Editorial: Defining affordability

Tenants hold signs on the steps of City Hall. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Tenants hold signs on the steps of City Hall. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Even for Stuyvesant Town, this past week has been an eventful one, with the mayor’s office stepping in to work with the community’s tenants and ownership in an effort to maintain affordability. Though there’s a tight, two-month deadline to work with and discussions about the outcome of said talks have been vague so far, the city’s involvement is still a very significant step.
More local elected officials have also chimed in with the usual promises to not allow a repeat of the 2006 sale, which made ST/PCV the poster child for predatory equity. Tenants have heard it all before of course (since it’s repeated at every Stuy Town and housing related press conference). Still, it never hurts for the rest of the city, including any would-be owners, to hear it too.
What hasn’t really been determined, but hopefully will be, in the next couple of months, is what exactly “affordable” means in the eyes of the owner and the city.
Many of the tenants in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village’s renovated apartments are no more wealthy than their counterparts in unrenovated units, who pay significantly less in rent. So simply “maintaining” or rather keeping the rents around what their current levels are doesn’t necessarily translate into affordability for close to half the population.
Council Member Garodnick has said the de Blasio administration has been made aware of this fact. Ultimately, whatever plan the talks wind up leading to, whether it’s a commitment to longterm rentals or a conversion of some sort, we believe the end result should be that those who live in the community shouldn’t live — or continue to live — in constant fear of getting priced out of their apartments or the city. Isn’t that the only real definition of affordable?

2 thoughts on “Editorial: Defining affordability

  1. Why aren’t the crooks at Tishman Speyer and Blackrock being held accountable for all the misery and instability they caused by their predatory “purchase” of the property with other people’s money? It was their unbridled greed, avarice and skirting of the RS laws that caused situation we are in now. The greedy ghouls at MetLife deserve a lot of blame for selling the property at such an over-the-top price, but I guess when they spoke to Rob Speyer they knew Stupid when they saw it and rubbed their greedy hands in glee!

  2. Why is the City of New York not buying PCSTV. That way PCSTV will remain affordable for the middle class.

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