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Old 09-19-2010, 11:50 AM   #121
JohnAKeith
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Re: Boston is. NYC is.

Reasons to not have rent control / rent stabilization. Also, not to be unkind, but, dude, grow a pair! Cut the apron strings.

Because Dirt-Cheap Has Its Downsides
By Joyce Cohen
New York Times

Quote:
HOW could he possibly relinquish the lease on a $714 rent-stabilized one-bedroom? Everyone told Gary Parker he was crazy.

But he was the one living the reality behind the cheap rent. His railroad apartment in South Park Slope, Brooklyn, was noisy, dark and badly maintained. He longed for a better quality of life.

Mr. Parker, who grew up near Boston, landed the apartment ? a furnished summer sublet he found through a chain of friends ? 20 years ago. At that point the rent was around $350 a month. When the leaseholder decided to go to graduate school in the Midwest and failed to return, Mr. Parker, now 42, took over the lease.

?Finding that apartment was like hitting the lottery,? he said. The cheap rent allowed him to put himself through school ? first Brooklyn College and then, for a master?s degree, Hunter College.

But he was living with cracked ceilings, squeaky floorboards and leaky faucets. The toilet ran until the handle was jiggled. The view was of the building across the street. Sunlight was weak. ?Every plant I ever bought in that apartment died,? he said.

And he knew things wouldn?t change. ?No landlord wants to do improvements on an apartment where the tenant is paying so little,? said Mr. Parker, who was formerly district manager of Community Board 5 in Midtown and is now director of government and community affairs at New York University.

His mother, Stella, who lives in Manchester, N.H., was one of the few who encouraged him to move. On her visits, she said, there was so much noise from the neighbors and the street that, when she tried to watch television, she turned on the closed captions ?so I could read it in case I couldn?t hear it.?

A year ago, with a budget of around $300,000, Mr. Parker began searching for a one-bedroom with a view ? ?something captivating that I could really take in and enjoy,? he said. His mother joined him early in the hunt for a weekend of open-house exploration. They saw walk-ups that seemed ?really awful and needed a lot of work,? she said. By day?s end, ?I didn?t want to walk up another flight of stairs.?

Mr. Parker contacted Scott Klein, an agent at Prudential Douglas Elliman, whom he knew through the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn. ?I needed guidance,? he said, ?because I had no idea what I was doing.?

Mr. Klein saw it this way: Mr. Parker needed a place ?where he could say, ?When I come home, I feel really good about it.? ?

They went to see a co-op in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, with two small bedrooms, a large kitchen and a view of the Manhattan skyline. It was listed at $299,000, with a maintenance fee of $300 a month.

?On paper, this could be the place,? Mr. Parker said. But the layout was odd, and the apartment was in bad shape. A friend told him he would be depressed there, ?because it is basically your apartment now ? with a view.? He realized he wanted a place in move-in condition.

He considered Troy Towers, a co-op in Union City, N.J., which appeared in an online search for affordable places with views. One-bedrooms were in the $200,000 range, but maintenance fees were high, around $1,000 a month.

The fee included air-conditioning, heat, electricity and water. ?Everybody pays for everybody?s utilities,? Mr. Parker said, ?and I think that encourages people to leave their air-conditioning on all day long, which drove the price up for everyone.?

Back in Brooklyn, he checked out a new condominium in Gowanus, listed at $379,000 with monthly charges under $250. It was lovely, but there wasn?t much of a view. And he was leery of the high closing costs that typically come with new construction.

Last spring, two possibilities appeared in co-ops on Ocean Parkway in Kensington, Brooklyn. One was in a nice prewar building with a view of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The view, however, was seasonal ? obscured when the trees were in leaf. The listing price was $279,000, with maintenance of $540.

At the other co-op, a 1961 white-brick building a few blocks away, he had a visceral reaction. ?I knew I was home,? he said. ?I had been to so many places, but I?d never experienced that.?

Three boroughs ? Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island ? were visible, with the view punctuated by the Verrazano. The apartment, large and in very good shape, came with an off-street parking spot. The asking price was $289,000, with a maintenance fee just under $600.

Mr. Parker immediately summoned his mother. When they arrived at the apartment, the owner?s tenant ?made us take off our shoes before we went in,? Mrs. Parker said. ?I thought that was pretty nice of a renter to do that, because a lot of times renters don?t care.?

