MONEY renting

These Are the Most—And Least—Affordable Places to Rent

Fieldston Historic District, Riverdale, Bronx, New York
Alamy Fieldston Historic District, Riverdale, Bronx, New York

A New York City borough is the least affordable—but it's not the one you're thinking of.

It’s no secret that renting has become more expensive in recent years. Now, new data a from housing data firm RealtyTrac lets us know exactly where in the country renting is most and least affordable.

In order to find out which areas are easiest on the typical renter’s wallet, RealtyTrac crunched the numbers on 461 counties across the U.S. with a population of at least 100,000 and sufficient data available, to determine the percentage of the local median household income that gets eaten up by the “fair market” rent (set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) on a three bedroom property.

The Bronx, in New York City, where fair-market rent takes up a whopping 69% of median income, ranks as the least affordable county in the nation—a result of the borough’s extremely low median income and relatively high rents.

San Francisco, Brooklyn (Kings County, New York), and Philadelphia, are also high on the list, each taking up around 48% of the typical household salary in rent payments.

REa

On the other end of the spectrum, Delaware County, Ohio, was ranked as the most affordable city for renters, with fair-market rents costing just 14% of the median household income. Delaware was closely followed by Williamson County, Tennessee; Hamilton County, Indiana; and Fort Bend County, Texas.

image008 (1)

RealtyTrac also notes that renting is generally more expensive than buying a house. The firm found monthly ownership costs of a median-priced home—including mortgage payments, property taxes, and home and mortgage insurance, assuming a 10% down payment—account, on average, for just 24% of the median income. Fair-market rents, by comparison, averaged 28% of the typical household income. Overall, RealtyTrac found house payments were more affordable than fair-market rents in 76% of the counties it analyzed.

“From a pure affordability standpoint, renters who have saved enough to make a 10% down payment are better off buying in the majority of markets across the country,” said RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist.

That said, Blomquist warned, “Keep in mind that in some markets buying may be more affordable than renting, but that doesn’t mean buying is truly affordable by traditional standards.” He added, “In those markets renters are stuck between a rock and hard place when it comes to deciding whether to buy or continue renting.”

TIME Basketball

Carmelo Anthony Is Afraid of Getting Injured on Knicks Bench

Carmelo Anthony sits on the bench at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 3, 2015.
New York Daily News—Getty Images Carmelo Anthony sits on the bench at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 3, 2015.

He is expected to miss the next four months

Injured New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony hasn’t been seen on the bench next to his teammates in part because he is afraid of getting injured again by a hustling player who could run into him, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

Anthony is out for the season and is expected to miss the next four months after having surgery on his left knee in February.

The Knicks lost to the Brooklyn Nets 100-98 on Wednesday, extending their franchise-record number of losses in a season to 61.

According to the report, Anthony has been at Madison Square Garden to do light stretching and to mingle with teammates, but he does not join his teammates on the bench when tip-off arrives.

When Knicks coach Derek Fisher was asked if that was the reason that Anthony was not on the bench, he said he didn’t know.

Read more: NBA playoff race: Projected matchups

“You can ask him that if you ever get a chance to talk to him or the medical staff,’’ Fisher said. “There’s been no discussion whether Carmelo would be sitting on the bench when he’s recovering from a major knee surgery.”

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

 

TIME Theater

David Bowie Wrote a Play That Will Debut in New York

Musician David Bowie attends the 2010 CFDA Fashion Awards at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York Cit yon June 7, 2010 .
Jamie McCarthy—WireImage Musician David Bowie attends the 2010 CFDA Fashion Awards at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York Cit yon June 7, 2010 .

It's based on a sci-fi movie he was in

David Bowie has co-written a play will have an off-Broadway debut in the 2015-2016 season.

