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It’s a snapshot of the horror that is now the NYC rental market.
A mob of apartment hunters recently lined up and waited more than an hour — street-side and up several flights of stairs — to view a 371-square-foot, one-bedroom, third-floor walkup listed for $2,337.39 in the East Village.
“It’s ridiculous,” 36-year-old apartment hunter Aidan O’Donoghue, who captured the wild throng on camera, told The Post. “By the time you think about [renting] an apartment, it’s gone.”
The rent-stabilized unit at 169 Ave. A — about the size of a single-car garage — is now considered relatively cheap. Earlier this month, the median rent for a Manhattan apartment surpassed $4,000 for the first time. The small one-bedroom has an estimated rental market value of nearly $3,000, according to realtors — which no doubt fueled the chaos that unfolded over its June 12 open house.
O’Donoghue, an art directly currently living on the the Upper West Side, recalled how she blithely walked up to the doorbell, buzzed and was told, “‘We’re kind of at capacity in the apartment.’”
It was only then that she realized the true nature of her surroundings.
“I looked behind me and realized the crowd [on the street] wasn’t there for brunch, they were there for the apartment,” she said of the ordeal.
“When they finally buzzed me in after several other people, the line started at the door to get inside and then it snaked up the stairs,” she continued.
She spent a half-hour outside and close to 45 minutes queued up in the stairwell before finally reaching the threshold of the in-demand rental.
But, for O’Donoghue, adding insult to injury was what greeted her after the exasperating 75-minute wait: an underwhelming unit with a tiny kitchen and bathroom, as well as a small bedroom with a closet. While that room had an exposed brick wall, decorative fireplace and two windows, there was no living room to speak of.
“The apartment was the size of my [current] kitchen … If you were going to work from home, if you were a couple, it was not a livable space,” she said of the the apartment’s claustrophobic layout.
The annual rent on the paltry Alphabet City pad is $27,960. Since financial advisors recommend spending no more than 30% of income on rent, those clamoring for it should ideally earn at least $90,000 a year. The average salary in New York City is only $69,182.
Nevertheless, potential renters came strapped with paperwork-loaded laptops and were applying on the spot because that was their only shot at nabbing the high-demand rental, said O’Donoghue.
Although the Times Equities, Inc. property had only 39 sign-ins at the open house, associate broker Seth Coston acknowledged “even more attended.”
He added that “several of the prospective tenants asked to pay above the legal rent to secure the apartment,” which is forbidden per rent stabilization laws. Ultimately, “the most qualified application” was chosen, he said.
The showdown for apartments is reaching a fevered pitch this summer due not only to the high volume of people returning to the city after fleeing it early on in the pandemic, but also to first-time movers and incoming students.
Also driving the phenomenon is the influx of “many young professionals who want to live in Manhattan,” said Coston.
“There is strong demand for extra space to allow them to work from home more comfortably. We are also seeing less roommates sharing than before the pandemic began,” he said.
“This has increased the demand for residential space in NYC; meanwhile there has been very little newly developed residential space or space converted to residential.”
And with landlords increasing rents by hundreds if not thousands of dollars, current New Yorkers are being forced to suck it up and battle it out.
O’Donoghue, for instance, is seeking a new apartment because her current landlord is raising her $2,850 rent for a spacious one-bedroom with an office by an eye-popping 47%.
Since she started her hunt earlier this month, she says she’s been repeatedly been told she’d have to cough up more than the advertised rent now that bidding wars on rental units are becoming commonplace.
“You’re going to need to play with the numbers,” one realtor told her. “Think about what you can offer. Is it that you’re going to offer them 200 over the rent, is it 250, is there something else you can throw in?”
She added: “There’s the listed rent and then there’s the expectation that you’re going to offer more than that. I think, so far, four or five realtors have said it to me upfront.”
Brian Hourigan, the managing director of Bond New York realty, said the “absurdity” that is the current rental market is due to “demand is outpacing inventory.”
