We were delighted to receive the following message from Jill Hamberg (pictured above, holding the megaphone). She's super knowledgeable about planning and urban renewal, so it was a treat to not only have her share occasionally along the walk, but also to receive so much valuable follow-up information about some of the topics we touched on including "air rights," which we discussed in relation to this church and high-rise:
Subject: Wonderful walking tour! I learned so much! A few resources for the next time!
Hi Jim, Lynne and Cal,
Thanks so much for such a wonderful walking tour! I really learned a lot despite having lived in the area since 1977.
I hope you do it again. I'm a big fan of Jim's tours, and I hope to be able to continue going on the famous October tours organizing for ESC folks.
Should you do the WSURA tour again, here are a few resources.
Hope to see you soon.
For "air rights" (technically known as development rights), see the glossary for NYC zoning (look under development rightss): http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/
See the "transfer of development rights" see this link from wikipedia (especially example in next to last paragraph of this section)
Upper West Side Urban Renewal Area
I tried to find the history I believe I once read of the early days of the WSURA plan, but couldn't. Here's what I came up with:
Upper West Side Urban Renewal Area (has map of preliminary plan in 1959):
After the initial resistence from the Strycker's Bay Neighborhood Council and several changes to the plan, the urban renewal project started. The first rounds of demolition and construction occurred in the 1960s. By 1970, there were still many buildings that had not yet been demolished, so there was a second round of resistence: "Operation Move-in," summarized to some degree in the article noted below from the journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies. Should you want to know more about the squatting, and to some degree the history of the struggle against the urban renewal area, you can speak with Tom Gogan, who is cited several times in the article. He is currently going through the papers of Bill Price,which are now at the Tamiment Library at NYU; Bill was very involved in Operation Move-In as a squatter and then in the struggles of the late 1970s and 1980s. He continued to live in one of the squatter buildings on West 87 Street until he moved to Goddard Riverside senior housing. He passed away several years ago. (I can give you the contact for Tom Gogan). After all urban renewal plans were stopped because of the federal moratorium in 1973, the ones in progress started up again in 1977. Operation Move-In was the reason there were so many occupied buildings in 1977 which had originally been slated for demolition. I moved into the neighborhood in 1977. A neighborhood on my floor (who was also a friend) was working as an organizer for Strycker's Bay and recruited me and other folks to form a technical advisory committee to work with the newly movilized neighborhood residents to save as many buildings as possible and assure that they would be preserved for low and moderate income residents.
The Struggle against “Urban Renewal” in Manhattan’s Upper West Side and the Emergence of El Comité, by Rose Muzio
CENTRO Journal, Volume xx1 Number 2 fall 2009 (Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College). See especially pp. 118-128.http://centropr.hunter.cuny.
edu/sites/default/files/ Journal/2007-2010/Vol_21_2_ 2009_fall/7_Muzio_pg108-141.
One of the outcomes of Operation Move-In, was the struggle around Site 30 (Columbus between 90-91). Squatters were persuaded to vacate the buildings because they had been assured that 160 public housing units would be built on that site. Trinity School and a group of brownstoners (Committee of Neighbors to Insure a Normal [sic] Urban Environment) sued mostly on the grounds of the presumed "tipping point" (too many low-income people would tip the neighborhood negatively). They eventually lost after 10 years, but by then the funds appropriated were insufficient to build. Also HUD had determined that housing for families should be no more than three stories high. In the end, most of the site is market rate, with some 12 units of family housing (on 90th st.) and a building for seniors (the building on 91 St. where McDonald's used to be and now is an urgent care clinic). This article by Harold McDougall, an African American lawyer who used to live in the neighborhood before moving to DC to teach at Howard, lays out the case (see pp. 181-193).http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/
cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=It also provideds a brief summary of the changes that Strycker's Bay Neighborhood Council was able to get made to the plan (e.g., the commitment of low-income housing went from 400 to 2,500). 1176&context=ulj
Kelley Williams, then executive director of what was left of Strycker's Bay Neighborhood Council, gave a walking tour of the WSURA in 2011:https://www.facebook.com/
events/208109365875248/(she was a teenager back in the late 1970s when I first met her!). Also:http://www.dnainfo.com/new- york/20110506/upper-west-side/ advocate-leads-tour-of- 50yearold-urban-renewal-fight