Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tear Queensbridge down in order to save it?

From LICTalk:

Since Mayor de Blasio fantasizes to the press about covering Sunnyside Yards and building affordable housing on top of it, I have decided to put forth a more pragmatic housing solution that focuses on the original intent of government. Raze Queensbridge and put up brand new towers for both the poor and whomever qualifies for ‘affordable housing’ in NYC in 2015.

Well the Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing development in North America, are a relic in all respects. The housing is antiquated and dilapidated. It’s completely isolated with a bridge on the south, a river to the west, and warehouses and autobody shops to it’s east and north. Any occasional talk/press about it’s being a vibrant community, is completely negated by the fact that it’s too dangerous to be outside of at night.

But guess what else Queensbridge is? Low density and extremely close to the city. All the buildings are only six stories high, there’s a namesake station on its eastern border that’s two stops from Manhattan, and the Queensboro Plaza station four blocks from there has multiple lines just one stop into Midtown.

So here’s the plan.

1. Knock down the existing 3,000+ units

2. Rezone to allow 30-story buildings = 15,000 units

3. Sell the property to a developer with two stipulations 1) 4,500 units are controlled by NYCHA (the NYC public housing agency). 2) the other 10,500 apartments are market rate but rent-stabilized, just like Linc LIC and Gantry Park Landing are.

32 comments:

georgetheatheist said...

Where do the tenants go in the interim, genius?

Anonymous said...

What a great idea except Manhattan's snobs won't go for it.

Anonymous said...

@george

That's got to be the easiest part of this to solve - take rooms in market rate buildings, and rooms in some existing queensbridge buildings that are vacant and offer them to the current tenants of a couple of the towers. Tear them down, and then throw up the high rises. The tenants who you had to move out get first offer to stay where they just moved to or go to the new high rises. They have more public housing units than the existing towers, so now there will be rooms for you to be residents of another couple towers. Build the project over fifteen years, long term union construction jobs, they'd love it.

Anonymous said...

Great plan and George I have a way to get it done.
As people move out do not fill the apartment and close one floor at at time in one building until all floors are empty. It will take time but no existing tenants will be displaced. When the first 30 story building is finished you will have all the empty apartments you need.

JQ said...

"Where do the tenants go in the interim, genius?"

Yes,you try telling the residents there to move. But that's what all these dilapidated hotels are for.


Yeah, they'll go for that. Living without a kitchen and sharing a small bathroom while they wait to enter a lottery for the small amount of affordable housing there will be. Ironically in apartments where they used to live.

We are very lucky not to live in Florida, because stand your ground would be applicable if such a ridiculous plan was forced on people.


Anonymous said...

Can you tell me why this city needs more people? The roads are jammed and subways can't fit anymore people. The overcrowding is getting ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

That's got to be the easiest part of this to solve - take rooms in market rate buildings...

We're talking about over 3,000 apartments - that's a lot to try to absorb in existing buildings.

Anonymous said...

Low density? Isolated? What the FUCK is this guy smoking? he makes it sound like a small shack on top of a mountain hours from civilization.

Handing anything to 'developers' is never a wise idea.

I do love how they're building all these high rises in LIC without the subway lines and wide roads found in manhattan. All the developer wealth, none of the infrastructure.

Anonymous said...

About as bad as the idea to make all cemeteries into parkland that was floated around a few years back.

Things are bad when the layout for the projects will be the new norm for 98% of NYC housing.

Local Infrastructure Impact Discussed? Naw. But when that happened Suna's Bonanza did rate a traffic light study.

Local flooding and sewage Discussed? Go ask Noguchi - Piano Factory

Anonymous said...

why would people who can afford a decent rent want to live with people who are getting government subsidies?

Troll said...

'Anonymous said...
why would people who can afford a decent rent want to live with people who are getting government subsidies?'

Aren't our lives supposed to be enriched by diversity?

Isn't that the answer to all of society's problems?

Anonymous said...

Where do the tenants go in the interim, genius?
----

back where they came from would be a good start.

Anonymous said...

Didn't this happen on the HBO classic "The Wire"?

Anonymous said...

Anon No. 12: What if Queensbridge is where they came from in the first place?

The Editor said...

Hello All,

I am the Editor of LICtalk and I am heartened to see all your interesting and mostly insightful comments on my 'Raze Queensbridge' story, and I am gratefully going to use this forum to respond to them.

First, where do the tenants go in the interim? You are absolutely right George and JQ, though I was fully cognizant of the tremendous uprooting a plan like this would incur on the current residents, I haven't delved into it and wouldn't disagree that a) there aren't any easy answers, and b) therefore there would be a cost inflicted upon these residents. The only salve I can offer, is the tremendous positive effect ~4 years out that a brand new apartment and environment will have on their lives. Not to mention those of future generations.

