City Taking Applications for Semi-Affordable UWS Apartments

The city’s Housing Development Corporation is now accepting applications for apartments in a development at 33 West End Avenue at 61st Street. The 25-story building has both market-rate and income-restricted apartments.

The notice from HDC says that the city is trying to fill vacancies and add to the waiting list at the building. The apartments are meant for middle-income tenants, or people making 165% of the area median income. Amenities include a fitness center and a 24/7 “concierge”.

This building’s affordable apartments have historically been targeted at seniors, though the application does not mention age requirements. The household size is restricted to one or two people, however, indicating that it isn’t meant for families with two adults and children.

Given the income limits, one Upper West Sider who sent the notice around asked “Is this affordable?”

Click here to  download the application.

Clarification: A resident tells us there are not separate entrances for income-restricted units, so we’ve removed that reference.

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 41 comments | permalink
    1. jezbel says:

      This is so pathetic it’s laughable. Studio and 1BR only offerings, with income guidelines that are ridiculous. Of course the actual rent is not bad but the guidelines and rent seem to have no relation to each other. Who comes up with the ratios for these luxury buildings and what the criteria are? Are they just throwing darts at random numbers on a wall?
      It’s all absurd. People would do better just going through the NYTimes ads.

    2. JD says:

      You mean I’m going to pay $2895 for a 1BR and I have to go through a separate entrance. Gee, do I have to show ID every time I come home?

    3. AC57 says:

      Hey, making progress! We made it out of Riverside South… And crossed 61st Street. Amazing!!!

    4. Rob Kudyba says:

      I got this quick reply: Currently the only unit we have is a Studio and has a maximum occupancy of 1 person. You would need a two bedroom and the wait list for the 2 bedrooms at 33 WEA is currently closed and we are not accepting any new applications.

      • B.B. says:

        Waitlists for these “affordable/low income” apartments just as with Mitchell-Lama are handled differently by building IIRC.

        However (again IIRC) city under BdeB has been pushing for these buildings to give preference to existing tenants who want a larger apartment before going to and or opening up waitlist.

        That someone who already has a studio but wants a one or two bedroom would get a crack before an outsider. Income and whatever guidelines would still apply of course.

        Believe idea is to make happy those whose household circumstances have changed since they moved in. Things like marriage/having a child.

    5. JW says:

      The market rate in that building is definitely higher – check their listings on StreetEasy. So while it still seems high, it is subsidized and the building isn’t a 4 story walkup for that price.

    6. Kathleen Carpenter says:

      Semi-affordable? What a joke! And, as a retired person, I would love to have those incomes!

    7. Leona says:

      I need a low low income 2bedroomapt low income means below a certain amount i am homeless

    8. jennifer says:

      This is so embarrassing.

    9. Matt says:

      This is not affordable.

    10. Michael Kennealy says:

      The separate entrance was controversial enough, but to charge them $2900 bucks for the privilege is beyond ridiculous.

      Another example of developers taking advantage of the city to get tax breaks without holding up tbeir end of the bargain to offer truly affordable housing. Pathetic.

    11. Steven says:

      This is a joke. Is $2,400 a month for a small studio considered affordable housing? Let’s face it, if you’re not rich, NYC is no longer for you.

    12. Ava says:

      How tbe hell is this considered affordable! Sheesh!!

      • Dee says:

        Affordable my eye! The problem with these developers is that they do NOT know what affordable really means , to those who need affordable apartments. They are too stuck on themselves and building only for the wealthy. They also have no shame! Who do they think they are to have seperate doors for those who are not wealthy to use. When the wealthy leave this earth they will see just how much their wealrh matters to the Almighty God. This is highly offensive. The wealthy have no problem living in these buildings that are built for them. It just goes to show you how they are thinking of people who are not wealthy that they decided to make a seperate entrance for them. I refuse to live in any building such as this one. Wealthy are no better than anyone else. They can keep their building. God is watching.

        • B.B. says:

          Have provided links already, and here are two more:

          Income limits for low income/affordable housing largely are drawn from two sets of numbers issued by federal government (HUD).

          Again has have noted in previous links what remains for developers and city to thrash out is the mix of low income/affordable units in a building.

          Even with tax breaks or other incentives there are limits to how much very low and low income housing city can push developers to offer. Quite simply the numbers just don’t always pencil out.

