Showing posts with label Rents. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rents. Show all posts

May 8, 2020

Gay, Straight, Old and Younger NYC Tenants Make a Rent Strike Closer To Reality

“Having a roof over your head and starving to death makes no sense”

 Shuttered stores and boarded up apartment windows on an East Village block in Manhattan. 

One evening in late April, seated on the bed in her Brooklyn apartment, Melanie Wang shouted instructions into her cellphone on how to join a conference call to older tenants of a Manhattan building in Chinatown.
After a flurry of phone calls, Wang wrangled just shy of a dozen residents onto the call, and in an instant, the chaos of coordinating a digital tenants meeting was replaced with a burst of laser focused conversation. The technology might have been a bit unfamiliar, but there was no hesitance from tenants when it came to talking about the difficulty of paying rent during the novel coronavirus pandemic—and the possibility of going on a rent strike. 
“As soon as I got people on the phone it was off to the races,” says Wang, a community organizer with the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV), who sat back and listened as tenants took the lead. “Very quickly they came to a collective understanding of what they wanted to do in their building; just removing that small but enormous barrier of bringing people together made the difference.” 
It’s a scene that, even just two months ago, would have otherwise unfolded face-to-face. Instead, shut in by government order or simply in fear of being within six feet of another person due to COVID-19, community organizers and tenants are getting creative and turning to digital tools as part of a nation-wide push to cancel rent payments during the pandemic with a rash of both rent and labor strikes on May 1.
Through virtual tenant town halls, grainy video calls, and a whole lot of messaging on numerous chat apps, organizers in New York and across the country are tapping into some of the 30 million who have filed for unemployment in the U.S. since early March, according to U.S. Department of Labor data. With widespread economic uncertainty, the act of paying—or not paying rent—has become a flash point for both renters and landlords who say they are not receiving enough emergency support to cope with months of missed income.
Meanwhile, government stimulus checks of $1,200 are disorganizedoverdue, and woefully inadequate for city dwellers whose rents can easily climb to double that amount. And undocumented immigrants—who don’t qualify for the aid but who are on the frontlines of the pandemic stocking grocery store shelves and sanitizing buildings—are left in the lurch. 
“I just do the math and there is no way I can pay rent when I’m unemployed. How am I suppose to pay present bills and then make up back rent? I don’t understand,” says Donnette, an undocumented immigrant from Jamaica who lives in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn and recently worked as a home health care attendant until her employer died from COVID-19. “We are all deserving of a home.”
Now, grassroots groups in San FranciscoChicagoPhiladelphia, and elsewhere are helping tenants organize rent strikes. The radical step of renters collectively withholding payment from their landlord is typically used to leverage building repairs or other concessions, but amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, thousands of renters are turning that tool to a political purpose: galvanize a suspension of rent payments, without tenants owing back rent, by putting economic pressure on landlords and thereby state and federal officials to promote tenant-friendly measures.
In New York, tenants across 57 buildings totaling more than 2,000 units are coordinating rent strikes, according to Cea Weaver, the campaign coordinator for Housing Justice For All, a coalition of tenants’ rights groups that is spearheading the push to cancel rent across the state. Another 13,000 individual renters have signed the coalition’s online pledge against paying rent in May. 
Precise strike numbers will be nearly impossible to track, but the number of commitments alone signals a historic resurgence of the tenant resistance tactic, the likes of which have not been seen in New York since mass strikes were coordinated across the Bronx and Manhattan in the 1930s against rent gouging and poor living conditions. 
In present-day New York, a statewide eviction moratorium issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo protects tenants from losing their homes until at least mid-June—but they will still be on the hook to make up any missed rent payments after the moratorium expires. And once it does, lawmakers and housing advocates say that the state will see a “tidal wave” of eviction cases in the courts unless renters receive greater support. 
But for many New Yorkers the decision to withhold rent isn’t exactly a choice when there simply isn’t a paycheck coming in, and what little cash they have is going toward groceries, medicine, diapers, and other essentials. In this way, the rent strikes are a reframing of nonpayment as protest; it’s about using a dire moment to kindle a mass movement similar to the Occupy Wall Street protests that followed the 2008 financial crisis.
“This moment is really terrifying, but it’s also quite inspiring,” says Weaver. “It’s in moments of crisis that we’re able to win big things from the first rent control laws in New York state’s history about 100 years ago to public housing and more. It’s in moments like these when we can really push the envelope to envision a totally different world.”
And that starts on the ground with tenant leaders and organizers. But the need to keep social distance due to COVID-19 has complicated how advocates are reaching New Yorkers, especially some of the most vulnerable who can already be tough to reach, including the elderly, undocumented immigrants, and those who speak little or no English.
