Poor people are repulsive

There’s a new cruelty being foisted upon the middle income denizens of Manhattan. A whole new insult that was dreamed-up by real estate developers. Do you guys know what a ‘poor door’ is?

In a blatant attempt at fairness, New York City passed an ordinance requiring new residential buildings to include a small percentage of units that are to be sold as affordable housing. For example, a new building nearing completion on the Upper West Side has a few units that will be occupied by families earning $35-$55K annually. Don’t weep for the developers. They are given a significant tax abatement for providing these middle-market units.

Apparently, developers are worried that their upper-income tenants will be so unnerved by the sight of poor people that they managed to get an amendment allowing them to create separate entrances and lobbies; one for their wealthy residents and a second one on an opposite wing of the building for modest-income residents. It’s been unofficially christened the ‘poor door.’

In already existing buildings, amenities like rooftop gardens, gyms and playrooms for children are added to lure high net worth individuals. Access is being restricted to just those new tenants who are paying market-rate rents. The existing tenants who pay below-market rents are not permitted to use these new facilities. One developer was quoted as saying the gyms are being installed for new, market-rate paying tenants, not to please the existing ones.

Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say that someone with significant wealth wants to live around like-minded individuals. Fair enough. That being the case, why, in God’s name, would you choose to live in New York City? This place is an economic and racial bouillabaisse. If you’re that put-off by the sight of poor people, go live in Los Angeles or some other economically segregated city. If you can’t live without the East Coast, move to Westchester County or Darien, Connecticut. Those places have laws on the books that make having a modest income a criminal offense.

I want to live on the Upper East Side
And never go down in the street.
Splendid isolation
I don’t need no one

Splendid Isolation
Warren Zevon

Class segregation has been around for a long, long time. Just ask the Brits. But there’s a mean spiritedness at work here. What is this dark, human desire for exclusivity? Is it biological? Something that’s a natural occurrence amongst tribes? Or is it a learned behavior? Isn’t this how horrible things like wars and organized religions start?

With a million neon rainbows burning below me
And a million blazing taxis raising a roar
Here I sit, above the town
In my pet-palliated gown
Down in the depths
On the 90th floor

Down in the Depths (on the 90th Floor)
Cole Porter

Of course, my outrage is because my mother would have been forced to use the poor door. I internalize everything. I’ll own that. I spent some time in therapy and developed a modicum of self-awareness. But aside from that, seeing people treated like second class citizens by a bunch of real estate and hedge fund douche bags irks me a little bit. Plus, they’re scarring this beautiful/hideous city of mine. They’re turning it into Phoenix or Seattle or Tampa or Houston or Omaha or Pittsburgh. All fine places, but each one as vanilla and interchangeable as the next.

Here’s another snappy summer outdoor art installation. I didn’t use to like Jeff Koons’ work but then I got over my bad ass self and now I enjoy it.

koons1His latest is Split Rocker in the plaza of Rockefeller Center, where they put the Christmas tree. It coincides with his career retrospective currently at the Whitney. (A show important enough for me to call in “sick” and attend.)

koons5It’s a flower-covered stature of a child’s rocker split in half. I brought the girls in to see it before they dragged me to Matilda.

koons3One side is modeled after a toy rocking horse that belonged to one of the artist’s sons, and on the other side is the head of a toy dinosaur.

koons4The sculpture is attended to by an army of gardeners. There’s an internal irrigation system that extends to the top of the sculpture. As the summer progresses, it’ll flower becoming fuller and more robust.

koons6I like it. I must be getting soft in my old age.

75 thoughts on “Poor people are repulsive

  1. Great use of lyrics, especially Zevon.

    I guess the privilege of being so close to the elite makes up for everything? Let them all eat cake!

    What a great installation! I am hoping to get up there in a few weeks.

