Protestors organized against the new Moxy Hotel and demolition of historic buildings (Photo: Nicole Disser)
Yesterday afternoon a group of vocal protesters gathered along East 11th Street, facing a row of historic brick buildings they’re intent on saving from demolition at the hands of one of the city’s most prolific developers. The structures in question are a streak of five residential buildings, all of them five-story, Old Law tenements that, according to the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, have changed little since they were built between 1887 and 1892.
GVSHP and the other preservation groups that organized yesterday’s protest– including the Historic Districts Council, the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative and the East Village Community Coalition– are appealing to the city’s Landmarks and Preservation Commission to come through with an eleventh-hour historic district designation that would thwart plans for a 300-room hotel.
Affordable housing advocates protesting Brooklyn Real Estate Summit last fall, 421-a was among their many greivances (Photo: Nicole Disser)
After a week of “secret talks” with leadership from one of the state’s most powerful interest groups, details are emerging regarding Governor Cuomo’s first major steps toward reviving 421-a. The New York Times broke the news yesterday evening about the first sign of a turning point for the controversial billion-dollar, affordable-housing tax abatement that was allowed to expire in January.
NYC real estate firm Douglas Elliman published a report this morning, showing that the development boom in New York City has had a significant impact on the real estate market. According to the report, the available housing stock has increased dramatically over the last year: the listing inventory for rentals in Brooklyn went up by 29.6 and just slightly more in Manhattan that saw a 30.3 percent increase in the last year.
Tenants, many of them living in rent-stabilized units, rallying in Chinatown to protest construction as harassment in December (Photo by Nicole Disser)
Given that New York City is a place where making “just” $70 to 92k a year can qualify you for affordable housing—thanks, Upper West Side condo developers—it makes sense that homeownership rates here are low. Just how low, however, is a little jarring. According to a new study published by NYU’s Furman Center and Citi, only 42 percent of homes sold on the market in 2014 were affordable even to those making as much as $114,000 a year.
Protestors yesterday at TK (Photo: Luisa Rollenhagen)
It’s hard to imagine how anyone could get pissed off about ice cream. It’s pretty delicious stuff on its own, but when ice cream comes free, it’s capable of turning almost any New Yorker with a broken-AC situation into a sedated, softly smiling master of chill. But the tenants at 325 East 12th Street– owned by Brookhill Properties, a real estate company founded by notorious landlord Raphael Toledano, who’s currently under investigation by the State for tenant harassment– have been moved to a level of frustration that can’t be solved with tasty bribes. That’s why, when they started receiving invitations to attend an ice cream social bought and paid for by Brookhill, the tenants organized an ice cream protest.
After making my way through a gilded, marble-floor lobby worthy of Home Alone 2, I found myself at Civic Hall. The techy meetup spot and educational center is where likeminded hackers convene for “labs” and shamelessly use the kind of words (“disrupt”) that have become emblems of that heady cocktail of superiority and entitlement powering controversial profit vacuums like Uber and AirBnB. I was hardly surprised to see that Pierre Omidyar’s foundation is a sponsor of Civic Hall, as is Google. Even if the #HackHousing event had been pitched as an occasion for discussing “creative ways to empower New York renters,” I was more than a little skeptical. More →
The Base, Bushwick’s anarchist hub. (Photo: Karissa Gall)
It was difficult to ignore the fluttering signs at last week’s Bushwick Community Plan meeting. Sure, they were black-and-white, only about as big as two sheets of computer paper and just as flimsy, but there were tons of them. As City Council members Antonio Reynoso and Rafael Espinal touted their community-driven alternative to developer-led change, almost everyone sitting in front of them seemed to be holding a flyer reading: “EVICT THE RICH.” The rallying cry may have been more Mao Tse-tung than #BushwickBerners, but the Brooklyn Solidarity Network (BSN) couldn’t have been more serious.
In the battle against tenant harassment and displacement, we’ve often seen the mayor receive sharp criticism from the indefatigable Coalition to Protect Chinatown (members are once again gathering tomorrow to demand that work be stopped on Extell’s 80-story tower). But yesterday de Blasio’s office released figures showing he’s making a dent in the problem. Thanks to recent measures like a $62 million increase in free legal services for tenants and a roving tenant support unit, his office says evictions by City Marshals have decreased from 28,849 in 2013 to 21,988 last year. More →
Fear not, NYU students! No longer will you have to log on to Seeking Arrangement in order to pay your student debt. In a memorandum sent on Thursday to the school’s entire staff, faculty, and student body, new university president Andrew Hamilton decided to address one of the issues that repeatedly causes NYU students to top the list of “Sugar Baby” schools: tuition and housing.
Affordable housing advocates protesting last fall (Photo: Nicole Disser)
Bushwick council member Antonio Reynoso was among the many who challenged Mayor de Blasio’s affordable housing plan last week, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to shoot it down entirely. Upzoning (i.e. rezoning certain areas to allow for higher buildings) is one of the more controversial aspects of the the mayor’s plan, and something that Bushwick residents have vehemently protested against in recent years. But in a report released earlier this month, Reynoso concludes that the mayor’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program, which would require a share of those taller buildings to be permanently affordable, represents the chance to address “missed opportunities” in North Brooklyn housing development.