Tag Archives: New York City

Boom in Luxury Towers Is Warping New York Real Estate Market – NYTimes.com

19 May

“There are only two markets, ultraluxury and subsidized housing,” said Rafael Viñoly, the architect who designed the tower on Park Avenue at 56th Street, which is called 432 Park.

The rush to build these towers underscores the gap between rich and poor in New York City, said James Parrott, chief economist for the Fiscal Policy Institute, a liberal research organization supported by unions. He said that median family income in the city had fallen 8 percent since 2008.

“Manhattan’s superluxury condo boom, along with rocketing foreclosures in Queens and record homelessness, present an unobstructed view of accelerating polarization in this recovery,” Mr. Parrott said.

via Boom in Luxury Towers Is Warping New York Real Estate Market – NYTimes.com.

Almost Half the Residents of New York City are at or near poverty – NYTimes.com

21 Apr

The rise in New York City’s poverty rate as a result of the recession has apparently eased, but not before pushing nearly half of the city’s population into the ranks of the poor or near-poor in 2011, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg administration.

That year, according to the city’s measure, about 46 percent of New Yorkers were making less than 150 percent of the poverty threshold, a benchmark used to describe people who are not officially poor but who still struggle to get by. That represents a rise of more than three percentage points since 2009, when the nation’s recession officially ended.

via City Report Shows a Growing Number Are Near Poverty – NYTimes.com.

Global Warming: Is it beginning to sink in?

20 Nov

The New York Times has recognized global warming for some time. So it’s not surprising that, post-Sandy, it’s been running a variety of articles on the theme: WTF do we do? Then thing is, the damage from Sandy has been so extensive that, one way or the other, billions upon billions of dollars will have to be spent. Even if the body politic decides to do nothing, that is, go back the way things were before Sandy, it’s going to cost billions and billions of dollars.

And that’s billions and billions of dollars in one of the most visible cities in the world, a city that has long prided itself on being the world’s de facto financial and artistic capital and, in a sense, the world’s premier city. After all, New York is where the United Nations in headquartered, no? New York is not some exotic quasi-tropical tourist destination like New Orleans. New York is, you know, the captial of the freakin’ world.

And it’s freakin’ because now it’s GOT spend billions and billions to do SOMETHING. But what?

In Vetoing Business as Usual After the Storm Michael Kimmelman puts it like this:

Cost-benefit analyses, long overdue, should answer tough questions like whether it’s actually worth saving some neighborhoods in flood zones. Communities like Breezy Point should be given knowledge, power and choice about their options, then the responsibility to live by that choice.

This means embracing a policy of compassion and honest talk. It’s no good merely to try to go back to the way things were, because they are not
.
This sort of conversation is a third rail of American politics, so it’s no wonder all presidents promise to rebuild and stick taxpayers with the tab. That billions of dollars may end up being spent to protect businesses in Lower Manhattan while old, working-class communities on the waterfronts of Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island most likely won’t get the same protection flies in the face of ideas about social justice, and about New York City, with its open-armed self-image as a capital of diversity.

But the decisions ahead come down to nature and numbers, to density, economics and geology. Our relationship to the water can’t stay the same, and at the same time the city is not worth saving if it sacrifices its principles and humanity. Continue reading

After Hurricane Sandy, Debating Costly Sea Barriers in New York Area – NYTimes.com

8 Nov

In the past few years proposals have been floated to protect the NYC area from flodding by putting large gates into New York Bay. The gates would lie in the seafloor most of the time but would be raised into place during a major storm, such as Sandy.

He said that if gates had been placed in strategic spots like the Arthur Kill, between Staten Island and New Jersey, they would have protected some of the areas that were swamped by floodwaters, including the edges of Lower Manhattan, low-lying areas of Brooklyn and Queens and the western part of Staten Island, as well as Jersey City and Hoboken, N.J.

“The idea is that you raise these barriers, and anywhere inside of that you’re basically protected,” Dr. Colle said, adding, “With a solid barrier, we basically can have business as usual in Lower Manhattan.”

But vexing questions remain. Would industries tolerate immense disruption from the construction of barriers in the city’s busy waterways? Would residents object to the marring of vistas? With climate change advancing, can scientists accurately predict the size of hurricanes that the sea gates would one day have to withstand?

And where would the $10 billion-plus in construction money come from? Even a study — taking into account the complexity of New York waterways, projections in the rise in sea levels and other factors — would take years and millions of dollars.

The scientists and engineers who have worked on conceptual designs for the city say a comprehensive study is needed on what would be the most effective locations and the most practical type of barriers — whether they swing close like a driveway gate or pivot up from the ocean floor, for example.

