By Amy Holodak
At the beginning of his term in 2014, Mayor de Blasio released his ten-year housing plan, “Housing New York,” to the public. Through the construction of mixed-use and mixed-income development, housing preservation, and neighborhood revitalization, the stated goal was to create or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing city-wide by 2025. In order to create the space necessary to reach this goal, over a dozen neighborhoods, including Hunters Point, Hamilton Heights, and Cypress Hills, have been identified as sites for major rezoning efforts (Housing New York, p. 30). Significant community investments, including an earmarked $1 billion, will be dispersed throughout these communities to help facilitate new projects (Navarro). East Harlem, along with Jerome Avenue in the Bronx, West Flushing in Queens, and East New York in Brooklyn, have been prioritized for the first round of rezoning.
Two years after the introduction of the Mayor’s housing plan, the East Harlem community stands on the cusp of major economic, developmental, and social changes. City planners have already begun surveying and identifying streets and avenues fit for rezoning. Phase Two of the Second Avenue subway line will begin construction within the next few years, with Phase One opening on January 1, 2017. El Barrio is evolving to keep pace with the development and population growth impacting all five boroughs.