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Class Segregation


Jim Crow worked so well for race, applying its principles to separate the rich and poor makes total sense!

A luxury high-rise apartment in Manhattan’s Upper West Side is set to have a so-called “poor door” — a separate entrance for low-income residents receiving subsidized housing.

The 33-story building — 40 Riverside Boulevard – being developed by Extell Development Company will have 219 condominiums selling for more than $1 million each.

But by including 55 affordable housing units on the first few floors renting at a starting price of $845 a month, the developer could get a tax break, according to the West Side Rag.

With this disparity between the million-dollar condos for purchase versus the units for rent at a phenomenally low price for Manhattan, the developer decided to design the building with separate entrances for those who own condos and those who rent at a price below market value. As one might expect, this “rich door,” “poor door” situation doesn’t sit well with some.

I wonder why.

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  • LeeEsq

    Didn’t this exist in the Gilded Age? Separate entrances for servants and delivery people? Why are we intent on reliving all the bad aspects of the 19th century? Whats next, revoking female emancipation? Oh wait, that already started.

    • sparks

      “Delivery in the rear” was a common phrase, usually said to someone who looked like a tradesman and wanted in the front entrance.

    • My sense is – and American history isn’t my area, so I am cheerfully ready to be proven wrong here – that when the moneyed class gains a certain level of control over the political process, they start being very bald-faced about their prejudices.

      I was talking to a friend who lives in NYC about this and she mentioned that she was surprised it wasn’t required to build subsidized housing, but the obvious conclusion reached us both at the same time: if it were a requirement companies would just stop building in the city, but since it’s sold as a tax break they’ll be all over it. They’re doing something for the poor, after all! They met their moral obligation! Leave them alone!

    • Shakezula

      This is worse beause these people live in the building.

    • Elon Musk

      Why are we intent on reliving all the bad aspects of the 19th century?

      Several clarifications are in order here:

      1. The use of the term “bad” in this context seems to overlook the substantial benefits to the 1% of not having to rub elbows with those below their station.

      2. For the 1% the gilded age never went away, it’s just that they didn’t have the concentration of wealth necessary to enforce it on the great unwashed. Thanks to the Reagan Revolution and the Powell memo leading the way in developing the practical method of employing the Jay Gould model of hiring one half of the working class the public aspects of the gilded age have returned.

      The amazing part is that Jay Gould is undoubtedly stunned by how cheaply that one half was available. Some puny tax cuts and liberal helpings of hate were all it took.

  • Snarki, child of Loki

    But do the 0.1%ers in condos on the upper floors have trash chutes that empty directly into the rented apartments below? I bet they’d pay more for that.

    • Lee Rudolph

      There’s lots of good pickings in rich folks’ trash!!!

      • sparks

        It could be like the Paris sewers again!

  • c u n d gulag

    Do “The Poors” get any windows, or are those reserved for the condo’s of rich?

    I suppose denying “The Poors” even a street-level view would warm the cockles of a rich person’s heart, as they sit down with a fine alcoholic beverage, and view their city-scape.

    “Let them view walls!”

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      It would also, no doubt, reduce dependency and encourage initiative on the part of the Poors. Good thinking, c!

    • Before I was born my parents say they lived in a basement apartment which by definition would have no windows. I got the impression that it was pretty common at that time (late 1960s).

      • Warren Terra

        I’ve lived in a basement apartment: it had windows. They were half or more underground, with wells around them outside the building; the first floor of the building was raised from street level by a short flight of stairs, perhaps five feet. If you walk around apartment buildings, you’ll find windows for basement apartments, at least small ones, are quite common.

        • Linnaeus

          Same here, during my senior year of college.

      • Brandon

        At least around Chicago, these are “garden” apartments and are about 3/4 under ground. You’ll still have windows, they’ll just be short and wide.

        • TribalistMeathead

          In DC they’re “English basement” apartments (no clue as to the origin of the term) and generally include at least one or two full-size windows at the front of the unit. Generally the common spaces have windows and the bedrooms(s) and bathroom(s) do not. I remember looking at one unit many years ago that had full sets of windows at the front or back, though.

  • Shakezula

    Jim Crow and other forms of discrimination worked in part because it gave poor whites the illusion they were better than someone (blacks) and united with upper class whites against blacks. Vicarious superiority, if you will.

    In turn upper class whites got millions of people acting as enforcers rather than noticing they were treated almost as shitily a the blacks.

    One of the GOP’s bigger blunders has been too obvious support of the 1% without much in the way of sops for middle and lower class whites. They are creating an environment where people will unite along class lines and as they have always been, they are seriously outnumbered.

    • Karen

      This time women get the shaft. If it weren’t for all those uppity bitches with the idiotic college diplomas and abortions and pills and crap, all God-fearing men would be CEO’s.

      • Josh G.

        I don’t see that working nearly as well. Partly this is because of the demographic figures: during the heyday of the Southern Strategy, blacks were about 12% of the population, but women are just over 50%. You can win elections by uniting a majority in hatred of a minority group, but trying to do it the other way around doesn’t work too well. And secondly, while many Americans didn’t (and sometimes still don’t) have much contact with blacks, everyone has women in their family. It’s a lot harder to paint women as the scary Other.

        Attitudes towards race are much better in the younger generations, but the attitudes towards gender have changed perhaps even more substantially. I still don’t see how the Republicans manage to stay afloat without substantially changing their attitudes as Father Time takes his toll on their elderly white voting base.

