The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

carved overmantel

with one comment

Who wouldn’t want to live in Queens Plaza, that’s the question.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Probably the most unwelcoming place on the planet, an area which is frankly antithetical to human life, Queens Plaza has nevertheless become a hub of residential development in recent years. You’ve got the 24/7 vehicle traffic spilling angry motorists on and off of the Queensboro Bridge, a complex of elevated subway lines above (the steel rafters are infested with vampires, but that’s a whole other story) and a complex of underground subway lines below. The sidewalks have become nonexistent due to the exigent needs of the construction industry, and there are thousands upon thousands of residential units opening within the new and quite banal glass boxes that soar twenty and thirty stories above the traffic choked streets.

The political class in Western Queens loved all of this “growth” as it meant campaign donations from banks and real estate interests flowed freely into their reelection accounts, and then they also got to talk about “affordable” housing as if it was actually “affordable” while insisting that the real estate people hand out a token number of plum development jobs to friendly construction unions.  This caused even more campaign donations to manifest from cultic eidolons like the Working Families Party and the trade unions. Since the Democrats of Queens generally run unopposed by other parties, the cash they didn’t have to spend during the elections then allowed them to use these campaign donations as slush funds to curry favor with, and financially support, weaker candidates in districts that enjoy actual elections. The whole time, these elected officials referred to themselves in glowing terms as “progressives,” which is a term that they don’t seem to have ever looked up in a dictionary.

There are no food markets, bodegas, coffee shops, parking lots, nearby schools, or hospitals on the construction schedule… but there’s lots of noisy traffic if that’s your bag… Just imagine if you had an emergency and you needed to wait for an ambulance to navigate through rush hour traffic at Queens Plaza. You won’t see a lot of municipal investment here in Queens Plaza or LIC as a whole, except for tax abatements and City subsidies encouraging the growth of more tower apartment buildings, as the political class is averse to being perceived as having “increased government spending.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The bought and sold politicians of Western Queens are in a tizzy at the moment. First Marge Markey, then Liz Crowley – and even Joe Crowley – have been seen applying for benefits at the unemployment office. They’re the first.

Comical just desserts have been served by the electorate to the “growth at any cost” crowd, as election results for Boss Crowley’s downfall have shown that he lost to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez not because of some demographic change amongst the burgeoning Latino population or the “I want to help POC” crowd who wanted “one of their own,” rather it was the overwhelmingly wealthy Caucasian and Asian gentrifier crowd that are moving into the tower buildings in places like Queens Plaza and Court Square who booted him out. Markey and Liz Crowley lost their jobs because they sided with City Hall against their own communities.

The body politic is changing in Queens, and for those politicians who used to count on incumbent victories due to low voter turnout and the affections of the party faithful, a chill is in the air. As I’ve often said to these elected officials “how do you know that these rich people from the Midwest are Democrats?” “Aren’t you concerned that you’re unintentionally shifting the electorate to the right, since the demographics and politics of the moneyed people who can afford $3,000 for a studio apartment are very, very different than those of the people you’re claiming to represent?”

They don’t teach that in politics school, apparently.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The thing is, a humble narrator watches all of this dispassionately. He rages against the sophists and the connected, is rude to the mid level representatives of “the powers that be,” and enjoys popping the egomaniacal balloons arrayed at political events. Ultimately, it’s all wasted effort.

The reality of things is that while all of this extra inventory of apartments has been created over the last twenty years, rent has gone up all over the City and that homelessness is now approaching levels not seen since the Hooverville’s of the Great Depression. Job creation and sustainability is not on the syllabus offered by these so called progressives, except for themselves and their staffs. These progressives close hospitals and nursing homes rather than open them, allowing their donors in the real estate industrial complex to then convert the structures to bespoke luxury condos with some token “affordable” component which no NYPD or even Teachers Union employee could afford to live in. 

Growth, unchecked, is called Cancer.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Advertisements

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 24, 2018 at 11:00 am

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. You’re not asking the right questions: Which is what is the program and what are its real goals and who really is the master?

    First I would note that the lack of hospitals/medical services, fire, ambulance, and other infrastructure cannot go unnoticed by the political and managerial class. To say this is only a function of developers being the masters of the political class and greed is the primary motivator is almost completely wrong. The single cause “magic bullet” theory is seldom correct in human affairs. But whereas greed might play some role, it must be considered that developers who are more successful higher IQ types that these people tend to be more rational and future oriented so greed would only play a minor role. So why doesn’t the developers address this problem? I’ll get to this presently.

    So the question is more properly phrased that as lack of infrastructure cannot go unnoticed by the political/managerial class because nobody established in power for long can be that stupid then why do they consciously allow it? The answer is that this is a feature of the program and not a bug therefore the correct question is what is the program and what are its real goals?

    Chairman Mao once famously said that “power flows from the barrel of a gun”. So who is really in charge here: the developers or the political class? The people who operate from a paradigm of persuasion that can only sell you a building or the people who operate from a paradigm of force and having the legal monopoly on violence can imprison or kill you?

    So this is a form of feudalism (or MAFIA style organized crime) where the developer pays tribute to the lords in order to ply his trade but make no mistake as to it is the political class lords who really hold the whip hand.

    So if the developers do not see to infrastructure then it is because they do so under imprimatur cum superiorum privilegio veniaque.

    You wrote: “The reality of things is that while all of this extra inventory of apartments has been created over the last twenty years, rent has gone up all over the City and that homelessness is now approaching levels not seen since the Hooverville’s of the Great Depression. Job creation and sustainability is not on the syllabus offered by these so called progressives, except for themselves and their staffs. These progressives close hospitals and nursing homes rather than open them, allowing their donors in the real estate industrial complex to then convert the structures to bespoke luxury condos with some token “affordable” component which no NYPD or even Teachers Union employee could afford to live in.”

    This is either a feature of the program and not a bug or mere collateral damage that the political/managerial class simply does not care about as they are focused on another goal.

    Once again we must ask what is the program and what are its true goals?
    There is an answer. Look past the obvious greedy capitalist/well-meaning but clueless politicians cliche’s put out as a smokescreen.

    You wrote:“Growth, unchecked, is called Cancer.”

    Ah, so you do read my comments!

    Don Cavaioli

    Cav

    July 24, 2018 at 12:52 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: