Out of 845,000 houses and apartments in Manhattan, 102,000 were counted as vacant according to census numbers, the New York Times reports today, and more than 33,000, or one in 25 residences on the main island, had someone living there less than two months out of the year. That number is up 70% since 2000 because of a boom in condos and wealthy people picking up second homes — they call them ” pieds-à-terre” — especially in the “East Village, SoHo, Greenwich Village, Gramercy Park, Midtown East and the Upper East Side,” the Times reports. “My block is like a ghost town,” said the writer Gay Talese, who’s lived on East 61st and Park Ave. for 50 years. As far as second homes go, Palm Beach has nothing on New York City.
The Times says that in addition to the Florida vacation destination, our city proportionally tops “resort and “second-home communities” like Aspen, Colorado and Virginia Beach.
Reasons include NYC’s high income taxes, which keeps the rich away for some of the time, but maybe not for long: “a state tribunal this year suggested that city apartments owned by commuters could be included in the definition of a permanent abode, subjecting them to New York taxes even on income earned out of state.”
And for now, no one is too worried because New Yorkers hate traffic and their neighbors equally.