A $7 Billion Mistake? New York Seeks to Curb New Hotels.

Apr 27, 2021 · 352 comments
bobandholly (NYC)
Sniff..sniff..what IS that smell? Smells kinda like..bribes and kickbacks.
Jasper O'Rourke (NYC)
I don't even know if Mike Bloomberg could fix NYC now. The City appears to be on a self-destructive path. The City is behaving like a drug addict - bad decision after bad decision. The city doesn't want to give up the junk. It is on a self-perpetuating cycle? The people of the city are addicted to this self-inflicted downward spiral that is being fed to them by the Democratic Party.
Jasper O'Rourke (NYC)
Unfortunately, I haven't heard one person say, I can wait to get back to NYC or I can't wait to visit NYC. All I hear is, I'm not looking forward to having to go back to the city or I've got about a hundred other places I want to visit before going back to NYC for a visit. DeBlasio, Cuomo, and their enablers (AOC, Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand) have destroyed NYC. I'm just trying to figure out the best way to get out!
Donald (Mississippi)
If that’s not scam then I don’t know what is. I see lots of bribes in New York’s future. You want that hotel? Well you better fund my campaign. That’s insanity. Definitely government over reach in a way designed to fill government officials pockets. Bribe anyone?
Kevin (NYC)
Good. As a 30-year “veteran” of NYC tourismania, I say “Yes,” let’s take a breath and stop hotel developers from running amok. They never build to capacity, but to FUTURE capacity, which in the era of Covid is completely unknown. In actuality I’d like to see a moratorium on any single hotel room being developed until occupancy hits 90% plus...
JBC (Indianapolis)
Seems like a compromise would be to pass more prescriptive policies/guidelines reflecting typical community concerns. If a development honors those it is automatically approved versus having to go through a City Council review which will take time and no doubt be more driven by politics of the moment, creating uncertainty and additional costs and delays for developers.
Lance Michaels (Syosset, New York)
One of the more venal policies of this often corrupt administration. Totally inconsistent with zoning theory as practiced in New York. The City’s zoning has always been based upon allowing most uses as-of-right in defined districts. Only the most burdensome or noxious uses require review through special permits and the lengthy and expensive Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP). Hotels are not and have never been considered to be such a use.
Karen (Brooklyn)
Tourists are great, but we don’t need more tourists to thrive, we need good teachers, sanitation workers, nurse’s aids, nurses—and those people need homes! NYC has a chronic, severe lack of affordable housing for the middle-income workers we depend on! In a city where there is so little unused space, we have to manage every single parcel carefully. In my neighborhood, Sunset Park Brooklyn, about 9 hotels went up very quickly as-of-right. Seven are now homeless shelters, (a by-product of not having enough permanent housing!). Two more are half built and abandoned by the Chinese LLCs who own them. Meanwhile apartments are over-crowded, over-priced and scarce! We have absolutely no business building hotels for tourists! We need homes!!!
Bill (Des Moines)
@Karen Tourists pay a tax in excess of 20% on a room. Where do you think the money comes from??
Patrick (NYC)
A lot of hotels in the outer boroughs have been and are currently being built with the view toward becoming homeless shelters, a full fledged industry in its own right. Full occupancy is all but guaranteed, and the nightly rates they charge the City match those of the most expensive four star hotels in Manhattan. Locals understandably are opposed at the community impact.
Rick (StL)
A search of NYC hotel sites reveal out of the way little places with rooms at a decent rate. Then their is AirB. Is it about hotel income or tourist revenue in general? The mayor hung out the for sale sign the day he moved it.
Anne T (East Of Here)
Less hotels, more Airbnb...
New Yorker (New York)
@Anne T - Aorbnb scams all around. Why would you want to stay in a strangers house?
P McGrath (USA)
Business plan 101. Move your business as far away from the woke as possible. You will be happier and much more profitable.
Bob Huron (Boulder, CO)
I think New York needs to take a more folksy approach to the hospitality. By way of example, de Blasio should carve out half of Central Park to create 50’s style roadside motels to put a more suburban face on the city. It’s what we need.
howard (Long Island)
Multitudes of empty offices. Hello!
Michael D (Washington, NJ)
Unions have ruined this country, sad to say.
William (Casa)
This is a great example of the negative side of Unions that progressives are so forgetful of, short-termist zero-sum thinking.
Sure, let NY drive more people, and their money, away.
Trevor Bajus (Brooklyn NY)
We could do with less tourism: minimum wage jobs, increased traffic, a blight of franchises replacing real New York businesses. Good riddance.
Osito (Brooklyn, NY)
This proposal sounds absurd. A union shouldn't be dictating city land use policy based on a campaign donation. NYC, pre-Covid, had the lowest hotel vacancy rates in the U.S. There's a desperate need for more NYC hotel rooms once Covid clears, and I hope this ludicrous proposal is tossed aside. Tourism is a gigantic industry and the city needs these jobs, which pay relatively well.
Michael George (Brazil)
As a New Yorker who has lived for many years in Latin America, it comes as no surprise that politicians advocating populist measures, often left wing and always in the name of the people, usually do so to line their own pockets and finance their campaigns. Self-interest has marked Mayor de Blasio’s two terms of poor and lazy city management, and has been rewarded by financial contributions from crony business interests and unions, especially for his ludicrously Quixotic presidential campaign. He has been NYC’s worst mayor in decades, and it is a fitting irony that he should want to leave his last mark of ineptitude by further complicating bureaucracy and inhibiting the city’s recovery, however disgraceful that may be!
South Of Albany (Not Indianapolis)
Apply that logic to the Soho / Noho rezoning.
Mike (Brooklyn)
When I worked for the union decades ago, there were nondescript outer-borough hotels paying the same wages as the Waldorf and still making a profit. Have things changed that much? Are there no longer middle class hotels that can afford union wages? Because I also remember hotels that paid lousy wages and charged the same room rates as the unionized hotels and I'd be very happy to see those places denied permits.
Jim (Jersey City, NJ)
It is a shame. This just sounds like New York City is ceding the hospitality industry over to Air BnB because at the rate things are going, there will be very few hotel rooms left in the tourism recovery. It is no wonder that people are moving out of this area.
CXTofNYV (New York City)
@Jim Airbnb and short-term rentals are illegal in NYC unless it is more than 30 days or a room within your own home or apartment, in which you are also living and present. The city used to (mostly) look away but that has changed. NYC successfully sued Airbnb to turn over the names and addresses of NYC's hosts and NYC did so of Dec 2020. Many many hosts have converted to long term rentals which is certainly impacting the market. NYC this airbnb policy is to keep NYC affordable. But none of NYC policy adds up (yet) to affordability for anyone in my opinion. So I stand by the rights of (mostly) middle class homeowners to rent their properties as they see fit.
Will. (NYCNYC)
We need less "budget" tourists, not more. They don't carry their own weight. They stay in cheap hotels or AirBnB and grab pizza slices to go. They don't support the city's cultural institutions and know next to nothing about the things they see (assuming they even get out of Times Square). All they do is clog the streets with fume spewing buses and fill the trash cans with empty soda bottles and fast food wrappers. What's the point? No one wins with that paradigm.
Janice Smith (Palo Alto)
More opportunities for payoffs for the city council. Of course this will be approved.
Fed up (New Paltz)
When was the last time a racetrack,airport or drive-in movie theater was built in NYC? Not in my lifetime and. I am 62.
CXTofNYV (New York City)
It is astounding that this article barely addresses Airbnb/VRBO and the city’s aggressive stance against these services. In my opinion the city needs to lay off that persecution, and let middle class people rent their rooms and homes as they see fit. Especially in a city that is not kind to even the upper middle class when it comes to affordability. Why should all hotel profits accrue to corporate hotels? Why push all tourists to the same neighborhoods? This article exists in a rich Manhattan bubble and I am so tired of that perspective from this paper. What do the working and middle class people of this city want? Not described here, meanwhile half the article seems to have been cribbed from a hotel industry press release. I am highly skeptical that these rules will stop hotels seeking to make a profit from the NYC market. If a few hurdles like that stop the corporate hotels, than maybe they don’t need this money that bad. Just sounds like industry hyperventilation. Don’t get me wrong. I want tourism, development. I just don’t believe the industry hand wringing about the consequences.
Tom Gilroy (Brooklyn)
Most hotels built during and since Bloomberg aren't intended to function as hotels. They are scams taking advantage of zoning loopholes in commercial, light industrial, and occasionally residential zones and neighborhoods. They get built and either sit largely empty or turn a low profit while lawyers and 'astroturf' activists file cases to either flip the zone from commercial to residential so they can re-quality the builing as RESIDENTIAL and sell the units for millions as condominiums. OR the layers declare 'financial hardship' so the devloper can do the same thing without changing the zoning of the neighborhood. Many absentee millionaires then by these former-hotel-rooms-turned condos not to live in but to use as Airbnbs. Either way, it's not real estate; it's banking. It functiopns so future (or current) Trumps can make big profits by destroying zoning laws put in place by the city to protect residents and the quality of life in NYC. Shame on the NYT for presenting 'both sides' of this scam without revealing the true impetus behind it.
CXTofNYV (New York City)
Wow, now this sounds like a story. I was struck by the narrow perspective of this article and large space given to corporate hotel interests in a story that has much bigger implications.
South Of Albany (Not Indianapolis)
Bang on. Hotel use exists within both the Commercial and Manufacturing zoning codes. They have been a real hindrance to protecting areas for both municipal and private light manufacturing. Non-profit development corporations also do not like them as they’re usually competing for the same lots to develop. At the end of the day the City pays top dollar to house the homeless in hotels.
GC (Manhattan)
One such building was Trump Soho. I’m at a loss to name another. Your statement “every hotel built since Bloomberg...” is blatantly false.
Carl Ian Schwartz (Paterson, NJ)
Nevertheless some legendary New York hostelries have been taken out of circulation. Think of the Waldorf-Astoria, being turned into condos. Think of the Plaza. And think of the disastrous changes to tourism that covid has wrought.
jsomoya (Brooklyn)
How about requiring approval for every rental unit before being used as an Airbnb or other short term rental? Surely turning entire neighborhoods into short term rental campuses, which Airbnb did to the neighborhood I lived in for decades, does real damage to the fabric of our city. And what damage does building actual hotels do? None, I imagine, that any urban planner will attest to. And giving the city council, a body famous for responding erratically to mob politics (mobs of all sorts and of all levels of privilege), more authority over private decision making? At this point, I'm waiting for them to get the authority to tell me where the sink has to go in my kitchen. I have resisted the knee-jerk anti-de Blasio sentiment for years, and I'll take him over Andrew Cuomo seven days a week. But seriously, Mr. Mayor, the knife is in the chest of the city. You are supposed to be trying to pull it out, not twist it to make the hole bigger.
While many say that this pandemic is a one-time or extremely rare occurrence, it seems like it has accelerated the long term trend of a larger percentage of employees working from home. As such I believe that the long-term health and growth of small business in Manhattan is going to be even more dependent upon tourism, be it day\evening trips into town for for theater, arts, restaurants and other entertainment or out of town travellers seeking that same NY experience.
James Patten (Brooklyn)
Seems like a great way to push up the cost of apartment rentals in the city. Limiting the construction of new hotels will increase prices at existing ones, and increase people's incentive to rent rooms/apartments on AirBnB and the like. While NYC regulates AirBnB rentals, there are still plenty of rooms available on the platform in NYC. These spaces are then no longer available to normal renters. Less supply of apartments means higher prices. New hotel construction supports a wide variety of jobs, not just those created in the hotel itself. People who work at nearby restaurants and many other attractions benefit as well. As the city emerges from the pandemic, we should encourage economic growth that benefits the city as a whole, not just a particular well-connected small group.
Tony Manicotti (Utqiagvik (Barrow) Alaska)
That is amazing to me that the experts think we need MORE hotel capacity to meet demand in future years as since 2008 every hotel I've seen has plenty of extra rooms.
Rick McGahey (New York)
Big mistake. Instead, city should make it much easier to organize workers at new hotels into unions. It’s not a good progressive position to oppose economic growth.
Bill (Des Moines)
@Rick McGahey Exactly why are unions so good? because they donate to politicians??
Mmm (Nyc)
In my view, it should be "anything goes" in Midtown proper. And that's where the tourists should stay anyway. But sure I think residential neighborhoods don't need to have new giant hotels (boutiques are another thing).
Erik (Westchester)
If you live in the Bronx, believe me, you would favor this proposal. From the moment the land is purchased, the owner has zero intention of building a hotel that is actually used as we think of when we say the word hotel.
as (bavaria)
The Times reported last year that the City spends 40,000 per year per capita on the homeless. That would be 160,000 per year for a mother and three kids which is a common finding. This does not include state provided health care beneftis which are 30,000 per capita in the US nor the cost of public education for the three kids at 30,000 per capita. So a typical family of a mom and three children we have a total of 280,000 not including possible federal benefits and tax credits and the extra 90000 in school costs. As high as this sounds this is just not enough to support a family of four in Manhattan even if working two fast food jobs. The realistic cost for a mom and three kids in school is closer to 500,000 per year using the figures published in the Times. I would suggest the City tax developers of new hotels at a level that would provide a higher level of compensation for organizations including hotels that serve the homeless. Before New York even thinks about tourists we must focus on finding a satisfactory home for those, largely people of color, who need one.
