All Articles Tagged "new york city"

Is Washington D.C. Really More Expensive Than New York?

October 15th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Washington D.C. Is More Expensive

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According to new report from The Washington Post, Washington D.C. is the most expensive place to live in the United States. Yes, even more expensive than New York City.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says Washingtonians spend the majority of their finances on housing, utilities, furnishing and equipment. In his report “Housing: Before, During and After the Great Recession” economist Demetrio M. Scopelliti compares the expenses of housing between major American cities. Scopelliti’s research relies on 2012 data and construction jobs. The report notes Americans spend on average $16,887 on housing whereas Washington residents spend approximately $28,416.

Despite Scopelliti’s findings, The Wall Street Journal claims they are flawed because the report is based on how much residents are spending but not what they receiving in return. For example, Texas residents may earn $100,000 but spend $400,000 on mansions. In comparison to those who live another state, who may earn a $50,000 income but spend $350,000 in order to live in a home that is a fraction of the size of a mansion.

The Wall Street Journal also notes the average Washington earns $116,000 but may spend $28,000 on housing whereas the average New Yorker’s salary is $81,000 and will have to spend $24,000 on housing. Josh Zumburn, author of the Journal’s counter reaction  also states, we also have to consider residents who live but may not work in the New York City region.

The two cities are unquestionably pricey, the question is value. Residents have to decide where they’re getting the most bang for their buck.

Poor Door?! NYC Luxury Condo Will Separate Entrance For Poorer Residents

July 23rd, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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UPDATE: NY State Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal and City Council Member Jumaane Williams have launched a Change.org petition to eliminate NYC’s “poor door” policy.

Their petition, which has 1,500 signatures to date, calls on Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio to get rid of the  loopholes that permit real estate developers to create separate entrances for wealthy and low-income tenants and to prohibit low-income residents in NYC luxury buildings from using amenities such as the gym, laundry and parking.

 “Taxpayer money is being used to subsidize segregationist housing policies. All while wealthy developers continue to benefit from loopholes in the law to increase their profits. This is unacceptable, and we must put a stop to housing discrimination now,”  Rosenthal and Williams state in the petition.

Assemblymember Rosenthal represents Manhattan’s Upper West Side and parts of Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen, where real estate developer Extell is building a new luxury building with a separate entrance for rent-regulated individuals. Council Member Williams chairs the council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings.

Originally reported July 23, 2014

 

 File this under incredibly insulting.  It seems like we’re going back to the days of separate water fountains. In this case, it is not to separate white from black, but poor from rich.

A New York City luxury condo wants to have its lower-income residents use a separate entrance. And a proposal to do so has been given the go-ahead.

The proposal was made by developer Extell, and it was NYC-approved under a city program meant to incentivize affordable housing, the New York Post reports. It appears that New York’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development gave the approval. And it was okayed under the city’s Inclusionary Housing program, which lets developers use more square footage than they’d normally be allowed to if they set aside some units for affordable housing. Also in return, developers get tax breaks amounting to millions.

The building, which will be 33 stories high, is still being built at 40 Riverside Drive on the Upper West Side. When completed, it will have 219 luxury units facing the Hudson River. But part of it, on floors two through six, will feature 55 street-facing units for the building’s poorer dwellers. The people who live in this segment will enter through a separate door.

“The more affordable units will be given to families of four whose annual income is $51,540 or less — about 60 percent of the area’s median income,” reports The Huffington Post.

Besides not using the same entrance as their upper crust neighbors, lower-income residents of the condo are also banned from using amenities normallyoffered in Extell properties, such as a gym and swimming pool.

Since last August, city officials and community members have been calling for Extell officials to forgo the “poor door.”

“This ‘separate but equal’ arrangement is abominable and has no place in the 21st century, let alone on the Upper West Side,” Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal told the blog West Side Rag last year. “A mandatory affordable housing plan is not license to segregate lower-income tenants from those who are well-off.”

So You Want To Move To NYC?

July 9th, 2014 - By Dee Rene
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There’s no place like NYC but moving here can be a beast. If you have dreams of living it up in the city of bright lights like a character off “Sex and the City” there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Brokers’ Fees / Application fees

Most apartments require a credit check and background check. That will run you about $30-$50 per application. If you use a broker, find out their fees before you fall in love with an apartment. Brokers’ fees are the cost you pay to the person that shows you the apartment and helps you go through the paperwork.  Most apartments have a broker. The Broker does the work which is why the owner of the building enlists their services. Unless the apartment is listed as “no fee” there is a broker’s fee. This is usually 10-15% of the ANNUAL rent. An apartment that costs $1,300 a month costs $15,600 annually ($1300 x 12) which means your broker’s fee would be $1,560 – $2,340 IN ADDITION to your first month’s rent and a security deposit of one month’s rent. Which makes your total move in cost (1st months + security + broker’s fee)  4,160 – $4,940. Rough.

