Do you like the modern towers of the Upper East Side?
How about a nice gigantic Upper West Side prewar apartment building like the Ansonia?
Or the brownstones of Park Slope?
Or is all that too dense and urban for you? Maybe you'd prefer the lovely Victorians of Irvington, NY?
Gorgeous places to live! Of course, you and I are not the only ones who think so. These are some of the most desirable locations in the country. There are millions of people who would love to live in places like these.
So why don't we build more?
Why not buy up a block of crappy 1960s Stately Homes in Woodside and replicate the Ansonia? Or raze some raised ranches in Massapequa and build a block of brownstones? Build a new Victorian main street leading down to the Croton station, where now there are strip malls?
It turns out that there are some attempts to do this. Andres Duany is involved in a project in Jersey City that looks pretty cool. If you know of any others in the New York area, please let me know!
Unfortunately, those projects are a drop in the bucket. Zoning rules across the region make it next to impossible to build big modern towers on the Upper West Side, or a new Ansonia in Park Slope, or a block of brownstones in Irvington, or a new Irvington in Scarborough. The Municipal Art Society's recently released zoning envelope map confirms that the massive downzoning conducted across the city by Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Burden reinforced this prohibition. And people wonder why rents keep going up...