Wednesday, August 31, 2005
P.S. The NY Times also has an impressive, multi-level graphic showing flooded areas, where levees broke, evacuation routes, and the oil indstury.
“I Just Bought Real Estate In Your Mind.”Then I happened to be strolling along St. Marks towards
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
The Third Annual Howl! Festival of the East Village Arts wrapped up on Sunday with a parade down
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Friday, August 26, 2005
The second phase in the greening of Greenport has just been finished, giving the village a showcase of self-effacing modern design and providing a portent of other, grander waterfronts. SHoP, the architectural firm that was formed to complete this project, is developing a master plan for a two-mile esplanade on the
As we fret over the prospect of every ambitious new plan, it might help to recall that it took the
Floyd Norris tackles a very scary subject matter today regarding risky mortgage financing:
At issue is whether financial innovations that have made it easier for Americans to buy homes have also made the system less stable and more subject to shocks that could drive many from their homes.
A really interesting point he makes is that if sales of existing homes drop, that’s a good thing. If they stay high, that could be bad. Why? A slow-down would be more akin to a soft landing:
But if sales volume stays high, that could indicate that the mortgage innovations are hurting. Then we could see rising numbers of foreclosures as homeowners discover they cannot sell their homes for what they owe but also cannot pay their suddenly higher monthly mortgage bills.
Read the whole column.
Read the whole article here.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
As obsessive as he is ubiquitous, Mr. Patterson has taken hundreds of thousands of photographs and thousands of hours of videotape in his adopted neighborhood. Where Jakob Riis and Weegee photographed the area "as a project or a job," Mr. Patterson said with a smile in a recent interview at his home on the
He can't stop, even after more than a dozen arrests by camera-shy police officers. He has amassed a huge day-by-day visual history of the area, told mainly through unpretentious portraits of its myriad and diverse faces: tenement kids and homeless people, poets and politicians, drug dealers and drag queens, rabbis and santeros, beat cops, graffiti taggers, hookers, junkies, punks, anarchists, mystics and crackpots.
Read the whole article here.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
In the absence of anything interesting to say today, I’m just going to plug my own story in the Times about how financial firms are gobbling up all the super-premium Class A office space in Midtown. The point towards the end of the piece -- that downtown is not attracting the young, dynamic and fast-growing financial firms because there just isn’t the right kind of commercial office space -- gets to a larger issue about what needs to happen downtown from a commercial real estate perspective. There just doesn’t seem to be much demand for more “cruise ship” style office buildings. Sleeker, smaller, high-tech “boutique” office buildings are attracting the mid-sized and smaller financial firms, and there just aren’t any of them being built downtown. And the fact is, it’s not just the large financial firms that make an office district dynamic. Like any other neighborhood, an office sector needs diversity in order for it to be lively, and that means attracting tenants of all sizes, colors and shapes. The redevelopment of downtown is going to be an amazing thing to watch over the next ten years, and as I said in a previous post, I think it will be driven not by the
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
While fashion designer Marc Ecko was winning his lawsuit against the city to allow “graffiti” artists “tag” mock subway cars (AKA a street party that is really a promo tool for a new video game), a much smaller graffiti drama was playing out in the E.Vil. From Miss Representation:
And if you are the sort who tags a building early enough in the evening to have a middle-aged blogger catch you, you probably drive to the East Village in your parent’s black Range Rover (plate: NY BVN 5161), and then race off, your revolutionary act of resistance complete.
Keep reading the blog. The next item is a really impressive, thoughtful and nuanced piece critiquing the Goldman Sachs deal downtown.
"More important, the housing market is incredibly durable. Unlike sneakers with lights in them or monogrammed poker chips or - I believe - computers, houses are not some fad that people will any day now look at and say: 'This is stupid. I don't want mine anymore.'"
Monday, August 22, 2005
In recent years, as young architects abandon established firms employing dozens of associates to strike out on their own, many of them have congregated in the dilapidated former tenements and discount shops around
The architects have been drawn by the comparatively low rents, the vibe of a neighborhood in transition - artists and small businesses have gravitated there, too - and a sense of creative ferment.