Getting the apartment – Time is a factor!

If you plan to move July 1, you can’t start looking for an actual apartment until June. Apartments go within the same day sometimes. You might catch a listing and by the time you call that afternoon the apartment is rented. You’ll need to have your money ready (via money order or cashier’s check) and your documents (copy of your ID, bank statements, application, copy of tax return, etc) in a packet ready to go so that if you love an apartment you can apply within 24 – 48 hours. Unlike other cities, there aren’t many places you can apply months in advance. To save yourself time, go visit different neighborhoods during the day and at night to decide the area you want to live in. Once you have the area narrowed down, when it’s closer to the time for you to move, you can use sites like Pad Mapper and Naked Apartments  to search the area for what’s available.

What’s nearby? Do you reallllly want a car?

Do you have to take the bus to get to the train? Will it take you two hours to get to work? These are all factors you want to consider when moving. The closer you are to the train line the more expensive the rent but sometimes you are paying for convenience. Use an app like HopStop to check your potential apartment address with your work address. The app will tell you the route you’ll have to take and the estimated time. You should walk around the neighborhood. Is there a laundry mat nearby? A real grocery store and not a bodega? Look for the type of things you’ll need weekly and remember this is a walking/train/bus city. You want to be nearby to something you use frequently.

Keeping the car is a matter of personal preference. But most neighborhoods have alternate day street parking. That means you will be moving your car every day from one side of the street to the other so that the street sweepers (boom boom baby) can come by and clean. Or you’re paying to house your car in a garage each day. You really can get 90% of places on the train or bus. But if having a car is a big deal to you, then you’ll want to search for a neighborhood with parking or without alternate street parking.

Utilities & Bills

Heat and hot water come pretty standard for most buildings as part of your rent. However, there are a few that don’t offer this which could significantly increase your monthly bills. It’s cold 80% of the time here and you want to factor in your heating bill before you pick a place where heat / hot water aren’t included. You can call National Grid (the gas company) or ConEd (the electric company) and find out how much the bills were throughout the cold season for the last tenant to help give you an idea of the cost. Moving to NYC also comes with new bills! Your monthly metro pass ($100+) is one. You also want to factor in that everything costs more here. A bottle of shampoo at Target in a smaller city at may be $4.00 but here it’s $6.50. Things are expensive. And of course your new “fun” bill. Living in NYC there is always something to do so consider you may spend a bit more on fun activities.

Use your network

No one can tell you where to live or what borough is best for you. You’ll need to hang out and explore each borough to figure out where you might want to live. Exploring is the key to finding a place that fits you. When you do go out looking, be sure to take someone that has lived in the city for a while. He or she may know the some key factors about the neighborhood (like the park that’s so pretty in the daytime is a bit too popping at night for you to walk home safely) that could save you a headache down the line.

The last thing to keep in mind is that although this is a hard, cold and hectic city, it’s the most amazing city to live in even for a little while. Random free concerts by your favorite artists, endless food options even at 3 am, culture, parties, arts and anything else you’re into is all here somewhere. Living in NYC isn’t always easy but it’s an experience you can’t trade. If you’ve always wanted to do it, keep these few tips and tricks in mind and make the jump! You never know if it’s the best decision you’ll ever make.

Minimum Wage Bill Takes Into Account That New York Is One Of The Most Expensive Cities On Earth

June 18th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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While New York City is one of the most expensive cities in America, its inflation-adjusted minimum wage is among the lowest of the major cities too.

Obviously not good news for residents. But the city has no control over its minimum wage. It is set by the state government. So even though it’s 2.4 times more expensive to reside in Manhattan than Buffalo, for example, the minimum wage is the same in both places, something that doesn’t sit well with New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who pointed this out in a new report.

But a new bill in Albany may change this. “On top of raising the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by 2015, it would allow independent municipalities like New York City to make their own minimum wage up to 30 percent higher than the state minimum wage. That means if the state minimum wage were $10.10 per hour, New York City could have a minimum wage of $13.13 per hour,” reports The Huffington Post.

According to Stringer’s report, this would put an extra $100 in the pockets of 1.2 million New Yorkers each week.

“New York City deserves the ability to set its own minimum wage,” Stringer said in a press release. “We are falling behind other states and cities when it comes to the minimum wage, despite the fact that this is the most expensive city in which to live in the nation. There is no one size fits all when it comes to the minimum wage; raising it to $13.13 would make an enormous difference for more than one million New York City residents.”

