NYT on Long Time Riverside Apartments Resident

The New York Times writes about long time Riverside Apartments resident Brad Smith:

New York Times: Mr. Smith, who turned 79 on Thanksgiving, has lived at Riverside since 1960, when he rented a three-room apartment for $68.33 a month. His quarters, for which he now pays about $365, are extremely modest in size. Yet he counts himself fortunate, and not simply because his apartment is so inexpensive.

“When I moved in,” he said, “I did it just because the place was such a good deal. But given the history of these buildings, I find it incredibly moving to live here.”

Mr. Smith moved to New York from Kalamazoo, Mich., in the late 1950s to pursue a career as a classical singer. A baritone with a full-throated speaking voice, he studied at the Manhattan School of Music, and though the career never materialized — “I didn’t have the fire in my belly,” he said — he sang at every church that would have him. The list included St. Bartholomew’s on Park Avenue, a Baptist church in New Jersey and a Greek Orthodox church, where the words to hymns were transliterated because Mr. Smith couldn’t read Greek.

Share this Story:

, , ,

  • AEB

    Being “single” in the city, and of a certain age, is almost synonymous with melancholy or worse. This is a moving story with, apparently, an ongoingly happy “ending.”

    And let’s hear it for the Riverside!

  • Jorale-man

    Yes, good article. I wonder what new renters there pay now? It’s probably becoming a more desirable location with the construction of BBP now.

  • Gerry

    Rent Control, Rent Stabilzation are great things and regretfully these laws have become weakened over time.

    I am so glad this guy has this affordable apartment!

  • TAP

    They are still cheaper, though not drastically. About $1,700 for a one-bedroom.

    But Pinnacle doesn’t manage it well, and at times the great rent doesn’t seem so great. They don’t clean the hallways, there are roaches everywhere…disgusting at times.

  • Buddy Holly

    These historic buildings deserve a better owner.

  • Gerry

    Does anyone know if there is any new construction here in NYC that is governed by the State of New York Division of Community Housing and Renewal – Rent Stabilzed apartments?

    Say a person was to move into a new glass tower in Williamsburg or the Upper East Side paying $5K per month for a 2 bedroom, terrace, tons of granite, stainless steel, etc. in 20 years would that $5K per month be the new $500 bucks?

    Are rent stabilzed apartments still built?

  • AEB

    According to the rent Guidelines Board “some newly constructed buildings may be stabilized due to a 421-a or J-51 tax exemption even if the rent is $2,000 or more.”

    See here:


    and here:


  • Gerry

    @ AEB Thanks I have read the law but I still do not know if any new rent stabilized apartments are available?

    i would feel much better about moving into a $5k per month rental it it was rent-stabilized.

    My brother lives in a huge rent stabilized apartment in Manhattan in 1980 when he moved in his rent was considered high at $300 per month now in 2011 his rent is $1500 per month — I seek a deal like this.

    Any one know of any rent stabilized apartments arond NYC?

  • stuart

    while its great for him that his rent is $300 plus dollars for a three room apartment, it is really not possible to maintain an old building properly on that rent. Old buildings are constantly self-destructing. They require constant maintenance. that means large sums of money. no one has the right to live in a building and expect someone else to shoulder the financial burden of the maintenance.

  • Gerry

    @ Stuart – Its the law stay in one place long enough and you have an affordable home if you are rent stabilized.

    But you do have a point land lords subsidise housing but grocery stores charge market rates for food, doctors for health care, etc.

    And for each guy paying $300 there are 3 others on the same floor paying $3000.

    I suspect that 25 Pierrepont Street is a rent controlled and rent stabilized combo resulting in this disaster like 101 Clark Street had become and look at what happened there.

    For me I would not live in NYC without rent protections I am rent stabilized and I am trapped in my apartment due to no new rent stabilized apartments being available.

  • David on Middagh

    Gerry, you’ve given me an idea. There ought to be a legal way for people in rent stabilized apartments to trade apartments, picking up whatever the previous rate was (plus a small increment, to get landlords on board). This way, people could move around the city as appropriate to changes in employment or family size.

  • Gerry

    @ David on Mddagh,

    Not a bad idea but I am not sure how well it would work?

    I know many adults who are stuck in starter-apartments that they moved into when they were kids in thier 20s now in there late 50s still live in studios because the rent is only $700 per month.

    Yes there are exceptions however I suspect that the bulk of rent stabilized low rent tenants live in small apartments that are not desirable but maybe I am wrong?

    I would move to a market rate apartment IF it was rent-stabilzed I am in my prime I make money but in 20 years I will be older and most likely poorer….we need new rent stabilzed apartments but clealry developers are not interested in using the DCHR benefits to landlords….go figure?