December 9, 2017

page xii

It wasn’t only my personal experience of living in New York City, both as a precarious visiting researcher and an irredeemable big city lover, that persuaded me to write this book. It was also the realization that what I endured wasn’t that scary when compared with some of the horror stories I heard in the streets of New York: a single mother of four from the Rockaways who commutes over two hours each day to work as a clerk at a Gap downtown, a young guy living with his elderly family in a dark basement in Astoria, or the kind African American lady that was stuck in the homeless shelter in Bed- Stuy.

It was also the realization that this tough life is becoming the daily reality for innumerable friends and acquaintances of mine, who are striving to keep themselves afloat in big cities around the world, from London to San Francisco, from Paris to Milan, from Singapore to Dublin. Ironically enough, most of them coul...

August 18, 2017

Compounding the city’s affordability crisis: rents in the city rose twice as fast as wages, according to the analysis, which compared the StreetEasy Rent Index with wage data from the city’s Department of Labor.

While median rents increased 3.9 percent a year since 2010, wages increased by 1.8 percent over the same period. Those working in the city’s lowest wage jobs were hit hardest. Low-wage earners — those in the bottom 20 percent of the workforce, which represent a little more than 800,000 of the roughly 4.1 million employed New Yorkers — saw the least amount of income growth overall. Those jobs such as home health aides and dental assistants or other healthcare support services actually saw their incomes fall 1.1 percent over the past seven years.

At the same time, rents in the lowest bracket of the market — those in the 20 percent least expensive tier — increased the most since 2010 at 4.9 percent a year, with a 3 pe...

Gothamist just reported that thousands of rent stabilized apartments in New York City―the overwhelming majority which are in The Bronx―are in danger of being deregulated as NYC continues to phase out the notorious cluster site homeless shelter program that enticed landlords with on average double the average rents in order to house homeless families.

The average price per unit that the city was paying? $2,451 a month and yes, these were rents being paid in The Bronx too well above what the rent regulated rents were for these units. At the peak of the program in January 2016, the city had 3,658 cluster units spread across 314 buildings throughout the city and of those, a whopping 2,877 units in 268 buildings were located in The Bronx representing 79% of such sites which turned these residential buildings where multi-generational families lived into living nightmares as landlords greedy with the promise of doubling their re...

An annual count of the city’s unsheltered population showed a 40 percent increase in homeless people on city streets, despite the efforts of the de Blasio administration to curb the rising rate of homelessness.

There were 3,892 people homeless and unsheltered in 2017, according to the estimate conducted in February, up from 2,794 last winter. It was the largest number since 2005, when the city first began estimating the unsheltered population.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has grappled with a homelessness crisis throughout his mayoralty, calling it the “number one frustration” of his tenure, while promising new resources and facilities to house the homeless, after the city struggled to keep pace early in his administration.  Read more

 

In many of the neighborhoods targeted by the de Blasio administration for a rezoning, rising levels of rent are occurring simultaneous to increases in poverty in certain census tracts—creating a complicated picture, where the threats of gentrification are felt equally alongside the pains of deprivation. According to the report, released in conjunction with the 2016 State of New York City Housing and Neighborhoods Report, in the 2011-2015 span, 20.6 percent of New Yorkers lived in poverty—up from 2006-2010, when 19.1 percent of New Yorkers were considered impoverished. A family of two adults and two children is considered below the poverty line if their annual income is less than $24,036. Read more

The city’s bid to rezone a large chunk of Harlem will increase the development potential of at least 50 properties owned by a motley collection of landlords—some of whom may be less than deserving of a big payday. A Manhattan community board is set to weigh in this month on the East Harlem rezoning plan, which will boost the allowable size of buildings along certain corridors of a 96-block area.

The change could create as many as 3,500 new apartments if the City Council signs off on the plan by the end of the year. The initiative is meant to both jump-start new construction and influence the scope of projects that likely would have happened even without rezoning. All developers who receive a density boost will be required to include affordable housing in their new projects.

Recasting a neighborhood in this way can often deliver big benefits to longtime owners who have stuck with the area during less prosperous times. But a...

May’s rental transactions of $15,000 or higher more than doubled compared to last year. 

An influx of new development rentals, and a large number of new leases signed over $15,000, pushed median rental prices up in Manhattan this May according to Douglas Elliman’s monthly market report tracking rental prices in the borough as well as Brooklyn and Queens. In Manhattan, May’s median rental price increased 2.2 percent from last year to $3,475, while the average rental price rose 4.4 percent, to $4,208. Jonathan Miller, author of the report, explains that the only reason for that price bump “is that there was simply a lot more new development rental product in the mix.” Read more 

It’s bleak on Bleecker St. for commercial stores. There’s an 18.4% vacancy rate along stretches of the well-known West Village street — once famous for its beatnik shops and music venues like the Village Gate and the Bitter End, places where Bob Dylan once played. 

“Bleaker on Bleecker: A Snapshot of High-Rent Blight,” used on-the-ground data collection and firsthand accounts to look into the root causes and impacts of storefront vacancies and recommends a number of solutions. Read more

Think about where NYC was in 2007: it was pre-recession, but also before the so-called “eight digit boom”that led to the development of the supertall skyscrapers that now dominate Central Park South. Megaprojects like Hudson Yards or Pacific Park had yet to begin construction, and neighborhoods like Williamsburg or Long Island City—while still in the process of adding new buildings—weren’t the built-up areas we see today. Heck, the High Line and Brooklyn Bridge Park hadn’t even opened yet. Read more

 

Over the past two decades, Brooklyn has undergone more drastic changes than any other borough in New York. Rents have risen, commerce has grown and neighborhoods across the borough have become some of the most desirable in the entire city. But New Yorkers aren't flocking to Brooklyn like en masse—in fact, they're doing just the opposite. A report from the Empire Center for Public Policy found that nearly 170,000 people moved out of Kings County between 2010 and 2016 as residents migrated to suburbs or cheaper parts of the city. Read more

 

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