With its great view and parking space, there was no question that this was the place. ?I think for Gary, buying was a rite of passage,? Mr. Klein said.

Mr. Parker negotiated the price to $277,500. Getting a mortgage, with its mountains of paperwork, ?was a difficult and painful process,? he said. He rushed to close, and was just in time for the first-time home-buyer tax credit.

Leaving his old home was emotional. ?When the movers took all the boxes out and that apartment was completely empty,? he said, ?every happy memory I had in that apartment for 20 years came flooding through my head, and I was so filled with gratitude that I was able to live there.?

He donated his possessions to charity, except for clothes, photos and some keepsakes. ?There was something about making a fresh start,? he said. Until he bought dishes, he improvised, eating cereal out of takeout containers.

Now, Mr. Parker has a place he is happy with and the view he had in mind. ?You can see so much sky,? he said. ?I marvel at how many planes are cruising around. It is like watching very slow shooting stars.? He no longer has to park on the street, or move his car for street-cleaning. As a friend put it, ?Imagine that 45 minutes twice a week you are going to gain by not having to drive around looking for a parking spot.?

Between mortgage and maintenance, Mr. Parker now pays around $1,800 a month. ?Even though he is paying a lot more, he?s getting a lot more,? his mother said. ?I am going to be visiting a lot more often.?
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/19/re...9hunt.html?hpw
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Old 09-19-2010, 01:15 PM   #122
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Re: Boston is. NYC is.

Who seriously needs or expects a view in New York at a price like that? He could have found a much nicer place in a much nicer neighborhood at a much lower price without that absurd requirement. Even a lot of relatively wealthy New Yorkers don't expect "so much sky".
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Old 09-25-2010, 08:47 AM   #123
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Re: Boston is. NYC is.

his MOMA tellin him wHat he do.
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Old 09-25-2010, 02:31 PM   #124
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Re: Boston is. NYC is.

True, but if there wasn't rent control, the normal joe wouldn't be able to live there. Instead of finding any place cheap, all the apartments would have been in the 250,000 range.
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Old 11-06-2010, 10:43 AM   #125
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Re: Boston is. NYC is.

Amazing.

A billion aerial views of NYC.



http://blogs.denverpost.com/captured...om-above/2331/
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Old 11-06-2010, 12:02 PM   #126
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Re: Boston is. NYC is.

Notice that the Chrysler Building isn't a perfect rectangle. On the back side it follows the outline of the old Boston Post Road.
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Old 11-17-2010, 08:58 PM   #127
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Re: Boston is. NYC is.

I think this is a pretty good article about growth in a large city and the pressures that institutions such as universities can put on the urban fabric that makes our cities great.

Also, there are good examples of fucking insane people.

New York University has unveiled its "NYU 2031" master plan, which will increase its size by an estimated 6 million square feet. If you look at the maps attached to the story you'll see it really isn't all that much since a lot of it will be on land it already owns.

NYU plans on adding a fourth tower to the block that already includes three I.M. Pei-designed towers. Neighbors were vehemently opposed to their construction. These three buildings were given landmark protection in 2008. Now neighbors say they don't want the fourth building because it will ruin the design aesthetic of the original three buildings.

If you can't read it all at least go to page six where a resident named David Gruber shows how completely out of touch with reality most of the anti-development people are in NY (similar to Boston).

Quote:
John Sexton, NYU?s president, is doing what he does best: selling. ?You want to contrast the way NYU is in the city and Columbia is in the city,? he tells me. Columbia?s campus, sitting at the southern edge of Harlem, is a walled city, the more-than-metaphorical ivory tower. But at NYU, there?s ?not a single gate, not a single blade of grass,? which isn?t strictly true, but close enough for a great salesman burnishing his brand.

Sexton is seated at a conference table in his office on the top floor of NYU?s Bobst Library, wearing rumpled navy slacks and a sky-blue sweatshirt from his alma mater, Brooklyn Prep. ?Frankly, I dress this way anytime I have an excuse,? he says. When Sexton became president, ten years ago, many believed his drive was to elevate NYU to compete with the Ivy League. In fact, his ambition is grander. He sees the city and the university as a single unit, a node of talent and creativity and, of course, money. And he?s not marketing only to the country?s bright high-school students but also to the global meritocracy. ?The analogy that I use is to the Italian Renaissance, when there was Milan and Venice and Florence and Rome, and the talent and creative class moved among those points,? he says, tracing circles with his hands for emphasis.

