Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bundle of Joy

Hello world! It's me! Little Baby Failure! I've been born again, most recently, in New York City. It might be coincidental what with the 300 millionth person in the U.S. being born this week and all, but my birth is special and extraordinary! Aren't I cute!? Waahh!

I'm here because MetLife, the unscrupulous insurer who's been a New York City presence since 1868, has successfully sold the cluster of buildings known as Stuyvesant Town to an equally unscrupulous realty concern called Tishman Speyer for an ungodly sum of cash plus acres of rotting human flesh and human depravity -- although, I think the flesh was thrown in as a bonus.

With this transaction, we're all witnessing one of the largest tracts of middle- and lower-class housing in the whole of New York City wiped off the map in favor of transforming the 110 building complex into, essentially, a gated luxury community within a generation or so. Much of the apartment units have been rent-controlled or regulated in some fashion, enabling people who aren't hedge-fund managers or Earth-plundering robber-barons to live in the borough of Manhattan. It was an ingenious postwar idea, and it survived happily until Wednesday, October 18.

And that's when I was born! Coo! Poop!

You see, no one of any significant power lifted a goddamn finger to stop the ludicrously-enabled real estate interests of this berg from cherry-picking one of the most undervalued properties in a land mass with diminishing real estate. Gone is a bumper crop of rent-contolled apartments, and gone is any hope of people being able to maintain a generational existence in New York City. Our Plutocrat Mayor decided to do what he does best and "let the market decide" -- which is bullshit, of course, because the playing field in New York has always been tipped in favor of luxury development. There's nothing fair or organic about it.

So, bouncing Baby Failure entered the world that day, heralding a transaction that ensures the middle class get a one-way ticket to western New Jersey or possible homelessness, as the rents in Stuyvesant Town are now allowed to reach "market value" as the units turn over to new ownership. The city's leadership seems pitted in cage match-style combat against its most needy citizens as it rolls over for the same 20 or so real estate entities, who develop the city skyward (at all costs) for people with seven-digit incomes. There's failure all about -- this fucking place is practically a nursery full of dented, asthmatic babies without a future.