You are here: Home/Uncategorized/ The BroadsheetDAILY ~ 4/22/21 ~ An Outbreak of Affordability in Lower Manhattan ~ Soft Rental Market Puts Downtown Apartments within Reach of Voucher Guidelines, Almost
The BroadsheetDAILY ~ 4/22/21 ~ An Outbreak of Affordability in Lower Manhattan ~ Soft Rental Market Puts Downtown Apartments within Reach of Voucher Guidelines, Almost
Soft Rental Market Puts Downtown Apartments within Reach of Voucher Guidelines, Almost
One perverse boon arising from the pandemic coronavirus (and the economic slowdown that it triggered) is a slight—but significant—uptick in housing affordability in Lower Manhattan. A new study from the online real estate database company, StreetEasy, finds that the inventory of apartments in Downtown’s eight residential zip codes that are eligible for New York Citys’ housing voucher program has expanded, as asking rents across all categories of apartments have dropped. This has, in a handful of cases, brought rental units within range of the maximum payments allowed under the voucher program.
The study was authored by Nancy Wu, an economist at StreetEasy, who uses data science and econometrics to publish original research on the New York City housing market. Its upbeat title, “Pandemic Rent Drops Double NYC’s Voucher-Accessible Housing,” refers to a City-wide trend, but for residents of Lower Manhattan (or people who aspire to live here), this optimism is tempered by statistics and market dynamics at the local level.
Ms. Wu’s research indicates that almost 300 apartments have been rendered “affordable” by the convergence of falling rents with maximum voucher payments. The bulk of these, some 280 apartments, are located in the combined Financial District and South Street Seaport neighborhoods. A relative paucity are found in Tribeca (five units) and Battery Park City (two apartments).
But the increases in these metrics are still striking. By this gauge, in 2019 (before the pandemic began), there was not a single apartment available in the FiDi/Seaport area for which the rent was low enough to qualify for payment by vouchers. Battery Park City was similarly home to not one voucher-eligible apartment. And Tribeca had just one such unit in 2019.
That noted, considerable hurdles remain for anybody wishing to use a City-issued voucher to rent a home in any of these neighborhoods. Chief among them is that if you do not currently possess such a credential, you are unlikely to obtain one anytime soon. As Ms. Wu points out in her report, the City, “stopped accepting voucher applications back in December 2009. Many who applied in time are still on the waiting list. As of May 2018, there were 148,000 households on the waiting list.”
Another challenge, as Ms. Wu notes, is widespread income discrimination on the part of landlords, which frequently has the effect of blocking applications by prospective tenants who hope to pay their rent with vouchers, even when they find a unit the program will enable them to afford.
And finally, there is the math. The maximum rent allowed under the voucher program varies by neighborhood throughout the five boroughs. For seven of the eight residential zip codes in Lower Manhattan, these guidelines permit maximum rents in a range between $2,851 (for a studio) and $4,212 (for a three-bedroom unit). The lone exception is zip code 10013 (northern Tribeca), where top allowable rents dip to a range between $1,998 (studio) and $2,948 (three-bedroom apartment).
Even in a soft market, however, finding apartments at these prices in Lower Manhattan is exceedingly difficult. A sampling of StreetEasy’s database of available rental apartments in Lower Manhattan found a handful of studios for which the asking rent is below the City’s maximum threshold (for most of Lower Manhattan) of $2,851, and slightly fewer that meet the cut-off for one-bedroom units, of $2,916. But as the search was refined to focus on two- and three-bedroom apartments, the number of available units that meet the City’s criteria (of $3,326 and $4,212, respectively) dwindled to zero.
Celebrate Earth Day with BPCA!
Digital event. Families are invited to make a fun Earth Day craft project with Marieke. This Earth-friendly activity and more are available on the BPCA YouTube Channel.
Composting is a great way to reduce the amount of food sent to the landfill and help the Earth—and the Battery Park City Authority is well known for its composting program. Today, visit Oculus Plaza at the World Trade Center campus anytime between 10am and noon for Let’s Talk Compost, an event co-hosted by the BPCA and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, to learn about compost and how you can participate. Click here for more info.
Digital event. Take a fun and informative virtual tour of the zero waste work happening at the Battery Park City Authority!
Please just observe the animals in Battery Park City’s parks and public spaces. Do not interact with them or feed them.
The Depopulation of Downtown
Analysis Documents Migration Out of Lower Manhattan During Pandemic
An intriguing new data analysis from CBRE, the real estate services and investment firm, quantifies how many people left Lower Manhattan permanently during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report, “COVID-19 Impact on Migration Patterns,” uses change-of-address requests filed with the U.S. Postal Service to compile a real-time demographic snapshot of inflow and outflow of residents at the neighborhood level. Authors Eric Willet (CBRE’s research director) and Matt Mowell (the senior economist at CBRE Econometric Advisors) establish that each of the eight residential zip codes in Lower Manhattan lost population during 2020.
