To the editor,
Thank you for your ongoing coverage of Battery Park City housing affordability issues. Here is my story as a former Gateway Plaza resident, which may be representative of many tenant experiences within the last seven years or so.
I first lived in Gateway Plaza from 1989 to 1996 and absolutely loved the community and the neighborhood. I had out-of-state family obligations for about thirteen years and returned to Gateway in September 2009, renting an alcove studio with a river view and looking forward to spending at least ten years there. My starting rent was $1,800. I knew that rent stabilization would not apply to me, but did not expect to see rent increases that I could not afford. I was very, very wrong about this. A renewal lease for the period 2016-2018, had I signed it, would have given me a monthly increase of 65% over the original rate. Needless to say, meeting this rent obligation was no longer feasible, and I had to move.
“Well, so what?” I can hear the LeFrak Organization, the BPCA, and the high-profile tenants of Brookfield Place saying. It’s heartbreaking to read that the fabric of the BPC community is being shredded by affordability issues. Quality of life doesn’t just depend on luxury amenities, elegant lobbies, and high-end stores. Without people who know, love, and are committed to their communities, what is truly worth its weight in gold disappears for good.