11237: One New York City Neighborhood in the Bloomberg Era (City Limits Investigates)

I just received my hot-off-the-presses copy of the new issue of City Limits Investigates, with a report by CLI editor Jarrett Murphy and myself on how one New York City zip code — 11237, which covers most of the neighborhood of Bushwick, and also happens to be the geographic center of the city — has fared the last eight years under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. You can read Jarrett’s short summary online, but to see my section (which is focused on housing) you’ll have to order a physical copy. A sample of my housing chapter:

At a meeting of tenant volunteers for the Bushwich Housing Independence Project, the stories pour out, in both English and Spanish. All the volunteers are themselves tenants in Bushwick’s many rent-regulated apartments, mostly in the century-old six- or eight-family row houses that remain the neighborhood’s signature housing stock. All described similar tales of landlord harassment with the goal of getting them out in order to slip the units to market-rent status.

“I have no cooking gas and no hot water,” says Luz Varela, a board member and volunteer tenant advocate. “He’s doing everything in his power to get me to up and move. But I’m not gonna budge.” Finally, after she took her landlord to court, his lawyer claimed that the shutoff of services was a mistake stemming from a renumbering of apartments in her building.

Another BHIP volunteer, Hector Vazquez, says his landlord renovated his bathroom but made it too small to be usable. “You can’t go inside. You have to go outside and back in, like you’re walking backward,” he says. “You can’t even put your clothes on in there.”

There’s another 9,500 words or so on this and how 11237 is faring in terms of crime, jobs, schools, and other measures. So really, pick up a copy.