To the commenter asking why the city needs more people - I AGREE! The idea that for some reason everyone needs to live a) close to Manhattan, b) in the 5 boros, or c) even in the tristate region, is one that should be determined by supply and demand (capitalism) and personal choices, not government.

Nevertheless, my story was written as an alternative to the Mayor's Sunnyside Yards plan for all the reasons I outlined in it. Please keep this in mind reagrding topic one as well, the uprooting dilemma, because the Suunyside Yard plans would also require massive amounts of upheaval.

Why would people who can afford decent rent want to live w/ those getting subsidies? That one's easy - because they'd be getting brand new housing stock one-stop from Midtown, versus older stock in say Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Staten Island, or even Orange County NY. The fact that the person living next door is getting a big subsidy may not make them happy, but the discount they'd be paying would mollify that.

"Not handing over anything to developers" - I AGREE, sort of. The problem isn't the handover to the developers, it's the terrible terms the city has negotiated - they've been a huge boondoggle for these developers. Sadly, I fear the current Mayor will also leave intact generous IRR's for developers to goose the headline # of new affordable housing units added under his administration.

Lots more to say on this, just out of time. Thank you for your ear, and stay diligent.

Anonymous said...

It's not 3k apartments anon, because you don't build the whole thing at once.

Other anon, you think a lot of people might not want to live near the poor residents of the new towers? The article covers that, they assume some will but will get a better deal because you're right, not everyone will want to.

Anonymous said...

There's an entire boarded up empty housing project in East New York. Been that way for years. I wonder where all those residents went.

Anonymous said...

"back from where they came from?"

um, they're from here, you obscene snob.

to be precise, they're from queens: they're not going anywhere nor should they.

i am stunned by the elitist and clearly also racist comments and attitude on here. i believe queensbridge housing should be slowly renovated as needed, with families given as little disruption as possible. you'd want that for yourself, wouldn't you? there's a real barbara-bush-hurricane-katrina mentality happening here: "the poor don't count: just displace them, they don't mind, they don't have anything anyway." this makes me sick. that's not what this city is about, certainly not the borough of queens.

the last thing queensbridge and its worthy human residents (who are your neighbors and peers, whether you like it or not) need are a bunch of stupid new towers: we don't need yet another threat of our river view being obstructed by ugly new construction.

queensbridge park is gorgeous and i am glad it remains a beautiful outdoor and nearby space for the queensbridge residents. i would hate to see any of that area destroyed for wealthy, discontented snobs: those baboons need to stay in manhattan and brooklyn. don't come and ruin our neighborhoods in queens, especially along our waterfront.

Anonymous said...

Great idea. If you disposes those undesirables and replace the projects with affordable housing, the crime rate will go down.

Anonymous said...

"Where do the tenants go in the interim, genius?
----

back where they came from would be a good start."

__________________________

Africa? Slavery?

This is probably as fine a time as any to mention racism.

Queensbridge probably has some people not paying their share in society, but for the most part it's full of people working low wage jobs trying to survive. I'd love to hear some actual numbers on this - not hyperbole.

Those who live there will resist this plan completely - because it's one more example of whitey coming in and taking the very little that they have (even if what they have is aging and not well maintained) and giving them nothing. No, they don't own it, but many have lived there really long times, through harsh times. They don't deserve to be treated like filth to be removed. They are human beings.

You want to wait for people to move out then leave floors and apartments vacant? Seriously? That plan would take a ridiculously long time to work (dozens of years, not weeks or months. Decades).

As for the buildings being "antiquated and dilapidated" - have you been inside any of them recently? Ever? Have you ever walked through the area? Do you know anyone that lives there?

_____________________________

"Why would people who can afford decent rent want to live w/ those getting subsidies? That one's easy - because they'd be getting brand new housing stock one-stop from Midtown"

Wait I thought Queensbridge is 'completely isolated'? (your words not mine)

So which is it? You know what, don't answer that, because arguing with someone like you is probably pointless, because one minute you're saying it's isolated and the next you're saying it's one stop from midtown.


_____________________


"I AGREE, sort of. The problem isn't the handover to the developers, it's the terrible terms the city has negotiated - they've been a huge boondoggle for these developers. "

NO, GIVING BILLIONAIRE+ DEVELOPERS FREE LAND IS THE FUCKING PROBLEM. If a developer wants to build in Queensbridge, they should offer a 1-to-1 replacement new apartment for everyone who needs to relocate. They should also PAY THE CITY MARKET RATE for the property.

