Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Armory Anniversary

A year ago today the City Council told a $300 million+ investor, "Thanks, but no thanks." This Sunday, the Post ran an interesting op ed piece calling the site "an empty sore instead of jobs."

Any casual reader of the ole BD knows where we stand on this issue, and frankly, we took a lot of flack for not falling in line with the groupthink mentality of the NW Bronx. We'd just like to remind everyone about some facts concerning the Armory debacle.

The Armory still remains vacant and a financial liability rather than an asset for the city and the neighborhood. The communications director for Ruben Diaz, John DeSio, states, "According to the City the Kingsbridge Armory costs $1 million a year to maintain." Clearly, this is not an insignificant amount of money.

There still seems to be no clarity on what will happen to the historic site - or even what specifically Ruben Diaz and the task force would want to go there in an ideal world. The task force reportedly has met six times since its inception, according to Mr. DeSio, and they expect to give a report in the spring. When pressed about the Beep's personal vision for the site, Mr. DeSio related the following:
The borough president and the task force agree that efforts to redevelop the Kingsbridge Armory should focus on strategic reuse of the property for a combination of community revitalization, education, and economic development purposes. The borough president would like to see the armory developed into a facility that meets these goals.
I'm not sure I see much specificity in this response. Maybe if we wish really really hard, that unicorn farm with $50K/year jobs with benefits might appear.

One thing that is certain: the 2,200 jobs, even if they were all minimum wage, would have paid Bronxites $33,176,000 (thirty-three million, one hundred and seventy-six thousand dollars!) in just this last year.

It seems this once frequent BD commenter who wrote the following during those heated days last December might want to rethink his statement:
...and since both of you are unabashed whores to related, as if they are the only ones who can save us, you need to know there ARE other plans out there and there ARE other ideas out there. and Guy, i know this is gonna hurt, but you didn't listen the last time, the BP does have a plan B... and even a C and D that you're going to hear about soon.
It seems like the BP didn't have any other plans beyond the shortsighted political expedience of hooting and hollering to promise something he couldn't deliver. The perfect became the enemy of the good and the Armory remains vacant, and no jobs or services have been created from the whole ordeal.

And to those who will decry the fact that Bloomy will be more reluctant to help anything get off the ground at the Armory because of the embarrassing defeat dealt him by Ruben Diaz and the City Council, remember that there are consequences to moral victories, O dear Pyrrhus.



Anonymous said...

I'm sure none of those responsible for the loss of jobs ever organized a group of unemployed Bronxites and asked them for their preference - living wage or no wage. Does anyone ever talk to the poor?

Anonymous said...

There are lots of people in the Bronx who are working and are still poor.

Anonymous said...

There are also a lot of people who are not working and poorer still. This was political expedience over doing what's right at it's finest. As time goes by, and the Armory stays empty, the anger will surface. When the country has been willing to give the government back to Republicans because of a lagging economy, it's sad that in a borough with the highest unemployment we're actually digging our own economic grave.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone out there know how to do real community organizing? There is a great need for the poor - working and non-working - to be seen and heard, to speak, not be spoken for. A real community organizer does that. Those who did all the shouting, who had their pictures in the papers, who were interviewed at the armory rallies, may have been well-intentioned, but did more harm than good.

Guywithacause said...

Thanks for the reminder on the 1 year anniversary of this fiasco. I think everyone was crystal clear that there was no plan B,C or much of anything by anyone, except to simply blackmail, extort, "hoot and hollar" and score political points (or so Diaz thought).

However, I can take some comfort in knowing that despite the monumental loss of this redevelopment for the Kingsbridge community and the Bronx, Ruben Diaz killed any dream he had of becoming Mayor and inflicting much more harm across our city via class warfare/race baiting/blame-game.

I do look forward to the task force "recommendations" that will no doubt be full of "if we can do this" and "imagine if" and "hopefully we can get grants for that" and maybe this might work if" and "someday this industry will be XYZ".

Unfortunately there will be little "this is what we can do now to redevelop this Armory" or "this developer is ready to do this" or "we have the funds to do this".

Thanks Rubencito, Morton Williams, and the other blackmailers/extorters who continue to do their best to sink this borough to keep themselves in power and profits in their pockets.

My favorite quote from Ruben Diaz is of course "We rather not work." And so we have it in spades!

Anonymous said...

Let's remember that the plan to plan a plan was to give it to a bunch of NYU grad students to, wait, get ready, to come up with another plan!