Lazarus, the show by Bowie and Enda Walsh, the playwright behind Once, was inspired by The Man Who Fell to Earth, a 1963 novel that then became a British sci-fi movie cult hit starring Bowie in 1976. Bowie’s character in the movie, an alien named Thomas Jerome Newton, will be the protagonist in the play, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The show will also contain new original songs by Bowie.

The show will be directed by Ivo van Hove and is set to be staged at the end of the year. Bowie himself is not due to appear onstage.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

 

TIME Terrorism

2 Women Arrested in New York for ISIS-Inspired Terror Plot

U.S. Marshals stand outside U.S. Federal Court in Brooklyn during the arraignment on terrorism charges of two Queens women in New York City on April 2, 2015.
Victor J. Blue–Getty Images U.S. Marshals stand outside U.S. Federal Court in Brooklyn during the arraignment on terrorism charges of two Queens women in New York City on April 2, 2015.

Two women and self-declared “citizens of the Islamic State” were arrested Thursday in connection to a plot to detonate homemade bombs in the United States.

Noelle Velentzas and Asia Siddiqui, both of Queens, N.Y., were charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against “persons or property” in the United States, according to a news release from the Department of Justice. Velentzas and Siddiqui were arrested in the borough by undercover agents, the AP reports.

Since at least August of 2014, the two women have been researching and acquiring materials to make homemade explosive devices. Most recently, the investigation revealed that one of them had a propane tank and instructions from a jihadist website for how to turn the tank into a bomb.

Both women “expressed their support for violent jihad,” and Velentzas has referred to Osama bin Laden as one of her heroes, according to the news release.

“We are committed to doing everything in our ability to detect, disrupt and deter attacks by homegrown violent extremists,” said U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch. “As alleged, the defendants in this case carefully studied how to construct an explosive device to launch an attack on the homeland. We remain firm in our resolve to hold accountable anyone who would seek to terrorize the American people, whether by traveling abroad to commit attacks overseas or by plotting here at home.”

The defendants’ initial appearances are scheduled for the afternoon of April 2. If convicted, both defendants face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Read next: Meet the Americans Who Have Joined an Iraqi Militia to Fight ISIS

TIME Religion

The Pope’s Silversmith is Creating an All-American Chalice

Pope Francis stands next to Argentinian craftsman Adrian Pallarols as he poses for the family photo with international football players at the Vatican on Sept. 2014 prior to an inter-religious "match for peace" soccer game that played at Rome's Olympic Stadium.
Vincenzo Pinto—AFP/Getty Images Argentinian silversmith Adrián Pallaros and Pope Francis pose with international soccer players at the Vatican on Sept. 2014 prior to an inter-religious "match for peace" soccer game that was played at Rome's Olympic Stadium.

It would be made from silver donated by Americans from around the country

An Argentinian silversmith is in New York City this week drumming up support for an unusual project: a silver communion chalice for the pope’s upcoming trip to the United States.

A seventh-generation silversmith who has known Pope Francis for more than a decade, Adrián Pallarols intends to make the chalice by melting down silver jewelry—”an earring, a little ring you don’t use,” anything with silver in it—donated by Americans from across the country.

Pallarols, 43, says Pope Francis would use the chalice during a mass when he visits New York City in September. Neither the Vatican nor the Archdiocese of New York has yet confirmed where that might be held. With a design featuring a map of the United States in the center of the handle plus the donated metals, the symbolism would be rich, Pallaros argues.

“Everybody, the whole country, will be in the prayers of Pope Francis here in New York when he lifts the chalice in the consecration,” Pallarols says. “Everybody can be in his hands for the prayers.”

Pallarols presented the idea for the chalice to Pope Francis in a private audience last month. He says any extra silver will be sold and the proceeds donated to Pope Francis’ efforts with the poor in the United States.

Courtesy of Adrian Pallaros

His family began handcrafting and designing silver in the 1750s in Barcelona, and they continued when they moved to Argentina in 1804. In recent years, the family’s clients have included Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, and Frank Sinatra, according to Vatican News.

