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New York Does Away With "Poor Doors"

Anyone who has dealt with the world of New York City real estate knows that business is conducted in euphemisms — “true one bedroom,” “spacious,” “comfy.” All are ruthless attempts to manipulate prospective renters. In reality, a “studio apartment” described truthfully would be closer to the truth if it were referred to as a “cell.” Even worse than the words they use to twist the truth is the “poor door” that many apartments use to separate their wealthy tenants from their rent-control tenants. You won’t find a doorman at the poor door, which differentiates tenants who pay $6,000 a month from those who pay $1,000 a month. Fortunately, when word got about about the abundance of poor door apartment buildings, a tax abatement program was amended to forbid the creation of separate entrances for tenants of different classes. Developers also may not separate low-income units from market-rate tenants within a building under the new law. How exactly wealthier residents will mix with public housing residents remains to be seen.