For all its pro-biz posture, Crains NY has done a fairly decent job framing the ongoing debate over the future of the Bedford-Union Armory project. In its January editorial, it defined the struggle as one of conventional development strategy for community amenities and affordable housing VS. calls for truly affordable housing - 100% affordable housing. Let the record state that the Q has always felt that 100% truly affordable is the appropriate response to a low-income housing shortage in this historic and desirable neighborhood. The Armory is city-owned land now for chrisakes! If you can't build all-affordable on City land, you're not gonna build it anywhere.
Sure it'll be costly. The market-rate part of the equation (via RFP winners BFC partners) was supposed to pay for the creation of rec center and affordable units. But that's happening all over town, wherever City Planning can convince locals to allow upzoning (which is not as often as they'd like, given unsurprising NIMBYism).
What are we really talking about when we say 100% affordable? There is no reason to mince words or hide behind euphemism. We are talking about PUBLIC HOUSING. That's right. Housing where the rent is based on the family's income. And what do people typically call such reasonably priced housing? They call it "the Projects." No fair really, but there it is. Truly affordable housing in NYC is called The Projects. And there is nothing, let me repeat NOTHING wrong with that.
Imagine if you will an opportunity created specifically for current residents of Crown Heights to move into newly created apartments along beautiful Eastern Parkway. If we are truly committed to keeping Crown Heights diverse, we would jump at the chance. It's expensive yes, but in the form of subsidies, not out-and-out freebie. You still get rent at the Projects. Some people forget that people actually pay out of pocket for these places, though for some it comes primarily in the form of Section 8 vouchers. Which, it must be added, they are ENTITLED TO by law. Folks like to call S8 recipients all kinds of names - "ghetto," "moochers," "welfare moms." Hey if that's your attitude then maybe NYC is not the place for you, read me? We try, albeit imperfectly, to take care of our own.
So elected officials with a conscience took a stand. This is our chance to build (and again, I'm using the correct term here) "Public Housing."
And now comes word that a local nonprofit - The Local Crown Heights Development Corporation - will provide the developer with some cover, or as LCHDC would prefer you call it, some legitimacy, in the neighborhood. And who exactly is LCHDC? If you're a follower of Central Brooklyn machine politics, the answer is obvious. And it all leads back to Clarence Norman, Jr., the disgraced once former king-maker who has roared back to life in a remarkable behind-the-scenes series of power moves. This time, the move involves money.
And as Deep Throat once said (no the other Deep Throat), follow the money.
more to follow.
The Q at Parkside
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.