Housing projects in Manhattan

Last week,the city approved plans for the developer of 40 Riverside Boulevard,Extell,to create a separate entrance for the residents of the affordable housing wing so that the wealthy residents could have their own. As The New York Times reports,it sparked international outrage. But the article points out that the impetus behind the poor door is more than just snootiness. It could have very real consequences for the value of the units:

The Riverside development is unusual,and even vaguely radical,in the sense that its luxury units are condominiums rather than rental apartments. Typically,buildings like it,which combine market-rate and affordable units,offer none of them for sale.

The article goes on to point out that home owners often prefer living near other home owners as a way of preserving the value of their own property. “Renting has the taint of transience,diminished stability and so on, ” it says.

Situations that bring haves and have-nots together are awkward in many ways,as we’ve covered here: when siblings have very different amounts of money,or when people make more or less money than their friends. But in those situations,between people who know each other,clear communication can often smooth over potential money mishaps and misunderstandings.

And in more spread out areas,such as Los Angeles or Boca Raton,no one bats an eyelash at the gated communities that abound. But in New York City,one of the most liberal areas of the country,where 91% of the 5, 286 precincts voted unanimously for President Barack Obama in the last election,the poor door was called a disgrace. As the most recommended comment on the New York Times article put it,“Wouldn’t it be easier just to make them crawl on their hands and knees through the regular door?”

On the one hand is well-intentioned policy attempting to tackle a very real problem of creating affordable housing in one of the most desirable cities in the world. On the other is the developer who is building the low-income housing,but also wants to make a healthy profit — the way a new condo on the Upper West Side should. What do you think? Is the poor door the best compromise or is there a better solution?

Laura Shin is the author of the Forbes eBook, AvailableFrançais : L'île de Manhattan vue d'hélicoptère.


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Q&A

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Where are the housing projects in Manhattan?

i am moving to manhattan and want to know where the housing projects are located - is there a website online that lists their location?

There are some just off the FDR in the East 90's.