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Bloomberg

[ 23 ] February 10, 2013 |

I’m not sure that giant giveaways of the playgrounds of public housing units to wealthy developers in order to build luxury housing is the best way to change New York City. Unless you are Michael Bloomberg and want Manhattan to be an exclusive island for the residence of the 1%.

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  1. ChrisTS says:

    Jesus F-ing Christ.

    And, yes, that is all I am able to manage at the moment.

  2. Fake Irishman says:

    OK, if that’s not your cup of tea, what about giving away several hundred acres of public parks to a billionaire baseball owner so he can build a parking garage at city expense that won’t be used?

    http://www.streetsblog.org/category/special-reports/yankee-stadium-parking-scandal/

    What? you don’t like that either? You communists will never be satisfied.

    • John Revolta says:

      “There just wasn’t the business there that the owners, who made the investment, thought that there was going to be,” Bloomberg told Transportation Nation yesterday. “If the owners of the parking garage can’t make money, that’s sad. We’ve got to find a way to help them.”

      Snark fails me. God, what a tool.

  3. efgoldman says:

    You know, when I see this shit, $75 million on a RI video game company owned by a blowhard baseball player doesn’t seem quite so bad.
    In a way that having your house inundated by a flood isn’t quite so bad as having it hit by a meteor.

  4. jon says:

    Don’t the 1% want playgrounds for heir kids? Or do they think that they can take a jet to the best one every time they want is the optimum outcome?

  5. Fake Irishman says:

    One silver lining to this whole mess is at least they’ll be developing a lot of surface parking lots — which cater to rich suburbanites and uber-wealthy city folks and are absolutely USELESS in a city with excellent public transit links. I obviously have problems with the community centers and playgrounds getting taken. One thing Bloomburg has done to his credit has been making the city much better for non-drivers. Of course, when faced with his legacy of dumping on teachers and bus drivers on one hand, and a solid legacy in public transit on the other; guess which legacy his successors wish to repudiate? Yep: they want to stop the “war on the car.” Sigh.

  6. Jamie says:

    The cobbles in time will be where the next #chanters will gather.

    The cycle of life is mostly complete.

  7. It’s not even a market-rate deal?

    What the Christ, Bloomberg?!?

  8. Jeremy says:

    Always useful to look at who runs New York’s public housing, and guess what sort of priorities would have resulted in that choice:

    Before the Daily News stories broke, I talked to John Rhea at NYCHA’s downtown office. A Harvard M.B.A. and former Lehman Brothers managing director, Rhea was met with deep skepticism on his 2009 selection by Mayor Bloomberg to head NYCHA. This mostly owed to his Wall Street background and his complete lack of experience in public-housing management. Still, Rhea assured me he was no Cathie Black. He was getting things done. His recently unveiled five-year plan would not only keep NYCHA afloat but also wipe out the authority’s deficit by 2016.

    The centerpiece of Rhea’s “public-­private solution” for NYCHA has been the city’s 2010 funding deal with Citigroup. In exchange for fifteen years’ worth of guaranteed federal low-income-housing tax credits, the bank helped secure $230 million for 21 troubled developments that were built but no longer funded by the city and/or the state. The arrangement triggered NYCHA’s eligibility for the onetime infusion of $75 million of federal stimulus funds.

    “If you want to save the proud tradition of public housing in this city, you’ve got to think differently,” Rhea declared, adding that while heading NYCHA was “by far the biggest challenge” of his career, he had come to love his job and the projects themselves. “NYCHA is supposed to be this great problem,” the chairman said. “But if your rich uncle left you NYCHA in his will, that would be the luckiest day of your life. NYCHA, with its vast holdings, is a tremendous asset for the City of New York.

    “We can’t rely on the same old remedies. Too many lives are at stake,” Rhea said with a momentary crack in his voice. “To do nothing is the road to decay, displacement, and demolition.”

    What is it with people convinced that financial firms like Citigroup have some sort of great skill that could be harnessed for the public good?

    • lee says:

      they made themselves rich, maybe they can make us rich – is the basic thinking.

    • Warren Terra says:

      Well, gee, back in what we now very nearly call a Golden Age (and which Bloomberg et al no doubt believe was a Golden Age), some people achieved inconceivable wealth and then got bored with the accumulation and decided to donate not-insignificant chucks of their booty to good works – think Carnegie or Rockefeller, or in our own time think Gates and Buffett. Why not blindly hope against hope for a similar transformation from our leading corporate persons?

    • Cody says:

      I’m confused – the NYCHP was running a deficit. How do they NOT run a deficit? I mean, they spend money. They don’t make money.

      It appears the head of the organization has a plan to fix public housing – by making it private. That’s a great idea! Next, we can fix public transit by selling it to Ford. Then we can fix our national security expenses by simply selling our military!

    • JL says:

      My only interaction with the NYCHA (not being from NYC) was when I was doing Sandy relief in NYC public housing for a couple of weekends. They pretty much acted like they didn’t give a shit. We had to plead with them, when they were already there by coincidence, to help us evacuate a family that was about to keel over from carbon monoxide poisoning (by which I mean, help us make sure that the poor disoriented family didn’t fall down the stairs as we carried their baby and their stuff). That was in Far Rockaway. In Coney Island, I was in a building where the fire alarms had been going off without stopping for nearly two weeks, there was no heat or running water (plus a methane buildup in the bathrooms) above the first few floors, and the residents told us that the housing people wouldn’t come in the building to fix things without a police escort.

      Needless to say, I was not very impressed with them.

  9. lee says:

    this could very well be a shitty ass plan but the complete lack of details from the Daily News article makes it tough to tell.
    On the plus side, useless parking lots will be turned into housing.

    property tax rates are frozen for 35 years, they are not zero as the gawker coverage of the daily news article implies. I don’t think that is so uncommon an arrangement.
    20% set aside for incomes under $50k is pretty standard too, comes with it’s own tax breaks.

    not sure what qualifies them as “luxury” apartments. “New” and “market rate” are both accurate terms but don’t necessarily equate to “luxury”

  10. Tom Waters says:

    For the locations NYCHA is planning to sell off first, market rents in a new building will certainly be at least $3,000 a month, probably more like $4,000 to $6,000. It’s true that they will lack the fine detailing of a $10,000 a month apartment, but only about 10 percent of the city’s households can afford $3,000.

  11. actor212 says:

    Erik, this is one I’m not sure I disagree with Bloomberg on, altho I see your point.

    Those playgrounds are basically useless. They aren’t parks so much as cookie-cuttered concrete pits where kids don’t play because, you know, public housing courtyards can be pretty dangerous places to be.

    Now, some of these luxury buildings will be basically duplicative of the surrounding neighborhoods, its true. The projects along the East River in the upper 90s leap to mind.

    But a testament to the lunacy of the urge to build low-income housing was to basically use the buildings as ghettos within other neighborhoods, with precious little interaction between the surrounding blocks and the projects. This is how you can have an up-and-coming neighborhood like Red Hook surrounding the down-at-its-heels Red Hook projects and a veritable no-man’s land of useless commercial and warehouse real estate as a moat between the two.

    Good urban planning could easily have provided for low-income housing that was far more integrated (in all senses of the word) into the surrounding neighborhood, but it was a problem that needed a showy solution and quickly.

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