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gas grill illegal on raised back deck?
Home away from home
Home away from home


A neighbor who moved in over the winter was told by his landlord that the city inspected the premesis and said the gas grill on the 2nd floor deck was illegal and must be removed. Apparently a charcoal grill would be okay.

Anyone have some knowledge about this? In my experience the city safety inspectors are bumblers who can't agree what their own codes actually mean.

I do recall it's illegal to have a propane tank indoors, and many apartments have no outdoor path to the grill without passing through the house. But I don't think that's what this is based on.

Posted on: 2006/7/25 11:45
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Re: Condo Shopping Observations
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Home away from home


Quote:

JoyOfSound wrote:
i checked out gull's cove online and spoke with their realtor.

you can buy a condo at pre-construction for 10% (of $380k for a 1-bedroom; $38,000), and not pay any mortgage or taxes until the unit is occupiable, which would be fall of 2007.

for flipping purposes, it seems that by the fall of 2007, the same unit could be worth maybe 100k MORE than the original purchase price.

it seems like a good investment to just flip the property, but i've never done such a large investment (i live in a unit i bought 2 years ago in journal square).

anyone have any experience with flipping condos? i was really considering buying one at gull's cove.

also, the realtor said it's four blocks from grove street path, though the original post said it was too far from the PATH....


Well, if it sounds too good to be true....

Just have a plan B in case it's not worth more than you paid, and a plan C in case it's worth less. In Florida the prebuild condo market was resembling the tech stocks of the late 90's, there was even an exchange for flipping still prebuit, then it went fizz recently.

Posted on: 2006/7/13 17:57
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Re: Corzine and property tax reform
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Home away from home


Fair nuff Eddie. The details weren't well distributed. Shocking.

Part of the problem is that the term "property tax reform" begs the question, which is actually "county & municipal spending reform".

For all the bitching at Corzine there was no "plan B" that I heard, other than do nothing.

Posted on: 2006/7/13 11:28
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Re: Corzine and property tax reform
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Home away from home


I love him for taking on the same problems that Florio fell on his sword for, but I hate the regressive tax outcome of the opening battle of this war. Shifting the burden from property owners to all consumers isn't the way, taxing the poor is a cowards path.

Watch the machines chew him alive for threatening their patronage cash cows. I hear the "dump Corzine" stuff already.

Posted on: 2006/7/12 19:06
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Re: Condo Shopping Observations
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Quote:

NickL wrote:
This is not the time to buy. At todays prices, you need to make in the low six figures to be able to afford to buy anything in any part of Jersey City at todays prices.


You're STILL in Queens right? Dude, get on your meds, your perception of our reality is pretty wild. Craigslist isn't all there is to JC realty. whatever you're looking at is a small segment of the overall market.

I'm not disagreeing about the timing of the market, just your claims about sales and rentals.

Posted on: 2006/7/9 0:55
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Re: Condo Shopping Observations
Home away from home
Home away from home


Quote:

badgirl wrote:
My observations: there is a concerted effort on the part of some brokers to maintain a certain (extremely high)level of prices. These are the properties that languish...listed for a long time, and draw the most complaints and criticism...

Other brokers smartly price to attract a sale.

(as a seller, I've learned) if you are a buyer, place a bid. WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO LOSE...???

If you're a seller, think of your equity.

unuf said...R/E is getting tedious... can't wait til it drops off the radar screen...


Actually, it's unlikely its the brokers rather than reality impaired sellers holding the price high. As described in Freakonomics, a broker has a huge incentive to make a deal fast for a lower price rather than show a property a zillion times. Their time is money. A 5% difference on a $500K place will only change their take by $750, assuming they're splitting it with a buyers broker. If they have to show it many more times to get that extra 5%, they're losing other sales.

Basically, brokers will always underprice if they can, to get a quick buck.

Posted on: 2006/7/8 22:14
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Re: Newport Mall renovations
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Home away from home


Quote:

Ross_Ewage wrote:
lipstick on a pig


Yup.

I go there only under desperation for something, usually at Sears tools or Radio Shack (before they got rid of their parts section), and then only if I can get it back by bike rather than paying those a**holes for parking. When I gave him my ritual parking complaint (which I distribute to every vendor), the doc at Sears Optical says the parking isn't run by Simon, I find this difficult to believe.

When Home Depot opens, I'll probably see the inside of that mall once a year if that.

