How one building transformed Hell’s Kitchen into wholesome “Clinton”

The documentary “Miracle on 42nd Street” on the transformation premieres at DOC NYC film fest this weekend

New York Weekend Edition /
Nov.November 11, 2017 12:43 PM

(Credits: back photo by Roger Rowlett/Wikimedia Commons; front credits from left to right: Frantogian/Wikimedia Commons, Walmart/Flickr, pinguino k/Wikimedia Commons)

It’s all thanks to one developer and a life-altering building — at least according to filmmaker Alice Elliott’s documentary “Miracle on 42nd Street,” which premieres this weekend at the DOC NYC film festival.

The building is Manhattan Plaza and the developer behind it is Richard Ravitch, the former New York lieutenant governor and long-time player in city real estate. He dreamed up the idea to create an amenity-filled building to draw middle class tenants into what was a rough, low-income neighborhood at the time using a city subsidy to pay for the majority of the construction costs, according to the New York Post.

Despite starting construction in 1974, Ravitch’s project flopped, in a sense, as New York’s financial woes caused rents to skyrocket so that none of the target tenants could afford it. So, in desperation, the building was turned into Section 8 housing with 70 percent of the units reserved for performers.

Stories of the artsy tenants abound: the time Craig Russell lit his apartment on fire; Samuel L. Jackson working as the doorman between auditions; someone giving Alicia Keys the piano she played while writing her first song; and Giancarlo Esposito and Terrence Howard practicing lines together.

Manhattan Plaza is still up and running today with about 8,000 people waiting for apartments, however the building’s surrounding neighbors have become notably more refined and expensive — a result that filmmaker Elliott argues is a product of some of The Plaza‘s residents’ success.

[NYP] — E.K. Hudson


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Silver Lining Ranch in Aspen (Redfin, Illustration by The Real Deal)
Aspen Mansion sells for a steep $69M
Aspen Mansion sells for a steep $69M
145 Reade Street (Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal with Getty Images, Zillow)
Real estate investor lists Tribeca townhouse for first time in 20 years
Real estate investor lists Tribeca townhouse for first time in 20 years
Corcoran's David Mayer and Compass' Augusto Bittencourt (Corcoran, Compass, Getty)
Foreign investors shift real estate strategies as dollar strengthens
Foreign investors shift real estate strategies as dollar strengthens
Ron Burkle and 704 Broadway (Modlin Group, Hugoatyugo/CC BY-SA 3.0/via Wikimedia Commons)
Billionaire Ron Burkle selling Noho penthouse
Billionaire Ron Burkle selling Noho penthouse
Tim Foley (Anywhere, Getty Images)
Anywhere Real Estate’s Tim Foley resigns
Anywhere Real Estate’s Tim Foley resigns
(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)
Rising mortgage rates lock out homebuyers, trigger layoffs
Rising mortgage rates lock out homebuyers, trigger layoffs
United Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng
Turmoil hits United Kingdom mortgage market
Turmoil hits United Kingdom mortgage market
 Lakeland Bank president Thomas Shara (Lakeland Bank, Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)
In redlining case, New Jersey lender to pay $12M
In redlining case, New Jersey lender to pay $12M
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...