Saturday, August 22, 2020

The Big Apple: Rotten to the Core

It feels like Schadenfreude all over again. Wealthy New Yorkers, the kind who do not have a racist bone in their bodies, the kind that have consistently supported every manner of leftist cause, are decamping for more temperate and more friendly climes.

So, we follow the mass exodus of wealthy New Yorkers out of Bill de Blasio’s New York. As idiot politicians talk about raising taxes on billionaires, the billionaires and even a considerable number of banal millionaires have read the writing on the wall. They are leaving town and taking the city tax base with them.

The Daily Mail has the story. By now, apparently, more than a million New Yorkers have fled. Actually, it’s more than 10% of the population, but who is counting? As for those who remain, many are facing financial hardship. One notes that city government, preparing for a precipitous drop in tax revenue will be laying people off in droves. 

Between March 1 and May 1, some 420,000 people left the city, cell phone location data shows, and by some estimates the number may have exceeded one million in the months since, or 10 percent of the city's population.

Many of those who remained faced financial hardship. The city’s latest unemployment rate, which was released in June, was over 20 percent - double the highs during the Great Recession of 2008, and approaching levels not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Lockdowns are certainly contributing to the problem. Indoor dining in restaurants is still forbidden. Gyms are not yet open, though they are preparing to do so. And the real estate market is collapsing:

The property market plunged amid a mass exodus from the city as thousands fled to escape the misery caused by the coronavirus pandemic which killed hundreds a day at its peak in early April.

Though the virus has been wrestled well under control in the city, harsh lockdown rules still stifle many of the pleasures of city life, while unemployment has risen sharply, and violent crime has exploded in the months since late May.

The wealthy were among the first to flee, decamping to second homes and snapping up real estate in Connecticut and Rhode Island in the early days of lockdown in March and April.

They were followed by legions of young people: students, restaurant workers, Broadway theater hands and others who had no reason to continue paying sky-high rents in the city with universities and businesses shut down.

And then, the protest movement started. When it turned into an insurrection, more people decided that they had had enough. Naturally, the city and state government supported the protests, even if they helped propagate the coronavirus:

In early June, just as lockdown restrictions began to ease, a dangerous new chapter in the crisis began, when protests over racial injustice exploded into nights of looting and attacks on police.

Months of soaring violent crime have followed. Heat waves, high unemployment, and the grinding misery of social distancing restrictions have all contributed to an atmosphere in which tempers spin out of control, and verbal disputes between strangers often turn violent. 

New York is becoming like Chicago. It is fostering its own special crime wave. The mayor has emptied the jails, releasing felons onto the city streets. And he has moved the homeless into upscale hotels on the Upper West Side. 

Last month, shooting incidents across the city were up 177 percent compared to last year. Murders were up 59 percent for the month, burglaries rose 31 percent, and auto thefts increased 53 percent. 

Facing pressure from activists, as well as a mounting budget crisis, Mayor Bill de Blasio cut $1 billion from the NYPD's $6 billion annual budget. The mayor has also boasted of the large number of inmates released from Rikers Island due to the pandemic, proudly declaring that city jails had the lowest inmate population since WWII.

Meanwhile, de Blasio's plan to house homeless people in luxury hotels across the city at taxpayer expense has caused uproar, with residents complaining of brazen open drug use, lewd displays, and harassment from the homeless individuals. 

By now the mayor has said he will move the homeless out of the Upper West Side, out of Jerry Nadler’s neighborhood, but many New Yorkers do not believe him:

De Blasio said on Monday that he would start moving some of the 13,000 homeless people he put into hotels back into shelters after receiving widespread complaints from residents and officials, but he gave no details on when the process would begin or how he would make sure people go where they are meant to. 

Makeshift shanty towns -- constructed from the furniture abandoned by fleeing residents -- have sprung up in the East Village, Chelsea and Midtown.  

Know that most of you do not care, but high end, overpriced New York real estate has undergone its own reckoning. In many cases prices have been dropped by around half. It’s a half-off sale on luxury condos and townhouses. Obviously, deal making has also declined.

New York City's luxury real estate market has been hit hard by the pandemic, with some properties selling for less than half their original asking prices.

In the second quarter, the number of luxury co-op and condo closings in Manhattan was down 54 percent from last year, and the median sales price was down 11 percent, according to Miller Samuel.

Total closings remained down for quarter at dramatically lower rates than in the months following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, the data shows.

It comes on top of an already soft luxury market in recent years, with many of the ultra-wealthy reconsidering residency in New York over tax concerns, but the latest blow has some desperate sellers slashing prices even further. 

Here are the numbers. Read them and weep:

Although New York's property market has already bounced off of April lows, the recovery has been sluggish at best, and the future remains in question as the pandemic, economic hardship, and soaring crime continue to send many New Yorkers fleeing.

In late July, financier Michael Price sold his nearly 9,000-square-foot Upper East Side townhouse for $18.8 million, or 51 percent off its original asking price of $38 million in 2016, according to The Real Deal.

The limestone-and-brick property includes seven bedrooms, 8.5 bathrooms, a wine cellar, a gym and an ultra-secure 'panic room'.   

Price and his wife Jennifer Price originally purchased the property for $14 million in 2003, records show. 

In another deep discount sale, a five-story Chelsea mansion sold in early July for $14.99 million, or 59 percent off its original 2016 listing price of $36.8 million, records show. 

The five-bedroom home boasts an indoor pool, sauna, steam room, rooftop hot tub, movie theater, elevator and a private drive-in garage on the ground floor. 

Though the 11,420-square-foot mansion had reportedly once piqued the interest of Lady Gaga, it had languished on the market for years. The identity of the new buyer is unknown.

And in West Chelsea, a recently built ultra high-end boutique condo development called The Getty slashed prices for its remaining units by as much as 46 percent, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The cuts on four unsold residential units come just two years after a penthouse at the project fetched a downtown record of $59 million.

So, that’s the current state of the Big Apple, by the numbers.


Giordano Bruno said...

Stupid hippies and leftists decry profit over people. They bemoan that we should chose to reopen economies and put our lives at risk (very very little risk to anyone but old people, fatties, and lifelong cigarette smokers) to conduct business. They say these stupid things because they have no conception of what a real DOA economy, one that can no longer provide for any meaningful form of employment for 30% of its people, actually entails in real consequences. They are about to find out in places like NYC. The suffering and destruction of lives and property will far outweigh the benefits of the shutdown. And this will illustrate the value of an economy for a small group of people in time and we will promptly forget the entire lesson in two generations as the economy erases all memory of its absence.

Steve said...

Just wondering out loud here.....I wonder if the richy rich paid their taxes, put up with the socialist BS and thought, "it is a small price to pay to be part of the "Neew Yaahck" society scene"....

urbane legend said...

The mayor has also boasted of the large number of inmates released from Rikers Island due to the pandemic, proudly declaring that city jails had the lowest inmate population since WWII.

I'm certain that will be one of the positives written in the histories of the DeBlasio administration

By now the mayor has said he will move the homeless out of the Upper West Side, out of Jerry Nadler’s neighborhood, . . .
No possible connection there, nope.

Though the 11,420-square-foot mansion had reportedly once piqued the interest of Lady Gaga, . . .
A recommendation if I ever heard one.

Steve, yes.

Giordano Bruno, excellent comment, as always.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Excellent article on the madness going on in government everywhere:

Destroyers all. Our political class is a collection of megalomaniacal fools.

Sam L. said...

Ya got a Democrat Gov and a Democrat mayor? Two-time losers, you are. Waaay past time to give them the air.