Suicide City

Manhattan is undergoing many disruptive changes. None of them are really good for the city. Ex Mayor Bloomberg had some strange notion that if you turned the city over to the Real-estate Magnates, and IF they got away like burglars with the money from their ridiculously tall buildings, this would bring money into the city. And, that there would be some kind of trickle down in the housing shortage.  Well, I grew up in the Real Estate Business, so I have a pretty fair idea of the of New York City property values. Yes, there is little space in some parts of the city, so of course it’s a great temptation to build upward. Even if doing so  destroys the street life, the quality of life, the Central Park Life and even though it brings nothing to the City itself. Only very tall buildings with ten to thirty year Tax abatements so that for that length of time no money is seen by the City. The money that these buildings bring are largely secreted funds from other countries, and are being illegally laundered in this New York Real-estate .The Real Estate magnates, the so called developers sell the property to these people as soon as they can build them and they get their money and then are gone with no Taxes to be paid to the city. They then stick their money somewhere in the Cayman Islands. They aren’t really crooks because they are aided and abetted by the system.

The real issue here is that no one except these rich foreigners can afford to live in this city anymore. Normal working people are having to move farther and farther out of town. The rents have become ridiculous and the government is doing nothing here to create affordable housing. They talk, they talk and in the end they help the Real Estate magnates to create even less affordable housing.

I walk the City streets day after day. Everywhere I look there are stores for rent. I know that the rents are impossible and lack any connection to reality. Stores can only afford a certain rent. They simply cannot make enough money to pay these astronomical prices. Even Wall Street banks are looking elsewhere. What was the point of building buildings that no one benefits from? We can’t any longer maintain our restaurants, our stores, or our Wall Street banks in this city. We will be left with nothing but empty streets on the ground floors with only the very wealthy foreigners affording to live here. Young people and artists and students and working people have already fled the City. In five more years, this will be a desert with only the very rich and commuters filling the streets in the daytime, and fleeing back home out of town in the evenings.

What ever happened to the idea of affordable housing? I know that Real Estate magnates can’t make that much money on the kind of housing that is needed to maintain the foundation of this City. BUT I do believe that they too must be able to understand the need. That need can be filled, and money can be made but NOT in the most densely populated part of Manhattan. Build elsewhere in town where there is space. BRING THE RENTS DOWN SO THAT STORES AND PEOPLE can afford the city. Make it once more a livable place to be. We have everything going for us, Opera, Ballet, Theater, Concerts, but no one can afford them and no one can afford to live here to attend them. The City depends more and more on Tourism. Like Disney World, we are becoming an amusement park which people come to visit but not to stay. This is suicide.

A New Start

It seems that today’s political fashion is either to blame the poor or the rich for all the problems of the Nation. If you are a Republican,then,you have to blame the poor for being uneducated,lazy,and living off the land on welfare. If you are a Democrat you have to take from the rich, penalize them for their success and give it away to the poor.  There really must be another way .

The other day on Roosevelt Island, Hillary Clinton announced her bid for the Presidential nomination, obviously by the Democrats. She gave a very good speech. She was in control of the media. She was not strident as I have heard her on other occasions. She looked really good and she has my support. However, even she, seemed to feel that there was something wrong with some people being very wealthy and others being very poor. I agree with her to some extent. I simply[ly don’t believe that the way to cure the situation is to penalize the rich. After all most of the time people become exceedingly wealthy in a system that permits and encourages wealth. Everyone wants it.

In the 1930’s when Roosevelt was elected President, he was faced with the worst depression the country had ever known. He created the WPA, built dams and bridges and roads and created jobs by building the infra structure of the country. He did this with the help of the wealthy people who understood that he was saving the Nation.  He won their personal support because they understood what he was doing and where the money was going. They were willing to help him to rebuild the country. Instead of penalizing  them for their wealth, he asked them for their help. They understood where their money was going and they supported him. Don’t you believe that today, there are wealthy people who would support the same kind of effort, if they actually believed in what was being done. It seems to me that the real thrust of the next administration should be to restore the confidence in this Nation and the possibility that we can all help and that our vote again counts.

Guard your Loins

The Gun Manufacturers have a motto: “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people” Their point is that it’s not the guns that are the problem. It’s the people.  Well, I have to wonder how the American people have allowed themselves to be talked into this kind of rubbish.Just this past week a New York City newspaper reported that 53 people were injured due to gun violence with thirteen people shot on Saturday alone. At a recent wedding at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan a man was totting a gun in his pocket. Someone brushed past him and the gun went off. Several people were shot and wounded. Here’s a case where the person didn’t even pull the trigger and the gun went off.

