'Poor doors' have no place in NYC

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Rachel Figueroa-Levin Rachel Figueroa-Levin

Rachel Figueroa-Levin tweets as @ElBloombito, @Jewyorican and @EveryGentrifier.

When the developer of a 33-story Upper West Side luxury apartment building proposed having a separate entrance for tenants in the complex's affordable-housing units, I laughed.

I really did.

I thought there was no way the city would ever approve such a hilariously terrible idea. But when the city greenlighted the developer's so-called "poor door" proposal last week, I stopped laughing.

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Under the city's Inclusionary Housing Program, developers get tax incentives and build denser properties than zoning laws allow with the condition that they set aside units for low-income families.

It's turned into city-sanctioned segregation. It's unfortunate -- and demeaning -- because this city was built by the kind of people now being relegated to the "poor door."

I understand that there are wealthy neighborhoods and economically struggling neighborhoods, but not being rich isn't a disease. If a tenant banished to the poor door were to accidentally touch you, you won't catch poor-itis. Poor-door users aren't lepers or criminals; they're average hardworking people living in affordable housing. And these units contribute to already-wealthy developers receiving huge tax breaks.

Affordable housing in NYC is crucial, particularly as people continue to be priced out of the city. There needs to be more of it -- a lot more of it.

If you don't want to interact with New Yorkers who are different from you, you're missing the point of living in NYC. You're also an arrogant mean-spirited classist who should be forced to use a "terrible person" door. Having money doesn't buy you the right to look down on people who don't have money, which this does.

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There is no place in this city for people who insist on having a separate entrance from people living in affordable units. Well, I guess except for the Upper West Side.

If you are the kind of person either afraid or unwilling to be exposed to people who aren't wealthy, please make your way to the nearest New Jersey gated community and live there.

And don't let the rich door hit you on the way out.


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