Tuesday, May 2, 2017

- Manhattan Economics

For the price of two Nathan's Hotdogs purchased in Penn Station, you could get a lovely piece of salmon from a Chinatown fish shop, with enough left over for Bok Choy and garlic. From this you could make yourself a splendid little 'haute couture' meal for two, with plenty left over to feed to the dog. For the price of a meal in your average Manhattan restaurant, you can buy enough groceries to feed a small army, so long as you buy it somewhere else. Because even in Manahattan's (often underground) supermarkets, the prices for things like food are shattering. That same piece of Salmon in Chinatown costs twice as much at the Union Square Whole Foods. Why?

In a word, real estate. The real estate costs in Manhattan are shattering and they find their way into everything. And with the financial industry in flames, I think people are beginning to finally react to that.

In my Gramercy building, the two apartments next to me are both empty. It's an inexpensive low rise building, with no doorman, and few services but it's in a good neighborhood. It has an elevator, but it's very middle brow. It's mostly full of young people in their late 20's and early 30's, in mid level jobs. Chelsea Clinton's 10 Million Dollar penthouse is 2 blocks away, just across Madison Square Park. I looked very carefully for a place in town, and found one that delivered great value for the relatively low money. It's a one bedroom on a low floor so it may not be much, but for the price, it's the taj majal. So why the evacuation?

I can only conclude that people are willing to live with a little more inconvenience, for the sake of a little more savings. That's the yin and yang of Manhattan. And during harder times, Manhattan gets emptied.

Whatever the economic statistics say, if I can't get it verified by my own eyes, I'm always skeptical. And what I see now, is a downturn. Obama era policies have gotten their teeth through the skin, and I believe the economy is finally reacting to them. Get a Pit Bull clamped onto your leg and you won't bleed out quickly, but you will eventually. And you can't do anything about it until you get the dog off your leg.

That should have always been job one for the Trump administration, or at least job two or three. And if he couldn't untangle the regulatory state, he should have cut the knot and let it fall where it may. I'm concerned that there may be too many distractions for the man.

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