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Building Goes Up, Building Goes Down
February 21, 2014 9:17 AM   Subscribe

Watch NYC Gentrify Through Google Street View GIFs
posted by The Whelk (135 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
another one
posted by theodolite at 9:24 AM on February 21 [4 favorites]


The empty lot -> building ones aren't very convincing. That's not really gentrification, and I have trouble believing anyone would argue such lots should remain empty.

I had a drink at Mars Bar once. Once.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:33 AM on February 21 [15 favorites]


Alternatively, watch as density improves in the some of the most valuable real estate in the world, resulting in housing prices decreasing as supply increases.

The way to cheap and affordable housing is to not have empty lots.
posted by saeculorum at 9:38 AM on February 21 [26 favorites]


I wish people would not conflate development with gentrification. Development can certainly displace populations of less means, but building a shiny big building in a vacant lot is not that. By focusing on objects instead of people the real problems of gentrification are misunderstood, and therefore not addressed.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:39 AM on February 21 [26 favorites]


resulting in housing prices decreasing

Do you mean actually decreasing in dollar value? That's not a thing that happens.
posted by griphus at 9:39 AM on February 21 [4 favorites]


That's not really gentrification, and I have trouble believing anyone would argue such lots should remain empty.

Have you ever tried to park a car in a three-story walkup?

This is a joke.
posted by swift at 9:41 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


another one

I always thought the homeless-man-turns-into-a-mailbox thing was hilariously absurd, until someone mentioned watching a "our company is cleaning up [wherever]" TV commercial where everything gets nicer in the same way and then the tattoos disappear off a guy.
posted by griphus at 9:41 AM on February 21 [12 favorites]


Alternatively, watch as density improves in the most valuable real estate in the world, resulting in housing prices decreasing as supply increases.

I've been waiting 20 years for this to happen in the Boston/Cambridge area. No end in sight whatsoever. There seems to be an endless supply of people who want luxury housing, presumably at the expense of the poor and middle class. They won't stop until they have it all.
posted by Melismata at 9:42 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


I understand wanting to shed a tear for Mars Bar, but before you do, take a moment to remember that nothing good ever happened at Mars Bar, and it was a place you only went to because you were daring the night to take a turn for the worse. I can accept new apartments as a replacement for that.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:44 AM on February 21 [10 favorites]


…presumably at the expense of the poor and middle class. They won't stop until they have it all.

How do you "have it all"?
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 9:45 AM on February 21


Well, you can be NYU, for instance.
posted by griphus at 9:46 AM on February 21 [9 favorites]


Run your mouth about 99% while being paid by Goldman and real estate same as anyone else.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 9:49 AM on February 21


Everytime another massive luxury condo tower goes up I wonder Who Are These People? Where Do They Come From? How Do They Afford This? Why Are They Here?

Are they all law firm partners or something? Every single one?
posted by The Whelk at 9:50 AM on February 21 [16 favorites]


Melismata: "I've been waiting 20 years for this to happen in the Boston/Cambridge area. No end in sight whatsoever. There seems to be an endless supply of people who want luxury housing, presumably at the expense of the poor and middle class. They won't stop until they have it all."

This is certainly a catch-22 that we've seen in the DC area.

However, I'm pretty sure that the answer to this problem is not to build less housing. Yes, it sucks that existing residents are being displaced, but I don't think that anybody will benefit if we start opposing all new development (particularly in urban areas that can easily absorb the growth).

New York's gentrification backlash is particularly perplexing, because it's seeded a false nostalgia for a city that never really existed. You can lament NYC's loss of cultural identity, but nobody actually wants to rewind the city back to 1992 (spoiler: the crime was bad, and the city wasn't really any cheaper). NYC conflates development with gentrification, because it hasn't experienced meaningful population growth in a very long time.

There are healthy forms of growth, and unhealthy forms of growth. It's sometimes hard to tell them apart, but also really dangerous to confuse them.

Oh, and f$*#& NYU.
Same goes for you, GWU.

posted by schmod at 9:51 AM on February 21 [5 favorites]


What shmod said, and one of the things I love about NYC is that it will never stop changing. It is fluid. Some change will be for bad, a lot for good.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:57 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


Development can certainly displace populations of less means, but building a shiny big building in a vacant lot is not that.

Unless you consider that a less-shiny building would probably have offered more affordable housing to people with modest incomes.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:59 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


housing prices decreasing

hahalolno
posted by Sara C. at 10:00 AM on February 21 [4 favorites]


So true, schmod. (One of) the problem(s) with NYC's development is that it's boring. I just came back from a visit to the Lower East Side and Soho, and I could have been walking through the Burlington (MA) mall. Yes, we should get rid of shoddy housing and make things better (not at the expense of the poor and middle class), but why make the entire country the same? Isn't the draw of NYC that it's all very culturally interesting? Maybe the thing that will finally drive real estate prices down will be the fact that there will nothing unique about the place, no one-of-a-kind delis or pubs or theaters or what have you.
posted by Melismata at 10:00 AM on February 21 [5 favorites]


The problem isn't buildings going up.

The problem is that all of the specific buildings that are going up are luxury housing.

To the exclusion of all else.

(And I for one fucking loved the Mars Bar and hung out in far worse places. So.)
posted by Sara C. at 10:03 AM on February 21 [6 favorites]


Is the shininess of the building really the main thing that drives up the price, though, EC? I have very little idea how real estate works, but I thought that there wasn't much money to be saved on the construction of a building in a place like NYC relative to e.g., how much the land costs and how much materials, hiring labor, etc. costs. Like, once you decide to put up a tall building, it's going to be intrinsically pretty damn expensive no matter how fancy or plain it is, unless there's some policy that mandates that some of it goes to low-income housing, etc.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:04 AM on February 21 [3 favorites]


There's an argument to be made as to whether what these examples are demonstrating "gentrification" or not, although there is absolutely 100% gentrification going on, in much of the development. But, yeah, not all development is necessarily gentrification.

However, nothing has ever been put up that was in any way cheaper than what was torn down. Sometimes it's just slightly more expensive. Oftentimes -- and this is one of the ways to tell gentrifying development from non-gentrifying -- the new offerings aren't even in the same income bracket.

There's plenty of development in my neighborhood. None of it is gentrification because it's almost all catering to a rising immigrant middle class that I am personally a part of. The things being torn down are occupied mostly by people who are buying or renting the things being put up. But that's my neighborhood.

Other neighborhoods, the $1000/mo/bedroom apartment building is being torn down to put up a $2500/mo/bedroom apartment building. Those are catering to two vastly different classes people and the former are SOL because the latter wanted to move in. And that's a problem.
posted by griphus at 10:05 AM on February 21 [4 favorites]


guys its okay we can have a chase bank in the retail base of the new building

we can have a chase bank in all buildings
posted by The Whelk at 10:06 AM on February 21 [11 favorites]


a place you only went to because you were daring the night to take a turn for the worse

What a magnificent turn of phrase. Kudos, Navelgazer.
posted by The Bellman at 10:07 AM on February 21 [8 favorites]


You can both have loved the Mars Bar and recognize it as a place where nothing good ever happened.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:08 AM on February 21 [5 favorites]


(One of) the problem(s) with NYC's development is that it's boring.

Yes.

Something I'm noticing over the last year or so is that it seems NYC has hit the point in gentrification where it's actually losing important aspects of its character.