“We’re telling tenants to arrive with their paperwork ready and to be prepared for a bidding war in many cases,” Hourigan told The Post.
He added that the trend is now reaching Harlem, having begun in Chelsea and Soho last year.
But Hourigan thinks that this inferno may quell by the fall or early winter once the current influx of residents settles in.
Upper West Sider Leela Rothenberg, 32, certainly hopes so.
She said her $1,795 a month “COVID deal” apartment on West 101st Street recently shot up by an additional $1,000.
And so she’s opting to crash at her brother’s apartment at no cost and leave her belongings in storage throughout the summer.
Rothenberg isn’t emotionally ready to go through the daunting hunt and will wait for the fall.
“I’ve lived in New York for ten years … I’ve never, ever not had a home,” she said.
Meanwhile, O’Donoghue, who’s lived in NYC for 13 years, continues her desperate search.
“I’ve never had trouble getting an apartment in New York,” she said. “I have good credit, I have a great job, I have a guarantor. There’s no reason I wouldn’t get an apartment. I don’t have a blemish on my record.”
By: Ny Post
Super PACs target AOC-backed ‘defund the police’ NY candidates
Two political action committees bankrolled by New York business interests are waging a hard-hitting $1 million counteroffensive to defeat “defund the police” state Assembly candidates running in Tuesday’s Democratic primary races.
The related Super PACs — Common Sense New Yorkers and Voters of New York — have sent out mailers attacking the lefty candidates as soft on crime and are engaging in an 11th-hour “get out the vote” effort through robocalls, text messaging and other canvassing, said Jeff Leb, the treasurer of both groups.
“We are specifically running independent campaigns against socialist candidates who have declared publicly and privately that they want to defund the police,” said Leb.
“We have done multiple polls that confirm that across NYC and NYS regardless of the neighborhood or the district, public safety is the number one issue of concern to Democratic voters,” he added.
The candidates targeted by the groups are backed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx/Queens), the left-wing Working Families Party and the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.
Leb said his groups will conduct a similar campaign to bolster pro-safety candidates in state Senate primaries in August.
At least three mailers have targeted insurgent Jonathan Soto — a former AOC staffer endorsed by the socialist congresswoman and the WFP — who is running against veteran Assembly incumbent Michael Benedetto in The Bronx.
“Don’t vote for Jonathan Soto. He’s Too Extreme for the Bronx,” said one mailer, which described the “defund” challenger as a “dangerous, reckless, socialist.”
The PACs have also run attack ads against insurgent Jessica Altagracia Woolford, who is running against veteran Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz in the northwest Bronx Assembly District 81 covering Riverdale, Kingsbridge Heights, Norwood and Woodlawn; and Samy Nemir Olivares, who is seeking to topple incumbent Erik Dilan in Brooklyn’s District 54, covering Bushwick and Cypress Hills.
Benedetto, who is not connected to the independent groups, on Sunday welcomed their campaign.
“They accurately point out that my opponent wants to defund the police. I’m not for that all. I happen to be in the same political camp as Joe Biden,” said Benedetto, who received a donation from the New York State Troopers PAC.
“They realize [Soto] is a radical who is out of step with the mainstream. We don’t want that.”
Soto on Sunday sought to turn the tables, saying Benedetto is backed by “Trump Republicans” who are sending attack mailers “distracting voters from what’s actually being defunded, our schools!”
Mayor Eric Adams has endorsed the more moderate Benedetto, and donated to his campaign in the ongoing proxy war with Ocasio-Cortez over the direction of New York’s Democratic Party.
The Adams-affiliated Striving for a Better New York gave Benedetto $4,700 work in mid-June, state BOE records show.
The AOC-backed Courage to Change PAC, meanwhile, donated $4,700 to Soto and cut four-figure checks to seven other lefty candidates in recent weeks, including challengers running against incumbents Dilan, Kevin Cahill (D-Ulster) and Nikki Lucas (D-Brooklyn) in the state Assembly, records show.
