Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Daily News

Opinions are like, well, you know. And everybody has them. Today, mine's on the Opinion page of the Daily News. Here's an excerpt:

Please visit the Daily News to read the rest.

Thanks to the commenter who tipped me to NY1's mention of this piece:

For more reading:
About This Blog
The Bloomberg Way
On Thrift
Gated New York

For more daily news from the Lower East Side:
EV Grieve
Bowery Boogie
Neither More Nor Less
Flaming Pablum


Anonymous said...

Bravo! Let's take to the streets!

Anonymous said...

As a regular reader of your blog I was delighted to see your editorial in the DN. Pat Kiernan even pointed it out on NY1. It's great to see the opinion of so many of us, so well expressed by you, in a big daily paper.

Anonymous said...

A hearty congratulations! Bravo, indeed.

Anonymous said...

Excellent! Well done.

Thank you. (I feel as if you were speaking for all of 'us.')


Anonymous said...

Well said! That is some great exposure, the daily news has a print circulation of over 700k and I'm sure the website gets a fair amount of traffic as well. You're already listed as #5/4 in the most read/most emailed categories for today.

Lets just hope that some of your new readers will take these issues to heart and say no to the hypergentrification, overdevelopment and selling out of this city to megadevelopers, overzealous politicians and the mindless yunnies who follow them.

This reminds me of that old saying, the pen is mighter than the sword.


Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks everyone. i'm glad to get the word out that not all of us in NYC are feeling 100% gloomy about this stuff.

and thanks anon for the NY1 tip. very cool.

Barbara L. Hanson said...

Eloquent and moving. Well done!

Anonymous said...

In the spring '01, just after the property tax hike, I stopped at a small neighborhood bagel shop at Lexington & 87th (I believe). It was small and you could feel the dirt floor beneath the linoleum. They had a kindly said sign apologizing for the 10 cent increase on the bagels but their rent had been increased $3,000 a month. From that moment on I knew not only would rents become unaffordable but so would goods and services -- I began thinking and saying we are on the fast track to becoming another Monaco -- gated community is even better.

A few years later I was walking through the Meat Packing District and thought I was in Aspen, I was shocked. I had walked my dog there throughout the '90's warily watching for rats but enjoying the past and present of a business district.

I was a resident of the West Village for 16 years and moved to the Upper Westside to find a mix of neighbors. Those of us who lived in the Village for any length of time all have the same stunned description of what it is now.

I, too, have quietly hoped the financial debacle would stop, if not turn back, what has happened to our city.

Anonymous said...

I have been hating New York City for a very long time. When I was a little girl we used to go to the park to "feed the birds" -- it was something that a lot of families did together - a way for city kids to have a dose of something natural. In the last 10 or 15 years, "feeding the birds" has been tantamount to a felony where so much of New York has been policed by real estate thugs who have a heart attack if you dare drop a crumb on THEIR sidewalks. Central Park is now Central Park Conservancy -- a public/private partnership which strongly discourages and punishes feeding the birds. Bryant Park is the same. While it is a relief to see the truly derelict and drunken collection have been moved away from the area, the pristine and sterile management has been on a mission to "get rid of" all wildlife that has made Bryant Park their home for at least a century. Want some hilarious trivia? The NY Public Library originally was a natural museum which showcased BIRDS. I strongly believe that we need an integrated environment which not only tolerates our urban (non tax paying, I should add) wildlife, but encourages the city to have programs (a wildlife rehab center in the park, just once example) which help to sustain it. I hate the fact that the city is completely over run with tourists who all come here from far away places where the dollar is down and their Euros are up and its all about shopping til they drop...I have been trying hard to live in Brooklyn where allegedly the rents were more affordable but the real estate bullies have amended (read: changed) the laws and now any landlord who can prove they have spent more than 1/3 of the property value of their building on renovations is allowed to come out of "rent control" status. And any unit that hits the $2,000 month limit automatically comes out of rent control. So landlords everywhere are RACING to raise rents (say, for example you move into an apt. that is 1450...the game is how fast can you bump that up to $2,000!!) to get the rent to 2,000 they are pushing the highest possible rent increases as they hope to blast out of what is left of rent stabilization. Sorry for the blurting out and not terribly organized comment but wanted to respond to your post today. While you are concerned about the gentrification impact on ordinary New Yorkers, I'm concerned about how it impacts our non-voting New Yorkers, our squirrels, sparrows, and yes pigeons. The city I remember was a place where going to the park and feeding the birds was welcomed and made the huge cement and steel of our town somehow less so. Now I have to watch my back if -- God forbid -- I drop a crumb on the sidewalk. Try that at Rock Center and you'll be surrounded by security guards and threatened with your life. I'm not kidding. Any bird -- especially pigeons -- are seen as simply threats to the value of real estate. No effort or thought is made to how they have lived in our city for centuries and deserve thoughtful accommodation as well. Areas could be designated -- bird baths (god forbid!) could provide clean water. Fresh bird seed could be "allowed" to be put out in designated areas drawing them away from high foot trafficked areas and/or drawing them to those who would like the opportunity to take a few minutes to feed them. It's more complex than this one comment can possibly cover, but I thought I'd share some of my perspective.

Anonymous said...

Though I share your nostalgia for the old New York, and for the past couple years have been documenting it for a film, I remember cringing a bit when I first noticed your enthusiasm a few months ago about the ensuing economic crisis. Since that time, a number of people close to me have lost their jobs, myself included. I think you forget that a lot of regular New Yorkers who have been here for awhile are being hit a lot harder than even the investment bankers you rightly disdain. It's not just the glass condos that will be vanishing...

Unknown said...

Any thoughts on the Daily News being essentially responsible for the demise of the "Brodaway" sign in the Broadway G-train station?

Anonymous said...

Right. NOT 100% gloomy at all.

MORE Rats please!

LESS Yuppies, Yunnies and Hipsters.


Jeremiah Moss said...

true, job loss is the downside in the downturn. of course, we have every major medium telling us this daily. that's thoroughly covered. despair is simply not the entire story.

Eden Bee said...

Great article! You do speak for many...

Anonymous said...

Nice work, man!

Anonymous said...

J, congrats on bringing some enlightenment to mainstream media. I saw my wonderful neighborhood, the West Village, destroyed and then populated with an egregious, braying herd. I said goodbye to all that.

Anonymous said...

Great column!

Now the news that Joe Sitt wants to rip up Red Hook.

Anonymous said...

I moved to the East Village in 1977 when I was 19. The City is sure no fun now, but be careful what you wish for. It was one thing to only have to work a couple of days of month to make your rent. It'll never be like that again. It will take 30 years for the City to get back to the gotham of your idylls.

Also, come the revolution, do you realize what side the people will think you - white smart creative types - have been on?

Jill said...

Nice article, succinctly wrapped up the issue. Job loss is a terrible side effect, and I fear for my job daily, but can't agree with you more about the upside.

There was so much fake money running around the city we are living proof of why get rich quick schemes always fail in the end.

Want to see dismal - read the article about Florida in last week's New Yorker. We are nowhere near that kind of disaster.

Colonnade Row said...

Good job, J!

Anonymous said...

Amen, brother Jeremiah.

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks everybody--and for speaking up to show that there is a strong voice of dissent out there.

Unknown said...

I dunno, i'm still pissed about this whole "Brodaway" thing. That sign was intact in all its misspelled splendor for over 70 years. Then, the day after the Daily News blows the lid off the case, wham, it's gone.

Jeremiah Moss said...

not sure i can join in this one, as i am rather a stickler about typos. was it really there for 70 years?

Todd HellsKitchen said...

Yes yes! I saw it in the paper and said, hey I read that guy regularly!

Anonymous said...

I'm really baffled by some of these comments. Apparently a bankrupt city running rampant with crime and drugs is preferable to a watered down version of what you remember from 30 years ago? Of course the city is no longer what you remember, you're 50+ now.

When you first moved here in the 70's as misfit outcasts from where ever you were from, do you think the 50+ crowd thought it was good for the city? do you think people enjoyed seeing seeing their own favorite neighborhoods transformed into drug infested punk havens? absolutely not. Face the facts, you're old, you are out of tough with what the "young" people enjoy or are up to. They have their own places that they cherish, they're own dive bars, they're own thing. The world changes, the country changes and yes, "you're" city changes.

Granted some of the changes of the past couple of years have gotten out of hand, but I don't shed a tear when my local shoe shine, cleaner's, pharmacy or hardware store goes out of business. People don't get their shoes shined as much anymore, we wear casual shoes now, we don't need one on every corner. Call me crazy but I prefer DR to a Mom and Pop - they are cheaper, cleaner, they have more variety and there's always one open.

I just think some people here need to get over themselves and grow up a little, you're not a 19 yr old "atriste" anymore, life goes on and those that can adapt to change have much easier time...

Anonymous said...

I am originally from Chicago (great housing stock, cheap rents, and way too few Asian girls), and they have Walgreens there. I loved this store. They were once a Mom and Pop place, but they were so good that they went public and expanded. They have a store on Astor Place, but it is not was well run as the one near my loft in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood.

