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Luxury Apartment Has Separate Door for Poorer Tenants

Luxury Apartment Has Separate Door for Poorer Tenants

“Separate but equal” may seem like a thing of the past, but its ideology has been revived in Manhattan. A new luxury apartment building will institute a policy where rich tenants can walk in through the fancy front door, while poorer tenants will have to enter the building through a door located in the back alley.

Extell’s new development at 40 Riverside Boulevard features 219 luxury apartments overlooking the water in an area where the average rent is well over $3,000 a month. Meanwhile, the apartment will also have 55 affordable units for lower income families that, rest assured, will have no view. The designs intended to keep rich and poorer tenants apart have some New York City community members outraged, however.

Think about it, though:

  • What if someone saw a poorer-looking person walk in through the same door as a rich person and assumed the rich person was poor by proxy?
  • What if a rich person had to share an elevator with a poor person and was forced to make small talk with said poor person?
  • What if poor tenants somehow got the impression that they were humans deserving of equal treatment and respect despite not having money?

Now that you’ve at least tried to see it from the rich people’s perspective, okay, you can go ahead and also be outraged.

Luxury developers like David Von Spreckelsen, an executive at Toll Brothers, like to claim that, even if regulated to second-class citizens, lower-income renters are “very fortunate to live in a new building in a great neighborhood.” Fine, but let’s not pretend for one second that real estate moguls have set up these affordable units out of the kindness of their hearts.

In fact, building owners stand to boost their profits by including these units. New York City’s Inclusionary Housing program provides extra incentives for owners to include some affordable housing. Not only they do receive millions in tax rebates, they are also permitted to construct their buildings taller and wider than other buildings in the neighborhood so that they can generate more money from having more tenants overall.

Presumably, the spirit of the law was not to radically divide the rich and poor within a single building, but leave it to the 1% to exploit any loopholes and maintain a clear class distinction. While younger Caucasians make up the majority of the luxury units in these apartments, people of color and the elderly more often dwell in the rent-regulated flats.

“No one ever said that the goal was full integration of the populations,” said Von Spreckelsen. “So now you have politicians… saying how horrible those back doors are. I think it’s unfair to expect very high-income homeowners who paid a fortune to live in their building to have to be in the same boat as low-income renters.”

Though the Manhattan Borough has already approved Extell’s separate doorway plan, following the backlash, Gale Brewer, the president of the organization, has pledged to reject proposals with different entrances in the future.

Sadly, this disturbing trend in is not limited to doorways. Two months ago, the New York Times reported on the growing trend of nice apartments building new amenities while barring the rent-regulated tenants from using them. Pools, gyms, rooftop gardens and storage units have been opened, but only residents who pay the top-tier rent are granted access.

Things like separate doorways aren’t just symptoms of income inequality, they are perpetuators of this flawed system. Now that the 1% can afford to avoid contact with people of a lower class, they’ll be even more out of touch with the plight of people living in poverty. The rich can more easily become numb to the injustice that surrounds them when they don’t even have to look at their neighbors who are not as privileged.

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146 comments

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8:37PM PDT on Oct 13, 2014

The rich snobs don't want to share a door or elevator with people who have less money than they have? I bet they weren't always rich. Have they forgotten what it's like to be a regular human? I feel sorry for them. They base everything on money and status, not on being just another person on this earth who is no better than anyone else, just better off.

6:05AM PDT on Jul 30, 2014

Its the same idea as gated communities in the suburbs.

3:08AM PDT on Jul 30, 2014

I am sorry but up to a certain extent I find no harm with this.

By separating the entrances / exits they are causing no harm at all.. quite frankly here I quite often hear of buildings which are divided into sections and each section will have a diff entrance and a diff price with different specifications so what is the big deal?

The builders are allowing poorer people to afford property where they otherwise wouldn't be able to afford it.. this is a good thing isn't it? people will be living in safer and cleaner neighbourhoods and they are going to make a fuss about the doors they use to get in? What's the big deal? its just like having a separate block..

Same goes for the use of pools and tennis courts - for EX: I own a block and I am selling the apartments in it.. the block also has a tennis court and pool, but the pool and tennis court are available to only those who buy the apartments that cost $10, the apartments that cost $5 can use the pool but not the tennis court, and the apartment that cost $1 cannot use either.. but they paid for the house so that is what they get.. this is NORMAL

3:20PM PDT on Jul 29, 2014

MY THEORY IS THAT MONEY CREATES EVIL AND MORE DISCRIMINATION. IF I HAD MONEY I WOULD NOT LIVE IN A BUILDING LIKE THAT. PEOPLE WHO HAVE LOTS OF MONEY ARE MOST LIKELY GREEDY ANYWAY AND DO BAD THINGS....SOME RICH PEOPLE DO VERY BAD THINGS...EVEN KILLING...AND GET AWAY WITH IT ......I WOULD NOT WANT TO LIVE AROUND PEOPLE LIKE THAT...IT IS BAD ENOUGH TO LIVE AROUND SPOILED RETIREES WHO HAVE NOT MUCH LIKE MYSELF.

11:53AM PDT on Jul 29, 2014

This why i am starting to hate the new America that takes things from us -- this low ger;man should be shot in public along all individuals in the New York government that alowed to to happen -- they are all lowlife shit

9:30AM PDT on Jul 29, 2014

Heard about this on the radio the other day. I grew up in the South and Northerners love to bash the Southern discrimination. Yet we see it exists everywhere

10:53PM PDT on Jul 28, 2014

WOW i would never thought this would happen in a liberal city and you say the left cares about the poor...damn this is funny...remember to keep voting democrat they keep you poor and make you go thru the other door.

12:08PM PDT on Jul 28, 2014

no surprise

11:42AM PDT on Jul 28, 2014

That's terrible.

10:13AM PDT on Jul 28, 2014

Well, at least I would have my own door..if it really exists.
The corporation wants the tax breaks, but not the rule expectations that come with that;

The whole thing is just sad. The rich are riding the money train with a cow catcher, shoving the rest of us in the ditch..or it this case, the back door.

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