Thursday, August 28, 2008

*Everyday Chatter

Supermodel Kate Moss is cast in solid gold: "2.8 million, 110-pound solid gold...the largest such creation built since ancient Egypt." [yahoo]

Last year I visited the Antiques Garage, final holdout of the Chelsea flea market, soon after its building was sold to a developer for $42.7 million. It was just a matter of time, and today we hear it's leaving the hood for good. [Racked]

Huge East 125th Street rezone flies right under the radar. [Curbed]

Read this insane story about a self-described "loud, pushy," but "deeply sensative" [sic] wealthy mom's ad looking for a nanny--she's also looking for a book deal (aren't we all?). [Times]

Bodega cats rock. And for that they deserve their very own flickr pool--for when the bodegas vanish, so will the bodega cats.

Has NYC's flourishing bachelorette culture inspired little booze-flavored gummi penises? Only if you can wear them around your neck. [Grub St]

A commenter here mentioned "Shteeble Row," a term I was not familiar with. I had no idea that's what I was snapping pictures of along 225-283 East Broadway, now going "synagondo." A search turned up this appealing flickr set.

And checking in with some ongoing developments around town...

The first floor of 15 Union Square West, that big black condo, is shaping up to look an awful lot like a future bank:

The gutting of Kurowycky has picked up the pace and is going like gangbusters:

The foundation of 1 Jackson Square is cemented and now the scaffolding is expanding--into the street and into the sky:


Anonymous said...

When the fuck will this end...someone make it stop. Please..

Anonymous said...

booze flavored gummi penises--huh

Anonymous said...

Bodega Cats is the sweetest photo pool ever! Thank you so much for this.

And a shout-out to my kitteh homies at Zaragoza Mexican grocery (Ave A @ 13) and Village Farm Grocery (2nd @ 10th)!

Mark said...

The ground floor of 15 Union Square West will be an HSBC branch. They're relocating from Zeckendorf Towers, across the park on Park Avenue South.

Unknown said...

i've seen those booze flavoured gummi penises at bachelorette parties in vegas and atlantic city. i guess it's ok for those occasions, but on an everyday basis? oh wait, everyday is like a bachelorette/bachelor party in NYC and esp. EV. oh well.

Anonymous said...

Spending weekends at the flea market lots along Sixth Avenue, between 24th-26th Streets, since the mid-80s was pure heaven for me. At its peak, the Chelsea Flea Market had 5 lots within a block of each other, where I always found stuff I still treasure, and at a good price too.

I've met and spoken with countless antique afficionados and dealers, with whom I share a love for all things old and the desire to keep in touch with the glorious past.

As the market began losing one lot at a time, I observed that the market, located in what was once a dead area, had attracted the very elements (real estate parasites + yuppie scum) that would lead to its ultimate demise. But somehow, the market perservered.

Now all that's left is the lot on West 25th, between Sixth + Broadway, and the garage on West 25th. The dealers I know have all told me that after November, the garage will be gone. (Can you imagine the debt load on a %42.5 purchace price? This does not include the cost of demolition and erecting whatever vertical monstrosity takes the place of the garage.)

With the removal of the garage, some of my favorite market vendors, prefering to be inside on a cold winter day or when it's raining, will be gone as well.

When the area that once housed the flea markets is saturated with skyscraping yuppie ghettos, what the hell will be the point of living there? Anything interesting or of cultural significance has been and what little is left is being wiped out.

Early next year, after the (s)election of the next president, interest rates will rise dramatically as the availability of money for loans dries up. You know what happens then -- inflated property values evaporate, leading to a huge wave of defaults and foreclosures as the economy grinds to a halt. (This is the scam the money masters pull in roughly ten year cycles: inflate the economy and sell holdings at the peak of the market, then implode the economy and buy assets for pennies on the dollar -- this is what was behind the market crash of October 1929).

In each cycle, real estate developers overbuild beyond market demand because money is so readily available. In the 80s cycle, they built too many hotels; in the 90s cycle, they built too much office space; in the current cycle, they're building too many "luxury" apts. All of these developments end up vacant when the money supply is restricted as inflated property values crumble.

Why we're seeing a frenzy of activity in demolishing old buildings and then putting up crappy structures as quickly as possible is because developers are trying to lock into what money they can get at low rates before the coming crash results in higher rates and makes loans and funding unavailable.

To assist the private sector, areas are re-zoned, variances are granted, tax credits and other breaks are provided, and low-interest loans are made readily available. In this way, city govt can change the demographics of the city by using the private sector, leading folks to focus their anger on developers rather than on the officials that make the destruction of their neighborhoods possible.

It matters not that developers are not building according to demand -- the real goal is to get rid of the poor folks who stand in the way of gentrifying every fucking inch of the city.

The out-of-scale building that has been permitted to take place in the old-world neighborhoods around the city is the best proof of this.

A nice market crash (even though it is manipulated) will stop this over-development for a while, at least until the next cycle of inflated property values begins anew.

But, the irreversable damage has been and is still being done. Even after the crashes, displaced residents cannot return to their apts, mom + pop shops don't re-open, beautiful old buildings and architecture that define the character of neighborhoods is gone forever and the social fabric of neighborhoods is eliminated.

New York City is dying....