Home | About | Donate

When the Rich Took Over Our Neighborhood


#1

When the Rich Took Over Our Neighborhood

Michael Winship

The Chinese restaurant across the street from me – one of the last, reasonably priced joints in the neighborhood – closed last weekend. Their lease was up for renewal and the rent increased from $5,000 a month to $25,000.

Such an enormous jump isn’t unusual here in the West Village, part of Greenwich Village in lower Manhattan, which has become such an expensive and trendy part of the city that I may soon be kicked out both for violating the fashion code and skewing the curve on median income.


#2

Probably 40 years ago Frank Zappa wrote "200 Motels" and properly defined just about every American town by its churches and liquor stores. To that pair one could add the same arrangement of box stores. The last stand-outs to diversity are being driven under by the Wal-marts and food chains of this world.

Nonetheless, what will come of these incredibly expensive Manhattan high rises when the seas rise due to the global warming that's largely driven by the rich and their insatiable hunger for yet greater profits on the back of the exhausted Earth Mother?


#3

Bravo! The rich are ever among us, I fear, and the term "high-rent blight" is so very apt to describe the deterioration of a neighborhood when healthier organisms have been depopulated by an infestation of the wealthy. The epigraph to the late Tony Judt's book, Ill Fares the Land, could not be more appropriate:

 Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
 Where wealth accumulates, and men decay.
 
 Oliver Goldsmith, <I>The Deserted Village</I> (1770)

#4

'Venice in Manhattan' and a great tourist attraction? Get in on the ground floor and buy now whilst condos are still cheap before rising seas bring rising prices. You need to think like a capitalist!


#5

This is another "empire in action" sort of thing. It is important to see what is happening. Let me tell a story. My grandmother was born in Denmark, a good Lutheran girl. Her parents were leaders in the community. But imperialism was rampant. Germany wanted that part of Denmark, and after several wars, all which Denmark lost, the provinces were conquered. The Danish currency all of a sudden was useless. People with German marks invaded, and the locals lost their land and homes. Smaller farms were purchased and merged. Politicians were fired. My grandmother fled to the US, and arrived with no cash. This pattern persists. Block after block in Manhattan is changing. We are finding dollars pretty useless. In London the rich are not buying flats, they are buying floors and making urban mansions. Can you see this?

Is there a solution? Sure. the plan is really in the Bible, and its worth is pretty obvious is you think about it. The Creator is quoted frequently that a society needs to care for three classes of people. 1. Orphans, kids with no support base. 2. Widows, elderly with no support base, and 3. Immigrants, people with few connections and are at a real disadvantage. The idea is pretty simple: these are the ones with the largest problems. Societies need to have programs in place what focus on these three categories. When you do that you establish a support floor, and the entire society is taken care of. So, if you are worried about your future, worry about other's future, and when you help those people, you will find you have helped yourself. There are also troublesome episodes in the Old Testament where the Creator is quoted saying the big IF. If you do not do this, I will take away your land. Can we see that we are losing our land?


#6

Amazing - Mr. Winslip and his neighbors in the fashionable East Village were hardly poor themselves - but now even the gentrifiers are getting gentrified out of town.


#7

" Much of Bleecker Street, for example, once a Village thoroughfare of bohemia immortalized in songs by Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen and Iggy Pop",

There was another haunting song named "Bleecker Street" which came out of the early 60s-
It was written by Paul Simon over 50 years ago when He and Art Garfunkel lived and performed there- Recorded by Paul Simon and Art Garunkel-

Fog's rollin' in off the East River bank
Like a shroud, it covers Bleecker Street
Fills the alleys where men sleep
Hides the shepherd from the sheep

Voices leaking from a sad café
Smiling faces try to understand
I saw a shadow touch a shadow's hand
On Bleecker Street

A poet reads his crooked rhyme
Holy, holy is his sacrament
Thirty dollars pays your rent
On Bleecker Street

I heard a church bell softly chime
In a melody sustainin'
It's a long road to Caanan
On Bleecker Street

Mm-mm-mm-mm
Ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
Ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh
Bleecker Street

Simon & Garfunkel - Bleecker Street


#8

George III-
On another note, what is your take on "#SnoopersCharter"?
How could you allow this to happen in merry old England?