For Wang and CAAAV—which is working with tenants in two Chinatown buildings who are expected to take collective action—perhaps the biggest organizing hurdle amid COVID-19 is a technological one compounded by a language barrier. While the #Can’tPayMay movement has brewed on widely used social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, many of the cultural groups Wang works with aren’t on those platforms. It’s a seemingly simple challenge that adds a layer of time consuming complexity to reaching tenants. 
“Organizing digitally has been a real mind bender,” says Wang, who speaks Mandarin and frequently works with tenants who don’t speak English as their first language or at all. “[The tenants] have smartphones, but they’re all plugged into different networks: Chinese are on WeChat, Korean folks are on WeChat or Kakao, Bengali are on WhatsApp. We can’t reach them on Facebook and Twitter. We have to meet them where they are.” 
At CAAAV, that has translated to teaching its members how to use the video chat features offered by some messaging apps, and helping to create various group chats for tenants. Organizers are mulling the idea of setting up a tenant hotline and sharing that info on various messaging-app platforms, and have also experimented with video and conference call technology. UberConference, for instance, has proved useful because it eliminates the obstacle of dialing in, which can sometimes be a challenge for older tenants, according to Wang. 
These efforts are as much about keeping tenants informed as they are about helping them digitally connect with their neighbors. “There’s a lot of active teaching in terms of how to use these platforms,” says Wang. “Knowing that I can play a real role in facilitating that conversation is really gratifying, it’s even more gratifying to see communities use those skills to take control of their situations themselves.”
In the south Bronx, that mentality is core to the work of tenant leaders partnered with grassroots group Community Action for Safe Apartments (CASA). Fitzroy Christian, a volunteer tenant leader with CASA who lives in the Highbridge section of the Bronx—an area of New York City especially hard hit by COVID-19—sees his role as arming locals with information and options. 
“The informational systems in New York city and state are not weathering the storm properly,” says Christian, who mostly works with low-wage worker whose jobs have been made obsolete or risky as a result of the pandemic. “Part of our discussions with our members is if they have the ability to pay their rent, they should. But if they have to make a choice between paying their rent, their utilities, or taking care of their families, they should withhold the rent because having a roof over your head and starving to death makes no sense.” 
To that end, New York lawmakers have unveiled a spate of legislative efforts that could help renters and landlords alike. And on the federal level, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar has introduced the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, which would relieve tenants of their obligation to pay rent, transfer mortgages to the federal government, and allow landlords to recoup their rent costs—but only if they agree to a series of stipulations including a freeze on rents, and an inability to collect back payments.
Fitzroy and other CASA tenant leaders have been using Zoom, phone calls, “plus a million emails a day,” he says, to connect with residents. Instead of traditional door knocking and in-person meetings, CASA has switched to video workshops, which are recorded and uploaded on the group’s website, with ample time for attendees to ask questions about unemployment, evictions, and paying—or not paying—rent. 
The idea of a rent strike, Christian says, “came up organically” for several tenants struggling to make ends meet who wondered if it would ramp up pressure for rent relief. 
“We have to send a message,” says Mariana Hernandez, a single-mother who rents a two-bedroom apartment in Mott Haven with her two young daughters.  
Hernandez lost her income as a crossing guard when New York shuttered schools in March, and to make matters worse, her 74-year-old mother is hospitalized at Lincoln Medical Center with COVID-19. With little cash and mounting bills, Hernandez and ten other tenants of her four-story apartment building are withholding rent come May 1. 
“I’m constantly terrified. I’m scared for my mother, I’m scared for my girls, and I don’t know what tomorrow will bring,” says Hernandez, who has yet to receive her $1,200 stimulus check. “My goal is survival, and how can I pay rent when I can barely put food on the table?”
Even grassroots groups that don’t typically organize around housing issues are helping their tenants mobilize rent strikes. Organizers with Desis Rising up and Moving (DRUM), which advocates for South Asian and Indo-Caribbean New Yorkers, recognizes that renters, homeowners, and small landlords are on the edge of a proverbial cliff without greater relief. 
“We need to be able to protect ourselves and our community and the only way we can do that is if we come together,” says Jensine Raihan, a gender justice organizer DRUM. “If we don’t organize then we have no voice.”
Renters across the state will make that voice heard come 7 p.m. on May 1, banging pots and pans at their windows and unfurling homemade banners painted with “No income, no rent” and “Cancel rent.” It’s a show of solidarity Christian hopes elected officials will hear loud and clear.
“It is important, truly, truly important, for the actions that need to be taken are taken now—sooner rather than later,” says Christian. “The costs in people’s homes, to their lives, the effects on the community—it could be so devastating.”

