Long Island City (LIC) is the westernmost neighborhood of the New York City borough of Queens and is bounded on the north by the Queens neighborhood of Astoria; on the west by the East River; on the east by Hazen Street, 31st Street, and New Calvary Cemetery; and on the south by Newtown Creek, which separates Queens from Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
This once highly industrialized area has been largely redeveloped over the last few decades to serve more modern uses. It's proximity to Manhattan by subway, bus and ferry, as well as via the Queensboro Bridge and Midtown Tunnel, make LIC a highly desirable location for all manner of uses.
Large sections have been rezoned for residential use, resulting in many luxury condominium towers, particularly along the East River. Gentrification of the neighborhood has resulted in the introduction of fabulous restaurants and shopping along Vernon and Jackson Avenues and MOMA PS1 anchors a vibrant art community. In fact, LIC has among the highest concentration of art galleries, art institutions, and studio space of any neighborhood in all of New York City. Many parks, a beach and other waterfront access provide residents with fabulous recreational opportunities.
Today, the most prominent building is the 658' Citicorp Tower built in 1989 on Courthouse Square. It is the tallest building on all of Long Island and in any of the New York City boroughs outside Manhattan. Many other businesses and organizations have made LIC the location for their home office, or lease additional back office space in the community.
Other formerly industrial properties have found new life in a commercial capacity, such as the former Silvercup Bakery which is now home to Silvercup Studios and the former Ford Instrument Company building which has been incorporated into LaGuardia Community College. The neighborhood still boasts a vibrant industrial business community as well, and will for many, many years to come.
M1 districts range from the Garment District in Manhattan, with its multistory lofts, to parts of Red Hook and College Point with many one or two-story warehouses studded with loading bays. The M1 district is often a buffer between M2 or M3 districts and adjacent residential or commercial districts.
Light industries typically found in M1 areas include knitting mills, printing plants, woodworking shops, auto storage and repair shops, and wholesale service and storage facilities. In theory, nearly all industries uses can locate in M1 areas if they meet the more stringent M1 performance standards. Offices and most retail uses are also permitted. Certain community facilities, such as hospitals, are allowed in M1 districts only by special permit, but houses of worship are allowed as-of-right.
Floor area ratios in M1 districts range from 1.0 to 10.0 and building height and setbacks are controlled by sky exposure planes which may be penetrated by towers in certain districts. New industrial buildings are usually low-rise structures that fit within sky exposure planes. Except along district boundaries, no side yards are required. Rear yards at least 20 feet deep are usually required, except within 100 feet of a corner.
In M1-5 zoned districts, parking is not required. The maximum FAR is 5.0. Although new industrial buildings are usually low-rise structures that fit within sky exposure planes, commercial and community facility buildings can be constructed as towers.
R7 districts are medium-density apartment house districts. The height factor regulations for R7 districts encourage low apartment buildings on smaller zoning lots and, on larger lots, taller building with low lot coverage. As an alternative, developers may choose the optional Quality Housing regulations to build lower buildings with higher lot coverage.
Height factor buildings are often set back from the street and surrounded by open space and on-site parking. The floor area ratio (FAR) in R7 districts ranges from 0.87 to a high of 3.44; the open space ratio (OSR) ranges from 15.5 to 25.5.
As in other height factor districts, a taller building may be obtained by providing more open space. For example, 76% of the zoning lot with the 14-story building is required to be open space (3.44 FAR x 22.0 OSR). The maximum FAR is achievable only where the zoning lot is large enough to accommodate a practical building footprint as well as the required amount of open space.
The building must be set within a sky exposure place which, in R7 districts, begins at a height of 60 feet above the front lot line and the slopes inward over the zoning lot.
The optional Quality Housing regulations in R7 districts produce lower, high lot coverage buildings set on or near the street line. With floor area ratios that are equal to or greater that can be achieved in height factor buildings, the optional Quality Housing regulations produce new buildings in keeping with the scale of many traditional neighborhoods.
The R7 optional bulk regulations for buildings on wide streets outside the Manhattan Core are the same as those in R7A districts. The maximum FAR is 4.0 and the base height before setback is 40 to 65 feet with a maximum building height of 80 feet. The maximum FAR for the Manhattan Core is 3.44, and the base height before setback is 40 to 60 feet with a maximum building height of 75 feet. Under the optional regulations, parking is required for 50% of the dwelling units.