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Mayor de Blasio's "State of the City" speech: 4 takeaways

By Virginia K. Smith  | February 3, 2015 - 4:24PM

Bill de Blasio gave his second annual "State of the City" speech earlier today, with a heavy focus on affordable housing. (As any New Yorker could tell you, the state of our city and the state of our limited, expensive housing, are very closely linked.) The mayor harkened back to a lot of his "Tale of Two Cities" rhetoric from his campaign days, but what does it all mean for your actual housing (or commute) situation over the next few years? Below, a few highlights:

  • Expect to see the city heavily involved in changing neighborhoods. According to the mayor, six major areas are being eyed for development and rezoning, with the requirement that said developers include a certain amount of affordable housing in anything they build. This will mean big changes (and lots of construction) in East New York, Flushing West, the Bay Street Corridor in Staten Island, East Harlem, Long Island City, and the Jerome Avenue Corridor in the Bronx. Queens' Sunnyside Yards alone is slated for 11,000 affordable apartments. “For the first time in New York City history, we are creating a mandatory inclusionary zoning requirement that will apply to all major residential rezonings,” de Blasio explained. “In every major rezoning development, we will require developers to include affordable housing—not as an option; as a precondition.”
  • The city is also allocating $36 million to help tenants in rezoned (i.e. gentrified) neighborhoods who are being harassed by greedy landlords. De Blasio also mentioned working with Albany to strengthen current rent-regulation laws.
  • More options for the aquatic commuters: after the controversial cancelation of the Rockaway ferry last fall, the mayor announced plans to expand the city's ferry service by 2017 to neighborhoods including Astoria, the Rockaways, South Brooklyn, the Lower East Side, and Soundview in the Bronx. The plan will cost $55 million, with the pricing somehow "pegged" to the current Metrocard system.
  • The mayor also pledged to create 1,500 "artist residences" over the course of the next decade, and 10,000 units of affordable housing for seniors.

Dig deeper:

State of the City: "Gentrification" (Gothamist)

Mayor de Blasio, in State of the City, focuses on his housing plan (NYT)

City to develop more than 11,000 affordable apartments at Sunnyside Yards (DNAinfo)

New ferries coming to Rockaway, Astoria, the LES and Brooklyn (DNAinfo)

De Blasio hails Sunnyside Yards as next Stuy Town, unveils housing plan details (Commercial Observer)

An obstacle to Mayor de Blasio's affordable housing plan: neighborhood resistance (NYT)

De Blasio to developers: my rules, not yours (Crain's)


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