They big deal is that they pay decent wages and the employees know it and work hard to keep the place nice. It is not about corporate vs. small time. Many small shops screw their employees and it shows in high turnover and attitude. New York is dreadful in this way. Too many shops pay poorly so employees take no pride in what they do. They change jobs all the time and act like they are better than everyone else. I have heard these so-called artists and actors complain about how they not appreciated when in fact they just suck. That is why they are poor.

The problem with New York is that it is filled with self-absorbed jerks. In my experience these are not the guys wearing suits. I have blue collar friends who bought their condos/coops in the East Village in the 1970s and they are cool, just like the MBAs and lawyers who buy there now. It is the arrogant wannabe artists/actors who suck. The guys I know who have lived here say they sucked back in the so-called glory days of the 1980s.

I wish rents were cheaper, but the fact is that newcomers must pay inflated rents to accomodate rent regulation and New York's zoning nightmare. New York needs more housing, but every new project is resisted. Futhermore, forcing affordable units in Manhattan increases market-rate rents. We need less complaining by people who contribute little to society other than attitude.

I love history and I want to preserve New York, but the only way to do this without the city becoming a wealthy enclave like most European capitals is to relax zoning in areas without extreme historical significance. That means more high rises on the West Side and perhaps something like Battery Park City (a great idea for 30,000 people where there was once nothing) on the river front in the LES and E.Village. All of those empty lots below Houston close to the river and the projects should be densely populated market rate high rises. 50,000 units would do wonders to slow rental increases. Affordable housinng should be built in areas such as Staten Island where it will not put pressure on market rate rents. These are not popular ideas, but they work. They are supported by longshoremen and actuaries and the real workers in New York who like well-run locally-owned places as well as well-run chains like Walgreens.

Overall, New York is filled with d-bags with tatoos who are lazy and contribute nothing. We do not have enough hard working migrants from exotic places like China and Iowa (both sources of hot women). New York has lots of jobs so people come here. I would rather be in Chicago, but no one will employ me there. Most financial/legal types are in the same bind. Yes we drive up rents, but so do hipsters with roomates. Furthermore, those jerks choose to live here. They can be someboy's assistant anywher.

We need more housing and less attitude. We need more preservation of pretty places such as Tribeca, but we need places like Battery Park City to increase supply enough to restrain prices. That means that BPC needs more high rises in the long run (something so-called community activits fight, driving up the cost of zoning and ultimately rents) in order to ease the pressure in Tribeca. The LES and EV need a BPC equivalent to add tens of thousands of residential units or pricing will exceed the West Village and go beyond. Stuytown is ugly and planned like Soviet housing. It would be cool to level that, extend A,B,C, and D but with market-rate buildings like Batter Park City (the kind you hate). This would relieve the pressure of increased demand that is not going to go away.

The massive decline in Manhattan's population allowed all of that quality housing stock downtown to become cheap in the 1960s and 1970s. This will not happen again. You might see depopulation in the suburbs, but the housing stock and transit suck. Sorry for the long post, but it needed saying. You kick around working people just because they wear suits. We get alon well with the blue collar folks, and all of us hate hipsters and their protests and their colonizing of our bars because they are "authentic." We just do not bitch about it.

The bloggah said...

I accept the 'Anons' challenge. I agree, all age groups and demographics have the 'hot spots' of their times, but there's a lot to be said for maintaining some sense of tradition...history, not to mention nostalgia. But you can't instill that philosophy in anyone; they can only gain that understanding with time. 'Anon' will learn that soon enough when the familiarity of his/her youth starts to vanish from the city streets.

A friend once told me that at a 50th birthday party friends threw for him (mind you, most of his friends were about 5 years or more younger than him), they asked him for a speech and he said, "You know the best thing about turning 50, is that I get to sit back and laugh at you all you bitches go through the same thing I did!"

Ha, I think that just about sums it up.

Anonymous said...

To the Duane Reade lover:

"Cleaner? Cheaper? Better Selection?" And you call people in their 40s and 50s "old"? You sound just like my Grandma Bubby when she retired to Florida. "Oye, my feet hurt so much! Good thing there's a Duane Reade on every cohnah. The prices are so much cheapah!"

There was a time in New York City, a very long time period, 60, 70 years or more when young people came here to follow there creative "calling" or whatever you want to label it. In the 40s and 50s it was the Beats in the 60s it was the hippies, in the 70s and 80s and 90s it was the punks. Not to mention all of the landscape changing artist like DeKooning and Pollack. What does your generation offer? NOTHING. I guess the desire to live and create outside the mainstream is just an idea for 'old' people. You 'younger' people just want convenience. Yeah, okay. In any of the previous eras in NYC that concept would have had you eating your own butthole for lunch. I could go on an on, but I'll put $50 bucks down that says by the time you're 'old' you and your spouse will be in a McMansion in Jersey with your darling little children, living life 'Revolutionary Road' style. Enjoy!