  2. I work in affordable housing. I write the application to the state for those “significant tax abatement(s)”. The real estate developers aren’t the ones getting them. How it works is the state gives the developer a tax credit coupon. The developer sells it to an investor (like Geico) for an avergae .82 on the $1. Geico turns that coupon in to the state in place of $1 of taxes owed. The investor gets the break, not the developer. The developer’s break is on the loan. The .82 the developer gets for selling the coupon is a replacement for part of the construction loan, thereby lowering the expense to build the housing, the caveat being in order to save money on the construction loan and amount of interest owed on that loan (because they can get a lower total loan amount to begin with), they have to set aside a certain portion of units for “low income” at a lower rent rate that the market-rate units. I hope that makes sense. It’s complicated, but kind of like a Groupon for taxes for big businesses.

    The low income residents (making that $35-$55K) are admins, pharmacy techs, teachers, police officers and fire fighters. Not your typical “poor” person. I heard about this “poor door”. It was a topic of conversation around our office. It’s quite offensive, horribly terribly offensive. The whole program benefits everyone involved-the developer (because they pay less interest on their loans and build the same product as if they had taken a full loan), the investor (because they “save” .18 per $1 of taxes owed), the residents (because their quality of life is improved), and the community (lower rent means more expendable cash for retail like clothes for work and food for the table, and a lower rate of homelessness because they can afford to live under a roof). It’s so damn win-win it’s unlike any other housing assistance program ever developed.

    To segregate the population because they aren’t trust fund babies is just plain dumb. These are the same people the “rich” are trusting with their lives (police) and their children (teachers). For fuck’s sake, why not show them a little bit of respect! Why not let them walk through a beautiful lobby? Why not let them use the gym? Why not let them relax on the roof-top? Because ignorance breeds fear and since it’s labeled as “low income”, the picture is that some bum off the street is going to be stinking up the lobby with his shopping cart of hoarded items. It’s awful. That door idea just made me so freaking mad I turned red in the face, and just word-bombed your blog (sorry about that).

    • I understand perfectly and it makes me want to gag. The sad truth is you can earn $50,000 a year in New York and be considered poor. I don’t think my mother ever earned that much in one year and we got by okay in Cleveland. Not great, but we always had a home. You’re correct that this is a terrible insult. People are treated like dogs and their only crime is they don’t make as much as an investment banker.

      Thanks for this very thoughtful, sobering, informative comment. Much appreciated. Sort of. 😉

      • Thanks for taking the time to explain how the tax abatement process works – i wondered about that… From your description, it really seems as though the program was designed to spread the benefits to many involved in the process – and it really IS a winning opportunity for all involved.

        I’ll keep tracking the response to the “poor door” modification. Seems unnecessary to me, but then again i prefer to maintain my perspective by connecting with a full spectrum of humanity.

      • I, too, appreciated the lesson. I only had a vague understanding of the mechanics behind it.

        I wonder if this ‘poor door’ fiasco will spread to other jurisdictions? Currently, I’m in Ohio and everyone I know and love would have to use the poor door. Myself, included. It’s kind of depressing.

  3. This reminds me of the “tradesman’s entrance” in English stately homes. Has anyone ever mooned at rich people in New York city? It might be a lot of fun. There was a blogger called “The Topiary Cow” who would have loved those sculptures, but she’s disappeared, like so many other bloggers. .

    • I’ve read two articles on this phenomena and both mentioned Upstairs/Downstairs. It’s a terrible analogy. The difference is that the lesser-income tenants are not EMPLOYEES. They’re just people trying to get by in a very expensive city and they don’t need to be treated like servants every time they come home from a hard day’s labor.

  4. I remember Topiary Cow! She was good.
    Anyhow, it’s the same in London, Mr Pain. My parents were born in areas that are now seen as posh… there is no way they (or me, come to that) could now afford to live there. I gave up aspiring to, and moved west for a more realistic, slower way of life.
    Liking Jeff Koons!

    • Bloggers come and bloggers go but here we are, still carrying a torch. What an ambitious, aimless bunch we are.

      When I first got to NYC, I moved to a fairly dangerous part of Brooklyn. By the time I left for Manhattan, the neighborhood was well into gentrification. Same thing happened when I moved to the Lower East Side. It was drug and crime-ridden but now, so many years later, I couldn’t afford to move back if I wanted to. I’m tired of blazing the trail for white people. From now on, only pre-gentrified naibs for me.

