Lion of the Blogosphere

Jane Brody looks down on you

After reading NY Times journalist Jane Brody’s condescendingly smug article about the benefits of living in a walkable neighborhood with short commutes, I wanted to know more about where she lives.

So I did some research and discovered that she owns a brownstone in Park Slope that’s valued, according to Zillow, at $2.85 million.

In the end I have to agree with the lesson from the article. If you can become rich enough to afford a $2.85 million home, you too can live in a really great location and smugly look down upon the poor people who can’t afford to live your lifestyle.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 29, 2013 at 7:03 AM

Posted in Wealth

59 Responses

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  1. “Jane Brody looks down on you.”

    In her article “Short? No Worries,” Jane Brody mentioned she is less than five feet tall.

    Mark Caplan

    October 29, 2013 at 8:10 AM

  2. There’s a direct correlation between how far you need to live from where you work and how wealthy you are, and there’s a direct correlation between wealth and obesity and associated health problems. How hard is that to figure out?
    .

    J1

    October 29, 2013 at 9:19 AM

  3. but you don;t have to be rich to live in an urban environment and with gas prices perpetually rising it’s a good deal if you can cut down your commute.

    instituteofeconunderstanding

    October 29, 2013 at 9:22 AM

    • Poor people in projects live in urban environments, and they are by definition poor, so you are correct.

      But in order to live in an urban environment and not be near poor people in projects, you need to be rich. (This applies to the vast majority of American cities.)

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      October 29, 2013 at 9:38 AM

      • Many projects in Manhattan are now situated in desirable neighborhoods.

        And for your record, many Asians and Hispanics in NYC who live in the housing projects are not as poor as we make them out to be. I say they have capital, as I’ve met several Hispanics who live in the projects and they have vacation homes in Florida. It’s only the blacks who are always low on the totem pole when it comes to resources.

        JS

        October 29, 2013 at 9:55 AM

      • How many poor people in projects can “walk to work”? I suppose the prostitutes and drug dealers don’t have to go very far, but people trying to get a legitimate job usually find that poor urban neighborhoods don’t offer a lot of opportunities.

        Peter the Shark

        October 29, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      • Yes, many people who live in the projects are disenfranchised, but the ones in the Manhattan are beginning to see some changes. Blacks and the lower end Hispanics are being evicted out, because they are usually engage in those aforementioned activities to get themselves in trouble. Further, many housing projects in Manhattan are nearby luxury complexes, and so NYC is an anomaly.

        JS

        October 29, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      • The Elites are salivating for a renewal of the feudal system. Ruling Elite supported by a mass of worker bees (us), controlled by a well-fed police and military. “Up against the wall” sounds very good in the case of Ms. Brody.

        gordon43

        October 30, 2013 at 12:31 PM

      • By the way, the NYCHA, the guys who run the housing projects in NYC are deciding to lease much of their wasted space to private developers to cover their short fall – cash strapped budget. You figured that these guys are short on cash when it comes to maintaining the old crusty housing projects, (most of the tenants who live in them pay less than $500/month in rent for a place in Manhattan), then why not. Listen to this, they are leasing their parking lots as well. This goes to show you that people who live in Manhattan’s public housing aren’t as poor as people make them out to be. You get to own a car and live in the projects, wow, how nice!

        http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nycha-slows-plan-lease-luxury-developmers-article-1.1429371

        Notice the black guy on Bloomberg’s right. A Black Harvard business school grad, who manages the housing projects in NYC. Does he really gives a damn about his fellow blacks in public housing, who are far from being the elite?

        I say it’s corruption coming from both ends.

        Obviously, liberals like de Blasio will fight tooth and nail to stop this from happening, which keeps the gravy train rolling at the expense of the White middle class in NYC.

        JS

        October 30, 2013 at 1:01 PM

  4. She really doesn’t have a point, either, since at first she only attacks long car commutes (explaining that her son’s subway commute, whose length she withholds, is “giving him time to read”), but later in the piece lets it slip that long public-transportation commutes are unhealthy, as well.

