There is no perfect solution to New York City’s daunting housing problem.
But amid soaring rent prices and surging population growth, some city officials are ready to begin somewhere to address the crisis.
“This is the site on which we’re going to building the Halletts North project,” City Councilmember Tiffany Cabán said recently as she showed NY1 the waterfront property in Astoria, Queens.
“We are building more affordable units here — I’m not saying it’s enough, but — than we have in the past decade,” she said.
Cabán has thrown her support to the Halletts North development, which would create 1,340 apartments overall, bucking a trend of NIMBYism — a term for opposition to development, short for “not in my backyard” — after securing concessions including a larger share of lower-rent apartments,
Also recently approved was the Bruckner Boulevard rezoning in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx that would have 349 units.
The Council has yet to vote on a more massive proposal, Innovation QNS, also in Astoria, which would create 2,845 units.
Communities that say no to rezoning often cite concerns like schools being overburdened or long-time residents being priced out.
Mayor Eric Adams wants a so-called “City of Yes.”
“Yes in my backyard, yes on my block, yes in my borough,” he said last June.
His administration is seeking to pass a zoning text amendment that would do away with piecemeal approvals and remove red tape, allowing more housing to be built more quickly.
“Citywide, ambitious, meet-the-moment,” City Planning Commission Chair Dan Garodnick described the plan.
“It will create thousands of units a year in New York City,” he said. “But we also need to speed up the process to allow people who want to make private investments today to create housing.”
Winning support among council members for such sweeping change may take time.
Meanwhile, amid a climate that advantages landlords, there’s still the New Yorkers who can’t keep up with crushing rent payments.
State Assembly Member Marcela Mitaynes and other tenant advocates said it’s up to lawmakers in Albany to deliver relief.
“We’re seeing some property owners trying to profit on the fact that there’s people willing to pay more money in gentrifying neighborhoods like mine,” she said. “So what the Good Cause bill would do is say that you need to have a specific reason — and it needs to be a good reason — as to be able to evict somebody.”