Many Vacant Apartments in Lower Manhattan, As Average Rents Skyrocket
The number of vacant apartments in Lower Manhattan is increasing.
A new analysis from online real estate database company, StreetEasy, shows that the number of vacant apartments in Lower Manhattan has jumped to almost 5,000 vacant rental units, a tally that has spiked by almost 20 percent in just the last month. In April, according to the StreetEasy report, there were 4,090 empty rental units in Lower Manhattan. A month later, that total had grown to 4,928 vacant apartments.
These metrics are broadly consistent with a second analysis from the Department of City Planning (DCP), which finds that some 5,520 local dwellings are currently unoccupied. The DCP figure is larger, because it includes both condominium units and rental apartments, while the StreetEasy tabulation considers only rentals.
Both of these indicators point to approximately 13.2 percent of all Lower Manhattan being currently vacant. This is among the highest percentages for empty housing units for any Community District in the five boroughs of New York City.
This local trend provides a stark contrast with City-wide market conditions. For the City as a whole, according to a third report (from real estate firm Douglas Elliman), rental vacancies are now below 2.0 percent. Elliman also notes that Manhattan average rents have now reached a new record of $4,975 per month, with the local (Lower Manhattan) average trailing this benchmark only slightly, at $4,495 per month. For Lower Manhattan, this represents at 28 percent increase over the same figure from May, 2021.
In a separate development, the City’s Rent Guidelines Board on Tuesday approved the largest increases for rent-stabilized apartments since 2013, signing off on increases (in rent-stabilized apartments) of 3.25 percent for one-year leases, and 5.0 percent for two-year leases.
A Lower Manhattan non-profit, the Legal Aid Society (which is headquartered on Water Street) was quick to condemn this decision. Adriene Holder, chief attorney for civil practice at the Legal Aid Society, said, “this shameful vote, one which was likely predetermined, to increase rents on our most vulnerable neighbors is unconscionable, and many families will suffer as a result. So many New Yorkers will now become just another statistic, adding to the burgeoning local homeless population.”
At the local level, one group that remains relatively protected is the subset of Gateway Plaza residents who are covered by a 2020 deal between the Battery Park City Authority and the Lefrak Organization (the Gateway Plaza landlord). For roughly 600 legacy tenants within the 1700-unit complex, this arrangement caps rent increases (through 2030) at 2.5 percent per year (for one-year lease renewals) and 3.78 percent (for two-year renewals). At least for the coming 12 months, such tenants will be paying slightly less than they would have under the previous agreement governing rent hikes at Gateway Plaza, which mirror the increases authorized by the Rent Guidelines Board.
City Council Mulls Legislation to Clip Wings of Whirlybirds
A bill now before the City Council would ban non-essential helicopters from two City-operated heliports on the East River. If enacted, this bill would be a significant step toward a long-held goal for many Lower Manhattan residents and community leaders, who have decried for more than a decade the safety and quality-of-life concerns associated with incessant buzzing of the local skyline by tourist flights. These concerns have become more acute in recent years, with the onset of services like Blade Air Mobility and Uber Helicopter, which have made rotary-wing flights even more prevalent.
CB1 Pushes Vision to Beautify Downtown Thoroughfare Closed for Decades
Community Board 1 (CB1) is endorsing a plan to transform the streetscape of Park Row, which stretches for more than half a mile between the Vesey Street (near City Hall) and Chatham Square (in Chinatown), and which has been closed for most of its length (owing to security concerns) since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Lower Manhattan City Council Rep Seeks Conversion of Local Jail to Women’s Facility, In Lieu of Demolition and Reconstruction
City Council member Christopher Marte is proposing to convert the existing Manhattan Detention Center, located in Chinatown (on White Street, between Baxter and Centre Streets), into a jail for women, rather than demolishing the facility and erecting a much-larger jail in its place, as the Mayor Eric Adams controversially plans to do.
Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn… that’s their order outward from the sun, and it’s the order you’ll see June’s planetary lineup, stretched across our morning sky (Earth is situated between Venus and Mars). See all five planets with the unaided eye until Mercury slips away in the morning twilight in early July.
National Museum of the American Indian, One Bowling Green
Join the curators of the New York museum’s newest exhibition, Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe, as they discuss one of the twentieth century’s most innovative Native American painters. Howe (1915–1983) committed his artistic career to the preservation, relevance, and ongoing expression of his Yanktonai Dakota culture.