  5. An army of gardens. What a wonderful idea.

    Minneapolis is still somewhat free of “poor doors”, but we’re rather new to the idea — not to mention that we have whole suburbs devoted to the wealthy and their fragile egos.


    • Hello, Pearl. First time here I see. Welcome. Please wipe your feet.

      We should swap out armies of combatants with armies of garndeners. Best hedgerow wins the war. Do people become more frail as their wealth increases? I’d like to see a study.

  6. Hey great art Mark. Love the photo of your daughter facing the display – it really gives scale. That puppy is huge – either that or your daughter in Alice in Wonderland small – Ha!

    Oh, the “poor doors” are such a bad idea on so many levels. There is so much of that type of class segregation happening now on so many levels, it is scary. My Mum came to visit me a few years ago and had made reservations at a local hotel with a good reputation. She made the arrangements over the internet where they advertized three star accomodations. She is on a fixed income and was attracted by their decent prices. I picked her up at the airport and took her to the hotel to register. When we got there they gave her an old and decrepit room that was clearly not like the pictures they had shown or that would rate as three stars. So we went back to the desk to complain and were told that if she wanted a better room she had to pay an upgrade charge – that of the two towers, one had been upgraded and the other not. So, they advertized as a three star hotel because they had three star rooms – they just weren’t putting their internet customers in them. So, the poorer customers had their own tower with their own elevator – they shared only the lobby with the richer customers. And so it goes.

    So, on another topic, let me see if I get this right Mark. If I want to make money on real estate speculation then what I should do is buy property where you are currently living and when you move out the property values will rise and I can make a proft. Have I got that straight? Ha!

    Great post Mark, as usual. Thank you. Oh, as an aside I did my very first guest post this week over at Willowdot21 http://willowdot21.wordpress.com/2014/07/27/6282/ . The owner set the topic “If we were having coffee…” and i wrote the post. She has asked me to do a weekly post on the same theme. I’d be honored if you could find the time to drop by and say “Hi”. Any comments, crticisms or suggestions are welcomed with open arms.

    • Hi Paul. Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful commentary. What’s worse than seeing your mom treated in such a manner? Good on you for not losing your temper and smashing someone in the face. Of course, that would have solved nothing and probably reinforced a stertotype but it might have felt nice for a moment.

      It does seem like I have the golden touch as far as up-and-coming neighborhoods are concerned. It’s all been by accident, of course. I don’t have the third eye on wealth accumulation or I wouldn’t be sitting at a desk right now, I’d be in Tahiti.

      So, you did a first guest post, meaning…do you have a regular blog you maintain and this is a post outside of that environ? Becuase I’ve checked in the past and, as far as I can tell, you render kick-ass comments without keeping a blog of your own. Is that accurate?

      • No blog yet Mark. It’s a hardware problem on my end – I have to upgrade to be able to do it – whenever I try with my old laptop it freezes. Willow asked if was interested in doing a regular weekly post on her blog and I agreed. It’s a start. Thanks.

  7. I like the split rocker too. I wonder if that is new (since becoming a parent) or if I would have always liked it…

    How is the “poor door” legal? Isn’t that discrimination? I’m surprised the ACLU isn’t rallying the troops to fight that…
    Though, (and this could get interesting) I have a problem with people paying different amounts in rent based on their annual incomes anyway. Places should cost what the market will bear. If prices are too high then people will find other places to live and prices will have to come back down. Is that naive of me?
    Housing is an interesting topic for me. I live near Los Angeles, a stones throw away, and there is a mix of housing options… housing for low income residents, housing for military personnel, housing for people 55+, beach houses, mansions for the rich and famous, condos, townhomes, and everything else. When the Queen and I first started looking for a place to buy we were disheartened by the lack of affordable options available to us in the neighborhoods we wanted. We made too much with our combined income to qualify for low income, we weren’t over 55, and we didn’t make enough to afford the monthly mortgage payments on any of the single family residences. We ended up having to “settle” for a condo in a “bad” area of town. But, we did find something we liked, and we’ve been happy here for 5 years now. So, what’s the lesson? Should something been made available to us in a “nice” area of town? Were we owed that? Or, was it right for us to change our criteria to find something that was within the price range we could afford?
    Or, is there no real right answer here anyway…?

