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May 06, 2009


I'm glad you found the link helpful, Joe.

You might also want to go to http://www.statenislandarts.org , the website of the Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI), where you can find out about upcoming events and arts-related developments island-wide.

You can also sign up to receive COAHSI's weekly e-mail blast, which arrives mid-week and helps you plan your weekend.

As an example, I'll be going to Conference House this coming Saturday for an art exhibit--about as far away from St. George as you can get. I'd never have known about it if not for the COAHSI blast, which has become an indispensable source for us.

I appreciate your interest, Joe. Thanks again for writing.

Thanks for that link. These are the things I never seem to hear about in the Advance.


Thank you, Joe, for your kind compliment, your comment, and your story suggestions. In reply, I'd like to quote our president, who on the campaign trail was wont to say, and say again, that reasonable people can disagree without becoming disagreeable. So . . . with respect . . .

While I agree with your views on affordable housing, local economic development and transportation especially, I think the situation on the north shore, and in the close-to-the-ferry neighborhoods especially, is more complicated than your analysis suggests.

The gist of my argument is that it's not a matter of either/or. It's both. "The market that is there," as you put it, is not a one-dimensional monolith; it's as various as everything else about the north shore.

North shore neighborhoods are magnets both for members of the largely working-class immigrant groups you name AND for middle class artists and professionals. Both groups are drawn by relatively plentiful housing--and in artists' cases, workspaces--at lower rental or sales prices; by an easy commute; and by a more pleasant environment.

The fact is, young people one might call hipsters--20s to 30s, arts-inclined, liberal/progressive politically--are already here. Recent selected north shore census tracts show a 30 percent increase in the 18-to-25 population, reflecting what one observer described to me as "a slight buzz" in the clubs and bars younger artists and their friends frequent in Manhattan and Brooklyn. But it's fairly clear they're not seeking faux luxe apartments at The Pointe or The View.

What's different these days is that younger artists checking out the north shore discover not just affordable housing, but a community they can be part of right away. To see what I mean, go to the SICOLAB site at http://www.sicolab.org --an organization of younger artists with lots of energy and ideas.

These unfortunate buildings are anomalies that have very little to do with the ongoing life of the neighborhood. If their future is anything like that of the original buildings of Bay Street Landing and Castleton Park, which opened just in time for the city's economic crisis in the 1970s, it will be a long time before they're fully occupied and stable.

Wonderful piece Dan.

What I see is more development for the types of residents the developers want to see in St. George. Generally, the hipsters and upper middle class families that now dominate regions of Brooklyn. The developers, yet again, were counting on a boom.

And this time...they were right. But wrong on what type of boom it turned out to be. Instead of the hipsters, Staten Island's North Shore is becoming a destination for the immigrant populations, specifically, the West Indian, African, and Mexican populations.

What we should be seeing is an expansion of transportation services, as well as an increase in the commercial and housing opportunities for these groups. A North Shore rail line for instance. Housing that is priced for a market that is there, and not for some mythical grasp at instant Hoboken status.

I believe that developers do have a crucial role to play. And there is a market for them to cater to, and make a generous profit. But they would rather finance bankrupt buildings and upper middle class blight.

I see these developments every day on my way to the ferry on the SIR. It makes the area seem dreary and boring, when I know in fact it isn't.

Changing topics a bit. Have you considered a piece on the complete and utter disasters that are the National Lighthouse Museum project, and the Stapleton Home Port? I simply have heard nothing in the last several months.



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