When Pope Francis was still Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, he married Pallarols and his wife, and later he baptized their daughter. The Cardinal would stop by Pallaros’ workshop, Pallarols recalls, and chat about art and music. The Pallarols family crafted the chalice that Cardinal Bergoglio presented to Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, and after Bergoglio was named Pope, they crafted the personal chalice that Pope Francis uses for masses at his Vatican residence at Santa Marta, as well as various other projects.

Pallarols says the idea for the chalice came when he was approached for a paid assignment to create a cup for the pope’s New York visit. He recalled how then-Cardinal Bergoglio would often bring him gifts of silver he had received to sell and use the proceeds to buy food, clothes and blankets for the poor.

That’s a philosophy Pallarols wanted to bring to bear on this effort. Not only can thousands of Americans contribute a meaningful memento from their own life stories to the chalice, but the poor would also benefit from the overflowing of contributions.

“When you have a lot of money, you have chances to get a special place, because you can give a lot of money,” says Pallarols. “But in this way, having a little part of each person who will send a bit of silver, they can feel they can participate and they can see this piece of silver will get to the hands of Pope Francis.”

The project is still in the early stages, and Pallarols still has a lot of work ahead for it all to work. He aims to finalize the details during his trip to New York this week, and he is working to arrange the banking and donation details to meet Internal Revenue Service requirements and recruit corporate sponsors to help receive and mail the silver from around the country to one central location.

He plans to melt the silver pieces in New York into an ingot to transport to Buenos Aires to craft it into the chalice at his workshop. Pallaros says he can craft the chalice in one to two months, but he needs to have all the metal by June in order to finish the project by September.

“My biggest concern is not the constructing, it is the raising of the metal and participation of the people,” he says.

 

TIME On Our Radar

See Everyday Life in New York City’s Projects

Inhabitants were given cameras to document their own lives

Since its initiation in 1935, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has built hundreds of apartment blocks for hundreds of thousands of medium and low-income New Yorkers. The agency’s commitment to providing high-standard affordable housing was once widely admired and imitated around the country.

Today, these identifiable redbrick buildings have increasingly come to represent little more than physical proof of the city’s crime rates, and are regularly featured in tabloids and Hollywood films, says Jonathan Fisher, the editor of Project Lives, a photography book on life in public housing seen through the eyes of its inhabitants.

The perpetually biased presentations in the media, Fisher believes, end up doing more harm than good for the already disadvantaged residents. “Every image you saw in the media — they were either perpetrators or victims,” Fisher tells TIME. “There were just no good stories.”

Fisher first became intrigued by the concept in 2010, through conversations with his friend George Carrano, a former Metropolitan Transportation Authority official who has taken to photography in retirement. Together with photographer and educator Chelsea Davis, the three introduced the notion of “participatory photography” to the housing projects, aiming to change the negative perceptions of their living conditions and culture.

“The idea that you can give cameras, equipment and training to people who are marginalized in society and empower them to take their own portraits, find their own narratives, that just seems to be so appealing to us,” Fisher says.

The program offered a 12-week workshop to residents, most of whom are children and seniors. Once a week, Davis, previously the director of another participatory photo project at St. Louis Children’s Hospital for children struggling with cancer, invited residents into the world of photography with an education on inspirational photographers and photo techniques. After each class, she equipped her students with single-usage film cameras and sent them out to “take pictures of your life and of things that are important to you.”

The pictures residents brought back surprised them.

“[We] felt we might get back pictures of the broken toilets that hadn’t flushed in two years, and the crime chalk marks on the sidewalk, all kinds of other horrifying images, but we got none of that. We didn’t edit that out,” Fisher says. “All we got was these wonderful pictures of [people] celebrating their lives.”

Jared Wellington, 14, a former resident of the Red Hook housing project in Brooklyn, New York, participated in the program two years ago, during which he turned his lens onto his everyday life. “I try to find myself in my photos,” he explains. “I try to show how I see my friends, family and neighbors.”