Posted on: 2006/7/8 12:18
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Re: Optometrist on Central Avenue sucks- any good JC opto recs?
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Home away from home


Had a pretty good experience recently with the one at Sears. Nice guy, reasonable price for exam and low waiting.

I've been getting my specs made at BJ's for years now, real cheap. Best thing is they can order new lenses and just swap them out when they come in. Maybe lots of places do that, but not in my experience.

Posted on: 2006/7/6 16:00
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Re: Assault/wilding incident on 9th and Erie
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Home away from home


I'd like to bring up again the fact that during the summer, the highest street crime period, 20% of the JCPD is on vacation at any one time. That's like giving the snowplowers the winter off. What a sweet contract.

Posted on: 2006/6/30 16:33
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Re: JERSEY CITY POLICE CHIEF TROY CALLING IT QUITS
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Home away from home


Quote:

scooter wrote:
yeah, let's start a movement!


credit where credit's due... thanks, brewster


I suspect it would take a team of forensic accountants and some hundreds of thousands of dollars to unravel the web that is JC finances. Just the try to parse the complexity of the equation that city gets paid a chunk upfront and nets more via PILOTS versus being paid less by standard taxes but the schools get more and the properties can be reassessed. The former seems to benefit the current administration to the detriment of future budgets. But no one has proven it that I've heard.

Compared to that, dissecting a parking authority that can't generate enough revenue to cover it's salaries should be a slam dunk. My guess is no-show jobs and padded overtime.

Someone recently told me the Journal is republican owned. Why aren't they all over this stuff like flies on sh*t? Are they afraid of the HCDO telling people to boycott them? The thread about plant theft had a reporter from the Star Ledger inquiring there. For heaven's sake a Pulitzer lurks in this story!! Hello......?

Posted on: 2006/6/28 17:29
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Re: JERSEY CITY POLICE CHIEF TROY CALLING IT QUITS
Home away from home
Home away from home


Quote:

scooter wrote:
I got here after the election - stil trying to figure out how this guy got elected.


It's even worse, the timing of this administration, that it's coincided with all the developers coming to the city to make deals. The 20-30 year PILOT giveaways they've been handing out will be hurting Jerseey City long after Mayor McTipsy's gone.


I might as well make this my signature:

"Someday a book will be written on how this city can be broke in the midst of all this development."


He got elected because lots of us saw him as the least of the evils running. The quality of political candidates in JC is abysmal. Every time I've heard a councilmember or council candidate speak I've been appalled, with the exception of Fulop and possibly Vega. I'm not talking about their positions, just their lack of coherence.

BTW, that me you're quoting. Maybe we should do bumper stickers and sell them at the farmers markets!

Posted on: 2006/6/28 13:29
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Re: New Bills increase the Real Estate Transfer Fee, the Hotel Tax and Payroll Tax.
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Home away from home


Seems to me that anyone who has opposed the tax abatements for waterfront construction should support the hotel & large employer payroll tax bills as alternative ways to tax businesses that didn't need a break to begin with. Both taxes are still a fraction of NYC's versions. Alternatively you must consistently believe that businesses still need to be lured here by tax breaks.

This city needs to find ways to tap it's new prosperity since the abatements have forestalled market rate real estate taxes for decades. That is, other than on the backs of homeowners like the proposed transfer tax and rising RE taxes.

Steve Fulop: I don't believe your constituents would be against payroll tax on employers of more than 100. I would guess that few of them are employees or owners of such. These businesses need to pull their weight in JC.

Posted on: 2006/6/15 12:29
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Re: FBI: Violent crime up in majority of NJ's biggest cities
Home away from home
Home away from home


I'd like to know how the Journal figures JC has the most violent crime when Newark, with a very slightly larger population had nearly 3 times the murders? How'd they get a job writing when they can't read? From what I read in the AP piece, JC had a larger "increase" in the crime rate than Newark.

If Newark was the size of NYC, they would have had over 3000 murders. Think about that before investing in Newark real estate.

Posted on: 2006/6/13 11:01
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Re: solutions to basement flooding
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Home away from home


Quote:

Jimmoe wrote:
Hey folks,

A word of caution before you install that French drain in your basement:

We also have water seeping into our basement during heavy rains -- and we live on top of the hill in the island section -- so our contractor suggested a French drain and sump pump set up.

Big mistake. During the first deluge after the installation, it sounded like a fire hose was open in our basement. Water was gushing into the drain faster than the pump could dispel it. The contractor was back that day cementing in the drain.

