Showing posts with label Wall Street Journal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wall Street Journal. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why Cooper Union can thank the Chrysler Building for some of its good fortune

Interesting piece in The Wall Street Journal today on how Cooper Union has sidestepped the economic crisis while other college endowments suffer.

Cooper's most valuable asset is a gift from Peter Cooper's family -- the land under the Chrysler Building. With 1,000 students and a $57 million budget, Cooper currently receives $7 million annually in ground rent from the iconic Art Deco skyscraper. And under an unusual arrangement with roots in the school's original charter, the holder of the Chrysler lease is assessed city real-estate taxes -- but that money, currently $12 million annually, goes to the school. Over the decades, New York City has challenged the arrangement, but Cooper has prevailed in court.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Opinion: For the first time "NYC is going to struggle with questions about its reason for being"

From Peggy Noonan's column in The Wall Street Journal Friday:

In New York some signs of that future are obvious: fewer cars, less traffic, less of the old busy hum of the economic beehive. New York will, literally, get dimmer. Its magical bright-light nighttime skyline will glitter less as fewer companies inhabit the skyscrapers and put on the lights that make the city glow.

A prediction: By 2010 the mayor, in a variation on broken-window theory, will quietly enact a bright-light theory, demanding that developers leave the lights on whether there are tenants in the buildings or not, lest the world stand on a rise in New Jersey and get the impression no one's here and nobody cares.

The New York of the years 1750 to 2008 — a city that existed for money and for all the arts and delights and beauties money brings — is for the first time going to struggle with questions about its reason for being. This will cause profound dislocations. For a good while the young will continue to flock in, for cheaper rents. Artists will still want to gather with artists — you cannot pick up the Metropolitan Museum and put it in Alma, Mich. But there will be a certain diminution in the assumption of superiority on which New York has long run, and been allowed, by America, to run.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The "new urban pioneers:" Yeah, but do they have plentiful FroYo and Momofuku? (Oh, wait...)

From The Wall Street Journal today, an article titled Artists vs. Blight. This is a complex topic that deserves more than a smart-assy treatment on a Friday morning. But for now, let's just read some of the article.

Last month, artists Michael Di Liberto and Sunia Boneham moved into a two-story, three-bedroom house in Cleveland's Collinwood neighborhood, where about 220 homes out of 5,000 sit vacant and boarded up. They lined their walls with Ms. Boneham's large, neon-hued canvases, turned a spare bedroom into a graphic-design studio and made the attic a rehearsal space for their band, Arte Povera.

The couple used to live in New York, but they were drawn to Cleveland by cheap rent and the creative possibilities of a city in transition. "It seemed real alive and cool," said Mr. Di Liberto.

Their new house is one of nine previously foreclosed properties that a local community development corporation bought, some for as little as a few thousand dollars. The group aims to create a 10-block "artists village" in Collinwood, with residences for artists like Mr. Di Liberto, 31 years old, and Ms. Boneham, 34.

Artists have long been leaders of an urban vanguard that colonizes blighted areas. Now, the current housing crisis has created a new class of urban pioneer. Nationwide, home foreclosure proceedings increased 81% in 2008 from the previous year, rising to 2.3 million, according to California-based foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac. Homes in hard-hit cities such as Detroit and Cleveland are selling for as little as $1.

Drawn by available spaces and cheap rents, artists are filling in some of the neighborhoods being emptied by foreclosures. City officials and community groups seeking ways to stop the rash of vacancies are offering them incentives to move in, from low rents and mortgages to creative control over renovation projects.

"Artists have become the occupiers of last resort," said Robert McNulty, president of Partners for Livable Communities, a Washington-based nonprofit organization. "The worse things get, the more creative you have to become."


Artists have flocked to, and improved, blighted areas for decades -- for example, New York's SoHo and Williamsburg, parts of Baltimore and Berlin, Germany. They often get displaced once gentrification begins. But now, since real estate has hit rock bottom in many places, artists with little equity and sometimes spotty credit history have a chance to become stakeholders, economists and urban planners say.

And, for the record, I like Cleveland. My cousin moved there.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Is there a connection between increased unemployment rates and higher crime rates?

The Wall Street Journal explores the topic.

"High unemployment is likely for the rest of 2009. Does that presage a year of violence? Maybe not."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Revisting March 7, 2009

Found a stack of paper's sitting down the street. Last month at this time... The Wall Street Journal from March 7, 2009. The unemployment rate was only 8.1 percent ... oh, and Bernie Madoff was still a free man.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Meanwhile, back on Earth, the greatest article about transhumanism that you'll read today

From today's Wall Street Journal:

Arakawa and Madeline Gins's quest to make human beings immortal is at risk of dying.

That's because the couple lost their life savings with Bernard Madoff, the mastermind of a multibillion-dollar fraud.

Of all the dreams that were crushed by Mr. Madoff's crime, perhaps none was more unusual than this duo's of achieving everlasting life through architecture. Mr. Arakawa (he uses only his last name) and Ms. Gins design structures they say can enable inhabitants to "counteract the usual human destiny of having to die."

The income from their investments with Mr. Madoff helped fund their research and experimental work. Now, Mr. Arakawa, 72 years old, and Ms. Gins, 67, are strapped for cash. They closed their Manhattan office and laid off five employees.

The pair's work, based loosely on a movement known as "transhumanism," is premised on the idea that people degenerate and die in part because they live in spaces that are too comfortable. The artists' solution: construct abodes that leave people disoriented, challenged and feeling anything but comfortable.

Hmm...disoriented, challenged and feeling anything but comfortable? Sounds like my first studio apartment.

And be sure to check out the reader comments to this article on this one:

You would think someone aiming for immortality would have learned to take better care of their cash. Immortals need a sound, conservative investment strategy. Let's face it: we don't want the world filled with destitute 200 year-olds living in the streets.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Four more years?

There's a Wall Street Journal opinion piece today titled:

New York Will Survive Without Bloomberg
The mayor never bothered to prepare the city for any lean years