- Many luxury buildings in NYC have “poor doors” – doors where lower income individuals enter the building separately from other tenants.
- This used to be required by zoning laws whenever high income apartments were in same building as low income apartments (which developers strategically planned for tax break purposes).
- Mayor de Blasio thought this was unchill, so he banned poor doors.
Some of you may be thinking, “What the hell is a poor door?”
You don’t have to dig too deep to understand what a poor door is. For those who still aren’t catching on – a poor door really is a door for the poor. AKA it’s a separate entrance for the lower income families who live in luxury buildings. How nice.
Controversy began stirring when a luxury building, 40 Riverside Boulevard, vowed that it would have a separate entrance for the residents who would occupy the 55 apartments dedicated to house lower income individuals and families. Can you say income and some racial segregation? Well, no need to worry about that anymore since Mayor Bill de Blasio passed a regulation that stated, according to the New York Post, “Affordable units shall share the same common entrances and common areas as market rate units.”
For those that aren’t familiar with the reason that there are two doors, it’s because of previous zoning laws. According to the New York Times back in April, if the current developer was to attach the lower income units with the regular market rate building, there would have to be two separate entrances. That did not sit well with Mayor de Blasio and his staff.
The Times also noted that since there would be separate entrances, there would be separate amenities. Market rate residences would have access to the pool, bowling alley, gym, and private movie theatre. The affordable housing residents would have a laundry room, community room, and bike room.
Why do these developers insist on putting high income apartments with low income apartments? The answer is simple. Tax breaks. If a developer builds a property that contains lower income housing units, they get a tax break. Of course they make tons of money, but the way they see it, any little break helps.
Gary Barnett, president and founder of the development company of 40 Riverside Boulevard, Extell Development Company, originally said in that same New York Times article from April, that, “I guess people like it…The most important thing is to provide affordable housing…it’s what people really want.”
Now realizing that people don’t want it, he is saying to the New York Post as of late June, “We [Extell] will continue to abide by the rules, whatever they may be.” No matter what, he still gets a nice check, so it’s not surprising if he doesn’t care.
Now that poor doors are out of the way, it doesn’t make the application selection process easier for tenants. Over 88,000 applications have been accepted for this building (40 Riverside Boulevard) according to the New York Times, 2,000 will get the interview, and only 55 will get the apartment.