Purchasing a Home And What The Bank Looks At…

Last month Chase Bank attended our HNBA meeting and Kevin Cruikshank went over a whole range of housing options and what a bank will look at if you apply for a mortgage on any one of these properties.

Classic Mistakes People Make When Purchasing a New Home

Harlem World has a good, quick article on 8 checkboxes anyone on the market for a home should consider

“Remember there are always other fish in the sea, or should we say homes in the neighborhood. The perfect place will come along eventually, it’s just going to take some time! Don’t give up, stay strong, and remember there will be a happy ending!”

Does Your Water Taste… Different?

Have you noticed that your water tastes different recently (say in the last week or so)? If you have, you’re not alone. We contacted the DEP to see what’s up using this form:

https://portal.311.nyc.gov/

Which is the web version of calling 311 for those of you who’d prefer to not talk to an operator.

We got a call back this morning that said that about a week ago, the DEP switched NYCs drinking water from Delaware and Catskills watersheds, to Croton water. This switch will be in effect for approximately a month.

http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycwater/html/drinking/reservoir.shtml

The DEP has (of course) tested the water and it’s all good, it just comes from different sources, and thus has a slightly different taste.

You can, if you want to spin this in a positive way, think of this as the historic taste of NYC water. When the Croton Aqueduct system finally brought water to NYC in the 19th century, this is what New Yorkers would have (more or less) tasted in 1842.

Since then, Delaware and Catskills water has become more dominant in our taps, and that water/taste has usurped the original Croton water/taste.

Cheers.

Federal Drug and Weapons Arrests

This just came in from the commanding officer of Harlem’s 28th Precinct:

Subject: Narcotic operation arrests in the 28th precinct

Greetings Harlem residents and Stakeholders,
On 12/2/20 an on-going investigation culminated with (14) Federal indictments for drug dealing and associated violence and weapons possession. The area in and around W.122nd St – W.124th St. Lenox to Adam Clayton Powell Avenues will receive some relief from the drug trade that was operating in that area. The concerns that were conveyed to the NYPD were not made in vane and these indictments and associated arrests are a testament to the work and commitment invested in effectively addressing and resolving the issue.

Often targeting the “low hanging fruit” only provides for instant, temporary relief for a few days before these individuals return and the condition continues. This operation targeted subjects on all levels of this drug dealing hierarchy, and thus will have a definite impact on its operational abilities. The prosecution of these cases will rest with the Federal Court system.

The enforcement and maintenance of this location will continue so that the benefits of this operation are long lasting.

Thank you.

Deputy Inspector André M. Brown

New York City Police Department

Commanding Officer, 28th Precinct

PH.-212-678-1604

Redlining Webinar

If you’re curious about the issue of redlining, join The Washington and Chicago Map Societies on December 3, 2020, 7:00 pm when they present Linda Gartz in a Zoom discussion: “How Federal Government Redlining Maps Segregated America.” 

She will discuss her award-winning book, “Redlined,” and her discovery of the redlining maps used by the federal government to exclude African-Americans from the middle-class dream of home ownership. Inspired by a trove of long-hidden family letters, diaries, photos, spanning the 20th Century, “Redlined” interweaves a riveting family story with the history of redlining. Linda will display digitized versions of original redlining maps, share photos, read short excerpts from “Redlined,” and speak about the lasting impact of redlining maps that segregated America. RSVP John Docktor at [email protected] to receive the meeting ID and passcode.

Governor Cuomo Announces Parts of Harlem Under Yellow Zone COVID-19 Restrictions

The governor has noted a Covid “yellow zone” in Upper Manhattan including zip codes 10031, 10032, and 10033.

* No gatherings indoors/outdoors over 25

* Dining indoors/outdoors no more than 4 per table

* Houses of worship at 50% capacity

A Historical Perspective on Redlining

The Where We Live NYC report has a fantastic explanation on the history and impact of redlining:

