Susan Gregory Thomas describes the latest neighborhood experiencing gentrification at the hands of desperate New York urbanistas seeking affordable living space: Philadeliphia.
We had a one-bedroom apartment, and our son lived in the dining room.” “Our window looked out onto a concrete courtyard of trash cans and roaches, and a rat came out of our toilet.” “We could only afford to live in Queens—why the hell would we move to Queens? For Indian food?” “Who cares about the Met, off-Broadway and the new ‘It’ restaurant if you can’t afford it, especially with young kids?”
Now, the responses to moving to Philadelphia: “We got a five-bedroom house with a yard and a pool for less than our cruddy apartment!” “Brooklyn says it’s diverse, but neighborhood by neighborhood, it’s not. In our neighborhood in Mount Airy, there are black kids, white kids, mixed kids, lesbian couples, mixed couples—it’s nirvana!” “We can do our work anywhere, so long as we’re within spitting distance of New York and D.C.—why the hell didn’t we come here earlier?”
It’s a haunting question. I, for one, felt that New York had become the protagonist in my life, entering as Holly Golightly-meets-Horatio Alger and, by the third act, morphing into Richard III. My kingdom, horse—all sacked by the Big Apple. This might explain why so many of us have the dazed look of returning veterans, though our battle was of the bourg-y socioeconomic variety. We lost it in New York, but we see hope in Philly.
You’ve seen us on playgrounds in Chestnut Hill and West Mount Airy, all in black, clutching espressos, waxing ecstatically about how “cheap!” and “pretty!” everything is here, while our Ramones-clad little ones run around giddily. We may look and sound insufferable, but the truth is, we’re stunned. Everything is so much nicer—the houses, the people, the landscape—that it can take months for post-traumatic effects to wane. To wit, on the first night in my new house, I stayed up all night unpacking kitchen boxes. At around 4 a.m., I heard a rattling sound. Oh, God, I thought. Rats. It was the automatic ice-cube-maker. I burst into tears.
Bill Maher says this video by Nancy Pelosi’s daughter may “Make Liberals Go Insane.”
James Lileks loses his temper about Mayor Bloomberg’s latest exercise in Nanny Governance.
A culture that redefines food choices as moral issues will demonize the people who don’t share the tastes of the priest class. A culture that elevates eating to some holistic act of ethical self-definition – localvore, low-carbon-impact food, fair trade, artisanal cheese – will find the casual carefree choices of the less-enlightened as an affront to their belief system. Leave it to Americans to invent a Puritan strain of Epicurianism.
It’s worth looking at the whole thing.
There is some sort of paradox about the fact that you cannot have significant cultural resources without the critical mass of humanity provided by a great urban metropolis, but to live in a city with access to concerts, opera, and theater, you have to submit to living under the rule of crooks and nincompoops.
Obama first tried to emulate Truman by running against a Republican (majority holding one house of) Congress. More recently, he tried imitating Teddy Roosevelt in his last, sad, radical incarnation, going to Osawatomie, Kansas and delivering a divisive, populist, class warfare-themed speech harkening back to to turn of the last century Progressivism.
When Paul A. Rahe looks at Obama, though, he isn’t reminded of Harry Truman or Teddy Roosevelt so much as of John V. Lindsay, a similar glamor boy wimp with a similarly polished Ivy League style, who similarly chose to represent a coalition of the establishment elite and minority canaille in waging class warfare against the middle and the working class.
[I]t was Lindsay who had spent the city into the ground. In 1967, the city budget was $4.6 billion; in 1971, it was $7.8 billion. By 1974, the year Beame took over, it was $10 billion. Lindsay introduced the city’s first income tax and commuter tax, but the revenues he raised were never enough. By 1974, the annual budget deficit had climbed to $1.5 billion. Fred Siegel got it right when he described Lindsay as the worst Mayor New York had in the twentieth century and went on to remark that he “wasn’t incompetent or foolish or corrupt, but he was actively destructive.”
Lindsay’s natural constituency was the socially liberal WASP elite and those within the Jewish community who had joined them at the top of the social pyramid or aspired to do so. To win election and re-election as Mayor, he had to hold onto that constituency, split the Democratic Party, and win over one of the more substantial elements composing it. This he did by driving a wedge between working-class and lower middle class whites, on the one hand, and African-Americans and Puerto Ricans, on the other – and he managed to attract support from the latter by massively expanding the welfare rolls and increasing dramatically the patronage that found its way into their hands. To secure his re-election, Lindsay was prepared to bring the city to its knees.
