Old school vs. new school gentrifiers was a fight that was bound to come up at some point in neighborhoods like Bushwick, and according to a New York Post story, that fight is here. People who have lived in Bushwick for all of a few years are throwing around terms like “adult playground” and “subsidized by their parents” to describe the people moving into CastleBraid, an artist-friendly luxury building on Troutman Street. Which is funny, of course. What isn’t funny is a CastleBraid partner telling the Post that the building got an affordable housing tax abatement, but won’t be supplying affordable housing.
Mayer Schwartz, responding to demands from the group Occupy Bushwick that CastleBraid provide 20 percent of its units as affordable housing, told the Post that while the building got an affordable housing tax abatement, they broke ground before a rule change required them to actually deliver on their promise. Never mind that this is one man’s word on the situation, just asking us to trust him on it, if you get a tax credit from the government and then don’t do what you said you’d do to earn it, there’s a word for that. That word is fraud. If Schwartz went on to say that government took back the tax credit and assessed higher taxes on the building, it’s not in the story.
So yes, let’s definitely laugh at people who own yoga studios grousing about subsidized artists moving into the neighborhood, and let’s also laugh at people living in buildings with ridiculous value-adds sloughing off criticism of the building as “haters.” But in the meantime, let’s not forget that the people who created this situation appear to be shamelessly admitting to ripping off New York City taxpayers.
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