November 5, 2015

People Living in Affordable Apartments Pay over 50% of Income for Rent [and] Who is backing Trump?

 The Current NYC Mayor Promises affordable housing; Lower middle and middle class renters pay at least 50% of their income in such affordable apts. The only renters that pay a fair and sometimes too fair rents are NYCHA renters. They just have to put up with high crime and no repair services. NYCHA was a good concept but the politicians with landlords in their pockets made sure it failed. Wether is Amtrak or any subsidized service will surely fail if money is taken for maintenance and up keeping, insuring that the billions spent to built that service ends up in the can (adamfoxie*blog)
Before I go into a story on the NYDaily News today let me just say that I’m an unwilling expert on rents in NYC. Not only because Im informed about the issue but because I live it. I live in a rent regulated apt. Why is it rent regulated? Built with federal loan guarantees with the stipulation to give rent breaks to some renters. No one can tell me if the program in which my building gave some breaks to some renters still goes on. I do know that they still do if they need renters and the renters make at least a minimum of a certain amount a year. Leaving the issues about this building aside let me just get to the money. I have paid at times 80% of income on this one bedroom apt. upon lease renewals (yearly leases). If you change jobs, become disabled, get sick or for what ever reason your income goes down the rent keeps going up every time you renew your lease. The average rent increase has been from $45 lowest (one time, except this year there is no increase for the first time ever) and $80 the highest which was happening every year for about 8 yrs.  After finally getting approved to a state program because of the high rent opposite my income now my rent is frozen as long as my income does not goes up. Still with this frozen rent and a reduction of about $80. a month I still pay 50% of income in rent + utilities. This is just one story, I don’t know how people are able to manage in this city. For all the talk about SNAP (food stamps) most people will be turn down unless they have kids. I see unwed mother’s having kids without a father so they can leave home and have the government pick up the tap for food, health and apartment.  The system is set up for people not to be honest. I have never met one person who cries out foul about food stamps that knows the qualifications for it They just see a fat woman in  front of them at the cashier of the supermarket with a cart full of goods. That woman is feeding a bunch of mouths that the government insisted she have in order to help her. If she had no kids she will not even be at your supermarket.Some people loves the Donald because without any information like most voters he says the hell with this and that and they like it. He solves all the problems by magic and promises to make this nation great again (when did it stop being great opposite most nations?) Uninformed people and people that will directly benefit from him i.e. Landlords will find it thrilling that he can say he will do all that. I wish they will go to George Bush’s speeches and see if he didn’t say the same things in a little better language (not much). He was also not a politician before running for governor of Florida and was as rich as the Donald if not more. The thing is that once they are in  they are in for two terms. The first term given by the uninformed (the same that say Trump is just using his money and don’t see the money he gets by law and under the table by the PACS) and the second by the system of money and promises.”            [Adam Gonzalez]      
 Bush went after the Japanese and Trump the Chinese and Mexicans. He wont antagonize Putin and never did Bush (Why? The-world-where-putin-inhabits-does-not-exists)

