Halted Development

Wednesday, July 15, 2009 - 08:00 AM

Drastic changes in the economy have ground many developers' plans to a halt in the New York City metro region. We're tracking cranes on pause as the latest chapter of our project, Your Uncommon Economics Indicators. Help us map and photograph the empty condos, half-baked luxury high rises and stalled construction projects.

Add another site you know about or view Halted Development in a larger map.

Is there a development near you that never got finished, or never sold? Who is living there, if anyone? Please use the link to our form and tell us what you know about the site. If you do have a question, email us at


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Comments [30]


Let not forget about the 2 sites both on 6th street and 4th ave. Something really needs too be done down there. How about lets start a community garden until the owner figures out what he is doing take down the walls and put up a wired fence.That site is a site for sore eyes and also dangerous u can't see if someone is hiding on the other side. We need to think about safety also on 4th ave & 6th street where the walls are.

Oct. 09 2009 11:02 PM
WNYC - WNYC News Blog » Council District 3:

[...] Halted Development Map: Help pin-point more! Tags: City Council Race, Vote 2009 | No comments | Posted in Politics [...]

Sep. 08 2009 12:01 PM

101 West 87th Street in Manhattan has been in some sort of weird emptiness/unfinished interior construction for several years now. Don't know what gives but it is a pity with so many families and singles in need of housing in the City. Does the City give a time limit to buildings under renovation?

Aug. 28 2009 12:03 PM
Diane Williams

Here in Westchester County, there are two locations in Mamaroneck that have been empty for five years. They are located on the Boston Post Road across from Harbor Island. in between those two empty lots is a Gulf gas station. Please check this out.

Aug. 27 2009 06:51 PM
Johnny Lee

there are these 2 supposed affordable housing projects in my neighborhood in Red Hook. One on Coffey St and the other on Wolcott St. They have appeared to have been finished about 2 years and they now sit idle. There are signs on them now that say that they are selling units at market price. The real estate people say that the places will not be inhabited until the market prices are sold.. A fat chance someone is gonna pay 4-500K for a place when most of the building is getting them for 50K. Another government run slow boat to nowhere

Aug. 27 2009 04:07 PM
Brian Lehrer Projects

Thanks for your data. We are in the process of getting all our new submissions up on the map. Please bear with us!

Aug. 25 2009 06:12 PM

Has this map been updated in a while? A few weeks ago I submitted a couple of sites in Harlem that have not made it onto the map. As someone above commented, there is no "Edit" button, contrary to what the instructions say. So I submitted my suggestions following the link that says "Add another site". Since I did that, I haven't heard anything and the sites are not on the map.

Aug. 14 2009 10:16 AM
Aaron Halley

The location of the "Locale" condos at 269 Kingsland Ave Brooklyn, is incorrect. It should be closer to Nassau Ave, not Maspeth Ave.

Aug. 11 2009 10:20 AM
WNYC - WNYC News Blog » Christine Quinn on A

[...] Help the Brian Lehrer Show track halted development in the city. Add your neighborhood projects on the map and photograph the empty condos, half-baked [...]

Aug. 06 2009 01:53 PM

I realize that the purpose of the map is to signal the end of the Williamsburg condo/rental boom, but I feel that it is a little biased in the way that it is being presented. There are several projects that are proceeding ahead as planned (North Piers is a cased in point) and, although sales and occupancy have slowed, the original impetus that stimulated this growth- outrageous costs for condos in Manhattan- still exists and I would bet that the area will recover faster than other parts of Brooklyn and Queens. We live in one of the success stories - Schaefer Landing - with easy access to Manhattan and a drop dead view of the NY skyline. All this at 1/2 the cost.

Aug. 05 2009 05:08 PM

what about 349 metropolitan building? is this building stalled also. its across from fette sau...

