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New York's Construction Boom Isn't About Manhattan Skyscrapers

By Amy Zimmer | January 31, 2017 7:20am
 New construction is rampant on Bushwick's sidestreets. 
New construction is rampant on Bushwick's sidestreets. 
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DNAinfo/Meredith Hoffman

When New Yorkers look at how our skyline is changing, we tend to look up at the cranes dotting Downtown Brooklyn or Manhattan’s far West Side.

But the city's growth is not merely a vertical one.

In creating DNAinfo’s 3-D map of proposed and approved construction — highlighting new buildings that have been approved by the city — we found many neighborhoods with a critical mass of new building permits for one- to four-story buildings.

Some of the busiest areas for construction were low-lying waterfront neighborhoods affected in Queens and Staten Island by Hurricane Sandy or booming neighborhoods such as Bushwick, Williamsburg and Long Island City.


A look at approved construction in Bushwick. Click to see to the full interactive.

Borough Park and Flushing were also construction hubs, according to Department of Buildings permits filed over the past two years.

The No. 1 area for new buildings permits was the 11697 ZIP code — which includes Breezy Point, Rockaway Point and Roxbury — led the boroughs with nearly 150 permits, according to city data.

The area was hit hard by Sandy in 2012, and new construction, repairs or elevation work is still ongoing, especially as the city's Build It Back program has recently sped up its work.


A look at approved construction in Rockaway Beach. Click to see to the full interactive.

Four areas along Staten Island’s waterfront were also among the top ten, including the 10306 area (which includes New Dorp and Midland Beach), the 10312 zip code (which includes Annandale and Eltingville), the 10304 (which includes Dongan Hills and areas just south of St. George), and the 10314 area (which includes areas like Bulls Head and along the waterfront just south of the Goethals Bridge).  Many permits in these areas were likely for one-to-three family homes.

The 11221 zip code, covering parts of Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant, which ranked No. 3 for permits, with more than 120, saw the bulk of its new construction in buildings with four stories.  There were more than 70 permits filed for such buildings — compared to just 15 permits issued for six-story buildings.

In the 11101 zip code, including Long Island City and Sunnyside, which had about 100 permits for new buildings, there was a much larger spread when it came to building height.  While 44 permits were for buildings 4 stories tall and under, nearly 60 others were for taller buildings, up to 54 stories tall.


A look at approved construction in Long Island City. Click to see to the full interactive.

Another ZIP code with a high number of permits was the 11206, which spans parts of Williamsburg, Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant — and includes development around the Broadway Triangle area. Borough Park’s 11219 zip code was in the top 10 as was Flushing’s 11355.

While these areas had the most permits filed, many of the buildings were small scale. As a result, the construction in many of these neighborhoods would result in far less volume in terms of new space than other parts of the city, where skyscrapers are rising.

For example, Midtown’s 10019 ZIP code had just eight permits granted, but it included towers with 98 stories, 71 stories and 62 stories.


A look at approved construction on the Far West Side. Click to see to the full interactive.

The Far West Side’s 10001 ZIP code had 21 permits, but more than half of them were between 24 and 90 stories high.