Meanwhile, the people are still being mislead by those who:

1. Never ran a business
2. Still do not understand economics
3. Are more interested in perserving their self-absorbed, political ambitions/careers

So for the second year in a row, the residents of the NW Bronx get their lump of coal for the holidays.

100PERCENT said...

Hey, can anyone tell me how many jobs there were at the armory this time last year? How about two years ago, five years ago, or ten years ago.
There were no jobs lost because there were no jobs to begin with at the armory.
Related had a lousy proposal that would have put businesses on Fordham and Kingsbridge Roads out of business. Then everyone would have been crying about all the vacant stores and added crime from them.
Let's see what Diaz can come up with, an idea that's good for the community and the Bronx, and not some billionaire friend of the mayor.

MargaretBX said...

Wow,it is not often that I agree with Robert Press -- but I do.

I am glad that all you anonymous people think you know what's good for poor people. I imagine that you make more money than the majority of the folks who were and are fighting for a living wage on the Armory.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Anonymous said...

Hey 100 percent,

what proof is there that the ancillary businesses would have gone out of business?? Isn't that the inherent risk of doing business to begin with? You may face competition but ultimately the consumer will decide. Our government should be in the business of fostering consumer choice and employment...both of which the Armory would have provided.

Anonymous said...

And the poor that some claim to be defending would in some instances be hurt by a living wage law as they would be the first to be laid off because developers want more "bang for their buck". If you have to be an unskilled, uneducated worker a living wage, it makes better business sense to get a better skilled/better educated (and presumably more productive) worker for the same price.

All of the rhetoric sounds wonderful but it's not grounded in reality. There are scores of people that would take those jobs right now.

Anonymous said...

"if you have to pay..." ***

Fatima la Famosa said...

Why do people only complain about anonymity when the anonymous comments are against the complainer's point?

What an easy comeback that lacks substance. It is so clear your position has no value and you need to deflect, deflect, deflect because you need an easy attack target.

Anonymous said...


"I imagine that you make more money than the majority of the folks who were and are fighting for a living wage on the Armory."

I don't have imagine to know that you make more money than the majority of folks who were and are fighting for a living wage at Armory. I hope you are using your influence to also fight for the overeducated adjuncts who are exploited by the University system.

Anonymous said...

Too many personal, social agendas rooted in fantasies. People with high-paying jobs to supposedly stand up the poor, but are really just exasperating the conditions that perpetuate poverty.

Also @ 100 Percent, do you know what commercial rents are like on Fordham? If anything, the Armory would have forced the landlords to lower their rents so that businesses were not struggling like they are now.

Oh I forgot, nobody in this town gives a crap about business unless they can give out handouts. My bad...

Anonymous said...

We do not need anymore families in The Bronx getting paid 25k or less. Why does The Bronx have to be the borough of impoverished folks? Why can't we have a chance to earn a decent income for a chance of upward mobility? Why should I be forced to sign up for Food Stamps, Section 8, Medicaid, and WIC just to make ends meet? Isn't it better for our economic output if I can make 50k a year? Consumers account for around 1/3 of GDP, thus it makes economic sense to create living wages! I will be more inclined to buy a television on Fordham if I had the income to do so and not worry about the rent come two months from now(heck even that vacation I've been wanting to take for 3 years!). At the end of the day why can't my politicians bring me 1/2 of the standard of living seen on the streets of Midtown Manhattan? Just food for thought.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what some people are thinking--its better to have no job and be on unemployment or welfare than to have a job that pays less than 25k? Does anyone ever also consider the fact that if you are either still in school or maybe do not have any education or skills that a job like the ones that would have been at the Armory could be a start? Have you seen the stats of how many Bronxities do not have a college education? These are the kind of jobs many of us did as we worked our way through school or our parents did while trying to give us a better life. when did that become unacceptable?

Anonymous said...

Finding a job in the BX is killing me. I'd work anywhere. Sincerely, Bx Joel

Guywithacause said...

Anonymous your entire logic and mentality is why you are struggling.

If you want a job that pays you more than $25,000, you should get the education/skills to provide you with the desired income. Why would you expect someone else, like a politician, to BRING YOU whatever income/standard of living you feel you deserve? You have to GO GET IT AND EARN IT. See the difference? You have lots of chances for upward mobility, but you have to work for it and do what is necessary and then you can have 10 times the income/standard of living of the average Manhattanite.

Secondly, the Bronx doesn't have to be the poorest borough, but elected officials have a vested interest in keeping you poor, ignorant, and bickering...it keeps them in power and allows them to plunder the borough unabashed, as Espada did for so many years.

