“A New Inwood”
“Un nuevo Inwood”

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“A New Inwood”

By Councilmember Ydanis Rodríguez

It is truly a privilege to live in and represent the beautiful neighborhood of Inwood in Upper Manhattan.  This is a tight-knit community, proud of our beautiful parks, rich history, and cultural diversity.

One of Inwood’s greatest strengths is that it has historically been affordable to working- and middle-class New Yorkers, many of whom stuck it out through the tough years of the 1980s & early ’90s when drug-related crime plagued our neighborhood.  We have long served as a haven for immigrants, in part because of this essential affordability.  But today, the very things that make Inwood such an attractive place are putting increasing pressure on our affordable housing stock, one of our most precious resources.

In the past, Inwood has not always received the attention it deserves.  I’m pleased to say that under Mayor de Blasio, that is changing.

It’s been Mayor de Blasio’s guiding philosophy to engage local residents in planning and implementing neighborhood-oriented projects.  New Yorkers know best what their neighborhoods need, which is why we launched “Inwood NYC,” a collaboration between my office, the NYC Economic Development Corporation, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and the Inwood community to envision how one of New York’s great neighborhoods can adapt to change while retaining the qualities that make this such a special place.

Last October, hundreds of my fellow Inwood residents came together to begin sharing our ideas and hopes for the neighborhood.  At planning workshops over the last six months, we engaged over 1,000 residents and stakeholders in lively conversations focused on three major challenges: A pressing need for affordable housing, limited public access to the waterfront, and a shortage of economic opportunities.

Last Saturday, at an open house event in Inwood, the City presented a series of recommendations, grounded in the community’s feedback and ideas expressed over the last several months.  These recommendations will advance a conversation on how best to address our housing, open space, and employment needs.  And I am happy to announce that with Borough President Brewer and Community Board 12, we will convene a stakeholder working group to drive that dialogue in the weeks and months ahead.

The city’s affordable housing crisis has hit us especially hard, with rising rents, aggressive landlords, and uncertainty for tenants.  This has led to an exodus of 10,000 residents between 2000 and 2010.  In the last half-century virtually no new housing has been constructed in Inwood.  As a result, with more New Yorkers discovering our charm, market pressures push rents ever higher, jeopardizing affordability and make unscrupulous landlords as cutthroat as ever.

Inwood NYC and our planning process are about relieving these pressures.  First, we must increase our supply of affordable housing.  Through a rezoning of the Harlem River waterfront, we can open up opportunities to create an abundance of new affordable units.  All new development will be required to provide a significant amount of affordable housing.  City subsidies will also be deployed wherever possible to finance new developments in which all apartments are affordable.

To support residents already living in Inwood, the City is taking action through the new Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force, providing free legal representation for tenants, and working with the State to ensure rent-stabilized tenants are not charged unlawful rents.  To preserve our affordable housing, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development will lead extensive outreach to owners of rent-regulated apartment buildings to persuade them to take advantage of loans and tax incentives that extend affordability and finance essential repairs.  These measures will put affordable housing and tenant protection at the forefront of the InwoodNYC conversation to expand our most vital resource.

Another of our most important resources is the waterfront.  We are a neighborhood surrounded by rivers but have thus far failed to take full advantage of this fact.  In particular, the Harlem River waterfront mostly lacks public open space or recreational facilities, limiting its vast potential for education and family fun.  As part of Inwood NYC, public and private investments will gradually reclaim the waterfront for the benefit and enjoyment of all.

As new mixed-use waterfront districts develop, community-oriented retail and recreational amenities must accompany new housing, alongside commercial opportunities that bring jobs and economic growth – all with convenient transit access.  It is critical that these areas feel like an extension of Inwood, not a separate neighborhood.  Investments in key streets, parks, and public spaces can strengthen connections to the river, improve access to open space, and transform Ninth and 10th Avenues into safer, greener, and more visually appealing corridors.

And of course, everyone in New York City needs access to a good job.  Inwood suffers from an unemployment rate significantly higher than the city average.  To help connect residents to quality jobs, the Department of Small Business Services, will expand its job matching and training programs to better meet the needs of our community.  SBS will also partner with community-based organizations to assess the strengths and challenges of Inwood’s commercial corridors and respond with initiatives, like organizing merchants, in support of the vital businesses that are the backbone of our community.

To achieve this vision and spur private investment, the City will make a significant financial commitment to our neighborhood’s infrastructure to ensure it is strong enough to meet the demands of an adapting community – including schools, cultural amenities, and transportation options.

