Showing posts with label Upper West Side. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Upper West Side. Show all posts

Sunday, July 27, 2014

{Op-Ed} An Open Letter to #NewYorkCity - Just say NO to "The Poor Door" #oped #poordoor

View of New York City, NYC

I am not a visitor, a lurker, a stalker, a dreamer or 'NYC Wannabee' I was born here. I was raised here. I have worked hard my entire life here. 

Forging a life in this City is not an easy task.  This city isn't all endless cocktail parties.

It takes a lot of hard work and quite frankly cojones to make it here. No one hands you anything, there is a reason the song lyrics say 'If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere, it's up to you New York, NEW YORK'.

I sat on this Op-Ed for days, hoping that when my fingers met my keyboard somewhere amid my furious typing that my emotions would level off a bit, that I could approach this from a place of neutrality and tap into my News Writing Background, but I am still as emotional right now as I was when a status update from a wide variety of my friends hit my feed with a link to a Huffington Post article entitled "Luxury New York Condo Will Have A 'Poor Door' For Lower-Income Residents." The link I provided to it will open in a new window for you, please read it. Then come back here and tell me how it made YOU feel.

A 33-story building now under construction at 40 Riverside Boulevard on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City will contain 219 luxury units facing the Hudson River, there will also be a segment on floors two through six that will contain 55 street-facing units for the building's 'poorer' residents. The 'poor' residents will have their own entrance. These 'affordable' units are being made available to families of four whose annual income is $51,540 or less - which amounts to 60% of the area's median income. The lower-income residents will not only have to go through a 'poor door' to get in and out of the building, they will also be prohibited from using the amenities found in most properties by the New York-based developer Extell like the gym and swimming pool. The Developers will receive millions in tax breaks and hard working New Yorkers deemed by them as 'poor' will be stigmatized as they enter and exit their own place of residence each and every single day. Demoralizing much?

We all opted to tweet Mayor Bill Di Blasio (who may have still been on his vacation to Italy at the time) and I am sure none of us will get a direct response, but that tweet I sent just didn't feel like it was enough. This doesn't sit right with me on any level.

I spent time post College doing Public Relations for my local district's City Councilman and all throughout my School Years and while working with him I was constantly told I should pursue a career in Politics, and I scoffed at the idea, until now.

The Huff Post article has left me with a knot in my stomach that has been churning for days, and while part of me wants to break up with this City, another part of me questions if it's time for me to make change in a way that really matters, from the inside out.

The New York Times noted in May that minorities and the elderly largely make up the city's rent-regulated population, but by far the best quote I've read so far on the issue comes from Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal who said:

"A mandatory affordable housing plan is not license to segregate lower-income tenants from those who are well-off."

Haven't we battled hard enough to end segregation in America? Is history really doomed to repeat itself because we never learn from our mistakes?

I don't want to be part of a system where it's OK for some to hold their head high and others be made to feel like they should drop theirs in shame.

You know what families may end up qualifying for the 'poor apartments' those of teachers, doctors, fire fighters, sanitation workers - you know just the folks who keep this city running, IN the actual trenches. You mean to tell me the local teacher and his/her family should enter from a separate door? That a Police Officer who puts his/her life on the line each and every single day should come home from a hard day's work keeping this city safe and enter through a 'Separate Door'?

What about that hard working young College Grad working at a Not-For-Profit? Should they feel 'shamed' when they come home too?

Butterflies I am always super careful to use this space as a place to inspire. I try to keep Religion, Sex and Politics off these pages, as my goal was to always keep my online home rant and snark free, but I can't pretend this doesn't hit me where it hurts. As a New Yorker I find this shameful. I know that the city where dreams are made of has always had a rough 'underbelly' and I never want to cover the sky with one hand, but I can only hope that everyone apartment hunting sees the Huff Post article or this one, and that even if they can afford the apartments there, that they will put their money where their mouth and conscious is, and NOT buy an apartment in ANY building with a "Poor Door".

As a lifelong New Yorker, there is one and only one 'separate entrance/exit' I find acceptable. The one at the theatre that allows actors to quickly exit after a play. When that play ends they are off the clock. Some days they may stop and sign playbills, other nights just like us they need to get home to family obligations or just de-stress. That is the only 'separate' door I can find acceptable in this day and age.

Since Sundays is usually the day I reserve to share my Weekly Moment of Gratitude, all I can say for today is that I am grateful not to live in a building with a "Poor Door".

I found AND SIGNED an online petition that is intended directly for Gary Barnett, President of Extell Development Company who is building the Apartment Building at 40 Riverside Boulevard, I hope you will considering signing it! I want this to remain a City that rewards you for your hardwork, but can't it do so without shaming anyone? NYC median rents continue to skyrocket, the average right now is at $3,247 per MONTH, longtime residents are being pushed out of the City, so in essence most of us can work here, just not afford to continue to live here.

What do you think of the "Poor Door"?

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FTC Disclosure: I would assume it goes without saying for this one, but this is NOT a Sponsored Post!