According to Stringer it is a win-win proposal. Businesses don’t have to decrease their staff. Instead they can adjust to higher wages through a “combination of higher prices, lower profits and increased efficiency.” And he pointed out that research proves that higher wages result in an increase in spending by low-income households, which in turn helps local businesses.

But who knows if the bill will get passed. New York’s legislative session ends this Thursday and many state Senate Republicans are against it.

Workers statewide will rally in Albany Tuesday to push for legislators to pass the bill.

The Reported Errors In Avonte Oquendo’s Case

March 28th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From Black Voices 

A report on an autistic teenager who disappeared from his New York City school and was later found dead lists errors that contributed to the tragedy, but it does not recommend any specific disciplinary action.

The report was released Wednesday by the schools’ special commissioner of investigation.

It describes how 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo disappeared from his school in Queens on Oct. 4. His remains were later found in the East River.

The report says the school safety agent at the front desk was distracted by another student during the time when Avonte slipped away.

Read more about Avonte Oquendo at BlackVoices.com 

Communities Of Color Still Struggling To Rebuild After Hurricane Sandy

March 6th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com

Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com

Hurricane Sandy occurred more than a year ago but many lower-income residents in the eastern area of the Rockaways in New York City’s borough of Queens have been struggling to rebuild–and their struggles has gone relatively unnoticed.

The media focused most on the problems of the upper-middle-class neighborhoods of the western Rockaway peninsula and the controversy over allocation of Sandy relief aid in New Jersey, while lower-income areas, which are mainly African-American and Latino, have been left without enough resources to get back on their feet following the super storm.

“Critics say government agencies have failed to support the lower-income communities in the Rockaways…,” reports theGrio.  New York City Councilman Donovan Richards, who represents parts of the Rockaways, helped pass Sandy Tracker legislation last year, but even he says federal funds have still been slow to reach his constituents in need. “This was the Ninth Ward,” Councilman Richards told The Grio, referring to the poor, Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina that took years to rebuild.

While FEMA did offer aid to New York residents, many of those in lower-income communities of the Rockaways are renters and did not have the economic means to meet FEMA’s criteria, say sources.

FEMA however insists it has helped “tens of thousands of Sandy survivors who are homeowners, renters and neither of the two.”

When contacted by The Grio, new NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office pointed the “Build it Back” initiative offering assistance to displaced New York City residents. But sources claim  this effort was slow to implement help during Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor.

“It is worth noting that Build it Back is the last recovery option in a series of City-sponsored initiatives,” a spokesperson from Mayor de Blasio’s office told The Grio. “We helped restore heat, hot water and electricity to more than 12,000 residences within 100 days of the storm – assistance totaling $650 million––at no cost to storm victims. Further, the city created its own hotel program to house displaced storm victims, completely independent of FEMA’s hotel program (which, it is important to note, has its own rules).”

For some residents it was hard to obtain vital information about all the available resources, another hindrance to rebuilding after Sandy. Question is how much longer people are expected to wait for help they need.

Monday’s Madame: Terryl De Mendonca, Founder Of The Misunderstood Youth Development Center

December 2nd, 2013 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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TerrylMonday’s Madame: Terryl De Mendonca

Age: 38

Location: Queens, NY

Terryl De Mendonca is Founder and Executive Director of  The Misunderstood Youth Development Center (MYDC) in New York. Initially, MYDC served as an after-school program for youths in New York City, operating under the guise, “it takes a village to raise a child.” As student membership grew, MYDC began to  provide mentorship, leadership development workshops and field trips for the young people who came through its doors. By exposing students to these three facets, they are able to be exposed to some very positive things. MYDC also benefits families through counseling sessions that  teach life skills to both parents and children.

Her vision provides the platform for both parents and community leaders to be involved in how the youth in their community develop. To ensure this vision comes to fruition in each child’s life who participates in MYDC programs, a contract is given to the children, parents and community leaders. The contract allows the participating students to understand the concept of commitment. It also holds the youths accountable for their grades, behavior and leadership development.

De Mendonca has contributed to MYDC by raising political awareness within New York City. MYDC has been recognized by political leader Marty Markowitz and the Queens District Attorney’s Office for the changes it has made within participating communities. Besides MYDC, De Mendonca has also created The Fresh Start Program. It services troubled teens from the ages of 14-19. It serves the community by reducing crime through efforts to educate teens about self-esteem and employment opportunities. Kudos to you Miss De Mendonca!