And exactly like John Lindsay, Barack Obama is leaving spectacular and unprecedented economic ruin in his wake and will be remembered as the most despised holder of the same office in a century.
I really don’t think New York City compares terribly well to Paris, but the maker of this cleverly crafted little video, shot entirely on the Nokia N8 mobile phone does a heck of a job at trying. Not surprisingly it won the Nokia Shorts competition 2011.
Hat tip to Inés Bagration.
The New York Times explains how Andrew Cuomo’s political skills and the dollars of a handful of rich donors succeeded in securing enough Republican votes to win passage for Same Sex Marriage in the same State Senate which defeated it two years ago.
Professional politics and hedge fund money took control of the political process to decide on behalf of the 19 million citizens of the State of New York that the immemorial definition of marriage, predating not only New York State and the United States, but the state in general, needed to be modified to recognize the equality of homosexual relationships.
The homosexual political movement has come a long way.
Homosexual relations only became de facto legal in New York State in 1980, when the New York Court of Appeals, in New York v. Onofre, decided to apply a newly discovered Constitutional right of “privacy” found in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) to protect the use of contraception to consensual homosexual relations.
In the short time of one generation, homosexuality has been promoted in status from being regarded psychologically as a mental disorder and from being treated legally as a form of criminal activity to full legal equality in a several states, and enthusiastic recognition by the bien pensant community as a worthy cause.
As is customary in all such matters, well-behaved, respectable members of the elite community of fashion speak with a single voice, but nonetheless very substantial numbers of other Americans continue to resent the essentially tyrannical manner in which a small but influential elite successfully usurps control of the decision-making processes and imposes its own will on society in general.
The vote taken by the New York State Senate was, at least, superior to the mode of decision-making in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where Gay Marriage became institutionalized via a preposterous and contrived decision of the State Supreme Judicial Tribunal in 2003. At least, in New York, there was a legislative vote, and New Yorkers insulted and offended by the elevation of perverse relationships to a level of equality with the traditionally most sacred human institution can look forward to voting those responsible out of office.
Most people today agree with John Stuart Mill that the state ought to assume a position of neutrality on matters of morals involving voluntary activities among consenting adults. Support for tolerance of homosexual activity does not, however, necessarily translate, outside the community of elite conformity, into complete recognition of homosexual equality, and for good reason.
Homosexuality is not equal. Homosexuality is not even, as the propaganda insists, an innate identity. Homosexuality, in reality, consists of behavior, voluntary actions, participation within, and entirely voluntary affiliation with, a particular subculture.
Some people clearly experience inclinations toward forms of sexual activity which others do not. Until quite recently, no one ever suggested that the experience of temptation constituted both a membership card in an independent, and fully legitimate, identity group and a license to gratify one’s urges, regardless of their character.
In no other category of unwholesome desire, does the argument that “the impulse is involuntary” bestow a new identity status and a permit to proceed, along with membership in a group protected and awarded its own identity housing, departments of study and academic major by an indulgent aristocracy smiling down in approval.
The dominant political class of a blue state has imposed its desires on the general population once again. They can bribe venal Republican senators, and they can bully cowardly senators. They can pull off a vote of this kind, and they can make their absurdities the laws of the land for a time, at least, but they still cannot make homosexuality equal.
They might as well get the New York State Senate to vote that color-blind people can see just as well as people with normal vision. They might as well vote that 2+2 in New York State will now equal 5. All integers are equal, after all.
However Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Tribunals rule and corrupt New York legislatures vote, homosexuality will still be a perversion. Homosexual activity will not result in reproduction, and homosexuality will be still unequal. Homosexuality will still fail the ethical test of Kant’s Categorical Imperative. Homosexuality will still be a tremendously dangerous disease vector. The homosexual subculture will still be characterized by promiscuity, fetishism, and self-degradation. Homosexual inclinations will still be characteristically associated with abnormality, effeminacy, and physical cowardice. People who choose to spend their time in the homosexual subculture will share a bizarre perspective, and consider routine what most Americans would find shocking and intolerably obscene, and characteristic homosexual manners, activity, and practices will still be regarded with deserved contempt by most people.
