Do you know how many people applied to live in this affordable housing building in the Hunter’s Point neighborhood in Queens? Over 93,000. It shouldn’t be surprising. For less than $500 a month, a brand-new studio apartment can be yours! There were also 3 bedrooms going for under $800. Excuse me as I faint and go crashing right to the Italian marble flooring that lines the lobby. So is it likely that you’ll be able to get a place to live here? Gothamist doesn’t think so.
[They] have yet to assign all of the units, much less work its way through all of the applicants, so there’s no wait-list to speak of. Applicants with impaired sight or hearing get a 7% boost in preference; residents of Community Board 2, which includes Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City, get a 50% preference; municipal workers are favored 5% more than other applicants.
It’s a no-smoking building! It’s energy efficient! There’s a friggin’ gym! But if the deal sounds too good to be true, that’s because it kind of is. Only 20% of the apartments available in this plush new building fall into the “affordable” category. That’s right, 80% of the apartments are much more expensive. Though some would argue a view of the East River for $4K isn’t anything to sniff at really.
While the building is receiving a hoopla, shouldn’t we be concerned that affordable housing projects are now eeking out the people who need them? Plus, if 80% of your building is designed to cater to people who can spend that amount of money on their rent, what sort of environment is that going to create for folks who can’t afford New York’s typically sky-high real-estate prices? It’s not bound to be a comfortable one.
But the pictures make the place look so god-damn compelling that it’s easy to play Pollyanna and think of a version of New York city where a proactive effort is taken to make affordable housing beautiful, clean, comfortable, safe, and desirable. Maybe this is one step in that direction. But I don’t think that’s the case.