As a born-and-bred Manhattanite, architect, builder, and real estate developer, I have both a personal and professional interest in what gets built in town. Not just who creates it, and who executes it, but also the policy machinations behind this incredibly opaque process, and the consequences, intended or otherwise, in the city we live and work in.
There is no doubt that New York is changing, and in fact has been for the past ten years or so. Part of this is due, no doubt, to the notion that Manhattan is, or should be, a premium product, put forth years ago by our soon-to-be-former mayor. Part of this is also due to forces in the global economy that, frankly, no one can control, let alone understand: the fact remains that New York is a very attractive place for plutocrats from all over the world who know that they have a better chance of holding onto the money they park in New York than they do at holding onto the money they park at home, wherever that is. Yet another part is that we discovered that we really do live on an island and as a result use the waterfront like never before. The list goes on and on: the changing nature of work and employment, the death of industries that for decades were stalwarts in the local economy, the incredible stratification of wealth and its concentration at the very top, the new desirability of neighborhoods that even we natives had only heard of and certainly never visited. The end result is that New York today, and going forward, bears very little resemblance to the New York of E.B White’s immortal essay, “Here is New York”.
In the coming months, I will write about the High Line, the flap over Penn Station, the proposed East Midtown/Grand Central rezoning, life in New York, and other similar issues that catch my interest. I also spent a decade or so developing real estate in Newark, and as a result have opinions about what is going on, or not, out there, too. My only criteria will be that I have something considered to say about the subject, whatever it is.