When the Rear Garden Grows the 28-Story Public Hotel

Posted on: October 19th, 2018 at 5:09 am by

For the last year, 215 Chrystie Street has been the address of Ian Schrager’s posh Public Hotel (and condos). Before the 28-story development, though, this city parcel was the rear yard, and garden, for the Thelma Burke building on Stanton Street.

The New York Times just published a new feature, “How a Garden for the Poor Became a Playground for the Rich,” which delves into how the tight-knit community at the Section-8 housing complex lost its outdoor oasis to the power of gentrification. There is a garden now, but it’s for the guests of the hotel, and not for the locals, whose sense of home is diminished.

The story itself is an interactive window (i.e. photo essay) into the history of the low-income development, its garden, and how gentrification is redefining the boundaries here. Below is an excerpt:

On a regular day on the hotel’s rooftop, guests sometimes have to wait for a seat to enjoy cocktails, like a Public Pimm’s Cup or a Royale, for $17 each.

Simply sitting at a table can cost $500.

Simply sitting at a table can cost $500.

Residents can still see some green space, but now it belongs to the hotel. Tenants are trying to hang on to some semblance of a garden, putting fruits, vegetables and plants in pots in the paved courtyard that now has the benches.

Nearly six years after tenants agreed to the deal that paved the way for the hotel [ed: dropping a lawsuit in exchange for twenty more years of guaranteed affordability], they are still waiting on a playground.

It’s worth a read…

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