Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Flophouse Reveal

Sometimes, a new development that looks like luxury turns out to be housing for lower income people and/or the otherwise homeless. There's the Lee on East Houston, with "104 apartments reserved for homeless people struggling with mental illnesses" and another 54 for kids aging out of the foster care system.

The Lee is being developed by Common Ground, creators of affordable housing. They're also behind one of the latest developments on the Bowery. Something the NY Press called "Flophouse Redux." They're turning the 99-year-old flophouse Andrew's Hotel into a "lodging house," which is a prettier name for a flophouse, as they aim to "save the aging buildings and their tenants from developers while reinventing the Bowery formula to serve a new generation of homeless," including "a dying breed of Bowery lifers who want to be left alone"--and drunk.

The Times described the Andrew's Hotel in 2000: "Walk up a steep, narrow flight of stairs in one hotel, the Andrew's, at 197 Bowery. Look into its dim lobby. It is like a yellowing photograph. Smoke hangs in the dank air. The cigar-stained walls are a smudgy green. Wooden chairs are lined in neat rows across the patterned-tile floor. Grizzled denizens peer out dirty windows onto the wide street and wonder where the years went. Time seems to operate oddly there."

rendering from 2006 Times article

The new Andrew's will be different. The design and plans for the lodging house were based on ideas from Japan and the needs and desires of homeless men and women. It's not a condo (cheek-by-jowl with Nolita Place, where Nicole Richie bought for a million) but it will look like one, kind of a cross between Cemusa and Ikea.

Everyone likes a little luxury in their lives--in this video from the Times, one resident is just really happy to finally have shelves--but I do have to ask: Is it being Jonesified just for the homeless or for their new Bowery neighbors?

Until then, fragments of the old Andrew's remain. In the facade tear-down, a glimpse into the Bowery past is briefly revealed:


Ken Mac said...

beautiful beat me to it!

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks ken. glad you're out there walking the beat, too, cam in hand.

Anonymous said...

can't wait until that olsen girl moves in there (i.e she blows off her trust fund and ends up penniless)