View Full Version : Sherman Creek Seeks a Waterfront View

September 13th, 2003, 07:58 PM
September 14, 2003


A Neighborhood on the River Seeks a Waterfront View


Urban it is. Urban planning, it is not.

The dozen or so blocks just north of Sherman Creek on the Harlem River are a mishmash. Between a Con Edison substation and a city tow pound, a street vendor sells mangoes and sugar cane juice. Churches stand next to auto repair shops near a popular nightclub. The waterfront is closed to the public.

A nonprofit group that has long wanted to impose some order on the area, which lies just east of the overcrowded, largely Dominican neighborhood of Inwood, has completed an urban design plan to do just that. The plan, designed for the Audubon Partnership for Economic Development by Warren Antonio James, an architect, seeks to open the waterfront and build housing.

"It's a new neighborhood," said Walther Delgado, the group's executive director. "We have a great need for home ownership and affordable housing."

The Sherman Creek approach is different from typical urban planning imposed by outside authorities, Mr. James said. It is a Hispanic-designed plan (he is Puerto Rican) done for a Hispanic organization within a Hispanic neighborhood. The project's direction comes in part from meetings with local residents who, for example, did not want apartment towers.

On a recent tour of the Sherman Creek area, Mr. James pointed out the fences and gates that block the waterfront, including one spot where a man ducked through an opening in the fence with fishing tackle. The plan envisions a riverfront road and six- to eight-story garden apartments, along with stores.

Other groups are also working in the area. Just to the south, the New York Restoration Project is building a boathouse and runs boat-building workshops. And the United States Army Corps of Engineers is planning to clean the creek.

The city is interested. An interagency task force established in April is creating its own plan for the area.

"It is an opportunity coincident with two of the main themes of our office: waterfront and housing," said Nicole Poindexter, senior policy adviser to Daniel Doctoroff, the deputy mayor who leads the task force. They have met with Audubon, and recommendations should be ready by next spring.

But plenty of obstacles stand in the way of the Audubon plan. Con Edison owns much of the land, including areas it leases out, and "at this time we have no plans to sell any property," said Joseph Petta, a utility spokesman. Other property owners would also have to acquiesce.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

September 13th, 2003, 08:03 PM

September 14th, 2003, 05:06 PM
2 story buildings???

July 16th, 2006, 02:45 AM
July 16, 2006
For a Patient Backwater, a Plan for Revival

Someone has sawed a man-size hole into the tin sheet separating 204th Street from the Harlem River, and strung Christmas lights around the opening. It is a fitting act of do-it-yourself urban design for Sherman Creek, a desolate neighborhood that has never had much of the city-sponsored kind.

Despite decades of debate, New York’s planners have never managed to inspire much development among the parking lots, trash-strewn streets and one-story warehouses of the area, a 100-acre waterfront neighborhood where riverside streets are often capped with sheets of corrugated tin. Sherman Creek is among Manhattan’s largest remaining tracts of land with little housing or commerce.

But many people see potential. “This is great land because it’s beside the river,” said Emiliano Romero, a stocky man with a gleaming shaved head, who was selling fruit milkshakes and sugar-cane juice at Ninth Avenue and 202nd Street, between a tow pound and a small Consolidated Edison station. “You build housing here, you can charge a bundle.”

The Department of City Planning agrees. It proposed last month to rezone much of Sherman Creek, allowing residential building in waterfront plots now zoned for manufacturing, and increasing the permitted bulk of residential buildings in eastern Inwood. In addition, the Department of Parks and Recreation is filling the waterfront street-ends with five small parks, which will include a kayak launch, a barbecue space, fishing perches and game tables. The project has just won the agency a design award from the Municipal Art Society.

The rezoning would allow developers to construct bulkier buildings in return for agreeing to charge affordable rents on 20 percent of their apartments. But some neighbors have objected, saying the plan should call for 30 percent affordable housing, as did last year’s rezoning of Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

“It’s a plan that expedites gentrification,” said Martin Collins, the chairman of Community Board 12, which covers the area that includes Sherman Creek.

But Neill Coleman, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, said that city-owned land had been available for building in Greenpoint, while the Sherman Creek plan involved coaxing developers into including affordable housing in their buildings.

Word of the plan has spread. Amid the tangle of trash at the end of 207th Street, a shirtless man sat on a milk crate, surrounded by shopping carts. “There’s going to be a walkway down to the waterfront,” he said cheerfully. “It’s been in the blueprints for a long time. I’m holding it down until they come.”

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

July 16th, 2006, 08:39 AM
“There’s going to be a walkway down to the waterfront,” he said cheerfully. “It’s been in the blueprints for a long time. I’m holding it down until they come.”
Waiting for Godot.

November 2nd, 2006, 12:17 PM
November 2006

Massive Inwood parcel set for high-rise, waterfront housing

By Adam Meagher

New high-rise buildings could give sweeping views of Inwood. Perched on the far northern tip of Manhattan, Inwood has a reputation as a place where bald eagles and young couples alike come to nest -- the eagles in Inwood Hill Park, the couples in the neighborhood's abundant stock of spacious one- and two-bedroom co-op apartments.

This ecosystem may soon be altered, however, by a proposed rezoning that would allow mixed-use, mid- and high-rise residential development along the neighborhood's long-neglected Harlem River waterfront. Sherman Creek, as the area is known, is a sparsely populated area of one-story warehouses, parking lots and Con Edison substations. It is among Manhattan's largest remaining tracts of land with little housing or commerce.

The city's plans involve more than the land east of 10th Avenue, which is still zoned mostly for manufacturing despite the lack of such activity. The rezoning also includes the area encompassed by Dyckman Street, Broadway and West 207th Street, the so-called "Commercial U." This area is already zoned for residential and commercial activity, but the changes proposed by the Department of City Planning would double the allowed density along these corridors.

Along the waterfront, development rights attached to city-owned property -- much of it partially underwater -- would be transferred to developers, who would then be permitted to build towers up to 21 stories high. In return, they would fund the construction of a public waterfront park that could connect with Swindler's Cove and High Bridge Park to the south.

Kelly Cole, a Corcoran Group vice president who specializes in Upper Manhattan, says that such a substantial influx of new residential development could transform Inwood.

"You throw all this waterfront development on the table," she said, "and buyers say, 'Wow -- I better get into the market now because if I don't, I'm going to be priced out of even Inwood.'

Public review of the rezoning proposal under the city's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) won't begin until next year, however. City Planning hopes to see the new regulations enacted by the end of 2007, according to press secretary Rachaele Raynoff. In the meantime, the Parks Department is about to begin construction of five street-end waterfront parks in Sherman Creek.

The parks, which will include a boat launch and fishing perches, are intended to encourage active use of the waterfront. The street ends are now blocked off with sheets of corrugated tin, preventing access to the river. The project recently won an award for design excellence from the New York City Art Commission.

Raynoff describes the parks as a way to seed revitalization of Sherman Creek before the legal framework for redevelopment is in place. "These are early action items," she says. "It's something that can be done now."

One potential point of contention is affordable housing. As was the case with the recent Greenpoint-Williamsburg rezoning, a proposed inclusionary zoning provision would offer developers a 33 percent floor-area bonus if at least 20 percent of units meet the city's standards for affordability. Alternatively, developers could build affordable units off-site within a half-mile of their development as long as the units remain within Community District 12, which also includes Washington Heights.

As such details have emerged, some residents have voiced concerns that 20 percent is far short of meeting the neighborhood's need for affordable housing. (Representatives of Community Board 12 did not return calls for comment.) Inwood's median household income, at just over $21,000, lags far behind the citywide median of $38,293, and chronic overcrowding is a problem.

Raynoff notes that the size of the affordable component has yet to be finalized. "But the idea," she says, "is that you don't want this aid to have a chilling effect on housing production altogether."

Meanwhile, Inwood's sizeable Dominican community, concentrated east of Broadway, has awakened to a window of opportunity that may be closing as word of waterfront development spreads, says broker Lisbeth Ramirez of Fenwick Keats Goodstein.

"People are getting scared -- they know that at some point those rent-stabilized apartments aren't going to be there anymore," says Ramirez. "Citibank is a big influence in the community, and they run seminars on buying a home. Trucks pull up on weekends and give out information on home loans. Everybody knows that it's coming."

Gus Perry, whose firm Stein-Perry Real Estate has roots in the area, believes that the new development won't please everyone. "Once it's approved and the cat is out of the bag, you'll have a lot of interest and a lot of protests, too," he says.

But Perry's concern is that the area could find itself with too much inventory in a cooling market. "In Brooklyn and parts of Manhattan, there were a lot of condos built in the last three to five years," he says. "A slight correction like we've had this year is no big deal; you can weather that. But if you have a huge glut of condos, it becomes a bigger problem."

Still, Perry agrees, it's hard to see how any Manhattan waterfront development, combined with a wealth of parks, improving local schools, and expanded retail options, could possibly fail.