New York, with its population of immigrants and transients of all races, creeds, and socioeconomic categories, not to mention its global reach, is the perfect city to build such a vision, but some changes will have to be made. Big changes. NYU is proposing to add 6 million square feet of new space across New York City in the next twenty years, with half the growth taking place in the historic blocks of the Village?the equivalent of three Javits Centers. The proposal, known as NYU 2031, is the culmination of four and a half years of design work by a team of world-class architects that included Toshiko Mori, a Harvard professor and former chair of Harvard?s architecture program. In the Village, NYU is proposing to build four new buildings, including a 38-story hotel and residential tower and a 1,400-bed freshman dorm alongside the I. M. Pei towers that the university owns. Sexton?s vision, and his argument, bears some resemblance to the famous G.M. adage of the fifties: What?s good for NYU is good for New York City, and vice versa. And what it means in practice is that the core of downtown New York is on its way to becoming a college town.
http://nymag.com/news/features/69482/
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Old 11-17-2010, 09:17 PM   #128
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Re: Boston is. NYC is.

How old are the I.M. Pei towers? I'm surprised that NYC allows landmarking of buildings less than 50 years old.
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Old 11-17-2010, 10:10 PM   #129
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Re: Boston is. NYC is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KentXie View Post
True, but if there wasn't rent control, the normal joe wouldn't be able to live there. Instead of finding any place cheap, all the apartments would have been in the 250,000 range.
Some insane percentage (80%?) of NYC housing rental housing stock is somehow rent controlled or stabilized. This dramatically distorts the market pricing and new development. Every non controlled rental unit has a price premium making up the difference for all the units which are locked in at pricing way below market value. There are many buildings in NYC where the newcomer renters are paying ridiculously high rent in order to offset the landlord's loss on long time controlled/stabilized units.

If NYC got rid of rent control & stabilization the choice units, which should be expensive but are often locked in at prices from 40 years ago, would exponentially increase. However, all the middle class and less desirable housing stock would likely see a dramatic fall off in pricing.
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Old 11-18-2010, 09:06 AM   #130
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Re: Boston is. NYC is.

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Originally Posted by Lurker View Post
However, all the middle class and less desirable housing stock would likely see a dramatic fall off in pricing.
Counterintuitive to what you think, there actually won't be a dramatic fall off in pricing. Without rent control, residents will be paying more, leading to higher profit for the landowners who would be able to fix up and renovate dilapidated apartments and increase their value. Price would go up instead of down.
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Old 11-18-2010, 09:39 AM   #131
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Re: Boston is. NYC is.

Eliminating the premium charged on non rent controlled apartments by getting rid of rent control would bring the overall peak pricing down. The artificially cheap housing stock would become more expensive, but also be maintained, rather than left to decay to the point of being condemned in a permitting game to get out of rent control status. The middle class housing would see an improvement in maintenance and a rent reduction themselves. Not subsidizing the bastards sitting on a good deal locked in from the 1970s frees up funds for maintenance and, in not compensating for the cheap deals, allows rents across the board to be equal.

Rent control does more to artificially inflate prices (for the unlucky), encourage people to remain in the same spot (no reason to move, get a better job, or get off the dole, because the housing deal is so unrealistically good), and defers maintenance (landlord needs to make a profit somehow, government forcing private property owners into the public housing business probably should violate a commerce clause anyway) than anything else.
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Old 11-18-2010, 02:10 PM   #132
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Re: Boston is. NYC is.

I.M. Pei says, not so fast. Opposes fourth tower. NYU says, okay, we won't build it there ... but ...

Quote:
[NYU President John Sexton] told me that NYU can build on land it owns nearby when a building restriction expires in ten years. ?We can grow anyway! I mean, we grew for twenty years before. If that?s denied, we have an as-of-right building that will be five feet away. Which we?ll do! Maybe we?ll be forced to add seven stories to the Catholic Center.?
More about canceling project: http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/1...mes_plan_b.php

(I was going to write, I.M. Pei says, "Me no likey" but was afraid you'd think that was racist.)
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Old 11-18-2010, 05:28 PM   #133
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Re: Boston is. NYC is.