@as I think you are confusing the cost of city services with the cost of what a family needs to survive. A family of four can live in New York City for much less than 200,000 a year, however that family's taxes would also support the costs of sending their children to public school as well as other public services. What you do seem to be pointing out is that the city May save money by simply building apartments for homeless families as it seems the cost of homeless services and higher healthcare over a couple of years would pay for a permanent apartment saving the city hundreds of millions of dollars per homeless family, and providing a huge benefit to those families in terms of the quality of their life and their children's lives. And by extension creating a better City for all of us to live in.
John (NYC)
@as I don't know if you are being sarcastic or are just very far removed from the city (Bavaria?), but it does not take $500k a year to raise a family in NYC.
nydoc (nyc)
@as Your analysis is spot on. That is why millions of people are willing to risky their lives to cross the Mexican jungle and desert to come to America.
Dan Mabbutt (Utah)
As a tourist who has visited New York several times ... the last time I was there, I stayed at a hotel in New Jersey. Just saying ...
Irving Franklin (Los Altos)
New York City not a fit place for human beings to live in or to work in. It was wildly overpopulated and overbuilt when I left the City several decades ago. The problems are not a few. Virtually every aspect of daily living is a struggle. Now it is a living nightmare that will soon collapse under its own weight. The construction has to stop. The population must be cut in half. During Covid, many if not most commuters into the city discovered they can continue working from outside NYC via the Internet. If employers insist that workers resume commuting when the pandemic is over, NYC is doomed.
Adam (Brooklyn, NY)
@Irving Franklin have you seen the population density in cities in Asia? It is tight but your descriptions of density are overly dramatic, and this is the direction humanity is headed. It's not like land use and housing policy in Los Altos are poster children for sustainability or responsibility. Not every part of NYC has the population density of Manhattan, but we admittedly have too many people barely scraping by on the fringes living in less than ideal circumstances. Regardless, that is an American phenomenon and not NY specific. Lastly, it's a bigger problem if the commuters don't come back, not if they are forced to. To at least some degree if not more, they won't come back. Without taking anything for granted, I am hopeful all that extra commercial space will become useful in the long run. In the short term, we need a mayor not named de Blasio or another fake Progressive to responsibly plan and budget for the next several years of reduced property tax receipts. Sadly his budget announcement yesterday has drunken sailor written all over it with no plans to squirrel away the windfall from DC. Shifting human patterns of work and play carry plenty of risk, but new, unknown forms of urban usefulness and resourcefulness await. The bigger unknown is if we will have the right political and economic leaders to tackle major challenges of budgeting and public safety. Nothing is certain but please be less pessimistic!
GC (Manhattan)
There’s a subset of New Yorkers who, having gotten theirs (typically in the form of a stabilized apartment or teachers pension), want everything to crumble around them. No tourists. Also no Wall St, tech, new buildings, college kids moving here, Amazon, Industry City, upscale anything (especially restaurants!!). Mention Hudson Yards and they will practically melt. First, it’s those things that make the rest of it possible, including their fat pensions and subsidized rents. Also, NY has been a city of ambition since its founding. If you want a place that stands still you don’t belong here.
nydoc (nyc)
@GC Totally agree. A staggering amount of selfish people, the vast majority of whom do not pay any federal taxes, and virtually no state or city taxes.
K (UK)
Multi-purpose hotel condos (with gyms, lounges, workspaces, etc ) are all the rage on Miami beach. They can transition from long to short term housing (and back again) easily. They are modular and can become different sizes. Long and short term residents can live in harmony and the buildings can serve multiple needs. Tourists are not usually vagrants, and everyone benefits from the extra income. Hotels don't need to displace residents. We chose that
gigi (NY)
NYC needs affordable quality housing for its citizen, with good smart design — not more hotels. Priorities?
Ex NYer (Philly)
NYC already has 50,000+ non-unionized, more-affordable tourist accommodations - AirBnB. If NYC wants to add more hotels, then I'd like to see AirBnB factored into this "need" that apparently needs filling, otherwise the city becomes all tourism all the time in all neighborhoods.
Carl (Philadelphia)
There are so many unoccupied hotels now I don’t understand the issue.
Gary T (New York)
Any idea like this always tends to come back to haunt you. Better to spend our energy in encouraging hotels to be built for easy conversion to apartments. Two hotel rooms side by side can become an easy conversion to a one bedroom apartment with one bathroom becoming a kitchen. The mayor has been unable to provide truly affordable housing during a period of low interest rates. Maybe he can encourage the reuse of older hotels into apartments while letting the free market provide new hotel rooms for the tourists who will surely flock back to NYC.
Ben (NJ)
Maybe this is is being supported because residents have woken to hidden risk of hotels turning into homeless shelters . In November the NYTimes ran a story how the Lucerne in Manhattans upper west side turned into a homeless shelter . The story relates that "Some residents complained about increased loitering, drug use and public urination." Seems like graffiti and crime is good for everyone else but not when it hits home .
Edward Swing (Peoria, AZ)
Clear cronyism between De Blasio and the hotel worker's union. City council members for years to come can extract side deals in return for approval. Also, a terrible example of NIMBYism, as local residents can easily derail any new construction at a whim. The lucky few will benefit at the expense of the many (both those inside and outside NYC).
Mike (Peoria, AZ)
Put hotels outside of the city but on rail lines leading into the city.
TC (New York)
Can NY try any harder to be a difficult place to do business? Honestly - these proposals are crazy and serve only to eliminate innovation and growth. Welcome to sclerotic NYC - the place that used to be dynamic. Good luck NYC
Martin Goodall (NYC)
I am a 10th generation New Yorker (since it was called New Amsterdam) and this city has never, in all it's history, had a worse mayor than Bill de Blasio. It's as though he was sent from Boston to destroy us. The issue isn't the hotel industry, it's the tourist industry. The theaters, the concert halls, the museums, the restaurants, the bars, the stores, the cabbies, the street vendors - all of them are depend on revenue from tourism. New Yorkers who complain about tourists are misguided; they come, they spend, they leave. Anything that inhibits tourism will throttle the economic recovery of the city. This is just one more in a long line of disastrous policies from this administration. I never thought I'd find myself pining for the good old days of Rudy Giuliani.
nydoc (nyc)
@Martin Goodall Don't worry, Mayor DeBlasio has given enough of our tax dollars to the teachers union, hotel trade council, THRIVE, and other cronies that he will invariably a senior adviser when he leaves office. Otherwise no one will ever hire him based on his intelligence, work ethics or results.
Adam (Brooklyn, NY)
@Martin Goodall He possesses so few qualities needed for effective governance and leadership. Remember how bad he already was pre-Covid? And here we have his bumbling and corrupt presidential run continuing to haunt us. It's funny that those cut from his same cloth currently running for mayor like to blame the individual rather than the movement and what it stands for. I am hopeful our fellow citizens aren't going to fall for the same garbage all over again, but I would like to see the Republicans put a normal horse in the race as insurance. 8 years ago the national Republicans were a lost cause but New York still had some decent options (Joe Lhota is the only Republican I have ever voted for in 20+ years of voting). Maybe there's one remaining somewhere in case of emergency?
Muni (Denver)
So not only will New York be impossibly expensive to live in, it will now be impossibly expensive to visit. This is an obvious attempt to simply cap supply against ever-growing demand. If the hotel workers want better wages, why not implement a policy that addresses that directly? This is just introducing a massive market inefficiency.
Bobbie (Prospect Park)
@Muni Do you realize how small Manhattan south of 96th street is compared to other large cities? In normal times, literally millions of people commuted in and out of the city every day. Do you also realize how much the number of hotel rooms has grown over the last 20 years? Putting a pause on new hotels is not a bad idea. There are still many hotel rooms.
Peter O’Loghlen (Manhattan)
@Bobbie Ever heard of market forces? If some crazy developer wants to build a hotel without factoring in occupants then he or she deserves to go broke. Hotel numbers have grown because there is a demand for hotel rooms. Simple supply and demand.
Adam (Brooklyn, NY)
@Bobbie by you in Prospect Park you probably feel the tourists a lot more than Manhattan where it's just very crowded and everything blends into a giant mass. Not pleasant, but that's Manhattan. There's no way all the commuters are coming back full time. Manhattan's density of day visitors is unlikely to be what it was for quite sometime. I don't think density should be a present concern. For 20 years I've been telling people I don't understand why'd they'd move to Midtown, but they choose to. It works for some. There appear to be two legitimate sides to this issue, but one of them is illegitimate because it's Bill de Blasio's idea, paid for by a union that funded his pathetic presidential campaign that at least got him out of here for several months. It's really a shame he didn't get stranded at the American Legion in Iowa when lockdown started.
Working doc (Delray Beach, FL)
I am astonished that this is not already policy.- Every time you build a new hotel that means more tourists looking for more taxis looking for more free things to do which means crowding the very limited public space. At some point there needs to be a limit on the amount of tourists in this beautiful city. - If you disagree, go take a look at Venice
Cynical (NYC)
Some more hotels would be a good thing. Hotels are expensive and it is hard to get a room even for frequent business travelers for less than $400/night. Many companies do not permit certain business travel to NYC because of the expense.
John (NYS)
@Cynical Is the $400 price justified based on the cost of running a hotel including real estate cost? Or is it an artificially high price due to a shortage? If hotels are kept in short supply to maintain profits, that seems wrong. If they require governmental approval to gain contributions or other benefits from those wanting the approvals that seems wrong. I look at things as a free market if places. If a place is too crowded for me to enjoy, I won't go there. Area residents may want to keep outsiders from enjoying that area but isn't best use decided by the free market? $400/night is too pricey for me and will keep me away in most cases.
anae (NY)
Most of the hotel space in my neighborhood has been taken over as housing for the homeless and mentally ill. (and you would never know this from the info released by NYC). The situation is even worse in nearby neighborhood (by JFK). The last thing our neighborhoods need are more of the same.
Pank (Camden, NJ)
If New York is at all serious about recovery, then inexpensive and family-friendly hotels/motels will be built, in Manhattan, so many more people can afford to visit and stay longer.
Will. (NYCNYC)
@Pank No. "Inexpensive" tourism is not good for the city at all. Nor should such low quality mass travel be encouraged from an environmental perspective. It only encourages cheap, fast food "restaurants", chain hotels, and bus clogged streets.
Paul Bouvier (NYC)
This plan does not make any sense. Hotels bring taxes and employment to our city.
Zezee (Bronx)
Yeah we don’t need affordable housing. We need low wage jobs and tourists.
If the city wants to restrict the growth of new hotels, pass a law requiring room prices be capped at $175/night.
bendy (Boston)
Seems to me the best way to assist the hotel workers' union would be to strengthen New York's union protection laws at the state level rather than to restrict construction of new hotels. The argument that hotels are 'unique cases' that require 'careful planning' is specious. There are hotels in every city and town on Earth and most of them don't cause trouble for the neighbors. If there are problems like crime or noise, that's a failure of licensing authorities or the police, not a city planning authority. Still, anecdotally, there's no doubt that the mid market hotel business in NYC has some bizarre qualities. Anyone who's stayed in a NYC hotel in the last few years has probably had some real weird experiences. I know I have! There was the half-empty place on the High Line with wall-mounted toilets installed so high on the wall that my legs dangled (I'm 6'1"). Or the name-brand place by Gowanus where a drunk guy tried to get into my room at 4 AM ... four times ... apologizing meekly each time I told him to get lost. (I'd describe the front desk's response to this as "not helpful.") Or the place in Greenpoint advertising swingers' care packages with tasteful literature in the room, in the same way some hotels promote their Continental breakfast.
@bendy Thanks, and I hope you'll write a travel guide. For the price of a hotel in NYC, these are good things to know.
Jay (Hawaii)
Funny, I was just thinking about finally visiting NY after reading about collaboration between our Bishop Museum and the Metropolitan Museum. An historic hotel would interest me the most... affording it is another issue.
Bobbie (Prospect Park)
@Jay Hotels in Hawaii are not known for being inexpensive. I doubt you will have sticker shock in NYC anytime soon.
Alan (Columbus OH)
"he has defended the policy as good for both organized labor and community residents." Iirc, there was a recent speech in Congress defending DC statehood in which the properly outraged orator scolded the opposition, including for the use of a dog whistle referencing DCs lack of a specific kind of working-class voters. The speaker observed "I did not know it took so many syllables to say 'White'". On a similar note, in the context of New York City, "organized labor and community residents" sounds like it might be a similarly cowardly way to say "organized crime".
Tim (NYC)
Let's not beat around the bush. De Blasio and the City Council want this so they can run a corrupt mob extortion racket. The projects that will be approved will be the ones offering the most 'goodies' for the City Council members and their family members.
Sounds like the plan is to better enable the City Council to extort hotel developers, be it for campaign contributions (DeBlasio-style) or to benefit the hotel workers union.
Harri Rehnberg (New york)
It’s amazing how much power hotel owners and lobbyists have over de Blasio and the city counsel. First they lobbied to ban Airbnb from New York City. And now they want to ban free competition and new supply to keep hotel prices high.
Julian (NYC)
@Harri Rehnberg It was actually a bunch of boomer NIMBYS that wanted all that. Make it impossible to build anything then blame everyone else when it gets expensive.
Robb K (New York)
The more I try to understand De Blasio's motives, the more I can only conclude that he must be in the employ of some foreign agent bent on the destruction of New York City. Logically, he's certainly not, but outside looking in, it sure seems like it.