    • Jeff Koons used to really get on my nerves. I thought his work was an elaborate joke on the art world. But now I see it for what it is; fun. I think in some literature I read about Split Rocker, he specifically said the inspiration came from his son’s toys, so it stands to reason that if he had never had kids, we wouldn’t be looking at these photos right now.

      You make an excellent point. (Not to butter your ass, but you usually do.) How is this legal? How is this any different than, as our pal Ross pointed out, segregated water fountains? Yet, they got away with it. The real estate industry in NYC is very powerful. Powerful enough to write their own laws.

      What you’re describing is pure Capitalism. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve studied many forms of governance and Capitalism seems to be the way to go. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a flawed system. I’m not comfortable with the notion of letting the market decide because the market isn’t pure. It’s manipulated and corrupted by a few. If it were a level playing field maybe I wouldn’t have these reservations.

      My Bride and I had the same issue. We couldn’t find a nice house in New Jersey right outside of the city so now I have this insufferable commute. The places shown to us in our price range were DUMPS. And I had some money saved up! I’m solid middle class. It turns out I’m not doing as well as I thought. If you want to know what rung on the economic ladder you stand on, go house hunting. It put you in your place real quick.

      • Yes, real quick… but then I look around and see all these houses I can’t afford getting purchased, over asking price in bidding wars… And I wonder who these people are. I make decent money. When the Queen was working and our incomes were combined we were upper middle class, and we couldn’t afford these homes. So, who is buying these houses? I make more the the median income in Ventura County (not substantially more, but, a fair amount more) and I can only afford 10% of the houses on the market. How does that make sense?
        Yes, I agree with you, the system is flawed, and is influenced by the few. But, it’s on us for allowing that to happen, right? We need to be more vocal about what needs to be done. We night to be more active in using our purchasing power to support the people who are doing things the right way instead of buying what is convenient, buying what is easy to get, buying what is popular. Ideally, anyway. I’m too pessimistic about us to think there is any hope of that ever happening.
        That’s scary about the Real Estate tycoons in NY. They shouldn’t have that much power. What they are doing is sad and disgusting.

      • The problem with the areas where you and I chose to live is that there’s a tremendous concentration of wealth on the east and west coast, so they can command these horrible prices for real estate. A lot of cash buys not too much, as we found out. I told my mom my housing budget and she, being in Cleveland, said I could buy a palace for that kind of money out there. You should see what it bought me in New Jersey. Not much!

        What do you mean we allowed it to happen!? We, in case you haven’t noticed, are powerless. I hate to sound like Debby Downer but it has happened and will continue to happen. I disagree that we can rise up and change the system. The system is more powerful than the citizenry. It’s the dark side of Capitalism. But, again, I wouldn’t trade it for Socialism, Communism or a dictatorship.

  8. People seem to scoff at class warfare in this country but it’s coming, there’s a great book that i can’t remember the name of (damn bong hits) that speaks to the level of wealth attained by a small few and how they use it to separate themselves and how when this occurs history shows that it never ends pretty, think guillotine and France, worse yet for us Americans it was written by a Frog about Merika, which delights me to know end as i can already see Faux News bashing it solely based on the fact a Frenchman wrote it… but let’s face it, we patented the “Me First… and fuck the rest of you” philosophy in this country, i still think of plotting my exit… Costa Rica is gorgeous and has great waves…

    • Well, some people will read this comment and think it’s a gag but this shizzle is real. You are correct that history will repeat itself. You’re referring to Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty. The powers that be are doing everything they can to discredit it but there’s a seed of truth within. You can say “I told you so” when that guy from SAC Capital has his head lobbed off and posted on a spike outside of Greenwich, Connecticut.

      Incidentally, I think they’re going to do a study and find that weed is far more harmful than we ever imagined. You joke but I had one too many bong hits when I was a kid and it deteriorated my powers of comprehension.

      Incidentally Pt. 2: I’ve got tix to the demo derby at the Berea fair on Monday night. Heh.