A feasibility study by the Army Corps of Engineers, which would have jurisdiction, would require authorization from Congress.

“A lot of things need to be taken into consideration before we throw up a giant wall,” said Chris Gardner, a spokesman for the corps.

What strikes me as that time to do the preliminary study and then the actual construction is on the order of significant climate change due to global warming. Thus one can imagine that the climate is changing fast enough that such gates would be obsolete by the time they’re built. These gates make sense ONLY if we take major steps to stop pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. Otherwise it’s just more wishful techno-dreaming.

via After Hurricane Sandy, Debating Costly Sea Barriers in New York Area – NYTimes.com.

Deciding Where Future Disasters Will Strike – NYTimes.com

4 Nov

By now it is commonplace to point out that climate change is unfair, that it tends to leave the big “emitter countries” in good shape — think Russia or Canada or, until recently, America — while preying on the low-emitting, the poor, the weak, the African, the tropical. But more grossly unfair is the notion that, in lieu of serious carbon cuts, we will all simply adapt to climate change. Manhattan can and increasingly will. Rotterdam can and has. Dhaka or Chittagong or Breezy Point patently cannot. If a system of sea walls is built around New York, its estimated $10 billion price tag would be five times what rich countries have given in aid to help poorer countries prepare for a warmer world.

Whether climate change caused Sandy’s destruction is a question for scientists — and in many ways it’s a stupid question, akin to asking whether gravity is the reason an old house collapsed when it did. The global temperature can rise another 10 degrees, and the answer will always be: sorta. By deciding to adapt to climate change — a decision that has already been partly made, because significant warming is already baked into the system — we have decided to embrace a world of walls.

via Deciding Where Future Disasters Will Strike – NYTimes.com.

Council to Ask Banks to Describe Efforts to Aid Poor Areas – NYTimes.com

15 May

As a huge trading loss at JPMorgan Chase intensifies criticism of the nation’s big banks, the New York City Council plans to vote on Tuesday to require banks to make public their efforts to be socially responsible before the city decides where to deposit the billions of dollars it keeps in banks….

Cleveland and Philadelphia have had laws in place for over a decade similar to the one being proposed in New York, and now the financial crisis has led several other cities to consider them. Pittsburgh recently passed a bill that requires banks that want city deposits to submit community reinvestment plans every two years. Los Angeles, Boston, and San Diego are all considering similar measures.

It’s  a start, but Bloomberg is opposed, naturally.

via Council to Ask Banks to Describe Efforts to Aid Poor Areas – NYTimes.com.

NY press corps yucks it up with Bloomberg – Occupy Wall Street – Salon.com

8 Dec

Another rich guy fiddles while Rome burns:

Bloomberg made sure to crack a few jokes at the expense of Occupy Wall Street, whose encampment he ordered forcibly cleared on November 15, by way of a surprise paramilitary style raid. Reporters attempting to cover the police action were harassed, assaulted, and barred from viewing the area — for their own protection, Bloomberg later claimed. (Congressman Jerrold Nadler, who represents the Financial District, has since called on Attorney General Eric Holder to launch an investigation.) All told police arrested twenty-six journalists.

In response, the New York Times, along with The Associated Press, the New York Post, the Daily News, Thomson Reuters, Dow Jones & Company, WABC, WCBS, and WNBC sent a strongly-worded letter to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly denouncing the NYPD’s conduct during the raid.

None of this stopped New York City’s press corps from laughing it up with the mayor last night.

via NY press corps yucks it up with Bloomberg – Occupy Wall Street – Salon.com.

The NYPD, now sponsored by Wall Street – Salon.com

7 Oct

JPMorgan gave a massive gift of $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation in the form of money, patrol car laptops, “security monitoring software,” and other tech resources. But the donation was given starting late last year and was completed by spring 2011, so it was obviously not made in response to the Occupy Wall Street protests. …

The police foundation is the private fundraising arm of the NYPD. It allows donors to make tax-exempt gifts to the department and in turn the foundation funds a wide-range of specialized NYPD units, international counterterrorism work, and high-tech gadgetry.

“This gift is especially disturbing to us because it creates the appearance that there is an entrenched dynamic of the police protecting corporate interests rather than protecting the First Amendment rights of the people,” says Heidi Boghosian of the National Lawyers Guild, which has had legal observers posted at the major Occupy Wall Street marches. “They’ve essentially turned the financial district into a militarized zone.”

via The NYPD, now sponsored by Wall Street – Salon.com.