“He just carried the camera like it was part of him,” his mother Celia tells TIME. And while the family cannot afford a camera, Wellington keeps making pictures using his mother’s cell phone and is inspired to continue studying photography.

Project Lives, published by powerHouse Books, is available here.

Ye Ming is a contributor to TIME LightBox. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

MONEY Taxes

Want to Pay Lower Taxes? Here’s Where You Should Move

Downtown, Juneau, Alaska
Jochen Tack—Alamy Juneau, Alaska

Leave New York for Alaska.

If you want to keep a bigger portion of your paycheck next year, pick up and head west. According to a new report from WalletHub, the states with the lowest tax burdens on the middle class include Alaska, Montana, and Wyoming. The states with the heaviest tax burdens on the middle class: New York, Illinois, Arkansas, Hawaii, and Maryland.

In fact, you’ll pay the fewest taxes in Alaska whether you’re rich, poor, or somewhere in the middle. Altogether, low earners pay an average of 5.4% of their income in total taxes (including sales taxes, property taxes, and income taxes), middle earners pay an average of 4.5%, and high earners pay an average of just 3.4%.

Compare that to New York state, where households earning $50,000 pay an average of 12.4% of income in taxes. WalletHub found that New York state was the worst state for middle and high earners and the eighth worst for low earners.

Here are the full rankings.

The five states where middle earners (households making $50,000) pay the least:

  1. Alaska
  2. Delaware
  3. Nevada
  4. Montana
  5. Wyoming

The five states where middle earners (households making $50,000) pay the most:

  1. New York
  2. Illinois
  3. Arkansas
  4. Hawaii
  5. Maryland

The five states where high earners (households making $150,000) pay the least:

  1. Alaska
  2. Wyoming
  3. Nevada
  4. Tennessee
  5. South Dakota

The five states where high earners (households making $150,000) pay the most:

  1. New York
  2. Connecticut
  3. Maryland
  4. New Jersey
  5. Minnesota

The five states where low-income earners (households making $25,000) pay the least:

  1. Alaska
  2. Delaware
  3. Montana
  4. Nevada
  5. South Carolina

The five states where low-income earners (households making $25,000) pay the most:

  1. Washington
  2. Hawaii
  3. Illinois
  4. Arizona
  5. Ohio

Read the full WalletHub report here.

For answers to your tax questions, check out MONEY’s 2015 Tax Guide:
11 Smart Ways to Use Your Tax Refund
Don’t Make These 8 Classic Tax Filing Fails
Why the IRS Probably Won’t Audit Your Return This Year

TIME Israel

7 Children Killed in House Fire Brought to Israel for Burial

Fatal Brooklyn Fire
Julio Cortez—AP Mourners attend funeral services for the seven siblings killed in a house fire in Brooklyn on March 22, 2015

The family had moved about a year and a half ago from East Jerusalem

(NEW YORK) — The bodies of seven siblings who died in a house fire are headed to Israel for burial, a day after their sobbing father told mourners in his ultra-Orthodox Jewish community how much joy they had brought him.

“They were so pure,” Gabriel Sassoon said Sunday of his children during a eulogy. “My wife, she came out fighting.”

Flames engulfed the family’s two-story, brick-and-wood home in Brooklyn’s Midwood neighborhood early Saturday, likely after a hot plate left on a kitchen counter set off the fire that trapped the children and badly injured their mother and another sibling, investigators said.

The tragedy had some neighborhood Jews reconsidering the practice of keeping hot plates on for the Sabbath, a common modern method of obeying tradition prohibiting use of fire on the holy day.

The service at the Shomrei Hadas funeral home began with prayers in Hebrew, accompanied by the wailing voices of mourners. They could be heard through speakers that broadcast the rite to thousands of people gathered outside on the streets in traditional black robes and flat-brimmed hats.