Ramik Williams native NYer (Harlem)
This is a nonissue and a nonstarter for me. It's called due diligence. NYC is the last place on earth that is in jeopardy of not having enough hotels. Sounds like a conflict of interests or just plain laziness to me. Insuring proper licensure and certification is for the good of the entire city and state for reasons including and beyond economic conditions. Sounds like a conflated issue. The people who are raising their concerns should resign and let people who want to work take their place.
DLNYC (New York)
Did anyone at the Times, vet this inflammatory headline, content, or composition of this article? I suggest someone at the paper review this piece. There were community issues that brought pressure to slow down the pace of hotel construction. There is little I agree with Mayor de Blasio on, but his comment that it was “just plain good policy,” is correct, and one shared by many with no financial incentive. The omission of those concurring voices in this article is regrettable.
Dan (Buffalo)
I thought NYC represented the apex of free market capitalism. The city should not be hostage to a board of corrupt bureaucrats. This plan limits the economic dynamism that makes the city worth visiting. Maybe we won't need the hotels after all.
We Cannot Have Nice Things (NY)
NYC absolutely does not represent the apex of free-market capitalism. There are huge barriers to entry for starting a new business, especially one that involves real estate.
Gulliver (CA)
Too many visitors clogging the system in NYC over past decade. Tourism destroys quality of life in many neighborhoods. Tour buses overwhelm streets- mega trailers- use NYC as if it’s studio backlots. Consider what happened to Venice, Paris and London. All overwhelmed by selfie stick posse.
Michael D (Washington, NJ)
@Gulliver After pushing out Wall Street firms to migrate south to Florida and shutting out tourists, who is left to fund the NYC Green New Deal?
pete zivic (PITTSBURGH)
my hotel in williamsburg in now a homeless shelter, and there is no backup one in the union sq area
nydoc (nyc)
@pete zivic Look at the owner of the hotel, and you can bet heavy money that they are DeBlasio donors. True at the Lucerne and other UWS hotels turned into homeless shelters. Must be great to own a hotel with 100% occupancy at rack rate, especially during a pandemic. Even better that no room service, restaurant or concierge are needed.
Kristin (Houston, TX)
Heaven forbid huge rich companies be inconvenienced in pursuit of their massive wealth. If it weren't for rules and the existence of unions, New Yorkers would still be earning $7.25/hour like we do in the "great" state of Texas.
I (GR)
I enjoy going for a walk around my block so I am against any construction of hotels, or any buildings at all for that matter, on my block. Obviously, I can see the need for hotels but please build them 2 blocks over. Even better, why doesn't the Federal Reserve print money and give it to everyone in the US so we can all become billionaires and then we can all buy private jets and live in mansions like the Kardashians and then we wouldn't need to discuss these problems.
HenryParsons (San Francisco, CA)
In addition to being a handout to the unions, maybe Blahz is trying to make it more expensive for high earners to simply leave NYC and fly back (and stay overnight in manhattan...) periodically for work.
Taximan (CT)
This analysis from the same developers’ lap dog administration that approved the conversion of the Rivington House hospital to condos? Seriously?
nydoc (nyc)
@Taximan Dont forget Harlem Dance Theater and how the public was shortchanged on the Brooklyn Public Library scandal where a lower bid with less amenities was accepted. Must be great to be a friend of Bill DeBlasio.
Charles Nordlander (New York, NY)
Another example of de Blasio bolstering his legacy as Worst. Mayor. Ever. Not content to have blighted the city for the past eight years, he now seeks ways, like this initiative, of insuring that future generations will also know him as Worst. Mayor. Ever. I wish he’d do the city a favor and just spend his remaining days at his BK gym until we can vote in his successor. At least that would be a less clownish waste of time than his ridiculous, ego-driven run for President.
Adam (Brooklyn, NY)
@Charles Nordlander the downfall of Cuomo has given this guy a renewed confidence. No offense to those who Cuomo has harmed, but I'm most upset with him for renewing the pep in Bill de Blasio's step. Sort of like how he fell into the front runner position 7 years ago thanks to a commercial filmed by his son, the voters of Georgia delivered him a gift in early January of 2021 that led to an unprecedented windfall from DC three months later. The hardest decision he has had to make as mayor is whose questionable donations to accept for the quid pro quo due 1-2 years later, followed by how to spend another billion in new tax receipts or federal bailout that keeps magically appearing everytime he runs out of cash. Other than Trump, I can think of no one who has ever been so undeserving and incapable of such immense responsibilities. Also like Trump, he won't just ever go away, even after bailing on us to campaign in front of 10 people in Iowa. UPK was great policy. Everything after was a failure. He should have resigned 6 months into the year 2013.
Michael Gabriel, M.D. (The Heartland)
Bloviating Billy strikes again! Hotels are vital to the The Big Apple and maintaining NYC as a cultural and culinary attraction for the world - and creating jobs for its residents and paying taxes. Bloviating Bill should return to poleaxing King Cuomo. If we are fortunate they will defenestrate each other. Andy, where has that hand been?
csgirl (Queens)
This is going to be a windfall for AirBnB, driving housing costs back up again. I vastly prefer new hotels to more AirBnBs.
SomethingElse (MA)
Great—more empty hotels....
Zenster (Manhattan)
Once again Bill DiBlasio proves he is the most corrupt Mayor of New York City since Tammany Hall and his ONLY legacy is thst he brought crime and grafitti back to New York City
False Profit (Raleigh, NC)
Union/politician corruption at work. Nice work liberals!
Fulkerson (New York City)
The premise of this article is false. There is no need for more new hotel construction in the city.
nydoc (nyc)
@Fulkerson Your feelings about this issue are better than letting market forces dictate how many hotel rooms should be in NYC.
Maria C (NYC)
After Bloomberg , the city overnight rooms capacity was inflated beyond demand, not to mention AirBNB competition . Hotels popped everywhere , and based on the numbers, the already employed started to face lay offs , even before Covid . Equity corporations created a consortia of several small companies altogether, with no experience in hospitality and non union staff. If you don’t have Union in this industry, prepare yourself for an array of labor issues and neglect , worth of your paper investigation . No breaks , endless hours , abuse of all sorts , discrimination. And then pandemic hit and the city’s small and medium size properties broke down . Even NYC despite pre or pos pandemic levels has to have limits .
Sparky (NYC)
de Blasio is just the gift that keeps on giving.
Robert (Seattle)
I understand the incentive for protections but think of affordability to the consumer. This may price out some people from visiting and enjoying New York.
Jack (NYC)
A number of commenters seem to think more hotels mean less affordable housing, but there is no reason why that should be so. Fewer hotels means higher hotel prices, which would lead to fewer hotel jobs, fewer tourists, and fewer jobs overall in the tourist sector, which is a major engine of growth in the city and a major source of the middle class jobs we so desperately need. It will also mean more AirBnB, which means fewer apartments for rental, making the housing situation worse. This is just another horrible idea to make the city ever more difficult to visit or live in, benefitting a few well placed people. And the opportunity for graft would be immense.
David P. (Harrisburg, Pa.)
This plan to limit hotel construction or conversion, combined with the previous and continuing crackdown on AirBnb rentals, will push a weekend in New York even further out of reach for the average tourist family. Many people who would live to visit New York can't afford $300 or more a night for a hotel (before taxes). AiirBnb used to be a reasonable cost option, but thanks to the Mayor's previous caving to the hotel workers union, good short-term rentals are few and far between.
George (New England)
I love New York. It always seems to be fighting itself for balance. One day we read that condos go unsold, hotel rooms empty, the next day we read that real estate is exploding and hotels are expanding. It's a boom or bust town and always with the middle class taking it on the chin. Mr Goodman and Mr Rubinstein wrote an interesting editorial. It reads like a PR piece. We need another Trump/Giuliani/Vegas/ Disney hotel like we need a new plague.
Frank (Raleigh, NC)
Growth is not success; new hotels are not success .GDP is not a measure of success for a country, county or city. There is only one measure of human civilization success and that is meeting the basic needs of all people; that is success. Having enough food, clothing and shelter for all in one’s country is success. Not children going to be hungry is success. Minimum living standards; minimum income; health care for all -- those are success stories. Not GDP and Growth. Reducing poverty is success, whatever it takes. We are destroying the planet with our horrid "GROWTH" models. We need to cut consumption, not increase it. We need massive recycling. Sustainability, cutting consumption, new material which can be re-used and recycled is the key to cut climate disaster, over-population, water depletion and water and air pollution. Our global way of growth in large “wealthy” countries over the last 100 years demonstrates that that kind of growth, if not monitoring, controlling and measuring pollution, is a disaster for our future. I do not need to review climate disaster, air and water pollution, dropping sources of drinking water, continuing poverty, racism, overconsumption, pandemics, etc. There is a limit to growth, and we are there. Please see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bw5TewCD0M https://time.com/5930093/amsterdam-doughnut-economics/
me again (NYC & CA)
and what will feed the insatiable hunger for progressive spending? are you even aware of the layers upon layers of taxes and revenues the city extracts from hotel staying visitors? and policy is schizophrenic anyway, one year attack Airbnb to promote hotels, next year restrict hotels.
Maani Rantel (New York)
Given the number of hotels left empty by the pandemic (many of which are being used to house homeless persons to provide greater social distancing than congregate shelters), there has been a great deal of talk about the fact that many of these hotels might well remain empty even when tourism returns to the City. There has even been serious talk about converting some of those hotels into affordable or transitional housing for low income and currently unhoused people. This idea has gained traction, and deservedly so. In that regard, why would we need to build MORE hotels - particularly in any great number, and without approvals - if there are so many lying empty? Common sense and logic seem to be in short supply these days.
Barry Short (Upper Saddle River, NJ)
@Maani Rantel. If there are so many rooms, it is unlikely that developers will build more at the moment. But, what about the future? New York's history with taxi medallions is an example of how city government is unable to match supply with demand. There will be too much pressure from existing hotel owners to ever get another hotel built.
Tim (NJ)
This is one of those ideas that makes sense on paper—who could be against ensuring that development makes sense?—but anyone who’s lived in or around NYC for more than a nanosecond (52 years in my case) knows that in reality this will mire every project in a morass of red tape and will be an open invitation for graft and corruption. It will become the 21st century equivalent of rent control.
Michael Hughes (Oakland, CA)
I was hoping to make my yearly baseball trip a visit to NYC next season. I have chosen other cities the last couple years (prior to COVID) due to extreme hotel and Airbnb prices in NY. Can't imagine that I'm the only one who thinks paying between $400-500 a night is extravagant. I'll do a search, but somehow I think measures like this help direct me to visit Seattle, San Diego or Chicago and maybe the Big Apple later down the road.
Brooklyn Dog Geek (Brooklyn Of Course)
Have hotels been torn down during the pandemic? Was it a regular occurrence pre-pandemic for NYC to run out of hotel rooms for long stretches? If the answer to those questions are both a no, then why would we build MORE of something for something that might or might not happen some time in the future? The last thing NYC needs anymore if in any way, shape or firm is real estate development.
Halsy (Earth)
I've said it for years. Stop letting developers do stuff like this without building a corresponding building of the same quality solely for affordable housing. That and/or make the buildings mixed use 50/50.
Adam (Brooklyn, NY)
@Halsy developers do quite fine but nowhere is needing money to make money more true than in real estate and construction in NYC. A ton of money is spent to develop a site. It is a dense, complicated place with well intended but onerous regulations that exclude all but the deepest pockets. I haven't heard a sensible politician discuss how they intend to make the cost of doing business in New York more...AFFORDABLE and less onerous so that we can do nice things for less without relying on entrenched interests. The best place to start with affordable housing may be to think of affordable development policies and streamlined regulations. Inclusionary zoning works within the existing constructs and doesn't improve the underlying system. Upping to 50% just means bigger, more out of place zoning ordinances working off of the same broken platform. The inevitable result is an incompetent mayor who wins because of his ability to attack the status quo with cheap campaign slogans. He hasn't made a dent in the affordable housing crisis but has managed to reduce quality of life while significantly increasing spending. What I am suggesting may be impossible in a place like this, but it's hard to imagine a worse result than how things are currently done. Shaun Donovan is not my current #1 but is a housing policy wonk and deserves a serious look if "earth" = NYC
Not re restricting the total number of hotel rooms, but I couldn’t agree more with needing a local community review and approval regarding location. As just one example among many: the trend of higher prices and gentrification in the meat packing district was accelerated to Warp Speed 7 by the opening of the W hotel there, permanently ruining the neighborhood virtually overnight. It’s tragic to see this happen to neighborhood after neighborhood after neighborhood ... This and the “March of the 1%’s Super-Talls” are making the city increasingly less desirable: it’s simply being given away to them.
TobyFinn (The Flatiron)
If there will a return of Tourists and hopefully Business travelers there needs to be Hotels available at Budget to Luxury price points. Affordable Housing is absolutely essential but shouldn’t affect the need for Hotels. The call for affordable Housing hasn’t been addressed for years. Make it a Priority and get it done.
Dave LeBlanc (hinterlands)
would it not be more prudent, to see if office buildings could be repurposed. No one knows how many offices will be filled when this all ends. Employers have learned that their workers can work just as productively from remote locations, this could be a game changer in where and how people work, traffic patterns and density. Should check the weather before deciding what to wear.
NYTimes Citizen (NYC)
@Dave LeBlanc When you stay in a hotel don’t you expect a private bathroom included with the room? It would be cost prohibitive to convert towering office buildings into hotels.
