04 September 2009

MTA Plans to Kill More Half-Century-Old Businesses

Just when old New York businesses thought they had enough wolves at the door trying to stop them dead, from rising rents to rampant overdevelopment to the continuing recession, another threat to their livelihood arises: the MTA's expansion plans.

Lost City reported earlier this week that the half-century old Italian restaurant Giambelli, on E. 50th Street, has shuttered, the victim of an eminent domain land grab by the MTA. A story in today's AMNY fills in some of the back story. Several Manhattan businesses, including Giambelli, are being displaced in order to make way for the new Long Island Rail Road connection to Grand Central Terminal. A ventilation plant will rise where Giambelli was. A similar fate awaits 47 residential tenants uptown, where the Second Avenue Subway is sending 47 residential tenants packing.

Giambelli’s neighbor, The Mid-Town Wine & Liquor Shop, AMNY reports, is preparing to close in a few months, after a 54-year run.

For the LIRR connection, the MTA will knock down five properties on East 49th and 50th streets, including two dating to 1910.


Margaret's dad said...

Seriously, Brooks, "eminent domain land grab"? The MTA is taking a few selected properties to construct the LIRR connection to Grand Central--one of the most important infrastructure projects happening right now. There's good eminent domain (in which private property is taken for a project that provides a genuine public benefit) and bad eminent domain (in which private property is taken under the guise of providing a public benefit, but generally ends up just enriching some developer). This is an example of the former. What do you have against improving mass transit?

You mention that two buildings constructed before 1910 are going to be torn down for this project. What's your point? The city is full of buildings constructed before 1910. Are these historically or architecturally significant buildings, or not? If not, why should we worry about losing two of the 100,000 or so pre-1910 buildings that are standing all over this town?

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Sorry to be blunt, MD, but you really are a willful ignoramus. We lose two buildings built before 1910. "What's your point?" is your (I take it, serious) question? Jesus. I don't know, man. What's the point of keeping anything old? Throw it on the trash heap, I say! Because every new project is inherently better than anything old, right? Old equals useless, obsolete, worthless. New equals exciting, progressive, energizing. Hoo boy, I'm gonna just love that ventilation plant! It's gonna be so much better than the crap the craftsmen used to cobble together a century ago. Man, they were so stupid, they actually built things that were meant to last, not fall down in 30 years.

New bulletin to MD: Eminent Domain has been flagrantly abused every since Bloomberg took office. Any use of it these days must be eyed with suspicion. I suppose you still think Atlantic Yards was a genius idea, and the City's plan for Willet's Point the way to go.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Margaret's Dad in 1963: "You mention that Pennsylvania Station was constructed in 1910 and is going to be torn down. What's your point? The city is full of buildings constructed before 1910."

Anonymous said...

Perhaps "Margaret's Dad" is in the building business and will benefit
from all of Bloomberg's demolition?
At the rate Bloomberg is destroying neighborhoods we will not have the
supposed 100.000.00 pre 1910 buildings around much longer say
like on 6th avenue from 23rd street
to 32nd street,What city are we looking at here,Atlanta, Dallas?
F*kin ugly and generic.

Ed said...

The 2nd Avenue subway is absolutely necessary. Remember, the original project was supposed to be the replacement for the 2nd and 3rd Avenue Els, when they were torn down during one of the first gentrification projects. Since this didn't happen, the remaining train line on the East Side, the Lexington Avenue line, is getting dangerously overcrowded. Something shuts down that line and I think these businesses will close anyway, along with many others, due to the difficulty of getting to the East Side at all.

Now there is a good chance that the 2nd Avenue subway will just never be built, along with all the other projects,but if that happens we are pretty much just screwed.

However, I've never understood the rationale besides the East Side Connector. Remember, the Lexington Avenue subway line is overcrowded. So apparently the idea is to build a really expensive tunnel, using money that could have been spent on the 2nd Avenue subway, to funnel Long Island commuters to Grand Central instead of Penn Station, where their next connection is -the Lexington Avenue line! Ultimately, I think local government in this country has really become just a means of awarding contracts to politically connected groups.