    Fiddlesticks

    October 29, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    • How much reading you can do depends upon whether you are standing or sitting, and how many transfers you have to make.

      A commute that’s forty minutes, but involves standing on crowded trains where you can’t sit down because the seats are taken and you have to transfer trains can be hectic and doesn’t make for quality reading.

      The LIRR is usually a good environment for reading, but a monthly ticket is $242 (to Great Neck) which isn’t less expensive than owning a car (and if you live in Long Island you have to own a car anyway).

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      October 29, 2013 at 9:42 AM

      • And there are people who listen to books on tape during driving commutes.

        More generally, cars are the travel analog of a nice neighborhood. Busses are bad neighborhoods on wheels.

        Dave Pinsen

        October 29, 2013 at 9:47 AM

      • “More generally, cars are the travel analog of a nice neighborhood. Busses are bad neighborhoods on wheels.”

        Yes. On a recent public radio program I listened to, someone described the benefit of the car as ‘allowing private transportation through public spaces’. I’d like to quote it but that’s a very close paraphrase.

        Lash

        October 29, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    • “…long public-transportation commutes are unhealthy…”

      Right, seriously unhealthy, like in deadly, particularly to White people, as illustrated in dozens (hundreds?) of Youtube videos over the past few years.

      Plus, outside of NYC and DC, public transportation is prole.

      E. Rekshun

      October 29, 2013 at 5:42 PM

  5. A rich, Manhattan dweller has contempt for the suburban hoi pollo? This is breaking news! Call the AP!

    Mike

    October 29, 2013 at 9:44 AM

  6. Suburbs are now wastelands for the young and intelligent. The suburban environment makes it hard for people to access amenities. It also fosters isolation and anti-social behavior, where no sane, single person who is ambitious and smart would want to be there long term.

    Most people work in the city, including those who live in the suburbs and need to commute long distances.

    So yes, urban planners and the baby boomers were idiots for not gentrifying the cities many decades ago, nor did they anticipate our snaking highways and car culture would become liabilities in the future.

    Park Slope in my opinion is an overpriced neighborhood, more expensive because of their brownstones, but with fewer amenities than some of the other parts of bobo Brooklyn such as Cobble Hill.

    She is correct in some sense, as many older people who live in those hold over middle income housing units in Manhattan, would want to pass down their apartments to their children, because of the convenience factor.

    JS

    October 29, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    • “it also fosters isolation and anti-social behavior”

      Actually, an urban area is much more likely to “foster” those things, especially isolation. I live 40 miles from the city center. I know and socialize with my neighbors, something that was never, ever the case when I lived in town. Crime is essentially non-existent. If smart, ambitious singles in this metro area want a tech industry job, they probably work within 10 miles of my house. Our city center is pretty much law firms, financial services and slums, with a few decent areas. If I want to go to a museum or the zoo, it takes me maybe 20 minutes longer to get there than somebody who lives in midtown. If you want to go to the ballet or symphony, it’ll be at one of two venues in the burbs, not downtown. There’s only one venue for that sort of thing in town; it’s in a really, really bad area, and it never has any event that isn’t also held at one of the suburban venues. The one bright spot is you can always get tickets to the place downtown.

      “Most people work in the city”

      Actually, as suburbs grow they tend to draw employers out of the city and this ceases to be the case. The last place I lived was in the Dallas metro area. There, if you want to make decent money you go to Plano, not Dallas. Even the financial services companies are moving out there.

      J1

      October 29, 2013 at 12:44 PM

      • Sounds like your city is an outlier.

        Renault

        October 29, 2013 at 2:45 PM

      • Not true. The financial firms are in Dallas Uptown. Plano is where state-school educated middle managers of Fortune 500 companies live and work.

        They aren’t prole but they aren’t as high as I feel comfortable around.