Jul. 28 2009 04:41 PM
Judi Francis

There is the entire development inside Brooklyn Bridge Park that is on hold. One 450 luxury condo building that opened two years ago, One Brooklyn Bridge Park, located at 360 Furman Street in Brooklyn Heights, has only 25% occupancy/owners. They are now trying unsuccessfully to rent the apts. The 5 other planned highrise condos along side of this building, and under the Brooklyn Bridge are on hold (thankfully) due to the economy. I expect Bloomberg is just waiting out the election before he presses ESDC to dig the holes and start putting up this wall of luxury housing inside the park, on the waterfront in Brooklyn. These planned condos will replace the pools, ice rink, indoor field house and event venues that had been planned. Hope you will include these projects on your map!

Jul. 23 2009 12:29 PM
Helen Rosenthal

I'm Chair of Community Board 7 in Manhattan. The two sites you identified in our district are NOT abandoned. 15 CPW is nearly full (residents have moved in) and The Rushmore is filling up. Can you take them off your chart? Thanks.

Jul. 20 2009 12:38 PM
Adele Cohen

I couldn't figure out how to add to the map. I wanted to add a Brighton Beach building that is finished and not rented. It is called the Sarwar after it's developer and at 3064 Coney Island Avenue. There are loads of unfinished buildings and unsold apartments in Brighton Beach. Adele

Jul. 20 2009 11:42 AM

We don't need anymore midtown yuppies moving into these luxury apts to transform these areas into another Soho! The neighborhood is "nice" enough already, and there isn't any rampant crime. The last thing we need is another "gourmet" grocery store selling perfectly polished apples for $9.99/pound. May asteroids from space rain down and crush every single one of these luxury condos.

Jul. 20 2009 11:27 AM

julian schnabel's building on west 11th between washington and the west side highway (my neighbor) remains empty except for the artist himself.. and the apartments are on sale two-for-the-price-of-one!

Jul. 20 2009 10:59 AM

there is no edit button

Jul. 20 2009 10:48 AM
Jack Eichenbaum

Comments and conclusions are biased by limited geographic exploration and inconsistancy of data collection. I suspect that the folks who got off their butts and looked at their environments are learning more than the armchair commentators.

Here are related field notes from Queens which is mostly "terra incognita" in the Cranes on Pause map.

1. There is an exhibit "Red Lines Housing Crisis Learning Center" currently at the Queens Musuem of Art which focuses on the history and causes of housing finance crises. One visual is the overlay of the enormous NYC panorama (The updated 1964/5 NYC World's fair exhibit) with little red triangles indicating blocks where private home foreclosures occurred in 2008. (The immediate impact is clearly in black neighborhoods.)

2. In the thriving immigrant corridor of the Number 7 train there are also cranes on pause, unimproved plywood enclosures and C of O issues stalling various projects. The dynamics, economies and demographies are different here and probably less familiar to WNYC listeners. I lead many walking tours in this area and, if there is interest, could organize an "expedition" to collect data for the map. (Write to; I teach Geography of NYC at Hunter College.)

3. A related problem is overbuilt commercial property and subsequent vacancy rates. This is very apparent in the semi-suburban Koreatown that stretches east on Northern Blvd from central Flushing.

4. Long Island City has stalled condo projects like the rest of the "rive gauche" on Long Island.

Jul. 20 2009 06:47 AM
Brian Lehrer Projects

I wasn't able to listen to Brian's program about Cranes on Pause, so I'm not sure if anybody referenced these articles in the Daily News:

Jul. 17 2009 04:42 PM
Brian Lehrer Projects

We're tracking cranes on pause as the latest chapter of our project, Your Uncommon Economics Indicators.

1.Click Edit button above
2.Drag blue marker to desired location
3.Edit balloon marker and add text or photos
4.Change the blue marker to the correct colored pushpin (or camera or video icon)
5.Be sure to save before you close the window
Here is a tutorial:

Have a question? Email us at

Note: You must be signed in to Google to see the Edit button in the maps feature.

