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Sunday, June 17, 2007


Here is an article from the NY Times about our old neighborhood in NY. We did not like these buildings. They were out of scale for the neighborhood, and frankly, if you plunk them down anywhere in the world, they'd be ugly buildings.

A couple of points I disagree with in the article. First, change is not bad, and NY is certainly a place where change happens. But, if the neighborhood is against building apartment towers twice the height of all the buildings around them, should that change be forced on them? Should outsiders have the power to come into a neighborhood and change it, despite the residents objections?

Second, while the principle of more apartments on the market will decrease the prices is nice to think about, it just doesn't work in Manhattan. You'd have to building quite a number of apartment units to decrease demand enough to effect rent. As long as Wall Street is booming, rents will be sky high. Also, these aren't rental units, and they aren't cheap, or even close to cheap. Their advertisements in the NY Times aim at an obnoxiously rich sect.

Finally, it is sad to see Manhattan change into a enclave for the rich with only chain retail "mall" stores and banks. If you remember our mourning of our local bookstore closing. We felt that our old neighborhood was like a small town inside the city. Most folks were pleasant, most were families, and most patronized the local shops. Enter the I-Bankers... When two professionals (professional, successful engineers) can't make it in Manhattan with a baby, then something is wrong.

I think we've found what we had in Manhattan here in the Houston Heights. It does seem like a small town inside the big city of Houston. Yes, I miss Manhattan (who wouldn't) but what is Manhattan going to be in 5-10 years?

1 comment:

japruf said...

are you voting communist next election?

neighborhoods would never allow anything, and as you admit, progress does have to happen somewhere, so i don't care too much what neighborhoods think. that is the main thing i love about houston: no zoning

I happen to like the buildings.

you weren't 2 engineers working as engineers with a baby. But that point aside, why should any person be guaranteed the ability to live anywhere? Locations that command premiums don so because more people want to be in them than can be. Our society solves problems of limited resources by allowing those who can afford to pay more to pay more.

So far the capitalist system is working pretty well. The parts of the city that have government sponsorship of housing have buildings that are truly ugly, and typically a lot more dangerous than anywhere you or i would live