Some unusual looks from Fashion Week
PHOTOS BY MILO HESS
Some designs at Fashion Week turned the tables by turning the lens back at the audience. Hollaback girls are so yesterday. “Oculaback” girls
are where it’s at, left. A model had a leg up on the situation, right. Hey, these might just be some designers worth keeping an eye on!
Housing and classrooms vs. Noho zoning gridlock
BY ERIC KOBER
If New York City is to mitigate its
housing shortage, local land-use
regulation needs to take advantage
of the early 20th-century investment in
subway transit, by allowing new housing
at high densities in transit-rich areas.
Simultaneously, the city needs to
support the expansion of its highereducation
institutions to ensure that its
future labor force is equipped with the
skills and education required to maintain
the city’s position at the center
of one of the nation’s most productive
The Noho neighborhood in Manhattan
is a striking example of a failure to
update land-use policy in furtherance of
these priorities. The location is one of
the best for transit in Manhattan, with
four subway lines (B, D, F and M) serving
the Broadway-Lafayette station on
Houston St., another subway line (the
6) serving the connected Bleecker St.
station and the Astor Place station on
Lafayette St., and the R and W serving
the Eighth St. station on Broadway.
The neighborhood bustles with pedestrians
heading to or from home,
school or work.
Noho is a primarily residential neighborhood
but not a dense one.
Massive developments like 181 Mercer St., currently being constructed,
above, have stayed west of Broadway due to “zoning gridlock,” the
A second interesting aspect of Noho
is that New York University largely
stays west of Broadway. This major university
has a limited presence in Noho,
though it would seem an ideal area for
the university to expand while limiting
confl icts with the dense residential
neighborhoods of Greenwich Village
and the East Village / Lower East Side.
The area’s peculiar zoning, combined
with historic district controls, effectively
keeps out many of the land uses that
would, on economic rationales alone,
wish to locate there, and creates incentives
for other uses.
On the whole, the zoning keeps Noho
underdeveloped relative to the theoretical
zoning it has, and the transit infrastructure
that makes it so accessible.
More sensible zoning would lead to investments
that would benefi t both the
neighborhood and the city as a whole.
Noho contains several individual city
landmarks and is almost entirely within
three historic districts. Noho’s architectural
heritage is an important asset to
the neighborhood and for the city as
a whole. But this heritage need not be
an impediment to the redevelopment
of sites that do not contribute to the
neighborhood’s historic character.
Kober is a retired New York City planner
and currently a visiting scholar at
New York University’s Wagner School
of Public Service. He was a senior research
scholar at the Wagner School’s
Rudin Center for Transportation Policy
and Management from January through
August 2018. From 1986 to 2017, he
was director of housing, economic and
infrastructure planning at the New York
City Department of City Planning. The
above piece is a report Kober wrote last
year that has been posted on the Rudin
Center’s Web site.
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