Jul. 17 2009 03:04 PM
ed jaworski

I'm at the southern end of Brooklyn--Community Board 15, a rather residential area of largely single family homes. While other parts of Brooklyn, like Williamsburg and Atlantic Yards, have gotten much media attention, it's actually this community that may have the highest number of Stop Work Orders (SWO) in all of Brooklyn issued by the Dept. of Buildings. The streets are dotted with plywood fences surrounding the long time SWO sites--not only condo sites but single family sites that have been dormant for years. One example: A hole in the ground at Ave. S and East 16 St. was the subject of 2 NY Times columns--and, the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) gave the ok for it to proceed, though neighbors have questioned its legality. This community is a target, as if there's a welcome sign out for illegal work. I am Executive Vice President of the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association and we want to get the City Council to pass a bill to clear up long time dormant sites-long time SWOs so that they don't create blight on blocks. We also want to see a NYS Assembly-Senate hearing on the operation of the BSA, the mayoral agency which is responsible for many of thhe special permits and variances that lead to this situation. I know that if elected Mayor Councilman Tony Avella wants to scrap or change the BSA, but his intros go nowhere because the Councilmembers rely on development contributions to stay in office. I invite you to drive up and down streets around here to see how the character has been changed by overdevelopment.

Jul. 16 2009 05:11 PM

Heather: you make very good points. However, there are many people who might not agree that the development of this neighborhood is negative. Did it all happen a little too quickly? Yes. Did developers get greedy and thereby cut corners and overextend themselves? Definitely. Did the city fall asleep at the wheel in regulating construction and actually reading the plans they approved? Absolutely (what else is new). But let's not glow too sentimentally in the "golden age" of Williamsburg. I'm not sure which "fabric and foundation" you refer to.. Do you mean the "Pre Condo Boom" days of the 90's or the "Pre Bohemian Artist Loft" days of 50's-80's? The real vibrant and authentic foundation of this area (the historic one of the 19th and 1st half of the 20th century) has been on a steady decline since the BQE gouged out its center and bisected the neighborhood in the 1950's. By the 1970's the crime rate here was among the highest in the 5 boroughs. Even into the early 90's large swaths of Williamsburg were not safe to walk during the day, let alone at night. Affordable loft space is a wonderful thing for artists. But you can't expect an entire neighborhood, particularly one with such potential, to remain in industrial decomposition just so artists can have affordable studios in illegal or partially legal loft spaces. The whole reason why it was affordable to build all of these condos here is that the land wasn't useful for it's previous intent anymore. Land was cheap here because nobody could do anything with it. The manufacturers had mostly moved on already but the zoning never shifted to reflect that. Keep in mind, development here was artificially stifled by the lack of any zoning changes. Obviously, once the zoning shifted, there was a HUGE needle swing towards overbuilding. Calling it a "boom" isn't even accurate really. The neighborhood was playing development "catchup." Ok, high rise luxury towers on Kent Ave? Maybe not the greatest "visionary" development ever... That said, I think it's a bit naive to expect locations that good to remain cheap loft space forever. Or, worse, garbage transfer stations and shuttered factories (why no landmark on the Domino factory?). I do agree that there were some real gems in the Kent/Wythe/Berry corridor that should not have been allowed to be demolished. Believe me, I am nostalgic for old architecture. Why the landmarks commission didn't step in sooner is beyond me. But are you really nostalgic for the parking lots on North 12th? Or the junk yards along Union Ave? Maybe you expected landmark status for the many one story trucking garages along Roebling and its side streets? No wrecking balls there - the buildings were falling down on their own. Maybe the corner of Metropolitan and Union was a better scrap yard than apartment development? Obviously, the owner of that scrap yard didn't agree - he or she is probably thrilled that they unloaded it and got to retire somewhere. There are major growing pains that occur when a neighborhood undergoes such major alterations in such a short time. There is a needle swing back towards the middle occurring here. The overinflated prices are beginning to ebb and some folks like the 475 Kent residents will avoid the condo conversion for the time being. It seems that instead of the "mess" that you describe or the destruction of a "once-great place", that there may just be a renaissance going on here. Crime is way down, property value is up, existing businesses are thriving and new ones are opening all the time. Williamsburg IS a great place. Better than ever! Every era of development in this city has it's architectural eye-sores and there are many who think the glass/steel vibe is an abomination. Every era has those who resist change. I think that several years down the road, when the cranes are gone, the new apartments are all inhabited and balance has been restored, New Yorkers will see just how great a transformation this has really been. Heather, I don't think I missed the point of the guests. I read the NY Magazine. But maybe a ride around Williamsburg in a Maserati owned by one of the greediest and shadiest benefactors of the boom isn't the BEST way to put your finger on the pulse of a neighborhood. People hear what they want to hear and see what they want to see. You see and hear a neighborhood being destroyed in the throes of new development and gentrification. So you sit smugly while the failures of some of these developers are described on the radio. I'm fine with that. I sit in appreciation that the boom actually afforded me a home (yes, I must be part of the the problem as you accuse - I got a great price and bought a new condo). Do I miss the "rustic" nature of my old loft in Bed Stuy? Maybe a little... But I'm also happy to wake up every morning without having to clear the rat traps. I don't wonder anymore if the DOB is going to show up and kick us out. When the dust settles, hopefully we can both enjoy what has become of our fair city.