Captain Bringdown said...

To Duane Reade Lover:

Your grammar is atrocious. Your worldview is myopic. Your shoes need shining and your kind is no longer welcome here.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:04 doth protest too much. What's the matter? Too many of those artists stealing all of the "hot chicks" from you salt of the earth financial types? Yes, let's set up work camps on Staten Island for all of the people you find too poor, too unattractive, and who work in the wrong professions.

"Overall, New York is filled with d-bags with tatoos who are lazy and contribute nothing"

Why not move? You'd decrease that population that way

Jill said...

Tim: you made me laugh heartily, thanks for composing the perfect response.

Anonymous said...

I am the anon above who said I moved to the East Village in 1977. Compared to then, I'm old now, no doubt. The problem with waxing rhapsodic about the way the city used to be is (and this is what Duane Reade anon tried to clumsily articulate) which city? Whose city?

Trust me, you don't want to live in the East Village in 1977 - although we loved it. It was incredibly dangerous and skanky, but we were young and stupid. That's the only way you could love it. Also, there were little day to day problems like having no heat or hot water and junkies shooting up in the hallway getting blood on the walls and stuff.

The East Village in 1987? Well that was fun, but really pretentious. Lot's of people got famous, and lots did not. There was a nasty competitive atmosphere in the air. Plus people were dropping like flies from AIDs.

The East Village in 1997? Well, it was all well gone by then, but some nostaligic waxers had just gotten here, right? You long for that time.

So what are you wishing for?

I don't like the city now. I certainly don't like the Duane Reades on every corner, but I do like having a cash machine, having other than Ukrainian restaurants in which to eat and being able to get a New York Times without walking to Broadway.

Here's the thing that Duanie (May I call you Duanie?) doesn't get. With the mom and pop stores there was a PERSONAL connection. No doubt the big chains have more stuff. But the little stores could really help you out, like, say if you didn't have money or needed something in particular or with info about a really great cheap apartment.

Also, the proprietors were funny and odd and endearing and could tell some really great stories - like about the Great Depression (now that would be helpful right now wouldn't it?) So that's one reason to wax nostalgic.

The best reason to wax: $200 rent, $300 rent, $400 rent etc. etc.

Jeremiah Moss said...

the ideal of course would be to create a fantasy new york, a new york made of all the best parts of every past (and present) new york. for me, off the top of my head, such a city would include plenty of:
-men in gray hats
-neon and chrome
-burlesque, peep shows, and taxi dance halls
-stevedores riding the subway with hooks in hand
-punks on st. marks
-double-features at matinee prices
-cheap rent on apartments with exposed brick walls
-itinerant shoeshine men
-howard johnson's
-boho girls
-gay men in leathers on christopher st.
-meat in the meatpacking district
-tranny hookers
...and, yes, enough (but not too many) conveniences like banks with atms, a couple fro-yo shops, throw a few starbucks in there if you want...


Jill said...

I would add:
- Working artists
- NYU students who live in dorms, not apartments.
- butcher and fishmonger in the east village, just like all the other neighborhoods
- video rental stores
- The Ramones playing gigs at places like CBGBs and Rye Playland, in the same week
- No glass buildings below 23rd St. and above financial district
- Libraries open daily
- Bodegas on every corner, some with legitimate food, some for playing the numbers
- Bagel shop in EV
- Egg cream carts with a free pretzel
- No curfew in TSP
- Flea markets
- Excellent giant graffiti on the outside of subway cars
- Squats? Maybe...
- Polish meat smoking shops
- Interim use parking lots
- Bandshells

Anonymous said...

I miss all those things, but I don't want them back. Luckily, I was disabused of fetishing NYC by a great blogger named L'ermmeduer when I was waxing about Miguel Pinero.

When I look at your list, I remember those things fondly, but New York has always been a protean, intellectually and physically muscular city. If anything, that is what's missing.

Duanie was onto something when he was discussing, you know, the atristes.

If I want anything, I want the city to be less appealing to the bland, white (and I use that word broadly, perhaps vanilla is a more apt adjective - denuded of its erotic overtones) upper middle class youngsters who come here in droves.

It's true the East Village used be the place you came if you didn't fit in your small town or second-rate city. But, New York, always attracted the best intellects, the smartest money guys, the most creative artists, the most aspirational immigrants. That's what I miss.

