Separate and Unequal in Williamsburg’s Affordable Housing

05/04/2011 9:49 AM |

Welcome to Northside Piers! Poor People Enter in Rear
  • “Welcome to Northside Piers! Poor People Enter in Rear”

The luxury condos jutting out along the North Brooklyn waterfront came with a modest catch: that the developers incorporate a percentage of affordable housing into their multi-million developments. A recent article in the Times provides a look at these working-class homes, which often share walls with their lavish counterparts but little else.

The entrances are separate. At Northside Piers, for example, residents enter from North Fourth Street, while the affordable building, which is farther from the water, opens onto North Fifth. The lobbies of the luxury sides have doormen, plush sofas and potted plants; the lobbies of their affordable counterparts are lined with tiles and little else. Tenants on the affordable side are not allowed access to any of the condos’ many amenities — pools, billiard rooms and Jacuzzis, to name a few.

Many residents of the affordable housing units are grateful to have received the lodgings, which were awarded by lottery and charge rents well below market rate. But there is something off-putting about the arrangement.

“I’m not complaining,” one resident of Northside Pier’s affordable component told the paper. “But the landlord gets a huge tax break. The money comes from taxpayers. And I’m a taxpayer.”

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2 Comment

  • Wait a minute. I’m not overwhelmingly a fan of these condo developments, but am I supposed to feel bad about people in below-market priced apartments not having a doorman? It sounds like the developer fulfilled their obligation, and people are in affordable housing to boot.

  • I so do not want to hear it. I would kill for cheaper rent and certainly put up with a brand new potted plantless hallway for it.