Saturday, June 21, 2008

An Overly Complicated and Elaborate System of Ownership and Rules - Cities & Feaudalism

A couple of weeks ago I was in New York interviewing for a job. Currently I'm living with my sister in Baltimore for free. As I was interviewing I started to explore what it would mean to get an apartment up in New York. The day of my interview I ran into an old classmate from college and who's now a real estate agent. When I told him I wanted help finding an apartment, and that I wanted to pay no more than $2000/month, he brushed me off saying "oh that's way to low I don't work with people like you". I don't think he meant to be mean... he was just looking out for himself.

So there I was yet AGAIN staring down the prospect of paying too much rent, for too little space, for who knows how long. Probably handing over a third of my income to some self interested stranger just so I can go to work in New York City. Reality was sinking in fast. I don't think I can afford New York. Not emotionally, not financially, not now.

In history classes I learned about feudalism, where the people who owned the land sat around and didn't actually do anything while they had the people who didn't own a thing doing all the work for them as slaves. Today we say we're free but actually it's the opposite, the cities are where the landlords concentrate in a much more complicated and elaborate system of ownership and rules. It's weird. I thought the whole part of being a free American was so that we could escape the old European style of elitism. How can anybody pursue life liberty and happiness if they are saddled with a mortgage they only chose because there was no better choice?

What is a normal person to do in the gray market housing reality of 2008?

Meanwhile, land out in the countryside is cheap. Affordable. Sure there aren't modern art museums in the country but... who needs modern art? Who really needs it? Just another bubble for some body else to decide to over-inflate. What people need is to be able to live their lives and to fulfill their happiness. Not to line the pockets of a bunch of landlords and wannabe landlords who are now desperate speculators. I wish this whole country would go on a housing boycott for the summer. Sisters move in together. Grown children moving back in with mom and dad. Brothers and cousins sharing a mc-mansion, splitting expenses. Friends helping friends. How scary is that idea? to the elitists, the bankers, the apartment building owners and slumlords? That a tenant would rather just go back home than buy your crap. Let the crash come. Lets have a full reset.

1 comment:

  1. You don't have to live in the West Village. There are plenty of nice apartments on the Upper East Side (east of 3rd ave), Upper West (along CPW in the 100's, Inwood, Hell's Kitchen (West 40's, 50's)... or even Brooklyn! You need to see like 8 different brokers and expand your search!