In New York City, real estate developers often cut deals with the local government in order to get zoning variances and tax breaks, and often what they have to give up is a slice of their profitability by providing a certain number of affordable apartments. A new development on the side of the Hudson River on the Upper West Side has just such an arrangement; developer Extell is making 55 out of the 219 units in its luxury condo building affordable. Condo owners have to shell out a minimum of a million dollars to live their, but the affordable units will go for as little as $845 a month.
So of course, Linda Rosenthal, who represents Manhattan in the State Assembly, wants to shut the project down. Why? Because the condo would have a separate entrance and elevator for the affordable units. Oh the humanity!
Speaking to the local Fox affiliate, Rosenthal said:
My question is, why do the affordable units have to be segregated apart from the condos that the wealthy can afford to buy?
Developers up and down the west side and across the city manage to inter-mingle the affordable units with the non-affordable units – it’s done everywhere. There’s no reason that there needs to be segregation.
Rosenthal's objection underscores the basic problem with government in the Big Apple. "What do they have to be segregated," "There's no reason that there needs to be segregation."
They don't have to do it, they choose to do it, and private citizens shouldn't have to justify their choices to a government niceness council. The government can rightly put certain stipulations on the zoning and tax perks, things like the units need to have windows, and a minimum size, and maybe some paint on the walls. But Rosenthal wants to go beyond that and use the building process as a way to ensure that poorer residents of New York City don't have to suffer the indignity of using a separate entrance from the rich folks.
Well here's a news flash Ms. Rosenthal: There already is a separate entrance. It's called the Triborough Bridge.