At this point, what the fuck is even the point anymore? Why bother to live in a city when all the local color is being bleached out?

Until recently the logic has been that NYC is an exciting, vital city because it has all this GREAT STUFF, whereas Los Angeles (to pick the typical counterpoint city) is dying because malls and sprawl and boring.

At this point, I'm seeing it the opposite way. All those cool dive bars that are getting demolished for luxury housing in NYC? They live on in Los Angeles. All the underground art spaces and places for people to come together and create? Actively on the upswing in Los Angeles. NYC's public transit system is deteriorating. LA's is shiny new, and every month seems to come with an announcement of a new part of the city being added to the grid.

LA feels like a living, growing city where things can happen and there's an iconic local culture. NYC feels like a mall.
posted by Sara C. at 10:10 AM on February 21 [9 favorites]


I don't generally support NIMBY shit but I would vote in a moratorium on Chase.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 10:11 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


The Whelk: "Everytime another massive luxury condo tower goes up I wonder Who Are These People? Where Do They Come From? How Do They Afford This? Why Are They Here?

Are they all law firm partners or something? Every single one?
"

I always wonder that. My wife and I are well paid professional types with few degrees each and salaries that put us in the top 5% of household incomes and we'd couldn't come anywhere near a million dollar condo. I'm certainly not complaining, we have a very comfortable life that I could only have dreamed of when I was a kid but I'm amazed that there enough people to fill all those giant glass walled condos.
posted by octothorpe at 10:12 AM on February 21 [9 favorites]


guys the plot of Liquid Sky 2 will be an STD that only affects people who make over 300,000 a year.
posted by The Whelk at 10:13 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


Why bother to live in a city when all the local color is being bleached out?

Speaking as local color, a lot of us are doing just fine. Better than ever, really.
posted by griphus at 10:14 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


a $2500/mo/bedroom apartment building

Which is often being developed as condos, which means that the average person wouldn't have a chance even if the per month fee to live there was reasonable. Because who can even scrape together the downpayment on a $500,000 one bedroom apartment?
posted by Sara C. at 10:14 AM on February 21


Speaking as local color, a lot of us are doing just fine. Better than ever, really.

FWIW I'm talking about things like Junior's in Brooklyn closing, 5 Pointz going down, Mars Bar demolished, etc. And, don't you worry, the Chase Bankification of NYC spreads a little further every year. Living in Queens or South Brooklyn is at maximum a 5 year stay of execution.

My friends in Ditmas Park are all getting priced out right now.
posted by Sara C. at 10:16 AM on February 21


octothorpe: "I'm certainly not complaining, we have a very comfortable life that I could only have dreamed of when I was a kid but I'm amazed that there enough people to fill all those giant glass walled condos."

There aren't, really, but actual occupancy of those properties does not seem to be the number one priority of the people buying them.
posted by invitapriore at 10:18 AM on February 21 [3 favorites]


> Junior's in Brooklyn closing

What?!
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:18 AM on February 21


So apparently there are enough people out there to fill up these huge, expensive condos that don't seem to have trouble getting people....

...so what are the top ranks of other cities just emptied out or something? Are these literally all finance people?
posted by The Whelk at 10:19 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


Absolutely, to what Sara C said. I'm in Astoria. I do ... decently? for myself, income wise. $50K. but I'm still spending close to half my income on rent and the apartment I'm in is absolutely bottom-of-the-barrel in terms of quality and price. Rents have gone up — if someone buys out my 90-year-old landlady, we'll be kicked out lickety-split. I'm scared.
posted by good day merlock at 10:22 AM on February 21


How do you "have it all"?

Easy, you make sure everyone else has nothing.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 10:23 AM on February 21 [7 favorites]


New York's gentrification backlash is particularly perplexing, because it's seeded a false nostalgia for a city that never really existed.

Come on - only some of it.
I've definitely heard people say "I miss the old New York" and what they're really saying is, "I'm posturing like I'm tough and like a gritty city because I'd like the opportunity to punch somebody when they try to steal my wallet," but, those people didn't exactly move to ENY or S. Bronx or where ever has a reputation for being dangerous.

But, a lot of the gentrification fuss in NYC is happening because (yes, despite the only constant being change), change is happening really fast, housing prices have fucking skyrocketed in ten years, and it's prohibitively difficult to be middle class there.

Get rich or GTFO.
posted by entropone at 10:23 AM on February 21


Ugh, my main problem here is that they're the same personality-less designs we're getting in Seattle. I don't know why cities where density is deeply in demand don't or can't mandate serious design requirements like not dumping an ugly, featureless piece of garbage on top of old frontage, or not making ground-level retail spaces so huge that only big chains can move in. I don't mind density, they're just adding it with no consideration for the city and neighborhood.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:24 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


Junior's Brooklyn Site Will Be Sold To Developer, But Restaurant Will Return

It sounds like Junior's will maybe possibly eventually return as a ground floor tenant in that location, but will definitely be closing in the short term.

And, like all those promises of affordable housing and all the other times a major part of local culture has closed with promises of eventual return, well, we'll see if that actually happens.
posted by Sara C. at 10:29 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


a false nostalgia for a city that never really existed

I think this was true in the 90's, or 10-15 years ago.

But now?

Yes the city we mourn absolutely existed, and to insist otherwise is getting into "We have always been at war with Eastasia" territory.

Nobody's nostalgic for the crime. It's the culture we're mourning.
posted by Sara C. at 10:32 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


"All those cool dive bars that are getting demolished for luxury housing in NYC? They live on in Los Angeles. ... LA feels like a living, growing city where things can happen and there's an iconic local culture."

Hm. I just moved out of Los Angeles after 6 years there, and it felt like the exact opposite of an interesting, living city. It mostly feels like fashionable islands stranded by swathes of near-suburban-style development and zoning that keeps residential and commercial development totally separated. Some things are changing--hooray Expo Line--but those changes are still dwarfed by the infrastructure problems faced by all of Southern California. My former neighborhood still only has one bus, with hourly service, that doesn't connect to any other arterial transit in the area (like that shiny Culver City Expo Line hub, which is only a few miles away down a straight line thoroughfare). If you want that kind of connectivity, especially on the western half of the city, you still need to live where rents are high and demographics skew toward the upwardly mobile (like Santa Monica and Culver City, where public transit is stunningly good).

Also, taking West Hollywood as an example, luxury housing luxury housing gurl, and 60 versions of the same bar. My partner is in commercial real estate--specifically in revamping exhausted strip and full-scale malls (which are a huge part of the region's economy at every income level, zeitgeisty fashionableness be damned)--and finds the LA situation stifling for its inability to accept renovation that focuses on improvement of services for all shades of social strata, because that's not what city planners and development companies want. Which is, flatly, $.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 10:33 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


So people here are freaking out that the average apartment rent just went over $900.
posted by octothorpe at 10:35 AM on February 21


My friends in Ditmas Park are all getting priced out right now.

Yeah, right now I'm watching that exact thing cause a rift in the Life Plans of my peer group and friends: some are saying "well, once I'm priced out of here, peace out NYC" and the rest -- myself included -- are doing what they can to put a down payment on a co-op or a condo. And that latter group, which is by no means small, is basically not going anywhere but up so long as they can keep their jobs.

