The City’s “Inwood NYC” plan does not reflect community input, protect neighborhood character, or build truly affordable housing. With our community’s median income at $37,000, the small percent of so-called affordable housing proposed will be out of reach for the vast majority of residents. While 61% of apartments in Inwood are rent-stabilized (i.e. affordable to current community residents), the plan does not include meaningful preservation policies to protect tenants from the displacement pressures that the rezoning will accelerate. Additionally, the incentives for large-scale construction of a large number of new market-rate units threaten to destabilize Inwood’s working-class community and unleash a cycle of hyper-gentrification similar to what occurred in Williamsburg, Brooklyn after the rezoning of that neighborhood’s waterfront.

Over 200 small, immigrant-owned businesses located east of 10th Ave, along 207th, Broadway and Dyckman St.— are all at risk of the same type of rent hikes recently faced by Coogan’s Pub or  be forced to close if the plans for rezoning our commercial and industrial/manufacturing areas goes through. The community saved Coogan’s by standing together. We can stand together in the same way against the injustice of the Inwood NYC rezoning proposal and save Inwood’s existing real affordable housing and save Inwood’s small businesses.

We are calling on members of Community Board 12, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and especially Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez to stop this plan and support strategies that are socially and environmentally beneficial for residents and small businesses in our community. The community is organized and engaged, but so far has been effectively shut out of this process. Instead of a top-down, strong-armed plan imposed on the community, the City should engage meaningfully with the community on creating and implementing an alternative plan that is in the best interest of the community while also planning sustainably for the future. Inwood Preservation, Northern Manhattan is Not for Sale and Inwood Small Business Coalition have alternative plans to the City’s Inwood Rezoning plan, that are complementary and better reflect the needs of the community, preserving the character and environment of Inwood while allowing for sustainable growth contextual to Inwood. Details will follow after full analysis of today’s ULURP and Draft Environmental Impact Statement.”

Quotes from spokespeople

Maggie Clarke, Inwood Preservation, “Inwood Preservation has determined that the City’s plan for Inwood would result in dozens of new 9 to 30 story buildings in a neighborhood where 6 story apartment buildings and 1-2 story commercial buildings are the norm.  This is done without any regard for the infrastructure and transit needs of the large increase in population that will result from the upzoning, nor the significant environmental impacts that will be caused by the City’s plan.  Our plan calls for zoning protections of existing, largely rent-stabilized apartment buildings, rezoning to allow for some mixed use residential in underutilized industrial zones that would allow for a sustainable increase in apartments in Inwood, and zoning of commercial areas to allow for limited increases for commercial space, while retaining our small businesses.”

Ava Farkas, Executive Director, Met Council on Housing: “Throughout the city’s own workshops, residents time and again identified the preservation of existing affordable housing as our number one concern. Instead of offering solutions to keep us in our homes and support our small businesses, the city is undertaking a massive give-away to for-profit developers that will put rent regulated tenant at risk.”

Scarlett Jimenez, Faith Community Leader and Inwood resident: “The priority needs to be to protect the face of this community, preserve housing, and protect the people who have built their lives, raised their families, and helped this neighborhood thrive to be what it is today..”

Maya Bhardwaj, Organizer with Faith in New York: “Clergy and congregants are united with tenants, small business owners, homeowners, and culture makers. Our faiths call us to do justice – and justice is not accepting a plan that would destroy our neighborhood.”

Mike Saab, Co-founder of Inwood Small Business Coalition (ISBC) and Owner, C-Town Supermarket in Inwood: “Inwood is a thriving neighborhood with a diverse ethnic breakdown where small, immigrant and family-owned businesses flourish and intertwine with the neighborhood. A massive rezoning would destroy this relationship at its core if done without thoughtful planning and proper neighborhood-led input, ideas and compromises.”

David Friend, co-director of Fort Tryon East Neighborhood Association: “Fort Tryon East Neighborhood Association remains steadfastly opposed to any rezoning that does not extend protective contextual zoning to the part of Inwood south of Dyckman Street, ground zero for exploitative development schemes in the neighborhood and an epidemic of landlord harassment. Any plan that leaves out one of the most vulnerable areas of the neighborhood from contextual zoning protections is a recipe for hyper-gentrification and displacement, not a plan for community improvement or empowerment.”

 ***

Northern Manhattan Is Not For Sale is a coalition of community groups, faith communities, tenants, housing advocates,  and neighbors organizing for housing justice in Inwood and Washington Heights. NMN4S was founded in 2015.

Inwood Preservation is a community based organization  founded in 2016 in response to the first EDC visioning sessions describing Inwood Rezoning Plan. Inwood Preservation’s purpose and goal is to preserve the character of the Inwood (Upper Manhattan) neighborhood as a community of affordable, mostly low-rise housing, small businesses, and large public parks, and to uphold a good quality of life, environmental values, and a strong community.

Inwood Small Business Coalition (ISBC)/Coalicion de Pequenas Empresas de Inwood (CPEI) is a coalition of business groups and Inwood small businesses, representing the Inwood business community in its full diversity, including wholesale, retail, and service businesses. The mission of ISBC/CPEI is to advocate for the interests of Inwood businesses, especially Inwood’s independently-owned businesses, which are the heart and the economic engine of Inwood. ISBC/CPEI is committed to fight for the survival of Inwood’s independent family-owned businesses.

Fort Tryon East Neighborhood Association is a longstanding community organization representing the residents of Inwood living in the area south of Dyckman Street, east of Fort George Hill, and north of 193rd and Broadway.

###