        • GFW

          This. Gerrymandering will keep them afloat to 2020, but unless the gerrymandering plus vote suppression allow them to keep a lot of state houses in 2020, they’ll lose their gerrymander and be wiped out everywhere but the deep south. I confess to being a little worried about the “unless” part above, and of course what damage will be done in the meantime regardless.

  • Here’s the funny thing – at $845 a month, if someone’s paying 1/3 of their income in rent (the borderline set by HUD, such that more = housing insecure), then we’re talking about people earning $30,000 a year (which is median net compensation for workers in the U.S, and the 30th percentile of household income).

    We’re not even talking about poors anymore, this is not wanting to rub shoulders with working/lower-middle class people.

    Thankfully, the local Community Board is raising holy hell about this.

    • cpinva

      according to the article, you qualify for the “low income” housing if you make 60% of the median (I assume NYC) income, or $51,450. also according to the article, separate entrances for those “low income” housers are actually pretty common.

      that must be one hellacious tax break, at minimum worth $55,000,000 dollars (55 x $1,000,000), for them to deem it a better deal to rent, at $845 a month, rather than sell. either that, or the developers are idiots (not an uncommon event), who see the words “tax break”, and just assume they’re getting one over on “the man”.

      • $51k? Ok, now we’re talking straight-up middle class then.

        • $50k for a family of four is not middle class in Manhattan.

          • Yes it is, strictly speaking. Median household income is $67k a year in Manhattan. It’s a bit lower-middle, but still middle.

      • Anonymous

        The lower floors are less desirable properties anyway (street noise, lack of a view). And the units are probably smaller. So the tax break alone need not account for the whole difference.

        • Johnny Sack

          I’ve always found that funny. I prefer lower floors because it takes less time (seemingly insignificant, maybe, but not to me) to get to my floor, and I like to walk. And I like less floors to run down in case of emergency.

      • MAJeff

        Here in Pgh, eligibility would be an annual income of about $29,300.

    • Karen

      The tenants in the $845 units are people with jobs; this isn’t Section 8 or the projects. That’s what really offends, that the gazillionaires don’t want to even look at people with ordinary jobs, like, oh, the police officers and firefighters who would be guarding and saving the building.

      • Linnaeus

        That’s what really offends, that the gazillionaires don’t want to even look at people with ordinary jobs, like, oh, the police officers and firefighters who would be guarding and saving the building.

        A good example of how neofeudal cultural mores can get inscribed into the very spaces we live in.

      • Precisely. Calling this segregation of rich and poor misses the fact that they’ve just lumped in the working and middle classes in with the poor.

        Which is not a successful strategy, historically.

  • Jesse Levine

    It reminds of a situation when I was negotiating real estate rentals for NYC agencies. One developer was willing to rent about 250,000 sq ft if the the City workers came in through a separate door that required them to walk through a busy loading dock area to get to their offices.

  • Tehanu

    The rich entrance will have a vestibule for wet things, electronic safety locks, and a doorman on duty 24/7. The poor entrance will have a lock an enterprising 12-year-old can (and will) break on the third day after it’s installed and a 40-watt bulb in the ceiling.

  • Breadbaker

    If this were Texas, they’d make Democrats be the ones at the lower entrance. And think that was a reasonable justification for it.

  • Book

    I honestly am not surprised to see that the commenters fail to grasp the reasoning behind this noble initiative given their feeble peasant minds.

  • bspencer

    Geez Louise.

  • burritoboy

    I once worked for a developer and we, in fact, did have subsidized units in the skyscraper project I worked on. Of course, those units didn’t have a separate entrance (frankly, in my opinion, separate entrances take up space which is better used for floor space to put in condos which you can actually sell and make more money on). The subsidized units were lower down on the tower, and had fewer options for flooring, fittings, kitchen devices, and so on but were otherwise indistinguishable from our full-price units. Same access to the building’s amenities and same HOA fees (which ended up being massive, but we the developer don’t control that).

  • Johnny Sack

    Said it before, but I’m getting really sick and tired of living in New York. I like the infrastructure, I guess, the whole not having a car thing I enjoy, but I’m tired of paying out the ass to live here. Even though I live in one of the outer boroughs and don’t get the sky high manhattan rents (although I did live on the UWS back in the day, wish I could afford it now) I still am sick of it. I like this city, love it sometimes, but it’s overrated. I could live more comfortably and afford nicer things if I moved to some bumfuck place. I used to joke that Connecticut was for people too cheap to pay Jersey taxes, but I might end up there. I don’t know what my point is. I hate what New York’s become I guess.

  • LosGatosCA

    I’m sure the upper floors can only be accessed by key to keep the riff raff in their apartment steerage units. I also expect that the fire escapes from the upper floors should not have entrance doors from the lower, subsidized floors.

    Let them jump to safety in case of a fire, if they can. If they can’t, well there’s no such thing as a free lunch or subsidized rent.

    My guess is that there is a very thick fire proof plate between building zones so that when the inevitable grease fire erupts in steerage from trying to home fry their burgers and deep fry their frozen French fries while distracted by their unattended brood of indisciplined infants, the blaze will purify and purge those floors without even distracting or inconveniencing the real owners of the building.

    • LosGatosCA

      Here’s an idea for the steerage unit renters. Take the savings obtained from the subsidized rent and hire an au pair to deal with your unruly brood. That way your chances of survival greatly increase and the real owners of the building don’t have to be inconvenienced by fire alarms caused by your inevitable negligence.

      • MH

        Here’s another idea for them!

        Use the money they saved and buy a bag of quick setting concrete. Then late one night sneak up to the rich-person-door, fill all the gaps around the door, and the keyhole with concrete and let those rich bastards figure out how to get in and out of the building then.

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