Tenants march on Gracie Mansion to protest NYCHA plan

Residents disrupt gala, take aim at "NextGen Neighborhoods" program
October 22, 2015 05:51PM

Furious over the de Blasio administration’s market rate apartment plans for New York City Housing Authority properties, about 140 public housing tenants created a stir by marching on Gracie Mansion as hizzoner threw a fundraiser Tuesday night.

Guests at the mayor’s chi-chi gala exited limousines to the shouts of “The people united will never be defeated!” before taking seats at their tables, which cost the crowd $1,000 and up, according to the New York Daily News.

Through its “NextGen Neighborhoods” proposal, the authority plans to build about 1,000 new units on lands that house the Holmes Towers on the Upper East Side and the Wyckoff Gardens complex in Boerum Hill. Half of those units will be offered at market rates by private developers, the rest would be set aside as affordable, according to housing officials.

It’s a component of a larger initiative to allow private developers to construct 7,500 new units of housing on public land, half of which would be built for market rate tenants.

Public housing tenants fear that local businesses will be replaced by unaffordable cafes and shops once the housing authority accelerates its controversial plans.

The beleaguered agency expects to raise as much as $600 million in new revenue from the overall initiative, money that’s desperately needed to help chip away at its $100 million operational deficit and its capital needs woes, estimated to be in the billions.

In the face of public pressure, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg shelved a “NextGen Neighborhoods” proposal that would have designated 80 percent of the units as market rate.

The Tuesday night gala raised $475,000, the newspaper reported. [NYDN]James Kleimann