It isn’t much of a relief, but fashion and beauty blogger PJ Gach, who recently took to the internet to try and raise the $7,739 in back rent she needs to pay her landlord to fend off eviction, now has until May 8 to pay up or move out.
When The Observer spoke with Ms. Gach this afternoon—she was heading out of housing court a day after her deadline to pay the back rent—she was cautiously optimistic about getting a few more days.
Ms. Gach’s plight—which started when she was laid off as a senior editor from Betty Confidential in November and was unable to make her $1,759 rent payments in December, January and February—has earned her both sympathy and vitriol online (it’s also earned her about $500 in donations, though there’s little chance that she’ll be able to summon the remaining $7,200 in the next week and a half.)
During the last few decades, Brooklyn has shaken off the vinyl-clad, working-class outer-borough stigma so completely that it can be hard to remember a time when New Yorkers ever dismissed the borough of Kings as a place you came from rather than went to. Indeed, it may well have eclipsed Manhattan as a exporter of culture, with traces of its handsewn jeans and vintage-style facial hair visible on vaguely artsy twenty-somethings in cities around the globe.
Queens, on the other, hand, is still struggling to shed its dreary outer-boroughness, its reputation as a place where secretaries come back to reasonably-priced studios at night. Despite all the enthusiastic references to fun beer halls and more reasonable rents and short commute times to Manhattan that new residents are likely to whip out, it still feels more like a compromise than a destination.
At the outset of the third week since Hurricane Sandy hit, it has become clear that normal in some corners of the city will be a long time coming. From the beginning, it was obvious that rebuilding the homes that burned in Breezy Point, or were washed away by surging sea water in Staten Island, would take many months. But now a number of other New Yorkers, who had expected power, heat and electricity to be restored in a matter of days, are still living without.
City, state and national officials are scrambling to find short- and long-term housing for the many New Yorkers displaced by the storm, begging landlords to help them identify vacant apartments, reports The New York Times.
It’s been a week since Hurricane Sandy hit, demolishing houses in Staten Island and the waterfront communities of Brooklyn and Queens. Tensions have been running high of late, with residents frustrated by the pace it’s taking to restore power to their neighborhoods—the basic necessity of life on which all other rebuilding efforts rest.
So it should come as some relief to hear that Mayor Bloomberg and the city are looking to life beyond shelters for residents whose homes are beyond easy repair (or any repair at all). Today Mr. Bloomberg announced that he has appointed Brad Gair as the director of Housing Recovery Operations.
Is Mitt Romney really the man to solve the housing crisis? Well, consider this: Mr. Romney may not have ever struggled “to put food on the table” as folksy politicians are so fond of saying, but he has four houses. Four. So he knows a thing or two about home ownership. And, unlike some homeowners who took out mortgages and couldn’t pay them back, Mr. Romney is wealthy enough not to have to take out mortgages (although there’s a possibility that he did—the man does have the common touch, at times).
In any event, the Republican candidate has revealed his four-point plan while taking a few swings at Obama, like: “the dream of home ownership is out of reach for many Americans as a result of President Obama’s failed policies and stalled economy.”
This Old House
Shadow inventory. It was supposed to be the boogeyman of the real estate bust, thousands upon thousands of unsold properties scattered across the city. Bought or built for more than they were worth, people would hang onto these homes until the market improved, giving a better appearance to the housing supply than actually existed. It’s like the difference between the standard and broad rates of unemployment.
No matter. To real estate doyenne and new Brooklynite Elizabeth Stribling, there is no shadow inventory, or so she tells The Times in one of its patented 30-Minute Interviews.
An Arena Grows in Brooklyn
Last week, The Observer looked at Bruce Ratner’s plans for a prefabricated Atlantic Yards project—whether he was serious about the project and whether he could achieve the steep 20 percent savings he claimed for the modular building process. A number of real estate professionals were skeptical on both counts, but they all pointed to the developers out-sized investment in prefab technology as an indicator of his seriousness. Now we know just how much of an investment that has been.
This Old House
For almost five years now, the housing crisis has been a drag on the U.S. economy, the U.S. psyche, the U.S. spirit. It turns out it is also dragging down Americans’ health.
This Old House
Good news! Foreclosures are at their lowest levels in four years!
Wait, no, that’s horrible news. There are so many delinquent homes out there, the banks don’t want to repossess them, and even when they want to, the bottleneck caused by the robo-signing scandal is still holding up the whole party. The Obama administration has a simple solution: Just rent it.
An Arena Grows in Brooklyn
Back when Frank Gehry got bounced off Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project, the new designs for the Nets’ arena, created by Ellerbe Beckett, were said to be so loathed by certain city officials that the developer had to find another firm to dress things up. Ratner chose local hotshots SHoP, which had made its Read More