        The marbles in Lou Holtz mouth

        October 29, 2013 at 4:44 PM

      • I’ve moved enough and traveled enough to know it isn’t.

        But JS’ and your remarks make me wonder – when I was in my 20s, I would have said single people were crazy to live out in the suburbs because it was so tough to meet people there, and I didn’t see much “culture” there and generally everything else JS said, though I subsequently realized that wasn’t really true (again, particularly the isolation part). Still, the big thing was being able to meet people. My question now is, with Match.com and similar services having gone mainstream, has the value of urban areas as a place to meet people declined significantly? And if so, has that made people more realistic about the desirability of those areas as places to live?

        FWIW, I’m pretty sure JS lives in NYC, and it’s an outlier WRT living in the city. Well, Manhattan is anyway.

        J1

        October 29, 2013 at 6:15 PM

      • But then again, who in their right mind would want to live in a liberal city, such as NYC with many obnoxious and overly self important people (liberals are usually obnoxious and self important), and worse non-Asian minorities, who usually live and work around them?

        You really have to be alpha minded to thrive in NYC, with all these things considered.

        Many American cities are just places to work, shop and have fun. Residents live in the suburbs. This is the norm, so yes, NYC is an outlier in this regard.

        JS

        October 29, 2013 at 11:40 PM

      • @J1: Match.com is a fraud. Most of the attractive women are fake profiles.

        @JS: I wouldn’t say the suburbs are wastelands. In my experience, many suburbs (e.g. Plano) have become city-like and have all the amenities of the larger traditional cities w/o the crime, grit, NAMs, and dysfunction. Some far-out exburbs might be too quiet for single people but the adults living there wouldn’t necessarily call them wastelands. Anyways, much of the discussion depends on how “city” and “suburb” are defined. The population of my “city” is 75K which swells to 110K during the day. The County is just a collection of adjacent incorporated “cities” making up a total county population of 1 million. So, it’s a “metro area” of 1 million w/ the largest city w/i the area having a population of 75K.

        E. Rekshun

        October 30, 2013 at 5:49 AM

      • Oh yea, my daily commute is 3 miles round trip!

        E. Rekshun

        October 30, 2013 at 6:00 AM

      • “Match.com is a fraud. Most of the attractive women are fake profiles.”

        Agreed, and true of most, I mean all, dating sites. But I’d focus on “most”. Even with a high failure rate dating sites are still a far more efficient way to meet people than any other method, and the objectives of the participants are clear. Also, based on observing a few women I work with who use dating sites, I think it reduces the likelihood of rejection by women who have an unrealistic perception of their desireability (don’t tell them I said that…).

        J1

        October 30, 2013 at 4:19 PM

      • For all those who are proponents of suburbs, you have a point as I found this very truthfully written comment on the major urban areas of America. Most of the them are liberal sh*tholes=cesspools. de Blasio will mostly likely turn NY into a Detroit, the most liberal city you can think of, as anything goes.

        And we care about New York why? We don’t care about Detroit, except to use it as an example of everything gone wrong, and we don’t care about Chicago because only libs live there. In fact we don’t care about most major cities in our country because libs live in those places. Sure cities generate an incredible amount of wealth and culture, but we’d all be better off in suburbia, or exurbia, or even hunkered down out on the plains (as long as we can get high speed internet access). To heck with cities. Let them elect DiBlasio, and all of his talk about “fairness”, it will only hasten their downfall.

        JS

        October 31, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    • Suburbs are JUST NOW wastelands for the young and intelligent? I seem to remember Frank Zappa railing against suburbs in the 70s.

      Suburbs are for families that want a safe place to raise children and yards for them to play in. What’s this “sane, single person who is ambitious and smart” thing? As if that is the only person who exists, or is desirable to be. Jeez, the world is full of people of all kinds.