So, I dunno what that counts as: are we the problem or are we the bulwark?
posted by griphus at 10:38 AM on February 21


So true, schmod. (One of) the problem(s) with NYC's development is that it's boring. I just came back from a visit to the Lower East Side and Soho, and I could have been walking through the Burlington (MA) mall. Yes, we should get rid of shoddy housing and make things better (not at the expense of the poor and middle class), but why make the entire country the same? Isn't the draw of NYC that it's all very culturally interesting? Maybe the thing that will finally drive real estate prices down will be the fact that there will nothing unique about the place, no one-of-a-kind delis or pubs or theaters or what have you.

Smart developers are not only aware of this, they actively take steps to prevent the mall-ification. The process:

-Step one: Buy up all or most of the developable land in a marginal neighborhood, ideally one with good public transit.

-Step two: Provide cheap rent to a locally-owned, unique business (or ideally several of them). Choose the businesses carefully to establish a feel for your new neighborhood. (EG a really good dive bar, a locally-owned coffee house.)

-Step three: Start developing high- and medium-rise condo and apartment buildings with ground-floor retail leases.

-Step four: Your new tenants moved in because they like the "feel of the nabe," thanks to your carefully planned subsidy to the Local Color, but they also want their Starbucks, damnit. Lease your ground-floor retail spaces to the usual national suspects -- Whole Foods, Chipotle, Barnes & Noble -- for full market rent.

If you're smart, you'll keep subsidizing your locally-owned businesses until you're fully out of the project. There is a very real tipping point for a neighborhood in the ratio between locally-owned and national chains. Sadly, that tipping point seems to be somewhere around five Starbucks:one local business or worse.

They call it placemaking. One issue is that I suspect it's hard to do in places like NYC where no one developer really controls a neighborhood -- it turns into a tragedy of the commons situation, because none of the developers are willing to give cheap rent to the Local Color to the other guys' benefit.

It's totally up to you whether this is better or worse than standard mall-ification.

tl;dr: One local dive bar can be enough to convince people that a neighborhood built out with national retailers is Authentic.
posted by pie ninja at 10:44 AM on February 21 [6 favorites]



Ugh, my main problem here is that they're the same personality-less designs we're getting in Seattle. I don't know why cities where density is deeply in demand don't or can't mandate serious design requirements like not dumping an ugly, featureless piece of garbage on top of old frontage, or not making ground-level retail spaces so huge that only big chains can move in. I don't mind density, they're just adding it with no consideration for the city and neighborhood.


1. Hiring a good architect/designer can be more expensive.

2. From my experiences in following San Francisco real estate, anything other than boring bland designs will tend to attract more opposition from neighbors as well as the planning board for being "out of character" with the neighborhood. Meanwhile, bland designs tend to face less problems.
posted by gyc at 10:45 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


not going anywhere but up so long as they can keep their jobs.

That's what my friends and I were all saying five years ago. None of us were ever able to scrape up the money to buy anything in NYC. Now half of us have left the city, and the rest are contemplating it in the face of getting priced out. I have one friend -- out of literally my entire college social circle -- who has decided to suck it up and just move to yet another further, less convenient, shittier neighborhood.

I can think of two people I know who are doing well enough financially to live in gentrified areas without having to worry much about this stuff.

In 2007 we all thought security was right around the corner. I don't mean to be un-encouraging, but I think everyone thinks they're in it for the long haul until they're not.
posted by Sara C. at 10:49 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


We moved up to the Bay Area. Bought a 600 square foot house, believe it or not, down on the southern edge of San Francisco. When the time came to stop throwing into the rent black hole, we realized we'd never be able to afford buying a home in LA. After about two years or so of looking and trying and losing out (my org has an office here, and the partner's work is mobile), we found a TIC that dropped our monthly housing costs down about $300/month from what it had been in LA. And hooray, no more cars ever! Ever ever ever!

No city is perfect, and I don't understand the braggadocio of any city doing much better than any other (this is happening everywhere, even in my hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas). I seethe a little when LA gets special plaudits for doing better than anywhere else, when in reality it's scattered spots that have that feeling of vibrancy. We lived on Pico near the 405 for years, and then off the western end of Culver Blvd. for years, and then off the Imperial in Inglewood for years--always places that were reliably close and quick trips to the airport for work travel, since getting to LAX across a bigger span of the city is not always easy or reliable to time. None of those places (except maybe the section of Playa on Culver) were living, growing, vibrant. They're struggling, and god bless them for keeping up as best they can.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 10:51 AM on February 21


I think it speaks to what a corpse of a city New York is that LA can look culturally vibrant to New Yorkers even as it looks dead to everyone else.
posted by Sara C. at 10:54 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


Is the shininess of the building really the main thing that drives up the price, though, EC?

I was using "shiny" as a code word for "luxury". The point being, though, that luxury housing is far and away the majority of the development that's going on in the city now - which doesn't help the more cash-poor people who need a place to live themselves too.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:57 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


I've linked this piece by Benjamin Schwarz in the Atlantic in threads about gentrification before. I think it provides a very useful corrective to some of the unthinking nostalgia that drives a lot of people's conceptions of what gentrification is and what it means.
posted by yoink at 10:58 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


There's unthinking nostalgia, and then there's "can people who are not millionaires live here".
posted by Sara C. at 11:01 AM on February 21


I don't mean to be un-encouraging, but I think everyone thinks they're in it for the long haul until they're not.

Well, the thing is that many people I know have actually done it. They scraped it together, they put the payment down, they're living in their co-op or their condo. Sometimes I think that the "less convenient, shittier" neighborhoods some people talk about are the same neighborhoods a bunch of us aspire to live in because they are less shitty and more convenient than where we came from: Bensonhurst and Gerritsen Beach and Sheepshead Bay and all sorts of places our parents lived in that we'd chew off our leg to leave.

A big part of the split, I think, is between people who moved here as adults or young adults after college, and people who were born here or came here with their parents as kids. The latter group is basically doing anything they can: cutting down costs, getting jobs that pay in money rather than satisfaction, making compromises as far as what they want out of life just to stay here. Because there's nowhere else to go that doesn't make life harder and few sacrifices to make that are somehow bigger than leaving NYC. The people I know who grew up here and left, left not because they couldn't make it here, but because they wanted a life in the suburbs which, in many ways, cost more than it would to stay when they did it.

There's a plenty of room between the people destroying the lifeblood of the city (or whatever) and people getting kicked out of their homes. A middle class absolutely exists and we're doing everything we fucking can to make sure we stay there and stay here.
posted by griphus at 11:01 AM on February 21 [4 favorites]


I think it's also worth pointing out that the Atlantic article linked is 4 years old. Things have changed a lot in NYC, on the gentrification front, in the last four years.
posted by Sara C. at 11:02 AM on February 21


A middle class absolutely exists and we're doing everything we fucking can to make sure we stay there and stay here.

Untill you all die off or leave, that is. Are you being replaced by similar class people?
posted by Melismata at 11:04 AM on February 21


For the most part, we're replacing people who moved up in class and being replaced by people who are moving up in class.
posted by griphus at 11:06 AM on February 21


Sara C.: "The problem is that all of the specific buildings that are going up are luxury housing. "

The cost of building a "luxury" highrise is about the same as the cost of a "non-luxury" highrise.

There's a reason why they're being built this way. New construction is expensive, and American construction costs are particularly out of control (which contributes to the fact that everything new is bland and similarish -- it's too expensive to build anything that doesn't come from a template).

