East Harlem Rezoning Proposal


The City’s East Harlem Neighborhood Initiative is a broad and comprehensive plan to facilitate the development of affordable housing, preserve existing neighborhood character, improve the pedestrian experience, and enable new commercial and manufacturing space to support job creation. It covers 96 blocks generally bounded by East 104th street to the south, East 132nd Street to the north, Park Avenue to the west and Second Avenue to the east. The plan also features supporting initiatives related to infrastructure, economic development, workforce and community health.

The goals of the East Harlem Initiative are to:  

  • Preserve East Harlem’s affordable housing and areas with strong existing context
  • Promote new housing, which includes  requiring  permanent affordable housing in East Harlem, for the first time, through the Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning program;
  • Provide opportunities for job-generating uses and economic development;
  • Leverage the neighborhood’s strong existing and future transportation infrastructure, which includes Phase II of the Second Avenue Subway; and
  • Ensure that new development enhances the streets and sidewalks of East Harlem with active ground floors and appropriate building heights.

The East Harlem Neighborhood Initiative builds on the recommendations of residents and stakeholders, including those in the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan (EHNP). The East Harlem Neighborhood Initiative is part of Housing New York, the Mayor’s plan to foster an equitable and livable city using zoning and other tools.

The rezoning is expected to facilitate the creation of nearly 2,700 new homes beyond what was previously permitted, a substantial proportion of which are expected to be affordable through the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) program. The City is also prioritizing the development of affordable housing on public sites throughout East Harlem.

Additionally, the zoning would also strengthen the role of East Harlem as a major transit hub and job center by promoting the creation of new job-generating commercial and industrial space. Over ten years, the plan is projected to spur an estimated 122,000 square feet of stores and restaurants and 275,000 square feet of office and industrial space.

New Housing

NEW HOUSING: Promote new housing, requiring for the first time in East Harlem permanently-affordable housing through the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program, along Park, Lexington, Third and Second Avenues.



PRESERVATION: Preserve existing affordable housing in East Harlem and preserve the built neighborhood character along mid-blocks and other areas with a strong existing architectural context.


Economic Development

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Create opportunities for job growth and economic development while preserving the vitality of existing commercial and manufacturing uses along key corridors, including Park Avenue, Third Avenue and East 116th Street.


Urban Design

URBAN DESIGN: Ensure that new development enhances the streets and sidewalks of East Harlem with active ground floors, building heights appropriate for the neighborhood context and other regulations to create a safe and enjoyable pedestrian experience.



INFRASTRUCTURE + COMMUNITY FACILITIES: Leverage the neighborhood’s strong existing and future transportation infrastructure, which includes Phase II of the Second Avenue Subway, and ensure that community facilities support current demand and future growth in transit-accessible locations.

The East Harlem Initiative is more than just zoning. The plan also features supporting initiatives related to infrastructure, economic development, workforce, and community health that will benefit the community and enable it to thrive. These initiatives are summarized below. The Mayor’s Office of Operations provides annual updates on the status of these projects and programs on their website.

On December 27, 2017, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) released the final East Harlem Housing Plan, which summarizes the goals, strategies, and actions that the City is undertaking in East Harlem to preserve existing affordable housing, develop new affordable housing, improve access to affordable housing, and promote economic opportunity. Further details on each strategy can be found in the Housing Plan.

Preserve Affordable Housing

  • Finance and Safeguard Affordable Housing:
    • Keep existing homes affordable by continuing to offer loans and tax incentives to building owners
    • Continue promoting programs that help owners make repairs and preserve affordability
    • Pilot a Landlord Ambassadors Program to provide technical assistance to East Harlem property owners
    • Fund and support the East Harlem/El Barrio Community Land Trust
    • Implement the Neighborhood Pillars Program to help community organizations acquire rent-stabilized buildings
    • The City will commit $50 million in capital improvements in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments within East Harlem, including:
      • Modernize all ventilation in 17 East Harlem developments including 122 buildings and 12,179 apartments ($20 million)
      • Renovate kitchens and bathrooms at Leggett Memorial Early Childhood Center at 237 East 104th Street, Union Carver Early Childhood Center at 1565 Madison Avenue, and Union Washington Early Childhood Center at 1893 Second Avenue. Renovate playground at Jefferson Houses Early Childhood Center at 2211 First Avenue ($7.7 million)
      • Fund a new elevator at 335 East 111th Street ($1 million)
      • Replace boilers at Lehman Village and Wilson Houses ($13.2 million)
      • Conduct roof and parapet work at UPACA (Site 5) ($2.5 million)
      • Install new gas risers at Johnson Houses ($5.5 million)
  • Landlord Ambassadors Program
    Landlord Ambassadors Program
    Source: Enterprise Community Partners
    Johnson Houses (NYCHA)
    Johnson Houses (NYCHA)