Follow MYDC: @MYDCenter

MYDC Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/misunderstoodyouth

 

 Monday’s Madame is a new column on MadameNoire that highlights inspirational women who are doing great things in black communities around the world. If you would like to submit an inspirational woman for consideration, please send her name, age, location, photo, and a blurb about the work she’s doing to editors@madamenoire.com.

Tech And The City: Startups Are Attracted To NYC

November 16th, 2013 - By Lauryn Stallings
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via @MadeinNY

via @MadeinNY

Once upon a time, being a techie and launching a business meant adapting to the warmer climate in California after graduating from MIT or dropping out of Carnegie Mellon. Young developers and designers, hopeful inventors and ideological innovators descended upon Silicon Valley starting in the late ’60s. And up until the past few years, not much had changed.

Now tech startups are sparking in cities across the country, but none so much as New York. Brand new micro corporations are settling in the Financial District, illuminating Chelsea, running Lower Manhattan and invigorating all parts of Brooklyn. The same talent pools that once fled to the west coast are sticking closer to home and saving on rents by headquartering in the city.

However, it’s more than cost-savings drawing technological hopefuls to the five boroughs. Initiatives from the city, such as We Are Made in NY, are already in place to offer a support system to emerging businesses. Mayor Bloomberg, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and NYC Digital launched the Digital Roadmap, enhancing accessibility and education. Not to mention AT&T’s $1.6 million investment into the homegrown well of expertise.

New York City has made a point of highlighting and investing in the tech industry. So have its businesses.

Quirky, headquartered on 28th Street, helps innovators prototype, market and sell new products. Cooperatives across the city provide work space and tight communities for tech-minded makers to collaborate. Startups around the city start small and grow from the input and programming provided by others.

Exhibitions are a factor, too. The companies showing at the first Engadget Expand New York were given unprecedented access to interface with future consumers beyond Kickstarter campaigns. The show allowed inventors to gauge interest in their products, beta test, promote and chat with investors and peers in the industry. The fact that Engadget holds an annual competition that invests a total of $25,000 in startup enterprises is no small thing either.

But more than anything, what appeals to these new companies is its flagship market status. Technology is flocking to the city for the same reason fashion does: New York City gets it first. Innovators are using robotics, cloud computing and apps to make everyday life easier, save money and generally just do better. Today’s tech companies are lifestyle brands, and there’s no greater location to introduce them to the world. New York’s all-embracing environment is making it possible to get everything from energy conscious powerstrips to calorie counting scales. If this keeps up, the newfangled things we thought were just fantasies for The Jetsons and Back to the Future aren’t too far away.

They’re already making plans for the hoverboard.

Locked Up: Anthony Mackie Arrested For Drunk Driving!

November 9th, 2013 - By Drenna Armstrong
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"Anthony Mackie pf"

Source: PNP/WENN.com

Clearly the Hollywood stars believe they are exempt from the whole “drunk driving will get you arrested” thing. The latest? A fan favorite, Anthony Mackie.

Sources tell TMZ the New Orleans native and current New Yorker was pulled over early Saturday morning in New York City. The police initially pulled him over due to the tint on his windows (the report wasn’t specific but New York State has serious laws about it) but as they got closer, they noticed that Mackie’s eyes were blodshot red. The officers also stated they smelled alcohol, coming either directly from Mackie or from the car.

He was given several field sobriety tests and failed all of them which resulted in his arrest and booking at a local police station. He also refused to take a blood alcohol test so at the very least, his license will be suspended .

Do we even need to go through the basic questioning on why he would allow this to happen?  First of all, Anthony Mackie is in way too sweet of a position with his career right now to get caught up in things like this. Second, he’s in New York City – the home of public transportation.  He could have taken a taxi or even the train if he’d had too much to drink. As usual, there’s no reason for this.

As a mater of fact, there’s no reason for anyone to get caught with a drunk driving charge, even if you’re not a celebrity. If you’ve had too much to drink, just figure out a new plan to make it to your final destination. There are just too many risks involved when you make such a rash decision.

Hopefully, we won’t hear about this again in regards to Anthony Mackie.

Will Chirlane Mc-Cray’s Identities Influence de Blasio’s Policies?

November 7th, 2013 - By Charing Ball
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Source: Getty Images

Source: Getty Images

Even non-New Yorkers appear to be caught up in the Bill de Blasio fever – or should I more accurately describe as the Chirlane McCray-frenzy.

Because we know, thanks in part to the words from his own offspring, that de Blasio is just not some  boring white guy.  He is, instead, a boring white guy married to McCray, who has wowed the city with her fiery brand and indifference to social constructs and restraint, as well as the father to interracial offspring, Chiara and Dante, who both have become notable throughout the political campaign for their totally rocking Afro-centric hairstyles. It is the de Blasio family, particularly his wife McCray for whom we all love and adore – and vicariously voted for through the voting hands of resident-New Yorkers. Even the New York Daily News called McCray,the most influential mayoral spouse in city history.”

