Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Think the Recovery Has Not Been Good for the Wealthy – The New York Times Details Couple’s Struggle to Find Suitable Manhattan Housing

Getting By With Only a $1 Million Budget

Unintentionally commenting on the distribution of wealth and income in today’s America the New York Times provides details on how a Manhattan couple had to search and struggle to find suitable housing.  Their problem, they only had $1 million or so to spend on buying an apartment.  It’s not that Nicole and Brent Ferrin were in horrible housing in their rental unit.

Nicole and Brent Ferrin - Just Your Average Couple Finally Happy in a $1.2 million Condo

For four years, Nicole and Brent Ferrin were happy in their rented apartment in a postwar high-rise building on Murray Street in TriBeCa. They paid around $4,000 a month for a loftlike one-bedroom with around 1,200 square feet. They especially liked their two bathrooms.

But the hardships were very real, the kind that all working class families suffer from.

Despite their rental’s large size, it didn’t have sufficient closet space. Mr. Ferrin’s bag of golf clubs always sat in full view, standing upright behind a couch in a corner of the a living room.

“It drove me bonkers,” Ms. Ferrin said.

So after a long search which must have been terribly hard on the couple they found suitable housing.  One hopefully where his golf clubs (who plays golf in lower Manhattan?) have a home of their own.

At another converted office building, 75 Wall Street, the condominium atop Hyatt’s Andaz Wall Street Hotel, they came upon a one-bedroom with a refreshingly normal layout. The 1,100-plus square feet allowed for a home office, plenty of closet space, two bathrooms and a kitchen open to the large living room.

“Their faces lit up when they saw the island for the kitchen,” Ms. Stein said.

The price was $1.2 million, with monthly charges in the low $1,300s. The couple paid $1.17 million and arrived in mid-September a few weeks before Hurricane Sandy.

So just like every other middle class American family that lives in a $1.2 million condo with a monthly fee of $1,300.00 the Ferrin’s are now a happy couple. 

They appreciate the building’s many amenities, including the rooftop lounge, where they recently held Mr. Ferrin’s 30th birthday party. They sometimes indulge in room service, ordering breakfast from Wall & Water, the restaurant downstairs.

And no, this reporting is not to disparage the Ferrin’s, who would seem to be basically nice and decent people, but it is to disparage a society that denies decent housing and health care to millions while at the same time accommodating people who need to and can spend over $1 million for a 1,100 square foot condo. Because on about the same day that this story appeared the state of North Carolina decided to deny Medicaid expansion to over 500,000 low income residents, claiming the state just could not afford to do so, even though the cost was covered by the Federal government.

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