Friday, March 11, 2011

Will the Rudin Family seek to profit from Mayor Bloomberg's spree of School Closings ?

OP-ED : After Rudin Management converts St. Vincent's Hospital into Luxury Condos, will the billion-dollar real estate empire next convert closed schools into more luxury condos ?

Since he has become mayor, Michael Bloomberg has waged a sustained campaign to layoff teachers and close schools. Once wonders why he is systematically attacking public education, which is such an important underpinning of our society.

Remember how New York University got away with demolishing the Edgar Allan Poe house to build a new mega-building ? Well, yesterday, word was received that St. Vincent's Hospital, which closed after mysterious back-room meetings last year, is being converted into luxury condos by the Rudin Family. Are we beginning to see a pattern ?

In the last 10 or so years, no public institution (not a historical landmark like the former house of the famous poet Edgar Allan Poe, not St. Ann's Church, not the fabled St. Vincent's Hospital, not even public schools, where children go for an education) has been safe from being condemned and closed down -- all in the name of more and more reckless real estate development.

It is time for people to wake up and see what is on the horizon : the time is going to come when children are going to be loitering in the streets, having nowhere to go, nothing good to occupy their time, and no future to create, after all the teacher layoffs and school closings. There will be less firehouses and fewer hospitals. What kind of urban design for a metropolis is Mayor Bloomberg creating ?

But according to the real estate development wet dreams of Mayor Bloomberg, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and other development-crazed politicians, that is exactly what they want. Their vision for a new ''partnership'' for New York must include closing down public institutions, like schools, firehouses, and our historical landmarks, to make room for more luxury condo conversions and mega-buildings.

What happened to wanting to live in an exceptional city ? Aren't we capable of being better than this ? We need to organize grassroots efforts to block the elitist urban-renewal projects of real estate developers, like the Rudin Family, who seem to be joining Mayor Bloomberg on a renewed campaign to destroy the fragile character and experience of our local neighborhoods. It's time to get organized and fight back !

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