          Lower the subsidized rents (very low to moderate household income), the higher various sorts of subsidizes from federal, state and local government must be to offset the “loss” of rental income. That would be the difference between low/affordable and market rate rents. Market rate rents to some extent must subsidize low income/affordable which also places a natural cap.

          Bottom line is from land acquisition costs onto development it costs dearly to build anything in this city. Equally thanks to high taxes and other things owning a rental or other housing is expensive as well.

          Contrary to what current mayor and city council believe ratepayers of NYC are not a bottomless well of revenue to fund their various liberal wish list of projects.

          Absent city outright owning the land and then giving it to/partnering with a developer, it cannot just force someone to hand over half or more of a rental building for very low or low income housing.

          Finally city isn’t doing itself nor developers any favors by putting tenants in these lottery apartments who (at least on paper) clearly cannot pay their rent in full and on time each month.

    13. B.B. says:

      What one can rent for $2500/month in NYC:

      A sampling:


      Again people are already paying that kind of money for studio or one bedroom apartments. Many of them in not so great areas of the city, and or buildings.

      As for the separate entrances, the “affordable” apartments are all located in the 13 story part of building and are managed by the Metropolitan New York Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty. Originally supposed to be senior housing, it seems that requirement is going by the boards.

      This is the second time in about two years the wait list/lottery has been opened for the “affordable” apartments. That is interesting as it tells me at least they are having problems finding people to apply/take the units.

      It is not uncommon and in fact a huge issue with “affordable” housing lottery projects in NYC. Units aimed at higher income bands often have difficulty attracting qualified applicants much less people willing to take the units.

      Often this boils down to those who can afford the rents can do better elsewhere in a market rate apartment. This is becoming ever more true as the city has become awash in new construction.

      Higher income households are also proving extremely reluctant to put themselves through the extensive and rather intrusive vetting process demanded by city as part of the lottery process. Again, because they do have other housing options, they don’t and as such units sit empty.

      • Ajpwner says:

        Yours is the only voice of reason I am reading. However, these prices are a little stupid set against the income levels. At the top $120K after taxes, it appears almost or more than half your income is going to rent…

      • Kay McFadden says:

        B.B., thanks for providing some research on going rates for studios and 1BR’s around town. It is absolutely true one can find market-rate apartments with the same pricing as these “affordable” rates — and not only in borderline neighborhoods. You also won’t have to put up with crap like a separate entrance or other cues signaling lower status.

        • B.B. says:

          IIRC these “affordable” units are RS; that one supposes is one benefit. Maybe not enough to lure some away from market rate, but at least offers various protections.

          However consider even with historic low rent increases under current mayoral administration even each 1% increase means $10 per month more for each $1,000 in rent. Off the bat at over $2k per month these tenants are looking at a minimum of $20 per month ($240/year). That number doubles at even a modest 2% increase.

          Long story short these affordable units will reach and or pass $3k per month with just a few or several renewal rent increases. You certainly can find market rate apartments for that kind of money in NYC, that and or simply just buy a house or something and have a smaller or same monthly housing expenses.

          One suspects the above is part of reason why these affordable units either aren’t moving and or keep turning over. RS protection or not the rent is just too high for what is being offered.

          The low income units OTOH started at much lower rents and one supposes those lucky enough to have nabbed one will remain until they die.

    14. Ridiculous says:

      This is Ridiculous !!! If you gonna pay that out for a studio or one-bedroom apartment you might as well go buy something.
      About $33,000 a year with nothing to show for it at the end of the year, that is 1/3 your income gone. Don’t forget you have to pay your electric/cable and cell phone bills ++.

      • B.B. says:


        This is why so many of these “affordable” units at higher end sit empty.

        Besides those who can afford having other options at market rate, with todays still historically low mortgage rates they can buy and come out ahead.

        Yes, many well off to wealthy for reasons of their own do rent, but for anyone planning to remain in an apartment for ten or more years buying trumps renting. Again at least while mortgage rates are this low.

      • Ajpwner says:

        You didn’t calculate 1/3 correctly. You forgot the biggest expense on everyone’s income: TAXES. Btw the city sets these prices like all rent regulated units. Amazing how many commenters are immediately attacking the developer (very ignorant/uneducated of them).

    15. Cellanit says:

      Shame on NYC’s HDC for allowing separate entrances (let alone presenting this as affordable housing). Yet another denigration to the neighborhood, which once encouraged and supported truly affordable housing and diversity.

    16. Kat French says:

      “The building also apparently has different entrances for market-rate and income-restricted tenants.”

      What a travesty! This kind of discrimination should be illegal under public accommodations laws.

    17. ron shapley says:

      ” Affordable housing” is a SCAM !!

    18. Great job de Blasio. Again, you’ve screwed New Yorkers.

      • Ex-HPD says:

        The building was built and the rules in effect were set during the Bloomberg administration. DeBlabbio has nothing to do with it.

        The separate entrance is on 61st st and is for the low income senior residence.

        The units in question are part of the 20% “affordable” component in the larger building on West End, which is a typical “80-20” rental under 421-a.

        The affordable component has units available to working and middle class applicants people at various bands of Area Mean Income (AMI). The ones in question are at the highest possible end. There are, no doubt, other units in the building renting to people who fall into lower income bands.

        Note that “affordable housing” is NOT low income or poverty houing.

        Unfortunately This article has more errors than facts. The article it links to is similarly flawed.

    19. Jen says:

      Separate entrances? At this day and age? How about they also sit in the back of the bus?

    20. Mary Havey says:

      High team!

    21. N says:

      I’ve been looking for an apartment for almost a yr now, that is market rate not affordable

    22. Current resident says:

      I live in the building… THEY DO NOT HAVE SEPARATE ENTRANCES!!!!!! Check your facts west side rag!

      Also a benefit is that they are restricted in rental increases. So in 5 years you know your rent won’t double. Unlike market apartments.

    23. Christopher Barna says:

      Can’t help but remember a similar comment thread a few years back concerning the Poor Door (let’s use the appropriate colloquialism) issue. A guy stopped the show and won the trophy when he said something like “I’ll gladly crawl through the lobby when coming and going for one of those cheap leases!”.

    24. ann bluestein says:

      This is ridiculous

    25. Ethel says:

      this is a reflection of the economic-steering policy that CB 7 as well as Gale Brewer has has developed over the years. This project consists of mixed income-incomes, especially for the middle class, however above West 96 Street in Manhattan Valley Gale Brewer and CB 7 refused to have discussions for a a mixed economic project on West 108 Street. The West 60s gets housing for the middle-class and Manhattan Valley which is a Federally designated impoverished community continues to get supportive and low-income housing, thus continuing a graphic example of racial and economic segregation.

    26. B.B. says:

      There are two sets of “affordable” housing in this building.

      One is “moderate” and the other “low income”.

      Wait list and openings are for the moderate income apartments which see significant turnover. OTOH the low income units rarely open up (surprise, surprise), and have rent increases limited to about 4% to 5% maximum.

      Both the low income and moderate units are RS IIRC. However the former are subject to whatever increases are voted annually by the RGB without limits. OTOH the low income units are protected in that the maximum increase allowed is 4% or 5% (am not sure), regardless of what the RGB votes.

      You can read all about 33 WestEnd Avenue here:

      The original senior or whatever low income apartment lottery was rather more affordable than moderate income.

      Studio with on person occupancy rent was $897, and income band was $32,640- $38,100

    27. B.B. says:

      To understand how rents for these “affordable” housing units are arrived at you need to understand the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.

      Basically there is no such thing as a free lunch real estate wise. Yes, developers receive some tax benefits for providing low and or moderate income housing, but the numbers still have to pencil out.

      That is in reality market rate tenants along with those various tax breaks subsidize low income and moderate units. This is why you see comparatively little “low income” housing being built in these “80/20” affordable buildings. Even with the various tax breaks or whatever it still is difficult to bring rents (for NYC market) down to the near dirt level many truly require for “affordable” housing.

      Paying one-third of one’s monthly income towards rent may sound bad; but currently many are forking over one-half or more each month towards housing. Much of that is not in new construction with tons of amenities either. So on balance these low income and affordable apartments allow households to live in areas and buildings they never otherwise would be able.

      That by the way is one huge reason behind LIHTC. Federal government long ago realized that basically warehousing the poor or whatever in “projects” was a mistake. Now funding goes towards various scattered site housing for the “poor” or “moderate income”.

      This means allowing them to live in wealthier areas than otherwise would and this reap benefits such as access to better schools, healthcare, and so forth.