In 1977, when President Jimmy Carter visited the South Bronx and declared it the worst neighborhood in the country, he was standing in Crotona Park East, a small neighborhood nestled in the triangle bordered by the Cross Bronx Expressway, the Harlem River, and Crotona Park. Though the Bronx dropped this reputation a long time ago, Crotona Park East was one of a few areas that seemed slow to catch up with the rest of the borough, but five years ago, the city rezoned this stretch from light industrial use to residential, creating a boom in affordable housing opportunities.
The latest such development is located at 1702 Bryant Avenue, where 10 newly constructed affordable units are up for grabs through the city’s housing lottery. The unit are $931/month one-bedrooms for one person earning between $31,920 and $38,100 annually and two people earning between $31,920 and $43,500.
Through tools like rezonings, the city has been trying in recent years to increase affordable housing opportunities in lower-income Brooklyn neighborhoods like East New York and Brownsville, and the latter now has 86 brand new apartments available through the city’s affordable housing lottery. The units are part of the much larger Prospect Plaza development by Dattner Architects, which altogether will transform a 4.5-acre site into 364 units of affordable and public housing, as well as a 22,000-square-foot supermarket, 12,000-square-foot community facility, and a rooftop greenhouse.
The first batch of units to come online, located at 1740-1760 Prospect Place and 396 Saratoga Avenue, range from $689/month one-bedrooms to $1,181/month three-bedrooms for families earning between $24,995 and $63,060 annually. They’ll feature “exquisitely finished kitchen and bathrooms,” energy efficient appliances and fixtures, on-site laundry rooms, a fitness room, and parking for an additional fee.
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Today is your last chance to apply for 282 affordable housing units at 250 Ashland Place in Downtown Brooklyn. The 52-story skyscraper rises from the heart of Brooklyn’s cultural district and is near a multitude of subway lines, the Atlantic Terminal transit hub, and the Barclays Center.
Developed by the Gotham Organization, the skyscraper encompasses 580,000 square feet of space and soars 568 feet into the burgeoning Brooklyn skyline, making it the second tallest in the borough after the nearby rental tower AVA DoBro. Designed by New York-based FXFowle Architects, the building is sheathed in a contextual brick and glass exterior, relating both to the charming brownstones of Fort Greene and the dynamism transforming Downtown Brooklyn.
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Raising the windmill on the roof of 519. Photo credit: Travis Price via Gothamist
If you want to build a windmill today, you can thank a handful of dedicated tenants in a building at 519 East 11th Street in the East Village of the 1970s.
The story of the Alphabet City windmill is one of many stories, recounted in Gothamist, from the bad old days of Loisaida–as the East Village‘s far eastern avenues, also known as Alphabet City, were once called–the kind the neighborhood’s elder statesmen regale you with, knowing well that you know nothing firsthand of a neighborhood of burned-out buildings and squatters who bought their homes for a buck. But this particular story isn’t one of riots or drug deals on the sidewalk; it’s one of redemption, no matter how brief in the context of time.
The windmill was installed above an East Village building that was saved by the community, built and lifted to the roof by hand–or many hands. According to legend, the windmill kept the lights on during the chaos of the 1977 blackout.
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The Lovina House, located at 71 East 110th Street in East Harlem, recently opened as a boutique rental building with 14 contemporary, loft-like apartments. Three of these units are now available through the city’s affordable housing lottery. This includes a $839/month studio for a single person earning between $28,766 and $36,300 annually, and two $1,089/month one-bedrooms for households with incomes between $37,338 and $52,020, depending on family size.
More info on the building and lottery
Google Street View of the site while still under construction
The Bronx is having a moment, thanks in part to popular institutions like the Bronx Zoo, New York Botanical Garden, and Italian food mecca along Arthur Avenue. If you want to get in on the action, you can now enter the lottery for newly constructed, $938/month affordable apartments nearby at 863 Fairmount Place in Tremont. There’s just one little catch — only two units are available.
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152 West 124th Street (L); 70 East 127th Street (R). Via Google Street View.
The Third Party Transfer Program (TPT) is an initiative of the NYC Department of Housing and Preservation Development that was created in 1966 where the city forecloses on properties with unpaid taxes and eventually transfers ownership to a developer who must rehabilitate the building if necessary and manage it as affordable housing. Two Harlem buildings, 152 West 124th Street and 70 East 127th Street, were renovated under this program and are now offering 16 middle-income units through the city’s housing lottery. They range from $1,040/month studios to $2,165 two-bedrooms for persons earning anywhere between $36,995 and $107,875 annually, depending on household size.
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This time last year, Mayor de Blasio put forth his controversial rezoning proposal, part of his plan to preserve and/or create 200,000 units of affordable housing by 2024. It’ll now come to fruition, as DNAinfo reports that the City Council has approved the rezoning. “It includes Zoning for Quality and Affordability, a push to raise building heights and lift parking requirements in order to facilitate the construction of more affordable and senior housing, and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, which will rezone certain neighborhoods and require affordable units in some new construction,” they explain. But not everyone is happy about the largest zoning overhaul since 1961. In fact, the City Council hearing was full of protestors, many of whom feel this will take away long-fought-for height limits that keep neighborhoods in scale. Which side are you on?
The affordable housing lottery has commenced for 83 brand new apartments at the Steinway Estates in Astoria, per the NYC HPD. Units will range from $895/month studios to $2,586/month three-bedrooms, with annual income requirements varying from $32,023 for a single-person household to $130,260 for a six-person household.
The development at 19-80 Steinway Street is on the edge of the Steinway IBZ (Industrial Business Zone) and was originally known as the Vesta or Vesta Q when it first surfaced as a mixed-use project back in 2008. Exact details on the building aren’t clear, but renderings from Garrett Gourlay Architect show a four-story, corner-lot structure with landscaped outdoor areas and contemporary apartments.
Find out more about Steinway Estates
A two-bedroom in the East Village asking just $695,000
While perusing hundreds of real estate listings you come across one that seems almost too good to be true: it’s in a prime neighborhood, there are two real bedrooms and two real bathrooms, and it’s selling for well under a half million. While you may be pinching yourself over the price tag, rest assured that it’s not a typo. However, it’s probably also not a run-of-the-mill apartment, but rather, an HDFC (Housing Development Fund Corporation) unit. While these listings are totally legit, they also demand careful consideration before committing to a purchase.
THE PROS AND CONS OF BUYING AN HDFC APARTMENT…