If you can crack the affordable housing nut, there's probably a Nobel Prize waiting for you. So far, we haven't identified any good solutions.

Ending the concept of Real Estate as an investment would certainly help, though.
posted by schmod at 11:06 AM on February 21 [6 favorites]


A big part of the split, I think, is between people who moved here as adults or young adults after college, and people who were born here or came here with their parents as kids. The latter group is basically doing anything they can: cutting down costs, getting jobs that pay in money rather than satisfaction, making compromises as far as what they want out of life just to stay here. Because there's nowhere else to go that doesn't make life harder and few sacrifices to make that are somehow bigger than leaving NYC.

I am one of the people who moved here as a young adult, and I've been TRYING to save and make compromises so I can accumulate the down payment on an apartment - but the rents are rising so fast and so high and my salary is so low that I simply can't.

I decided when I was ten that New York City was where I was going to live someday. I did it when I was 20. I was firmly convinced, and had that feeling re-affirmed for me for the next 20 years, that this is where I would stay.

The writing is on the wall, though - I simply can't. There is a point at which I will be priced out of rent, and my scrambling to make rent all this time means I haven't got the down payment to own.

Okay, New York, I can take a hint. One of these days I'll have to move and it'll be your fucking loss.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:08 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


The cost of building a "luxury" highrise is about the same as the cost of a "non-luxury" highrise.

So then why the fuck aren't they pricing the rents cheaper?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:09 AM on February 21


So then why the fuck aren't they pricing the rents cheaper?

Same reason why dogs lick their balls. Because they can.
posted by Melismata at 11:09 AM on February 21 [8 favorites]


Yeah, if you can build a luxury and a non-luxury building for the same price why wouldn't you build the luxury one so you can make more money?
posted by Aizkolari at 11:11 AM on February 21


I think it's great if there are people who are buying now in Bensonhurst to beat the rush.

But, yeah, the neighborhoods you mention are at most five years from gentrification. So get in while you can, I guess, but "just buy an apartment you dumbass" isn't really a solution for a lot of people.

I left NYC because I knew I'd never be able to buy anything and would rather get priced out of Crown Heights and move on than do the neighborhood song and dance for another decade and try to start over in a new city in my 40s rather than my 30s. Friends of mine have recently bought in the Catskills, or bought in Connecticut, and are commuting to Manhattan from there because they can't afford NYC anymore, period.

Maybe this is fallout from the fact that we hit our prime savings years just as the recession hit. My wages have been stagnant since 2008, and yet my rent had gone up 150% by 2012 when I started making formal plans to leave the city. A lot of my friends got laid off in 2008 and spent money they could have put into a condo on grad school for second careers, or just to live on until they could get back on their feet.

It's neat if some people can afford to just buy themselves out of the problem, but yeah, people are actually getting priced out of New York in real life.
posted by Sara C. at 11:12 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


So apparently there are enough people out there to fill up these huge, expensive condos that don't seem to have trouble getting people....

...so what are the top ranks of other cities just emptied out or something? Are these literally all finance people?


I can tell you that DC, for one, is having no trouble filling up its own insanely-growing luxury condo market. (Here is what's underway in one ZIP code.) It's not finance people. Tech workers, some. Maybe some lobbyists & lawyers. (Definitely not Feds--we can't afford it.) But whoever they are, these aren't just investments--they're coming here to live.
posted by psoas at 11:15 AM on February 21


A big part of the split, I think, is between people who moved here as adults or young adults after college, and people who were born here or came here with their parents as kids.

I weirdly have not experienced this. A lot of my New York born and raised friends have left or are considering leaving.

The only real split I've seen is that NYC local friends have more resources to fall back on in hard times. When you moved to NYC at 19 and your family lives across the country (me), when you're done, you're done. There's no elderly aunt moving into a retirement home and leaving a vacant Mitchell Lama apartment, no cousin who's a landlord in Sheepshead Bay who can cut you a deal, no parents' basement in Staten Island.

I really hate the idea that people are just leaving because we don't love New York enough or aren't hardcore enough or whatever. It's straight up not true at all.
posted by Sara C. at 11:18 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


Buying is not a solution if it's not a solution (and should definitely not be considered as a solution for people whose financial situation doesn't apply to it) and people are certainly being priced out. The only point I'm making is that the situation is far from Everyone Is Screwed Forever.

It's not a "if I can do it, anyone can do it" thing, by far. Other people's money isn't my concern and I'm not about to tell them what to do with it or that it's better for them to stay or go or to rent or buy. It's an egotistical thing to try to do that if it isn't literally your job and the person you are saying it to is paying for you to say it to them.

But I'm surrounded by a generation of people, myself included, who aren't going anywhere. And in five years, those neighborhoods will still be occupied by immigrants like us. It's just that they'll be nicer because we're upwardly mobile immigrants.
posted by griphus at 11:19 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


The cost of building a "luxury" highrise is about the same as the cost of a "non-luxury" highrise.

So then why the fuck aren't they pricing the rents cheaper?


Schmod's basically correct, but the way it was put is a little confusing. There's a certain base cost for putting up housing, or any kind of building, regardless of what goes in it. In certain markets, that base cost precludes anything but luxury housing if the developer is going to make money on it or be able to get financing for it.

Also: New York may be different, but with projects I've worked on, there wouldn't be any construction financing for retail without a tenant already signed up. So, it's slightly different than saying that the buildings are designed only to hold major tenants - the developers are getting those tenants on board before the building ever gets submitted to the building department and the buildings are designed hand-in-hand with what that specific tenant wants to have. If for some reason, that tenant ever leaves, reconfiguring the existing space for smaller or different tenants is usually pretty trivial.
posted by LionIndex at 11:19 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


soooo . . . having no opinion on the finer details of NYC borough pricing, I thought the OP was a neat gimmick and would like to see more of it.
posted by Think_Long at 11:21 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


My wages have been stagnant since 2008, and yet my rent had gone up 150% by 2012

Which is why looking solely at rental prices & building costs are only half the picture: if wages & employment were keeping pace with housing costs, the actual cost would matter relatively less.
posted by cjelli at 11:25 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


Yeah. Sorry for burying the lede there.

New construction is expensive. The granite countertops, nice lobby, and gym basically amount to a rounding error in the overall cost of putting up a big building (plus the underlying land... which is worth quite a lot in NYC).

In cities, you don't get housing that is both new and affordable without massive subsidies. (And, yeah. Corruption is probably an issue too)
posted by schmod at 11:30 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


Gentrification has problems, but on an artistic side note, I was kind of hoping for a Sim City-like isometric view of buildings buildings flipping amid a wave of development instigated by the placement of a new school or park.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 11:33 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


Let's not gentrify. Let's not develop. Let's keep things just as they were when X lived there and rent was 1/3 of what it is now ...people move from some cities to suburbs and those places often become bad. Do we blame people for wanting better if they can afford it?
The general rule of thumb, I think, is that if you have money you can buy a better car than the guy with much less. So, too, with where you might go for nice meals, and fashion, etc etc...That being the case, should that not apply also to housing?
posted by Postroad at 11:50 AM on February 21


being paid by Goldman

Dogs of the AMS. Time they made a move.

The chaos of the city is increasing!