This tour explores Battery Park City’s southern district, which is home to the Skyscraper Museum and includes some of BPC’s earliest landscapes and infrastructure, including the residential enclaves built in the 1990s that followed the 1979 Cooper Eckstut Master Plan. We will visit historic Pier A, Wagner Park, and South Cove, as well as the green spaces that connect to the Esplanade, the first waterfront park in New York since the Brooklyn Heights Esplanade in 1951. We will also learn about the developing Resilience Action Plan of the BPC Authority. Free.
National Museum of the American Indian, Diker Pavilion
Part of the 9th Americas Film Festival New York. Two radically opposed women divide the community into two fractions over the issue of alcohol in the community and come face-to-face with each other to determine the best path forward. A conversation with director, Caroline Monnet, follows the film. Free.
Enjoy this nostalgic celebration of the summer solstice. Join in lively dance around the Midsummer pole. Make wreaths from beautiful flowers representing those in bloom on the solstice in Sweden. Enjoy a parade, children’s games, and Swedish delicacies. Free.
Available for PT/FT. Wonderful person, who is a great worker.
Worked in BPC.
$2.00 per notarized signature.
Lower Manhattan Greenmarkets
Greenwich Street & Chambers Street
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8am-3pm (compost program: Saturdays, 8am-1pm)
Bowling Green Greenmarket
Broadway & Whitehall St
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8am-5pm (compost program: 8am-11am)
World Trade Center Oculus Greenmarket
The Outdoor Fulton Stall Market
91 South Street, between Fulton & John Streets
Indoor market: Monday through Saturday,11:30am-5pm
CSA pick-up: Thursday, 4pm-6pm; Friday, 11:30-5pm
Outdoor market: Saturday 11:30am-5pm, May through Thanksgiving
Today in History: June 23
This is a working replica of a “bombe”—an early computer—at The National Museum of Computing on Bletchley Park, an estate in England where cryptographers broke the Enigma codes of the Axis powers during the Second World War. Alan Turing, who was born on this day in 1912, led the team of code-breakers. A mathematician and philosopher, he is considered the founder of computer science. He was voted the greatest person of the 20th century in a 2019 BBC series, but during his lifetime, many of his accomplishments were not recognized and he was denigrated and prosecuted for homosexuality.
930 – World’s oldest parliament, the Iceland Parliament, is established
1683 – William Penn signs friendship treaty with Leni Lenape Indians near what is now Philadelphia. He said, “We meet on the broad pathway of good faith and good-will; no advantage shall be taken on either side, but all shall be openness and love. We are the same as if one man’s body was to be divided into two parts; we are of one flesh and one blood.” The chief Tamanend replied, “We will live in love with William Penn and his children as long as the creeks and rivers run, and while the sun, moon, and stars endure.” The treaty lasted until the Penn’s Creek Massacre on October 16, 1755.
1713 – The French residents of Acadia are given one year to declare allegiance to Britain or leave Nova Scotia, Canada.
1780 – In the American Revolution, the Battle of Springfield is fought in and around Springfield, New Jersey.
1868 – Christopher Latham Sholes patents the Type-writer.
1888 – Frederick Douglass is first African-American nominated for president
1949 – First 12 women graduate from Harvard Medical School
1972 – Nixon and Haldeman agree to use CIA to cover up Watergate
1974 – First extraterrestrial message sent from Earth into space
2014 – One of Claude Monet’s Water Lilies paintings is sold for $54 million
2016 – United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union in the Brexit referendum
2018 – 12 boys and their coach are stranded in a cave in Thailand by monsoon flooding. An international effort rescues them nine days later
47 BC – Pharaoh Ptolemy XV of Egypt (d. 30 BC)
1894 – Alfred Kinsey, American entomologist/sexologist
1894 – Edward VIII, King of Great Britain (1936)
1911 – David Ogilvy, advertising whiz
1912 – Alan Turing, mathematician/pioneer in computer theory
1927 – Bob Fosse, Chicago Ill, choreographer/director
79 – Vespasian, Roman Emperor, dies at 69
1980 – Clyfford Still, American painter (b. 1904)
1995 – Jonas Salk, biologist (Polio vaccine), dies of heart failure
1997 – Betty Shabazz, widow of Malcolm X, suffering from burns, dies at 63
2009 – Ed McMahon, American television personality (b. 1923)