Today’s New York: Poor People Should Be Neither Seen Nor Heard

The Heywood is a new condo conversation at 26th Street and Ninth Avenue in Chelsea. It’s just a bit north of the public Elliott-Chelsea Houses, where the city is planning to build a new, 128-unit mixed-income tower. And lest you have any remaining question about who — private developers or city government — really has the upper hand in today’s New York, take a look-see at the Housing Department’s request for proposal for the public-housing tower. It contains lines like: “Preference will be given to proposals that maximize light and air to the Heywood.” (One nonprofit developer laughed out loud when she read the line. “We’re used to preference going to maximum affordability,” she said.) The developer also “must meet with the board of the Heywood upon designation and keep the board apprised.” Why? “The board is particularly concerned about the windows on its southern façade and would like to engage the developer in a discussion about design solutions and possible legal instruments to protect these windows.” In other words, developers have to make sure that if Heywood residents must live near poor people, at least they won’t have to see them. Phew.
Alec Appelbaum

West Side HPD/HYCHA RFP []