The Real Deal New York

Harlem tenants complain of privacy violation with new security card system

February 28, 2012 02:00PM

Tenants of a 1,200-unit West Harlem rental building say they plan to fight a proposed requirement for all residents to have picture identification to enter the premises, DNAinfo reported.

Some residents, of 3333 Broadway at 135th Street, fear the proposal — which requires swiping of individualized security cards after March 8 — could infringe on their safety because their information is then exposed and is really an attempt to remove tenants who receive housing subsidies in favor of market-rate tenants.
“This is allowing them to clock what time we come in, what time we leave,” said Alicia Barksdale, president of the 3333 Broadway Tenants Association.

“This is starting to feel like it’s Alcatraz at this point.”

Urban American Management, the managing agent of the building, posted a notice for building residents that notified them of the new plan. “These cards are for residents of 3333 for your convenience as well as added security,” the note said.

Brian Moriarty, spokesperson for Urban American Management, said these changes continue to add safety-enhancing features to the building.

“The key-card system we are rolling out now was planned in conjunction with the completion of our beautiful new front lobby,” he told DNAinfo, “and is designed simply to make the premises safer and more secure for people living in the building.”

Others aren’t as convinced, including George Peters, attorney for the 3333 Broadway Tenants Association.

“I’m torn because you want to keep the building safe, but you worry how effective a picture on the key will be,” he said to DNA Info. “We just don’t want to impede on people’s identity.” [DNAinfo]