Wednesday, July 30, 2014

NYC Approves Apartment Building With Separate Entrance For The Poor

An apartment building in the Upper West Side of Manhattan apparently received approval, as part of zoning changes during the Mayor Bloomberg era, for two separate entrances, one for wealthy residents and one for those who rent affordable units. The "poor door" is one of the most blatant signs of the gentrification that has swept New York City over the past few years:

It would be difficult to come with a more on-the-nose metaphor for New York City's income inequality problem than the new high-rise apartment building coming to 40 Riverside Boulevard, which will feature separate doors for regular, wealthy humans and whatever you call the scum that rents affordable housing.

Extell Development Company, the firm behind the new building, announced its intentions to segregate the rich and poor to much outrage last year. Fifty-five of the luxury complex's 219 units would be marked for low-income renters—netting some valuable tax breaks for Extell—with the caveat that the less fortunate tenants would stick to their own entrance.

The city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development approved Extell's Inclusionary Housing Program application for the 33-story tower this week, the New York Post reports. The status grants Extell the aforementioned tax breaks and the right to construct a larger building than would ordinarily be allowed. According to the Daily Mail, affordable housing tenants will enter through a door situated on a "back alley."

Any of the unwashed folk who complain about such a convenient arrangement, of course, are just being ungrateful. As the Mail points out, fellow poor-door developer David Von Spreckelsen explained as much last year:

"No one ever said that the goal was full integration of these populations," said David Von Spreckelsen, senior vice president at Toll Brothers. "So now you have politicians talking about that, saying how horrible those back doors are. I think it's unfair to expect very high-income homeowners who paid a fortune to live in their building to have to be in the same boat as low-income renters, who are very fortunate to live in a new building in a great neighborhood."

In these economically fraught times, it's easy to forget that the super rich earned their right to never see you, hear you, smell you, or consider your pitiful existence. Expecting them to share an entrance would be unfair.


Michael J. Mand said...

Is there a guard at the "front" door checking 1040s and W2s?

I have a similar objection to gated communities. It's "us versus them"; "I'm in/you're out".

I guess I just don't rate with the 1%

Jeff Tone said...

Yes, that's one way of checking whether one is passing through the correct economically segregated door.