Since my first arrival in LIC in 2004, this neighborhood has gone through some incredible changes.
The neighborhood seemed fairly stable for the first few years, but what started with some smaller new condo developments, slowly grew into a real wave of activity.
Every piece of empty land was being build on and before long I was surrounded by bigger and bigger high rises that blocked many views I was starting to get used to.
After the move to our new building in 2010 where we picked an apartment on the 11th floor, we enjoyed fast
and almost completely uninterrupted views.
Our One Hunterspoint building was one's promoted with the headline "live like a star" (see images # shot from our old apartment)
It showed badly rendered drawings of semi hip people enjoying uninterrupted views of the Manhattan skyline, even though everybody knew the Murano building next door and the new developments closer to the river, were already being build or in the planning stages to be build.
So this illusion of clear views is something we all know is false but remains to be used to seduce the less informed.
But when the inevitable starts to happen in front of your own eyes, your still inclined to think it will not completely block your views or part of it will be spared etc
When all is set and done, you must admit to yourself that your views have been unrecognizable rendered and you are forced to adjust to this new reality.
This should not have come as a surprise since LIC is in transition and constantly evolving.
But somehow being so high up you feel, for a little while at least, that you are spared from new buildings blocking your view.
This mind set does not serve you well in a city like New York and will be proven wrong faster than you might think.
In the beginning the building pupping up around me, where not blocking any views but just creating a new and interesting evolving sky line.
But than ground was broken for 2 new towers than would shatter this short lived illusion of being high enough to not be effected by new development.
These new towers were around 40 stories and started to slowly but surely block my view of the Empire State building and The Chrysler building.
Middle and low income housing blocking market rate condo's made it a very interesting element in the gentrification discussion.
The fact that this was subsidized housing should not matter but to some homeowners it did.
Few wanted to express this bluntly but the feeling was not limited to just those who expressed them.
All argument were used to justify feeling affronted by this development without saying that people who could not afford LIC should not be here.
The money made from selling this slot of desired land to a developer who would make market rate apartments could be used to build many more low and middle income housing somewhere further away (not in my back garden)
You always feel like asking "how much further" since that argument also applies to any other neighborhoods you think it should be moved to.
This is not to say there were serious issues with how this project is designed, no income checks on'e you are exempted for the middle income part. So even when you would make more than the max. allowed in the next couple of years you would still be able to keep living in your apartment with the rent subsidies.
But the benefit of living in a socially economically mixed neighborhood was never mentioned.
The fact that subsidies given to a group you are not a part of seemed to blind people to the fact that other subsidies are given to them.
Other people getting something from the government/city feels unfair, but tax breaks for you feel always justified.
This discrepancy was first encountered by me when discussing the lack of school seats available for our children but people always insisting that the tax exempt status of their building could not be tampered with.
This outward projection seemed especially strong with the people who were most upset with the low and middle income housing coming to "their" neighborhood.
The issue of "poor people" moving to "our neighbourhood" was always carefully avoided and there's no way of saying for sure that was an issue but it sure felt like it was part of the equation.
But what if somebody really wants to live in this neighborhood because they are raising young children and are spending close to 50% of their income on rent, you could understand their concerns and feelings of unfairness maybe a little better.
So as often is the case, the system seems most unfair to people in the middle, not poor enough to quality for the subsidy and not rich enough for it not to be an issue.
Although middle income in NYC has to be taken with a grain if salt since the cut off income for a 3 bedroom (family of 6) is $224.000/year
So is there a real difference between a building blocking your view that has subsidized housing or just market rate?
It seems that objectively that's not the case but since your own house holds a lot of emotions and these feeling relating to them are not based 100% on rational.
So far we have many views left that makes this such a great apartment but I'm very aware that these will not last forever. My stands on new development and gentrification will most likely be linked to my emotional state when the first building starts blocking my sunlight and limits further my beautiful views.
Till then I'm discussing this complex issue in a rational way based on my theoretically stands.
So when you hear me say things that sound slightly irrational you know what just happened.