What is a “Poor Door” and Why Is It Causing So Much Controversy?

by , 07/22/14

nyc affordable housing, affordable housing, affordable housing nyc, upper west side, extell, 40 riverside boulevard, poor door, what is a poor door, riverside south

Sanctioned racial segregation was abolished in the U.S. in 1964, but a recent housing decision has shown that class segregation is still alive and well in New York City. The NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development recently approved a controversial request by the Extell Development Company to create two separate entrances at its 40 Riverside Boulevard building – one for its market rate tenants and another for affordable housing tenants. The so-called “poor door” plan has New Yorkers around the city up in arms (for pretty obvious reasons).

nyc affordable housing, affordable housing, affordable housing nyc, upper west side, extell, 40 riverside boulevard, poor door, what is a poor door, riverside south

40 Riverside Boulevard is part of the Riverside South tower development located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Designed by Goldstein Hill & West Architects, the luxury condominium building features a glassy facade and will rise 33 stories in the air when complete. Of the tower’s 274 units, 55 street-facing apartments have been set aside for affordable housing. The other 219 will be market rate and overlook the waterfront on the other side.

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Extell submitted 40 Riverside Boulevard to participate in the city’s Inclusionary Housing Program, and was accepted. The program allows developers to increase the size of their properties (also known as an optional floor area bonus) “in exchange for the creation or preservation of affordable housing, on-site or off-site, principally for low-income households.”

According to the New York Post, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer vowed to veto any future plans for developments with segregated entrances for market and affordable rate tenants.

Via The New York Post



  1. Luis Mendoza March 14, 2015 at 3:14 am
    They get to pay a fraction...far less than half of the market prices for new units in nice neighborhoods.... And they still complain?!?!?! You give people a hand and they take your entire shoulder and arm.... Ingrates!!!
  2. Marta Deptuła October 7, 2014 at 1:58 pm
    I am sorry, but the uproar regarding this investment strikes me as a whole new level of hypocrisy. Every day we face deep divisions in the world around us, divisions that actually influence human lives in ways most of us cannot even imagine. This? This is just an easy target for those whose sense of political correctness has wrenched itself out of any sort of control.
  3. Rob Eskanos August 1, 2014 at 9:39 am
    I think it is fine to have separate entrances based on how much you paid for your property. There are toll lanes for people that can afford to use them while others sit in traffic.
  4. Gina Monc July 29, 2014 at 9:20 am
    "What is a “Poor Door” and Why Is It Causing So Much Controversy?" Isn't the headline an offensive question, isn't obvious why something like a door for for people would be offensive?
  5. regenerativehomes.com July 28, 2014 at 10:28 am
    Matt Leonard, racial segregation in the United States was abolished by the Supreme Court in 1954 based on Brown v. Brown of Education. This led to protests against federal intervention and ultimately civil rights protests for the federal government to enforce the Supreme Court ruling. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The "poor door" is an example of both economic segregation and economic discrimination, neither covered by the Supreme Court rulings or the Civil Right Act. This appears to be the brain child of zoning expert David West of Goldstein Hill & West Architects, the architectural firm. They won't be the first firm to offer a poor design, but the firm will forever be linked to this project, and not in a good way, in any future study of architecture and urban planning. I see this project forever being mentioned alongside Pruitt-Igoe in the "what not to do" category.
  6. Deirdre Sullivan July 26, 2014 at 4:12 pm
    I live in a rent stabilized apartment. Over the last two years, my neighborhood has become pretty trendy. So our landlords are adding new amenities to our building so they can get more money for the open market apartments. The problem is, rent stabilized tenants will not be able to access these amenities. I see it as a form of "shaming" and it's disgusting. Developers and landlords get big fat subsidies and tax write- offs for both HUD and rent stabilized tenants. They shouldn't be allowed to discriminate.
  7. Mark Redetzke July 24, 2014 at 12:46 am
    This "rich door" thing might actually be a service because it will save muggers, pick pockets, purse snatchers and high-priced call girls time.
  8. Rukkus Innet July 23, 2014 at 4:26 pm
    if youre poor, WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO use the same door as stuck up rich wankers anyway? WE ALL KNOW THEY ARE NOT REAL PEOPLE...
  9. Jto July 23, 2014 at 1:09 pm
    Strictly speaking it has nothing to do with color of your skin and everything to do with where you live.
  10. Vasna Ponchamni July 23, 2014 at 1:58 am
  11. BellaB July 22, 2014 at 4:48 pm
    Completely unacceptable!
  12. Matt Leonard July 22, 2014 at 10:38 am
    "Sanctioned racial segregation was abolished in the U.S. in 1954" I believe you meant 1964, when the Civil Rights Act was signed by President Johnson. It's the 50th anniversary this year, so there's been a lot of discussion of that recently. And the separate entrance does seem insulting. I don't know if there's a legal way to force the developers to design differently, but it would be nice.