What's wrong with New York? Easy. We don't do anything anymore. We don't makes things. We're non-productive. No industry. Our activity is all make-work and busy-work. We open restaurant after restaurant, bar after bar. We market and advertise things, but don't create them. We put on plays and make television shows. We open hot clubs and neo-speakeasies. We're like Rome in its final days. Eating and entertainment. Eating and entertainment. Nothing solid. Nothing you can lay your hand to and say, "This makes life work." Just distractions. Enhancements. Everything transitory and ephemeral.
We rely on a few specious "industries" to keep the City's engine going. There's financial services, in which people make money shuffling other people's money around. Then there's real estate, in which people either many money feeding the same living spaces through the system again and again, or tear down existing building so they can build news one, creating temporary construction jobs and upping the ante on living costs each time. This process is repeated when necessary. There's tourism, when folks from other countries come and gawk at what appears to be a working City, and spend lots of money at the restaurants and bars and clubs and arts attractions that we keep opening for them.
In recent months, the Recession halted the decade-long development boom. Poof! There's goes one source of income. Then the financial crisis on Wall Street threw financial services against a brick wall. Poof! Did it surprise anyone that, with two of the aces in City Hall's economic house of cards withdrawn, the City suddenly went from Boom Town to Bust?
Now, tell me again that Bloomberg is a great business manager. His company, called New York City, is going down the drain. He gave the building industry full reign, with little oversight, until it became so corrupt it collapsed under its own greed. He has no official say over what goes down at the Stock Exchange, but he's an old Wall Street hand and a supposedly smart moneyman, and it is his City. Certainly he knew what sort of shenanigans were happening in lower Manhattan. And I'm sure he has personal relationships with many of the key players in this mess. Yet he never issued warnings or did anything to slow that train wreck. He played it for all it was worth, collecting the money for Gotham's coffers, until the crash. And this is the man we're supposed to elect for four more years to fix things.
But does anyone learn? The single block of Union Street, from Hicks to just past Columbia in Brooklyn, already had three real estate brokerages: the oldtimer Frank Manzione at the corner of Union and Columbia, Frank Galligano kittycorner from Manzione, and another office that opened in the old Lattacini-Barese Salumeria space in 2003. Now, next to the former Schnack, a sign indicates that we can welcome a fourth broker: Cozy Quarters Real Estate. God forbid there should be a shoe repair shop, or hardware store, or fish monger or anything other than a restaurant, bar and real estate brokerage.