However that’s not the typical story. Of course it’s true that people with guns shoot people. Children with guns shoot other children. What is the answer? Take the bloody gun away from the child and take the gun away from the grownup. I can tell you from firsthand experience that if you have a gun there will at some point be a temptation to use it. I once was frightened in my own home and grabbed my son’s riffle and almost shot my housekeeper whose car had broken down and she had decided to sleep over. I have never again allowed a gun in the house. Having a gun may in itself provide the temptation to use it.

I have yet to see a situation in which having a gun made someone safe. If you do have a gun hanging around the house and someone breaks in and attacks you, the chance of ever getting that gun from wherever it is kept is probably nil. Two cops sitting in the front seat of their car, carrying guns in their holsters, were shot by an  angry nut. What good did their guns do them? On the other hand, the Police are supposed to be trained in the use of their weapon. I am a big supporter of the Police. By and large they do a wonderful job of protecting our communities. I do agree that they too need to have more training in how to shoot without necessarily killing the perpetrator. However, the civilian who owns, and now can legally own and carry a weapon in public need have NO training whatsoever. He needs to have a driver’s license to drive a car. He has to pass a test in order to receive that. The gun carrier doesn’t even need to pass a test. All he needs to do is to file for a permit. No one even checks his character. We do a better job on choosing people who can live in a Coop than this society does on Gun control.

Come on everybody. Why can’t we vote down the Gun Lobby and  make the world a better, safer place?

What Happened to the American Dream?

What is “The American Dream” anyway? Today people do nothing but complain about its loss. I wonder when it got lost. Was it during the great depression of the thirties? Was it during World War 11? Was it in Vietnam or Korea? Was it during the student riots in the sixties? Or was it during the ill-conceived War in Iraq?

In 1938 one third of this nation lived on less than subsistence diets. They lived in abysmal poverty. At the turn of the 20th Century immigrants from all over the world came pouring into the United States…….. They worked on the docks, heavy work,  loading and unloading ships. They worked in sweatshop factories. They worked, as maids, house cleaners, painters and plasterers and anything else that they could find that would pay enough to put bread on the table.

These people dedicated themselves to becoming Americans. They learned to speak English even though often with a heavy accent. They felt it was their language and they had to learn it.They worked without benefit of Unions, pensions, Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. Their Dream was to become American, to get ahead, to build a better future for their children, not just for themselves. This was their American Dream. These were the people who built and became America’s vast Middle Class. Even then it was not easy. It was not cheap.

When did this dream become the dream of instant satisfaction or nothing? What is the American Dream? When did it get lost?Maybe it was when Americans failed to go to the polls to vote. That’s when the country was sold to the highest bidder. That’s when the rich got richer and the poor got poorer.

Can This Be Love?

Mr. Rudy Giuliani the ex-Mayor of New York City recently criticized President Obama as a President who does not love his country or the people who inhabit it.  He launched a tirade against Obama basically attacking him for being weak and indecisive in his presidency. Well, there’s no question that Mr. Giuliani decisively did reduce the crime rate in New York City. He allowed the police to sweep into custody anyone who was suspect of anything. He put any number of people in jail on charges that he could not prove. Obviously some were guilty, and his tactics though totally undemocratic, did reduce the level of crime in the city. However, he has now denounced the President and applauds Mr. George W. Bush.

It is surprising to me that President Obama and the Democrats have never risen en mass to respond, not just to address Mr. Giuliani’s accusations, but also to denounce the Presidency of G.W. Bush. He created the situation now facing the world. It was G.W. Bush who after 9-11, with no thought and no plan in mind set out to destroy Hussein and Iraq .He  simultaneously allowed Bin Laden,  the actual perpetrator of the 9-11 destruction of the towers, to slip away. It was G.W. Bush who thoughtlessly led us into the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan and is ultimately responsible for the turmoil and brutality which we now face in the Middle East.  It was G. W. Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney who involved us in two major wars, at a cost of  trillions of dollars, and the incredible loss of American lives and limbs. That says nothing of the so called “collateral damage” which means, the destruction of civilian populations.

