OP-ED: Playground of The One Percent

| 17 Feb 2015 | 01:16

It's a tragedy that Manhattan, with its long, rich history of cultural diversity, of open arms to the downtrodden of the world, has reached a point in its development whereby the inclusion of all the many classes who originally came here early on -- and still try -- is now gone but limited only to those able to pay the high privilege of living here.

The constantly changing landscape of NYC inasmuch of its enduring invasion by billionaires, who, like many tourists, have annexed our city in great numbers, are those able to pay that price while elevating exclusivity. The city's evaporating neighborhoods, vast ethnicity lost, landmarks given to real-estate development for still more luxury housing to satisfy an insatiable need the mega-rich have to add Manhattan to their various addresses, is what our town has become.

Let's suppose it's 10 years down the road, 2024, when after the finish of Seward Park on the Lower East Side; the completion of still more development in Times Square; the completion of many more multi-floor, super-thin luxury apartments a-la-behemoth One57; the conclusion of the far-west Hudson Yards in 2024, New Yorkers will then make note of other such projects in the beginning stages of planning and/or completion. And all will include still more trophy apartments for the indulgent-rich.

Over the years, I've seen my neighborhood transform from the Wild West it was called in 1966 when I moved in, to an affluent, fashionable area of uber-wealthy living in recently converted/now-private brownstones, townhouses and sprawling apartments. And the trend will only continue.

Rampant change runs amok in New York City, and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Money talks in New York City; all others walk.

John Elari, Upper West Side