      Harland

      October 29, 2013 at 2:33 PM

      • Give it up Harland. Expecting these guys to know who Frank Zappa was is like expecting you to know who Tex Beneke was. Tex probably railed against the suburbs too; there’s nothing new under the sun.

        J1

        October 29, 2013 at 8:07 PM

      • “Suburbs are for families that want a safe place to raise children and yards for them to play in. What’s this “sane, single person who is ambitious and smart” thing?”

        Overly Alpha, energetic and smart individuals usually end up in one of the big cities in the Northeast such as NYC, and Washington DC; corridors of power, finance, culture etc…

        Lower tier Alpha types would prefer a city such as Chicago.

        High beta types who want be in an urban setting similar to the Northeast and Chicago, live in and around the cities of the West Coast.

        Other American cities are for true betas and omega losers, which are usually cities where people commute to work from the suburbs, where there is hardly any vibrancy in urban life .

        JS

        October 29, 2013 at 11:53 PM

      • It makes sense that the West Coast is a true beta region, since most Asians live and thrive on the West Coast.

        JS

        October 29, 2013 at 11:59 PM

      • I meant to say California is a high beta region, since most of the successful Asians are high betas.

        JS

        October 30, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    • Your comments about the suburbs don’t make much sense.

      NJT

      October 29, 2013 at 10:13 PM

      • What doesn’t make sense?

        JS

        October 30, 2013 at 12:07 AM

  7. By the way, it looks like Catherine Rampell’s iPhone 4 is running slow.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/03/magazine/why-apple-wants-to-bust-your-iphone.html

    So none of those alpha banking bros, who think they deserve her hand, know how to uninstall iOS7 and get her back to a more appropriate version of the operating system?

    Sure, they could just mindlessly wave their cash around and buy her a 5S. But maybe she needs to hang around more guys who can actually fix her problem and CREATE value.

    Guys like Lion of the Blogosphere.

    Fiddlesticks

    October 29, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    • I am sure she can afford to upgrade her personal iPhone if she has one and not a free iPhone 4 from the NY Times. Getting a corporate bureaucracy to upgrade your hardware is often impossible.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      October 29, 2013 at 10:53 AM

  8. I’m not sure she’s being smug. She may just be blind, like the people who pay $8/gal for milk at Whole Foods and at the same time wonder why everyone doesn’t shop there.

    steve@steve.com

    October 29, 2013 at 10:29 AM

  9. She’s right that kids going out to play has yielded to “organized activities” supervised by parents. When I was a kid (1980s) we went out after breakfast and were home for dinner. During summer I was outside more than inside. This just doesn’t seem to happen anymore, or is it a rural VS urban thing? The only younger-than-teenager kids I see out on their own here in the city tend to be black and occasionally hispanic. I’ve seen very young (age 6-8) kids out on bikes at all hours or on playgrounds (I’ve even seen barely walking toddlers in the company of kids age 6-8 with no parents around) but I guess that’s “bad parenting” these days, not “letting kids out to play” and it’s only relegated to certain demographics.

    If this lady is old enough to have 13 yr old grandchildren I doubt she paid $2.8 million for her home back in the day.

    islandmommy

    October 29, 2013 at 12:41 PM

  10. In her defense, if she’s a grandmother, she probably bought the brownstone when large portions of the Slope were run down, with corner boys at every intersection.

    smb

    October 29, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    • She’s 72 years old. I don’t know whether she bought the Park Slope brownstone years ago when the ‘hood was less desirable and prices were low, or whether she made a big profit after selling a house elsewhere that she had owned for many years.

      Peter

      ironrailsironweights

      October 29, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    • You are probably right. Park Slope used be in the toilets in the early 90s, before the whole gentrification proccess.

      JS

      October 29, 2013 at 10:03 PM

  11. Just because she happens to own or live in a $2.85 million condo doesn’t mean that’s what it takes to live in a good location. I make $90k per year and live comfortably in a good part of Manhattan. And the extra grand a month I pay in rent is worth not having to live in some cookie cutter suburb in Jersey a la American Beauty and deal with an awful commute.

