Numlock Sunday: Rebecca Baird-Remba on the math problem crushing New York City while saving its hotels
By Walt Hickey
Welcome to the Numlock Sunday edition.
This week, I spoke to Rebecca Baird-Remba, who wrote “New York City’s Migrants Surge Enlists a Reluctant Commercial Real Estate Industry” for Commercial Observer back in September. Here's what I wrote about it:
New York City has been paying hotels to accommodate incoming migrants, but it appears to be a backdoor way to bail out a hotel industry still reeling from the pandemic’s impacts on tourism. As it stands, over 100 hotels in the city are now housing migrants thanks to a $238 million contract, and it’s propping up the hotel industry with 7,000 rooms closed and 11,000 rooms being paid for by the city housing asylum-seekers. It’s a supremely inefficient way to house people: A housing voucher, which would let asylum-seekers obtain housing the way that everyone else does in the rental market, would cost the city $72 per night, while trying to prop up the hotel industry by way of migrants is costing New York $383 per night.
I found th…