G.W. Bush was responsible for running this country into financial debt and causing a crisis second only to the great depression of the 1930’s. These are the conditions that Obama inherited  following  16 years of consecutive Republican leadership.

Rudy Giuliani has accused Obama of not loving this country. Was it out of love that G.W. Bush, Richard Cheney, and Rumsfeld fabricated and disseminated lies to this country, to the people and to the Congress. Lies that weapons of mass destruction existed and had been found in Iraq. Giuliani praises these men tho led this country to the brink of destruction. Obviously Hussein was a terrible man, totally abusive and a destructive dictator. That alone does not justify a full scale war by the Untied States. So when Mr. Obama became President, he inherited two wars  and a country on the brink of financial disaster with unemployment rampant at almost 10%.  This was the Legacy left by Mr. Giuliani’s heroes. Following four years of President Herbert Walker Bush , eight years of Reagan, eight years of Bush, twenty years of republican presidents. President Obama is given little or no credit by a right wing Republican Party that has been taken over by the most conservative right wing narrow minded, bigoted and financially powerful group of people who have ever dominated the Congress, the Senate and the financial world.

Obama may not be the greatest communicator in the world.  He may not be the “hale fellow well met charm boy” that Reagan and Bush were reputed to be. He is, however, certainly a thoughtful, highly intelligent and cautious man.  Mr. Giuliani and his cohorts would happily involve this country and the world in a war of total destruction. Mr. Obama, on the other hand has reduced the national debt, created employment, improved the economy helped people get healthcare, killed Bin Laden reduced the number of American soldiers whose lives were carelessly put at risk by G.W. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. I don’t believe it is because he does not love this country that he has tried and continues to try all possible means of keeping us out of another endless war. He is not power hungry. He is a thoughtful man who looks at all the alternatives trying to find a solution to the conflagration in the Middle East caused by President G.W. Bush and Company. Everything that Obama  has tried to do has been blocked by the fanatical, ultra-conservative, radical right wing Republicans who now dominate the Congress and the Senate. Is this love of country?


The greater good

It seems that the Koch brothers with their friends and partners  have already bought the Congress ,the Senate of the United States, and probably the Supreme Court as well. They  are now about to buy the next upcoming 2016 elections. If power and fame is what they want they may succeed but their names will live on in infamy. I have a wonderful idea for these fellows. They have already declared that they will spend at least a Billion dollars on the next 2016 election. Well  I think I have a better idea for them. They could invest in the failing infra structure of the country. They could invest in the rebuilding of the roads and bridges across the Nation. They might even make some money along the way. They could name every road and every bridge after themselves. Their names would live long after they have left this veil of tears, and they would be remembered for the good they will have done for this country and the people who inhabit it.

The Great Divide

The Founding Fathers concept of the Supreme Court was that these nine people would be able to rise above the Politics of  Political Parties. It is their job to see that this country, it’s Politicians, the wealthiest  and the poorest are all represented equally. These nine people are appointed to the Supreme court for life. They should not owe allegiance to any party,any interest or any individual. Their job is simply to opine on those issues which  give equal rights to all citizens and justice for all. This court has failed  this country on one issue after another. It is a court divided within itself. The women against the men. The Liberals versus the conservatives. They are Politically , ethnically and sexually divided., This does not fit the mandate of the Supreme Court. The recent ruling by this court in the Hobby Lobby case gives corporations and  their owners, the power to deny their female employees their right to birth control options under the Corporate insurance policies. This, under the guise of religious Freedom. The Founding fathers of this country never conceived of Religious freedom becoming the tool with which the Society would be controlled. Each person has the right to practice his or her Religion . Religion is a  personal and private matter. However, it was never conceived by the Founding fathers that this right would become the controlling power over the electorate, the people or the Government of this country.  Girls, Boys, Men Women Hit the streets. Impeach this supreme Court.


Has condoned the shutting down of abortion clinics by their ruling

Has not just infiltrated the hobby lobby but Roe versus Wade

The Sky is the Limit

I’ve been writing about the ugly tall buildings since early September 2014. It is only now that the New York Times has begun to look at the skyline of Manhattan and to begin writing about the destruction of the City……

See New York Time Article Here

Well it looks as though they have  finally caught on to the idea that these ugly tall buildings will destroy the city. It will be a cavernous nest of dark streets. No one living in Manhattan will be able to see the sky ever again. Dark streets are usually empty streets and this is an open invitation to criminals and street people to take over the deserted spaces. If enough people understand what the real Estate industry and the Politicians are doing to Manhattan in the name of money, maybe we can stop the process.