      • That “end of democratic capitalism” is old shoe and it it true. Socrates said the same thing 2.500 years ago and he was right. Even the Declaration of Independence says clearly (and politicians don’t like this) that when the government ceases to protect the rights of citizens to the pursuit of happiness, freedom, etc, it is not only the right but the obligation of the people to remove that government by whatever means necessary. And replace it with a government that protects the citizens. There’s a long way to go to get there yet but there is no question that the situation is going that way. Socrates says that it is the fundamental concept of reinforcing individualism in democracy that starts the process and it’s carried forward by the fact that capitalism results in more and more of the wealth being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.There is lots of time yet to put some limits on capitalism and spread the wealth more effectively (i.e. limits on exectutive pay that is a multiple of the lowest wage earner in the corporation, or gov’t mandated profit sharing, etc.) Capitalist democracy is definitely the best gov’t/economic system humans have come up with to date, but we need to control it or it will roar out of bounds and leave us with violence between classes.

      • Seeing the words “democratic” and “capitalism” next to one another is pretty funny. It’s an oxymoron like “instant classic” or “random order.” They’re not really related, are they? I believe in the cyclicality of history and we really do seem to be coming to some kind of dead stop. Things are going to burst, it seems. We’re at a saturation point. I think you can find different definitions of what the governmental obligations are. It’s a fluid definition and that’s the problem. While some will argue that government is failing to uphold its Constitutional obligations, others will say things are moving along just fine. I haven’t read much Socrates but it sounds like he was onto something, even back then. See what I mean about historical cycles? He wrote that, what?, almost 2,500 years ago and here we are again.

      • Don’t you worry Kemosabe, i’m well versed in the ill-effects of this vice, of course i always check the source because as people start to see the disaster that prohibtion has been, those who still profit from it’s illegality will do their best to scare the shit out of everyone by any means necessary…

      • I saw a really clever episode of Law and Order or one Criminal Minds or one of those other cop shows. A judge was murdered. The ran through a long list of ex-cons with an ax to grind but it turned out to be a drug lord. The judge was about to recommend legalizing marijuana and it would have cut into his business. Pretty good

  9. Oh, how very Downton Abbey. I can’t believe they actually refer to it as the ‘Poor Door’. To exclude those less well off from gyms and other such luxuries is horrible. Don’t want the posh folk catching something, do we now.. We have estates being built here that have to have affordable housing. ie; there have to be apartments built as well as big mofo houses. No poor doors though.

    Glad I’m not that gardener, what a hell of a job that must be.

    • Well, the big difference is the people being forced to use the alternative entrance aren’t EMPLOYEES. They’re…you know…just regular people. It’s not right. It’s humiliating. No poor doors for you guys…yet.

      It looks to me as if the gardeners were quite enjoying themselves.

  10. we were giving some thought to moving back out to lalaland to be near the kids and grands, but then realized that there was no way in hell we’d get anything close to what we wanted in the city or even nearby! captain chaos even said that we should stay where we are so that they’d all have a sane, peaceful place to visit and fresh shrimp is only 6usd a pound here! xxoxoo (fantastic essay & comments, sugar)

  11. Coincidentally, I just moved from an apt bldg in the West Village that did that horrible ‘only new tenants’ can use the new gym they built, which I had to look at every time I did laundry in the basement. I guess I should feel grateful that they let us poor folk use the laundry room. I only wish we had a poor door so I could have avoided more of the assholes in my bldg. Just for the record, installing ugly, tacky, gaudy moldings and faux wood paneling in the elevator does not
    justify calling the building a luxury bldg. but somehow it makes the new tenants feel less ridiculous paying $4,500 for a one bedroom apartment (with a private gym of course). Just yucky all around.
    Great post.

    • Well, this is my gold star comment. At least this’ll add legitimacy to the post in case anyone thought I might be exaggerating. Every high rise being built right now is high-income housing. Are there that many wealthy people in this town?!? Enough to fill the thousands of units under construction? There’s a tipping point somewhere. Sorry you were victim of this abysmal practice.

