PHONE AND GAMES

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Want a $493 apartment in the Lower East Side? So do a lot of other people, as the city’s Housing Preservation and Development commissioner Richard Roberts found out last week.

Pranksters placed an ad in the Village Voice advertising one-bedroom apartments for $493 and two-bedroom apartments for $564, and gave the commish’s phone number. “Call Mr. Roberts, 863-8100 re: affordable housing plan,” reads the ad.

“We’re just getting on HPD’s case,” explained one of the ad authors, who works with a lower Manhattan protest group. “It’s a prank to dramatize the fact that HPD has no affordable housing plan at all.” A harried assistant in Roberts’ office directed callers to a recorded message that lists the agency’s low-income housing programs. The anonymous prankster said the group planned to send flowers to apologize to Roberts’ staff.