I was actually shocked when I read that. But they are only moving the building, like, 100 feet to the west. It will still be a giant eye soar [/pun]
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Old 12-05-2010, 11:26 AM   #134
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Re: Boston is. NYC is.

I think this article is great except its main point is invalid, that the rebirth of 42nd Street and Times Square was the result of plans to build office towers on its corners. Seeing as they weren't finished until well after the area was "reborn", they didn't help/hurt at all.

After 30 Years, Times Square Rebirth Is Complete
By CHARLES V. BAGLI

Quote:
Next month, 11 Times Square, a new, glassy 40-story office tower at 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue, will formally open with its first tenant. Compared with the metamorphosis that has occurred around it, there is nothing extraordinary about the building except for this: Its completion officially marks the end of the long and tortuous redevelopment of Times Square, an effort that began 30 years ago.

The plan, to radically make over 13 acres, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, primarily fronting 42nd Street, outlived three mayors, four governors, two real estate booms and two recessions. It faced widespread derision in the beginning from jaded New Yorkers who were wise to grand plans. It faces occasional derision today from New Yorkers who speak of the old Times Square with newfound fondness.

It embodied both the hubris of urban master planning and its possibilities, and showed the value of ripping up blueprints and starting over in midstream. And it has been a touchstone experience for a city that is now building, or trying to build, several multibillion-dollar projects, including ground zero, the Atlantic Yards, Willets Point and the Hudson Yards.

?So often, people say New York can?t build large-scale projects anymore,? said Lynne B. Sagalynn, a professor of real estate finance at Columbia University and the author of ?Times Square Roulette: Remaking the City Icon.?

But, Professor Sagalynn said, ?Times Square is an example of how a city was able to think on a grand scale and carry it out.?

?It can take a decade or two for the complete vision to become a reality,? she continued. ?But it happened here.?

Success is evident. Crime is down significantly from the days when pimps, prostitutes, drug addicts and dope pushers prowled Times Square and the Deuce, as that stretch of 42nd Street was known. The number of tourists is up 74 percent since 1993, to an estimated 36.5 million last year, and attendance at Broadway shows has soared to nearly 12 million.

Morgan Stanley, Allianz Global Investors, Viacom and Cond? Nast now make their corporate homes there. Retailers are paying rents as high as $1,400 a square foot, second only to those on chic stretches of Fifth and Madison Avenues.

And while many billboards in Times Square were blank in 1979, today the area is a kaleidoscope of moving images depicting financial institutions, automakers and fashion houses, with the best spots on 1 Times Square?s facade commanding as much as $4 million a year in rent.

?The irony is that this place represents in many ways the epitome of free-market capitalism,? said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance. ?But its transformation is due more to government intervention than just about any other development in the country.?

Times Square, of course, has certain unique qualities that none of the city?s current projects enjoy: it sits in the middle of Manhattan, has a rich, century-long history and is recognized internationally as the crossroads of the world. Even at the worst of times, tourists from England to Italy, Algeria to Japan came to New York to have their pictures taken in Times Square.

But the often painful rebirth also took perseverance and a long-term approach, rare characteristics in a city obsessed with making things happen in a New York minute.

The concerted effort began in 1980, when after years of complaints and false starts, Mayor Edward I. Koch and state officials announced the coming rejuvenation of Times Square.

The developer George Klein, who later formed a joint venture with Prudential, was selected to build four sedate skyscrapers at the famous intersection of 42nd Street, Broadway and Seventh Avenue. The state would take over the decrepit theaters, evict the peep shows and X-rated movie houses and restore the former dignity. The subway stations would be refurbished, and a huge merchandise mart would be built on Eighth Avenue, between 40th and 42nd Streets, across from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

The plan envisioned the use of eminent domain, and the owners of the theaters and nearby office towers, like the Durst family, resisted.

There also was criticism of the large tax breaks showered upon developers and tenants in the new Times Square; the Municipal Art Society, a private planning and preservation group, once estimated that the redevelopment would entail more than $1 billion in ?unnecessary? property tax abatements and other benefits like zoning changes that allowed for taller towers than would otherwise be permitted.

