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New York Bans "Poor Doors"

Published On 07/01/2015 Published On 07/01/2015
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The salad days of applying to years-long waitlists for affordable apartments, then having to shamefully schlep in via a "poor door" when the dream becomes a reality are no more.

New York State Senate has banned the building of "poor doors" in luxury highrises in a bill passed by the legislature on June 25. Poor doors work like this: developers get tax breaks for incorporating a certain amount of below-market units in new buildings. But to separate the wheat from the riffraff, developers were building two doors -- one for the folks paying full price, and one for all those commoners.

Poor doors have been an ongoing source of acrimony, with outlets such as Newsweek calling them "Dickensian." Which means a lot of words have been written to say, "they're bad." Probably. And New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio also proposed banning poor doors in May.

As CNNMoney points out, the new ban will not affect current housing stock, but only future developments. No wrecking balls to the poor doors we've already got. Sorry.

In one recently developed building with a poor door, nearly 90,000 people applied for 55 affordable units on the Upper West Side, despite the fact that "poor door" tenants would not have access to the building's other amenities, including a gym, pool, and bowling alley. Because really, nothing says class war like a bowling alley. But with affordable housing drying up faster than a California lake, it comes as no surprise so many people want in.

Except now, the guys living in the penthouse will have to go bowling with the guys in the basement. How unbecoming.

Ryan Craggs is Thrillist's Senior News Editor. He averaged about 160 in his high school bowling days. Follow him @ryanrcraggs.

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