“A just released survey found that a large percentage of the tenants cannot afford to live in their apartments and are either rent burdened or severely rent burdened,” the study states.

Last spring, the group surveyed 115 tenants at 16 randomly selected buildings in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx built between 2001 and 2011 by the city's major affordable housing players.

These buildings all got big tax breaks, so developers had to cap rent for eligible lower- and moderate-income tenants.

But as the years passed, incremental rent increases were allowed. With incomes flat for the last decade, rent costs begin to chew up renters’ budgets.

“Even in a low rent increase environment, the rents do go up,” said one affordable housing developer who reviewed the survey. “And if income is flat or if (a worker’s) hours are cut, the gap between 30% of income towards rent and the real rent paid over time continues to grow.” 
One in three said their rent jumped more than 20%, while 11% saw their rent skyrocket more than 40%. That compares to an average 12% rent rise in New York City between 2005 and 2013, census data show.                                                    

A 55-year-old airport worker who lives in an affordable building in Brooklyn says her rent started 18 years ago at $250. It’s about to go to $600.

“My salary before taxes is $404. After taxes it’s $316,” said the tenant, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she fears retaliation by her landlord.

“Everything in life goes up and up and we can’t get everything for free. But if it’s based on your income, it’s still a lot with my salary,” she said.

Real Affordability planned a protest Wednesday at a gala for NYS Association for Affordable Housing, the affordable housing developer trade group.

The survey, which targetted buildings built by NYSAFAH members, shows “once NYSAFAH developers build their ‘affordable’ housing, the rents rise much faster than tenants’ incomes, increasing the rent burden on low-income tenants who struggle to afford their apartments.”

Jolie Milstein, president & CEO of NYSAFAH, blasted the survey, saying it “conveniently fails to note whether or not any of the tenants' incomes decreased over time.”

“A decrease in income could be caused by loss of employment, personal injury or retirement,” she wrote. “If a tenant in affordable housing loses their job and becomes rent-burdened for a period of time, does RAFA suggest they should be evicted?”


June 18, 2015

High Market Rates =Trouble for NYC Job Makers

Wether I was living in Manhattan, outer borough or outside the city altogether I always kept track of rentals in the city being I always had family living in Manhattan and other boroughs.  I have been back for a decade now and my rent is been as high as 75-80% of income to as a low of 45% (one yr.) of income. 
My rental history is typical of most renters wether they live in subsidized apartments or not. On the latest figures from CNNmoney the median rent climbed to $3,380 in May, and the borough’s vacancy rate was 1.65%, according to a report by real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel for Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

"Another way to think of it is 98.35% of the units in Manhattan are rented at any given time," said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel. 
High costs and low inventory are making it tough to rent across the Big Apple. 
Steadily rising rents are creating tension between landlord and tenants. "When new rentals surge, that means a lot of tenants are rejecting offers and looking elsewhere," said Miller. 
But affordability can be hard to come by anywhere in New York City. The median rent in Brooklyn was $2,933, while rent in the northwest part of Queens was $2,597.  
High churn is creating stress on the market, Miller said. "You have people scrambling, they want to be here in the city. There is job growth, there is a lot going on here. But the jobs that are needed to be filled are by people who can’t afford to pay the rent.” And this is the problem where the productivity and economics of the city get hurt. Imagine having jobs but you can’t get workers to come from another city to work for you because they can’t afford to live here.
Why not get workers already leaving int he city? That is just it, the working pool in the city is employed. Every job description would have its own pool of people that would be willing or are trained to do that job. The jobs that pay the most are having the workers which are part of what we call “gentrification” because they re willing to move anywhere in the city and either pay the asking rent or get help from the government to buy some run down property and make theirs or just have the company help them with the rent, deposit, etc. It’s been done for me so it happens. But those are highest paying jobs for companies that are willing to pay as much as it takes because they are in a business environment in which they can pass on the expenses to their customers.

