By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Mayor Bill de Blasio gave his second State of the City address at Baruch College at Lexington Avenue and East 23rd Street on Tuesday morning, making affordable housing the focus of the speech and his agenda for the next year. He outlined a number of new programs, including housing for targeted populations like seniors and veterans and said that he would be working to protect tenants against predatory landlords and institute mandatory inclusionary zoning to require affordable housing in new developments.
The mayor singled out Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village in the address, praising the complex as a bastion of affordable housing and an example that his administration will follow, but acknowledged that there are lessons to be learned when building a new development planned for Sunnyside, Queens.
“Stuy Town, when it opened in 1947, provided our city with 11,250 affordable apartments, a community where trees and parks, and shops dotted a landscape from which residents could actually see the sky,” the mayor said. “We’re bringing that same kind of scale, and a real sense of urgency, to Sunnyside Yards and setting the same exact goal of 11,250 affordable units, as part of a neighborhood that anyone would be proud to call home. And in contrast to the recent history of Stuy Town, we’re going to make sure that affordable housing at Sunnyside Yards stays that way.”
The mayor noted in the address that one of the problems with housing for middle class New Yorkers has been is that the city did not have strong enough laws or rules in place that limited what developers were allowed to build.