New York Rents

In New York, rents are increasing twice as fast as wages:

What’s worse, StreetEasy found that rent increases haven’t risen equally across the various income brackets or rent price points. For instance, apartments priced at the bottom fifth tier of the market have spiked 4.9 percent annually since 2010 while homes in the top fifth tier of the market appreciated annually by three percent, on average. In essence, the lowest priced apartments have seen their rents increase the most.

With that, New York City’s lowest wage earners have seen their paychecks increase the least since 2010, yet wages for the city’s highest earners have grown the greatest. The combination of steep rent increases paired with minimal wage gains for low-income New Yorkers have forced many to spend an unreasonable amount of their income on rent.

I lived in New York for over 10 years, but with the way rents are continuing to go, I won’t be moving back any time soon.

A few months ago I read The Complacent Class by Tyler Cowen and he spends a good deal on this income/rent disparity:

Indeed, in this new world the performance of income and social mobility is rather disappointing. In spite of the people who are doing great, the data indicate that the upward mobility of Americans, in terms of income and education, which increased through about 1980, has since held steady. Partly this is because the economy is more ossified, more controlled, and growing at lower rates. It’s also because it is much more expensive to move into a dynamic city, an option that gave many a way of making economic progress in times past. Two researchers, Chang-Tai Hsieh and Enrico Moretti, estimate that if it were cheaper to move into America’s higher-productivity cities, the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) would be 9.5 percent higher due to the gains from better jobs. Yet no one thinks that the building restrictions of, say, San Francisco or New York will be relaxed much anytime soon. Most of the complacent class just doesn’t see building restrictions as an urgent issue, and even if they understand the problem intellectually, as many of them do, the selfish incentive to make changing restrictions a priority just isn’t there.

New York has turned into ‘a playground for the rich.’ This is unfortunate because it keeps out keeps out a key demographic that gives New York it’s rich culture: artists (painters, musicians, writers, designers).

Martin Scorsese, Rejected

Cardinal Hayes is a high school in the Bronx, and after a year of minor seminary — a tryout for the priesthood; once a regular stop for bright Catholic boys of limited means — Scorsese went there. (Don DeLillo, the novelist, was a few years ahead.) Rejected by Fordham University because of poor grades, Scorsese enrolled at N.Y.U.’s Washington Square College and its film program. From there, he plunged into the ’60s: a concertgoer at the Fillmore East, an expatriate in England and Holland, an assistant director at Woodstock (he became an editor on the concert film) and then a maker of his own movies — “Who’s That Knocking at My Door,” about a young man in the suddenly liberated ’60s whose Catholic principles keep him out of bed with his girlfriend, and “Boxcar Bertha,” a film about a female rabble-rouser “free’er than most.”

The Passion of Martin Scorsese, The New York Times Magazine, 21 Nov 2016

I always find it interesting (and validating) how many successful people were crappy students.

High Fives

This video made me smile.

It also made me think about how archaic the act of sticking out our hands to summon a vehicle is.

“Grandpa, what’s a taxi cab?”

“Oh they were these yellow automobiles, driven by humans, that would take you where ever you wanted to go in New York and you would get them to pick you up by standing in the road and sticking out your arm to hail one.”

“They didn’t drive themselves and you couldn’t use your neural chip to give it commands?”


Adapt or Die

Yellow cabs in NYC might be getting an overhaul:

The technology inside many New York City yellow taxis is in for an overhaul after regulators on Thursday approved a trial run for systems that calculate fares using global positioning.

The changes mean the back seat “Taxi TVs” could be on the way out, along with dashboard-mounted meters that display fares in red blocky alarm clock-style numbers.

Imagine that!

Instead of suing to keep Uber and Lyft out of NYC, yellow cabs are overhauling their system to better compete—and provide a better customer experience (we hope).

“This equipment is not supported—AT ALL—by the railroad industry. We are fully, self-sufficient.”

Absolutely incredible.

The NYC MTA is upgrading to communications-based train control but the majority of the system still uses electro-mechanical relay switches and other technology from the 1930s to run today’s subway system. And some of the cabling is the original cloth-covered cabling.

Here’s a video on YouTube for a look at this underground system.

Just. Wow.

[As my brother and father were quick to point out both truthfully and comically, there are advantages to this antiquated system: no buggy software upgrades or remote hacking.]

via Laughing Squid