The rent is too damn high
Silicon Alley U
The Bloomberg administration has a mixed record on affordable housing. It was one of the Mayor’s signature initiatives when he took office, but the market has subtracted units faster than he has added them and across the city, the percentage of income that New Yorkers spend on rent—an apartment is considered ‘affordable’ if it consumes less than 30 percent of its inhabitants’ annual income—has risen sharply.
But perhaps new evidence that the high cost of housing and income inequality impede economic growth might make Mayor Bloomberg, or at least his successor, take note.
Back in the Spring, The Observer traveled to Steiner Studios at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where Doug Steiner is working on building the biggest movie studio outside of Hollywood. Part of that plan is building a new media-tech campus, including a new grad school for Brooklyn College’s film program that is already under construction in old radio building at the foot of Washington Avenue.
The marquee feature is a 20 acre satellite for Carnegie Mellon University, to be located on the site of a former naval hospital. On Friday, The Times revealed both a rendering of the project and the fact that the city and Steiner Studios were close to a deal for redeveloping the property.
Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg announced that that the city would be raking in $70 billion from tourists four years from now, as the administration and NYC & Company continue to ramp up tourism to the city. Spending last year amounted to $32.5 billion, and $48.5 billion in economic impact, from a record 50.5 million tourists.
This got The Observer thinking, and, as often happens when we get to thinking, we we got to worrying.
At current rates, wouldn’t it take, given diminishing returns, another 25 million tourists or so to reach the target spending levels by 2015? Think Times Square and the Brooklyn Bridge are bad now? Imagine them 50 percent more crowded. Oh, the humanity. (There would certainly be a lot of humanity around.)
But it turns out we had it backwards. This is not a case of diminishing returns but compounding ones.
center of the universe
Walmart is in a pickle, and not the kind that can be found in the canned goods aisle. Following the Mexican bribery scandal, pols high and low have reaffirmed their opposition to the store. But they are not the only ones. Even some of the big box retailers staunchest supporters have come out against the company, namely Greg David.
The Crain’s columnist and former editor for three decades of the influential business weekly is a big believer in capitalism and its important role in shaping the city—he just wrote a book about it. To that end, he has long supported Walmart’s efforts to open a store in the five boroughs (14 times at last count). Yet now, in light of the scandal, even Greg David doubts Walmart will ever open in New York. And he believes this is all Walmart’s fault.
Best Laid Plans
The most heavily trafficked neighborhood in New York also happens to be one of the biggest economic hubs in the United States, according to a recent study. The Times Square Alliance and HR&A Analyst Inc. teamed up on a report on the economic impact of Times Square. The report, which can be downloaded from their website, showcases the dreaded tourist district as one of the largest economic powerhouses in New York and all of the United States.
If the Cuomo administration has been adhering to austerity in its first year, that is because there is a smaller pie to carve up, as the governor keeps reminding New Yorkers. But he was also taking his time because the money is meant to go where it can actually do real work, according Read More
Gettin' High Line
As has been rumored since talk began that Chris Ward would be departing the Port Authority some time this year, the Cuomo administration is poised to announce Patrick Foye will be taking over the bi-state agency as executive director, The Journal reports.
Well, technically train tracks are still train tracks:
“Normally, the farther you get from the subway the less expensive the housing is,” said [Friends of the High Line co-founder Robert] Hammond, who confessed that he rents an apartment in the West Village. “But the closer you are to the High Line, the farther Read More
The tone of a City Council hearing last week on Mayor Bloomberg’s major Coney Island redevelopment plans was music to Joe Sitt’s ears.
The red-carpeted Council chambers in City Hall quickly became an interrogation room as successive Council Members took their turns bellowing aggressive questions and assertions at a trio of Bloomberg Read More
In the universe of the city budget, cuts are everywhere.
Nowhere was this more apparent than the city’s capital budget, the decade-long plan that pays for new parks, schools, firehouses, infrastructure and economic development with $47 billion in city funds. The Bloomberg administration is proposing to shrink its capital spending by about $8 billion from Read More