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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Why Bloomberg Has To Go


Above: Pals Mayor Bloomberg and Jerry Speyer thinking about how to get rid of the middle class in Manhattan and turn the borough into a mecca for the wealthy and influential and their narcissistic and spoiled sons and daughters. The bad economy was an unexpected hard bump in the road. They are waiting out its end and the reelection of Mike, when once again their master plan can "bloom," to include a retry on getting Speyer City built on the Hudson Yards and getting the federal government to financially help Robbie Speyer out with Stuy Town/Peter Cooper Village, after which Robbie will diligently attempt to throw out as many rent stabilized tenants as he can. By the way, Robbie was appointed by Bloomberg as "Chair of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City." Be very afraid.

I voted for Bloomberg twice. I was also voted against term limits--twice. But this Tuesday I will not vote for Mike Bloomberg. My reasoning is two-fold. One, Bloomberg has seen the dissolution of what I consider the heart and soul of Manhattan, where I live. During his reign as mayor, I have seen entire neighborhoods changed from being true neighborhoods, with a unique character containing their own brand of indigenous ethnic groups and stores, to being soulless blocks stunned by dull architecture and arrogant residents who do not seem to be from the city, but who are passing through, either as businessmen with no particular love for Manhattan (but just a lust for Manhattan as their playground) or as students whose well-to-do families are paying for their education and experiences in the Big Apple until it's time for junior and princess to move on. I have seen buildings I have loved--New York buildings stately in their character and earthiness--torn down to be replaced by generic high rises. You know the type: the business store ground floor (typically a bank, a Starbucks and a chain drug store), the second floor a gym for the exclusive use of tenants of that building, and then rising to the sky, the dreary glass fronts of windows upon windows upon windows. During Bloomberg's reign I have been watching Manhattan, which I love, disappear, never to return again.

Take a walk or a bus ride to the West Side, above 42 Street. What you will see are these incredible high rises, one next to the other. It doesn't look or feel like as if you are in Manhattan anymore. It could be Miami, could be Austin, it would be anywhere USA. This is Bloomberg's New York. Go down below Houston Street. See if you can find Little Italy anymore. Oh, yeah, there it is, a measly block or two and then gone. Yeah, Chinatown is taking it over, but not so fast. See those old buildings going down in Chinatown? Yup, more and more of them are disappearing, and the new tenants are not Chinese, but the brethren of those same rich folks who own places on the upper West and East Sides. And then Chinatown will be no more, except a few blocks to seduce the tourists, just as is Little Italy. This is Bloomberg's New York. See Times Square? Yeah, it used to be earthy and rude and so damn New York that it was the place you wanted to be if you felt you needed a good wallop of the Big Apple and a lesson in what it meant to be a New Yorker. Now it's only meant for tourists. Its soul is completely gone. Yes, good thing they got rid of the peep shows and double-bill theaters where people without much money could enjoy a few cheap filthy thrills. Let the rich and powerful folks--yes, the politicians and the businessmen--have their expensive and out of the sensitive public eye thrills, however. (Think guys like ex-Governor Spitzer, who paid over $4,000 to get paddled by a hooker or to paddle a hooker; it was never made clear which one.) And where is the House that Ruth built? Gone under Mayor Bloomberg's reign, with--guess who?--Jerry Speyer involved in the building of the new Yankee Stadium. And why isn't the 2nd Avenue Deli on 2nd Avenue anymore? (And replaced by a bank, too! What a suitable symbol for what has become Bloomberg's New York.) And what in the hell is happening with 1 World Trade Center? What an embarrassment that during Bloomberg's reign not much has been done in eight years on that tragic site. Although, given how awful the new building will look perhaps we should be thankful for such favors.

Speaking of architectural monstrosities, any Mayor worth his Gracie Mansion residence would never have allowed the building of this vomitous structure:



How dare Bloomberg allow an architect to take a crap on a city street of something this size and this horrid! (It's the new Cooper Union academic building in case you didn't know.)

Mayor Bloomberg has not only been the steward of the city during these changes, he has actively pursued them, favoring the wealthy and real estate magnates, like his friend Jerry Speyer, over the average New Yorker who is trying desperately to live in the city in affordable housing and not get forced out to one of the outer boroughs--or worse, out of the entire city itself. Bloomberg's vision of Manhattan as the Dubai on the Hudson is not what New York has ever been to me, nor is it something I wish to see solidified. His friendship with the high and mighty (for he himself is high and mighty) has foreshadowed the end of Manhattan for the middle class. That is why Bloomberg has to go.