Think twice before you head down that road.


That's exactly what I predicted for my place in my earlier post. You don't have a suburban type "groundwater" problem, you've got an incontinent sewer problem. Did you get your money back? No offense to Johnnytit, but my experience with "waterproofers" is they got a hammer and every kind of flooding except check valve problems looks like a nail, regardless of factors.

Posted on: 2006/6/12 22:08
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Re: solutions to basement flooding
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Home away from home


Quote:

mitts wrote:
According to the JCMUA's Beckmeyer, JC only collects $1700 per unit, in spite of the big dollars the developers will make and the load they place on our antiquated system. AND there are no other requirements made.


The developers argue that since the system floods only due to rain, their added domestic load is insignificant. The developer of the 9th & Brunswick project claimed they would build a holding tank to contain the runoff from the roof.

In the in the political ecosystem here, developers are the apex predators. We're still giving tax abatements for building downtown. Next to that, undercharging for utilities hookup is minor. Changing it would be a start, but won't come up with the billions to modernize the sewers. The only way to do that is to clean up the finances of the city to the point where a bond issue for the task is possible. In a city where the people giving the parking tickets lose money at it, I'm not holding my breath.

Posted on: 2006/6/10 16:23
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Re: solutions to basement flooding
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Home away from home


Fasteddie, The fact that it is a huge incredibly expensive undertaking doesn't mean it should be pushed under the rug forever. That's called denial. Beckmeyer won't even admit there's a problem. To my face he called flooding an "act of God".

As for workers, I call em like I see em personally. Recently walking past the PSE&G work on Grove I saw more standees than workees. Maybe I just don't understand construction work.



Johnnytit, did you read my earlier post? you need to add a third type of flooding to your list. My check valve works fine, but sewer water comes through the foundation wall from the street fill flooded by the overcharged sewer. The other day I was in the basement and before my pump kicked on I knew it was flooding by my nose. There's a cute delay from when the sewer floods, which I've monitored through my high cleanout, to when it starts to seep in. that's the time to flood the fill. I prefer heavy rains that start light so it clears the shit out of the sewer before flooding my basement, then it doesn't smell much.

Cutting french drains around my slab would simply be like ripping a board out of a rowboat's hull. Before I cemented up a 2x2 open sump, I figured I took on over 5,000 gallons an hour.

What else you got? I'm not a pro like you, but I have yet to meet anyone in JC with genuine groundwater problems, rather than sewer or runoff problems.

Posted on: 2006/6/9 0:16
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Re: solutions to basement flooding
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Home away from home


Quote:

Ben wrote:

The average salary here is between $150 and $500 a month.


Ben, your answer is right there. The overwelming cost of this kind of work isn't the cement sewer lines, it's labor. We would pay north of $70 per hr including all benefits, and then have 6 guys standing around watching one guy dig. And that's not even counting the no-shows, the padded out beaurocracy, the no bid sweetheart deals. Now I'm sure Brazil is a world class contender in the corruption game too, but when you start with paying a worker for month less we pay for a day......... you get the idea.

Village: you're repeating the excuses of MUA engineer Beckmeyer. Don't believe it. most flooding here is due to a completely antiquated system that they don't even have a PLAN to upgrade, even if they did have the money.

I know New Orleans isn't the best civil engineering model at the moment, but before the levees broke, the city below sea level had a system that could pump out hurricane strength rain as fast as it could fall. We're not below sea level, just without leadership or money.

Posted on: 2006/6/8 21:28

Edited by brewster on 2006/6/8 21:52:45
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Re: solutions to basement flooding
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Home away from home


More that's been said before: in my neighborhood the flooding is due to the sewers overcharging nearly to street level and leaking into the street fill and then under our foundations.

My check valve works perfectly but in a really heavy rain the entire basement slab will be so pressurized every crack is squirting like a fountain.

The city has videoed the sewer, seen that is has all sorts of cracks, and walked away. The don't do anything until it actually collapses.

Posted on: 2006/6/8 10:34
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Re: Residential Zoning - can I have a home office?
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Home away from home


Quote:

Butchcjg wrote:
(and, I didnt know Earned Income Tax Credits get audited a lot. that sorta doesn't make much sense. why pick on the poor folks?)


That's easy, because they can't fight back. You, the IRS warrior, can rack up great victory numbers, even though the money is minor compared to big shot who owes millions but lawyers up and makes you work.

