Did anyone notice that Mayor de Blasio came out to Jamaica at Archer Avenue at the Jamaica Center Subway Station on election night to give support to Leroy Comrie’s run for Senate? Did many of you know about the big conference at York College this past summer with Melinda Katz and many powers to be talking about the “potential of Jamaica” (That was the same day and time as the guy at McDonalds with a big knife in his back, blood running all down him while he chatted on a cell phone)? Remember Malcolm Smith a few weeks ago trying to save his ass at a debate by saying gentrification is starting to take place in Jamaica?
Well, I don’t know if gentrification is taking place, but something is taking place and maybe something for the good, but who really knows.
An excerpt from New York Magazine ( you can read the entire article at http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/09/de-blasio-affordable-housing-queens.html, but lets focus on the part about Jamaica:
In Terms of Affordable Housing, Queens Is de Blasio’s Last Best Hope
By Justin Davidson
Middle-class families all over the country are helping to push other families just like them out of New York. How? By sending their kids checks. The city’s creative industries (like magazine publishing, fashion, and performing arts) couldn’t exist without a renewable supply of the young and the underpaid whose salaries (if any) are supplemented by remittances from home. It’s a form of tribute, really. Someone has to pay for the hipness of Brooklyn, and so money flows in from Shaker Heights and Merion and Menlo Park, supporting tattoo salons, craft-beer bars, and real-estate brokers.
Meanwhile, roughly a third of New Yorkers—nearly 3 million people—live in quarters that suck up more than half of the household’s income. (It’s small comfort to know that the housing burden is worse in eight other cities, including San Jose and Detroit.) De Blasio has cast himself as a champion of the poor, but their struggles are part of larger pressures. Almost everyone in New York is being nudged out of somewhere, migrating from neighborhood to neighborhood, from doorman building to walk-up, from two-bedroom to studio, or leaving the city with a mixture of regret and relief. The surreal cost of housing has propelled teachers out beyond tolerable commuting distances, signaled to young college graduates who lack parental subsidies that they might want to think about Pittsburgh, and ratcheted up the pressure on affordable housing so high that nearly 60,000 people applied for the 105 subsidized apartments in a new building in Greenpoint.
So what’s a well-meaning mayor to do? Does New York’s only hope of affordability lie in a summer of spectacular crime or a well-placed riot? Are we faced with a choice between choking on affluence and old-fashioned urban decay? Surely not.
Part of the answer may lie in deeply un-chic neighborhoods like southeastern Queens. To Manhattanites, commuters, and tourists, Jamaica is where the LIRR, the subway, and the AirTrain meet. It’s also an area that is encouragingly incomplete. It has underused buildings, vacant lots, and a dearth of shopping. Andrew Manshel, an executive with the nonprofit Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, estimates that his organization could find land for 5,000 apartments without breaking a sweat, and 7,500 with a little more effort.
And yet even Jamaica is too expensive for the people most likely to live there. Enter de Blasio’s affordable-housing program. Here, where developers need to be coaxed into taking a risk, where profits are low and the market wobbly, the city can pump in subsidies and pile up an inventory of affordable housing without worrying about stoking a real-estate wildfire. It’s happening: The developer BRP will soon start construction on two towers with some 500 total units in southeast Queens that could turn the neighborhood into a permanently affordable haven. That doesn’t come close to solving the problem. For one thing, de Blasio is hoping to build 80,000 new affordable units; for another, it would be nice to alleviate New York’s economic segregation rather than increase it. But Jamaica is one of the few remaining counterweights to the commodity culture of housing. Well connected but far from cool, the area is a natural habitat for cops and teachers, not slumming financiers. “People aren’t paying a premium to live in Jamaica,” Manshel says. We can only hope that they never do.
*This article appears in the September 8, 2014 issue of New York Magazine.
Just as Jamaica was used for years and decades to dump all kind of bad shit that no other area wanted, now it is going to be used for the powers to be to do what they want, since they seem to have backed themselves into a corner and are out of options with affordable housing. What they did in Long Island City, well, no middle class folks can live there anymore, that area is out of range for the majority of middle to even upper middle class folks.
Could be a good thing though, only time will tell. But even though Jamaica is a big patch of land, you still could not put up that much affordable housing to take care of a gigantic problem that has been ignored for years. But then there is a lot of crap here in our community that can be torn down and Jamaica can be used as a blank slate, something I have said in the past.
But if this is going to happen, to make room for all those middle class teachers, police officers, etc, the bottom of the barrel folks are going to have to go or learn to behave themselves. One thing is for certain, in this day in age in NYC with cost of living sky high, affordable housing unavailable to most, the exiting of some of our population, Jamaica can no longer continue it’s existence of “ghetto living” and be a haven for homegrown bottom of the barrel folks or low-class immigrants who have turned it into some shitty third world country piece of shit (see Hillside Avenue). That option is no longer viable or cost effective.
But a commenter on this article on the Queens Crap website stated something that I have been saying since day one:
In Jamaica, instead of giving subsidies to developers up front, why not first put taxpayer dollars directly into more city services like additional sanitation pick ups, increased policing and infrastructure rebuilding? Then the area becomes cleaner, safer and much more livable. And guess what. Jamaica becomes a place where suddenly lots of people want to live. Then, lo and behold, developers will be scrambling to build there and the city can demand from the developers that units for affordable housing be set aside.
Why does the city continue its hand-outs to developers? By investing in itself first and making areas more desirable with improved basic services and renewed infrastructure, it can cut out the developer middleman and create jobs (more sanitation workers, more police officers and more DOT workers).
Why does the city want to benefit developers before working people? If you put working people first, the developers will follow. The city needs to envision this differently.
New York doesn’t need developers. Developers need New York.
Very good point!
Future of Sutphin Boulevard and 94th Avenue