Inclinations toward homosexual monogamy and gay matrimonial aspirations are an extremely recent phenomenon, constituting a deliberate political stratagem aiming at capturing the ultimate symbol of homosexual equality of status and representing no kind of conversion or change of heart, but merely typically signifying only a prudent response adopted by many gays to the AIDS epidemic. The kind of leadership class which hastens to remodel the fundamental institution underlying human society to accommodate the single-generation-old whim of a very recently criminal subculture is too irresponsible to be permitted to retain its authority. Our rulers have no sense of history, no intellectual integrity, and no piety toward culture, tradition, and the past.
Frank Oscar Larson was an auditor from Flushing, Queens, who late in life developed an interest in street photography. He would travel to Manhattan early in the morning on weekends with a Rolleiflex camera to record images of the Bowery, Chinatown, Hell’s Kitchen or Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Central Park, and the Cloisters.
45 years after his death, his collection of negatives was discovered in an old cardboard box, resulting in an exhibition earlier this year at the Perfect Exposure Gallery in Los Angeles.
Hat tip to Fred Lapides.
Riding to the Park from the old Claremont Stables
Before the Claremont Riding Academy closed in 2007, you mounted your horse at the stables located between Amsterdam & Columbus on West 89th Street, then rode on city streets, crossing major traffic on both Columbus Avenue and Central Park West in order to arrive at the trails in Central Park.
The rental horses were typically plugs, and left the stable reluctant to move faster than a slow walk, but coming back they would often (in the manner of horses) completely change character, and the rider would be glad that Claremont always supplied them with a double-bit.
Horseback riding in Central Park diminished over the final decades of the last century. The city cut back on maintaining the riding trails, and opened the equestrian trails (sigh!) to pedestrians, joggers, and bicyclists, leading to a ban on cantering.
What do you know? Civilization actually survives in New York City. Some of the people in authority recognized that a major city park lacking horseback riding was missing something important, and they remembered that the Park had been originally designed to incorporate riding trails.
The New York Post reports that the city fathers will be making an effort to restore the availability of horse rentals in Central Park.
Since the closure of Manhattan’s last stable, Claremont Riding Academy, in 2007, it’s been next to impossible to ride off into the sunset without riding the subway to another borough first.
The 4.2 miles of bucolic bridle paths winding through Central Park, around the reservoir and under bridges, are now mostly used by joggers and dog walkers, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe told The Post.
“People will keep walking and running there, but we also want riding—which has been done in the park for most of the past 150 years—to be restored,” he said. “The bridle paths are an essential part of the park’s design and riding is one of its oldest forms of recreation.”
After Claremont closed, the city did sign a deal with the Riverdale Equestrian Centre, to offer trail rides by appointment, but those were infrequent and only done on weekends, Benepe said.
The city now wants a more permanent riding concession.
Each day, horses will be brought to the North Meadow Recreation Center, located in the center of the park near 97th Street, from one of the outer-borough stables.
Prices and hours will be determined by a bidding process and regulated by the city, Benepe said. Proposals are due next month.
City stable owners say it’s a shame the bridle paths have gone to waste.
“These parks were designed to be seen from horseback,” said Walker Blankinship, 40, president of Kensington Stables in Brooklyn.
I used to work in the city, years ago, and some week days I would rise very early, put on my boots and breeches, and ride the subway up to Claremont on the Upper West Side.
The first time I did it, I did not bother bringing a riding crop, and I found my rental horse, appropriately named “Drifter,” unwilling to to do anything. He also (very impolitely) kept trying to run me into low overhanging branches and to scrape me off on the trees. So I finally took advantage of the proximity of those branches. I broke one off, and began employing it as a crop. Drifter bounced around a bit and tried sunfishing, but when he found that didn’t work for him, he settled down to doing his job, and actually began changing gaits. I even managed to get one nice jump out of him.
Hat tip to Bird Dog.
From This Isn’t Happiness.
It turns out that the recent silly custom of public officials play acting weather divination on February 2nd with the assistance of large cthonic rodents frequently results in the politician’s fingers paying a price for manhandling the marmot. And who would be a more deserving recipient of negative scuirid reaction than New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg?
The news of Bloomberg cheating this year even reached British Daily Mail:
Once bitten, twice not so shy, it seems, in the case of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his ongoing feud with Staten Island Chuck.
Two years after he got bitten by the woodchuck, the Mayor called the animal a ‘sonofab**ch’ on Wednesday, not realising he was being filmed.
Chuck lives at Staten Island Zoo and is the city’s official woodchuck for the Groundhog Day ceremony.