Only in America do we solve revenue problems by cutting the budget of the tax collectors. That's almost as good as the JC parking authority raising revenue by selling it's parking lots!

Posted on: 2006/6/2 21:09
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Re: Residential Zoning - can I have a home office?
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Home away from home


Quote:

EAS wrote:
I read an article in the NY times about how it's not always a good idea to take a home office deduction. If your house has gone up alot in value and you sell it, you have to pay business taxes on a portion of the profit, because as you've previously declared, a portion of your house is a business.

If this scenario applies, you may want to investigate.


I think what you mean is that you would have to pay capital gains on the portion that is not owner occupied residential. This is the same as owning a multifamily house, which the OP does.

Posted on: 2006/6/2 15:16
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Re: Residential Zoning - can I have a home office?
Home away from home
Home away from home


Butch, any tax website or book will tell you that the only single thing more likely to get you an audit than a home office deduction is taking the Earned Income Tax Credit.

For non industrial, non retail use, I don't think zoning is an issue. There's lots of doctors and therapists offices in residential apartments and houses.

I've been in tax hell, be afraid, be very afraid.

Posted on: 2006/6/2 13:16
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Re: Residential Zoning - can I have a home office?
Home away from home
Home away from home


Given that you have a separate space and nothing brings down an audit like a large home office deduction, perhaps the best thing is to "rent" it to yourself, and deduct the rent from your form C. You'll also file a form E to show the rental income, and so you can deduct a percentage of the mortgage, utilities, depreciation and maintainance. Maybe RE taxes too, I forget.

Posted on: 2006/6/2 11:04
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Re: The New York Times: LeFraks Envision Even Bigger Skyline Across Hudson
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Home away from home


Quote:

Jeebus wrote:
I don't see what's so laughable about this. On aesthetic grounds I don't like Newport at all but downtown JC beats the outer boroughs. No 4% NYC income tax, slightly less intrusive government, lower costs all around, easier commuting in most cases, and generally easier access to getting out of town. In terms of what you get for your rent/mortgage; downtown JC is much better.


That 4% can easily be eaten by the difference in residential real estate taxes. A single family townhouse in Brooklyn often has taxes under $2K.

It's the getting out of town that made us look here to begin with instead of Brooklyn. Getting out of Park Slope can be brutal. The Gowanus? just shoot me now.

One of the main differences is most of our developers are carpetbaggers who have no love of JC and could care less what it's future will look like, and that includes the Lefraks. The guy who developed Dumbo may have been hard on the artists but at least he "got it" about what makes people love a neighborhood and city.

Posted on: 2006/6/1 22:11
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Re: The New York Times: LeFraks Envision Even Bigger Skyline Across Hudson
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Quote:

Butchcjg wrote:
(My favorite quote though was how they had to build everything with cash, b/c they couldn't afford loans. Oh, such poverty!)


Not even true. JC loaned them hundreds of millions of dollars that Schundler let them repay for pennies on the dollar because it let him plug his budget hole. JC politicians are forever screwing the future over for the political now, which is why the city is poorly planned and perennially broke.

According to Janice M., Newport exceeded their enviromental impact statement many years ago but still gets their projects approved. There is simply no feedback loop here to check compliance with the terms of PILOTS or any other agreements.

Posted on: 2006/6/1 19:05
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Re: The New York Times: LeFraks Envision Even Bigger Skyline Across Hudson
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Home away from home


I nearly sprayed my coffee when I read of his vision of Newport as the "experimental prototype city of tomorrow." Lord help us. I guess in his city of tomorrow people don't need parks, they just report their poorly built apartments to contemplate a view of Manhattan and wonder how they can afford to move there.

It was quite a love letter, but suprising in that it was in the Metro rather than Real Estate or NJ sections as most of the recent coverage of JC has been.

Posted on: 2006/6/1 14:33
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Re: 30% rent increase
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Quote:

TheVillage wrote:
as far as I know if a landlord wants to hike up rents beyong the CPI index (4%) they have to prove that they made improvements such as new floors, windows, kitchen etc in order to demand more rent.

750 seems low for Jersey City, other people I know in simular situations ride it out. If I were you pay the same rent. Let him take you to court. You case should be good enough to drag it out for 18 months if you want. The only draw back from this is that it may be tricky if you need him/her as a reference. I am sure it is harder for him legally to push you out that you think.

