NYCHA tenants blast plan for UES tower on playground site

City will build mixed-income housing at Wyckoff Gardens, Holmes Towers

Holmes Towers on the Upper East Side (inset: Bill de Blasio and NYCHA's Shola Olatoye)
Holmes Towers on the Upper East Side (inset: Bill de Blasio and NYCHA's Shola Olatoye)

Like Michael Bloomberg before him, Mayor Bill de Blasio is facing a public backlash against plans to privately develop mixed-income housing on New York City Housing Authority land. 

Residents of Holmes Towers, at 403 East 93rd Street on the Upper East Side, cited construction noise, a lack of space at the complex and the fact that the new building will replace well-trafficked playgrounds at the site.

“What they’re doing is taking from the kids,” Holmes Towers resident Unique Walker told DNAinfo. “Where will our kids play? It’s not fair that the poor suffer so the rich can have a place to live.”

The proposal, part of the city’s “NextGen Neighborhoods” initiative, took a step forward last week when Holmes Towers and Wyckoff Gardens, located at 130 Third Avenue in Boerum Hill, were selected as the first two sites for the program, which aims to create affordable housing while mending NYCHA’s budget.

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The city said it will build on “underutilized” areas of the two complexes, but residents expressed skepticism.

“That ain’t gonna work. Why would it work?” one resident told DNAinfo. “We live right here and you’re going to build a house right here?”

De Blasio’s plan calls for 50 percent affordable units at the new complex. The Bloomberg administration had to shelve its similar plan, requiring only 20 percent affordable units, in the face of public pressure. [DNAinfo]Ariel Stulberg