  • Promote Safe and Healthy Housing
    • Continue to improve housing quality through rigorous enforcement of the Housing Maintenance Code
  • One of HPD’s bedbug-sniffing dogs. Source: HPD
    One of HPD’s Bedbug-sniffing Dogs. Source: HPD
  • Protect Tenants:
    • The City has demonstrated a commitment to protecting tenants in East Harlem by increasing funding for tenant legal services for low-income New Yorkers by $4.6 million, funding universal access to legal services for tenants facing eviction in Housing Court, and by going door-to-door in East Harlem with the City’s new Tenant Support Unit to inform tenants of their rights, document complaints and make referrals to free legal support when necessary.
      • Anti-Harassment Legal Services
      • Universal Access to CounselUniversal Access to Counsel
      • Tenant Support Unit (TSU)
    • Educate tenants about their rights and resources to prevent displacement
    • Continue to work with the Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force to investigate and take action against landlords who harass tenants
    • Establish a “Certificate of No Harassment” (CONH) Pilot Program
    • Include East Harlem in the new “Partners in Preservation” initiative to develop a comprehensive anti-displacement strategy for the neighborhood, including a commitment of $500,000 to implement this initiative pilot
  • Tenement Buildings in East Harlem
    Tenement Buildings in East Harlem

Develop New Affordable Housing

  • Prioritize the development of over 2,600 affordable homes on publicly owned land1
    • Acacia Gardens – 179 affordable units
    • Lexington Gardens II – 400 affordable units
    • Sendero Verde – 680 affordable units
    • NIHOP / NCP RFQ Clusters – 80 affordable units
    • 125th Street MEC Center – 760 affordable units
    • 126th Street Bus Depot – 584 affordable units
  • Acacia Gardens
    Acacia Gardens
    Source: Magnusson Architecture and Planning
    Lexington Gardens II
    Lexington Gardens II
    Source: Curtis & Ginsberg Architects
    Sendero Verde
    Sendero Verde
    Source: L+M Development
  • Prioritize additional public sites for affordable housing development
    • HRA East Harlem Multi-Service Center
    • NYPD 25th Precinct Parking Lot
    • DSNY 123rd Street Parking Lot *
    • Urban Assembly School *
      * Pending feasibility analysis
  • Continue to offer financing to incentivize the development of affordable housing that exceeds minimum MIH requirements
  • Support mission-driven groups interested in developing affordable housing on underutilized sites
  • Explore opportunities to finance the development of affordable artist housing

Promote Economic Opportunity

  • Connect residents to good jobs in the building trades through the Upper Manhattan Workforce1 Career Center and the forthcoming East Harlem Satellite Workforce1 Center
  • Expand local hiring incentives in HPD-financed developments
  • Expand opportunities for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) in the affordable housing development industry
  • Workforce1 Career Center Training.
    Workforce1 Career Center Training. Source: SBS