By the time the state had fended off 47 lawsuits brought against the project, a severe recession in 1991 brought the city to its knees. The next year, for the first time, Gov. Mario M. Cuomo failed to mention Times Square in his State of the State address.

Rebecca Robertson, who was then president of the state?s 42nd Street Development Project, worried that the whole plan was unraveling. Prudential, which had already put up $241 million for the land, threatened to pull out if it was forced to build towers at a time when it would be hard to fill them with tenants. It was given more time.

But this gloomy period, Ms. Robertson said, also proved to be an opportunity to overhaul the much-criticized development plan, whose four huge skyscrapers were designed more to bury Times Square?s sordid past than to celebrate its connection to popular culture.

Ms. Robertson, together with the architect Robert A. M. Stern and the graphic designer Tibor Kalman, devised an interim plan that reconnected with the ?razzmatazz? of Times Square?s past by emphasizing entertainment, big garish signs, an eclectic mix of tenants and glassier, flashier office towers, with lobbies that seemed to flow onto the sidewalk rather than wall it off.

?To me, the market crash was a wonderful time to rethink the whole thing,? Ms. Robertson said, referring to a stock market crash in 1987. ?We couldn?t have gotten our plan through in a hot market. The development pressures would?ve been way too strong. Everyone would?ve been talking about what big tenant can we get, and not about restoring popular culture and entertainment.?

The oft-heard complaint about the Disneyfication of Times Square sometimes loses sight of the fact that it was the Walt Disney Company, perhaps more than any other, that helped start the turnaround.

Disney wanted its own Broadway theater, but feared being a lonely outpost on a hostile block. A fierce negotiator despite its Mickey Mouse image, Disney reached an agreement to take over the New Amsterdam theater in the last days of Mayor David N. Dinkins?s tenure, got a low-interest loan from the state and prodded officials to sign deals with Madame Tussauds wax museum and the AMC Theaters, which moved in down the block. The restored theater has now been home to two wildly successful Disney plays, the Lion King, which later moved a few blocks away to the Minskoff Theater, and now Mary Poppins.

The economy recovered and then some, and the multicolored Westin Hotel, more movie theaters and the B. B. King Blues Club and Grill soon followed on the north side of 42nd Street. Douglas Durst, an early opponent, built 4 Times Square, the Cond? Nast building, on land he acquired from Prudential. Then followed the Reuters building, the Ernst & Young tower and a fourth skyscraper as the wrecking ball demolished hot-dog stands and pornography shops.

One Times Square, the building atop which the ball drops every New Year?s Eve, and now the most expensive advertising space in the world, sold for $110 million in 1997, four times what it had fetched just two years earlier after a foreclosure.

The New 42nd Street, the nonprofit group that oversees the redevelopment of seven historic theaters, created the New Victory children?s theater with low prices and an award-winning educational program.

Instead of a merchandise mart on Eighth Avenue, there is the New York Times?s new headquarters. Over objections from landowners, the state condemned a parcel that was home to 55 businesses, including a technical school, a hat store and sex shops, to build The Times?s third headquarters in the neighborhood in a century.

And there is 11 Times Square, on the last parcel to be redeveloped, and a sign of Times Square?s progress but also its challenges ahead. It was built speculatively, without tenants already lined up, and is now seeking to fill its floors amid competition from other buildings, including those going up at ground zero. Proskauer Rose, a major law firm and its first occupant, is scheduled to move in next month.

The adoption of a revised redevelopment plan was a critical moment, said Mary Ann Tighe, a real estate executive. ?They recognized that this wasn?t going to be Rockefeller Center West,? she said. ?Each part of the city is unique and demands its own solution.?

One of the last remnants of the old Times Square is Jimmy Glenn, the owner of Jimmy?s Corner, a bar on West 44th Street east of Seventh Avenue. A boxing trainer, Mr. Glenn was the owner of the late Times Square Gym, located one floor above 42nd Street; boxers with names like Ali, Frazier and Tyson used to mount the long stairwell to his ring.

Now, he said, ?it?s like a pinball machine out there.?

But Mr. Glenn, now 80, does not miss the drug addicts, pornography shops and criminals. ?Everybody loves Times Square now,? he said.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/04/ny...pagewanted=all
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