The role of our elected officials is to cultivate and improve the borough by providing the opportunities and resources necessary for residents to educate themselves, live safely, and prosper. They should entice new businesses of all pay scales, maintain and encourage a strong local economy, and advocate on behalf of the community and its needs.

Our politicians do none of those things. Instead they have spent decades training the population to believe they are victims, everyone is racist and out to get them, it's not your fault and nothing you can do about it, and become dependent on government. The most recent example was the Armory fiasco headed by our borough president Ruben Diaz. And what was he feeding the Bronx residents as a sign of victory? "We rather not work." Right...everyone but him and his cohorts of course!

Anonymous said...

Future Politicial Obit: Here Lyeth Ruben "Armory-cito" Diaz, Jr., Former Bronx President and Kingsbridge Armory Job Killer

Javi said...

To Guywithacause:
First: Let me clarify, I am a 21 year old Skidmore College student. I am in school about to graduate with a B.A. in both Government and Sociology and currently applying to Law schools. I am not expecting a handout I am currently working to acquire the necessary skills and education to become successful on my own.
Second: I do not expect a politician to give me a handout, but like you mentioned the jobs of our politicians are to cultivate an environment and provide resources for growth. How can a person prosper with a job that pays on 25K? How we expect a person to live the American Dream, when the individual doesn't have an adequate savings account in case of an emergency. The American economy was once based on risk taking, entrepreneurship, and innovation, yet an income of 25K doesn't allow for that.
Third: Yes, they should stimulate the local economy, but when a neighborhood is black boxed in by banks where does the financing come from? The NYC government was going to be a financial backer on the Armory plan, I believe if you are using government money you should provide a living wage. Now if a private developed comes along and agrees to finance the building on his/her own the person should have the discretion of wages.
Fourth: I was one of the few who was able to get a great education in the Bronx, yet there are many others who don't get that opportunity. How can you say upward mobility is possible through education when education system, especially HS, is in shambles in the Bronx? Education financing is determined in large part by property taxes. An area with median income of 20K is not going to have the same financing as that of a neighborhood with a median income of 50K, thus creating a cycle of poverty. Upward mobility is available to all, but why do students in the Bronx have to start 5 steps behind those in other neighborhoods?
Fifth: I don't believe the world is out to get me or everyone is racist. I know in fact that is not the truth. Yet I do understand the system doesn't ease the burden on the poor, because hey that is what capitalism is about. Yes, I might be one of the few that have had an opportunity to progress, yet I can't say the same of all my friends, cousins, and neighbors. I understand the struggle.
Yes jobs are better than no jobs, but the retailers looking into the armory, mainly big box retailers, can afford to offer a living wage. How about we help create an environment that is conducive to the growth of the middle class in the Bronx. Offering people a living wage I believe is a start. With a name with a guywithacause I hope your cause is to bring equality to all.

Javi said...

**I was one the few who WERE...

Anonymous said...


Do you think that having a college degree automatically qualifies you for a $25k salary? Why?

People who strive for the American Dream have to work for it... hard. And its only after time do they get to build up to their version of the American Dream.

The problem is that too many people want immediate gratification and do not want to exert any effort to obtain it. They have this notion that the American Dream does not require "sweat equity" and in some cases, setbacks and suffering, in order to achieve it.

And using tax dollars should automatically dictate a living wage? Why should the small, medium, or Big Box business owner, who rents from a developer and receives none of the tax breaks the developer receives, be forced to pay its employees a living wage? The business owner is not part of the negotiations, yet you expect them to just accept a living wage mandate as the cost of doing business in the Bronx? Why do you expect the business owner to clean up the mess of politicians for the last 4 decades (may I add, the same ones you keep electing)? Why do you wish to saddle the business owner with financial burdens in the attempt to address the social ills that he/she did not create?

Once again, in the war between the rich and the poor,it is the middle and working classes that suffer the most casualties. You want to see the middle class grow, stop making this city so hostile to business.

By the way, the majority of the so-called "Mom & Pop" stores in the area don't even pay a minimum wage, they underreport on taxes, and do not contibute to payroll taxes (SS, Medicare, unemployment, etc). Jobs at the Armory would have been a step up. And jobs at the Armory would have also created at least a hundred salaried and living jobs anyway (managers, janitors, security, HVAC, etc.) The problem was too many people had ulterior motives, such as running for elected office, selling papers, keeping their local monopolies, or positioning themselves for high paying jobs in the union (Retail Workers), and they needed a soapbox to preach their BS from.

Anonymous said...

a million a year? o rilly? espada must be managing that too.