    Josh Smith

    October 29, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    • Comfortably? I guess you and I have different ideas of “comfortably,” then.

      Living in a tiny studio on the top floor of a walk-up sucks any way you look at it. To get much better than that in a nice neighborhood (“nice” meaning desired, e.g., West Village, DUMBO, Nolita, etc.) will definitely cost more than $3k/month unless you get extraordinarily lucky.

      Every time I see what my twenty-something year-old friends in Houston can afford on $100k/year I want to kill myself.

      Renault

      October 30, 2013 at 12:54 AM

      • @ Renault

        East Village is populated with walkups. I live in the EV, but I don’t live in a walkup. It’s a middle income housing complex that has a doorman and elevators. EV would be a more desirable, if they had more tall elevator buildings.

        I was lucky to get it right after 9-11 after being randomly selected, responding to a newspaper ad shortly after the terrorist attacks, where the city was trying to encourage middle class residents to stay in the city. Those days are gone as living in Manhattan is now more desirable than ever before, where the middle class are being replaced by the upper classes.

        Although my income isn’t really middle income nowadays, they cap your rent to 1K/month, if you make more than the above threshold which is 85K.

        If I wasn’t able to secure this deal years ago, I would have left NYC. I hate digging into deep pockets to cover housing costs on something that you don’t own. I know of a lady who forks out over 6K in rent for a 2 bedroom in Battery Park City. She wanted a large apartment with a river view, because she works at home and needs an additional room for a home/office, where she sees clients. She’s throwing money away and could have bought something instead.

        JS

        October 30, 2013 at 1:57 PM

      • @ JS

        Village View?

        Renault

        October 30, 2013 at 4:34 PM

      • Unfortunately not!

        I live in one of the apartments in the back of the building that faces another building, where I only get a glimpse of direct sunlight during the afternoon, when the sun moves into the location where it is situated. For $1100/month not far from Astor Place, and with a doorman, I’m not complaining.

        Most of the other tenants who live in the upper floors with a nice view, pay maintenance instead of rent, because the entire building is a private co-op, which has several government subsidized apartments, an arrangement that they got with NYC more than 10 years ago, where the owners would save a lot of money in property taxes. It was a big thing in the late 90s, and especially in the early 2Ks when Manhattan was still gentrifying after 9-11. You could find something reasonable back then, and if you were lucky, land an apartment for below market rate and hold on to it forever. I miss those days, because NYC had the best of both worlds, it was cleaned up, but there was an edginess and asshole-ness that was only unique to the city. Today, much of Manhattan is retarded, bobofied, boring and overpriced. And the people are too sterile and tame to say NYC is just like any American city.

        JS

        October 30, 2013 at 8:05 PM

      • (I meant the apartment complex. I thought it was the only Mitchell Lama housing in the East VIllage.)

        Renault

        October 31, 2013 at 6:07 AM

      • My building isn’t Mitchell Lama. There is no way in hell I would live in a Mitchell Lama, given the demographics of its residents, which are mostly black and they wouldn’t want any White person in them anyway. There are a few Mitchell Lamas that have a White majority demographic in Manhattan, but they either have gone private or have a waiting list that is about 20 years. Forget it, no way I would be getting a chance to get into them, and my income is too high right now. The open apartments are usually undesirable, because they are located in a shitty neighborhood and the residents are mostly black.

        You need to look into the affordable housing lottery program, which isn’t Mitchell Lama, but the housing program that I’m part of. Someone who earns 90K or less has a shot at them. One of my friends who grew up in a middle income complex similar to a Mitchell Lama, was lucky to be selected for a below market rent 1 bdrm apartment in Chelsea under the affordable housing program. She pays about $1300. The regular tenants pays about $3,500 for a 1bdrm.

        Unfortunately, any subsidized apartments in Manhattan are pretty much rare these days, unless you want to be in Harlem or worse, Washington Heights.

