Commercial activities in the city are permitted
in eight commercial districts based on
their functional similarities and locational
requirements. Small retail and service shops in C1
and C2 districts serve the immediate needs of surrounding
residential communities. Larger stores
with more goods and services are found in C4
districts, borough-wide regional retail centers like
Main Street in Flushing and Fordham Road in the
Bronx. C5 and C6 districts, central business districts
that serve the city, the region and the nation, are
mapped in Midtown, Lower Manhattan, Downtown
Brooklyn and Long Island City. Three districts serve
specific purposes: C3 for waterfront recreation, C7
for amusement parks and C8 for heavy repair shops
All of the commercial uses permitted in the eight
basic commercial districts are included in
5 through 16. Use groups are assigned to specific
commercial districts according to the purpose of the
district, the impacts of the use and its compatibility
with other uses. Residential uses (Use Groups 1 and
(Use Groups 3 and 4) are
allowed in all C1 through C6 districts but are prohibited
in C7 districts. Residential uses and Use Group 3
community facilities are prohibited in C8 districts.
The eight commercial districts are subdivided (as
indicated by a numerical suffix) to reflect variations
and parking and loading requirements. The
floor area ratio (FAR)
for a C4-1 district, for example,
is 1.0 while the FAR for a C4-7 district is 10.0.
(In medium- and high- density commercial districts,
, pedestrian amenities and, by special permit,
subway improvements can generate an increase in
the maximum commercial FAR.) Front and side
yards are not required in commercial districts.
| C1-3 District Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn
In addition to the floor area rules, height and
requirements ensure that adequate light, air and
open space are provided. In non-contextual districts,
the height of a building is controlled by a
sky exposure plane
or, in the highest density districts, by
limits are set for both the height of a building and
In the high-density C5 and C6 commercial districts,
the floor area ratio is the principal bulk control. In
other commercial districts that are not as centrally
located, high off-street parking requirements are
frequently as important as the FAR in controlling
the intensity of development.
Contextual commercial districts are designated in
areas that are substantially residential in character.
In these districts, indicated by an A, D or X suffix,
such as C4-4D, supplementary bulk regulations
mandate that all developments maintain
continuity and a harmonious relationship with
other buildings in the area.
Some C1 and C2 districts are mapped as
usually within low- and medium-density residential
neighborhoods. In these districts, residential bulk is
governed by the residence district within which the
overlay is mapped, whereas all other commercial
districts that permit residential use are assigned a
residential district equivalent
. In all
, commercial uses must be located below
any residential use.
Parking requirements vary depending upon the use
and access to mass transit. Generally, the lower
the numerical suffix, the more off-street parking is
required. Parking is not required in the Manhattan Core
(except within the Hudson Yards Special
District) or in Long Island City.
For detailed information, and a comparison of district requirements, open the Commercial Districts Zoning Data Tables on the right.