This year his new home featured a plunger-style device which pushed the furry fiend out into the cold.
‘I love the plunger. That was so much better than having to reach in and let the little sonofab**ch bite you,’ Bloomberg said.
His comments are clearly captured in a video by the New York Daily News.
Criminal investigations have been opened by both the US Attorney and the Brooklyn District Attorney Offices in connection with reports from Sanitation Department employees that snow removal following the recent blizzard was intentionally delayed by a union job action.
The snitches “didn’t want to be identified because they were afraid of retaliation,” [City Councilman Dan] Halloran said. “They were told [by supervisors] to take off routes [and] not do the plowing of some of the major arteries in a timely manner. They were told to make the mayor pay for the layoffs, the reductions in rank for the supervisors, shrinking the rolls of the rank-and-file.”
New York’s Strongest used a variety of tactics to drag out the plowing process – and pad overtime checks – which included keeping plows slightly higher than the roadways and skipping over streets along their routes, the sources said.
The snow-removal snitches said they were told to keep their plows off most streets and to wait for orders before attacking the accumulating piles of snow.
They said crews normally would have been more aggressive in com bating a fierce, fast-moving blizzard like the one that barreled in on Sunday and blew out the next morning.
The workers said the work slowdown was the result of growing hostility between the mayor and the workers responsible for clearing the snow.
Union tactics, in this case, cost more than concessions from city government. There were human casualties in the form of New Yorkers denied access to emergency services because the New York Sanitation Department deliberately declined to do its job.
A 75-year-old Queens mother woke up Monday unable to breathe and alerted her daughter, who tried to call 911. She could not get through for 50 minutes. A neighbor administered CPR but EMS was unable to arrive for another 45 minutes—and they still had to walk to her house.
Talking to reporters yesterday the daughter said: “Mayor Bloomberg you can’t bring my mother back. And that’s all I really want. I’ve been with her for 41 years. I miss her, she’s my life. The snow will melt, but this will never fade from my memory ever.”
A 63-year-old man in Bay Ridge died of a heart attack Monday morning after it took paramedics three-and-a-half hours to arrive. “They made him die. They could have saved him,” the victim’s brother-in-law told the Journal. “They worked at him, but it was too late. He was already blue.” And to add to the pain, it took another 28 hours for a city medical examiner to pick up the body, which had been resting in a bag on a bed.
Another woman in Sunset Park spent more than 24 hours waiting for help removing her late-father’s body. She told the News, “this is New York City, and I’m a New Yorker, and this is not the first storm we’ve ever had. Somebody dropped the ball … big-time.”
Hands down the most upsetting story so far is that of a 22-year-old pregnant woman in Crown Heights. As she started contractions the woman began walking from her home to Interfaith Medical Center on Monday morning but couldn’t make it. She stopped in a building lobby at 97 Brooklyn Avenue and 911 was called at 8:30 a.m.. Because the birth seemed a bit off she was listed as nonemergency status. But by 4:30 p.m. she had started crowning and 911 was called again. Around 5:20 p.m. police arrived (by foot since driving was impossible) and found the woman attempting to leave and walk to the hospital again. She was brought back inside and the baby was delivered—but it wasn’t breathing and despite the efforts of police and neighbors the baby was lost.
It was later reported that:
[A] three-month-old infant—who was left brain dead when EMS couldn’t get to his door in time because of snow drifts two days after the storm—succumbed to his injuries yesterday.
Some of us would contend that union officials ought to be prosecuted for negligent homicide and extortion but, at the very least, the City of New York should fire everyone belonging to the union and pass legislation prohibiting union membership for employees of city government.
Tom Smith agrees with me.
If the argument is, some functions are too critical to public safety to put in private hands, then that is an argument against allowing them to be unionized. If unionized, then the state no longer has a monopoly on the power exercised by that arm, which is the whole idea of putting it in the public sphere. So if you can’t have private police forces running around, let’s say, then it makes no sense to have the monopolized force of the state colonized or even dominated by a union with interests frequently opposed to those of the public. ....
Unions have held up states and cities for trillions of dollars in obligations that can’t be paid off. Throw in the costs of an utterly failed public school system in many cities and you get an idea of the scope of folly of government by unions.
When the police went out on strike in Boston in 1919, Governor Coolidge sent in the State Guard to keep order, and the police commissioner fired and replaced the entire force. Governor Coolidge won national admiration for breaking the Boston Police Strike and went on to win the Republic nomination and the presidency.