"With condos, plus a more upscale element peppered in among the shops that have been here for a while, you just broaden the range of possible buyers," says Cole of Corcoran. "I don't think there's a downside. You're never going to turn this into Tribeca."

Copyright 2003-2005 The Real Deal.

August 12th, 2010, 07:13 AM
Proposed Sherman Creek Revamp Taking Shape

By Carla Zanoni

The proposed revitalization of a stretch of industrial waterfront in Inwood moved one step closer to becoming a reality.

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INWOOD — The renovation of seven blocks of Inwood waterfront came one step closer to becoming a reality last week when the New York City Economic Development Corporation unveiled its preliminary design (http://www.nycedc.com/ProjectsOpportunities/CurrentProjects/Manhattan/ShermanCreekNeighborhoodPlan/Documents/SHCR_FINAL_AdvCttee_No1_Presentation_08052010.pdf) for the Sherman Creek Esplanade along the Harlem River.

If the project ultimately receives funding from the city, the renovation (http://www.nycedc.com/ProjectsOpportunities/CurrentProjects/Manhattan/shermancreekneighborhoodplan/Pages/ShermanCreekNeighborhoodPlan.aspx) would transform one of the last industrial stretches of Manhattan’s shoreline.

Among the improvements proposed are a boathouse, a fishing pier, a playground, basketball courts and facilities for outdoor performances. The final cost of the project will depend upon which amenities are chosen.

Though the NYCEDC has ideas of its own, the purpose of last week's meeting was to solicit ideas and feedback from community residents.

"Participants were generally excited about the presentation," NYCEDC spokesperson Kyle Sklerov said, explaining that many of the event's 50 attendees expressed interest in recreation for people of all ages and waterfront access.

The meeting was the latest of several held with the community and elected officials after the city dropped a more ambitious plan (http://dnainfo.com/20100419/washington-heights-inwood/city-wants-revamp-inwoods-sherman-creek-waterfront#ixzz0wDxTXGHK) to rezone Sherman Creek earlier this year.

The next step in the design process will be a presentation made by the NYCEDC to local Community Board 12 in the fall.


February 7th, 2011, 07:32 PM
New Plan Unveiled for Inwood's Harlem River Shoreline

The NYC Economic Development Corporation unveiled its Sherman Creek Waterfront Esplanade plan.

By Carla Zanoni

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Sherman Creek path added in 2008.

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"Pocket park" created in 2008 at 204th Street.

INWOOD — Nearly one year after resurrecting talks about the fate of Inwood’s Harlem River shoreline, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) unveiled its draft of a plan for Sherman Creek to community residents at a community board meeting last week.

The Sherman Creek Waterfront Esplanade Master Plan (http://www.nycedc.com/ProjectsOpportunities/CurrentProjects/Manhattan/ShermanCreekNeighborhoodPlan/Pages/ShermanCreekNeighborhoodPlan.aspx), which sketches the NYCEDC’s "preferred design direction" for Sherman Creek from Dyckman to 207th streets, includes a waterfront esplanade, water access points, play space and a nature preserve, according to a presentation by the NYCEDC to Community Board 12 on Feb. 1.

The design incorporates suggestions made by community members during a study of the area performed in 2004 as well as a volunteer community advisory committee’s work with landscape and urban planning consultants over the past year.

Although many residents said they were excited by the possibility of a continued overhaul of the shoreline, questions about funding sources and unresolved issues between the city and the area’s largest real estate holder, Con Edison, could mean a redevelopment of this scale may still be years away.

"We’ve been hearing about this for years, but the reality is who knows when the city will be able to pay for something like this," said Connie Peralta, 47, who has lived in Inwood since the mid-1990s.

Despite the question of the feasability of future plans, some changes have already been implemented by the NYEDC and Parks department since the initial study of Sherman Creek.

The Sherman Creek Inlet was cleaned up by both groups in a joint effort with the New York Restoration Project, an environmental parks group, as well as the creation of a nearby pedestrian trail next to local elementary school P.S. 5.

Five "pocket parks" on West 202nd, 203rd, 204th, 205th, and 206th streets along the Harlem River were also added in 2008.

Despite these steps, the NYCEDC describes the Sherman Creek project as still in its infancy and said it plans to hold another community meeting in March in order to keep a dialogue going before a final plan is released.