        Here’s the website for more info:

        http://www.nyc.gov/html/housinginfo/html/apartments/apt_rental_opportunities.shtml

        JS

        October 31, 2013 at 6:27 PM

  12. Does she know she’s bragging about being rich? If so, she might still be surprised that we know it too. (I’m sure she’d hate you for pointing this out Lion.)

    DelFuego

    October 29, 2013 at 7:13 PM

  13. I love it when rich people dole out advice for living better lives. They’re usually right.

    Look at Muriel Hemingway’s advice for avoiding mental illness.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/27/magazine/the-importance-of-not-being-ernest.html
    If everyone just chose to live in a quiet hideaway in the Californian mountains, ate fresh organic food and drove out to their favourite lookout to catch the first rays of morning sun, nobody would ever get depressed or suffer anxiety attacks. Her cure for traffic woes? If you get upset at the traffic, just pull over, climb the nearest sand dune and get some exercise.

    The great liberal celebrities are gods to NYT readers. If they’re upset that their lives aren’t living up to the ideals that they set, some NYT writer will give them a glimpse of the idyllic lifestyle that the Democratic Party is making possible for every human being on earth when we get enough people on side to build utopia.

    culdesachero

    October 29, 2013 at 9:05 PM

  14. “Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.” –Herman Melville

    js290

    October 30, 2013 at 2:17 AM

  15. Actually, as suburbs grow they tend to draw employers out of the city and this ceases to be the case. The last place I lived was in the Dallas metro area. There, if you want to make decent money you go to Plano, not Dallas. Even the financial services companies are moving out there.

    This is very true in the case of Atlanta, as the far northern suburb of Alpharetta is the technology hub for the metro region. Companies relocate there to be closer to educated workers.

    Camlost

    October 30, 2013 at 11:23 AM

  16. […] who hasn’t the faintest fucking idea how the majority of Americans live, somebody who lives in a $2.85 million private home, someone who is as far removed from the everyday cares and concerns of working Americans of any […]

  17. Lion, any thoughts or rants on the Lhota vs de Blasio debate not too long ago?

    Lhota has zero chance whatsover in becoming in mayor, even with his credentials and Harvard background, he will not win.

    Have you ever considered how Lhota’s short pudgy stature doesn’t measure up to the tall de Blasio, who is also better looking, and comes across as more affable? These things are enough to override any other status inducing credentials one may have.

    JS

    October 30, 2013 at 11:54 PM

  18. Thank you for this article. This was by far the most enlightening and funny thing I’ve read in months. well done, hysterical, accurate and true. And Ms. Brody can kiss my a$$

    Mike

    October 31, 2013 at 12:52 AM

  19. Brody’s article only exists to further the case that much of what gets published in the NY Times is unworthy of the time wasted in reading it. It’s hard to imagine any intelligent person reading this and thinking, “Wow, that was really interesting,” Except of course as an illustration of a certain kind of contemporary, complacent mediocrity.

    Everything she says is utterly predicable, and none of it is interesting. I know people who would post such an article on Facebook, with utterly sincere enthusiasm, but I also know that such people — when you get to know them — are boring as shit.

    I would assume that she was paid for writing this, which is a shame.

    ice hole

    October 31, 2013 at 3:22 PM

  20. Honestly speaking, for a city of many highly educated and wealthy individuals such as Ms. Brody, the entire NYC metropolis is still somewhat of a shithole, despite the gentrification and the talk of bobofication. The public infrastructure and equipment are often subpar and outdated. Hurricane Sandy proved our electrical equipment is beyond laughable.

    When visiting the city, just take a look at a NYC public map, it doesn’t tell you where the hell you’re currently situated. It gives you a layout of a respective neighborhood and you are supposed to figure that out yourself. If that’s not effing mind numbing and non-sensical, then what is?

    JS

    October 31, 2013 at 6:51 PM


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