In addition to noticing which former places no longer exists, we will discuss several land-use law suits or creative real estate projects in the local area. This Tour has been given to several of the Reunions at New York Law School. There is minimal walking involved.


reunion2009 Photo by Jay Frederick, taken for the April 2009 Reunion.

This tour was given by Rick Landman, Esq. AICP., a New York Law School Alumnus who is also a certified Urban Planner for over 30 years, an adjunct professor of the Land Use Law class at the Wagner School at NYU, and the former Executive Director of Real Estate Development for the City of New York (1979-1982) and former Director of Real Estate Development at NYU (1989-2007)and former chair of Community Board #1's Landmarks, Tribeca, and Planning & Community Infrastructure Committees over the past decades.

CLE Credits are being explored for one hour of the Tour. We will report if the credit is available before the next Tour.

Both photos below were taken from the rooftop of Rick Landman's building, showing the changes to the western Tribeca. The first photo was taken in 1986 and the second was taken in June 2008. The arrows help you to match up the two photos.

comparison photo


We will walk to Church Street and discuss the recently completed or buildings under construction such as 15 Barclay and the new 5 Star Four Seasons 85 story Hotel going up on Murray Street as well as the new 63 story apartment house on Leonard Street. Can you see the difference between a contextual C6-2A zoning district (FAR of 5)and landmarked areas as compared to the non-contexual C6-4 (FAR of 10)zoning district? ”extension” Walking down Leonard Street you will see how the zoning lots were combined to permit the New York Law School expansion. Do you see how a zoning lot merger can transfer bulk from one part of a zoning lot to another? What impact did the deed restriction have in limiting height on the site and block?
buster At West Broadway we turn to go north up to Finn Square where you can look for familiar landmarks, but they are no longer there. Busters Garage is being replaced by an apartment house and El Teddy's famous Statue of Liberty was demolished for another apartment house.
Remember the Sporting Bar... It's also gone! ”sporting” Realty copies art... Do you remember the movie with Nicolas Cage, "It can happen to you?" where this facade was created? This corner is now being developed for luxury housing.W
At North Moore Street the we will discuss the legal issue of maintaining a liquor license at (Cercle Rouge) restaurant that is too close to a non-descript Mosque Could you tell that the restaurant was within 200 feet of a mosque? Do you think the restaurant should lose it's liquor license? .”mosque” We will pass two buildings that was filed as one extremely large single family house, but before occupancy was converted into a multi-dwelling building. Is there a limit to what can be considered a single family house? This concept of how large can you go also comes into play with rent regulated apartment houses, where the owner wishes to take back units for their private use.
We will hear the story of John F. Kennedy Jr.'s appeal to keep a movie theater out of the Atalanta Building. We will also pass the loft where he lived. Which was as-of-right under the zoning... the apartment house that you see or a movie theater? We will look up the avenue to see Trump's new Hotel. Which is allowed in this zoning district, a hotel or an apartment house? What is the difference between a transient or permanent hotel? Does the ownership (condo vs. leasehold) make a difference in the land use? At this intersection we can discuss the legal issues of the Trump Condo-Hotel and maybe see some horses going by.
phoneswitch As we return back, we can see the C6-4 non-contexual zoning district surrounded by the lower landmarked area. It shows the change from the "Tower in the Park" concept of zoning, to one based more on context and preservation. TOPICS DISCUSSED WHILE WALKING:
  • Transfer of Development Rights
  • Zoning Lot Mergers
  • Tribeca's Mixed Use Zoning District and Historic District
  • Liquor License process and Mosque
  • Variances
  • DeNiro's Penthouse, JFK Jr. zoning issue

  • Background Material on
    Land Use Issues for Tribeca:

  • F.A.R.- Floor Area Ratio in zoning districts:Since 1961 the NYC Zoning Resolution, the amount of bulk that a developer can build is based on the concept of FAR. Each zoning district has a number that when multiplied by the amount of lot area gives you the amount of bulk that can be constructed on a zoning lot. The bulk can be transferred to other tax lots if they are contiguous and become part of the new zoning lot. So for example, if the FAR is 6 and the developer owns 10,000 sf of lot area, then the developer can build 60,000 sf of bulk in an envelop that is controlled by other setback regulations.
  • Historic Districts, such as the Tribeca Historic Districts (designations started in 1992 and continued with the various expansions of the district): All structures (and empty lots) within a historic district are subject to the procedures of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. So any exterior modifications must either receive a Certificate of Minor Work or of Appropriateness depending on the scale of the work. This process can limit the amount of permitted bulk under the Zoning Resolution if the permitted bulk is deemed not to be appropriate.
    Click Here to see a detailed map of all parts of the Tribeca Historic District
  • Use Group Prohibitions in Zoning Districts: Each zoning district has associated with it a list of permitted uses. In the 1961 concept, Manufacturing Districts were for commercial and manufacturing uses only and residential and community facility uses (such as colleges) were not permitted. Commercial districts would permit either residential or commercial or community facility uses, but not manufacturing. This is a simplification for the beginning of our discussion. Obviously, the creation of SoHo and Tribeca and the concept of Mixed Use district altered the rigid rules.
  • Height Limits in Contextual districts, such as the C6-2A: Since 1961, zoning districts such as C6-4 had no height limitations. The developer could construct a building as tall as possible utilizing the amount of bulk determined by the FAR. In the 1990's, contextual zoning districts (with an A suffix) contained height limitations.
  • Special Districts such as the Tribeca Mixed Use Special District: Although the NYC Zoning Resolution is comprehensive by law, special subdivisions were permitted to modify the city wide regulations for specific areas where appropriate. Tribeca as well as Lower Manhattan are two examples of these Special Districts.
    Click Here to see the map for the northern part of the Tribeca Mixed Use Special District
    Click Here to see the map for the southern part of the Tribeca Mixed Use Special District
    Click Here to see the text for the Tribeca Mixed Use Special District

    NYLS and the students assume all liability risks. So watch where you are walking.

  • INDEPENDENT STUDY SCAVENGER HUNT When walking around the neighborhood you may come upon:
    This was across the street from JFK, Jr.'s apartment house. He came to community board meetings protesting a proposed movie theater for the building. There are horses living nearby. Remember the movie Ghostbusters? This is where the Fire House scenes were shot. ghostbuster
    Robert Niro's Hotel has a zoning and landmarks problem on the roof. ”deniro”

    This former nursery for plants is now the Tribeca Grand Hotel. Many 9/11 refugees lived there after the tragedy until the area to the south was re-opened for habitation. stern


  • Rick Landman, Esq., a Native New Yorker, has been an AICP Certified Planner for over 30 years, and an Attorney since 1988. He is currently an Attorney Emeritus, due to his pro bono work at the Housing Court's Help Center.

  • He is an adjunct Professor of Planning at NYU's Wagner School and teaches a Land Use law class since 2003. His class is a required core class for the Urban Planning Masters students. He currently teaches a Land Use Lawa Class at New York Law School.

  • Rick has 3 Masters Degrees (M.C.R.P. in City and Regional Planning, Ed.M. in Curriculum Development, M.S. in Civil (Socio) Engineering) and a J.D. in law (cum laude). He was admitted to the New York Bar in 1988.

  • He was the Executive Director of Real Estate Development for the City of New York for 5 years and was the Director of Real Estate Development at NYU for 19 years.

  • One of Professor Landman's Masters Degrees was an Ed.M. in Curriculum Planning, so if you want a "Tour in the Classroom" lecture that can also be arranged. The lectures will be age appropriate to your needs. He also has a permanent certification as a Social Studies Teacher (grades 7-12) since 1974.

  • Rick was the chair of several committees of Community Board #1 Manhattan, including the chair of the Planning & Community Infrastructure Committee, the Tribeca Committee and chaired what is now called the Landmarks Committee when Tribeca was first designated in 1992.

  • He moved into a Lower Manhattan converted apartment in the 1970's, that is approximately 1,000 feet from the World Trade Center.

  • He is a licensed NYC Sightseeing Tour Guide. License No.: 1281818 exp. 3/31/14.

  • He also has dual citizenship between the USA and Germany. He is the son of two Jewish Holocaust Survivors, and is active in several Second Generation programs.