Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Looking to slam the breaks on New York City:

Democrats from all across the city are patting themselves on the back for their plans to keep Stuyvesant Town below market value. They claim if the current owner, Met Life, sells the property, the new owner might be motivated to do something crazy like try and turn a profit relative to the risk that their taking. They’re concerned that the neighborhood would see an influx of upper middle class people that would crowd out the middle class that has lived there for years.

There’s been some interesting quotes coming out of the press-release including from Democrat Assembly Member Jonathan Bing who said:

“I am well aware that affordable housing in New York City is in short supply. I applaud Councilman Garodnick, labor leaders and the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village tenants innovative effort to preserve this large-scale affordable housing enclave on the East Side."

Somebody needs to inform Mr. Bing that the decline of affordable housing in many NYC neighborhoods is also the reason NYC has grown and prospered. Today’s rents and real-estate prices reflect this growth. It’s due to, may I say, “the invisible hand of capitalism”.

By trying to take over this block of land, as Bing and others would like to do, they will end up suppressing overall growth in the city. Bing and others need to have faith in free markets and know from history that middle class families loosing Stuyvesant Town won't mean a loss for the city. Instead it will be an overall gain.

For example, for years neighborhoods like Astoria, Woodside and Maspeth were lower middle class. The growth of Manhattan and other surrounding neighborhoods like Bayside and Fresh Meadows to upper middle class caused middle class people who wanted to live in NYC to turn to other neighborhoods. As a result Astoria, Woodside, Maspeth and even Jersey City are what they are today. Such situations should not be viewed as a crowding out but a natural progression where all neighborhoods move forward.

Now if your goal is to suppress the growth of neighborhoods, then by all means don’t let the true value of Stuyvesant Town shine. However if you’re looking to make today’s poorer New York neighborhoods into the next Astoria or Jersey City, then letting Stuyvesant Town sell and progress to its market value would be the best the answer.

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