The Latest Erection


This ugly building can be seen from anywhere in Manhattan, New Jersey, and on the way in from Connecticut. It dominates every view of Manhattan. Mr. Viñoly the architect of this building said “the square is the purest geometric form”. It may be square, but it surely is ugly. Originally I was told that it was to have some green around it. Well, the green turned out to be just another all glass  commercial building,rectangular in shape and  attached or just squatting next to the perfect square tower which is so tall that I can’t bend my head back far enough  to see the top of it unless i’m several streets distance from it.

At 100 million dollars per apartment, it certainly contributes nothing  to solve any  housing problem in Manhattan, and as I have pointed out before, the tax abatement that these real estate mafia are able to squeeze out, contributes  not a penny to the city and nothing for the tax payers, and nothing towards affordable housing. Buildings like this are in fact chasing the artists,the craftsmen, the young people and working people totally out of the city. Nobody will be able to live here, and the very wealthy people who buy these apartments are just parking their money there probably for future laundering.. Mr. Viñoly, the designer of this tall building who has made a commitment to design many civic initiatives which supposedly demonstrates his ability to creatively integrate buildings into urban sites has totally missed the mark on this one. This building is not integrated into any part of the city. It serves no purpose. It is an Icon to money and somehow it represents everything that is wrong in our society. Where are the beautiful buildings like the Chrysler building? Where is the symmetry of architectural style and balance that you can still see if you look North on Park Ave.and  Riverside drive.Where are the beautiful old Town Houses on Fifth Ave?F ewer everyday.. It was this amazing mix of style and proportion  that made New York a beautiful ,exciting  and glamorous City  It always had enough human elements to make it possible to live here. These new buildings  have no style,no proportion no human scale and no architectural  virtue.

Mr. Viñoly has many buildings credited to his name, I haven’t personally seen them. The only one I have seen is this one.  The designer of this building, and who ever is the designer of the other tall buildings rising in Manhattan,  have no sense of beauty, no sense of history, no sense of style, no sense of proportion, no sense at all. .

In  Switzerland when someone wants to build a new edifice,they have to show what the dimensions will be and all the neighbors have the right to express their  opinions .If the weight of evidence is against the construction it may be stopped. What can we do to  give some second thought to what is happening to our town?. We the people should make our voices heard. Run the scoundrels out and reclaim our city.

This is a rendering which looks favorably upon the Manhattan of the future. Shadows have been excluded and sky included. As though you would ever be able to see the sky above the height of these buildings.

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As the sun rises in  the East and travels across the Southern part of Manhattan towards the West, these over-sized towers will cast deadly shadows over Central Park

Like it or not, the climate will change.

Climate Change is happening rapidly. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)has  announced national limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants,  the single largest source of carbon emissions in the Untied States.

Even though a majority of the Americans in our country today want our government to take forceful steps to combat climate change, Congress does not seem to recognize our concern. The wealth and power in the fossil fuel industry are aligned with a cadre of climate denying Representatives and Senators who continue to block any reasonable attempt by Congress to protect the American people from the growing threat of climate change.

Industry groups such as the National Association of Manufacturers, The American Petroleum Institute, the Coal Lobby, and once the again, the infamous KOCH BROTHERS are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on an all out assault on the EPA climate action. Their great ally Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell is on record that he will block any attempt by the EPA to limit carbon emissions from the power plants. Thanks to him and his cohorts, the global carbon emissions have continued to rise. In fact carbon emissions are rising at twice the rate in the 21st century over where  they were in the last decades of the 20th century.   These groups will tell you that putting limits on power plants will hurt the economy and destroy jobs. History does not bear this out. The power industry has cleaned up many dangerous pollutants such as Sulfur Dioxide, Nitrogen Dioxide and other particulate matter. Their industries have continued to profit and the US economy has nearly doubled in the past 25  years, and Americans have been healthier due to these actions.

I keep reading articles by scientist from around the world, who are now reporting that if human kind does not take immediate and aggressive action to combat climate change, within fifteen years the problem will be virtually unsolvable with the technology available to us  today. We the citizens of this country, we the citizens of our planet are in serious trouble. We need to act now. Write to your Congress.Force them to hear from the majority of Americans who want bold action on climate change. This means YOU.