Don't come, don't come, stay away, ahhh!
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 11:50 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


Postroad, you didn't read any of the comments in here, did you?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:10 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


I realize this thread is yet another chance to revive the NYC housing prices/NYC is dead inside/Elsewhere is totes better argument, but I thought besides the late lamented Mars Bar these don't seem to represent gentrification as much as development. They are cool though.
posted by sweetkid at 12:13 PM on February 21


The empty lot -> building ones aren't very convincing. That's not really gentrification, and I have trouble believing anyone would argue such lots should remain empty.

I have a feeling that this relates to a significant degree to when Google Street View began. I'd assume that these first images are from the first pass of Google Street View, which was photographed in 2006/ early 2007, a period of development before the shock of the 2008 financial crisis. So, a lot of those "vacant lots" were, I would suspect, not historically vacant, but rather lots where the existing buildings had been demolished in the fairly recent past to make space for new developments. So, the image being given of the images, of a New York pockmarked with waste ground, is not I think a historically coherent representation of New York (the lots with extensive vegetation or burnt-out cars from the 70s are clearly more historical).

The artist notes that this really only makes sense as a view of the development of New York City on more than a spiritual level if you cross-reference it with PLUTO's land use data.
posted by running order squabble fest at 12:17 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


I was using "shiny" as a code word for "luxury"

Yeah, sorry, me too, I was trying to get at more or less what schmod said, except he said it much more knowledgeably and cogently.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:21 PM on February 21


So then why the fuck aren't they pricing the rents cheaper?

Because only a small amount* of new housing is actually being built in NYC, so little that the wealthy are able to outbid the rest of us for all of it. The simple answer is to build a lot more housing - there's no reason why the outer boroughs shouldn't be zoned to allow as much density as Manhattan.

*Really!
posted by ripley_ at 12:23 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


I'm an ex-New Yorker (born and bred) who's moved elsewhere for grad school, and every time I return home I'm amazed at how much has changed and how incredibly homogenized some neighborhoods have become.
To echo what others have said: I'm not nostalgic for the dirty, crime-ridden New York of the 70s/80s (most of which was before my time anyway), but I am nostalgic for the New York I remember from 20 years ago. It was by no means a paradise, but it was a city with a definite sense of place. It was a city where 80% of stuff wasn't geared towards tourists and/or the ultra-rich.
You could purchase books in small, local bookshops and eat in affordable neighborhood restaurants. Hell, you could afford to go to Broadway shows. This is becoming less and less possible for more and more of the indigenous population.
Cities are always in a state of flux, sure, but there's a big difference between, say, an old Italian bakery becoming Dominican and an old Italian bakery becoming a luxury handbag store or yet another Chase.
posted by Bromius at 12:35 PM on February 21 [12 favorites]


but yeah, people are actually getting priced out of New York in real life.

::raises hand::

I'd love to be able to move back, but I don't see it happening.

I'm an ex-New Yorker (born and bred) who's moved elsewhere for grad school, and every time I return home I'm amazed at how much has changed and how incredibly homogenized some neighborhoods have become.

Fucking seriously.
And A+ rest of your post, too.
posted by entropone at 12:37 PM on February 21 [4 favorites]


if you have money you can buy a better car than the guy with much less. So, too, with where you might go for nice meals, and fashion, etc etc...That being the case, should that not apply also to housing?

This assumes housing in a community is just another fungible good that exists, waiting on the lot/shelf in varying arrays of features and personal utility.

It's not, though. Places and people are bound up with a kind of community that's difficult for markets to handle.

My parents live in a place where they've known and been neighborly with their neighbors for 35 years. They literally cannot buy/rent that anywhere else. They own, fortunately, as it was possible for them to buy on an entry-level middle class income when it came time to move in as a young co. The question is what happens to communities and the people in them when they're not so fortunate.

Our answer at the moment seems to be that we don't acknowledge anyone's value/contribution to a community beyond their assets/wages (and perhaps the occasional social fundraiser). We let real estate markets tear up personal/place networks because we haven't figured out how to enter social capital on any kind of balance sheet, because as a society, we are apparently unable to distinguish between a residence and any other kind of good.
posted by weston at 12:59 PM on February 21 [4 favorites]


Those actually look like some pretty unlovely buildings, IMO. Given the presumably insane cost of occupying them, is it unreasonable to expect them to look a bit more cared-for?
posted by Segundus at 1:05 PM on February 21


I'm not trying to downplay the changes NYC has had in the past decade or so, but to people who are nostalgic for the late 90s, may I suggest that the late 90s were a fucking golden age. Seriously. The economy was doing gangbusters, crime was way down, cities were thriving but the urban decay of a decade or so ago was still recent enough that they weren't so sterile, the internet was this new thing (to most of us) that was making huge changes to how quickly and democratically information spread. Bush 2 and co hadn't had their chance to break as much as possible. Etc etc. I'm not just saying all that because I was in my 20s then, it really was a great time, especially in America. (Not perfect by any means, for instance but still damn good.)
posted by aspo at 1:06 PM on February 21 [4 favorites]


Homes Dark and Lifeless, Kept by Out-of-Towners
posted by bukvich at 1:12 PM on February 21 [2 favorites]


That Times article says that 12% of Manhattan apartments are vacant, mostly because they're owned by people who only bought them as "investments". If the people buying your "luxury condos" sign the deal before the building is built and only stay in their new apartment rarely, if ever, why would you, as the developer, care about the looks of the building or its effect on the neighborhood?
posted by junco at 1:16 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


(oops invitapriore already posted that link)
posted by bukvich at 1:19 PM on February 21


I thought besides the late lamented Mars Bar these don't seem to represent gentrification as much as development.

Yeah. I would be more interested to see the changes along Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg and Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights, or the complete transformation of The Bowery that has happened between the arrival of Street View and today. The concentration on vacant lots tells a much less impressive story.
posted by Sara C. at 1:21 PM on February 21


Sure, we've all snorted lines of coke or heroin off the toilet bowl at Mars Bar but that doesn't make it worthwhile. The freakiest most depraved scum of the wonder years of the East Village called that place home, and I bet most of the people weeping for it had only been there once or twice and were probably scared most of the time or scoffed at. I don't miss it specifically but I do miss the old East Village.
posted by ReeMonster at 1:27 PM on February 21


This assumes housing in a community is just another fungible good that exists, waiting on the lot/shelf in varying arrays of features and personal utility.

It's not, though. Places and people are bound up with a kind of community that's difficult for markets to handle.

My parents live in a place where they've known and been neighborly with their neighbors for 35 years. They literally cannot buy/rent that anywhere else. They own, fortunately, as it was possible for them to buy on an entry-level middle class income when it came time to move in as a young co. The question is what happens to communities and the people in them when they're not so fortunate.


But there is a price to remaining in the same community for 35 years -- the equity in your parent's home (maybe subtracted from the cost of a home elsewhere). By choosing to remain in the same place, your parents are choosing to pay that price.

For others, the price to live in that community might be too high, so they choose to live someplace else. For other others, the community might be attractive enough that they are willing to pay a premium to enter it. I don't see how this is "difficult for markets to handle", except for the extent to which people feel entitled to live in a place for less than it actually costs.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:33 PM on February 21


I came to NYC for school. I stayed for a job. Now, fifteen years after my first semester at NYU, I live in a quiet neighborhood in south Brooklyn and enjoy not having a car. My friends are all here. My professional community is here. I'm lucky enough to own my apartment, but I'm friends with many people who don't and nevertheless seem pretty pleased with their situation. We don't have a ton of money, but we do okay. I really like my local bar, which I can walk to from my building. I like my neighbors. Of course it isn't for everyone, but I love it here.