And how can you justifiably (and without prejudice) not love the de Blasio’s clan? They are a melting pot of ethnicity and distinctions: African, Italian and German white; kinky and straight haired, straight and gay, I mean, bisexual…er…actually what the heck is going on there…

To gain some insight, let’s check out this interview with McCray from the Huffington Post:

Journalist: People have been so quick to put a label on you. Can you tell us you are bi sexual because that would be neat and tidy and we can put you in a box and know where you belong. And you have largely rejected that. So how would you explain to someone, your sexuality?

McCray: Why should I explain my sexuality? First of all, I don’t know what I’ll be like next year – or ten years from now. Thirty years ago when I wrote that article, I would not believe that I would be sitting here talking to you as a married woman…”

In short, never say never. Back in the day, I would have sworn that liver would never pass by these lips and now, it’s not so bad. Of course, I still don’t like carrots however I’ll never say I will never like carrots neither. Point I’m trying to make with the bad food analogy is that sometimes, one’s taste will evolve. And if you were a sexually fluid person as McCray appears – and just as most folks are about food – than it would be all sorts of unwise, and possibly hypocritical, to categorize and box yourself in as anything in particular. Matter of fact, it is even possible that McCray, who once penned a groundbreaking piece back in 1979 for Essence magazine called “I am A Lesbian,” is just not completely sure herself how to define who or what she is? So if she doesn’t know, how the heck can she explain that to the rest of us?

One thing’s for sure, she really doesn’t have to explain her sexuality to anyone. And quite frankly, it shouldn’t matter. I mean, sure McCray’s visibility as a sexually-fluid First Lady, does raise questions about her allegiances to LGBTQA rights for the New York City -and women and black folks for that matter. However, if we haven’t learned anything from the election, and subsequent reelection, of the nation’s first black president (a man, who has gone to great stakes to remind us time and again that he is not really the first black president but a president for all Americans), is that identity politics, while emotionally stimulating, does not always translate over into meaningful and reciprocal action. For your consideration: Don Lemon, who is gay, black and a non-stop irritation to both identities.

What matters beyond personal identity, is where a politician, and I guess in this instance his family’s, personal character and ambitions lies. During the campaign de Blasio gave us some clue when he told reporters that McCray would be an “activist” First Lady. According to the Daily News, he also added: “A lot of times I will turn to Chirlane whether it’s the most mundane thing, a family thing, a political thing. She is my reality check in the world. She is the person who interprets the world with me.”

And during the campaign, she certainly didn’t have any problem actively going after Christine Quinn, the openly declared lesbian candidate opposite of de Blasio on the democratic ticket, by calling into question Quinn’s commitment to the concerns of women who have to take care of children at a young age or send them to school and after school, paid sick days, issues in the workplace.” Then there was time she went in on Mayor Bloomberg on Twitter after he called the de Blasio campaign ad, which featured McCray and their shared children, racist. In less than 140 characters, McCray obliterated Bloomberg with a stern reminder that she has had, “enough with the patriarchal thinking. I am not property or a tool to be used or controlled. Stop the sexism!”

And then there is the poetry. Back when McCray, was an editor for Redbook, she had also contributed a piece called “I Used To Think,” to the 1983 Homegirls: A Black Feminist Anthology, which detailed her personal pain with growing up, and trying to feel beautiful, as a black girl and woman in all-white spaces. Her poem, which had been reprinted by the New York Daily News is as followed:

I used to think
I can’t be a poet
because a poem is being everything you can be
in one moment,
speaking with lightning protest
unveiling a fiery intellect
or letting the words drift feather-soft
into the ears of strangers
who will suddenly understand
my beautiful and tortured soul.
But, I’ve spent my life as a Black girl
a nappy-headed, no-haired,
fat-lipped,
big-bottomed Black girl
and the poem will surely come out wrong
like me.”

It’s hard to say for sure what impact the McCray, by way of de Blasio, will have on the governing of the city. However newly elected Mayor de Blasio said once said of his wife, “Understand Chirlane and you’ll understand me.” If that is any indicator, we might expect a mayor who is has a sympathetic ear to communities who felt marginalized under Bloomberg. This is particularly of importance to the homeless as well as African American communities, who are targeted through the city’s Stop & Frisk crime prevention policies. However, politics and righteous intention do not always make good bed fellows. Therefore it is best to stay cautiously optimistic and adamant that how they look on paper, which is of the quintessential liberal New York City, matches their overall action.

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