There is much more we can do through the Inwood NYC plan, such as promoting youth access to science and tech programming, encouraging healthy lifestyles, and supporting the arts in a neighborhood that claims Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda as a native son.  I look forward to refining these recommendations with my community and fellow elected officials, including Borough President Brewer.  This is a vision for our future that celebrates and builds upon what makes Inwood great.  I hope you will join us in the coming months so we can do this together.

“Un nuevo Inwood”

Por el concejal Ydanis Rodríguez

Es realmente un privilegio vivir en, y representar al, hermoso barrio de Inwood en el norte de Manhattan. Se trata de una comunidad muy unida, orgullosa de sus hermosos parques, de su rica historia y su diversidad cultural.

Una de las mayores fortalezas de Inwood es que ha sido históricamente accesible para los neoyorquinos de clase media y trabajadora, muchos de los cuales se quedaron a través de los difíciles años de la década de 1980 y principios de los 90, cuando la delincuencia relacionada con las drogas plagaba nuestro barrio. Hemos servido durante mucho tiempo como un refugio para inmigrantes, en parte debido a esta esencial asequibilidad. Pero hoy en día, las mismas cosas que hacen de Inwood un lugar tan atractivo, ejercen una presión creciente en nuestro parque de viviendas asequibles, uno de nuestros recursos más valiosos.

En el pasado, Inwood no siempre recibió la atención merecida. Me complace decir que bajo el alcalde de Blasio, eso está cambiando.

Ha sido la filosofía guiadora del alcalde de Blasio el involucrar a los residentes locales en la planeación e implementación de proyectos orientados hacia los vecindarios. Los neoyorquinos saben mejor lo que necesitan sus barrios, y por eso hemos lanzado “Inwood NYC”, una colaboración entre mi oficina, la Corporación de Desarrollo Económico NYC, la presidenta del condado de Manhattan, Gale Brewer, y la comunidad de Inwood, para imaginar cómo uno de los grandes barrios de Nueva York puede adaptarse a los cambios sin perder las cualidades que hacen de éste un lugar tan especial.

El pasado octubre, cientos de mis compañeros residentes de Inwood se reunieron para comenzar a compartir nuestras ideas y esperanzas para el vecindario. En los talleres de planeación de los últimos seis meses, involucramos a más de 1,000 residentes y a las partes interesadas en animadas conversaciones centradas en tres grandes retos: una necesidad urgente de vivienda asequible, acceso público limitado a la línea de costa y la escasez de oportunidades económicas.

El sábado pasado, en un evento de puertas abiertas en Inwood, la ciudad presentó una serie de recomendaciones, basada en opiniones e ideas expresadas en los últimos meses en la comunidad. Estas recomendaciones avanzarán una conversación sobre la mejor manera de abordar nuestra vivienda, el espacio abierto y las necesidades de empleo. Y estoy feliz de anunciar que con la presidenta Brewer del condado y la Junta Comunitaria 12, reuniremos a un grupo de trabajo de las partes interesadas para impulsar ese diálogo en las próximas semanas y meses.

La crisis de vivienda asequible de la ciudad nos ha golpeado especialmente duro, con el aumento de los alquileres, los propietarios agresivos y la incertidumbre para los inquilinos. Esto ha dado lugar a un éxodo de 10,000 habitantes entre 2000 y 2010. En el último medio siglo, prácticamente ninguna nueva vivienda se ha construido en Inwood. Como resultado, con más neoyorquinos descubriendo nuestro encanto, las presiones del mercado empujan a rentas cada vez más altas, poniendo en peligro la asequibilidad y haciendo que los propietarios sin escrúpulos sean feroces.

Inwood NYC y nuestro proceso de planificación buscan aliviar estas presiones. En primer lugar, debemos aumentar nuestra oferta de vivienda asequible. A través de un cambio de clasificación del río Harlem, podemos abrir oportunidades para crear muchas unidades asequibles nuevas. Se requerirá a todos los nuevos desarrollos proporcionar una cantidad significativa de vivienda asequible. Los subsidios de la ciudad también se implementarán, siempre que sea posible, para financiar nuevos desarrollos en los que todos los apartamentos sean asequibles.

Para apoyar a los residentes que ya viven en Inwood, la ciudad está actuando a través del nuevo Grupo de Tarea de Prevención de Acoso al Inquilino, brindando representación legal gratuita a los inquilinos y trabajando con el estado para garantizar que los inquilinos de renta estabilizada no paguen rentas ilegales. Para preservar nuestra vivienda asequible, el Departamento de Preservación de la Vivienda y Desarrollo dirigirá una amplia divulgación hacia los propietarios de edificios de apartamentos de renta regulada para persuadirlos de aprovechar los préstamos e incentivos fiscales que extienden la asequibilidad y financian reparaciones esenciales. Estas medidas van a poner la vivienda asequible y la protección del inquilino a la vanguardia de la conversación de Inwood NYC para expandir nuestro recurso más vital.