This thread is kind of making me feel like I'm some kind of chump for enjoying my life in New York as much as I do.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 1:48 PM on February 21 [6 favorites]


Let's form a breakaway club of Smug Satisfied NYC Homeowners.
posted by The Whelk at 1:53 PM on February 21


That Times article says that 12% of Manhattan apartments are vacant, mostly because they're owned by people who only bought them as "investments".

Why not impose a ginormous tax on properties that are unoccupied like this? Is there any precedent for this?

Related but different issue: In my own town, *retail* space keeps getting built even though we have tons of empty storefronts in existing mini-malls. I've always wondered whether the landlords are able to take a tax deduction for the empty spaces. If so, removing that deduction would solve a lot of problems.
posted by freecellwizard at 1:57 PM on February 21


I bet most of the people weeping for it had only been there once or twice and were probably scared most of the time or scoffed at.

Au contraire.
posted by Sara C. at 1:57 PM on February 21


This thread is kind of making me feel like I'm some kind of chump for enjoying my life in New York as much as I do.

Please don't feel like a chump; as one of the loudest grumblers in here, I honestly do not wish that upon you.

The most I would ask (and I'm not even asking that, only suggesting this if you feel like you should react in some way) is to appreciate how very, very lucky you are that you are even able to do just that. Because the number of people who are able to have even those modest life goals is rapidly shrinking.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:58 PM on February 21 [3 favorites]


And I don't hold you at fault for your luck and my lack of it; the market forces and economics have far more to do with that than do the general public. (The most a single person could have done in NYC for the past 12 years was to vote accordingly, but having had a practical dictator as mayor for the past 12 years it probably wouldn't have done much good anyway.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:00 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


Why not impose a ginormous tax on properties that are unoccupied like this? Is there any precedent for this?

Some precedent, yes; from the same article, later on:
Some other cities are concerned that too many out-of-towners buying up desirable homes will deaden neighborhoods and deplete any street life: Charleston, S.C., has subjected second homes to higher property taxes than primary residences. New York City does not, taxing second and permanent homes at the same rate, but a state tribunal this year suggested that city apartments owned by commuters could be included in the definition of a permanent abode, subjecting them to New York taxes even on income earned out of state.
posted by cjelli at 2:06 PM on February 21


New York has always seemed like a great place to live if you have money; unfortunately, the amount of money it would take to make it a great place to live has increased to the point of absurdity. Nationally inequality of income and wealth has increased, and for a variety of reasons NY has taken that pattern further. It's a lot more difficult to be middle class there than in most other places in the US.

The development gifs are a nice idea, but they need a longer timeframe (and to be done from one position -- the herky-jerky back and forth doesn't help. They will be cool when there is ten years of continuous Google street view imagery, but as-is they aren't showing any clear trajectory.
posted by Dip Flash at 2:29 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


Sheesh, Sara C., every time there is a NYC thread like this you go on a tear. Heaven has no rage. . .
posted by mlis at 2:36 PM on February 21 [4 favorites]


Of course it isn't for everyone, but I love it here.

Me, too. I can't wait till a month or so from now when it starts getting warmer and people quit posting those "why do I live where the air hurts my face" stupid meme posts.
posted by sweetkid at 2:36 PM on February 21 [2 favorites]


I'm happy here in Philly, along with many other former New Yorkers for whom the rent is too damn high. Other cool people can come. No super models, lawyers who have made partner, or bankers. No supremely shitty state government for you.
posted by angrycat at 2:38 PM on February 21 [2 favorites]


> Sheesh, Sara C., every time there is a NYC thread like this you go on a tear.

I'm slowly getting sold on LA though. (But how can it be nice? There must be a catch like no jobs or you do need a car after all. But oh, to feel dry heat again...)
posted by postcommunism at 2:44 PM on February 21


I can't wait till a month or so from now when it starts getting warmer...

I too am looking forward to the annual hatching of the snow-tumors.
posted by griphus at 2:49 PM on February 21 [2 favorites]


The catch is that if you want to go out after work of a Friday evening there are all kinds of annoying car logistics.

My liver has grown three sizes since I moved out here.
posted by Sara C. at 2:54 PM on February 21


how do those two sentences go together?
posted by sweetkid at 3:07 PM on February 21


Sheesh, Sara C., every time there is a NYC thread like this you go on a tear.


It's not just Sara C, whenever anyone moves away (esp to LA, SF #2) they spend a lot of time/social media posts on how much better the new place is than New York.

Actually Sara C isn't even that bad about it.
posted by sweetkid at 3:10 PM on February 21


But how can it be nice? There must be a catch like no jobs or you do need a car after all

I'm a big fan of LA, but I would not want to live in LA or the region without a car, and I'm someone who would much, much rather not own a car (and never did till I moved to Southern California). So there's that.
posted by yoink at 3:22 PM on February 21


I hate cars and wouldn't live in LA without a car.
posted by sweetkid at 3:25 PM on February 21


I basically can't move even if I wanted to cause there is no way on Earth I'd find a place like this out in the wild.

Plus I never learned to drive and hate cars soooooo....I'm pretty much stuck here.
posted by The Whelk at 3:26 PM on February 21


how do those two sentences go together?

Because if you have to drive to go out drinking, you can't really drink.

It's been over a year since I did the typical NYC weekend night of going out and drinking enough to be actually drunk. And day drinking? Forget it.

I don't even have a regular local bar in LA.

There's a whole drinking culture in New York that can't really exist here because of the car thing.

Tonight I will be going out, and there will be access to alcohol, but it'll be a bar attached to a place you go to do a specific activity, and I will drink maybe two beers after eating a meal.
posted by Sara C. at 3:28 PM on February 21


It's all just going to end up on AirBnB. Thousands of new units, totally empty save for a single inflatable mattress on the floor, being rented out as hotels (and not paying any hotel taxes, because hey … "disruption").

The last time there was a thread on Hacker News about AirBnB in NYC, there were dozens of posts from people who said that literally "everyone" they knew in New York owned multiple condos that they rented out on AirBnB. Those same people were all supposedly busy using the proceeds to buy even more condos for renting out. These posters also expressed genuine bewilderment that there were any people left in NYC who weren't already doing that.
posted by Potsy at 3:30 PM on February 21


ah gotcha. yeah. A few years ago a friend and I went drinking out in LA and he drove me around Silverlake reservoir while we were both not exactly sober. I know a lot of people do that there (which is bad! really bad). Do not advocate.
posted by sweetkid at 3:31 PM on February 21


The catch is that if you want to go out after work of a Friday evening there are all kinds of annoying car logistics.

Most of them having to do with which freeway you'll be parking on for a while.

I was *hoping* to make it up to Simi from West LA today before the 405 got bad, but it was already too late at least a half hour ago.

