Group 7 Created with Sketch.
Group 3 Copy Created with Sketch.

Ness McKelvey lived for years in the Bronx before securing housing at Henry Hall, which bills itself as “a new concept in luxury living” that is designed “to feel like a boutique hotel.” Through the city’s effort to diversify housing, McKelvey got his space as part of the city’s affordable housing lottery, which stipulates that 20% of new housing be set aside for moderate-income families. But while he loves his apartment, he said high-rise living, while culturally diverse, isn’t economically diverse. Just a stone’s throw from Hudson Yards, the West 38th Street building exudes a hip vibe with rap playing in the elevators. McKelvey said he likes hip-hop but feels uncomfortable in the elevator with his more upscale neighbors when the N-word blasts from the speakers. “It’s supposed to be high class, it’s supposed to be upper echelon,” he said, “but people don’t act like that—they act like other people are peasants, beneath them.”

Ness McKelvey at home in Henry Hall, completed in 2017 by BKSK Architects with interiors by Ken Fulk, on the northern edge of Hudson Yards in Midtown. Photo: Tom Stoelker.
Ness McKelvey at home in Henry Hall, completed in 2017 by BKSK Architects with interiors by Ken Fulk, on the northern edge of Hudson Yards in Midtown. Photo: Tom Stoelker.

McKelvey is starting a new blog called NewCityNYC.com that talks about what to do for little or no money on Midtown’s burgeoning West Side. When asked how people in the new West Side developments can foster multiculturalism, he was blunt: “People need more involvement; they’re being too exclusive. They need to open up more—and say hello on the elevator.”

Keep reading:

1. East Village, Manhattan: Ryan Haddad, Playwright and Performer at the Public Theater
2. SoHo, Manhattan: Charles Leslie, Founder of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, at the Museum
3. Arthur Avenue, the Bronx: Michael Rella and Peter Servedio, Butchers at Peter’s Meat Market, the Arthur Avenue Retail Market
4. Garment District, Manhattan: Nicola Caito and Camille Tetard, Patternmakers, at their Atelier
5. Grand Concourse, the Bronx: Basma Sheea, Bengali-American Singer, at the Andrew Freeman Home
4. Garment District, Manhattan: Nicola Caito and Camille Tetard, Patternmakers, at their Atelier
6. Grand Concourse, the Bronx: Elissa Carmona, Lead Singer and Founder of the Marrisania Band Project, at the Bronx Museum of the Arts
7. Washington Heights, Manhattan: John Paul Enfante, Writer and Teacher, at the Hispanic Society
> Midtown, Manhattan: Ness McKelvey at Home
9. St. George, Staten Island: Bain Coffman and Gui Junta, Restaurant Owners at Chang Noi Thai
10. Astoria, Queens: Admir Ekmestic, Former Soccer Player, at Mrki’s Place   ONLINE EXCLUSIVE
11. Astoria, Queens: Dee Flattery, Pub Owner at The Quay  ONLINE EXCLUSIVE
12. Tomkinsville, Staten Island: Veronica Arze, Café Owner at Duzer’s Local  ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

BROWSER UPGRADE RECOMMENDED

Our website has detected that you are using a browser that will prevent you from accessing certain features. An upgrade is recommended to experience. Use the links below to upgrade your exisiting browser.