The MTA Will Pay You $5,000 to Vacate Your Upper East Side Studio for a Month


According to the New York Times, the MTA will need some Upper East Siders to move in order to complete work on the Second Avenue subway. The residents get their choice: Either stay in a nearby (luxury) hotel for free, or get a rent stipend of $5,000 per month if you want to try out digs elsewhere in the city. Suddenly living on the Upper East Side, in the path of the Second Avenue subway, just got a whole lot more appealing.

The $5,000 is for vacating your studio — if you live in a one-bedroom, you get $6,000; a two-bedroom, $9,000 — while interior repair work is done to the buildings to reinforce them “against the rigors of subterranean construction.” You also get $40 per person a day for food (less great, but add that to your $5,000 and you’ll eat okay). Moving and furniture storage, as well as rent and utilities for the apartment you temporarily vacate, will also be paid for.

Okay … we’re a little jealous. Yeah, yeah, yeah, all apartments aren’t created equal, and moving’s a bitch, but this sounds pretty damn good.

The question, of course, is where is the infamously cash-strapped MTA getting all this money? According to MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan, the stipends are based on comparable hotel rates in the neighborhood, and offering the incentives will help avoid delays in subway construction, which would ratchet costs up even further than they already are. But we always thought it was commonly held knowledge that hotels pretty much always cost more than your actual home. Unless you’re one of those people who lives in the Plaza, in which case all bets are off.

The tenants of 28 apartments on Second Avenue in the East 90s will be affected for four to eight weeks. Per the Times, “So far, the authority has worked out arrangements with the residents of 8 of the 28 apartments. Renters in six chose the stipends, which means they must find their own accommodations.”