The North End/Waterfront often has to defend existing zoning regulations, including the 55 foot height limit that has long-established the character of the neighborhood’s structures. Roger Cohen makes the point in an articulate NY Times Op-Ed piece, explaining how zoning laws have protected one NYC neighborhood.
“New York is worldly but fiercely local. Another borough is as remote as another country. … Not so long ago, my office was moved a couple of blocks, … It proved to be a change of worlds.”
“The new premises, as I’ve gradually learned, placed us just within the garment district, an area where zoning laws have protected apparel manufacturing space and so held off the developers who would otherwise have turned clothes factories into condos and created yet another gentrified district bereft of seediness, tawdriness, community and that strange high-low alchemy essential to any great city’s mystery and charge.”
“I’ve come to love the dull, solid mid-rise brick buildings of the garment district, a universe away from the high-rise glass-and-neon of that other country two blocks away where Planet Hollywood and M&M’s World strut their stuff.”
“The pleasure, I think, comes from the sense of something still purposeful and authentic, woven by the years … The area still has pungency. It has not surrendered to the great anaesthetizing march of modernity. It has not chased its working class to faraway suburbs. It has not become a hollow movie-set version of an authentic place.”
“… I’m grateful for my New York journeys and for the zoning laws that make them possible. … The fight for the genuine in the world’s great cities is also a fight for jobs, workers and creativity.”