A press conference was just held on the corner of First Avenue and 16th Street addressing today's legal bombshell that could end up returning 4,400 Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village apartments to rent-stabilized rates, and for the first time in the history of western civilization, lawyers received multiple rounds of applause. The event basically served the purpose of letting tenant-friendly politicians spew some anti-landlord rhetoric. On hand was City Comptroller (and mayoral wannabe) Bill Thompson, State Senator Tom Duane, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and local City Councilman Dan Garodnick?the ringleader of the affair?who kicked off the press conference by telling the crowd "Congratulations!" while assembled Stuy Towners cheered. Garodnick, a born-and-bred Stuy Towner who is now a market-rate renter, disclosed that he stands to benefit from the judgment. Somehow he resisted holding up an oversize novelty check.
Garodnick referenced a Tishman Speyer statement that called the Court of Appeals' decision "an unfortunate outcome for New York," turning it around by saying, "It's a fortunate outcome for New Yorkers" who no longer have to worry about landlords taking advantage blah blah blah snooze. What about the non-political reaction?
While the cameras were being set up and the crowd was standing around waiting for the press conference to begin, reporters were chatting up tenants while others just kibitzed amongst each other about the ruling. Most of the crowd was of the old-timer, rent-stabilized variety, and they railed against landlord harassment, Major Capital Improvment rent increases ("They're trying to MCI us to death!" one woman shouted into a news camera), broken washing machines, etc. Though the court's decision affects only market-rate renters, they clearly see this as a major victory against a bullying landlord. Which isn't to say there were no market-raters in the house. Said one, "Well, I've never won the lottery, but I guess this is close."
UPDATE: While we're talking about politicians, here's Mayor Bloomberg's statement. He's in a tough spot, wanting to preserve affordable housing while not ragging on his pals. So he'll just talk about himself, thankyouverymuch:
“Today’s decision provides some degree of clarity on an issue that has been debated for a long time, although the scope of its impact will take more time to know. Creating and preserving affordable housing in a city with a growing population has been one of our most important priorities. The tenant protections provided by the State’s rent regulation laws have long been an essential measure to ensuring New York City accommodates people with a broad range of incomes, and today's decision means fewer units will fall out of the system than otherwise would have. But we know that – despite the ruling – the regulations still don't provide affordable housing to enough New Yorkers. That’s why we created and are implementing the nation’s largest municipal housing plan to create and preserve 165,000 affordable units – units with protections that go beyond rent regulation laws and maintain affordability based on New Yorkers’ incomes.”