The Real Deal New York

Protesters railing against HUD cuts descend on Trump Tower

Group was barred from accessing the building’s garden on the fifth floor
March 21, 2017 11:10AM

Trump Tower and Jumaane Williams

Protesters speaking out against both looming funding cuts to the Department of Housing Development and Governor Cuomo’s affordable housing legislation gathered at Trump Tower on Monday.

The protesters — a group of around 50 people, Curbed reported — were not allowed to enter the landscaped garden on the fifth floor of the building, even though it’s open to the public. The garden is part of New York City’s privately owned public spaces program (POPS), and zoning laws mean they must be publicly accessible seven days a week. In return for making the space open, Trump was able to build an extra 20 stories at the tower. However, the protesters were not allowed out into the garden because of snow, according to Curbed.

The POPS program has previously been a subject of controversy at the building. In 2015, a bench at the tower was removed to make room for campaign kiosks selling “Make American Great Again” hats. Trump International Realty twice fined $4,000 for the infraction, then another $10,000 when representatives failed to show up at a Department of Buildings hearing.  The bench was returned last year.

Monday’s protest, which included City Council member Jumaane Williams, was organized by groups Alliance for Tenant Power and Real Rent Reform. They argued funding cuts to HUD will have an adverse impact on middle and low-income New Yorkers. Last week, the New York City Housing Authority chair Shola Olatoye said the agency will lose at least $75 million from its operational budget this year as a result of Trump administration funding cuts.

The group was also rallying against Governor Cuomo’s “Affordable New York,” whey they argue is overly beneficial to developers. The bill revives 421a, the tax abatement that expired last January. [Curbed]Miriam Hall