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Controversial NYC Building Has Two Doors of Entrance - One for the Rich, and Another For The Poor

A 33-story building slated to be built on Riverside Boulevard in New York's Upper West Side has citizens and city officials in an uproar, according to an article recently published in the New York Times. The building is going to contain 274 units, but 219 will be sold at market rate as condos, and 55 will be apartments for rent to people making 60% or less of area median income. What has people in an uproar is the fact that the condos and the apartments will have separate entrances.

The "poor door" concept

Some have referred to this separation as the "poor door" concept which they claim is treating low-income renters as second-class citizens. But is it? According to New York's Housing Development Corporation, the affordable units will be on floors two through six towards the back of the building and will have its own entrance. The plan specifically states, “Even though the off-site housing portion of this building is attached physically to the rest of the building, the developer’s argument is that it is separate ‘off-site’ since it does not relate to the rest of the building, and therefore falls under the portion of the Zoning Resolution that requires a separate entrance.”

Mixed responses

For some, like New York Assemblymember Linda B. Rosentha, “This ‘separate but equal’ arrangement is abominable and has no place in the 21st century, let alone on the Upper West Side.” Others, like 59-year-old retiree Victoriano Oviedo believe “Living here is a privilege.” “Over there you have powerful people. Over here you have low-income people. I’m fine with that.”

Two schools of thought

One one hand, people are outraged with the separation of classes and view the separate door idea as segregation. On the other hand, there are those who feel we have to make compromises in order to provide more affordable housing for New York's 50,000 residents in need of homes. Is the separate entrance justified, or is it segregation? What do you think?

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