All other jobs below the 45k a year cannot pass their expenses that easily to their customers and they depend on that working pool which is not well off or able to earn more for what ever reasons. That means that the companies which are the bread and butter for the city because they provide the bulk of the work force providing both stability and a good tax base for the government. Those are the business’ that cannot fill all their open spots and eventually they end up moving away to a place with a stable working force and reasonable taxes and workers that are not going to move away because they can no longer afford to live there. I don’t mean to imply that this high rent period does not affect companies such as Google and other in the high spectrum. They also have jobs un filled and in their case their potential employees have no where to move even paying $3500-$5000 for a one bedroom in Manhattan and the parts of Brooklyn which is not two hours away by train from Manhattan. Imagine all the incentives and tax dollars given to those giants to loose them to NJ or Atlanta, Ga. because their employees could not find rental in this market which is full at 98.35%.

When things go out of whack wether on a factory suddenly inundated with orders that it cannot fill or a city with a repaired reputation in which people believe that the streets are pave of gold all over again. Eventually the factory ends up loosing it’s customers because it can not fill the orders on time and in the city people realize that the streets are full of pot holes and murder, shootings are up even though graffiti is way down.

 NYC has it’s up and down and when it’s up it never learn the lessons of the las time it was down so we live in a pendulum in which it has it’s up and downs never staying in one place.
Some people would say that’s good because NYC never stand still. People that say that are people that are never adversely affected by those pendulums’ movements. The fact is the city is not a clock with a pendulum and even though what goes up tends to go down it doesn’t need to crash down and that is usually what happens in NYC.  When things change to coming down is not a normal landing but a crash.
Some people watching the trends are already seeing a monkey wrench. The problem is the people that are directly affecting the changes don’t see a problem charging what ever the market will bare.


 Even the Saudis and their precious commodity of oil learnt that lesson after the oil embargo of the 70’s. They saw US and all major markets begin to conserve and make changes, They also learn that their unlimited supply of oil was indeed limited and charging what ever the market will bare made no sense. OPEC was born and quotas to control the flow and prices of oil emerged.

 As time went on they saw the predictions of the experts come true. If they charged what their customers would pay because their customers had no choice eventually those customers would find alternate means because they had no choice. Now the Saudis rush to build the cities of the future, self sufficient and guess what? Not self sufficient in oil because at the present rate eventually there will be none. They are doing what others are doing of using the sun, the wind and new technology on batteries, etc., to make those new buildings and roads needless of oil by the time there is none.

That is a lesson developers and owners don’t see and they don’t care about seeing it. Plenty is not enough because everybody thinks about the time when we crash, when things go bad. The problem with that is the same as when they announce a powerful hurricane, what do people do? They hoard and empty the shells. A lot of people take more than they will ever use and others don’t get sufficient to last a period of no utilities and flooding.

Developments in Queens and Brooklyn are becoming condos instead of rental apartments,  adding to the inventory shortage. “Land prices have risen so much … the math doesn't work for rental anymore."Money.CNN
Low inventory also means less incentives for renters. "Concessions being offered by landlords, like free rent, have nearly evaporated." 
And it doesn't look like price relief is coming anytime soon. 
“I don’t see the narrative changing in the foreseeable future,” Miller,CNNMoney said. “It’s a very complex problem; a city can't grow if new entrants to the city can't afford to live there."                                                            

Adam Gonzalez

May 3, 2015

Rent is too damn high in NYC Tenants might get 1 yr retrieve but after that?