Again all this depents on the building, owners situation, if it's a family dwelling, estate etc.


Raises according to CPI only apply to rent control. The state anti-eviction statute applies to 4 units and above. (we found this out when we were told if we bought a 4 family we could not evict a tenant to have an apartment for ourselves). 3 units or less I think you're on your own.

What you suggest above is a NYC attitude about screwing the landlord and dragging it out. I've heard that don't fly so well here, the courts'll toss you out quick if the landlord is within his rights. And as a landlord, credit checks cost $10. If you did that to me I'd put a lien on you. But then I've never had the nerve to raise a tenant 30%!

Posted on: 2006/5/24 17:00
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Re: Earl Morgan on Steven Fulop in today's Jersey Journal
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Quote:

AlanSommerman wrote:
I'm glad that Steve keeps fighting for us.....

Fighting doesn't mean crap, winning does. The streets are still filthy, crime continues to increase, taxes went up, developers continue to get abatements and the fate of the embankment remains in limbo.

When you run for office you tell people what you are going to do, when you are in office you show people what you've done.


I'm sorry, but I don't get your point. It seems to me the only alternative to failing against overwelming odds with his initiatives is join the machine and play the time honored, pork barrel, budget busting game of "approve my proposal and I'll approve yours". Loyal opposition is a tough role, and too many politicians roll over and play the game to get their piece of the pie to take home and impress the people who say what you did about "what have you actually done?" If my representative does nothing but vote no for things that pass anyway, but I agree with him, he's done his job.

Posted on: 2006/5/23 19:14
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Re: Wireless Internet - Steven Fulop
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Home away from home


Quote:

GeorgeWBush wrote:
2 questions:

First, why do the "disadvantaged" need broadband? What can they do with broadband that they cannot do with dialup?


Because dialup sucks so badly with all the poorly designed bandwidth hog websites out there it makes using the net torture. If we want to help the poor & ignorant become less so, internet access is the 21st century equivalent of the public library, town square and the newpaper rolled into one. But then,helping the poor & ignorant become less so is not such a clear goal in some circles.
Quote:

And why? Because populist politicians are always looking for something else to "give" away.....from someone else's pocket.
GWB


While I'm sympathetic to your libertarian argument, it would hold more water if Verizon & Comcast actually competed against each other in the marketplace rather than in the bidding war for politicians who will grant them secure monopolies. Both of them have nothing but contempt for their customers, and deserve the same from us. Probably the only reason the government needs to be involved in the wireless venture is to protect it from those anticompetitive monsters who are like black walnut trees that poison anything that tries to grow near them.

These are the guys who are currently whining to Congress that being paid by their customers for broadband isn't enough, they need to get paid for bandwidth by websites that are already paying for their own broadband bandwidth!

Posted on: 2006/5/22 21:55
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Re: Ledger article about building boom downtown
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Quote:

GrovePath wrote:
Give me the crowds -- you can always put up another baby swing"


No, in the broader sense, you can't. Once wall to wall development has taken place with no creation of greenspace other than tiny patches like they have in Newport, you can't go in and build a decent park.

I'm an ex-manhattanite who also applauds the positives of our continuing gentrification, but one of the places I lived was Morningside Heights, with Morningside Park, Riverside Park and Central Park all within an easy walk. A great city is more than just coffee bars and sushi.

What's going on here is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and JC is blowing it by it's doing business as usual, without any overall vision. You should see the plans Lefrak has for 10th st. They want significant increases in density and height for 3 buildings by giving tiny "parks" on each property. The real joke is that they will be out of sight on top the embankment!

Posted on: 2006/5/21 15:58
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Re: Ledger article about building boom downtown
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Home away from home


Yeah, all those people staying here with their kids, except that if they live in a abated property they pay no school taxes.

What also amazes me is that while proximity to parks is a staple of the realty ads, not one of the local developers is actually willing to build a real one. The city is too broke and inept to even maintain what it has, so we get 15k new apartments and no new parkspace for them.

For example, Hamilton Park will be the local park all the new development on 10th, Brunswick, and up Jersey and Coles to the Hoboken line, and split the Grove Pointe-Marin traffic with VVP. The wait for a kiddie swing will seem like Disneyworld.

How this city can be broke in the midst of a historic RE boom is going to be a great book someday. It's too bad we don't have a local newspaper. (sarcasm)

Posted on: 2006/5/21 14:21
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