Monday, November 16, 2009

Round'em Up

Here are some Bronx-related stories which we've rounded up you, our lovely readers, while trolling the interweb with our horse and lasso this fine morning:

A lovely three bedroom, two bathroom abode in Highbridge (bought for a steal at $180,000) is featured in this week's 'Habitats' column [New York Times] (BD Note: I just figured out that the author of the weekly 'Habitats' feature, Constance Rosenblum, is also the author of Boulevard of Dreams, the book chronicling the rise and fall of the Grand Concourse...How did I not realize that before? Although her coverage of the Bronx is superb, it appears that Ms. Rosenblum lives in Brooklyn...but we won't hold that against her.)

The Bronx was the only borough in the city to record an increase in employment in the first quarter of the year compared to the year earlier...boo yeah! [Crain's]

A prominent transgendered classical pianist finds a comfortable anonymity living in the Bronx [New York Times]

This week's 'Your New York' column is dedicated to Castle Hill...safety is constantly improving there, and even their public housing projects are going green
[Daily News]

**Our poor man's round up was unfortunately unable to access what appears to be a super interesting piece in Crain's entitled, "The Future of the Bronx." The peek they let non-subscribers have said:

The future of the Bronx - Surely, residents of the Bronx need more retail competition, not less - Published date: Sunday, November 15, 2009

Anyone out there have a subscription and willing to share a little cut-n-paste of this article with us? Pretty please?

~ErLu

6 comments:

Gregory Lobo Jost said...

Even though we have a subscription, the Crain's website is not letting me view the article online. Since we also get the hard copy, I just read the story -- it's actually their main editorial.

Here are the main points:

1) The Bronx is the only borough without a Costco, and who is to blame? It's the "political leaders and so-called community leaders [who] have made the borough inhospitable to national retailers and many other businesses. Bronx leaders may be dismayed by the borough's economic status... but they are in part to blame."

2) A living wage requirement at the Armory will "kill the project", since there aren't any restrictions in surrounding communities.

3) Other boroughs have created business friendly environments and the Bronx needs to follow their example.

It's a little bizarre they are using Costco as the bellweather of business in the boroughs. Especially since I know Costco pays well and has good benefits, they may already comply with the living wage standards.

Also, they cite high poverty rates in the Bronx, but that's the whole point of the CBA -- because part time jobs at $7.50/hour isn't going to help most families out of poverty.

They also neglect to mention the list of stores nearby on Fordham Road (e.g., Best Buy, Marshall's, Modell's, PC Richard, The Children's Place, Staples, The Gap, Dr. Jay's, Foot Locker, Cookie's and Sears) plus the Target down the road. But since we don't have a Costco, we must be doing something wrong!

Jay said...

I did not read the article but I will agree that the borough is not business friendly, although it has every reason to be the best borough for businesses. It has an extensive highway system and public transportation network, a high number of low wage workers that need jobs, and a plethora of incentives for all kinds of businesses to open, nevermind the fact that commercial rents are very low. In theory, all of this should serve the Bronx well, so why hasn't it?

Well the reality is the Democratic political machine has held the borough hostage for the better part of 35 years. The rampant incompetence and pandering, most recently demonstrated by Ruben Diaz and his idiotic campaign to kill the Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment plan, is a prime example.

These politicians like Ruben Diaz, are very skilled at the "blame game" and slight of hand, in order to secure votes. They blame the new businesses coming into the borough for "not providing a living wage" and for the rampant poverty in the Bronx, but fail to mention that nobody will pay GED educated (at best) Juan and Jerome $25 per hour to be a janitor/cashier/stockboy (or whatever he deems to be a living wage). He also fails to mention that higher wage jobs don't come to the borough because the population is overwhelmingly uneducated and unskilled...so the blame game goes on, businesses get villified and scapegoated, and the Bronx sinks further and further.

The irony is this is how the Dems like Ruben Diaz maintain power. Keep the residents poor and uneducated, rally them against the "evil businesses" and those "evil whites" who are trying to take advantage of them, and keep them focused on everything but your own incompetence, greed, and failures. These politicians have created a weak, poor, unskilled, dependent, easily manipulated population that ensures a Democratic win year after year. So long as those government benefits keep flowing that is.

So what have we learned here? We have learned that the Bronx has immense potential, but the politicians like Ruben Diaz are working towards making sure they stay in power, and not actually trying to help the borough. Hopefully Bloomberg will step in, spank Ruben, and get this deal closed....like he did with the Gateway Center. Ruben would rather maintain the Armory vacant and a huge neighborhood blight because it is in his vested interest to do so..he gets to chant and hold signs to show he is "for the Bronx" by killing businesses that want to move in. The irony. Unfortunately it is the community and the Bronx that pays the price.

Anonymous said...

The city in general is not business friendly, but realistically speaking, the Bronx has MUCH lower R/E costs, which should offset a lot of burden.

I believe the issue is that Mount Vernon pulls a lot of the manufacturing businesses through their Empire Zone benefits, as well as three Metro-North stops with frequent service.

Anonymous said...

To Jay:

"Juan and Jerome"

????

Please take that kinda talk to the NY Post, where it is at home.

Jay said...

I use Juan and Jerome because "Juans and Jeromes" are the vast majority of those in the community that will be applying for these low skill/low wage jobs. Unless of course you believe this community, and those applying for the retail/clerk/security/janitorial jobs at the Armory are a different segment of the community? If so, please provide evidence to support. Otherwise my statement stands...and by the way..I am one of the "Juans."

Shonky McShonk said...

The city should have simply sold the land for the true value and not stuck its nose into whatever plan the buyer had for it.

I think a large suburban style supermarket would have been of maximum use to the community.

While I am a fan of Costco I don't need to buy EVERYTHING in bulk and would get more use out of a large selection of fresh produce and a real butcher counter combined with the variety of products our suburban cousins take for granted.
The upper floors could have been a mega moviepex and a couple of sit down restaurants -1 chain and 1 original concept-.

Money would be made al around