The Rent Guidelines Board released its annual report on landlord operating costs yesterday, and the results are promising for tenants of NYC's one million rent-stabilized apartments. Landlords only experienced a .5% increase in operating costs last year, the smallest increase since 2002. Come June, this might result in the first rent freeze on stabilized apartments in the Board's 46-year history. 
This tiny increase in landlord costs is due primarily to an incredible 21% decrease in fuel costs over the last year. The report also outlines a 4.2% increase in taxes, 1.2% increase in utilities (due to an increase in water and sewer rates) and a 7.2% increase in insurance costs, which were all outweighed by the cheap fuel.
The .5% announcement is good news for de Blasio, who included "Rent Freeze!" on his long list of campaign promises. The mayor came close last year, after appointing five new tenant-friendly members to the nine-person board (leaving just four from the less-sympathetic Bloomberg administration). As a result, even though operating costs increased by 5.7% in 2013, the board set record-low increases of 1% for one-year lease renewals, and 2.75% for two-year renewals. Landlords were pissed, or pretended to be. 
Rent Guidelines Board Director Andrew McLaughlin pointed out this morning that this year, all of the board members have been appointed by de Blasio. Jack Freund, vice president of the landlord-repping Rent Stabilization Associationtold the Post that he doesn't like his odds. “We presume again that the mayor will be calling for zero [increase], and he now controls the entire board," Freund said. "So the prospects for a reasonable guidelines board don’t look good to us." The RSA was behind that "rent freeze hurts everyone" campaign from last year.
In June, the Board will also have to consider the 4.2% predicted increase in landlord operating costs for next year. It's a significant bump, but the report is careful to stress that these sorts of predictions are tenuous: 
Projecting changes in the PIOC has become more challenging in recent years. Energy prices — which represent about one-eighth of the market basket of operating costs measured in the index — have become increasingly volatile. Unpredictable geo-political events, recession and changing weather patterns are some of the forces behind large changes in fuel-related costs (heating fuel oil, electricity, gas and steam) that have in turn hindered the accuracy of the PIOC projections in recent studies. The tax component, which accounts for roughly a quarter of the entire Price Index, has also become harder to project due to changes in tax policy, such as tax rate reductions and changes to the City’s tentative assessment roll, after the period covered in this Price Index.
There's a lot of conjecture when it comes to cost estimates, especially when you're dealing with housing in Anthropocene
The Board will hold public hearings before deciding on the rent freeze question this summer.
(Steven Wishnia / Gothamist)

March 6, 2015

The Rent is too Damn High and Soon You will be Underwater-Hudson that is

Jimmy McMillan outside a Rent Guidelines Board meeting in 2008
In case you don't spend enough time obsessing over NYC's obscene rental market, real estate website StreetEasy has been kind enough to craft an interactive map that colorfully points out which neighborhoods suck whole paychecks into the ground, where Sarlacc slowly digests them over a thousand years of gentrification.
StreetEasy's map pairs forecasted median incomes in 2015 with forecasted median asking rents, discovering quite a few neighborhoods where incomes fall well below the affordability threshold for rents (30 percent). According to the website, median rent will likely hit $2,700 this year, and since rental prices have outpaced inflation, New Yorkers can expect to pay 58.4 percent of their median incomes on rent this year. 
Unsurprisingly, newcomers to Brooklyn are getting hit the hardest, with an expected 60 percent of a new renter's income going toward rent. New renters in The Bronx can expect to hand off 52 percent of their incomes to their landlords, Manhattanites will spend 48.8 percent of their incomes on rent, and new renters in Queens will likely funnel 41.4 percent of their paychecks into rent. Only Staten Island, where new renters can expect to spend 30.1 percent of their incomes on rent, comes close to the affordability threshold, and there's already a craft beer bar there so it can't last for long.
The least affordable neighborhoods in the city include Manhattanville, where the rent-to-income ratio hits a startling 120.9 percent; Little Italy; Chinatown; Mott Haven in the Bronx; Red Hook in Brooklyn; North New York in the Bronx; Williamsburg; West Harlem; East Harlem, and the Lower East Side. Many residents in these neighborhoods make up low income households, but rents are still skyrocketing—the median asking rent in Manhattanville is expected to clock in at $2,246/month this year, and in Williamsburg it's up to a terrifying $3,299/month. 
You can play with StreetEasy's map below, provided you're in the mood for a good cry. The good news is, it’s only a matter of time until we’re all underwater, so there’s no need to save any money for future generations. 