Otro de nuestros recursos más importantes es la línea de costa. Somos un barrio rodeado de ríos, pero hasta ahora no hemos aprovechado plenamente este hecho. En particular, la línea de costa del río Harlem, en su mayoría carece de espacio público abierto o instalaciones recreativas, lo que limita su enorme potencial de educación y diversión familiar. Como parte de Inwood NYC, las inversiones públicas y privadas recuperarán poco a poco la línea de costa para el beneficio y goce de todos.

A medida que nuevos distritos de uso mixto de la línea de costa se desarrollan, servicios al por menor y de recreación orientados a la comunidad deben acompañar a las nuevas viviendas, junto con oportunidades comerciales que aporten empleos y crecimiento económico. Todos con acceso conveniente de transporte. Es fundamental que estas áreas se sientan como una extensión de Inwood, no una zona separada. Las inversiones en las calles principales, parques y espacios públicos, pueden fortalecer las conexiones con el río, mejorar el acceso a los espacios abiertos y transformar la 9a y 10a avenidas en corredores más seguros, más verdes y visualmente más atractivos.

Y, por supuesto, todos en la ciudad de Nueva York necesitan tener acceso a un buen trabajo. Inwood sufre de una tasa de desempleo significativamente mayor que el promedio de la ciudad. Para ayudar a conectar a los residentes con empleos de calidad, el Departamento de Servicios para Pequeños Negocios (SBS por sus siglas en inglés), ampliará sus programas de emparejamiento de empleo y capacitación para satisfacer mejor las necesidades de nuestra comunidad. SBS también se asociará con organizaciones comunitarias para evaluar las fortalezas y desafíos de los corredores comerciales de Inwood y responderá con iniciativas como la de la organización de comerciantes, en apoyo de los negocios vitales, que son la columna vertebral de nuestra comunidad.

Para lograr esta visión y estimular la inversión privada, la ciudad hará un compromiso financiero significativo con la infraestructura de nuestro barrio para asegurar que sea lo suficientemente fuerte como para satisfacer las demandas de una comunidad que se adapta, incluyendo escuelas, servicios culturales y opciones de transporte.

Hay mucho más que podemos hacer a través del plan Inwood NYC, como promover el acceso de los jóvenes a la ciencia y la tecnología de programación, fomentar de estilos de vida saludable y apoyar a las artes en un barrio que llama a Lin-Manuel Miranda, creador de Hamilton, su hijo nativo. Espero con interés perfeccionar estas recomendaciones con mi comunidad y compañeros funcionarios electos, incluyendo a la presidenta Brewer del condado. Esta es una visión para nuestro futuro que celebra y construye sobre lo que hace genial a Inwood. Espero que se unan a nosotros en los próximos meses para que podamos lograr esto juntos.

  • Ook a Dook

    –One of Inwood’s greatest strengths is that it has historically been affordable to
    working- and middle-class New Yorkers, many of whom stuck it out through the
    tough years of the 1980s & early ’90s when drug-related crime plagued our
    neighborhood. But today, the very things that make Inwood such an attractive
    place are putting increasing pressure on our affordable housing stock, one of
    our most precious resources.

    …The crime problems made it affordable for those who wished to assume risk, now thatthere is less crime and more white people it is an attractive and safe option.

    Rezoning is putting pressure on affordability, but you really have to cast
    blame elsewhere, if you can. Most of the rental units are rent stabilized. So
    where is the ‘increasing pressure’ coming from? City Hall, that’s where. That’s
    where the real danger is

    –It’s been Mayor de Blasio’s guiding philosophy to engage local residents in planning and implementing neighborhood-oriented projects.

    …Well really now? He has ignored complaints about rezoning and has been quoted as saying the complaints are unfounded and City Hall knows better than the
    Community Boards about what’s good for the community.

    –The city’s affordable housing crisis has hit us especially
    hard, with rising rents, aggressive landlords, and uncertainty for
    tenants. This has led to an exodus of 10,000 residents between 2000 and
    2010.

    …A lot of them died off and most of them simply grew up, got
    married and left. The one’s who moved in are largely single person households
    with no children. That is what the US Census indicates. Your opinion of the
    10,000 person exodus is not factual.