Tommy North (West)
@NYTimes Citizen Than it isn't a viable business for NY.
Tim (Washington)
Seems like a poor move to me. One of the reasons I visit Manhattan as often as I do is the relatively inexpensive hotel rooms. Makes it easier to pay high prices for everything, go to shows, etc. If you drive up that price some people will stay away. Maybe it's worth it but I'm guessing not.
NYer (NYC)
NYC desperately needs affordable housing for residents, not upmarket hotels and ultra-expensive "luxury" apartments for the mega-rich! Serving the needs of residents, not lining the pockets of "developers," should be role of any responsible urban planning.
wd40 (santa cruz)
All hotels need staff, but the union is primarily concerned with keeping the wages of its members high by restricting completion from other hotels that need less staff and secondarily concerned with unionizing the new hotels by using the political process to promote unionization. Talk about selfishness. Are the "selfish" hotel corporations also trying to prevent new hotels from being built by their competitors? If they were, we would see no end to the complaints about their behavior. Shouldn't De Blasio and the unions also be held accountable?.
Alexgri (NYC)
New hotels only benefit a handful of developers. Spread the wealth. The CITY should ease up the Airbnb restrictions instead. This would help residents to make an extra buck and will service all the many people who need temporary housing that would be too expensive to book at a hotel, such as interns and students who come for summer courses, language courses and so forth, people on limited budgets who cannot afford hotels.
NYTimes Citizen (NYC)
@Alexgri NO. AirBnB has contributed to a shortage of affordable apartments in NYC and has been torturous to many residents in buildings with multi AirBnB units. Aiding its growth should never be part of any conversation.
Mike (California)
Classic. As in rearranging chairs on the Titanic. With multitudes of businesses now permanently closed the attractiveness to tourists has dropped. Yes tourists like shopping. Make hotels more expensive and that's another hit to tourism.
NYTimes Citizen (NYC)
@Mike It’s funny how people focus on making things easier and cheaper for tourists to go to NYC and couldn’t care less about the millions of people who actually live here. Support your own state, go to LA or SF instead and save the cost of airfare that will be extremely expensive for a couple of years.
Sipa (Seattle)
There are all sorts of nuances here. I absolutely agree on expanding the permissions required for hotels. I lived in the Union Square area for a long time and the number of hotels that sprung up and displaced (specifically affordable housing) was a jolt to the community feeling and spirit of the area with residents replaced by tourists. We should not want areas like Union Square to turn into Venice where the number of actual residents of the city has been on a long-term downward spiral. Definitely there is some self-interest here on the part of the unions, and frankly. I do not want the city council with its vested interests and donor base making these decisions either.
NYTimes Citizen (NYC)
@Sipa It would be a relief for anyone to get control away from developers that as a group have been raping NYC with abandon for the last two decades.
m.pipik (NewYork)
@NYTimes Citizen Real estate developers have been the power in New York from its New Amsterdam days.
Ellen (NYC)
I no longer feel bad for the unionized hotel workers. This is why people don't like unions. Sure, organize and work together to make more money. But not by stopping other people from earning a living.
Hotel Worker (New York)
@Ellen - if you ever worked in a hotel in NYC the non-union hotel workers got no benefits, no retirement pensions from the big hotel chains, and you could just get let go in a split second. The union hotels watched out for their employees as covid took the jobs of desk clerks, bell people, waitstaff, cooks, and housing keeping jobs. Now, the union is looking out for their staff, but if you say are a unemployed hospitality staffer you still need to interview for what's open, and at the present time we need to make sure the safety of the hospitality staff when they are asked to work in hotels now that have been made into covid hotels. Unions care about the safety of their employees and that's what they have been advocating since their inception.
Stuart Wilder (Doylestown, PA)
The answer is not to deprive non-union workers of jobs, but to go and organize them. If it is as bad as you say and the union can show you it is the answer, they will join.
john g (new york)
@Hotel Worker So let's not build new hotels because they may emplyee non union workers. Forget the jobs and tax revenue from the construction of said hotels and the money the city loses when tourist decide to stay home or in Jersey City. The benefits of a union is a no brainer. The stopping of building new hotels without city council approval is not having a brain at all.
Does anyone remember Bloomberg's Olympic desires? He ranted that the city had lost too many hotel rooms (weren't many high end ones converted to condos?) and we needed to build more for the games. Then we lost the bid. As a result Hudson Yards was 'go'!(talk about helping friends?) And then they started the rezoning of the areas around Hudson Yards. The hotel building boom started in the 30's on the west side. There is one street, in the garment district, that between 8/9 avenues there are now 8 hotels! One street alone has 8 hotels.... there are plenty more on other streets in that area too. My guess, something close to 25 hotels were built (if not more). As someone whose building has apartments used as temporary hotels, we need existing hotels to be filled up rather than as Airbnb or temp apts for tourists. Then we can talk about whether we need more hotels built....
James (New York, NY)
@SR - the exact reason Airbnb is so popular in NYC is the constraint on hotel capacity which drives up demand for Airbnb alternatives. Successful cities build and reinvest in dense and productive ways. Sclerotic cities don’t.
@James Sorry James, we did build hotels thanks to Bloomberg- lots and lots of them in exactly the 'touristy' areas. I suspect the reason airbnb and temp hotels are popular is because they do not charge hotel taxes (believe it is 17%) and in many cases their per night charges are very competitive. Isn't that a fiscal factor for the city too? The problem with that is every apartment taken from availability to permanent residents hurts the people who live and work here.
James (New York, NY)
@SR - the article lists the stats. Our hotel occupancy rates are abnormally high, which is clear evidence of under-supply in hotel rooms. You squeeze the balloon, and the demand gets pushed out to the Airbnbs across the world boroughs. NIMBY moats eventually cause everyone to drown eventually.
James (New York, NY)
The corruption and crony capitalism on display with our city government is a mirror reflecting the vulgar, selfish, NIMBY mentality of a dominant older generation that wants all the accoutrements of a wealthy, prosperous, growing, modern New York - but can't bear the thought that they would be inconvenienced along the way. I love this city with all of my heart, but the tacit acceptance of infinite special favors and corruption in everything from street parking (the placard abuse and entitlement from city employees) to property taxes (the Park Slope brownstones paying a lower rate than little apartment owners in Queens and Harlem and the Bronx) makes me grieve. We could be so much better than we are. This shortage - whether of jobs, or hotels, or new housing developments, or new and better infrastructure - will be divided among the peasants.
Alan (Columbus OH)
@James The founders were flawed people, but one thing they got right was assigning all powers to either the federal government or the states.
Glen (Pleasantville)
Tourists annoy me as much as the next guy, but I would far, FAR rather have them staying in Midtown hotels than turning my entire borough into one big Air BnB. One very nice piece of the pandemic has been walking down my block without having to dodge group after group after group of people with wheelie suitcases, staring back and forth between their phones and the buildings. Not coincidentally, most of my neighbors have been getting fair deals on lease renewals this year, and there are more vacancies.
Ian (Brooklyn)
@Glen The argument of whether we have enough hotels has nothing to do with the prevalence of AirBnB. People choose to use AirBnB because hotels are impersonal and expensive, yes. but The fact that AirBnB isn't properly regulated or the fact that investment firms are buying up homes that could be occupied by families- is another issue that city officials refuse to address. Using property as an income source is out of control on an international level and certainly out of control in NYC. If local officials don't do something about it, NYC culture will continue to dwindle due to the inability to pay exorbitant rents.
Alan (Columbus OH)
@Ian More hotels meanns lower room prices which means less reason to use Air BnB. No total stranger wants a "personal experience" with their linens or mattress or WiFi or anything else one uses in a hotel.
NYTimes Citizen (NYC)
@Alan Pigs will fly before anyone builds a hotel in Manhattan for $60 million to $100 million and charge $125 a night.
Gabriel S (DC/Hudson Valley)
Why restrict construction of new hotels rather than require (and/or incentivize) new hotels to use union labor? That might keep prices of new hotels above the lower levels of existing non-union hotels, but sufficient growth in the sector should prevent prices from soaring in the long run, which de Blasio’s proposal does not do. Furthermore, the increased incomes and tax revenues from new, relatively well-paying jobs will benefit the city and its residents more consistently than tourist dollars which are subject to forces beyond the city. It’s also worth noting that the increase in telework during the pandemic has likely altered the scope of business travelers in long-lasting and ways as-yet-uncertain but likely negative.
James (New York, NY)
@Gabriel S - because then the politicians couldn’t extort money for the power of their discretionary vote. Rules are for peasants.
mfh33 (Hackensack)
How come seemingly every initiative and proposal from the City government is designed to tax, burden or regulate business? It all rests on the delusional belief that employers and investors will put up with anything. And somehow, magically, the added costs (assumed you survive at all) won't get passed on to consumers. “Our goal is to strengthen the hotel industry.” Thanks, but no thanks.
Pop (Pa)
Surprise Surprise! Over regulation negatively impacts desired economic growth. Surprise Surprise!
Invisible Man (NYC)
Requiring a special permit for these projects will clog up the already congested discretionary review process and slow viable projects down, with affordable housing, that generally require such review. Right now the city has a massive backlog and De Blasio's pet projects are making things much worse. One thing not mentioned, this will effectively stop the construction of new mom&pop hotels in places like LIC, Flushing, Jamaica - where hotels are otherwise appropriate and permitted 'as-of-right' because this level of review will effectively make projects not viable. Seems bad for business, in a city where tourism keeps the lights on. It is a red herring to talk about affordable housing instead of taking the energy to analyze this for what it is - de blasio's 11th hour ditch to appease the funders of his presidential vanity campaign. We desperately need more housing capacity, in appropriate places, with required affordable units. That is where we need to focus our energy, not hotels in pre-existing commercial districts.
NYTimes Citizen (NYC)
@Invisible Man Tourism doesn’t keep the lights on. Eight million citizens living in NY full time keep the lights on. It’s great to look at the numbers of tourists who come to NYC and think about the money that brings in but at what cost. NYC was better off when there was light industry all over the city employing people without a college degree. We have fewer firehouses now and new apartments are unaffordable for most people who were born in NYC so where’s the upside to tourism dependency?
Alonzo quijana (Miami beach)
I lived in NYC for 25 years before moving to FLorida. I'd like to come back more often, but now? Crime. Disorder. And soon, only very expensive hotel rooms, and Broadwy shows priced to the stratosphere. A city only the very rich can fully enjoy. I saw the city go from the post-1970s chaos to a golden age under Bloomberg. Maybe I'll just leave my memories of the city stuck in the mid 00s. And spend my tourist dollars elsewhere.
Osito (Brooklyn, NY)
@Alonzo quijana You're parroting right-wing nonsense. Per capita crime rates in FL are roughly 2.5 times that of NYC. Crime in NYC is at record lows. FL, in many aspects, is essentially a metaphor for American disorder.
Ellen (NYC)
@Alonzo quijana - Ah the good old 'stop and frisk days' under Bloomberg indeed.
Jasper O'Rourke (NYC)
@Alonzo quijana Your voice is in tune with the great majority.
Sphinxfeather (Madison, WI)
You know what New York probably needs more than a bunch of new hotels? A bunch of affordable housing for the people who already live there. I'm betting that decent affordable housing for average people's gonna do a lot better to stabilize the local economy than more tourism tax revenue.
HowardR (Brooklyn, NY)
Yes, but who pays to build and operate housing for people who can’t pay enough rent to keep the building going in good shape?
Dan (Mobile)
You know what might help with the affordable housing issue? The tax revenue that hotels and tourism provide at little cost to New Yorkers. New York hotels are among the most expensive anywhere, because demand typically outstrips supply. I get it, tourists can be a bother to locals, and tourism can be overwhelming to some places. (Venice comes to mind). But tourism creates jobs and tax revenue. To fight hotel capacity is to fight tourism, or at least middle class tourism. New York City is a city for all Americans. It should not be reserved for just those who can afford $400/night hotels. Nor should affordable housing be ignored. But without the tax revenue from tourism, the City will need other sources of revenue to pay for all its services — transit, affordable housing, etc. Where will that come from?
NYTimes Citizen (NYC)
@Dan Well if the government stopped giving away tax breaks to developers who are destroying the city with gentrification and unaffordable housing that might pay for things that are needed. If you think that hotel rooms are uniquely expensive in NYC then look into what they cost in any large city.
Kevin (Colorado)
IMO career politicians in local offices primarily aim is to line their pockets when in office, and acquire enough leverage that even out of office they can profit off of influencing policies they put in place. Even in years when voters are distracted, in places where items like this are placed on the ballot as a referendum, better outcomes are derived when average citizens who have to live with the decisions that are made, makes them than politicians whose sole interest is who pays them the most.
Phil J (Brooklyn)
Crazy idea but.... how about - no new hotels, but you can buy and renovate a bankrupt/vacant one? This would gives jobs to local designers, materials suppliers, construction, contractors, and hospitality workers (Hotel, Cooks, Chefs, Front of House, etc) - yet no unnecessary changing of our neighborhoods, landscapes, unwanted construction, scaffoldings, etc.
NYTimes Citizen (NYC)
@Phil J Not how the real world works.
JC (Chicago)
After the battering we took from the Trump contingent, we now have to deal with short sighted, self interested Democrats who seems to care little about doing what is right. Raising hotel rates would just reduce demand from visitors such as myself who deeply appreciate the country’s most diverse city. It’s all very discouraging.
