Advocates Hone Their Message


We got some quotes from today’s rally at City Hall on 421a housing subsidies, calling for full-scale reform of a Lindsay-era program that grants tax abatements to most new apartment buildings, even luxury condos. The message that low-income advocates are pushing is debatable–421a subsidizes gentrification–but it is pretty powerful given today’s Zeitgeist (and New York Times). Witness Melissa Mark Viverito, an East Harlem council member:

“We are taking tax dollars from working families in East Harlem and using that money to subsidize the construction of luxury condominiums across the street from them selling for over $1 million. Essentially, we are asking people from El Barrio to pay to price themselves out of their own community.”

Lobbyists for the big real estate firms were swimming in the crowd, we hear, trying to gauge how big the waves will be.

The Mayor’s 421a task force is meeting for what is supposed to be the last time this afternoon and will report out in a few days.

Matthew Schuerman

Advocates Hone Their Message