With the opening of the new Harlem Piers just west of 12th Ave., Manhattanville is receiving lots of attention these days. Be it Fairway, Dinosaur BBQ, Talay or the Hudson River Cafe, it is now clear that this area is becoming a go-to destination Uptown. In this post, I'll peel back some of the layers regarding the development there, both in terms of what's currently happening as well as the future of this controversial yet vital area.
Beneath the Aquaduct, from the south end looking north.
Here's a shot of the North end space now occupied by Talay and Body circa 2003,
As it is today.
For a long time this area has slid further and further into decrepitude...
but since the announcement of Columbia's expansionist agenda,
the landgrab has commenced. Long time small business owners have been bought out and those that resist will most likely be forced out. Neighborhood institutions such as Fairway,
and the relocated Cotton Club, stand to gain as they are just outside of the area of Columbia's two stage annexation.
As a way of bolstering their claim of Community improvement, Columbia is engaging in a huge environmental assessment and remediation effort. Everything from ground water to air quality will be sampled, analyzed and hopefully corrected.
Needless to say that after almost 6 decades of industrial use, the land underneath this area has major oil, gasoline, benzene and other contamination (such as lead from paint and leaded gasoline).
One of the worst contributors is the Manhattanville Bus Depot (sorry City, you also are getting forced out in Phase 2).
Here's a shot of the Doll House Factory--one of the more controversial losers in this plan.
And the Eritrean Society, Floridita,
and one of the few gas stations in the hood.
Clearly this is still a hugely controversial issue. But I like the changes I see so far. The remaining top 5 concern include:
1) Environmental Remediation of the current site
2) Compensation and fair treatment of existing small businesses
3) Disaster management for the new Science labs
4) Holding Columbia to their pledge of 1000 afforable housing units
5) Ensuring that Community relations stay positive and mutually beneficial by conserving the history and relevant architectural elements of this area.
It is my hope that no one ends up marginalized by this process.