The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for October 7th, 2016

stench and anguish

with 5 comments

Queens Plaza, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Terrifying is how I usually describe the rate of real estate development around Queens Plaza, but I do have to admit that all the high visibility construction materials, which are orange, that currently surround the transit hub really do add a bit of color to an otherwise dour locale. Ten years ago, the only colors you associated with Queens Plaza were soot green, soot gray, and just plain soot. There were also little piles of blood here and there, but… y’know.

I’m sure the residential towers in the shot above, rising on the site of a former chemical factory, will end up being encased in the same sort of pale blue glass that all the other recent arrivals sport, but it would be great if we could permanently adopt some colors from the other side of the color spectrum around these parts – just to liven things up and provide some contrast with the increasingly occluded sky.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As part of the “affordable housing” bonanza being led by the Big Little Mayor these days, I’ve been brainstorming for ways that I can get in on the feeding frenzy. Having no desire to alienate parkland or build a luxury tower on a former playground in a NYCHA housing project, this has forced me to get creative.

Sleeper cars on the subways! That’s my idea. Imagine tooling around the City in your own personal car, like some sort of modern day Artemis Gordon and James West. Sleeper cars on the Subway would defeat “NIMBY” sentiments for homeless shelters as well, as the shelter wouldn’t reside in any one neighborhood for long (except in the case of the Franklin Avenue Shuttle).

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The NIMBY thing, as thrown around by the Real Estate shit flies and their acolytes, bugs me.

The way it’s used by these oligarchs is contextually meant to throw a recidivist cast on local activists who oppose the wholesale destruction of their communities by external forces seeking to squeeze every bit of bank they can from functioning neighborhoods. The subtext is that the people who presently reside in Queens are atavist or racist, or anti “progress,” and must be done away with.

Since this “progress” is the seeming goal of real estate oligarchs like Donald J. Trump – replacing working class residents with higher end tenants while claiming their developments will address historical wrongs – as the new populations can be exploited in deeper ways than the old ones due to the size of their wallets – the NIMBY accusation against opponents plays quite well in the press who want to please their principal advertising customers. If “NIMBY” doesn’t work, however, then the real estate lobby moves on to “racist.” Tell me, are rich people now an ethnic bloc? If race figures into luxury real estate development, what are the demographics of the moneyed class who are the anticipated tenants of these towers, and that of those who are displaced by them? I also point out to our overwhelmingly single party political system that these new residents won’t necessarily be members of the Democratic Party, which will kind of mess up your franchise and that iron grip on political power you currently enjoy.

The higher end tenants moving into these towers will not have a back yard to complain about anyway, as they’ll be living on top of a former chemical factory in Queens Plaza. Does Janovic or Home Depot offer interior design supplies in shades of “soot”?

Upcoming tours and events:

“First Calvary Cemetery” walking tour
with Brooklyn Brainery, Saturday, October 8th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Click here for tickets.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

October 7, 2016 at 11:00 am

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