Dilan’s father is former longtime state Brooklyn state Sen. Martin Dilan, who lost a 2018 primary to the DSA-backed Julia Salazar.
The younger Dilan received a $4,700 check of his own from A.J.W. Properties Management and $2,000 from a PAC associated with state realtors, in addition to at least $13,000 more in donations from other labor and trade groups in recent weeks.
As for the two pro-law and order Super PACs, campaign finance records show Voters of New York received four donations from real estate and financial interest in recent weeks totaling $250,000.
Silverstein Properties gave $50,000 while Thomas Tuft, a former chairman of the Global Capital Markets Group at Goldman Sachs chipped in $25,000. Anel Holding Group and Broadwest Group 3 LLC contributed $100,000 and $75,000 respectively, according to campaign finance filings.
More than $100,000 in these donations went to just two entities – Live Media Productions LLC of lower Manhattan and Albany Marketing Solutions just blocks from the state Capitol, according to campaign records.
Both companies also received dozens of payments totaling a similar amount from Common Sense New York in recent days, records show.
Donors to this group include a litany of limited liability companies representing real estate and financial interests. The family-owned United American Land gave $100,000. Venture capitalist Lisa Blau gave $50,000, according to records.
The insurance industry and other trade groups have dumped $6,000 on Cahill, who chairs the Assembly Insurance Committee, as he battles back a challenge from the DSA and WFP-backed Sarahan Shrestha.
Shrestha also got $4,700 from the AOC-backed PAC on June 24, records state.
By: Ny Post
Duke assistant sees NBA starter in Knicks’ pick Trevor Keels
The Knicks traded out of the first round on draft night, but they may have landed a player with the upside of a first-round pick. At least, that’s what Chris Carrawell believes the Knicks have in Trevor Keels.
The one-and-done guard had an up-and-down season with the Blue Devils, averaging 11.5 points and 3.4 rebounds, but the former five-star recruit was still projected by some to find his way into the first round. That didn’t happen, and the Knicks ended up selecting him with the No. 42 overall pick in the draft.
“I think he’s a starter [in the NBA],” Carrawell, the Duke assistant coach, told The Post in a phone interview on Sunday. “It’s harder when you’re a second-round pick, but he’s only 18. If he stays with it, and gets an opportunity and improves, I compare him to Marcus Smart.
“In a year [if he stayed in school] he would’ve been a potential lottery pick and guaranteed first-round pick for sure. Potential is there. … I think the Knicks got a steal.”
Carrawell singled out two needed areas of improvement for the 6-foot-5 Keels to develop into a solid NBA player. One of the youngest players in the draft, the Clinton, Md. native has to improve his perimeter jump shot — Keels shot just 31.2 percent from beyond the arc for Duke this past season — and he has to get into better shape. Keels registered 13.5 percent body fat at the draft combine, the fourth highest of the 76 players there.
“These guys come in, they’re 17, 18 years old, in college for the first time. No matter how much we talk to them about nutrition, things you gotta eat, they’re still college kids,” Carrawell said. “They’re going to still stay up late, they’re going to play video games, they’re going to hang out with their classmates, their teammates. He has the body type that you have to watch what you eat, make sure you’re putting in the work, which he does. But he’s still young. I didn’t pay attention to those things when I was 22. In time, once he learns, he can do it.”
Off the bat, Keels’ best asset is his competitive fire and on-court desire. He was one of Duke’s most intense players and, according to Carrawell, has an extremely high basketball IQ. That manifests itself at both ends of the floor.
Perhaps most important for Keels and the Knicks, Carrawell thinks he’s a Tom Thibodeau type of player, due to his aggressive nature and his desire on the defensive end. Thibodeau, of course, is notorious for relying on veterans, so Keels will have to prove himself to carve out a role for himself. The fastest way for that to happen is on the defensive end.
Carrawell’s take was similar to what an NBA scout told The Post on draft night, that Keels has to improve his body and his jumper, but the toughness and edge he plays with will appeal to Thibodeau.