Improve Access to Affordable Housing

  • Make it easier to understand, prepare for and complete the affordable housing application process
  • Affordable Housing Applicants Receive Assistance from City Staff
    Affordable Housing Applicants Receive Assistance from City Staff. Source: HPD
  • The community has joined the Department of Parks and Recreation to design the Harlem River Greenway Link Park, a new, seven-block long waterfront park along the Harlem River between East 125th and East 132nd Streets that will showcase over $100 million in capital investments. This seven-acre park will feature bicycle and pedestrian paths and will provide new access for East Harlem residents that are currently disconnected from the Manhattan Greenway.
  • Public Outreach for the Harlem River Greenway Link.
    Public Outreach for the Harlem River Greenway Link. Source: DOT
  • The City has committed an additional $15 million for repairs to the East River Esplanade between East 96th and East 125th Street, which will supplement the repair work that has already been funded in this area.
  • Current East River Esplanade Conditions
    Current East River Esplanade Conditions. Source: DPR
  • Responding to strong community desire for more comfort stations in parks throughout East Harlem, $4.7 million has been set aside to construct a comfort station in Harlem River Park to serve the heavily used ballfields near the upland portion of the park.
  • Harlem River Park Ballfields
    Harlem River Park Ballfields. Source: DPR
  • Build intergeneration playgrounds to accommodate seniors in local parks
  • Improve way-finding to Randall’s Island
  • Increase access to employment opportunities for local residents: The City has committed $500,000 towards establishing a satellite Workforce1 Career Center in East Harlem in order to offer connections to employment and training services, including services for target populations such as out-of-school, out-of-work youth aged 18 to 24 years old
  • Fund local workforce development training: SBS will partner with community organizations to connect East Harlem residents to employer-informed trainings provided through the Workforce1 Center System, with the City dedicating $150,000 in funding in order to connect participants to quality jobs within in-demand, growth sectors such as healthcare, construction and technology.
  • Protect and enhance viability of local businesses through SBS grants: Through its Neighborhood 360° grant program, SBS has funded $1.49M to local non‐profit partners to staff, plan and, implement customized commercial revitalization programs for East Harlem’s primary commercial corridors based on a recently‐completed Commercial District Needs Assessment for the neighborhood.
  • East Harlem Commercial District Needs Assessment and East 116th Street
    East Harlem Commercial District Needs Assessment and East 116th Street.
    Sources (from left to right): SBS, DCP
  • The Speaker’s Office and the New York City Economic Development Corporation have allocated $25 million in capital funding and developed a conceptual plan for future investments at La Marqueta, with a design phase expected to be completed in FY18 and construction anticipated to start in the winter of 2019.
  • The City has set aside $560,000 for the installation of 13 Accessible Pedestrian Signal (APS) devices to provide information in non-visual formats, such as audible tones, speech messages and vibrating surfaces, to improve safety for visually-impaired pedestrians.
  • Pedestrians crossing Park Avenue
    Pedestrians crossing Park Avenue. Source: DOT
  • Fund a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) study and implement new routes in East Harlem
  • Modify parking and commercial delivery / unloading regulations along East 125th St
  • Build a new Select Bus Service station on 125th St and Lexington Avenue
  • A Select Bus Station
    A Select Bus Station. Source: DOT
  • The new East 125th Street Plaza project will be constructed under the Park Ave Metro-North Viaduct between East 124th and East 126th Streets and will contain a newly‐constructed plaza area and other amenities such as expanded sidewalks surrounding the Metro‐North station, improved crosswalks, enhanced street lighting and traffic signal timing changes to improve the pedestrian experience and calm traffic movements nearby.
  • Locate additional benches in areas that provide respite for seniors
  • Provide funding to the East Harlem COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disasters) ($15,000)
  • Explore locations for a new Evacuation Center for East Harlem residents
  • For the 2017‐18 school year, the City created three new Community Schools in East Harlem that function as neighborhood hubs by allowing students to receive high-quality academic instruction, offering access to social services for families and providing a gathering space for communities to share resources and address common challenges. The three schools are:
    • PS 83 Luis Munoz Rivera (City Year)
    • PS 108 Assemblyman Angelo Del Toro Educational Complex (The Leadership Program)
    • Esperanza Preparatory Academy School (Union Settlement)
  • PS 83 Luis Munoz Rivera.
    PS 83 Luis Munoz Rivera.
    Source: Cyclomedia
    PS 108 Assemblyman Angelo Del Toro Educational Complex. PS 108 Assemblyman Angelo Del Toro Educational Complex.
    Source: Cyclomedia
    Esperanza Preparatory Academy
    Esperanza Preparatory Academy
    Source: Cyclomedia
  • As part of a citywide initiative, the Department of Education will expand its 3-K for All programs across East Harlem by 2018 to provide free, full-day, high-quality education for 3-year olds in the neighborhood.
  • 3-K for All activities
    3-K for All activities. Source: DOE
  • Improve access to early care and education
  • As part of the 2018 Fiscal Year Budget, the City has committed to ensuring every classroom in East Harlem and across the City has air conditioning by 2022.
  • Park East High School
    Park East High School. Source: Cyclomedia
  • Increase the number of schools that offer Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs
  • Increase afterschool funding for high school students
  • Implement the Building Community Capacity Program in East Harlem
  • Designate historic and culturally significant buildings as landmarks:
    • Public School 109 – 215 East 99th Street
    • Benjamin Franklin High School – 260 Pleasant Avenue
    • The Richard Webber Harlem Packing House – 207-215 East 119th Street
    • Additionally, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) is expediting a detailed and comprehensive look at the First Spanish United Methodist Church (163 East 111th Street) for landmark consideration due to its role in the history of the Young Lords in New York City.
    PS 109
    PS 109
    Source: LPC
    Benjamin Franklin High School
    Benjamin Franklin High School
    Source: LPC
    The Richard Webber Harlem Packing House
    The Richard Webber Harlem Packing House.
    Source: LPC
  • Fund targeted local marketing for the NYC Well program.
  • Expand mental health first aid training, with a focus on youth
  • Conduct outreach and identify new Opioid Overdose Prevention Providers (OOPP) in East Harlem
  • The City invested $1.7 million to create the new East Harlem Neighborhood Health Action Center to provide co‐located health and social services, including SNAP and Health Insurance enrollment, HIV/AIDS programs, nutrition education and cooking classes, urban gardening and physical activity programs, mental health services for children and families, as well as a Federally Qualified Health Center and a community kitchen. Expense funding of $1 million per year will also be provided for the continued operations of the facility.
    The East Harlem Neighborhood Health Action Center
    The East Harlem Neighborhood Health Action Center
  • Coordinate with Agencies to incorporate green infrastructure into City projects
  • DEP will seek opportunities in the district to connect with existing homeowners and new developers to expand the Green Infrastructure Grant Program to private properties throughout CD11
  • DSNY will immediately begin planning for the development of a long-term facility to serve District 11 sanitation needs, and will explore options for a consolidated facility that meets LEED gold standards and can house multiple garages serving surrounding districts. DSNY will engage on a quarterly basis with a stakeholder group including representatives from Community Board 11, the local Council Member, the Manhattan Borough President and other local stakeholders to develop a shared vision for the facility that incorporates community feedback.
  • Health Action Center
    DSNY Sanitation Facility. Source: DSNY
  • Integrate subway station entrances into building envelopes at East 116th Street and Lexington Avenue
  • Study parking requirements in East Harlem
  • Establish a height limit in the R10 district on Park Avenue between East 122nd and East 124th Streets
  • Follow up correction to height limit on Park Avenue between East 115th and East 118th Streets