Affordable housing wait list opens at the iconic Manhattan Plaza Mitchell-Lama apartments

January 14, 2019

Manhattan Plaza (photo via LIHC Investment Group)

A lottery to snag a waiting list spot for Mitchell-Lama rental apartments in Manhattan Plaza at 400 West 43rd Street–where, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Alicia Keys was born and Samuel L. Jackson was the first security guard–has just opened (h/t CityRealty). Senior citizens and residents of all ages in Community Board 4 are eligible to apply for studio to one-bedroom apartments. Rents aren’t listed, but you can expect a significant discount from the neighborhood median of $3,000/month for studios and $3,600/month for one-bedrooms. There are four lists (community studio list, community studio elderly list, community one-bedroom list, community elderly one-bedroom list) with 500 spots available on each. The deadline to apply for all is January 31, 2019.

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Manhattan Plaza (Google Earth aerial )

In addition to the aforementioned celebrity history, the iconic Midtown property was, at various times in the 20th century, the address where Larry David had a next-door neighbor named Kenny Kramer, and Robert De Niro and Al Pacino frequently rolled by to visit pal Jack Warden. Other notable tenants include Terrence Howard, Tennessee Williams, Angela Lansbury, Mickey Rourke, Patrick Dempsey, Tom Fontana and casting director Mary Jo Slater who, along with director Alice Elliott and producer Ken Aguado are celebrating the building on film: “Miracle on 42nd Street,” shines a spotlight on the building with the help of many of its now-famous residents and narrator Chazz Palminteri.

Mitchell-Lama is still offering middle-income renters and buyers access to affordable housing 68 years after the program was created in the post-war period of the late 1940s as men and women returning from service and a new wave of refugees and immigrants arrived in New York City. The Mitchell-Lama program led to the development of 269 state-supervised developments with over 105,000 apartments, built mostly in locations where the housing crisis had hit the hardest.

However, the initial terms of the Mitchell-Lama contracts expired in 20 to 35 years, meaning that the program’s participating developers could then voluntarily convert their units to market rent, which 93 of 269 Mitchell-Lama developments did, mostly in the 1990s. As the buyouts escalated, regulations were issued to ensure that rent stabilization would remain in place in most Mitchell-Lama buildings. Though the struggle to keep the program’s affordable housing affordable, the benefits of renting or buying in a Mitchell-Lama building continue to be significant.

Waiting lists for Mitchell-Lama units are generally very long–it’s not unusual for applicants to spend well over a decade on a Mitchell-Lama waiting list. In 2017, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would invest $250 million to protect 15,000 Mitchell-Lama apartments from going to market rate: “This is about keeping New York, New York. This is about not letting New York City slip away.”

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Qualifying New Yorkers can enter the waitlist for the affordable apartments at Manhattan Plaza until January 31, 2019.You can apply for the lottery online through Mitchell-Lama Connect–and you can check the status of your entry to see if you have been selected. You can also find details for how to apply by mail. Questions regarding this offer must be referred to NYC’s Housing Connect department by dialing 311.

If you don’t qualify for the housing lotteries mentioned, visit’s no-fee rentals page for other apartment deals in the city.


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