With that, I consider big real estate "the enemy" because that is what I have learned these past years. I don't restrict my view just to stewards of PCVST. Perhaps that's a misguided prejudice. I'll admit that. But I have also seen our city change and neighborhoods devastated with reversals on zoning laws and the implementation of "air rights" that allow aesthetically inappropriate slivers to be built, pleasing real estate, of course, but marring New Yorkers' sense of community and taking away the simple visual and emotional pleasure of a sky.
And so I find the following photos of a gala held by the Real Estate Board of New York troubling, disturbing. In the pit of my stomach there is the start of a retching movement when I look at them. These photos, which a STR reader alerted me to in our comment section, make me kinda ill. But, perversely, they are also amusing. It's almost laughable in how these photos tell us that we're screwed.
This is our Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito with REBNY Chairman Rob Speyer:
I know if I were in Mark-Viverito's place I would not be smiling at Robbie (still the number one individual who screwed over PCVST and middle-class affordability here), unless I was telling him that the city is preparing a case against him and Tishman-Speyer in their handling of this property.
This is Steve Spinola/REBNY President with our State Senator Catherine Young and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito:
Below: Steve Spinola and Rob Speyer with our Governor, Andrew Cuomo: How does this make you feel about the governor being unequivocally on the side of tenants?
Baby face Stringer, whom I have never instinctively trusted, was there also:
Our "commie" mayor was there, too, hobnobbing with wealthy capitalists:
On the left is Gale Brewer, our Manhattan Borough President; on the right, Michael Norton of Tishman Speyer:
The chic in the middle is RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commisioner of NYC Housing Department of Housing Preservation and Development:
A familiar face to all of us:
And I'm sure you also recognized Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney in the above photo. In this one, she gets a photo op with Robbie:
So, how secure do you feel about "affordable middle-class housing" in PCVST? These guys will throw you a bone. If you're lucky.
UPDATE: Robbie Speyer has his own website. The main news is this gala and its "players":
From that page: "2,300 people crowded the New York Hilton on January 16th, 2014 night for REBNY’s 118th annual banquet. Read more about the the biggest night of the year."
If you go through the link and check out the "biggest night of the year," you will read about the mocking disdain these real estate people have for Mayor de Blasio. I quote:
"2,300 people crowded the New York Hilton on Thursday night for REBNY's 118th annual banquet. We snapped 28 of its biggest stars. (Mayor de Blasio didn't event [sic] make our cut. Call it rookie hazing.)"
You see, according to the mindset, the mayor and all politicians are not the key players. They are not really A-List members, because they are in temporary positions of power and can disappear as quickly as they appear. "Who finances your re-election efforts, baby?"