On Our Vanilla-and-Guilt-Flavored Real Estate Fantasies

Real estate fantasies...man. I know this well. I just wrote the largest check of my life to put down a deposit on a co-op in the city, and watching that money leave my bank account - surreal. And now I'm totally locked in. (Unless the co-op rejects me, in which case I think I'll probably feel a mix of anger/disappointment and relief.) And now that I'm locked in, every new listing I see brings a tiny pang of 'huh, that looks nice, could it be a better deal?' And when I see one out of my price range I think...should I wait? Should I make more money, save some money, hold off a little bit until some vague threshold in the future? And what about the housing market? Up, down, sideways? Am I timing the market right? But I must say, being a renter - even in my cheap rent-stabilized apartment - also gives me tons of anxiety. Shit breaks and it's not properly replaced, mice remind me that #3L is not a suite at the Plaza Hotel, and despite the protections of the lease I'm acutely aware that the apartment will never be mine, and that I don't want to live out the rest of my days in a 1-BR railroad apartment. I am interested to see what life will be like as a property-owning adult. We shall see.

Posted on October 3, 2014 at 5:00 pm 0

On OK, Gentrification is Lousy. Now What?

@Josh Michtom@facebook The "poor door" doesn't actually address the preservation of affordable housing. In NYC, that's done through policies like rent stabilization and J-51 tax benefits, and federally through various demand-side policies like Section 8 vouchers. The "poor door" involves the creation of new affordable housing. It's an important distinction, because at least in NYC, not only is there not much new affordable supply, but existing affordable units (generally those in the rent stabilization program) are being rapidly deregulated and adjusted to market rate.

Posted on October 3, 2014 at 11:23 am 0

On OK, Gentrification is Lousy. Now What?

@moreadventurous I think the poor door is brilliant, although I hate the term itself. It provides real and tangible economic integration while allowing developers to maximize profit, and sets a good precedent for future development. I don't understand how it is "class separation." Seems like the opposite, in that it brings people of low and moderate incomes into neighborhoods they would otherwise never be able to afford, allows them to send their kids to schools they could never send their kids to, etc. Most apartment buildings are already highly segregated by income, simply because they are in different neighborhoods and have different amenities and different rents, and people tend to rent at the top of their budget.

Posted on October 2, 2014 at 4:46 pm 0

On Who's Taking Care of Your Baby?

@EM That's a good point. I am fascinated by aging societies (like Germany or Japan). Japan in particular is interesting because the population is now declining. The US is below replacement rate overall but population growth comes in the form of immigration and the above-replacement rate fertility of immigrants. I am sure "third world" countries will eventually reach these replacement rates, particularly as urbanization increases, so maybe there is no crisis at all, and things will level out just below replacement rate at some point in the (far) future. Of course, by that point, the earth may not be the hospitable place we've come to know and love.

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 5:35 pm 0

On Who's Taking Care of Your Baby?

@highjump You can put words in my mouth, if you'd like, but I'd prefer if you didn't. I am saying that resource usage should be part of the calculation. Do you disagree?

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 5:28 pm 0

On Who's Taking Care of Your Baby?

@highjump I will definitely follow up on the resources you’ve mentioned. But I absolutely won’t detach the notion of humanity from resource usage, and I won’t concede that linking the two is somehow “dehumanizing.” I don’t even know what the word means in that context. We’ve got one planet that we live on together and that we are collectively destroying; in what way is it dehumanizing to note that adding many billions of people over the next few decades is problematic?

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 5:12 pm 0

On Who's Taking Care of Your Baby?

@Ester Bloom Thank you for your answer. Hearing rationales like yours represents an opportunity for me to increase my empathy toward those who have made that choice, because as you can tell, there's really no equivocation in my own personal desires for children (or against them, as the case may be).

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 5:08 pm 0

On Who's Taking Care of Your Baby?

@EM Just because we're not "strictly rational" it doesn't mean we shouldn't try to reflect on and improve matters. I mean, yes, we drink alcohol, but I think we'd all agree there is a point at which "drinking alcohol" becomes "drinking too much alcohol." The existence of the first condition doesn't render the second irrelevant.

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 5:01 pm 0

On Who's Taking Care of Your Baby?

This won't be popular, but I promise I'm not trolling: Why do people still yearn to have biological children? Especially when doing so will render one's life (more) financially tenuous, when there are so many unwanted children already out there, and when the world is already straining under the load of 7 billion of us. I understand that part of it is evolutionary (I guess I didn't get the gene?) but reason trumps the biological imperative in many other instances, so I'm curious why it doesn't here. We're super-judgmental about people who drive SUVs, litter, and leave the lights on when they go to the store. But having a child is to create an entity that will incur 70+ years of carbon consumption and resource usage, who will cost a lot of money to raise, and who will probably replicate many of the class and societal privileges that we received from our own parents. And this is considered a blessing? One common answer, "having someone to take care of you when you are old," strikes me as a farce in this day and age. My mother hauled down to Florida every week for years while my grandparents slowly died, an act of filial piety that my once fun-loving grandparents would never have wished on anyone, and which my mom has explicitly told me not to emulate. Seems to me like we'd all be best just having the last person out shut the light. Finally, please don't attack me or throw ad hominems at me. I'd like to engage on this topic in a reasoned way, because in face-to-face conversations I've met many people with similar thoughts, who keep them to themselves because they fear ostracization. Most people have some relative or friend who just had a kid and they don't want to overturn the apple cart.

Posted on October 1, 2014 at 4:32 pm 0

On The Dead Guy in Your Apartment Building, and Other Lessons in Living Alone

@Nibbler hehe.

Posted on July 21, 2014 at 2:38 pm 0