Banning Profits From New Downtown

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to revitalize downtown Manhattan is nothing more than an evil scheme that will result in profits for somebody, according to a newly formed coalition of active and retired Manhattan activists, the Society to Minimize Useful Gadgetry (SMUG).

The SMUG coalition announced plans to file a lawsuit in federal court in an attempt to block the massive project. The lawsuit claims that not only will people make money while working on the project, but the plan threatens to harm the downtown breeding grounds of the Cantkillus Evenifyabombu s, otherwise known as the “cockroach.” The group plans to call on noted Princeton University bioethicist Peter Singer, who, the group hopes, will argue that the project would be ethically acceptable only if it called for the destruction of month-old babies with hemophilia.

The Mayor’s plan calls for the re-creation of lower Manhattan as not just a financial district, but as a neighborhood of residential housing, schools and entertainment centers. The Mayor also called for spending $4 billion to link downtown Manhattan by rail to the region’s airports.

“This is a recipe for disaster,” said Tolerance Foresome, the group’s spokes-species. “The ingredients are there for a catastrophe that will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of all New Yorkers. This plan is little more than a regurgitated Westway. It is time for cash-hungry New York politicians to purge themselves of contributions given by real-estate fat cats who have been stewing over their failed Westway scheme for years. It is time that they were given their just desserts, which would put the icing on the cake.”

The coalition notes that under the Mayor’s plan, new businesses will open downtown. Activists see dangers lurking behind this seemingly innocuous initiative. “Once you allow a business into the neighborhood, profits will follow,” said Everso Stern, SMUG’s chairperson for oversight of unapproved frivolity, laughter and fun. “Profit-making is the hidden agenda behind the Mayor’s plan. It’s just like the Governor’s devious plan for the Hudson River Park. It looks good on paper, and there are all these plans for beautiful walkways, handsome vistas and sparkling recreational areas. But before you know it, some hyper-capitalist is selling hot dogs in the park for a dollar and extorting you for another quarter if you want onions and relish. We want to see a plan for downtown that excludes the possibility of anybody ever turning a profit.” With that in mind, the SMUG coalition suggested that the city’s newspapers move their facilities to existing buildings downtown. “That will make downtown a profit-free zone, just the way we like it,” said Ms. Stern.

The group noted that before he became Mayor, Michael Bloomberg was a successful business leader. “What more do you need to know?” a SMUG press release asked. “Where some of us appreciate a faltering, scarred landscape, people like the Mayor invariably see only an opportunity to instigate change for the express purpose of allowing people to earn a living. This we find repugnant, unnecessary and inherently corrupt.”

The coalition’s spokes-species, Mr. Foresome, also complained about City Hall’s use of language in describing its overall economic objectives. “There is much discussion about supporting so-called mom-and-pop businesses,” he said. “It’s hard to believe that anybody could use such exclusionary language in the 21st century. Where are the Mayor’s plans for single-mom stores, pop-and-pop businesses and alternative-lifestyle boutiques? Economic development is bad enough-why should it be couched in sexist, judgmental language?”

The group likened the Mayor’s plan to genocide, saying it will take lower Manhattan’s cockroaches at least a week to recover from the destruction the plan will wreak in their breeding grounds. A particular sore spot is the Mayor’s proposal to extend airport train service to downtown. “This is the worst kind of species-ism,” the group’s mission statement read. “In the name of convenience for human beings, the Mayor proposes a plan that will do untold damage to innocent cockroaches who wish only to create more innocent cockroaches.”

SMUG members said they took heart from the successful battles against Westway years ago, which led a court to rule that the mating habits of the striped bass were more important than construction of a new highway that would bring pleasure only to human beings in automobiles. The case, the activists said, brought an end to the days when public-works projects could be built with only humans in mind. Moreover, it prevented an outbreak of untoward profitmaking on the West Side.

It’s not certain how City Hall will respond to SMUG’s tactics. But a source who asked to be identified only as a person familiar with satirical 800-word newspaper columns noted that after a year in office, the Mayor realizes that parody does no justice to the realities of governing New York.