One of the most pernicious tools in promoting segregation was the construction of explicitly
segregated housing developments, many of which were owned or financed by the city, state, or
federal government. This practice began in 1928, when the Thomas Garden Apartments opened
near the Grand Concourse in the Bronx for White families and the Paul Lawrence Dunbar
Apartments opened in Harlem for Black families. It continued through the 1930s, when
New York City experienced several waves of immigration in the 20th century, originally
from Europe and eventually the rest of the world. The arrival of large numbers of Italians
and Eastern European Jews in the early 20th century led Congress to pass discriminatory
laws to limit the growth of those populations and others. Immigration patterns changed
dramatically after World War II, however, with the arrival of over 600,000 Puerto Ricans
in the 1940s and 1950s. By 1970, Puerto Ricans accounted for over 10 percent of the city’s
total population. The passing of the Hart-Celler Act in 1965, which abolished the use of
immigration quotas based on national origin, created more opportunities for immigrants
from all over the world, including the Caribbean and Latin America, East and South Asia,
the Middle East, and Africa. These cycles of immigration have contributed to the formation
of the city’s many ethnic enclaves, which formed as networks of support and community
and as a form of protection against the discrimination and violence many immigrants
experienced upon their arrival to New York City. The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) opened the Harlem River Houses for black households and the Williamsburg Houses for White households in 1937 and 1938, respectively.

The most significant examples were two enormous government-supported housing
developments built by the Metropolitan Life Company exclusively for White families:
Parkchester in the central Bronx, which included 12,273 apartments for 42,000 people,
and Stuyvesant Town in Manhattan, which included 8,775 apartments for 27,000 people.

Even though protesters denounced the City for providing land and tax breaks to these
projects and sued MetLife over its exclusionary policy, Frederick Ecker, the company’s
president, stuck to his position that “Negroes and whites don’t mix.” In an attempt to
appease its critics, MetLife also developed the Riverton Houses, a 1,200-unit development in Harlem that, while nominally open to all races, attracted mostly Black residents.
The People’s Voice, a weekly newspaper based in Harlem, predicted that these projects
were “crystallizing patterns of segregation and condemning thousands of Negroes to a
secondary citizenship status for generations to come.”

At the same time, federal housing policy also explicitly subordinated people of color, most
importantly through a mortgage-lending process that came to be known as “redlining.”
Beginning in 1933, the federal agency responsible for refinancing mortgages—the Home
Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC)—created “Residential Security Maps,” which labeled
neighborhoods as

“A (Best),”

“B (Still Desirable),”

“C (Definitely Declining),”

“D (Hazardous),”

ostensibly to judge the riskiness of issuing mortgages in each type of neighborhood. Each neighborhood was also color-coded: “A” was green; “B” was blue; “C” was
yellow; and “D” was red.

The image above shows an example of a HOLC map for Upper Manhattan.
The systematic use of these maps by the federal government and local banks had
substantial, disastrous, and long-lasting impacts on racial inequality. Neighborhoods
where HOLC found a sizeable presence of “undesirable” residents—which in New York
City included immigrants from Southern Europe, “Communistic” Jews, and others—
were deemed ineligible sites for federally-insured mortgages. HOLC was particularly
concerned about the presence of Black New Yorkers; any neighborhood in which Black
New Yorkers were more than 5% of the population was labeled “C (Definitely Declining)”
or “D (Hazardous),” and it was all-but-guaranteed that a prospective homebuyer could
not receive a mortgage in such a neighbohood.

The Mortgage Conference of Greater New York even commissioned a block-by-block survey
of New York City to show where “Negroes and Spanish-speaking persons resided,” though
blocks that housed Black and Hispanic building superintendents were exempted. The Mortgage
Conference directed its 38 members to refrain from issuing mortgages to any properties on
such blocks, depriving neighborhoods with Black and Hispanic residents of access to
capital and encouraging White residents to move to segregated neighborhoods or suburbs
where loans were available.

Mortgages were available in suburban developments on Long Island and in
Westchester because the vast majority of these developments were open only to White
residents. The most famous development—Levittown, New York—opened to 17,500 veterans and their families immediately following World War II under the federal government’s condition that only White
residents would live there. Levittown residents also became homeowners thanks to the G.I. Bill, which offered low-interest loans and required no down payments. Almost all people of color were excluded from this crucial, life-changing opportunity to build equity in their homes and pass down wealth
to future generations. During the immediate post-war period, per capita mortgage lending in Nassau County, New York, where Levittown and many other Whites-only developments were located, was eleven times greater than lending in Brooklyn and 60 times greater than lending in the Bronx.

Segregated suburban developments, which expanded with significant support from government,
also helped determine who remained in or moved to New York City. Hundreds of thousands of
New Yorkers, predominantly people of color, were forcibly displaced from their homes by the
construction of taxpayer-funded highways, which served the segregated suburbs. Subsidized
mortgages and segregated living patterns also drew a sizeable portion of the city’s middle-class
tax base to the suburbs; in the 1950s alone, the suburban region’s population increased by
almost 2.2 million people, while the city’s population decreased by 109,973 people—the first
decennial decline in the city’s history.

The expansion of segregated suburban developments also pushed government officials to take
drastic steps to alter some of the city’s central neighborhoods through massive redevelopment
projects, which often consisted of displacing people of color from their homes and building more
expensive housing in their place. In turn, people of color were directed to even more segregated
neighborhoods in Upper Manhattan and Central Brooklyn.

The combined influence of redlining, segregated housing developments, and rampant
discrimination in the employment and education fields concentrated low-income people of
color in small geographic areas and created a “new form of urban poverty.” Poor living
conditions in these neighborhoods—often referred to as ghettos—also stigmatized people of
color in the eyes of many White residents, who feared that their neighborhoods and schools
would become unstable if integration occurred. Many New Yorkers responded to these forms of
racism, economic oppression, and subjugation with grassroots organizing and legislative advocacy,
and New York City became a leader in innovative, civil rights lawmaking in the 1950s.

Complain to the DOT

If you notice something on a road, sidewalk or bridge that isn’t right, you can submit a complaint to the Department of Transportation on any of these subjects:

Simply go to:

https://www1.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/contact/contact-form.shtml

and fill out the form.

I contacted them recently about a lack of a pedestrian ramp on the Madison Avenue Bridge, and they got back to me the next day with the promise that they’d send a crew out to investigate within 45 days.

Speedy? No. But as we always say, they can’t read our minds, so unless we complain, and tell them what’s not working or acceptable in our community, they’ll just assume all’s well. Don’t accept. Demand better. Demand action.

HNBA Meeting on Tuesday, November 10th

HPD has a new report out on housing in New York. One of the issues it addresses is homeownership by Black New Yorkers. On Tuesday at 7:00 PM, the November HNBA meeting will have representatives from Chase Bank discuss strategies for applying for a first-time mortgage, refinancing, and a number of strategies for building your family’s assets.

As the HPD report notes:

…income from employment is a limited measure of financial security and economic opportunity. The most important and direct measure of a resident’s ability to access opportunity and financial security is wealth: the sum of a family’s assets (from equity in a hometo retirement savings) minus the debts a family owes (such as student loans or a mortgage). Data on wealth is not available for New York City residents, but, nationwide, the median wealth of White families is 10 times the wealth of Black and Hispanic families; in 2016, the median wealth of White families was $171,000, while the median wealth was $17,400 among Black families and $20,920 among Hispanic families. These disparities represent the compounded effects of advantages and disadvantages passed across generations.


Racial disparities in homeownership rates suggest some of the reasons for stark disparities in
overall household wealth by race. The Figure above shows that in New York City 28% of Black families and 17% of Hispanic families own their homes, compared to 41% of White families. The differences in homeownership stem in part from differences in the wealth that parents pass on to their children, but also reflect historic and, to some extent, current differences in access to home
mortgage loans. The figure below shows the loans commonly used for buying homes by race and
ethnicity of the borrower. In 2017, White borrowers accounted for 48% of new loans for owneroccupied, 1-4 unit properties in New York City, while Black and Hispanic borrowers each
accounted for less than 10%, far less than a proportionate share of the total population among
New Yorkers.

See: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/hpd/downloads/pdfs/wwl-plan.pdf

Hip Hop Museum ReOpens Today

Today is the re-opening of the [R]Evolution of Hip Hop exhibition. the Hip Hop museum is located in the Terminal Market (near HomeDepot and Costco on Exterior Street) and is specifically adhering to guidance around social distancing and no large group gatherings to protect our patrons and our staff.


The [R]Evolution of Hip Hop: An immersive journey through Hip Hop History is conceived by creative agents from multiple artistic backgrounds that employ archives and experimental storytelling techniques focusing on the five elements of Hip Hop – MCing, DJing, Breakdancing, Aerosol Art,  Knowledge. The new exhibit celebrates Hip Hop’s emergence from the park jams and the projects to night clubs, national concert tours, TV and motion pictures circa 1980 to 1985. The innovative music, art, dance and fashion that first permeated city streets in the Bronx, Harlem, Brooklyn and Queens in the 1970s made its way Downtown. Saavy club promoters and risk-taking entrepreneurs would fuel the commercialization of Hip Hop culture and would give rise to the first Rap record labels, Master-Mixes on Black radio and the first smash hits on the Billboard charts. This arts and cultural revolution would soon spread Hip Hop to the West Coast and to every corner of the world.

[R]Evolution of Hip Hop @ The Bronx Terminal Market610 Exterior Street

Bronx, New York 10451

(Entrance located in the lower area parking lot between Applebee’s and Marisco Centro Restaurant)