The NY Times tackles real estate and class in two articles that span two boroughs. First, architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff gives his thoughts on the Brooklyn waterfront plan, saying the park will be a "major civic asset" but a proposed hotel-residential complex have the potential to devour parkland and glorious views: "We live in an age, sadly, when little public benefit arises before a developer takes a cut." It does seem like the future of many civic projects requires a developer to take the risk, and therefore demand land for non-civic uses, at first; would a city planning visionary like Robert Moses be able to exist today? Probably not, especially since no one would let one government official wield that much power. [More about Brooklyn Bridge Park's development here.]
The second article is about longtime residents of 315 Riverside Drive, people who bought in when the building went co-op in the 1980s when the area (around 92nd Street) was dangerous but are now sitting on apartments worth three to twenty-two times what they paid for them, creating a disjointed world where they are asset-rich but not as cash-rich as, say, the TV producer who plunked down $2 million for an apartment in the building. Choice quote from Elizabeth Rudey, who says, "It's a jackpot if you're going to move to Iowa. I can't go to any fancy restaurants because I own a $1 million apartment. It doesn't change anything." This seems to be the case in many gentrified neighborhoods: The people who bought into Park Slope in the 1970s are sitting on multimillion dollar townhouses, but there's no way they'd be able to buy anything similar for that money.