By George Capsis
Part Three concludes this walk down memory lane and looks to the future. If you missed Part One or Part Two, you can find them at http://westviewnews.org/2015/04/a-life-of-apartments-part-one and http://westviewnews.org/2015/07/a-life-of-apartments-part-two/
The Depression stretched a very long time—from 1929 all the way up and into the War. In that 15-year period, prices stayed and stayed the same or even went down, so I learned them along with the alphabet. A hot dog was a nickel, a slice of pizza ten cents, Coke was a nickel then Pepsi came out and gave you twice as much for a nickel too, ice cream cones were two scoops for a nickel or one for three cents. The Daily News was two cents, the Times three cents and ten cents on Sunday. The subway was a nickel, the 5th Avenue bus a dime, but they guaranteed you a seat.
Now we talk about “affordable apartments,” but the amounts considered affordable today would have been unthinkable in that time. Now, you can get a decent Manhattan one bedroom for $3000 a month, which means your take home salary has got to be $90,000. That is much more than most young people just out of college are making, so their first apartment, and maybe their last, is in Brooklyn.
Things have to get very bad before this country turns to government for a solution. It was eighty years ago when Mayor La Guardia turned to Roosevelt to tear down the tenements to build decent housing on the lower East Side—the Eleanor Roosevelt Houses.
I have not heard of de Blasio asking Obama to contribute federal funding to his 80,000 units of affordable housing over the next ten years—no, simply not possible—in fact the last federal public housing effort was right here in the far West Village with the Fulton Houses.
I was discussing the idea that all the new college grads would move to Brooklyn with my next door neighbor, Joan McAlister, when she interrupted “but my kids already have and now their kids are graduating college and still living in Brooklyn.”
So we already have two generations of the new Brooklynites, and I believe we will have three and maybe four.
Only disasters wait on political solutions.