NYTimes Citizen (NYC)
@JC The regulation won’t raise hotel rates the hotel companies set the rates and they will charge whatever they can get away with. There can never be enough hotels to make the prices cheap. Contribute to the cause of lower hotel rates by staying away from NYC. Thank you.
Mouse Darts (Brooklyn)
I like someone’s comment - tourism is a race to the bottom for a city The jobs are service only and the infrastructure demands are disproportionate to the tax revenues My taxes are spent subsidizing Marriott’s profit I’m sick of getting zero value for taxes spent in this city and state DeBlasio is a joke in every way - but I have other fires to put out once his ineptness leaves our world
nydoc (nyc)
@Mouse Darts You are so totally wrong in every way. Tourists bring money to middle class people like porters, maids, waiters, doormen and concierges. A two hundred square foot room generates a lot more than tax revenue that a middle income or even luxury apartment. I love tourists. They rarely ever commit crimes and they do not use up municipal resources like schools. In which world is tourism a race to the bottom? As far as I know every city in the world with high tourism rate is doing well. Maybe you like Detroit or Camden, where tourism is not a big problem.
Ralph Petrillo (Nyc)
NYC does not need any more hotels. Simply stop the nonsense. We do not know when normalcy will return. Current hotels should be allowed to sell their rooms as condominiums . Buy a room in NYC and they will be able to escape bankruptcy. Unfortunately there is no reason to visit NYC currently. Unless you want take out food , overcrowded hospitals , and walking while crime is soaring.
Ken (St. Louis)
New York City has a traffic problem? No way!
BEVERLY Burke (Tigard Or)
I have less interest in visiting nyc for anything. This city sheltered DJT his entire life even though every AG & elected official knew about his behavior. As bad as he is, he only personifies the corruption that is NYC & the US. I’m on the banspd wagon to fight corruption & racism that is a major plank of US corruption & greed. I doubt I’m alone in this motivation. Hoteliers need to work on something else, IMO.
HS (Plainfield NJ)
@BEVERLY Burke Hotels, like other industries, support jobs and taxes that are needed to pay for social services, and for their employees’ food, rent and utilities. Would you rather that people have fewer jobs, do that they can complain about...racism?
RuthlessTruth (Washington DC)
Wow...this sure is a gift to existing non-union hotel owners. They are the big winners should this go forward. Rates and occupancy will soar. The losers? Moderate income individuals who want to travel to NYC and stay in a hotel at an affordable price. New York is increasingly a city for rich inhabitants. Now it will be a city for rich tourists.
Peter (New York)
It's not up to any of you or the city to decide if a hotel can be built. Central planning doesn't work. This is such a blatantly corrupt gift to the hotel workers union - just handicapping their competitors with the force of government. THIS is crony capitalism.
Steve Miller (Nyc)
No new hotel should be built ever. Give that money to Airbnb hosts who rent out their own apartment to visitors. Time to re-distribute to the citizens.
Go Figure (NJ)
Neighborhoods should be protected - they don't need a huge project that invades their neighborhood nor do they want a big bldg turn into a section 8 housing project.
Brooklyn (New York)
The next mayor needs to do a clean sweep of the pseudo city tourism agency. Nobody tracks hotels that have been turned into SRO's, condos, coops and are being used for covid. For years false tourism #'s are provided when you have no idea how they are tracking tourist, business travels and conventions. You have legit B&B's that have been forced to close due to NO advocacy by the NYC & Company and the Hotel Association of NYC. Go on NYC & Company's website and they are still promoting the TRump hotels. Why? Did he pay his membership dues?
signmeup (NYC)
This is yet another example of how a self-proclaimed "reformer mayor" and his contributor "unionist" make money off of the city and its residence. No wonder this mayor and unions in general get such a bad rap. Thanks, crooks, for saying it's for the good of all, when it's only as good as lining your own selfish pockets. When we need this mayor and that union to protect us, we are lost...
T (Blue State)
President Biden is betting that government can make life better. DiBlasio and his ilk are proving Reagan’s dictums with their nonsense. I really want Biden and the rest of US to succeed. Please don’t kneecap our democracy with this kind of pettifogging overreach.
Christine S (NYC)
Tourism is a substantial component to New York City's economy. That's a fact. So we must accept that by living here we will be dealing with throngs of tourists, particularly in the summer. The question is, just how many tourists does the city need to thrive? I don't think the number is 66 million. Twenty years ago the average was half that many. It has definitely gotten way out of hand. And although I must admit walking through an empty Central Park in June was a bit depressing, I would hope that we can get back to a tolerable volume of annual visitors to the city.
Perry (Seattle)
@Christine S Those tourists are easy revenue sources for social programs (or bolstering mass transit / education initiatives / insert your favorite cause here).... don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. NYC is one of the world's most dynamic cities with a very low ecological footprint due to its density and relatively functional mass transit system.
Tommy North (West)
Tax them! Stop claiming revenue. Is there any proof of this nonsense? Tax them directly or you end up taxing the populace to cover them.
Mike Edwards (Providence, RI)
Typical pre-election move. Someone's just put this out there to further boost Andrew Wang's campaign for NYC mayor.
Dave Williams (Park Slope)
Figures there would be shenanigans regarding Bill de Blasio's involvement with the hotel unions. de Blasio's first cousin John Wilhelm headed one of them way back. So it's pay to play, the de Blasio Way!
R (New York, NY)
What about the empty office towers?
Chris I (Valley Stream, NY)
This is not a good idea. Look at what happened with Amazon, which would have brought jobs and tax revenue. Penny wise and pound foolish.
NYTimes Citizen (NYC)
@Chris I Amazon is expanding anyway without corporate welfare
What i'm hearing from this article and the comments are: NYC doesnt need the tourists. NYC doesnt need the tax revenue or the jobs. NYC has sufficient revenue or will raise additional taxes or will cut services to rectify any budget discrepancy. Additional jobs are not needed, we have enough jobs and those related to tourism are not needed.
Paul G (Portland Oregon)
Don’t worry about hotels Bill. Just get rid of most motor vehicles and replace them with public transportation. Only commercial deliveries. If you have a car, you’ll need to park it in New Jersey or Connecticut.
Jonathan Katz (St. Louis)
Count on New York city government to cut its own throat at the demand of special interests. No new hotels mean fewer visitors. But good for existing hotels and their employees.
Susan T (Brooklyn, NY)
In East New York, every hotel is a homeless hotel. Enough! There must be a moratorium on these sorts of "hotels". East New York is home to many, many homeless shelters. More of these fake hotels further degrade our community. It is an excellent idea to limit the growth of these types of hotels.
Barbara C (Santa Barbara)
Growing up in New York City, I felt deep empathy for those living in corrupt cities in other parts of the globe. Now, seeing chronic corruption influencing planning in NYC, its with great sadness that we all view the city’s future. Even after Deblasio’s term ends, the city will long be damaged by his legacy.
NYTimes Citizen (NYC)
@Barbara C Go online and read about the history of NYC, as hard as it might be to believe the level of corruption is at a low point now. In terms gentrification and destroying the skyline of Manhattan it’s Bloomberg who had blood in his hands.
Earlene (New York City)
Ask any real New Yorker, we’ve had enough of the tourists. The one upside to this pandemic is it had caused a pause on the direction the city had been going in under Bloomberg and allowed us to decide which direction we want the city to go. The mega mall Carrie Bradshaw international real estate safety deposit box era is thankfully coming to an end.
CFenyo (Harlem, sometimes)
@Earlene And with it, so will the tax base.
Frank (NYC)
@Earlene Oooohhh, where do I get my “Real New Yorker” membership badge. I have been in this City favor decades and thought Bloomberg had it pretty much perfect. Please, move to Detroit if you want a rotted out urban husk.
Perry (Seattle)
@Earlene Yes, NYC certainly was better off in the 70s when everyone was poorer and the city was affordable for all the wrong reasons....
gammoner98 (RI)
Every place that deals with tourism must take a close and careful look at hotel development. Cape Cod is a prime example of a mess created without limits to hotel/motel building, then a well meant, but ill thought out, complete moratorium which left Rt 28 from Barnstable through Dennis a seedy, horrific mess. Tourism is a great economic boost to places, but careful thought and forward planning must be given. Short term planning leads to long term consequences. Planning commissions MUST have a horizon of ten years and ask themselves if a hotel today will be a long or short term benefit. I'm all for hotels and visitors but not at the cost of the place I call home.
Josh Hill (New London)
This reminds me of the Amazon fiasco. It's quite literally crazy. What about jobs? What about tax revenue? Some people seem to think that jobs and money grow on trees. Zoning may be called for. Taxation, if tourists stress city services and use the roads. But City Council approval will hit the City's bottom line, and open the door to corruption as developers seek votes.
Zezee (Bronx)
Push local residents and local businesses out and make room for tourists.
Phil J (Brooklyn)
@Josh Hill - at that time, NYC had it's lowest unemployment percentage, ever, in recorded history. And yes, tax revenue - Amazon wanted billions in tax breaks, that we haven't extended to Google, or Apple, or Facebook, for example, who employ thousands of New Yorkers, all while paying their corporate and city taxes.
Josh Hill (New London)
@Phil J Tax breaks or not, it would have been a major economic plus for the City unless the City actually paid Amazon to be there. And those jobs would have been very high paying and attracted prosperous people who benefited the tax base and whose spending benefited many others.
Mark R (Rockville, MD)
Too many cities have strangled themselves with over-regulatory to protect one special-interest after another. Making it even more expensive for either tourists or business visitors to come to NYC seems to fit this description.
Tamza (No Cal)
And what one may ask about the people who want to, or need to, LIVE there. There MUST be balance between interests of business, visitors-tourists, and residents.
Albert (NYC)
@Tamza hotels are not allowed in residential districts today. There is already a balance set - this is overreach.
NYTimes Citizen (NYC)
@Albert Actually not true, there are hotels in residential neighborhoods all over the city.
Stan Z (New York)
I think the main problem this is trying to solve is that we do not have enough corruption and bribery in the city. Requiring a special permit will allow and embolden council and Trades Union officials to pull in extra bribes for which they have to work much harder at the moment. The argument, that this would be good for residents, local businesses, or tourists flies in the face of logic and common sense. Overall this proposal is as good as Mayors ill-fated run for the president, so it will definitely pass.
Tamza (No Cal)
Corruption of one kind sometimes restrains excesses of another kind. While i disagree with your cynical [sarcastic?] comment, excess ‘development’ is often at the cost of residents - literally, in the form of having to deal with traffic etc, having to move away, and higher costs/ rents.
Perry (Seattle)
@Tamza I would imagine most tourists use the city's mass transit system (of course some ridesharing / taxi / limo use would rise)... It's not a car-centric city like LA or Houston where the most convenient option is automobile transportation.
Peter (New York, NY)
Look at the figures in the Wikipedia article "Tourism in New York City." In twenty years, the number of tourists has doubled. Go to Times Square Land and look around. Is this the future of New York City? When did it all become about money money money? Meanwhile, many of those who are supposed to support this all-conquering tourist industry can't find a place to live in the city, and have to commute in. We need more apartment buildings for the regular people who live and work here, not more hotels. Here's a chance to make that happen.
Observer (New York)
@Peter It became all about money, money, money when the Dutch established New Amsterdam.
NYTimes Citizen (NYC)
@Observer Not true. You’re either not a native New Yorker, under 40 or both. There was a very large middle class population and not that many rich people in NYC until the 1980s when it started to change.
Edtow (Brooklyn)
@Peter The fact is that AirBNB has taken a giant bite out of hotels. That's lamentable - because both hotels (and their many workers) AND apt. seekers (the NYC RESIDENTS variety) suffer as a result. There are obviously tax loopholes that justify hotel construction, but NYC has an obligation to its working citizens that comes way ahead of helping families like the Trumps get ever richer. And this doesn't even begin to address what is a mammoth overcapacity due to Covid.... I can - on a good day - see how NYC might "come back" from the precipice, but TOURISM?? Not so much! (I'll truly eat my hat if you have wall-to-wall walkers on the Brooklyn Bridge any time before June '23. When a developer walks away from a Hotel - more likely, stops worrying about its appearance - the neighborhood in which it's located and the CITY suffer as a result.... And converting it to "sheltered housing" or whatever lets them bail out most expeditiously ... can be even worse. Yes, many building projects have great merits - both economically and in terms of space use. But many others were bad ideas. Let the City Council try to separate the wheat from the chaff! Financial institutions no longer serve even the "prudent-cy" role. Their time horizon is typically time-to-construction, and that's simply not long enough in a city that's 400 years old or so.
William (Overland Park)
It is not just the taxes that chase away people and companies from New York, it's also the regulations. Count on New York to lose another seat in the House of Representatives after the next census.
Adam stoler (Bronx NY)
@William speaking from Kansas it;ls easy to criticize. As Atticus Finch said: "Don't judge another until you've walked a mile in their shoes". NYers are also entitled to a good quality of life If that means we don;t want to be overrun with tourists so be it. Perhaps the excitement of living in Kansas can draw the overflow of NYC tourists to your block?
Brooklyn Dog Geek (Brooklyn Of Course)
Chase people away? Our real estate market is booming with a record-hot sales market in Brooklyn. Please, tell us more about being chased away.
NYTimes Citizen (NYC)
@William If it hadn’t been for the pandemic we wouldn’t have lost a seat. If you look at the number of deaths and people who were too overwhelmed with life to submit their information for the census there were probably thousands of uncounted people.