Jul. 16 2009 01:24 PM

Brooklyn "Luxury" Real Estate Tanks
Brooklyn Leads The Way In Unfinished Condos

Jul. 16 2009 11:53 AM

I went to the "Cranes on Pause" link which says to click on Edit on the top right but there is no Edit function that I can see. What am I missing? Is it a browser issue or operator error?

Jul. 16 2009 11:47 AM
Printcasting Launches Paid Ads, Revenue Sharing &l

[...] Cranes on Pause – WNYC is asking listeners to map stalled construction projects. This one is one that Gotham Gazette has been brainstorming for a while, too long, I guess. I’m glad someone else had the same idea and the wherewithal to get it online! There are rumors that many, many developments are bankrupt or near bankrupt or were banking on fast-rising real estate prices that are decidedly not rising any more, but there hasn’t yet been any clear reporting on whether the rumors are all just rumors. Cranes on Pause is a great first step towards a much clearer picture of what is happening to the city’s building boom. [...]

Jul. 16 2009 09:37 AM

marc: it's not that the guests view the development in williamsburg as negative, it's that the development in willimasburg IS negative. you seem to miss the point. the mess that is now williamsburg can only be attributed to a mad-dash to develop, which is attributed to, plain and simple, greed. folks were living here just fine. what slum-like conditions do you speak of? artists had no problem building out loft spaces and making due with strange plumbing in exchange for large spaces with light, and affordable housing/studio space. it wasn't all 'abandoned buildings, overgrown lots, junkyards' that went the way of the wrecking ball, but landmarks (dutch mustard) and affordable housing. sounds like you take umbrage, perhaps because you were part of the problem? yes, there is a strange, ironic twist to the fact that 'luxury condos' (using the cheapest of materials) may soon become 'affordable housing'. this lesson here is for the history books. too bad it is such an expensive lesson that, with great insensitivity and no foresight, destroyed the fabric and foundation of a once-great place.

Jul. 16 2009 01:47 AM
The Brian Lehrer Show: Williamsburg’s Condo

[...] map, Cranes on Pause, to pin point where it’s happening — and we need your help. Click here to tell us about stalled residential construction or unoccupied [...]

Jul. 15 2009 12:46 PM
Julia Stanat

Maybe I'm an idiot but I cannot figure out how to add a tack to the map. Can you help?

Jul. 15 2009 12:18 PM

What about that blding on North 7th btw Bedford and Berry

Jul. 15 2009 11:48 AM

I get the sense that your guests view the development in Williamsburg as a negative thing and they seem to be oddly pleased and in someway justified that the boom has ended. However, prior to the construction boom, there were hundreds if not thousands of abandoned buildings, overgrown lots, junkyards, etc. Are your guests actually advocating reverting to a time when 6 people were jammed into an illegal factory loft with a slum-lord collecting rents and giving no hot water?

Jul. 15 2009 11:48 AM

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