    –In the last half-century virtually no new housing has been
    constructed in Inwood.

    …Good!! Keep it that way.

    –As a result, with more New Yorkers discovering our
    charm, market pressures push rents ever higher, jeopardizing affordability and
    make unscrupulous landlords as cutthroat as ever.

    …And 80/20 housing will make it worse, not better. And More
    crowded. 80/20 should be abolished. Why should I be excited that I am subsidizing
    someone else’s rent? It’s a bit unfair to force renters and mortgagees to subsidize other folks who can’t afford the area. I want a 2 BR apartment on Park Avenue with a doorman and concierge–is there a program for me?

    –Another of our most important resources is the waterfront.
    We are a neighborhood surrounded by rivers but have thus far failed to
    take full advantage of this fact. In particular, the Harlem River waterfront
    mostly lacks public open space or recreational facilities, limiting its vast
    potential for education and family fun. As part of Inwood NYC, public and
    private investments will gradually reclaim the waterfront for the benefit and
    enjoyment of all.

    …We did have access great access to the waterfront, but your
    cronies stole it from us and gave it to the La Marina franchise on public land.
    And you have supported the franchise just like your cronies.

    …’Vast potential’ for a real estate industry land grab, not
    education. As soon as public spaces are built in these new waterfront
    neighborhoods the city government pulls it away and sells or rents it off to
    big vendors.

    –As new mixed-use waterfront districts develop,
    community-oriented retail and recreational amenities must accompany new
    housing, alongside commercial opportunities that bring jobs and economic growth

    – all with convenient transit access. It is critical that these areas
    feel like an extension of Inwood, not a separate neighborhood.
    Investments in key streets, parks, and public spaces can strengthen connections
    to the river, improve access to open space, and transform Ninth and 10th
    Avenues into safer, greener, and more visually appealing corridors.

    …You sound like a tool of the Real Industry. Because you are a tool of the Real
    Estate Industry.

    –And of course, everyone in New York City needs access to a good job. Inwood
    suffers from an unemployment rate significantly higher than the city
    average.

    …Gee whiz!! I wonder why?

    –To help connect residents to quality jobs, the Department of
    Small Business Services, will expand its job matching and training programs to
    better meet the needs of our community.

    …Face it. A lot of the low income residents who are unemployed
    are unemployable. The politicians have built a system of immigration + welfare
    = subsidized voters. Now you want to throw them under the bus.

    –SBS will also partner with community-based organizations to
    assess the strengths and challenges of Inwood’s commercial corridors and
    respond with initiatives, like organizing merchants, in support of the vital
    businesses that are the backbone of our community.

    …they will assess the real estate value of future gentrification.

    …’organizing merchants’ to do what? Once this atrocity is under
    way you can ‘organize’ and do an about face and cry racism to the media at a
    press conference when the merchants are priced out.

    …vital businesses. You must mean the sloppy illegal vendors
    selling stuff they picked out of garbage cans and clogging up the sidewalk on
    West 207.

    –To achieve this vision and spur private investment—

    …Big Real Estate and campaign cash to the rescue!!

    –the City will make a significant financial commitment to our
    neighborhood’s infrastructure to ensure it is strong enough to meet the demands
    of an adapting community – including schools, cultural amenities, and
    transportation options.

    …Big Real Estate and campaign cash and government contracts for
    campaign cash to the rescue!!

    …Promise us the moon. The City Government does more harm than
    good. We do not get what we pay for.

    –There is much more we can do through the Inwood NYC plan, such
    as promoting youth access to science and tech programming,

    …Isn’t that what schools are for? We are promoting it there, I
    assume. The need to promote it more indicates that the students in this
    district are not interested.

    –encouraging healthy lifestyles,

    …Yes that’s why we have nightclubs in residential neighborhoods
    that you advocate for and help them get a liquor license. It’s great that they
    see disruption, noise and violence up close and personal. They think it’s
    really cool, man!!

    –and supporting the arts in a neighborhood that claims Hamilton’s
    Lin-Manuel Miranda as a native son.

    …The art of fighting in a bar, pissing on the sidewalk outside
    of someone’s home, blasting music out of a car and vomiting due to
    over-intoxication are just so precious.

    –I look forward to refining these recommendations with my
    community and fellow elected officials, including Borough President
    Brewer.

    …There is nothing to refine. The residents have spoken out
    against your proposals and the Rezoning Plan that you said you will vote for. Your
    political career ends here. Yay!!!

    This is a vision for our future that celebrates and builds upon
    what makes Inwood great. I hope you will join us in the coming months so
    we can do this together.

    …LOL