Angry New Yorker

Monday, April 07, 2003
Older entries - July 13, 2001
God damn MetLife!! Stuyvesant Town joins the luxury rush
Although I've never lived in Stuyvesant Town on Manhattan's East Side, I always thought I might one day, given that it was created by Met Life (Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.) decades ago as a source of housing for the working- and middle-class in New York, thereby demonstrating in action the company's committment to the community. It was a noble and generous act. The rent for apartments in ST was and is generally below market, in some cases substantially, and as a result the waiting list is long and it takes years to get one. Parents here in NYC would add their kids' names to the waiting list while they were still in high school, in the hope that by the time they graduated from college an apartment would open up. At last look there were 5,000 people on the waiting list, and rents currently average $1,000 a month -- a bargain in today's real estate market.

But MetLife essentially announced today "get the hell out! we want to make mo' money!" when it stated that as apartments become vacant they'll be removed from the rent stabalization roll and turned into, wait for it, "luxury rentals." Now how MetLife will transform housing designed and built for the middle class into "luxury housing" not only highlights the paucity of construction here, but also points out that soon simply having a roof over your head will be considered "luxury."

Let MetLife speak for itself:

"We take seriously our obligation to our shareholders to maximize our business," said a company spokesman, Kevin Foley.
Roughly 25,000 people in the various MetLife buildings now. According to the NY Times "The new market-rate rents, ranging from $2,100 to $4,200 a month, are geared mostly for annual incomes of $100,000 and above. Those sums are out of reach for the civil servants, office workers and other middle- class residents traditionally housed there."

MetLife's been around for 130 years and its ironic that its website proclaims "Over the years, MetLife has made a difference by supporting urban renewal projects and community financing. The company's social commitment and its commitment to the security of its policy holders have proven to be good business."

So much for "social committment." MetLife, you suck!!

Posted by Rich Santalesa on 7/13/01; 4:08:38 PM

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