Don Jr (Seattle WA)
An economic model built on tourism, be it for business or pleasure, is a race to the bottom of healthy economic investments for tje nation. The low-wage/imported-labor hospitality industrial complex (including short-term rentals) is a leach on society.
Armand (New York)
The city can loosen the rules on Airbnb. It can remove the requirement that if a unit is rented for less than one month the owner must occupy the unit with the renters which is a deterrent for many. The rule is designed to be a deterrent for Airbnb rentals.
Hector S. (Kentucky)
@Armand That rule is in place because you can get tenancy rights after staying 30 days within an apartment. It's really to protect the hosts - at that point, the host would have to seek an eviction through the courts. Most hotels, I would imagine, are leery of offering long-term (> 30 day) stays.
Brooklyn Dog Geek (Brooklyn Of Course)
Yes, to deter Airbnb rentals, which is what is best for the entire city except for hosts. And what’s best for MYC is more important.
NYTimes Citizen (NYC)
@Armand Maybe we should just evict Airbnb hosts.
A S Rapide (New York)
As a pandemic refugee from my normal status as a Manhattan resident, I have two observations developed during my scattered return visits: 1. The people on the streets and in the parks are definitely more likely to be the people who work and live here, not tourists. I find this comforting, because I like the community spirit of people who love the city and prove it every day by being here. But this does not mean we should be xenophobic about the the 67 million tourists who want to come here every year. Let’s stop this unfortunate cycle of hate. 2. The built environment of New York City is historically differentiated by the rapid rate at which it changes. (See for example Rem Kookhaas’s Delirious New York.) The pandemic will, and should, accelerate this process. It is no longer virtuous to be packed like sardines in a can; there is now a compelling, continuing public health issue that needs new architectural solutions: new theaters, new restaurants, new apartments, and, yes, new hotels.
Brooklyn Dog Geek (Brooklyn Of Course)
No plan for NYC will ever include reducing density. And neither should it. Dense cities are better for the environment, natural states in which humans live and the pandemic will eventually end.
Hannah (Brooklyn, NY)
@Brooklyn Dog Geek I think it's naive to think that the pandemic will have no long-term effects on the way we live in cities.
NYTimes Citizen (NYC)
@Brooklyn Dog Geek While it’s true that densely populated cities are better for the environment than sprawl there is a point of diminishing returns and overly dense populations create more problems.
Anita (Miami)
The lowest cost housing of any major city in the nation is also the only major city without zoning. Zoning is brutal on the poor and middle class. What city is this progressive and enlighten? Houston.
Paul '52 (New York, NY)
@Anita Houston is on a broad plain with almost limitless amounts of land that can be cheaply developed. Zoning follows crowding, and Houston is yet to be crowded.
David G (New York)
@Anita Houston's model is unsustainable environmentally. Homes have been built in flood plains - and these areas are increasingly becoming neighborhoods for the poor. Environmental injustice at it's finest. Zoning does have a place in protecting minorities and the poor. Unfortunately, it is often used to do the opposite.
Adam stoler (Bronx NY)
@Anita i suggest you not take a deep breath of the wonderful air in Houston. Nor get caught in the Inner and Outer 610 Loop traffic, I think your panacean vision might just change
B D Duncan (Boston)
1. Requiring approval to build a hotel sounds like the best way to open a door for corruption. 2. With more offices going fully remote, there’s probably a lot of struggling businesses who would appreciate more tourists in the city. 3. If they block new hotel construction, at least that’ll open up more lots to build multi million dollar condos.
BayArea101 (Midwest)
@B D Duncan 1) According to this piece, the door is clearly wide open.
Mark (Toronto)
@B D Duncan I am a Canadian tourist that visits New York three times a year and I havent been back since the pandemic. If NYC doesn't want to attract middle class tourist dollars anymore they can stop building new mid market hotels. De Blasio has been an outright disaster and thinks that you can shrink NYC to greatness.
NYTimes Citizen (NYC)
@Mark You should visit Montreal and Vancouver instead.
Charlie (NJ)
A really great example of why having been a career politician shouldn't be viewed as a qualification for mayor (or any government leadership role).
MJG (Valley Stream)
How many hotels does Manhattan need? Even if tourism comes back how many tourists can afford these overpriced eyesores? I don't live in Manhattan but if a hotel opened next door to my building I'd move.
@MJG Quite a few people can afford these hotels as they were 85-90% occupied prior to the pandemic.
Adam stoler (Bronx NY)
@ML ahhh..but the people who work in them can't afford to stay in the places they work...not particularly ideal for a happy workforce .there's a balance to be had.
Frank (NYC)
@Adam stoler So? That work force can be largely automated into obsolescence. Online check in, drones for room service, cameras and motion sensors for security.
SFOviaMSP (Pacific Ocean)
Is it really about the unions? I’m sure there’s something to do about a former New Yorker who will never, ever, get a permit to build a hotel in New York again.
Adam stoler (Bronx NY)
@SFOviaMSP sorry but the former guy's influence is not as pervasive as you in the rest of country think we know how to well ignore fools like him He's losing his shirt here and would love to get out of the market. Besides he may wind up in one of NY 's finest long term facilities: State Prison The word is still out
Dana Ohlmeyer (Queens, NY)
Here in Long Island City, hotels attempt to break zoning. Light manufacturing zones near by the hot residential zone, have been contorted to include SRO’s with liquor licenses, bars, and a steady Uber dribble when there are tourists. Otherwise homeless families are stuffed in tiny rooms. So, we have the light manufacturing Black Cat wholesale bakery, and the building crane folks and union halls, storage facilities, paper wholesalers, air conditioning repair/wholesalers, lumber yards take up up nearly a block each. The current cynical exploiters of the current zoning should be barred from using this loophole. Period. The current homeless SRO-hotels are in these zone under cynical pretenses. At $7,000 per month per 200 sq feet, for housing the unhoused, for breaking the intention of the law there should fines, and heavy ones, not payoffs. Mayor Bloomberg closed the dedicated housing for runaway, or discarded youth we used to call orphanages. With allowances, in-house food, after-school activities, and counseling, a clothing and a bed in a room (and bussing to schools), the City was sheltering youth, not sending them to a foster families, mostly out of their neighborhoods and oftentimes as ruinous as their original situation. Heartlessness from Democrats as well as Republicans. Chicanery for payoffs under the cloak of reform. Leave light manufacturing zones to their intended purpose, with no hotels. Period. (And somebody in City government have a heart, not a gaping wallet.
Perry (Seattle)
@Dana Ohlmeyer Well that bulging wallet pays for the bleeding heart's social programs.... remember, everything's connected.
JLawrence (Houston, TX)
Cities don’t exist in a vacuum. Tourists that think NYC is too expensive will go elsewhere - Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles. Conventioneers (if they ever come back) have a plethora of cities to choose from. Any additional hotels that would have been built in NYC will be built in New Jersey. There are reasons why Detroit and Cleveland went from being two of the largest cities in the world to shells of their former selves. Those reasons have little to do with the weather - as most people like to assert - and more to do with a multitude of bad choices and decisions made by politicians and planners. The same can happen to New York. You already see it happening. The state just lost another Congressional seat.
Adam stoler (Bronx NY)
@JLawrence i'll take NYC and NY State over the putrid Houston air, endless traffic, gun culture, the swampy climate and the overabundance of once in 500 year storms ....anyday that's not to say anything about our very stable electrical grid. Houston: do WE have a problem? Nope- looks like your perfect city ....isn't (neither is ours...but we don't claim that)
Mark (Toronto)
@JLawrence typical Bernie Sanders economics. Make the city so expensive that only rich people can afford it. Tax the rich so much that they leave. Run out any major employer that wants to hire middle class workers like Amazon head office and hotels. Leave everyone else left in the city dependent on the government as there are no jobs left to be had.
Perry (Seattle)
@Adam stoler ... did you just call out Houston's "gun culture" like NYC isn't also wracked with gun violence? Yeah, its harder to legally buy one here, but for those who really want it, there's a thriving black market for arms.
johnb (NYC)
This comment is not about the proposed policy but about the design of the many new hotels that have been built in midtown in the past ten years. Most of these buildings are set back from the sidewalk, which disrupts the visual harmony of the street. The design is utilitarian at best, and some of them are downright ugly. It has been a surprise to discover that there is no city agency that guides the design of new buildings. While New York can boast of some stunning new architecture, from major architects and developers, it has been ill-served by low-end budget developers. The visual blight is depressing.
Perry (Seattle)
@johnb Literal first world problems....
North (NY)
Throughout his term, de Blasio has failed to understand what zoning is. It's like he wants to craft a legacy like Bloomberg but doesn't know how to use the tools. He seems to view zoning as a purely political weapon, and disregards any actual urban planning principles attached to it.
Bill (Des Moines)
Clearly the mayor isn thinking of the union and not the public. The union is for its workers who don't want any competition from non union hotels. Just like the teacher's union that represents the teachers not the students and wants to avoid competition from non union schools. Another misguided idea from a guy who is misguided. The city will take years to recover.
Adam stoler (Bronx NY)
@Bill spoken from the land of grievance white politics. I just love how everybody out in the heartland is an expert on where I've lived my entire life
Tacony Palmyra (New York, NY)
Making hotel approvals discretionary by individual Council Members also just invites corruption. If it's almost impossible to get a hotel approved, it'll reward politically connected insiders. This is the opposite of sound development policy.
Cee (NYC)
If the concern is a shortage of rooms, how about relaxing the restrictions against short term rentals such as AirBnB? Also, with the likely sharp drop in office space demand, the city landscape could change significantly in the coming decade. This article seems more alarmist than useful.
NYTimes Citizen (NYC)
@Cee How about Airbnb rentals taxed at 100% with half the revenue used to pay the rent of other tenants abused by the tourists renting them.
Tex (Austin)
The city is coming back. Whether 5, 10, 15 yrs -let’s just get that straight. For someone who grew up in 70’s in the city and saw the full arc of its growth let’s just take a minute. How many neighborhoods have we lost since that time. Your favorite restaurant, bar, store, and the people that made up the city -the workers, the retired, the artists, the actual life of the city. When I got of school, I lived just north of TriBeCa for $300 in what was still a cold water flat. Today that same apartment is selling for 3 million. Think about the next generation. Give them a chance to live and prosper in the city, Hotels? Who cares. Foreign and corporate apartments that are strictly for. Investment. Put residency restrictions in place. Give the city back to its people. Does anyone really want to live in a museum city with only obnoxious rich people and tourists. We’ve been down that path-how did that work out for you. Protect hotels my a. Ps -there was a time when the meat packing district was dangerous, but also wonderful and fun. Would Florent ever have a chance today. I think not and that’s the point. Miss that. Come on NYC.
Albert (NYC)
@Tex Part of the reason why Florent is less likely today is because of all the restrictions and bureaucracy involved with doing anything new in the city. Hotels have been creators of culture forever and also incubators of nightlife and fun, and they pay a large tax bill to the city which keeps the city running. To suggest that hotels are only investment vehicles is simplistic and wrong.
NYTimes Citizen (NYC)
@Albert Florent can’t exist today because the rent would be at least ten times as much. It’s the same reason there isn’t a Max’s Kansas City or CBCG. These weren’t hotels or hotel dependent. Not that long ago there were no hotels in SoHo or Tribeca and they were better for. The only culture created by hotels with the exception of the Chelsea and the Plaza in the last 100 years is hotel culture
Alex (Brooklyn)
I am an urban planner (not involved with this issue) and this proposed policy is such a horrible idea. Everyone knows that there is a housing shortage in NYC. (Well, there was before the pandemic, and there will be again soon enough). One factor that exacerbates the housing shortage is when housing units are taken out of the housing market and are rented out to tourists as AirB&Bs. Limiting the construction of hotels will make it more profitable to do so, and will result in the loss of more housing units.
Al Do (Vancouver, Canada)
@Alex Thank you for saying this. In our area of Canada (popular cities with tourists), lower end hotels are being purchased by local governments in an earnest but short-sighted attempt to "end homelessness". What they don't appear to factor in is that tourism will not end in the long term, but a lack of hotel space will result in lower end rental housing being converted into AirB&Bs, thus leading to more (newly) homeless people.
NYer (NYC)
@Alex How do hotels address a "housing shortage"? They're temporary places to stay, for tourists! How about some affordable housing for residents?
Mark (Toronto)
@Alex as a middle class tourist I'd much rather stay at a hotel priced at $200/night due to convenience and location than an air bnb . If hotel prices go up to $400per night due to reduced competition than I will have no choice then to rent an Airbnb which will eliminate a housing unit. When will NYC finally get a mayor that understands economics?