  12. I was born and raised on ‘d’island’, a poorer part of the city, an address one didn’t give when applying for a job. It’s worse now, full of scumbags and drug dealers. But back then, inspite of it’s reputation, it was a neighbourhood where people looked out for each other. Most folk had their front doors wide open all day. They were the poor doors when everyone shared, open poor doors.

    • Hi Map. Nice to see you. Caring about your neighbors is a casualty of economic disparity. None of the people in the tony half of the building give a rats ass about anyone in the common area. I suppose the animosity flows in both directions but how could you blame someone for feeling resentment about being treated like a dog.

  13. Let’s sic Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner on those Realtor Separationalists putting up the Poor Doors and the have and have-less foyers and hallways, Mark. Cripes. I thought I heard a lot, and now that. It’s awful.

    I like the Split Rocker a lot. Bully for you to call in take the girls to see that one.

    • And it’s all true read up two comments for verification. Look at you—name-checking Zevon. Well done. Thanks for playing along. I wish there were parting gifts.

      I’m not sure if the girlies enjoy all these exhibits I drag them to but, damnit, drag them I will.

      • I did not have to do any checking on Warren to come up with the song, Mark.

        That album was on my turntable constantly when it came out.

        I was lucky enough to see Warren a handful of times in Syracuse clubs in the 90s. Dynamite shows.

        In 1994, the big daily sent me to Saugerties in July, a three-day stretch at the site of upcoming Woodstock 25-year anniversary show to research material for a special section. Michael Lang made me wait until the last hour of the last day until he gave me 20 minutes. But the first day he had an intern give me two hours to tour the whole grounds where the fest would be. Friendly, smart young college-aged woman. Looked vaguely familiar. Midway through I asked her full name for my notes. xxxxxxxx Zevon, she said. Yup. He’s my father.

      • What a great story! I never had the chance to see him perform, much to my regret. You’re a lucky man. He faced death with genuine grace, courage and humor. After he was diagnosed I saw him interviewed—I think it was Letterman—and he said he regretted that he wouldn’t be able to see the next Bond film.

        Zevon’s work should be better known. He was a great writer. All people think of is that goddamn Werwolves of London.. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great song with a killer hook but that guy is so much more than that. Mr. Bad Example might be my favorite song ever.

  14. I suspect it will be impossible for your city to become vanilla (nice term!), and the poor door users will be much more interesting than the rich door users to the point the rich will be the ones missing out. Isn’t it always the poor areas that artists colonise that end up being the places rich idiots move to in the hope of having a little of that cool rub off on them?

    Recently in London some high rent apartment buildings put spikes in their doorways to stop homeless people sleeping in them. Teams of revolutionary sorts had a field day with concrete and spray paint, and the doorways were quietly returned to normal.

    I love the installation. I’ve never paid a huge amount of attention to Jeff Koons, though have generally liked what I’ve stumbled across in galleries.

    • No city is immune to become vanilla. Don’t forget…they’ve opened a Red Lobster and a Ruby Tuesday’s across the street from one another in Times Square. These are chain restaurants you can find in any middle-sized city. I’m not saying they’re bad places, but why would you come all the way to Times Square only to eat in a restaurant you can find in any mall? What’s the adventure in that? Vanilla creep. Beware of it.

      Thank God for radicals. They can be an angry bunch and even piss me off sometimes but I think, unlike the moneyed masses, their hearts are in the right places. Plus, they have a sense of humor.

      As I mentioned above, I’m going to call in sick to see the Koons retrospective. My feelings about his work have gone from hostility to indifference to admiration. That’s progress!

  15. I read about this “poor door” deal and I think it’s disgusting. It makes me sad for the human race. I mean it’s so blatant, and it’s as bad as any segregation. I would have thought better of New York City, that you guys over there are more accepting and tolerant. So, I’m disappointed, too. On another note, those animal sculptures are very cool. I just love that they flower!

    • You would think better of a supposedly progressive place like New York. It makes me wonder if it has less to do with geography and more to do with wealth. Does cash breed intolerance?

      I passed by that sculpture again the other day and it looks even more full than when I took these pictures. I wonder what they’re doing with all those plants at the end of the exhibit?

      Thanks, as always, for visiting and for your thoughtful comments.

