Bloomberg’s Legacy: The Construction Boom of NYC

Freedom Tower; Courtesy of Flickr User Arturo Yee; Licensed via Creative Commons

Mayor ’s twelve years in office will leave an undeniable impression on the physical landscape of the city for future generations.  The new and revised policies of this administration have encouraged unprecedented growth of and its outer boroughs in the years following 9/11.  According to a new series called The Bloomberg Years by WNYC, and this article by Matthew Schuerman, Bloomberg’s three consecutive terms have made New York City taller, more attractive and, in turn, more expensive.

One of the mayor’s major motivations for running aggressive policies that promote growth came from a need to sustain the city’s fiscal health during the shaky times that followed 9/11. Aside from the major work that has been done by the Port Authority at the World Trade Center site, the city has boomed with new building reaching new heights, covering revitalized neighborhoods throughout all five boroughs. During the past twelve years, 7 of the 20 tallest buildings in New York City were built under Bloomberg.

Manhattan West; Courtesy of Brookfield Development

Rezoning permitted the construction of taller buildings and allowed for residential and commercial developments to overtake former manufacturing districts no longer in use.  The rising heights and escalated growth of condominiums, luxury apartments, and affordable housing can be attributed to this massive rezoning of nearly 40% of the city’s land mass.  Since the early 2000s, construction and development of new high-rise housing has been unceasing.

Hudson Yards; Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse

Manhattan’s West Side is going through a complete makeover as the rezoning of  Midtown West has encouraged two major projects, currently underway: Manhattan West and Hudson Yards; both promise new residential and commercial opportunities. Now, Midtown East is going through its own stages of rezoning and redevelopment.  For years, Frank Gehry’s New York (a.k.a the Beekman Tower and 8 Spruce Street) was the tallest residential building. Soon, One57 will surpass it, at 1,005 feet, by the end of 2013.  Shortly after, in 2015, 432 Park Ave will take the crown at 1,398 feet.

Atlantic Yards; Courtesy of SHoP Architects

In addition, North Brooklyn has gone through a series of transformations of its own.  Downtown Brooklyn has been redeveloped with condos rising along Flatbush Ave near the Manhattan Bridge and Metrotech BID, the city’s third largest business district.  The old manufacturing blocks of Williamsburg along Kent Ave have been transformed into towering condos, like The Edge, with views of the New York City skyline just across the East River.  Atlantic Yards, which encompasses Barclay’s Center, is part of a large rezoning project that promised additional housing and commercial venues that is still being settled to comply with community demands.

Hunter’s Point South Housing Development © nycmayorsoffice

Meanwhile, Long Island City, Queens – a neighborhood largely marked by old manufacturing buildings, factories and relics of industry turned sculpture (like the gantry at Gantry Plaza State Park) – has transformed into a series of condos and plazas rising along the banks of the East River.

With all this construction, the city has added housing units for an additional 310,000 people.  Despite this greater supply of housing, prices continue to soar with New York City more expensive than ever.  This may be attributed to Bloomberg’s social policies, which has increased the city’s attraction to millennials.  This includes the mayor’s stance on public health, which have been played out through a number of sustainable construction policies, the development of bicycle infrastructure the realization of the Highline.

It is undeniable that the next several year, mayors will be running a city shaped by the past twelve years of policy developed by Mayor Bloomberg.

via WNYC: New York, the Vertical City, Kept Rising Under Bloomberg by Matthew Schuerman

Cite: Vinnitskaya, Irina. "Bloomberg’s Legacy: The Construction Boom of NYC" 27 Jul 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <>