Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The outer boroughs are NYC's future

From Newsweek:

New Yorkers have long had an outsize view of their city; historically, its mayors have touted mottos that encouraged that view, from Rudy Giuliani's "capital of the world" to Mike Bloomberg's "luxury city." But as Bloomberg begins his new term, New York needs to reexamine its core economic strategy.

The city cannot simply rely on inertia and the disbursements of Wall Street megabonuses to save its economy. Instead, it needs to rebuild its middle-class neighborhoods and diversify toward a wide range of industries that can capitalize on the city's unique advantages—including its appeal to immigrants; the port; and its leadership in design, culture, and high-end professional services.

It's also time to get rid of the Sex and the City image and start making New York a city where people can have both sex and children. This will become more important as the millennial generation enters its late 20s and early 30s later this decade. This is when many young migrants to the city, including upwardly mobile immigrants, typically become ex–New Yorkers.

Despite all the "back to the city" hype, New York over the past decade suffered one of the highest rates of out-migration of any region in the country. Young singles may come to New York, but many leave as they get older and have families. An analysis by the city controller's office in 2005 found that people leaving the city were three times more likely to have children than those arriving.

If New York is to thrive, it will need to keep more of these largely middle-class families. To do that, it needs to diversify its economy beyond Wall Street, which in 2007 provided roughly 35 percent of all income earned in the city. Since the recession, the city has lost 40,000 financial-service jobs, but the industry has been quietly downsizing for years: over the past two decades, more than 100,000 financial-services jobs have disappeared from New York. In good years, financial services provided an enormous cash engine, but it can no longer provide enough jobs. According to an analysis by the Praxis Strategy Group, finance now accounts for barely one in eight jobs in New York City. Most job growth has come instead in lower-paying professions like health care and tourism.

To become economically sustainable, New York needs to create policies that help encourage development in areas where its less wealthy citizens live. Most outsiders identify New York almost exclusively with Manhattan, yet roughly three out of four New Yorkers actually live in the outer boroughs: Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Bronx. Neighborhoods like Bay Ridge, Whitestone, Flatbush, Howard Beach, and Middle Village are really New York's middle-class bastions.

Over the past decade, these communities have provided a critical middle ground between the bifurcated Bloombergian "luxury city" with its high-end enclaves and the many distressed neighborhoods throughout the city. Although the mayor, some urbanists, and many developers would like to make these middle-class enclaves ever denser, their very appeal often lies in their moderate scale, proximity to work areas, decent schools, and parks. Those attributes hold sway, even in a recession. "Brand- new and expensive places have not held up as well as the established family neighborhoods," says Jonathan Bowles, director of the New York–based Center for an Urban Future.

Nurturing these neighborhoods will require a distinct shift in public policy. During the Bloomberg years the big subsidies have gone to luxury condo megadevelopments, sports stadiums, or huge office complexes.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lets start with extending subway lines to provide faster mass transit to areas of the city with only slow bus service. Then fire almost everyone at city planning and get a commissioner in there with vision and backbone like a 'Robert Moses' type.
Then look to an areas of the city alive and growing. For example Flushing and the Asian community are thriving during this recession and are providing the methods for sustaining a middle class in Queens.

Lino said...

Generally agree w/the article but have a few observations.

"It's also time to get rid of the Sex and the City image and start making New York a city where people can have both sex and children."

I see more children now than in any period since I was a child in the mid-sixties -late baby boom.

The schools here in Manhattan are bursting with kids most of them either white or Asian. In daytime you have to step out of the way to avoid all the carriages and strollers.

"This will become more important as the millennial generation enters its late 20s and early 30s later this decade. This is when many young migrants to the city..."

This has -always- been the case however, the suburbs have much less appeal now than when crime was rampant..in fact its the 'burbs that are having the rise in crime now (burglaries-car theft-home invasion). Also the young parents of today have a greater appreciation of the cultural afforded by the city as opposed to the deadness of suburban living.

"New York over the past decade suffered one of the highest rates of out-migration of any region in the country"

Is it simple coincidence that this has occurred over the period since vacancy decontrol courtesy Potaki/Bruno took affect.

You can't have it both ways, either you pander to the landlord-r.e.industry or you curb their greed for the greater good of the public.

Regulated rents give you neighborhoods and families.."free market" gets you barracks and frat houses.

"To become economically sustainable, New York needs to create policies that help encourage development in areas where its less wealthy citizens live"

THAT will go over like a lead balloon around here.

"Although the mayor, some urbanists, and many developers would like to make these middle-class enclaves ever denser, their very appeal often lies in their moderate scale, proximity to work areas, decent schools, and parks"

Next month I will have been going to Queens on a weekly basis for twenty years. Over that time the areas typified by single and multifamily houses are the areas that have seen the greatest racial/ethnic change. Areas such as Astoria have changed almost beyond recognition. Where there were mostly whites of Greek-Italian-Irish extraction there are now arabs Latinos etc. Those people have bought the houses there..the young whites I see mostly live in the newer apt houses near the subway.

"Brand- new and expensive places have not held up as well as the established family neighborhoods,"

They overlook an important reason for this; new nabes attract younger workers who are more likely to have be the first to be laid off, have little savings and generally lower income.

"Nurturing these neighborhoods will require a distinct shift in public policy."

Agree, but you have to start with policies that curb greed in the housing industry. fail that and the revolving door will continue.

Anonymous said...

get rid of all these hipsters and yuppies and bring back the New Yorkers - New York is losing its Character.

primadonna said...

Whatever the city's future may be, the city as far as I can tell, is becoming a very transient place. Neighorhoods that were seen as great places to raise kids, are dwindling. Even here in Northeast Queens, people are leaving usually for Long Island. Most of our friends and coworkers live there. The schools which supposedly are so wonderful here are crap compared to Long Island. The downhill spiral has been a couple of decades in the making but we have a midget mayor to thank for speeding up the process.

Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as middle class anymore. It is almost extinct in this city.

Take a walk down any commercial strip in queens. Fresh Pond Road, Metropolitan Ave, Myrtle Ave, College Point Blvd.

99cent stores, Taco stands, korean nail salons, psychic readers, and liquor stores.

Those 5 store types make up about 80% of just about any commercial block, and none of them say "middle class" to me, but all are in what was one thriving middle class neighborhoods.

Anonymous said...

I agree with LINO (liberal in name only?) except add that Zero Population Growth needs to be dragged back into the spotlight and we need to open up Manhattan to people of all backgrounds, not just the rich.

Queens Crapper said...

Lino, I think the "outgoing" w/children are the ones in the outer boroughs who can't afford to send their kids to private schools and are not zoned for the "good" schools in Manhattan. In Queens, the schools are bursting at the seams because of immigrants, not because people are moving back here from LI.

georgetheatheist said...

#1. "A nation's productive - and moral, and intellectual - top is the middle class. It is a broad reservoir of energy, it is a country's motor and lifeblood, which feeds the rest. The common denominator of its members, on their various levels of ability, is: independence. The upper classes are merely a nation's past; the middle class is its future." - Ayn Rand, "The Dead End", The Ayn Rand Letter, I,20,3

#2. I didn't know there was an airport in Bayonne.

#3. Isn't the Tribune creating jobs with their classifieds?

Babs said...

Crappy said: "Lino, I think the "outgoing" w/children are the ones in the outer boroughs who can't afford to send their kids to private schools and are not zoned for the "good" schools in Manhattan. In Queens, the schools are bursting at the seams because of immigrants, not because people are moving back here from LI."

Absolutely - AND the middle class is moving to the SOUTH. Teachers, cops and fireman - you get more bang for your buck first of all.

Retirees are flocking down South - the difference is now that their children/grandchildren are moving with them.

Babs said...

George - you're making Rand appear here to be a "visionary" - she was an industrialist groupie.

You would've had to have been blind in that era NOT to be aware of the growing middle class.

georgetheatheist said...

Rand's words speak for themselves.

Think about it. Michael Bloomberg arose from the middle class. He parked cars while attending college to pay off his student loan. Horatio Alger?

Now his daughters are the beneficiaries of his vast wealth. Daughter Georgina comes to mind after reading yesterday's news about Melissa King, the administrator of the sandhog's union embezzling 42 million bucks from the members' benefit funds.

From the Times:
"She [King] wears diamond jewelry and designer clothes, blending in with the crowds at equestian events that included Naomi Campbell, Ivana Trump, Kelly Ripa and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who cheers on his daughter Georgina in competition."

I would wager that the Mayor's daughters, Georgina and Emma, are nice ladies, but they are the recipients of his wealth. Did they have to park cars to pay off their college education?

For more on Georgina: http://wwwnypost.com/pagesixmag/issues/20081123/Georgina+Bloomberg

Rand was right. The rich sit on their laurels and race horses (From the Times: "She now boards and trains a few miles away at Old Salem Farm,where Mayor Bloomberg's daughter has also kept horses. Boarding a single horse there costs $3,000 a month, said Alan Bietsch, the stable's general manager. 'The horses get pampered,' Mr. Bietsch said.")

The middle class, the strivers for wealth and prosperty, are indeed the innovators of economic uplift. You ever see Bill Gates police mug shot?

As for the poor? Matthew 26:11. "For ye have the poor always with you."

Babs said...

"This has -always- been the case however, the suburbs have much less appeal now than when crime was rampant..in fact its the 'burbs that are having the rise in crime now (burglaries-car theft-home invasion). Also the young parents of today have a greater appreciation of the cultural afforded by the city as opposed to the deadness of suburban living."

I am a baby boomer - raised in the 50s /60s - my parents lived through 2 World Wars and of course the Great Depression. They both LOVED the arts - but, also had an even deeper appreciation for security and a roof over their heads.

I, as many of my generation, had a "greater appreciation of the culture afforded by the city" simply because we COULD endulge ourselves in the finer things in life as we did not have to concern ourselves fortunately with mere survival.

Life in the burbs was anything but DEAD BTW. We were a highly educated and creative group on the whole, and I can assure you that life was not as bleak and darb as depicted in "Revolutionary Road" - on the contrary!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous No.1. Ease, convenient and efficient Transportation is the top feature to improve any city.. that is IF they know how to built and extend the transportation correctly.

I mean extreme example will be thinking of what happens to Long island development if Long Island has a bullet train like those in Japan where it takes you from Montauk to Manhattan (not the LIRR). But again it has to be planned and done correctly.. like how Japan did. (I been to Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan and I am just AMAZED at how good and easy their public transportation system is (multiple language signs, etc).

For some reason, NYC government just don't know how to really get things done correctly or efficiently for the better public. It has to do with their own political reasons.

Anonymous said...

Oh, btw, I also been to Sweden.. and even that place seems more 'advance' than US. I'm talking about the little things.

Anonymous said...

More kids on the street? Isnt Flushing the old/elder capital of Queens. I was watching NY1 sometime ago and it said that Flushing Houses upwards of 35% of all the elderly of Queens.

You don't even find children playing IN THE SUMMER TIME in Queens anymore. Go to the parks in Queens and all you'll really see is old asian ladies doing their routine excercise.

PEOPLE DON'T EVEN BARBEQUE/GRILL In front of their homes/buildings/parks anymore. I always hear that Queens is just about 50% immigrant but it HAS to be upwards of 65% and even higher for places along the 7 train.

Joe said...

Robert Moses said gave the same pep talk before destroying hald da Bronx, Queens & Long Island for his land grabs.
Threw 80,000 homeowners in the street with peanuts

Who paid to put this story out ? Follow the money.

panzer65 said...

New mayor, less over developement, emphasis on small business and manufacturing, construction of hospitals, police stations, and fir ehouses, ways to get people to use mass transit, traffic control and parking facilities, and most of all...improving existing rail infrastructure: passenger and freight, and constructing new subway routes with modern equipment.

Anonymous said...

What middle class? We are all broke and unemployed or unemployable now. Someone has to pay for us now as we don't have the dough. If we could get out of here, then the underclass who crowded us out will dominate. They will require much more $$ sustenance as they don't have any and grow faster than any other group in the US . Good luck - it's too late - NY is finished.