After the funeral, mourners hugged the sides of SUVs with flashing lights that took the bodies of the children, ages 5 to 16 — accompanied by their father — to John F. Kennedy International Airport for the flight to Israel.

Sassoon’s surviving wife and a daughter — Gayle Sassoon and 14-year-old Siporah Sassoon — remained in critical condition on respirators.

“My children were unbelievable. They were the best,” Sassoon said at their funerals, calling them “angels.”

Authorities identified the victims as girls Eliane, 16; Rivkah, 11; and Sara, 6; and boys David, 12; Yeshua, 10; Moshe, 8; and Yaakob, 5.

“Eliane was a spirited child. Rivkah, she had so much joy,” their father said.

Rivkah “gave joy to everybody,” he said. “And David, he was so fun.”

Yeshua was “always trying to make others happy,” as was Yaakob, Sassoon said.

At the time of the fire, Sassoon — a religious education instructor — was in Manhattan at a Shabbaton, an educational retreat.

The hot plate was left on for the Sabbath, which lasts from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. Many religious Jews use one to keep food warm, obeying the traditional prohibition on use of fire on the holy day as well as work in all forms, including turning on appliances.

The Sassoons’ hot plate apparently malfunctioned, setting off flames that tore up the stairs, trapping the children in their second-floor bedrooms as they slept, investigators said.

A neighbor, Karen Rosenblatt, said she called 911 after seeing flames and smoke billowing from the home. Her husband said he heard “what seemed like a young girl scream, ‘Help me! Help me!'” she said.

Firefighters arrived in less than four minutes and discovered the badly burned and distraught mother pleading for help, officials said. When they broke in the door, they encountered a raging fire that had spread through the kitchen, dining room, common hall, stairway leading upstairs and the rear bedrooms.

“I couldn’t help crying my heart out as I saw the house,” said Dalia Hen, 51, a Midwood neighbor. “It’s like our own children.”

State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who represents Midwood, said he’s hearing from more and more people concerned about use of the hot plates on Sabbath. He said he called his daughter, who has six children and uses a hot plate, and told her, “You’ve got to stop using that.”

“This is an important wakeup call for people, because it may save your life or the life of your children,” he said.

Shifra Schorr, 44, a mother of five a few blocks from the Sassoon house, said she and her friends don’t use hot plates, but “we’re all talking about it.”

Earlier at the family’s fire-gutted home on Bedford Avenue, a police officer stood guard as contractors boarded up windows with plywood.

Across the street from the Sassoon home, 89-year-old Izzy Abade said he’d watched Gayle Sassoon grow up, then her children.

“They used to play right across the street, riding bikes, playing in the backyard, playing ball.”

The family had moved about a year and a half ago from East Jerusalem, a contested part of the city where both Arabs and Jews live.

“There’s only one way to survive this,” Gabriel Sassoon said of his children’s deaths. “There is only total and complete, utter surrender.”

TIME Transportation

Uber Cars Outnumber Yellow Cabs on Streets of New York

Taxis New York
Mario Tama—Getty Images Taxis pass Broadway theater billboards in Times Square in New York City.

Statistics from NYC’s taxi regulator reveal an important milestone for the ride-sharing service

Uber cars have overtaken yellow cabs on the streets of New York City.

There are 14,088 registered Uber cars compared with 13,587 yellow taxis, according to new statistics from New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission.

The figures, reported by the AP, reflect the rapid expansion of the ride-sharing service, which was introduced in New York in 2011.

But as the AP notes, the numbers don’t mark the demise of the yellow cab just yet. While there are more registered Uber cars, there are still roughly 15 times as many daily rides in yellow cabs as there are in Uber vehicles.

Uber drivers are likely to own their car and drive less than 40 hours per week, while yellow taxis are generally owned by companies that find drivers for the cars during all hours of the week.

[AP]

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com