I've lived in LA and other parts of So Cal with only a bike to my name before. It was certainly limiting (and cemented in my mind why the automobile is so popular even while being relatively expensive), but I'd say less so than being without a car in many other places... except, of course, the great walkable cities that reached critical mass before the era of the auto.
posted by weston at 3:35 PM on February 21


In the mid-2000s I lived in the L.A. suburbs for a year, without a car. I am, right now, still waiting for the bus.
posted by griphus at 3:37 PM on February 21 [9 favorites]


New York has always seemed like a great place to live if you have money;

Every place I have been to seems like a great place to live if you have money. The differentiating factor is if it is a great place to live even if you don't.

I don't think people understand how the modern finance boom really upended the economics of the New York metro area. A small sliver of people basically had an exponential increase in salary and wealth and is able to outbid everyone else for space. Hedge funds, having run out of other investment opportunities, have started buying up New York real estate.

Anything desireable for which there is a limited supply can be monopolized by people in the finance industry. It used to be that things like living in Manhattan and/or affording private school tuition could be afforded by anyone with two incomes and decent jobs who were willing to save and live modestly. Both of those commodities are things for which the supply hasn't expanded to any appreciable degree, but the amount of money that a small number of people have access to has skyrocketed, so the limited number of "slots" get filled by people willing to pay an amount of money not accessible to "mere mortals."

I am sure there are other examples in the New York area of non-expanding supply causing prices to skyrocket due to the flood of finance money whose gains were concentrated among a few.

Crown Heights real estate starts at $300,000. Assuming you will only mortgage 3x your income, you need 80,000-100,000/yr depending on your down payment. The median household income in Brooklyn is $32,000/yr. Even Crown Heights real estate is priced with the assumption that buyers are well-off professionals from a closer-in Brooklyn neighborhood.
posted by deanc at 3:46 PM on February 21 [4 favorites]


The thing about carfree in LA is that it really, really depends where specifically you are and what you do for a living. Also to what extent you're willing to limit your mobility.

If I lived in Silverlake and had a permanent job for a particular studio or production company (or maybe a super long running TV show or something?) somewhere in Burbank, I could see ditching my car for a Vespa or something. Or maybe going car free if there was a bus that went basically from door to door.

If I lived in Hollywood or Downtown and worked from home or had a permanent job in one of those areas, I would get rid of my car in a second.

The really big problem is leaving the immediate area of where you live to go to other parts of Los Angeles. I'd live in Hollywood without a car in a second, but I might as well live in Ohio in terms of convenient access to the beach. However, I value not dealing with a car higher than I value beach access.

It used to be that things like living in Manhattan and/or affording private school tuition could be afforded by anyone with two incomes and decent jobs who were willing to save and live modestly.

This is really worth repeating. When I first moved to NYC, I was dating someone who grew up on the Upper West Side, went to an elite private school, and basically had the idyllic Manhattan childhood. His parents were in publishing and jewelry design (and not like the CEO of Random House and a DeBeers heir, or anything -- regular people) and both came from working class backgrounds.

Meanwhile, I have a similar sort of career and was never able to even have my own apartment, even in a stodgy part of the outer boroughs.
posted by Sara C. at 4:04 PM on February 21


[Maybe we can leave off the LA derail?]
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:11 PM on February 21


OK I work in finance, live in Manhattan, and only moved here less than 3 years ago from out of town, so I should probably get kicked off Metafilter. But - and of course this is from my ignorant viewpoint as someone who just doesn't know what it was like back then, maaaan - it seems to me like the local color of NYC is not necessarily disappearing so much as changing.

For example, I used to live in Brooklyn, near Junior's, in a newish highrise development that is probably pictured in one of those GIFs materializing out of an empty lot, and I will admit I never patronized said Junior's even once, which probably makes me a Bad Person (I'm surprised I haven't been banned as I type this). But in that same area a new ramen restaurant (Ganso) and a new Neapolitan-style pizza restaurant (Sottocasa) have opened. They're not for rich people, in fact their food might be slightly cheaper than Junior's was. They might not have the same history and nostalgia, but they're not chains and they add just as much "color" to the neighborhood. And forgive me for saying this, but walking past Junior's every day, it didn't really seem like a local neighborhood hangout so much as a place where people ate once to say they'd eaten at a famous NYC "institution."

So "classic" delis are closing, but I would venture a guess that the diversity of eating options in NYC has never been greater. Just in the past few months off the top of my head, near me there's a new Northeastern Thai place (Somtum Der), a new Japanese street food place (Mimi & Coco), a new Georgian restaurant (Oda House). None of those are chain restaurants or particularly expensive. They might not be old Italian bakeries or classic kosher-style delis, but they are all independent businesses run by immigrants, and what could be more New York than that?

Now I live in Chinatown in Manhattan not far from the new hotel GIF. This area is gentrifying too; I lamented the passing of East Corner Wonton on East Broadway, as well as the shuttering of South China Garden on Elizabeth. I think they're both being redeveloped into hotels. But even as the old businesses close, there are new ones popping up that add more diversity to the otherwise Cantonese-dominated neighborhood. Xi'an Famous Foods for instance is relatively new and serves a kind of Chinese food you could never find in Chinatown before. And they probably replaced a Cantonese restaurant that had been there for decades. But who's to say that in 50 years time when Xi'an Famous Foods closes we won't lament its passing as a New York Institution in its own right?
posted by pravit at 4:20 PM on February 21 [2 favorites]


I see what you're saying pravit but the Junior's closing thing really sucks.
posted by sweetkid at 4:23 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


And there are those of us who can't afford to eat out at all as it is.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:36 PM on February 21


Every single venue I used to work in/watch shows in/perform in has closed and nothing has taken thier place.


If I wanted to live in a city for spooky introverts I'd move to Seattle.
posted by The Whelk at 4:39 PM on February 21 [4 favorites]


there's no reason why the outer boroughs shouldn't be zoned to allow as much density as Manhattan.

Public transit? How could some of the outer areas survive Manhattan density with 1 or maybe 2 train lines and a handful of buses?

I'm not against the idea but I think some clever planning will be needed. I loved Astoria when I was there but the haphazard development in some areas was really weird. 12 different kinds of "luxury" (in quotes because a lot of them looked like shit) buildings next to vinyl-sided single family homes next to brick row homes, all on the same block. If we are going to do this, lets plan and make sure we are building something functional and beautiful and not just setting up a race where everyone is building their own castle to the last cm of their lot.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:55 PM on February 21


Yeah re: Junior's it's like sorry we don't keep all the well-loved tourist spots around forever...

OK I work in finance, live in Manhattan, and only moved here less than 3 years ago from out of town, so I should probably get kicked off Metafilter...

I got you beat. Currently businessprogrammer & as of this past ten days, picking up steam and becoming increasingly real, I don't even know anymore - I've contracted out work, got space, setting up websites, prototyping - technology startup Founder. In Manhattan. Open source, apparently that's bad too now. FIELD: CRYPTOFINANCE.

I almost reported in for pre-emptive precrime banning last night. Shit, I kinda explicitly planned not to get entrepreneurial, but it's like I'm bored at work, and kind of just upset that certain obvious-to-me products are not being created, and it's like there's a goddamn money tree in front of me and it would be wrong not to pluck it. I have contracted work and purchased equipment in DOGE.

I might pretty much try to convert NYC to DOGE. You have got to be kidding me if you don't think business owners are interested in something like credit cards with a fraction of the fees, AND it's hot on the Internet right now. Someone's doing it for Iceland... so yeah soon hopefully another thing for you guys to hate about NYC.

