The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Closing In On Landlord Gold

Couldn't help but take note of the price on a two-bedroom at a pre-war buidling at Flatbush & Rutland. $2400. Reason being I recall that a two bedroom a decade ago could run you $1200. That number stuck in my mind, because folks were complaining that apartments had topped the $1,000 mark in the neighborhood. From my own experience, I remember thinking geez that's do-able. Get a roomate, pay $600. Wait tables, work a shit job. You could do it, no problem. That's for young folks though. A family typically has fewer options for upward mobility, and is looking to put down roots. Hard to do that once an apartment leaves stabilization. And we're getting closer all the time in Flatbush/PLG/Lefferts.

So what's $2,400 in 2015 dollars? $1,464, according to ye old inflation calculator. NYC median income has barely budged, after dropping through the Great Recession.

You're smart. I don't need to tell you what it means. NYC continues to become more and more unaffordable to working and creative classes, by which I mean folks earning less than median but still working their butts off. Those working as teachers, city workers and non-profit employees are wondering if this City has a place for them in its economic stew. Certainly NYC is in no peril. It will continue, even thrive. But it's rapidly becoming a different City than the one most of us moved to or were born into. Thus, fear. Thus big policy changes proposed by the current administration.

The question the Q poses is this: are we prepared to change the way we think about our City in order to create more means-tested housing? Housing for teachers, artists, low-income workers. Of course there will be trade-offs - parking, height, density and more. But in my opinion, if we're too protective we risk losing NYC's greatest strength, both culturally AND economically - the incredible diversity of its people. An economic ecosystem is a delicate balance between trades, government, service workers and high earners. Plus, there will always be those who, for a variety of reasons, need support. Elderly, infirm, crisis-torn, unemployable. The percentage that fall into that last category are unlikely to fall just because overall income rises. It's an inevitable consequence of capitalism; we seemed to have made our peace with that as a country, though some would rip even the social safety net apart.

It's not for nothing that some very smart people are taking this very, very seriously.

Here's the ad:

Prospect Lefferts Garden
Flatbush Ave At Rutland Rd B.Q.S. Trains

All New Renovated 2br HH Water Inc Hardwood Floors High Ceiling Brand New Kitchen With SS Appliances + Dishwasher Lovely Common Room Equal Size Bedrooms Closet Space This Unit Will Go Fast!



Alex said...

NYC definitely needs more targeted, means-tested housing. There should be programs for teachers and social workers. etc. in which the subsidy is tied to the individual, not the unit, which is the biggest flaw with rent stabilization. Under the current system, you can have a teacher struggling to pay $2,400 living next door to a neurosurgeon paying $1,000 for an identical apartment, enabling him/her to afford a huge mortgage on a house in the Hamptons. Or Palm Springs.

Anonymous said...

To me there are three major considerations when it comes to who can live in NYC: money, time and discomfort. The people who can make it work in NYC are the rich, those who can accommodate a long commute, and those who are ok with living in cramped quarters with multiple roommates. If you don't possess the right combination of these three things, you won't be able to live in NYC for the long term. This translates into the rich, the young and immigrants being able to make it in NYC at market prices. It leaves out middle class families unless they are lucky to have a rent controlled or family property passed on to them.

If NYC wants to maintain its diversity, sprawl is the only viable option I see. Create economic hubs in Brookly, Queens and the Bronx to expand the map of viable commutes for normal people. Or improve subway access via express trains.

Higher density housing in already popular areas of NYC is not going to happen. Entrenched homeowners will never allow that to happen. Existing homeowners are generally wealthy and can afford to protect their interests. Further developers are more incented to build luxury developments because they are the most profitable.

As long as there are middle class people with "time" currency to spend who can't afford a home closer to Manhattan, prices in PLG will continue to go up.

babs said...

Or even several investment properties in NYC (I know a few people like this). As long as the rent-regulated apartment is your primary residence (easily proven via voter registration, utility bills, etc.) there's no limit to what you can do. Income-based decontrol is only an option if the regulated rent is already over $2500 and it can be proven that the tenant(s) declared over $200K in income in each pf the past two years, per their NYS returns.

Anonymous said...

wonder why it got flagged

Anonymous said...

I think it is time we all accept the paradigm shift that is occurring today. Young professionals and families no longer want to move to the suburbs. Young families want to stay in the city and enjoy the access to culture and the amenities that Brooklyn has to offer. No longer is the subruban white picket fence the american dream. The "Dream" now is to have a brownstone near the park for an increasing number of families and young professionals of means. With more people of all groups with money want to make Brooklyn their home we will see the market shift.

A 2 bedroom for $2400 a month that can be split with two young people just out of school for their first or second apartment is afforadalbe to this group. PLG is attractive because it is close to the park and everything else we all know. Our area has been overlooked for a long time. the neighborhood is still has a long way to go until it sees the prices for rent that we are seeing across the park an even in Crown Heights. PLG is still considered a deal am more and more young people will continue to flock to the area.

Get over the higher rents they follow the price for square sale prices. The market will hold what the market will hold. Yes some land lords are terrible people and need to be watched but the mass majority want to retain good tenants that respect their property investment and pay their rent.

Hey i still see my neighbors dumping trash on the street and putting household trash in the public trash cans that just blows everywhere. The littering of food and chicken bones and the general disrespect of the "neighborhood they love so much" will slow the beautifying of the area but not stop it.

bored at work said...

I think you made an error in describing the change in rent. You wrote:

"So what's $2,400 in 2015 dollars? $1,464, according to ye old inflation calculator. NYC median income has barely budged, after dropping through the Great Recession."

In 2005, the rent was $1200 (in 2005 $, if thats the way you chose to look at it). In 2015, accounting for inflation alone, the rent SHOULD HAVE BEEN $1464. So what you are arguing is that if the rent only went up by the cost of inflation, it would be $1464, but its $2400.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

No Bored. My point was the same one you're making. Rent should be $1464, but it's $2400, while there's been no increase in wages. I just wrote too quickly. I'd change it but I'm no longer, um, bored at work.