July 16th, 2011, 12:48 AM
Final Proposal Unveiled for Sherman Creek Waterfront

By Carla Zanoni




INWOOD — A final proposal for the renovation of Sherman Creek (http://www.dnainfo.com/places/sherman-creek) was unveiled at a community forum steps away from the underused and blighted inlet Wednesday night.
The ambitious $83 million plan created by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) over the past two years would seek to reinvent the stretch of the Harlem River between Dyckman and 208th Street.

The plan looks to create four connected areas, including a boardwalk, pebble beach, a walkway over the river and a cove for public waterside use.

"Having worked together with the local community on this plan for the past two years, we're excited to release the completed Sherman Creek Waterfront Esplanade Master Plan," said NYCEDC spokesman Kyle Sklerov, adding that the plan complements the city's WAVES 2020 (http://www.nyc.gov/html/waves/html/plan/plan.shtml) plan, which aims to increase waterfront access through the five boroughs.

Although the city has already created several “pocket parks” along the waterfront, members of the community have clamored for more waterfront public use and recreation space in the heavily-industrial area.

“Our entire community is excited to see more green space, especially when it takes advantage of our little used waterfront,” said City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez.

If the project ultimately receives funding from the city, the renovation would transform one of the last industrial stretches of Manhattan’s shoreline.

But for the approximately 70 people who said they were impressed with the plan and renderings during the Wednesday presentation, many were skeptical that the plan would become a reality.

“Nobody has any money,” said Ralph Moreno, an Inwood resident of 42 years. “I really like the plan and the idea of changing his part of the neighborhood for the better, but I think any significant change is still years and years away.”

Kerry Morgan of Washington Heights agreed.

“This is a largely industrial area with a lot of powerful groups who stand to lose out,” she said, referring to land owners like Con Edison and the MTA who operate close to the waterfront.

Obed Fulcar, director of environmental education for the volunteer group Friends of Sherman Creek, echoed the sentiment, asking for the utility and authority to become engaged in talks with the community about the potential transformation of the waterfront.

“They have a corporate responsibility to this community to allow access to the public,” he said.

Representatives from the NYCEDC said they have been in talks with ConEd and the MTA since the plan was first broached, but no decisions have yet been made.

Local politicians, who stressed that the work to get the project off the ground is just beginning, agreed talks with key stakeholders would need to be further broached as would discussions about funding.

“This is just the beginning of rescuing this entire community,” said Assemblyman Guillermo Linares. “This needs to be a project that reflects the needs of Inwood, which has been neglected for so many years.”

And for that, they now look to the city for support.

“Unfortunately, as beautiful as these plans are, this project still needs funding to see completion,” Rodriguez said. “Since the Mayor spent so much energy promoting his Vision 2020 plan for the city's waterfront, I hope he will spend an equal amount of money putting this plan into action.”


October 7th, 2011, 09:02 PM
Plan to Fix Stretch of Sherman Creek Moves Forward

By Carla Zanoni





INWOOD — Sherman Creek is one step closer to becoming the shining jewel of the Harlem River that community officials have been calling for over the past decade.

After receiving close to $1 million from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to clean up and restore the Harlem River waterfront at Sherman Creek, the New York Restoration Project (NYRP) has won the support of local Community Board 12 for the plan.

The restoration plan, which is broken into two phases, would clean up the ramshackle and overgrown site that sits to the north of NYRP’s Swindler’s Cove along Sherman Creek, at the easternmost edge of Dyckman Street. The site fell into decay years ago when a 2009 fire burned down the boathouses that once played host to Irish fishermen along the Harlem River inlet.

The first phase of the clean up would be completed by the end of 2013 and would seek to shore up the waterfront, add vehicle access and restore and maintain a launch for non-motorized boats, according to Community Board 12’s resolution.

The second phase of the project, which is not yet funded, would expand kayak and canoe storage for up to 24 crafts in two 30-foot-by-10-foot storage containers on the site.

Community Board 12 voted in favor of a resolution supporting both phases of the plan during its general meeting last week calling for the "unsound and hazardous" site to be made "publicly accessible and restore it to community use."

Although some community members had said at CB12's Parks and Cultural Affairs committee meeting on Sept. 6 that a redesign of the space might make the space "attractive as a hang out for negative use," the board argued a clean up could "address safety issues" at the site.

The next step is for the city’s Public Design Commission to green light the preliminary plan, before construction can begin.
Calls for comment to the Commission were not immediately returned.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation recently unveiled a separate plan for the complete renovation of Sherman Creek over the summer.
That ambitious $83 million plan would seek to reinvent the stretch of the Harlem River between Dyckman and 208th Street, which includes the space to be rehabbed by NYRP.