[None of us need more worries in this already over stressed world. However, all renters in Morningside Heights must be aware that the next phase in our gentrification may well be fighting off super rents — those in the neighborhood of $5,000 – $6,500 per MONTH!!!!! I am already hearing tales of legal battles along these lines here in Morningside Heights. The turf being taken over from the Cathedral is already there and residents nearby are seeing the pattern emerging in their buildings. I gather that 3333 B’way to the north of Columbia’s proposed Manhattanville expansion is rejecting Section 8 vouchers as noted by the Times article below?

To give some personal history, we as a couple never would have survived as Columbia grad students — even living on a national fellowship — had Grant Houses not been available to us for rents at 30% of our income. We lived happily there until we moved out of the city for teaching. When we returned the neighborhood buildings were renting at most reasonable prices and we moved into our present address at 440 Riverside Drive at $200.00 a month and sublet a room to a Barnard student to make ends meet our first year. Then in 1979 the co-op boom started and at the beginning it was affordable for renters to convert. Those of us who did are paying a small fraction of rents in maintenance costs. Now, however, the purchase price of a co-op apartment has escalated. A six room one in our building is being offered for $2.8 million.

As a recently retired academic aware of students graduating with large loans to pay off, I can’t imagine how the next generation is going to make it? Certainly the academic world has become a nightmare with jobs going to part-timers with Ph.D.s with no benefits or futures. These part-time jobs are replacing fulltime ones. I gather one can do well in nursing these days with the shortage there? But even double family nurses would be hard pressed to find housing here.

Needless to say we need to make some drastic changes in the way incomes and wealth are being divided in this country. Would you believe that taxes used to take 90% of the income of the most wealthy not so many decades ago. Now the same folks can hide their real income in innumerable ways and, thus, are able to live in several spots here and there. Out of our building each spring, fall, and summer weekend our prosperous ones depart Friday afternoons for their second homes from which they return Sunday nights to start their week’s work and study.
They are generally nice people. But all the rest are no longer welcomed into Morningside Heights. And if Columbia gets its way, the dead zones will merge and expand to expel the folks living to the north — that process has already begun in West Harlem.

And so it went. Ed Kent]


Doors Close on Subsidized Tenants, Advocates Say
Apartment listings in New York City now routinely exclude
Section 8 voucher holders, marking a significant shift in
the way many landlords have come to view the program.


“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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