapped along Broadway, Amsterdam, and Columbus Avenues.  Both commercial overlay districts allow a maximum 2.0 FAR for local retail uses on the ground floor (and potentially on the second floor) of buildings within 100 feet from each avenue. C2 overlays permit a slighter wider array of local retail services than C1 overlays.  




Overview | Existing Context and Zoning | Proposed Zoning | Public Review


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Brief explanations of terms in green italics can be viewed by clicking on the term. Words and phrases followed by an asterisk (*) are defined terms in the Zoning Resolution, primarily in Section 12-10. Consult the Zoning Resolution for the official and legally binding definitions of these words and phrases.

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