New FiDi Public Space Is Culmination of More Than a Decade of Advocacy and Planning
A new green space that Lower Manhattan community leaders have been advocating for since 2009 is now open to the public. Elizabeth Berger Plaza is named in honor of the former president of the Dowtown Alliance, who died in 2012, after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
First proposed in 2009 and formally approved in 2012, the park is bounded by Greenwich Street, Edgar Street, and Trinity Place, along with an exit ramp from the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. The new park was formed by combining two existing, smaller plazas, and eliminating a two-lane exit ramp from the Tunnel, which ran between them—thus creating a single, larger public square.
Neuroscientist Dr. Daniela Schiller, who leads the Affective Neuroscience Lab at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, has spent years exploring “reconsolidation” — the biological process of rewriting painful memories. Her groundbreaking work is shaped by her personal experiences with her elderly father in Israel, who remains haunted by the Holocaust decades after he survived it. Filmmaker Liron Unreich has spent years exploring multigenerational trauma through a different lens. Like Schiller, his work is a personal mission informed by his own grandfather’s legacy as a Holocaust survivor. The two of them have joined forces with producer Roy Wol to create the upcoming feature-length documentary The Ripple Project ONE, which profiles five creative individuals working through the enduring trauma of the Holocaust. Join Schiller, Unreich, and Wol for a discussion exploring Schiller’s personal story, the journeys behind the film, and the dynamic nature of traumatic emotional memories. $10
During the summer of 1776, patriots worked frantically to head off a British invasion from Canada. Their effort culminated in a wild three-day naval battle on Lake Champlain in northern New York. In this lecture, Jack Kelly will argue that, although the campaign has often been neglected by historians, its success was an important impetus to Washington’s decision to cross the Delaware and attack Trenton. This lecture will take place via Zoom. $5
The Seaport Museum’s Sea Songs and Sea Lives: Voices of the Many series continues as we explore the roles of diverse sailors and their treatment in traditional maritime songs. Join tugboat captain Ann Loeding and Harbor School graduate/SUNY Maritime student Ashley Cruz, along with chantey singer Bonnie Milner of the Johnson Girls, to discuss the roles of women in modern maritime careers and the role of women in singing sea songs; ultimately, all that matters is how good you are at your job. We will also discuss the function of music and traditional culture on board, yesterday and today. A brief Q&A will follow the conversation. Free
A Pooling of Interests
Would a Swim Facility that Doubles as a Floating Filtration System be a Net Plus?
Community Board 1 (CB1) is continuing a decade of grassroots advocacy by prodding the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to consider a proposal to create a floating pool in the East River, near the Brooklyn Bridge. To read more…
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
City Preservation Agency Okays Plan for New Structure on East River Waterfront
The City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission has approved a proposal by the Howard Hughes Corporation, the real estate firm that is redeveloping the South Street Seaport, and the City’s Parks Department, to create a new outdoor restaurant underneath the FDR Drive.
At a Tuesday hearing, the LPC praised the modifications to a 2019 proposal that would have placed a much larger structure (also beneath the FDR Drive) at the intersection of South and John Streets, blocking the view corridor of the East River, and eclipsing the historic tall ships docked on the waterfront. Community Board 1 (CB1) strongly opposed that version of the plan, and the LPC was guided by the Board’s judgment.
HRPT Moves Ahead with Plans to Recast Former Tow Pound as Waterfront Park
Lower Manhattan residents who use the Hudson River Greenway to traverse the waterfront will soon have another open space to savor. The Hudson River Park Trust has begun demolition and reconstruction work on Pier 76 (located at 12th Avenue in the West 30s, across from the Javits Convention Center), which will be transformed into an interim park by June. To read more…
Eyes to the Sky
April 19 – May 2, 2021
Wildly twinkling stars
At nightfall on April 6, on a visit to the countryside, I was drawn outdoors by an exceptionally clear, deep dark and starry sky. In every direction the stars were twinkling. From the southwest, flashing Sirius, the brightest of all stars seen from Earth, to pulsing Arcturus in the east, something out of the ordinary was happening. Sirius took hold of me, inspired me to concentrate my gaze to discern its white light fracturing into prismacolors. The star flickered, throwing off fragments of green, blue and red dazzle. It was like gazing at sunlight on snow or on jiggling dewdrops or a finely faceted diamond in daylight. To read more…
A chorus of New York naysayers are telling us that the City will never be the same after this pandemic. They are right—but not in the way they think. New York City is on the cusp of another “Roaring 20’s,” and I, for one, can’t wait.
One hundred years ago we were recovering from a pandemic (the Spanish Flu) and a Great War that spread fear and death. New York is facing a similar trauma. Loved ones lost are never coming back. Some of us have lost jobs, homes, or even just our favorite restaurants. A century ago, when it was all over, people were ready to let loose—and let loose they did. I believe that a similar spirit is about to start a recovery that will reshape the city in exciting ways, creating new opportunities for many.
More Survivors than Responders Now are Submitting Claims
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) has released its annual report for 2020, which documents some significant developments.
Over the course of its ten years of operation thus far, the VCF has awarded $7.76 billion to more than 34,400 individuals who have suffered death or personal injury as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath. The vast majority of these injuries take the form of illness caused by exposure to toxic materials that were released by the destruction of the World Trade Center.