Category Archives: Beat Reporting

Finding Building & Property Information

Lately, we've had many questions in the Journalism Library about finding building histories, owner names, code violations, market value, and similar things. Here's a round-up of the most useful tools to find that information! (Photo below is a 1902 panorama of NYC from the Library of Congress.)

Panoramaic photograph of New York City, taken in 1902.

Dept. of Buildings: BIS (Building Information System)
http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/bsqpm01.jsp

Lists actions, complaints, violations, alterations, certificates of occupancy, # buildings on lot, tax block/lot # (which you need for ACRIS, listed below), landmark status, zoning documents, etc. (Under “actions,” “NB” records are permits for new buildings.) When multiple buildings are on one lot, click on the number of buildings to access building-specific records. You can also use the BIS's "Building on my Block" to find properties in a block (or community district) that are new buildings or have had alterations. Good for getting a feel for what’s going on with property development in a given area.

Related: Building Permit Search, 1900 – 1986 (Office of Metropolitan History) http://www.metrohistory.com/searchfront.htm

Property Tax Bill & Information System (NYC Finance: Property) http://nycprop.nyc.gov/nycproperty/nynav/jsp/selectbbl.jsp

Market value history, building classification (what type of building it is), owner & billing address, tax charges, exemptions, abatements & any credits. You can find additional information (like number of stories or units, building dimensions, etc.) under Property Tax Benefit Information.

ACRIS (Automated City Register Information System; NYC Finance: Property) http://a836-acris.nyc.gov/CP/

Find mortgages, deeds, and other property documents. “Det” provides detailed information about the document (including the names and address of involved parties); “img” shows the document. Related NYC Property tools include the FY 2014 Final Assessment Roll for NYC and the Comparable Values for Condos & Coops.

NYC Housing and Vacancy Survey (Census Bureau) http://www.census.gov/housing/nychvs/

Includes information on rent-vs-own status, rent-to-income ratios, estimated value, and structural conditions (such as condition of exterior or interior walls).

Housing Code Violation Data (Dept. of Housing Preservation & Development)

HPD Online (find violations by address): https://webapps.hpdnyc.org/HPDonline/provide_address.aspx

New Residential Construction: http://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/

Reports from the U.S. Census on nation-wide permits for new residential construction.

U.S. Housing Market Conditions (HUD, U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development): http://www.huduser.org/portal/ushmc/home.html

Housing market data and analysis, home affordability, and related information. Available at the national, regional, metro, and local levels (some NYC-area data).

Landmark Designation Reports (only recent designations are here): http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/html/forms/reports.shtml

Landmark Designations, 1965 to present. (For older reports, contact the Landmark Commission directly.)

NYC Rent Guidelines Board Reports:
http://www.housingnyc.com/html/research/cresearch.html

Reports on housing supply, income & affordability, changes to rent stabilized housing stock, and more.

American FactFinder (Census Bureau): http://factfinder2.census.gov/

Two particularly relevant tables (both available at the census tract level) are:

  • Selected Economic Characteristics (DP03)
  • Selected Housing Characteristics (DP04)

Additional Information

For more information on NYC buildings, property, and real estate, consult with librarians at Columbia's Avery Art and Architecture Library.

Avery Library Subject Guides on related topics:

Welcome, Summer MS Students!

Welcome to all summer MS students!  Here is today's library presentation – and a few other useful things:

Have questions?  Email journalism@libraries.cul.columbia.edu for more information, to ask research questions or to set up appointments for research consultations. 
 

NYC Community District Profiles – First Stop for Beat Reporting

New York City's 59 community districts within its 5 boroughs show the incredible diversity of our city.  Each district profile contains summary data on population characteristics and land area and use.  Using 2010 Census information, these profiles are a great way to know your communities (age, ethnicity, household, income support, population changes), and each community board writes a needs statement at the beginning of the profile, talking about the particular needs and issues – traffic congestion and parking, affordable housing, schools, parks and recreation facilities, economic and retail development, and more.  This statement provides a context for development and budget priorities.

There is one bound volume per borough available in the reference section of the Journalism Library, call number HT168.N3

These profiles are also available online and for download in PDF format:

Compare to the Citywide Profile, and find much more at the Department of City Planning website.  Go on, take a bite out of the big apple!

NYC Land Use – Fast Facts

NYC Land UseNYC Land Use – Fast Facts – did you know that:

  • Brooklyn leads the 5 boroughs in multi-family residential land use
  • Queens has more lot area for parking than any other borough
  • Manhattan devotes 25.4% of its land use to open spaces

Find these and other land use fast facts at the Department of City Planning’s NYC Land Use website.  And check out zoning maps for specific areas – use the Map Finder to get the zoning map for a particular street address.

Divide (and Conquer) NYC Using the Address Translator

NYC Address TranslatorIs it possible for one address to be in Community District 09, Election District 91, Police Precinct 26, AND Congressional District 15???

YES!  And to help you make sense of the different city agency-drawn boundaries, use the Address TranslatorGeographic Information by Address at the Department of City Planning.  Type in the address to find Police Precinct, Election District, Community District, Census Tract/Block, School District, and more!

Welcome, Fall MS Students and Knight-Bagehot Fellows!

jour.2008-04-30.DSC_9839Welcome, new students!  Just a few research tips from the Journalism Library:

Also, for a copy of the library’s PowerPoint presentation, please click here.

If you need help with your research, please send email to journalism@libraries.cul.columbia.edu or stop by the library for assistance.  We look forward to assisting you!

Welcome, Summer MS Students!

Welcome, 2010 Summer MS Students!  Just a few library research tips as you begin your research:

If you need help with your research, please send email to journalism@libraries.cul.columbia.edu or stop by the library for assistance.

 

American Newspapers at Columbia University Libraries

Picture 8Looking for a state-by-state list of all American newspapers available at Columbia University Libraries?  This comprehensive list, arranged by state and city of publication, is a great place to start! 

It includes currently received paper issues, newspapers in microform, and newspapers available through our online database subscriptions. All call numbers (F, FA, FN, etc.) refer to the Microform Reading Room, 401 Butler Library.