Thursday, December 31, 2009

Breaking Bricks on the Armory

It's always good when your work is recognized-so we give our own "right back at you" to the NY Post's Lois Weiss who bestowed the honored "Lead Brick Award" (and at the same time put lead in our pencil) to the City Council for the defeat of the Armory development project: "Lead Brick to the City Council for requiring living wages for all employees at all stores at the Kingsbridge Armory, apparently due to concerns that the Bronx mall would compete against faraway Fordham Road merchants. As a result, Related Companies dropped the project entirely, paving the way for no wages being paid for no new jobs."

Now isn't is truly amazing how this one little project can become such a Rorschach Test for so many different people? It's the gift that keeps on giving for critics of all different stripes-with some excoriating the entire idea of living wages; and others bemoaning the loss of jobs when unemployment in the Bronx is so high.

But Weiss is the first to bring up the issue of the project's potential impact on the merchants of Fordham Road-and only does so in order to ridicule the notion since these retailers, at least on her GPS, are "faraway." How silly is that?

Fordham Road is only three blocks south of the Armory which prompts us to question Weiss' mapping skills. And, as far as we know, regional malls like the one planned at Kingsbridge have a trade radius that extends a tad further than a few blocks in all directions. But Weiss has also conflated a number of issues in her brief laudatory remarks; and we're not quite sure how the living wage demand and the local retail impact concern get treated as two integral parts of the opposition's equation.

In fact, the only place where the retail impact of the mall on Fordham Road was mentioned was here at the Alliance web site. And while we believe strongly in self-flattery, we aren't delusional enough to think that the city council under the capable stewardship of Captain Quinn were reading from the Alliance script when they decided to hit Related with the brick.

And while we're on the subject of Related, shouldn't the Weiss award have been more properly bestowed on it? After all, when you are the first developer in the past eight years to lose a city council land use application fight, isn't some recognition deserved? All of which raises the suspicion in our mind that this was one fight where the developer took a dive. We suspect that there were few tears in the Ross/Masyr households when the council did the dirty deed. If the Armory was an old dog, Ross himself might have taken out the shotgun.

So, while we love (even backhanded) compliments for our work-and that of our faithful public servants who are only there to do (we only hope) our bidding-we would appreciate that those who would look to honor our efforts would take the time to examine with a bit more care what actually happened in the award winning event.

Alas, that may be too much to expect, so we will have to wax eloquently on our own, and award the city council, KARA, the RWDSU and the entire Sloan family with the our own new award-The Alliance Detonator; a trophy given to those who best exemplify the spirit of creative destruction. In the future, the award will be given to anyone who acts to protect the interests of small businesses, working people and communities anywhere in NYC.

Happy New Year Everyone!