Steinunn (Norway)
This $7 billion problem is not limited to NY. In an effort to prevent competition, approval of infrastructure can take 10 years or more. The challenge is not to remove the environmental concerns from the final equation, but to accommodate them earlier in the process so the project moves forward quickly. This streamlined approach has been accomplished in Norway and Germany so it's a simple matter of learning from others and adopting their methods in America. All too often in real estate, the barriers tossed against one project come from competitors whose business interests will be diminished and therefore, their aim is greed at the expense of progress. If you can get rid of Citizen's United, you can replace elected official who are corporate stooges with competent people determined to serve the greater good. This is quite doable, once again, demonstrated in Norway and Germany. America needs to wake up and realize that competition is coming at it from every conceivable direction and your lethargic processes only serve the insiders, not the community or the country. Trump was the best example of bad government. Learn from his malfeasance and reemerge the great country the world admires.
nydoc (nyc)
@Steinunn Norway and Germany have very intelligent and engaged citizens and decent politicians. This country was found by misfits, populated with a very large percentage of people who are proud of their ignorance. We elected Trump (and almost reelected Trump). On the other side of the political spectrum we have an inexperienced blowhard who is into Crony capitalism and has made this city so much worse but is so delusional as to run for President. He is unemployable after he leaves office but I would not be surprised if he is on the payroll of of Hotel Trade Council as a senior adviser in the same way NYC Schools Chancellor is employed by am education company that NYC paid a lot to.
Nell (Brooklyn)
As a few other comments have noted, this is a city planning function to be handled by staff experienced in that discipline. I wonder why the New York Times reporter didn't discuss local community boards or city planning functions. The market doesn't always know best but neither do elected officials.
Adam stoler (Bronx NY)
@Nell the market is imperfect Even Uncle Milty acknowledged that There are more than dichotomous solutions. WE need to acknowledge that
Michael (Brooklyn)
Any plan that has de Blasio's backing is sure to be an abject failure.
Ben Taylor (Philadelphia, PA)
@Michael Normally I would never agree with a generalization like this, but de Blasio is an exception. He seems to have the anti-Midas touch. I can't believe the NYC voters reelected him.
Mark (Toronto)
@Michael agreed
Berber (NYC)
You can’t legislate away economics. Airbnb and incumbent hotels will be the winners here. Affordable housing will be the loser, as the excess demand for hotel lodging will be absorbed by illegal Airbnbs and similar bootleg arrangements from converted apartment stock. Once again, DeBlasio’s union gladhanding runs contrary to progressive values.
Kamini (New York)
A disgustingly transparent quid-pro-quo that negatively affects all New Yorkers including the hotel owners and union bosses who can't see beyond their noses. No hotels have ever been built in areas such as manufacturing that have been restricted. Likewise this law will freeze further development resulting in short term gains for the current lot of owners while consumers suffer by paying a higher price and the City's loses on tax revenue from those that will give the Big Apple a miss due to its high hotel rates enabled by a lack of competition
Steve725 (NY, NY)
Hoboken and Jersey City can expect a hotel building boom. The tourists will dine, shop and party there and hop on the PATH into the city during the day for museums and theater.
Bob R (Portland)
@Steve725 Not a bad scenario.
Chris (Long Island)
This is bad government at it's finest. Creating a pay to play model to build a new hotel. If someone wants to build a hotel they have to pay off the city council members. The stated goal is to push up hotel prices so only the rich can afford to come to NYC further squeezing out the lower and middle class and creating a even bigger wealth gap in the city. Lastly airbnb will explode in growth. Of course I am sure there will be a whole new set of regulations to counter the side effects of this awful policy.
ML (New York, NY)
Sounds like Airbnb is going to end up the biggest winner in this situation. That will only worsen the housing supply problem for residents. de Blasio really has no sense at all.
Hazel (NYC)
More hotels equal more jobs? Will homeless people be hired? I'm guessing not. Affordable housing is desperately needed in New York. Desperately.
@Hazel, I bet "hotels" in this context must likely refer to Manhattan, or areas of the city where there's competition with (as the article indicates) luxury properties. I would think homeless people should be just as thankful if they're housed and/or find jobs in the Bronx (assuming they can cope with whatever made them homeless to start with, given appropriate support). Why would you want to add homeless housing (which is not the same as low and middle-income housing) in Manhattan? If the city must purchase land to create this housing, why pay top dollar?
Christopher (Brooklyn, NY)
NYC has been almost entirely turned over to tourists.
Ricardo (NYC)
If NYC doesn’t meet demand for hotel rooms the losses will amount to “$350 million by 2025 and as much as $7 billion by 2035 in lost taxes”. Even accounting for inflation, this statement suggests that NYC could expect to receive 20x more tourists by then…what a nightmare!
Bob R (Portland)
@Ricardo It sounds like it will become Venice.
trob (bklyn)
Often hotel designs do not match the neighborhoods they are in. I think it is totally fare to, at the very least, require a design review of any new hotel to fit in with the neighborhood. The push back is not in Manhattan Mall a tourist destination with with its unfinished needles tipping over like 161 Maiden Lane but in the rest of the city where many of us live.
Daphne (East Coast)
Worst mayor ever. Everyone must suffer so his pet group can, maybe, benefit. Yet that is not flagged as corrupt?
NYT readers LOVE unions - in principle - until they learn what they actually do (close schools, obstruct development, pillage tax coffers, protect bad cops, double construction costs, triple hotel room rates, quintuple subway construction costs). And yet they wonder how Amazon employees in Alabama could be duped into voting ‘against their own interests!’ Hopefully the next mayor is not beholden to union interests.
Dana Ohlmeyer (Queens, NY)
@ADE 1900 was a fun year. Let’s have child labor, as well.
Ben Taylor (Philadelphia, PA)
@Dana Ohlmeyer Nobody here is proposing that straw man
Martin (New York)
NYC trying to save itself with tourism is like an addict trying to cure himself with a fix. Cities that replace real economies by becoming tourist traps without destroying themselves.
Perry (Seattle)
@Martin Uh... tourism is a big contributor to NYC's economy, but we're also dominant in finance, real estate, media, higher-education, etc.... What exactly is the "real economy" in your eyes?
reid (WI)
Oh, boo-hoo for the developers who want to raze blocks and erect money printing machines for themselves, with no doubt payoffs going where needed, and this is no secret. To stay a couple nights at a NYC hotel is a once in a lifetime experience for so many people that the current charges make it impossible for anyone to come to visit and do the touristy things and not worry about being able to ever retire (I'm speaking of the great majority of people, not the wealthy). Unless there are very firm, loophole free, zoning plans major developments deserve careful review, and the hard decisions made about do we really need this? I've never seen a developer or their plan that isn't glowing and full of optimism and minimal infrastructure impact. They say money talks but in this situation, it screams with a megaphone.
Perry (Seattle)
@reid Did you skip Econ 101? Those "big, bad" developers increasing the supply of hotels & housing (both market-rate and affordable variants) is exactly what makes those things cheaper.... They're not perfect or morally pure actors, but I'm more concerned by the harm caused to our biggest cities by the well-meaning, but economically illiterate political class (and their NYTimes adherents).
Cassandre (Europe)
As long as growth and tourism are considered fundamentals to decision-making, all the trillion dollars in the world won't help curb climate change.
Max Lewy (New york, NY)
Berto Collins "Rowdy tourist in apt buildings" is not an Hotel problem; It is an Airbnb problem which should be solved by adequate legislation and prosecution With too many hotels, "Rowdy tourists" will "run amok " all over New york. The best, the more, is the enemy of good. New York belongs to New Yorkers, not to City Hall or Albany, nor to the tourist greedy industry; Mass and cheap tourism is not a solution to an already overcrowded city There are already (even aside from the present temporary covid episode) quite enough lodgings for the tourists to "come back" Packing New York with too many tourists will only choke to death the city present tourism golden goose
Thomas Sangrey (PA)
This is a consideration that will require a quick enfolding of NY's post-COVID, vision with the slickest, most syrupy blackstrap recipe for streamlined zoning approval that a NY bureaucracy can offer. By some estimates, post-COVID corporate office space will reduce by as much as 30%, perhaps more. This figure is a scale of contraction not unlike the conclusion of the early industrial age when factories moved out of cities and into the suburbs, leaving huge empty warehouses everywhere. NY eventually survived the urban exodus. But it took decades of recovery and renewal that nearly destroyed the city in the late 70s and early 80s. It turns out that making NY safe for tourists meant making NY safe for business. It seems to me that if squatters and artists (and Koch renewal programs) could preserve and transform the Lower East Side and Williamsburg, then perhaps hoteliers can serve the same stewardship function in post-COVID NY. Without the economic and social stability that comes with used retail space, a slip backwards into crime and fiscal crisis may await a post-COVID NY.
M (Los Angeles)
Politicians regulate why others try to innovate. The work from home trend is the greatest transformation of business process known to man. The urban commercial real estate sector is crumbling. If there was any time to rewrite zoning it would be right now. In Los Angeles if you want to develop a dance studio, which is obviously a danger to society, you need 1 parking spot for every 100 square feet you lease. This is an impossible ratio that has crushed the development of these businesses for the past 30 years. There are 3 studios left in the entire city that are above 1000 square feet and they were all build 30 years ago before the regulations. Regulation and liability have killed the mom and pop. Good job city hall. Enjoy your empty store front, office tower, and 24 hour CVS. It is all that will be left.
Edtow (Brooklyn)
Boy, if ever there was an article that looked "paid for" - one way or another - this is it. The disparaging, "[Why bring to hotel construction projects] a layer of scrutiny otherwise reserved for neighborhood-altering projects such as airports, helipads, racetracks, large stadiums and drive-in movie theaters?" is transparently self-serving. True, the author quotes the rationale: "Hotels create more traffic and activity than ordinary buildings," but it's clearly done in a dismissive way. Sliver buildings and a host of accommodations to the real estate & construction moguls who so clearly are often able to push things through, no matter the cost to nearby residents HAVE GOT TO STOP. Especially now, when Brooklyn is "hot," there will be temptations to put up hotels (clearly, at odds both from a scale point of view - often - and DISRUPTIVE here and there. The "Atlantic Yards" project displaced thousands of residents and took thousands of affordable units off the NYC rolls. When you compare who has benefited from Barclay's to who has paid a price, it's not even close. Only an ambitious boro president or someone genuinely grifting would fail to recognize that. The City Council has historically been a paper tiger in most battles - insisting on the most modest "givebacks" before allowing projects to proceed. Most developers leave those hearings shaking their heads about how little it takes to get a green light there. This article is not reality based!
Reggie (Minneapolis, MN)
Many of us well within our means cannot justify or afford the astronomical hotel rates in NYC or nearby Jersey. Far less expensive to stay at an Airbnb in other major cities like; Toronto, London, Paris and Rome.
BrooklynBond (NYC)
Zoning restrictions are reasonable. For example, the city could say that outside of high-tourist zones, you can't have more than X hotel rooms. These rules would be easy to understand. But to have the city council approve each hotel is madness. What next? How any pharmacies? How any supermarkets? Maybe the city council could better use its time addressing the increasing homeless problem in the city. That would actually increase quality of life. Fewer hotel rooms definitely won't solve that problem.
Dominic (Minneapolis)
@BrooklynBond Yeah, who knows, eventually the elected representatives of the voters might actually plan the whole city where the voters live! Chaos!
Despite community opposition, Mayor deBlasio allowed the teardown of 5 old buildings in the East Village - a residential neighborhood- to make way for a hotel! Hotels in residential neighborhoods wreck communities - result in housing loss, gentrification and displace small shops
Albert (NYC)
@SLM FYI NYC has very strict zoning which does not permit hotels in residentially zoned districts. This has not been allowed for many years. What is being proposed is quite different more complex political.
@Albert Regarding the East Village site, per EV Grieve 2017: “ Demolition work continues at 112-120 E. 11th St., where five walk-up buildings are coming down to make way for the 13-story hotel for Marriott’s Moxy brand here between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue..... 300-room hotel aimed toward the Millennial set...”
Gib Veconi (Prospect Heights)
The Mayor is attempting an end run around the city planning process. If we want to limit construction of new hotels, the way to do it is by deciding where we want them and zoning accordingly, not by arbitrarily singling out a particular land use for requiring a special permit. That won't survive a legal challenge.
Here’s A Thought (NYC)
Hasn't the pandemic shown the world that economies cannot be based on tourism? We have enough hotels.
Halsy (Earth)
@Stephen With the speed the planet is collapsing there's all kinds of reasons tourism is not a viable long-term option for employment. And this pandemic isn't going to be over anytime soon. And we'll being seeing them more frequently now with unchecked population control.
Bobbie (Prospect Park)
@Stephen I see you live in New Haven. You have a right to your opinion, but you don't live in New York City. This policy will be very popular with many New Yorkers.
WorkingGuy (NYC, NY)
@Here’s A Thought Exactly. And that is the scam the permitting seeks to stop. Build a hotel. Anywhere. It doesn’t succeed as a hotel. It frankly was never built to be profitable as a traditional hotel. The city / state / federal government then uses the hotel as housing for clients. The government becomes the corporate client that has very deep pockets to pay a guaranteed rate and ensuring an occupancy level which guarantees that “hotel” property is very successful. There are no end to the homeless, recovering drug addicts, prisoners on supervised release, mental ill, etc. (all need “Galway houses”). Now why does the city want to forego the permitting process which gives CBs and citizens an opportunity to monitor development in their back yards? Not just unions make contributions, big hotel chains do also. And having hotels all over the city where they can stash people to keep them off the streets or empty prisons or empty mental institutions by “integrating” them is quite progressive. Until they move to your block. In your street around your family. Your tax dollars at work: https://www.shelterlistings.org/county/ny-new_york-county.html https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/homelessness/2020/06/25/close-to-20-percent-of-nyc-hotels-are-housing-the-homeless Bad enough we’re warehousing people, but paying top tax dollars to do it next door to you? Not so fast!
ChickenParm (NYC)
And you wonder why NY loses a congressional seat. Why would you add another layer of red tape in a city throttled with it? Tourism creates a ton of jobs in the city, and taking it out of the hands of local community boards serves nothing but a power grab. There are plenty of states that want our tax revenue and business development....the exodus will continue.
Eirroc (NY)
@ChickenParm “… Tourism creates a ton of jobs in the city…” You forgot the *low-paying* part of those “ton of jobs” that are most often part-time and definitely not living wage. And the fact that none of the people who work those jobs can afford to *live* in the local community. Those workers typically have lengthy commutes to and from those jobs. Wouldn’t it be an interesting concept to require designated floors in new construction hotels be designed for affordable residential housing? There could be key-card-access-only express elevators for tenants that skip the hotel floors, and vice versa. There’s not enough places to live in the city for most people to live near where they work. This could help.
fred herriman (NY)
If the root problem behind hotel permitting is vehicular traffic, hasn't technology now come far enough to enable time of day- and place-specific pricing for road usage?  That approach (with its welter of crucial contract challenges) would be better entrusted to the private than the public sector -- and there is a growing body of literature (e.g., https://catalyst.independent.org/2021/01/12/who-will-build-the-roads/) that discusses and advocates urban road privatization.  With additional taxpayer funds being earmarked for infrastructure investment, the time may be ripe to weigh a rational market-based approach to both the level and use-based pricing of infrastructure.
Dana Ohlmeyer (Queens, NY)
@Fred Herriman: Market uber allus. Why have government at all? Let’s put the process of governing up for bids! There is a privatization of schools thing (low pay, high turnover, no unions, naturally), let’s do roads, how about policing, fire departments! No pesky over sight.
Perry (Seattle)
@fred herriman You're largely describing congestion pricing (but its not run by the private sector, its the city that would implement it) - it is a very big idea that is now gaining traction in the city and in Albany (where the governor would need to approve of it).
Mark (Long Island)
As George Carlin used to say, let’s start using golf courses to build on. These properties could be better used this way, since they are used by so few people.
David (Kentucky)
@Mark How many golf courses are there in Manhattan?
Steve (NYC)
Yet another example of pay to play. The presidential campaign was a pure vanity play, as is De Blasio’s mayoral tenure.
mike (twin cities)
Ok, so hotels have closed in New York and occupancy rates are way down. Likewise, since Covid-19 is an endemic and thus will be with us in one way or another forever, hotel and office space are never going back to where they were in 2019. Even supporters of hotels admit that if by some miracle occupancy levels reach 2019 levels sometime in the distant future, only 5,000 new hotel rooms would be needed. This is well under 5% more than there are today. Yes, the hotel expansion opponents cloaked under the guise of being civic minded aren't really and are there protecting existing hotels and unions from new competition. I get that. There are no genuinely good guys in this fight. But the fact remains there is absolutely no urgent need for additional hotels in New York. I think the new census numbers should be sobering to the biggest of cities in the North. Even before the pandemic people were leaving. I can't imagine why tourism and business travelers' numbers are not doing the same in the new world created by Covid-19. But this obviously hasn't stopped the argument over hotels. So much for priorities.
Berto Collins (New York City)
New York City needs the tourists to come back in order to survive. We need the tourist crowds to come back. Before the pandemic the hotels in the city were hugely overpriced. I’d rather they build more hotels than having to contend with rowdy Airbnb tourists running amok in our apartment buildings.
Zezee (Bronx)
NYC needs affordable housing to survive.
Bobbie (Prospect Park)
@Berto Collins Yes we do need tourists to come back, but we already have many, many hotel rooms.
Glenn (New Jersey)
"Federal prosecutors in 2017 said they had found a pattern in which Mr. de Blasio or his aides sought political donations from those seeking favors from the city" Of course, they didn't have to investigate those opponents of the measure, since it is common knowledge that they are awash in funds from the real estate industry, and that--like bootlegging in the 30's--has become de facto legal.
Lily (Nyc)
The voters, full-time residents of NYC, do not like the pre-pandemic tourist industry. It had become too huge and it was making life harder for the average voter. Therefore, a re-assessment of how much we want to enable that over-blown monster in our midst is healthy for democracy. NYC is not alone, look at Venice, Italy, Miami Beach, Fla., and other cities that have sold their soul to the tourism industry. The real residents see it for what it is: as a terrible fate for these historic cities, where real residents still live and vote. Only those within the tourism industry are winners in this battle. As New Yorkers, we have every right to demand that tourism be limited to a healthy, albeit much smaller, footprint.
You say that only those in the tourism industry would be effected by this change. Well, what is the scope on the tourism industry? Restaurants, stores, department stores, museums, Broadway, mass transit and more. What is your proposition to replace the revenue and sales taxes lost by the reduction in tourism? Are you willing to pay higher taxes to replace to lost sales taxes? What do you expect the people whose jobs are dependent on tourism to do? Answer these questions first before you condemn the tourism industry.
NYer (NY)
@Lily Fewer jobs are a result, especially on the lower end of the job market. Higher taxes to offset that loss of income. Now a winning combination for those in the middle. Those taxes pay for his pre-K. de-Blasio will be gone and take credit for all the supposed good he did while blaming the current admin for the failures he sowed.
miie (new york)
@Lily None of the cites you listed are the size of New York City. Nor are all five boroughs busting with tourists.
Seems like a pretty clear cut case of trying to protect existing union jobs in one industry at the expense of others in the tourist, hospitality, cultural, construction, etc., industries, not to mention the City’s tax base. Guess de Blasio has some buddies in the HTC and is happy with having hotels accessible by the rich only. Seems very wrong-headed to me, and a policy rife with potential unanticipated deleterious consequences.
Wait, I thought NYC already was dense with traffic and pedestrians. Why do city advocates always promote efforts to reduce density, investment and dynamism generally? Has NYC reached a state of urban perfection that needs to be preserved in amber? No, I don’t think so. It’s just another signature power grab. Remarkably be timing, too. Remember the pandemic?
Chris (10013)
Post pandemic NY and NYC have to grapple with gargantuan government bloat that thrives off of a ridiculously high tax regime. NY is moving to 14.8% combined taxes, 2nd highest commercial property tax rates in the country behind Detroit, and sales taxes of 8.87% in the city. The union structure that most hotels deal with drive-up rates even more. It is no surprise that NY, CA have lost population to TX, FL and lower-cost states. Gov spending per resident is more than 2x in NY than these states. Not surprisingly, the unions are behind restrictions on new hotels as the article pointed out, are usually non-union shops.
Mark (Toronto)
@Chris people often forget that unions are a business too and the union leaders want to get rich at the expense non union workers
Hellen (NJ)
Sure, let the developers continue building hotels that will blocking sunlight and stay half empty for years.
DL (New York)
"Union officials argue that many of the new hotels that have sprung up outside Manhattan in recent years have turned into homeless shelters or have become plagued by crime. " As a NYC resident outside of Manhattan, the above quote is a major issue. In my area there are proposals for hotels where there literally are no tourists, not even local day-travels NYC tourists. It is an overt attempt to build a SRO building, have it "fail" as a hotel, and be turned into a shelter without having to go through the proper process for that.
Cold Liberal (Minnesota)
@DL Stayed at one of these dumps in 2019 when an overseas flight at JFK was canceled. Charming view of a truck park with barbed wire fencing across the street. Dead industrial neighborhood. Flopped from six hours, then cabbed to the airport. Place had some very odd guests.
miie (new york)
@DL New SRO housing has been illegal to build for decades. Hotels cannot be converted to this use. The "proper" process result in the homeless shelter never being built. Homeless people have to live somewhere do you want them to live in front of your building or in a building next to yours?
Zezee (Bronx)
Let’s build housing for low income families. Isn’t that what is needed?
David Shaw (New Jersey)
This story is like something out of a farce. First of all, who knew (besides the developers) that they didn't need to get approval for hotels. You need approval for just about everything else in the city, why not hotels? Who are they, besides being a big part of the way too dominant real estate industry, to NOT need permits? But beyond this, aren't there literally dozens of empty hotels, some of which have closed their doors forever, lurking darkly over the streets of NY? Who in their right mind would insist on throwing money at yet another place, hoping to get tourists to pay 450 a night? This strikes me as crazy thinking. Why not at least wait a few years to see how the city and the world recovers from this pandemic? The droves of tourists the industry is "expecting" strikes me as a dream. But then again, this whole pandemic seems that way.
Evan (New York)
@David Shaw why would you leave it to a political body like a city council to make those decisions rather than the developers willing to risk their investment if it doesn’t go as planned? Also hotels can’t just be built anywhere - there are already zoning requirements. If hotels are already $450 a night imagine what they’ll be when the city council reduces supply.
David Shaw (New Jersey)
@Evan Seems to me it will be a long time before supply begins to dwindle. Three years ago when my wife and I decided to spend a night or two in the city we were able to get bargain basement rates right on Times Square in a nice place that seemed half empty. And just because they are willing to invest doesn't mean they have the right idea, are we really supposed to trust them just because they are paying for it? Beyond that, are they really paying for it or are they playing with other people's money?
Reread the article. The approval requested is from the City Council, in addition to the other routine approvals. This is much different. As Emily Latella used to say. “Oh, never mind”.
Elizabeth (Boston)
This is the worst idea. Overly restrictive zoning laws have crushed new construction of apartments, driving up prices to insane levels. And this permitting process for hotels will do the same thing. In both cases it only favors people who have already made it (current homeowners and hotel owners/apparently unionized workers), and pulls the ladder up behind them. City council members don’t know better than the market what a neighborhood needs—the free market isn’t perfect, but over and over we’ve seen that overly burdensome restrictions just stop all construction completely. The political system only listens to loud, hyper local, older, richer property owners, because those are the people with the time and know how to attend meetings and lobby their representatives (have you ever been on the website Nextdoor?) They may want no changes, expensive fancy hotels only, and limited construction to keep their neighborhoods quiet, but the majority of New Yorkers want jobs, growth, and hotels that are affordable to younger and working class people. This policy is based on nostalgia only.
reid (WI)
@Elizabeth While I agree that the final decisions should be made locally when it comes to new construction, you are naïve if you think that locals can challenge the megabucks that developers have to push through their project, leveling much of the community charm and what holds the locals together. Your argument makes it sound as if the only way to have a community move forward is to have hotels as job creators and money making machines. Some degree of common sense and the wisdom of Solomon needs to happen and all too often smart promoters and developers steamroll any local opposition. Once a monstrosity is built, it is there for a long time.
Mark (Toronto)
@Elizabeth you're right. The middle class hotel workers from the poorer neighborhoods in NYC will suffer the most because of the utopian/dystopian economic thinking of the entrenched political class
Edward Swing (Peoria, AZ)
@reid Developers are the bogeyman used by early arriving, often-wealthy people to justify pulling the ladder up after them, as Elizabeth describes it. The locals are not some poor downtrodden people - as a rule they tend to be older, wealthier, and whiter than the people who benefit from new development. It would be too much cognitive dissonance for people who like to see themselves as good liberals to actually admit that they're placing their own prosperity ahead of poorer and younger people so they trot out the trope of the dreaded "developers".
Tim (Cape and Islands)
I find New York to have relatively few hotels and the prices to be high for the amenities and accommodations. Pre 2020, it was already a disincentive to visit. Introducing the City Council into the process of new hotel construction, rather than a planning board or equivalent (with public hearings), to take care of traffic and density issues, is a mistake. Having the appropriate professionals handle things is the established way to go, keeping politics out of development. Or at least trying! Let the experts manage it. Don't single out particular industries, occupations, or commercial usages, it's a bad precedent, leading who-knows-where?
Tim (Ithaca, NY)
@Tim 'keeping politics out of development'? I'm shocked to learn that real estate development is influenced by politics!
Melissa (NYC)
@Tim what's the basis for determining it's relatively few? Compared to what? Hotel prices have most been impacted by airbnb of late and I don't at all feel visitors are lacking for options. How would you explain whole hotels being turned over to homeless housing?
Cara (Kingston)
As a wedding florist who moved out of the city during the pandemic, I have a completely different view on this than the writer. The flower market has been overwhelmed by hotels, creating enormous construction issues and parking problems. I can’t imagine a block that needs 3 or 4 hotels less than 28th street! Industry professionals are constantly in and out of there in cargo vans & box trucks. This writer seems to think the ONLY explanation for such a rule is union-appeasement. But I’m willing to bet there’s dozens of communities/industries like the flower market with legitimate concerns that weren’t heard before. I hope that they now get that chance.
Adam (Philadelphia)
@Cara , Isn’t this issue, which seems valid to me, better dealt with through zoning? Admittedly, I’m not sure how one determines that a 5-block stretch has too many hotels. But, surely, the City Council is going to respond to political incentives, rather than data. You might respond that the Council will set the zoning rules - isn’t that the same thing? No. There’s a difference between setting policy clearly announced to all, and making individual judgments on a case by case basis. The former is inescapably a function of a political body; the second should not be.
Matthew (NJ)
Pretty much too late for the flower district. They crammed in as many hotels as possible and now there’s likely not really any more building opportunities. That whole area around Penn headed up to Times Sq was sorta the low hanging fruit of Manhattan of opportunity in terms of building like that, and they did it. it’s done. Seems like every east west block has at least 1 hotel built on it in the last 10-15 years, if not 2-3-4. Crazy.
Dana Ohlmeyer (Queens, NY)
@Fight for...1776 And 1776 had pestilence, child labor and no unions!
See also