  16. I wish I hadn’t read this one last… makes me angry. I love being angry. But I hate being angry if I can’t get it out, and my only outlet is throwing a baseball really hard or writing really fast, neither of which is available to me right now. Poor door… I have a horrible feeling that will catch. I hope if anyone tries to bring that here that we (me too) will lambast the idea until it dies. We don’t need this. No one ever needed it.

    • Good morning, Trent. Nice to see you. Sorry for the slight delay. I’m on a holiday visiting my family. Imagine my delight when I checked my feeder and it lit up with comments from you. You write post-worthy comments and I always appreciate that.

      This pissed me off, too, which is why I immediately dashed off a post. I like shining a light on the great injustices and stupidity in the world. If nothing else, like-minded people will share in the outrage. That feels strangely comforting.

      • I hope like-minded people do indeed share in it… although just that one dissenting voice who thinks this is a good idea can throw things off the rail in a hurry. Unfortunately, I think I know people who would genuinely consider this to be smart planning.

  17. Being from Long Island, I never realized a “middle class” could exist in Manhattan. You were either one of the Haves or Have Nots in NYC. I actually applaud subsidized housing in any city or town. People of all means need shelter. Here in Chicago we call it Section 8 housing. I lived with some of these folks in an apartment building on the hoity toity Gold Coast section of Chicago. They even used the gym! Shocking!

    Have never been a fan of Koons but I do enjoy horticulture and gardening. So if I block out the fact that the Rockefeller Plaza installation (what a fucking overindulgent word) is a Koons and just look at it from a horticultural point of view, it ain’t too bad. Kinda creepy in that creepy Koons way.

    • There is no middle class in Manhattan. It’s full of either the wealthy or people too poor to move out. I would’ve loved to stay there with my family but I simply don’t make that kind of money. I do okay, but not well enough to raise two kids in Manhattan. That requires more money then I’m ever going to make. Real estate developers aren’t interested in people like me. I’m not their target audience.

      • Guess that’s why places like Weehawken are getting populous. Even Brooklyn has gotten pricey (I lived in Park Slope for 18 months, back in the early 80s, before it was hip). My sister-in-law married well and has a double-wide overlooking the park on CPW. It’s unreal.

        BTW, I’m posting again, Mark. The Monday Court hearing was a slam-dunk winner.

      • Park Slope in the 80’s was more of a thrill than it is today. You could have gotten stabbed back then. Today, the worst that can happens is that you get yelled at for not weeding your spot in the community garden co-op.

        Is it weird having someone with that kind of wealth in the family? I’ve often wondered how I would have reacted to a sibling becoming wealthy. It’d be an interesting dynamic, especially after our humble beginnings.

        Glad the hearing went well. What a headache that stuff is. It keeps you from the important stuff–like maintaining your blog.

  18. That poor door is awful!!! There are so many examples of lower income families being made to feel like second class citizens everywhere. I don’t know how school meals work in the US, but in the UK, families on very low income, or on certain benefits can get free school meals for their kids. Some schools have ways of handling it really well so that discretion is maintained in the school cafeteria, but others do things like have special tokens for those on free school meals, or a separate cash register for those who don’t pay, and I just think it’s awfully embarrassing, to say the least, for some kids, particularly in high school age to have the other kids know that they’re on free school meals. So consequently, some parents don’t claim the free meals (even though they obviously could do with that financial help) so that their kids don’t have to deal with that, or worse, some kids just skip eating because they’re worried about getting teased for being poor.

    • That’s a good point. Can you imagine putting your kids through that ‘poor door’ nonsense?! I can assure you that stuff will stay with them for a long, long time. It could serve to light a fire under their asses and make them want to succeed, but it could also wreck their self esteem. It makes me kind of mad if I think too much about it. Maybe the developers should give their wealthy clients more credit. Perhaps they’re more humanitarian then they’re given credit for.

    • I know…pretty rude ain’t it? I saw an article in the paper yesterday about poor-doors and since this post went up a week ago, I’d say I scooped them. Once again, I blaze a trail.

      I have a black thumb. I can’t grow a damn thing. I murder everything I touch.

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