New York should always be in a state of change, but what we have witnessed particularly over the past 15 years, is a bankruptcy of quality (to wit: Duanie). I mean, he has a point, but he can't even mount a cogent, hell coherent, argument.

Additionally, I have no more nostalgia for Club 57 as I do for Balzac's Paris or Joseph Mitchell's New York. Those places can always be visited. What I miss is the excitement about what's to come.

That is where the oncoming Depression might be advantageous. Only the strong will survive. The cosseted will go back to wherever they came from and their younger brothers and sisters will have the good sense to not bother to come. Let's face it, 3/4 of the I-Bankers should have been loan officers in their respective regional banks. Those ubiquitous Sex and the City media girls - the Junior League of Grosse Pointe awaits. They'd be happier, and they don't even know it.

Luc Sante has many great quotes about New York, this is an oldie but goodie:

I used to pine, but now I say: tear it down, tear it all down, as long as the new is colossal in the most antique sense of that word.

Anonymous said...

New York draws more of the best and the brightest than ever before. That is why the rents have sky-rocketed. Granted, there are trust fund babies, but not enough to move the market.

The real problem is that the city has refused to accomodate growth. The long-run result of such actions is to create a wealthy urban core with overcrowded suburbs filled with those who service rich center.

New York can choose an alternative, but that means that Manhattan and Brooklyn must allow a meaningful growth in residential housing units. This means more high rises and land reclamation projects (like Hong Kong).

As individuals, we can help by shopping in second story retail shops (this drives down retail rents) and voting for officials who support growth.

There can be no stopping the relentless rise in rents without either increasing the supply of housing or dramatically reducing demand. The former is far more appealing to me than the latter.

Anonymous said...

I disagree that New York attracts more of the best and the brightest than ever before. That may be true commercially, but there are a whole host of ways one can be the best and the brightest that does not provide sufficient remuneration to allow that person to live in the city.

Rents have increased for a whole host of reasons; however, I don't think it's owing to the dearth of new housing stock. The past couple of decades have been rife with the building of luxury coops, condos and apartments. When you consider how much of industrial and business Manhattan has been converted to residential property - I don't have figures - but I bet there has been at least a 50% increase in housing stock.

There is way to stop the relentless rise of rents without decreasing demand or increasing stock - commerical and residential rent control, regulation and subsidies of other kinds. This is not a popular argument, but if we want the mix of incomes that makes the city exciting this is the only way it can be achieved.

How to pay for it? Clearly tax the rich. One reason they have been able to over-run the city is the rampant increase in wealth. They should give some back.

Anonymous said...

I originally posted about DR (Duanie)and no I'm not a lover of DR and all things corporate. I'm making a point (clumsy at best as one commentor mentioned) that the city landscape changes and the things that some people loved 30 years ago are not the same things [young]people of today love. I am also making the point that much of the "character" meaning a variety of people still exists, it's just that some stand out much more than others, those that appear different from your ideal. I'm also making a general point about the mom and pop stores, they often offer inferior products and services so I without a doubt prefer this local NYC chain (DR - there it is again!) to Joe's pharmacy, CVS and many others.

As for getting my shoes shined, I most certainly do get them shined at a local shoe shine, my point was that we do not need them on every corner, many will close and lose business because sneakers, canvas, etc are more acceptable, therefore less business for the shoe shine shops.

Keep in mind that some of the changes going on today may be landmarks or areas of nostaglia 30 years from now that go out of business that some people will grieve. Think of St. Marks, once an enclave to all things punk is now more of a little Tokyo. Why is this so awful? Because for a brief moment in NYC's history this was home to punks that don't really exist anymore? I greatly appreciate the Japanese and Korean cuisine and a different culture.

I'm not sure how a desire for a fairly safe city that is sound financially with low drug use is a myopic worldview. Unless of course, you are a criminal drug user, perhaps then you would indeed have a different perspective.

Another point is that so many people are taking pleasure in the downturn of wall streeet. But remember as factory jobs disappeared, office jobs were born. These are the assistants, the accountants, the operations managers, the bank tellers, etc. These people have all become the collateral damage of what you are cheering, the very people that add this charactor you miss. Many of these people are artists, authors, musicians and the like in the spare time. So again, I'm baffled by some of the comments.

Yes my grammar is atrocious, I'm commenting on a blog, I'm not writing a college paper or submitting a research report.

I would also like to know what "kind" I am that makes me longer welcome, because apparently a contrarian point of view is not accepted. Think about it, I do read this blog pretty regularly, it's not out of self loathing, I do have some nostaglia and sadness when we lose a particular establishment, I just disagree about it's status as an epidemic and disagree with those taking such pleasure in the downward spiral of the economy for their own selfish wishes.