Same goes for Sunnyside, though there are no people to relocate. The MTA and Amtrak own the property, both are underfunded agencies that should look to squeeze every dime they can out of any prospective "developer".

At the end of the day, you're suggestion that extremely deep pocketed corporations should come in and kick out poor and working class people so they can sell huge fancy apartments to foreign investors.

To that, I don't just say no to your idea - I say fuck you - and go to hell. Tell the whatever real estate developer is paying you to write this shit to go fuck themselves as well.

-A life long LIC resident

Anonymous said...

This got ugly in a hurry.

Anonymous said...

Dont know how any new big building can go up in sunnyside or queensbridge, traffic is horrible as it is and not everyone is going to use the train.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, tear it down and expel the "undesirables". Watch the crime rate go down. Isn't that what the local hipsters would love? "Those nasty people are ruining our real estae values".

Anonymous said...

"i am stunned by the elitist and clearly also racist comments and attitude on here. i believe queensbridge housing should be slowly renovated as needed, with families given as little disruption as possible."

i believe they should pay market rate like the other eligible 340,000 people on the NYCHA waiting list or get the #$%^ out and live somewhere in this country that they can afford like the rest of the people who work for a living.

see how we all have our unique opinions in this diverse society?

Anonymous said...

"the last thing queensbridge and its worthy human residents"


'queensbridge' and 'human residents' do not belong in the same sentence.

These are zoo animals we are talking about here.

Anonymous said...

Get rid of NYCHA entirely. Why are the NYC taxpayer subsidizing places for criminals, drug dealers and other undesirables to live? I am very curious to know how many white American citizens live in this housing project or get any of the numerous vouchers given to blacks, latinos or illegal aliens.

I have never had a subsidized apartment, any voucher or Jiggetts money, where minor children get subsidizes to pay their drug dealer/addict parents rents. Why do they get to live for $300 per month? NYC is a very expensive place.

Anonymous said...

"zoo animals"

"undesirables"

"drug dealer/addict parents"

yup: raging racism from rich people who are pissed they can't block the river view with their own crappy towers.

guess "undesirable" is now the new "thug." thanks, racists!

ironic, since what is most undesirable on this planet is such an attitude of superiority and hatred. it has no place in this city, definitely not in this borough.

Anonymous said...

The Queensbridge Houses are the most dangerous housing project in the country, home to murderers and rapists.

There's no problem in calling pigs out for being pigs.

Anonymous said...

The notion that the working 40 percent (top ten only typically pay capital gains tax, while the bottom fifty pay no taxes) should support and subsidize the public housing residents is absurd. Housing is not a right, it's a commodity. Any fiscally responsible person lives within their means. So while I would love to live in Chelsea in a luxury loft, I can afford to live where I live (astoria). News flash for all the bleeding hearts that romanticize the PJ's. Spend some time there, it's the "residents" that pee in the elevators, leave garbage everywhere, and rob their own neighbors. It isn't oppresive policies that make people act irresponsibly, it's simply poor behavior. Don't try to cry racism when people get called out for acting like bums. As long as you give things away for almost free, the "residents" will never contribute to or value what they have. Housing isn't a "social" problem you can solve by throwing money at,,,,,,but if you feel differently why don't you open your homes to the residents while we build them more subsidized housing!

Anonymous said...

LM@O...3000 families displaced-geez ALMOST AS GOOD as rObert moses destruction of the West Side to make way for Lincoln Center.
so where will these people now go ?
as for the condition of the buildings ? get after THEIR SLUMLORD--and the SAME for all the criminals and slobs-ENFORCE THE LAWS--duuuuh they most certainly DO HAVE laws, codes and regulations pertaining to city housing.
Back when they cut the ribbon,HOW MANY decent people COULD NOT GET IN due to NOT MEETING INCOME REQUIREMENTS--yeah,no section 8 or greaT society in existence and WE ALL KNOW how well that's worked out !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Richard Stefan said...

People dont want to live next to section 8 people for a very good reason...its their behavior..its always been about behavior never about race.

I would demand they be enrolled in life skills/ behavior modification classes before they can move back into the new building.

Unknown said...

I was laughing so hard earlier at the poster that its such a beautiful place....She must be either mentally ill or out of her mind. It's a free fire gun zone with gangs and drugs.
The best thing that could happen is the NYPD surround the complex one night and go apartment to apartment and displace all these worthless creatures. Put them on all on buses and send them to Staten Island which is an improvement.
Then all the beautiful towers could be built in the New Queensbridge. Make rent 2,500 a month so the criminal element would be gone from the area.
Problem solved.