New York's Post-Bubble Future

The economic downturn and burst of the real estate bubble have thrown a wrench into New York City's broad plans for redevelopment and environmental redesign. This piece looks at what lies ahead for the city.
March 19, 2009, 7am PDT | Nate Berg
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"All of Bloomberg's mega-projects are now indefinitely delayed, victims, in part, of the credit crunch and the mounting municipal deficit. Even if he's elected to a third term, the mayor probably won't ever realize his grand vision for New York. And yet his legacy is already visible on the city's landscape. It is less sweeping, perhaps, but no less significant: he empowered the private sector to remake the city bit by bit."

"You don't have to be an architect or an urban planner to recognize how much the city was transformed along the way. Walk around most neighborhoods in Manhattan and many neighborhoods in the outer boroughs, and you will be confronted with new construction, whether the steel-and-glass condominium complexes that tower above the old factories and warehouses on the rezoned waterfront of Greenpoint and Williamsburg; the 43-story headquarters for Goldman Sachs that recently sprouted in Lower Manhattan (thanks, in part, to a generous financial incentive from the city); or the two virgin ballparks where the Yankees and Mets will soon open their 2009 seasons (with the help of big municipal tax breaks and an enormous infrastructure investment in the stadium's respective neighborhoods)."

"Since November, some $5 billion worth of development has been delayed or canceled. New York is again a city of abandoned lots, half-finished buildings and free-floating anxiety."

"The downturn will give New York a chance to pause and reflect on this period of hyperactive development, and to think about what sort of buildings it needs in the future."

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Published on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 in The New York Times
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