The most I would ask (and I'm not even asking that, only suggesting this if you feel like you should react in some way) is to appreciate how very, very lucky you are that you are even able to do just that. Because the number of people who are able to have even those modest life goals is rapidly shrinking.

IRL NYC population is on the increase, though not too quickly. I suppose there could be a percentage-wise decrease, though I can't imagine a huge one...

But seriously, have you guys ever heard the song "If you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere" - think about the implications of that line. It ain't just about wealth, neither - a homeless dude can make it where you guys can't, and on the other side wealthy connected Andrew Sullivan couldn't - I read his first NYC column and I'm thinking "Nope, he ain't gonna make it." de Blasio's not gonna make it.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 6:16 PM on February 21


I might pretty much try to convert NYC to DOGE.

Wow

What? you doing

such gerntify

Concern

much vacant lots

so high rise
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:25 PM on February 21 [7 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted; let's skip a derail over the merits/bubbliness of dogecoin.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:50 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


Quality of life should never be something exclusively for a single class.

And Frank Sinatra said a lot of things about a lot of cities.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:20 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


So I moved to Crown Heights, Brooklyn in 2005. I moved around between then and now, andas of the end of 2013 my rent for comparable living spaces had gone from $1100 in 2005 to $2000. In July, my landlord told me I had six months, and then he was raising my rent to $2300. "You're a nice guy, a good tenant," he said, "but I can just get so much more than you're paying for it." $2300 is simply more than makes sense financially for me and my wife on our salaries.

In June of 2013, I had the "good fortune" to receive a financial windfall after 2 years of litigation stemming from a serious car accident. I'm talking a settlement on the order of hundreds of thousands of dollars - much more than I have any right to, or would have been able to save on my own from my $50k salary. "Great!" I think. "I can live the dream and own in Brooklyn!" The only apartment I saw that I could afford was a co-op that was smaller than the places we were living in that was $400k. We weighed our options, benefits and detriments, and moved to New Jersey. I now live in the suburbs in a beautiful house in a cute little town, but my commute went from 35 minutes each way to about 80.

I have a friend who is quite literally a "trust fund kid." He comes from oil money, has a bunch of cash,and is looking to buy an apartment. This last week, he placed a bid on an apartment just a couple blocks from my first apartment in Crown Heights, the one I was paying $1100 a month for. It was a 2 bedroom condo, and he figured there was no way he could lose it. He was bidding 10% above asking ($560k) and, unlike most everyone else, offering all cash. But someone else, also with the means to pay all in cash outbid him.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 2:14 AM on February 22 [3 favorites]


I have a lot of friends in NYC, about half of them Metafilter friends.

Most of my MeFi friends live in the outer boroughs and are renting. Of those who are buying, they were priced out of Manhattan. Pretty much everyone is in a job paying a reasonable salary that outside NYC would support a good lifestyle (even taking into account a salary 'weighting' for the extra cost of living in NYC). The friends who live in Manhattan are only able to do so because they're in housing that's tied to a job and is subsidised in some way, or else are in a rent-controlled building they've been in for years but which, as a result, suffers in terms of amenities and lack of modernisation.

Of my non-MeFi friends, well they all live in Manhattan - and they are all in jobs or professions that pay them massive amounts of money.

NYC's starting to become more like London - which in its centre lacks heart because of gentrification - so there's no mix of people. Just far too many high-end unaffordable properties and neighbourhoods full of generic chain stores, restaurants and fucking Starbucks. I wonder who on earth is buying the new properties being built in London outside of overseas absentee investors. In central London even where there's social housing, thanks to the Right to Buy, much of it is now in the hands of private owners who are moneyed professionals or BTL landlords renting out to the private sector. The working-class was long ago displaced from living in London and it's happening to the middle-class now too.
posted by essexjan at 3:47 AM on February 22


word is, Junior's gonna be elsewhere in Brooklyn while they put up the fucking big condos that will be destroyed by the robot apocalypse. Then Junior's will be leasing out the bottom of the fucking big condos.

So, those of you who were worried, it looks like Junior's will still be there. The idea of people buying a huge condo above Junior's and then eating at Junior's makes me unreasonably irritated. I think the rich need to buy their cheesecake elsewhere, leave us alone with our monster hamburgers and pickled appetizers.
posted by angrycat at 8:27 AM on February 22


So, those of you who were worried, it looks like Junior's will still be there.

I was born in Brooklyn but we left around '69 so I usually have nothing to contribute to these conversations.

I'm glad to hear Junior's isn't going anywhere, because one of my earliest memories is going to Junior's and eating shrimp salad sandwiches.

That is all.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:36 AM on February 22


12% of Manhattan apartments are vacant

If this is true, it seems like sort of a bad omen for people in SF who are hoping that some of our housing problems will be solved by new luxury construction taking the pressure off of the rest of the market. Instead it seems like it will probably just create a new market for extremely wealthy jet-setters who can afford to treat buying an extra apartment like the merely garden-variety-rich treat buying an extra car. Most of these people already have zero interest in becoming landlords because they don't want the hassle; those who do can make more money renting to wealthy vacationers on AirBnB. So my fear is that a lot of the new properties will just sit mostly-vacant, and an average 1-bedroom a 40-minute commute from downtown will still cost more than $1,500.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:49 PM on February 22 [1 favorite]


BTW, I couldn't find it before I hit post, but here's what I'm referring to when I say that the wealthy don't want the hassle of renting out spaces that they own in SF.

The upshot is that this couple rented out an extra space, had a legitimately terrible experience renting to a dangerous drunk, and then began proceedings to evict him (he left on his own 3 days after they started). From this they conclude that rental law in SF is horrifyingly unfair to landlords, not because they weren't able to get rid of him, but because their tenant believed he could get away with serious infractions (*record scratch* -- ??!).

Perhaps more importantly, though, they also realized when their home was being appraised that a tenant-free home is more valuable, so their property value went up, making it better as an investment (and a lot of people snapping up expensive city apartments apparently view them as primarily that).

tl;dr, it's not in their rational self-interest to rent out property they own in SF, sorry not sorry.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:09 PM on February 22 [1 favorite]


And once they've maximized the investment value of the apartment, they'll somehow work on making lower-end apartments worse.
posted by The Whelk at 3:24 PM on February 22 [2 favorites]


it looks like Junior's will still be there

I'll believe that when I see it.

There are always a lot of promises about long term things when it comes time to demolish real NYC culture for another luxury condo development.
posted by Sara C. at 6:37 PM on February 22 [1 favorite]


I read in the NY times a few weeks ago that the time Warner center was supposed to be 90 stories ( the same height as the monster buildings currently going up in midtown), but the central park conservancy ( which at the time included Jackie Onassis) cracked down on the developer. Now the developers of the monstrosities are on the CPC board.>:-(

I live 2 doors down from one 57 ( where the crane broke during hurricane sandy). Don't get me started on this.
posted by brujita at 1:59 PM on February 23


Photos: Mars Bar's Transformation Into TD Bank Almost Complete.

Brian Rose’s book, Time and Space on the Lower East Side, portrays the streets of southern Manhattan in both 1980 and 2010 with luscious, composed portraits.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 9:49 AM on February 25


Spike Lee’s Amazing Rant Against Gentrification: ‘We Been Here!’
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:09 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


This one has a website!
posted by postcommunism at 6:55 AM on March 10


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