He also has to go because he subverted the will of the people twice, people who voted for term limits. Both he and the City Council members who voted to rescind the two term-limit law went against the wishes of the people, not even allowing a referendum on the matter. It is well understand by both Bloomberg and these City Council members (many of whom would have been out of office next year) that an elected official already in office has a far greater certainty of being re-elected. (The percentage is above 90%, and I've heard even as high as 99%!) I consider this turn-around on Bloomberg's part a slap in the face of democracy and still am outraged that this could have happened. And don't believe for a moment that it was the bad economy that made Bloomberg turn his back on term limits to "save" New York. Months before the economy took a tumble, Bloomberg was being coy about running for a third term. He understand then that in order to carry out his vision of a transformed New York, he would need more time than just two terms.

It is imperative that we, as voters, as people concerned for the voice of the people, do not forget about this affront against the vote of New Yorkers, do not rationalize this arrogant dismissal away, do not reward it by voting for the people responsible for the reversal. Out of sheer self-dignity, whether you think term limits is good or not, whether you think Bloomberg would be the best mayor for the next four years or not--by sheer dignity, one is compelled to say "NO, I will not put up with this," and place a vote for Bloomberg's opponent.

Do not think for a moment that once the election is over, and Bloomberg wins (which seems likely), that after the economy slowly improves he will not continue with a master plan to keep on turning Manhattan into a town for the rich and the tourist; do not think for a moment that he will NOT try to help his pal Jerry Speyer and Jerry's son, Robbie, in dealing with Stuy Town at your loss; do not think for a moment that, if you are middle class, he will not try to escort you out of the city you love and live in. ("If you can't afford Manhattan, what are you doing here?" one can hear Bloomberg coolly state if you protest.) If the economy doesn't improve fast enough for Bloomberg to make Manhattan into his vision, watch the guy run for a fourth term. You know it can happen. There's no stopping this cold, vain and arrogant bastard. He is on track to spending 140 million dollars for this current campaign, and when added to his previous campaigns for Mayor, it gives him a record in American history. In his run for a third term, he's been saturating the airwaves, the print media and the internet so much that you'd think he was running for Master of the Universe. You can just sense his feeling of self-satisfaction at knowing that his money is stomping any chance of his opponent getting a message out.

And just take a look at this photo to fully understand the problem:



That's Mike on the right with Robbie Speyer on the left.

Yes, Bloomberg has to go.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is the very very very best post I have ever seen on this subject and so absolutely true in every word. I wish you could spread this far and wide. I am sending it to as many people as I can.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! You have eloquently expressed what I feel every time I pass the new Subway franchise that replaced our only neighborhood card/party goods story on First Avenue. Why weren't you managing Thompson's campaign?

Anonymous said...

I have to say, so many of these things could have been said of NYC 20 or 40 years ago, just as easily. I'm not going to defend Mr. Bloomberg's affiliation with the Speyers--I'll leave that up to him.

But, as for the city, it's architecture and composition? Well, I think that is another matter altogether. Take note of all the ugly white brick buildings that canvass the city built in the 60's & 70's. I find them the most unappealing.

Starbucks & Subways are a blight across the nation. Not just NYC. I don't think Mike's reach is quite that great.

I am familiar with Times Square. In fact, I used to work at 40th & 5th. The blight reached all the way to Bryant Park. Overgrown and filled with drug dealers, you could barely walk on the OTHER side of 42nd without being harassed. I was. I am glad they cleaned it up. I was able to enjoy many lunch hours in peace with my co-workers as a result. It may sound cute but we really don't need hookers, drug dealers and addicts to prove that we are NYers. And by the way, I think it was Giuliani that got that ball rolling, not Bloomberg.

Fault him for what he is deserving of--not ever ill of the City or everything you find distasteful regardless of his involvement. That seems more than a little misguided to me.

Fortunately, we all have the right to exercise our choice tomorrow--though so few do. That is the real tragedy. I know I will go out to pull the big Red lever. For the last time, I might add. As those big, battleship Grey machines will be replaced by much more sexy and controversial electronic machines next year. Wanna talk about scandal...