In the Projects, Timing Elevators

With New York City Housing Authority facing one of the biggest budget deficits in the private agency's history and the resignation last month of chairman Tino Hernandez in a cloud of controversy over dysfunctional elevators, things are looking pretty grim for public housing in New York.

New York Institute of Technology professor Nicholas Dagen Bloom wants to know just how bad things really are. Bloom, who writes a blog about public housing and published a book this year called, "Public Housing That Worked: New York in the 20th Century," says the press has overblown the housing authority's problems. Bloom thinks that NYC projects are much better off than those in other cities (Despite that the agency is slated to shut down of dozens of senior and youth centers next year). To test his own hypothesis, Bloom has been buzzing about the city's projects in the past few weeks, acting like a self-appointed health and safety inspector for the authority. He's been testing elevators (literally, timing the seconds it takes to ride between floors), reporting on lobby cleanliness, and evaluating the maintenance of lawns. It's kind of like the MTA watchdog, "Straphangers Campaign". For the results of Bloom's citizen project patrol, click here.



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