This posting came from GOTHAMIST

Click for interactive map:

May 26, 2012

The Mayor Has 11 Homes, Most of Us Can Barely Afford 1

 My 2/3 of my income goes for rent and then comes the utilities. One bedroom in one of the cheaper boroughs.  I’am for sure not talking Manhattan.  Not too long ago there was a bill in the city council that will restrict renters from giving more than 1/3  of their incomes to the landlords for rent. Every year the landlords cry and yell for a rent increase because they don’t make enough money. They always get what they want. Because they don’t make enough money.  I have yet to meet a worker getting any salary that feels that he gets enough or too much money.  If they didn’t make enough money they would be in another business. They would sell to another person and go and make enough money someplace else. Buildings don’t go out of business.  Building have been abandoned or seemed to have been abandoned because the landlord wants to have the building emptied of rent controlled tenants and either convert to co-ops or to high paying tenants.


 John Surico wrote the following post on the Village Voice  
that I think hits the big scary bull in the eye.
Exterior of Stonehenge Park

    A few months back, Runnin' Scared coveredwhat seems to be 
the biggest conundrum of the Big Apple: the fact that rents are higher than ever (averaging a solid $3,418 a month) yet no one is leaving the island. Actually, recent years have shown a huge increase in Manhattan newcomers, raising the question of whether the island will go the way of Venice.

bloomberg.jpgThese facts stand in huge contrast to the life of the Hozziner, the highest representative of all things related to New York City and shunner of Gracie Mansion. It seems like old news to say that Bloomberg is the King of New York: whether he's riding his helicopter over the East River late night or boosting the sales of Bloomberg Media, it's evident that Mayor has solidified his empire both in business and in city politics. 

But to compare and contrast the lives of normal New Yorkers and that of the Mayor is a job that must be done every so often just to remind us where we're at as a City. And, if his recent tax records and buys are any indications, the wealth is still pouring in while we're scrounging together pennies to satisfy our landlord come the first day of the month.

The Post reported yesterday that Michael Bloomberg now has eleven places to call home after recently picking up two more properties, each with MegaMillion price tags.
His first new buy is in North Salem, an exclusive village up in Westchester. Home to David Letterman and many other members of the super-rich (is the One Percent still being used?), Bloomberg already had a $3.65 million ranch up there. But, hey, the more, the merrier: his recently acquired property maxed out somewhere around $4.55 mill. And that stands in awe compared to his other home.

The second new buy came three months later and is located in Southampton. You know, that summer dreamland of every New Yorker that the Hampton Jitney will bring you to ifyou have the money. The estate cost the Mayor $20 million; according to Forbes, that's 1/1100-th of his total wealth, which is around $22 billion. With that being said,, doesn't your $3,418 a month small studio in Midtown seem irrelevant?

The plethora of households means that the Hozziner is paying taxes all over the damn place. But, at least he is paying the right amount: his tax records also tell us that he pays a 34.69% tax rate, which is equivalent to $7,631,800,000. Who said the rich don't pay taxes? That's enough money to bankroll 1/4 of every New Yorker's rent.

As his financial information company continues to expand, it's always appropriate to point out a few things about our Mayor, even if his time in office is coming to an end soon. Now, it's just a mystery we'll have to accept as reality and, soon enough, it'll be another chapter in Gotham's truly absurd history.


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