"By my read, #SnoopersCharter legitimizes mass surveillance. It is the most intrusive and least accountable surveillance regime in the West."
—Tweet from Edward Snowden


#9

Probably something we all are witnessing in our own town across the country and maybe the world. I know in Portland Oregon it is happening at an alarming rate It does not explain who is buying these condo's, McMansion?
Has the the top tier increased their numbers to such an extent that more people can afford those high price tag living units? Are those in the middle class that are moving up into the top tier?

Who is going to buy all these properties. I know in Portland there are apartments being built on every street corner and rents are very high. In every neighborhood middle class first time home buyer homes are being torn down and McMansions being built.

My business that depends on venues has been displaced three times in the last 3 years as they were priced out of the property. How is the little innovator/entrepreneur going to find space to start a business? It used to be that small business was the real driver of economies, it won't be any longer as they won't happen. We're being gobbled up by the minority, big monopolies.


#11

It is my belief that this problem is a byproduct of capitalism. The capitalist doctrine of "more" (more accumulation, more profits, bigger is better, etc.) is absolutely crushing Main Street USA and the common working class.

Capitalism as a system thrives on the cultivation and celebration of the worst aspects of human behavior; selfishness and self-interest; greed and hoarding; the dog-eat-dog mentality. (1)

If there is to be any sense of normalcy and equality; capitalism must be overthrown for a political and economic system of socialism that places the ownership and distribution of production through democratically-controlled worker councils, cooperatives, or other collective groups (2) to benefit all humanity and not for the private profit of a few.

Otherwise, there will be the continued escalation and divide between the wealthy ruling class and the rest. In reality, there no longer exists a meaningful middle class ... only lords and serfs.

Example: In many areas of the country, paying the rent on a moderate apartment can consume 40-50% of the household income. Under these conditions, there is no way a family will ever be able to save enough money for the down payment for a home of their own ... an American dream so they aren't under the exploitation of a landlord for the entirety of their life.

(1) Courtesy http://socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.com
(2) Small businesses (valued under $10 billion) and farms would not be nationalized and placed under the ownership and control of democratically-controlled worker councils, cooperatives, or other collective groups.


#12

I keep asking Bill not to do such things but he never takes any notice.

Seems to be all the rage in western democracies.

Last time God got annoyed it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. Problem was that he had tipped off his mate, Noah. Roll on, global warming. The human race is just too damn stupid for its own intelligence.


#13

An interesting side effect of all this as it happens here in Vancouver. As people are priced out of living in a given neighborhood they have to move further and further out. This entails a longer commute whether by bus or by automobile if they get a job working in one of those "trendy shops". Someone also has to clean those rich peoples toilets and they will not be paid enough to live nearby.

This then leads to greater expenses to the city for highway and infrastructure repair and upgrades. The City allocates ever more of its reources to these "trendy areas" as they have the largest tax base and the people with the greatest influence over a city Council. This then leads to other neighborhoods going into decay until it decided they to be the new :trendy location" and the process repeats,

The social and environmental destruction wreaked upon our neighborhoods and communities and on our environment knows no bounds when it comes to this 1 percent, They are the true parasites of society.


#14

One of the reasons behind property taxes was to make the well off think twice about owning super large homes and multiple homes. I also believe a person should be allowed to own a small piece of land and a small structure with minimal or no tax. And as the size goes up the tax goes up. And for extravagant homes it should go way up! This encourages people to save,own and care about their community from a small scale. And since tax payers are securing the debt of the federal reserve there should be state owned banks that offer low interest long term loans for people to buy these small lots of land with small homes.----The crazy world we live in-In Calif. they are raising electric rates on the bottom tier and cutting them for the upper tier. Just like as people conserve water their rates are going up. And now there is a war brewing between electric companies and solar.