It occurred to me reading this Times piece that Lower Manhattan will be redeveloped not in concentric circles with the WTC at its heart, but in ripples emanating from multi-nodal points, both spontaneous and planned, that will eventually intersect and overlap, creating entirely new configurations and associations, such as architects congregating around Delancey meeting redevelopment plans in Chinatown; a new esplanade along the East River Park bumping into historic cobble stone streets populated by five and dime stores; downtown condo conversions overlapping with artists temporarily converting vacant offices into cheap studio space ; etc. Hopefully, some of these more organic ripples will wash over the WTC site and mitigate the worst development instincts that are battling each other to a stalemate.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
"This is the biggest boom we've ever had," said Mr. Shiller…. "So a very plausible scenario is that home-price increases continue for a couple more years, and then we might have a recession and they continue down into negative territory and languish for a decade.
"It doesn't even attract that much attention," he continued. "There will be many people thinking it was a soft landing even though prices may have gone down in real terms by 40 percent."
Even if Mr. Shiller is right, there’s still time to cash out. According to another article in today’s Times, online bettor markets (which predicted a Bush victory and the new Pope, among other things), are now taking bets on real estate, and in the short run, things look good:
Now one of these markets has turned its gaze to a consumer activity that is a favorite discussion topic these days: real estate. And the bettors see no signs of a bursting bubble anytime soon.
So, stop freaking and get flipping!
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Friday, August 19, 2005
Photo by David S. Allee
Stock … price changes can be viewed every day. "The news doesn't report to you daily that your house price might have gone up or down," Mr. Lys said. "So you think your house price is more stable than it really is because you don't observe these minute-by-minute gyrations."
Read the whole piece here.
There's also a good column in the Wall Street Journal today:
If you're trying to find a slow leak in a tire, you can submerge it in water and look for tiny bubbles of escaping air. That may be the best way to look for signs of a deflating housing market, too.
I think you know where this is going. This column is one of the free WSJ online items, so you can read the whole thing here.
And finally, one more item from today's papers just for laughs (note the building's new name):
C.E.O.'s Name Off Building
Seton Hall University removed the name of L. Dennis Kozlowski, the former chief executive of Tyco International, from a building at his alma mater yesterday, said Thomas White, a school spokesman.
Mr. White said the name was removed at Mr. Kozlowski's request. The building, which houses the business school, has been renamed Jubilee Hall, he said.
Mr. Kozlowski, a 1968 Seton Hall graduate, faces up to 30 years in prison after his conviction for larceny and fraud. His lawyer, Stephen E. Kaufman, did not immediately return calls for comment.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Whatever. Forget about the noise since there's vitually nothing that can be done about it anyway. Tickets aren't going to make a lick of difference. I say, promise the voters you’ll take a Comstat approach to eradicating the smelly, dirty street trash. That is something the city could actually have an effect on and it would be a highly visible improvement. One ingenious demonstration project that I’ve mentioned before is taking place in
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Boy, I sure do miss the Pyramid. If it weren’t for Starbucks, what would be have to complain about? Well, I’d have plenty, but I don’t know about the rest of you. The end of hipster civilization (LES, oughts edition) as we know it occurred last week, when the dreaded green awning appeared over a storefront somewhere on the frontier (I believe it was Delancey). I wouldn’t notice because that stretch of the LES is populated with such stalwarts of alternative culture as Dunkin Donuts and Payless. …
Read the rest here.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
There’s nothing like having a scene from a hit movie filmed on site to raise a locale’s profile. The
Today, the St. George has been restored to much of its former glory - without the benefit of landmark status or government money. The revival of the St. George Theatre is largely the work of one family that set out to save it and create a showcase on
Preservation efforts are ongoing and in need of funding, but the theater managed to reopen last December. Upcoming shows include a performance by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Monday, August 15, 2005
[Maria] Burks is the first commissioner of the National Parks of New York Harbor, and her mission is to draw attention to the parks and beaches beyond the Statue of Liberty and
"These parks have been, in the past, divided by the water," said Ms. Burks, sitting outside her office at
Click to enlarge the map of
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Friday, August 12, 2005
P.S. How could I have forgotten to mention her husband? “Mr. Pirro, a powerful Republican lobbyist, served 11 months in federal prison for his conviction on tax fraud in 2000. He also fathered a child in an extramarital relationship in the 1990's.” Read the Times piece here.
There’s an excellent piece in the Times today about plots of land purchased by the city over the years, supposedly to be turned into parks: “But in scores of cases, nothing happens. Many of the undeveloped plots, which are often in densely populated, poor communities with limited green spaces, exist as de facto garbage dumps and occasional crime scenes.” The above photo was taken by Angel Franco for the Times at Pugsley Creek Park in the Bronx. When global warming puts New York under water, this should be a great fishing spot.
Paul Krugman has a second column in a row about the housing bubble (for the previous one, click here). I’m starting to think perhaps he is Mr. Housing Bubble. Says Krugman, “I've written before about the reasons to believe that current house prices in much of the country represent a bubble. When that bubble begins to deflate, so will housing-related employment.” How many jobs are dependent on the current bubble? “Typical estimates say that each additional dollar of housing wealth adds about 3 cents to annual consumer spending, as families reduce their savings and borrow against their newly valuable homes. So we're talking about an additional $150 billion in spending, and roughly 1.5 million more jobs.”
Thursday, August 11, 2005
There’s also a Mr. Housing Bubble poster, coffee mug, mouse pad, and ball cap, too.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
I have a piece in the Times business section today about New York City’s largest green roof being installed on top of Silvercup Studios in Long Island City. Here’s a kind of Star Wars-y image of what the green roof will look like when it’s complete. Design rendering by Balmori Associates.
The above illustration, by Egbert Viele/Topographical Survey for the Improvement of
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Over at Brownstoner, there’s a hilarious post about a
Several months ago I came back to my apartment building on
By my calculation, that’s roughly two tickets a year for three blocks. Then a couple months later, there was ANOTHER sanitation ticket on my apartment building’s door, and that would definitely exceed previous ticket averages. I’m thinking there’s a sanitation ticket campaign going on.
I understand trash in
Maybe New Yorker's could start our own version of Burning Man to raise awareness of the issue. For two weeks a year, everyone collects street trash, hauls it out to the
Monday, August 08, 2005
Yesterday I took a little shot at the NYC blogosphere, and today I’m going to ratchet that up a notch. I know I'm really new to the this little world, but what is The Gutter, an “Ill-mannered commentary on the architectural arts” talking about? I swear I have to slog through all the uberhip language and obscure self-referencing at least twice before I can determine what in hell the subject matter is, and sometimes even then I don’t get it (like this choice item). As a longtime traditional ink-and-paper journalist as both a writer and editor (see, self-referencing is okay so long as it isn't in CODE) , I know I tend to err on the side of good old-fashioned, straight-forward, understandable, if boring, verbiage. And I do appreciate that the “site’s format deviates from the ‘flat’ style and ‘limited coverage’ of mainstream media,” but given that people read blogs because they have the attention span of an ADHD eight year-old with a Gameboy, shouldn’t readers at least get the topic at hand on the first read? That’s a rhetorical question. No need to respond.
"... with the stadium proposal now dead and state officials moving forward with plans to build a new $930 million train station east of the railyards in honor of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, some developers, tourism officials, urban planners and architects are now quietly circulating three alternative plans for a larger expansion of the convention center and ideas for what could be built over the railyards."
The Museum at the End of the Line
"It is hard to picture a distinguished exhibition space in this booming neighborhood, a strange mix of trendy nightclubs, expensive boutiques and industrial meat lockers. But for Dia, that is the dream - one it hopes to realize in as little as two years at an estimated cost of $33 million."
Blog and Grind
Uncle Sam Sells Air Rights, and Preservationists Cringe
"The transfer of the air rights, from the Cooper Station in the
Sunday, August 07, 2005
The NYC blogosphere has its panties in a bunch about a Starbucks opening on the
Saturday, August 06, 2005
The Times had a piece the other day about how
“What [Mr. Freeman’s] data says is this: Low-income people in gentrifying neighborhoods are, in fact, more likely to stay in their apartments longer than low-income people in non-gentrifying neighborhoods.”
Click on my archived New York Observer article for a more in depth explanation.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
One of the final stops on the tour is P.S. 52, or Stevenson High, where the kids usually spend their school hours. Mr. Rodriguez recounts his own days as a young musician when his band would splice their amps into the light poles just off school grounds and play until the police chased them away. Some of the greatest names in Latin-American music went to school here, he tells them: Ray Barretto, Eddie Palmieri and Joe Quijano.
It’s not until he mentions another name that something finally clicks with the kids; Colin Powell was a student at P.S. 52.
“For real?” one young woman pipes up. “The black-white guy? Hey, ya’ll, Colin Powell went to Stevenson!”
Monday, August 01, 2005
For more info on real life problems with his LA concert hall, click here to learn about the acoustic problems and scroll down to Gehry Redux, and here to learn about how the roof had to be fixed because people were being blinded by reflecting sunlight, which also created an intense heat island problem. The article also mentions problems with the roof design on a building in
A new comic book series takes place in Cinderella City, or modern day
"I want it to be a more exalted
An ode to