“I’m going into a foxhole, I want him on my side,” Carrawell said. “’Thibs is going to fall in love with Trevor, because he’s a competitor, he’s a winner.
“He competes, man. Trevor really has the potential to be a really good defender once he learns the NBA game. He can really guard the ball. When he’s locked in, he does a good job of putting pressure on the ball, and he’s not bad off the ball as well.”
By: Ny Post
Environmentalists hate the working class
As the United States faces skyrocketing oil, gas and electricity prices, the obvious solution is to drill for more oil and gas and build more generating plants. Naturally, that’s off the table because the people who are being hurt most aren’t the ones who set the agenda.
High prices hurt everyone to a degree, but they’re hardest on the working classes. Most Americans drive to work, and even in most places with mass transit there are far more jobs within a 30-minute drive than there are within a 30-minute bus or train ride. Cars also make it easier to take kids to school, shop for groceries in a wider variety of places and stay in touch with family and friends.
With gas prices having more than doubled since January 2021, the cost of doing all these things has also more than doubled. For a family that’s stretched tight already, twice as much money for gas means less money for other things, like food, clothing or education. (And it doesn’t help that prices for those things are also skyrocketing.)
Nonetheless, environmentalists seem happy with these changes. And before he started backpedaling after seeing the polls, President Joe Biden praised high gas prices as part of an “incredible transition” to electric cars and other “green” technologies. (Now, of course, seeing how the political winds blow, he’s calling for a gas-tax “holiday” to take the pressure off voters, at least until after the coming midterms. In the meantime, if you’re too poor to afford gasoline, the administration’s advice is to buy an expensive electric car.)
The reason the environmental faction favors high energy prices is that it wants to force people to switch to renewables. That such a switch leaves most people worse off leaves the environmentalists unmoved. That’s because they’ve always been an elitist movement with no concern for the working class or minorities.
California environmental lawyer Jennifer Hernandez calls the results of that state’s policies “Green Jim Crow.” High energy costs and strict building regulations keep poor people concentrated in poor neighborhoods, while protecting wealthy white enclaves like Marin County. And strict environmental rules crush or keep out industrial jobs that have traditionally provided a leg up for the working class. She observes: “What the soaring environmental rhetoric of the state’s affluent, largely White technocratic leadership disguises is a kludge of climate policies that will only, under the best of circumstances, partially decarbonize the state’s economy while deepening the state’s shameful legacy of racial injustice.”
But that’s been the history of environmental activism from the beginning: rich white people doing well at the expense of the lower classes. In a 1977 Harper’s article, William Tucker explored the history of what’s regarded as the first big environmental movement in America: the opposition to Con Edison’s Storm King pumped-storage project. The project was designed to save energy costs and make it easier for Con Ed to handle summertime peak demand. It would also have provided a lot of jobs in a depressed area.
The catch is, it would have spoiled the views from rich people’s estates in the nearby mountains. As Tucker reports at length, those affluent landowners constructed an entire edifice of opposition to Storm King, for the most selfish of reasons. He quotes a local mayor, who was told by one of the landowners, “We’ve got it nice and peaceful up here, why do you want to spoil it?” The mayor reported, “I bit my tongue and didn’t say anything, but what I wanted to say was ‘What about all the little people down there in the village who need this plant? Did you ever think about them?’” No.
Hiring big law firms and elite PR firms, along with enlisting celebrities like Pete Seeger, who wrote a song about the mountain, the landowners managed to turn a selfish desire not to have to look at electric power lines that would benefit millions into a quasi-religious crusade on behalf of Nature. The plant was stopped, property values were protected and only the little people suffered.
Today, as gas and energy prices soar while the well-off warn us about climate change via private jet, nothing’s different. No one is thinking about the little people. Why should they? Who’s going to make them?
Glenn Harlan Reynolds is a professor of law at the University of Tennessee and founder of the InstaPundit.com blog.
By: Ny Post
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