Thursday, December 4, 2008

Frozen New York

Nick Paumgarten in this week's New Yorker wonders what the city will look like in our new Depression. He imagines the future. A quick look around town reveals that the future is now:

"Walking or riding along the avenues, you can imagine the storefronts without tenants. Bank branches, juice bars, shops selling electronics and scarves: all of them gone, unable to make the rent, and the landlords, verging on default, unable to lure replacements."

8th Street ghost town

"A friend who worked in Southeast Asia in the nineteen-nineties, during the recession there, recalls visiting Bangkok and Jakarta to see the abandoned high-rises of the preceding economic boom. He found ranges of half-finished buildings, derelict superstructures occupied by tent shanties and with squatters gathered around fires. It may be no great leap from there to a vision here of burning garbage cans and jerry-rigged cardboard in Washington Mutual’s cashless vestibules or the bare aisles of Circuit City."

14th St and 7th Ave

Little West 12th

"We have inherited, from the good years, a glut of housing, almost all of it of the unaffordable kind—condos galore—and an increase in office space amid a sudden, steep decrease in the need for it. Throw in the high cost, or total unavailability, of capital, owing to the credit freeze, and you have a New York that may be frozen in time."

4th Ave, Park Slope

Related posts:
New York Pentimento
Manhattan Apocalypse


Anonymous said...

Can somebody please briefly explain how landlords make money when their storefronts are without tenants?

Anonymous said...

Yep, feels pretty familiar. Good juxtaposition of this essay and the pics, Jeremiah. Maybe this should be a dedicated section on your flickr? I can see this only getting worse and worse in 2009. - BN

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks BN--good idea. i've been noticing a lot of homeless encampments sprouting and getting quite complicated all over town.

Mark said...

I recently counted approximately 32 empty store fronts on 8th Street between 6th Avenue & Broadway.

The street is a ghost town, always empty.

Years ago, this was the main drag that linked the two Villages together.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Upstate New York's reality, folks.

Buffalo. Rochester. Syracuse. Utica.

Sit down and join your country cousins. You're going to be here a while.

Anonymous said...

I'll take empty storefronts over ones teeming with yunnies any day. Normal people have absolutely no reason to go into either and IMHO they're equally blighted. Bring on the mass desertion. More room and maybe even some decent rents for the rest of us.