Cities are only for rich people, Part 17

This not only makes me sad, it scares me. Unless I can somehow manage to make a lot more money, I’m sure I’ll be in a similar situation. Rents are skyrocketing in my part of the city:

This breakneck transformation has prompted some soul-searching over how to define the wealth of the city: by the rents it commands or the diversity of its people and places?

“New Yorkers have come to expect this kind of thing. We know that change is always around the corner, right?” said Plimpton, as her matzo ball soup cooled. “Nothing lasts forever. We know this here very well. The thing is there are things about our city that give it character that regular working people use that are disappearing that we need.”

The skyrocketing rents aren’t just squashing local establishments; they’re pricing out whole populations. An analysis by the real estate information firm RealtyTrac found that Brooklyn is now the least affordable housing market in the country, which has hit some of the city’s most fragile residents hard.

Annemarie Mogil loves the view from her bedroom window. The 92-year-old has taken dozens of photographs of it in the year that she’s lived here, which she keeps in a tidy shoebox. At a prime corner in Brooklyn, Prospect Park Residence has been a home for seniors since 1962 and an assisted living facility for the last decade.

But two months after Mogil moved in, the owner sold the building to a developer of luxury condos for $76.5 million, nearly double its sale price in 2006. More than 120 residents, including some Holocaust survivors, were told to find another place to live. Mogil is one of only eight residents who refused to leave.

“I’m not ready to go,” she said. “This was really advertised from the beginning as a place where you come to age in place. And aging in place means this is your final residence.”

According to their families, many of the residents who left have seen sharp declines in their health. Some have died since the residence announced it would be closing.

“It’s a devastating feeling,” said Mogil about the prospect of being forced out of her home. “And I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”

4 thoughts on “Cities are only for rich people, Part 17

  1. Sooner then later all of the prime real estate in every major American city will be “gentrified.” The people living in those areas who are unable to afford the purchase price of an apartment or the rent in one, will be forced to move to less suitable housing. That’s known as “ghettoization.” It takes place in every advanced capitalist economy.
    Take a look at any urban area and you’ll notice that the real estate on the west side of town is always more pricy then land on the east side of town. The only exception is land directly abutting the Atlantic Ocean.
    We, the 99%, could change all of this if we wanted to.

  2. Yeah, the east side / west side thing is generally true. I wonder why that is?
    Similarly, but not as dramatically, the north side of town tends to be fancier than the south side. Again, why?
    BTW, Philly seems to run counter to both trends — north Philly and west Philly are generally considered undesirable, at least within the city limits.

  3. The west/east thing has to do with unreliable transportation and where people arrived first in the olden days. Get off the boat and go west young man, literally. If you made your fortune you’d move west to an unspoiled spot away from the crowds. If you went bust you’d move even further west to try again.
    People arrived in north Philly first when migrating south and set up shop. Once they had a few bucks they moved east to the river to join the rest of the gentry or south to the open spaces.
    Maybe Susie has some insight about west Philly. There are a ton of colleges and universities out that way.

  4. Some parts of North Philly are still bad, but even North Philly is gentrifying. (Temple University) West Philly (the part where students and academics live) is mostly okay, but some parts are still dangerous. The most dangerous part of the city is Southwest Philly.

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