E New York Note

Our return to the canyon of Manhattan has proven particularly fraught this time. First of all the internet is down in my office but luckily it works in our apartment where I have taken over the household computer from my husband. My system is fromTime Warner which is back on its own after the takeover bid by Comcast was ended on competition grounds.

Then too property value in our largest single holding—our apartment—is under threat from various sides. The coop board election, which took place during our absence in Europe, was apparently stolen by Stash, the Chicago-born board president, to stop any move against his use of the building's capital account and construction budget to enrich himself. Proxies went missing. The dead voted. Obscure rules were cited to block other dissidents. All very like Chicago in the old days.

Getting out from under the lawsuits and grand jury investigations that will require mayl boost our charges for maintenance both in our home and in my office, a maid's room in the same building. Lawyers don't come cheap. It also means bad blood in the elevator with supporters of the board and dissidents staring into opposite corners and making faces at each other.

Moreover a 90-ft building is being planned around the corner from our Sutton Place home. This will be another of those Midtown skyscrapers for newly wealthy oligarchs from abroad, to the detriment of neighborhood quiet, security, tone, and amenities and infrastructure like sewers, school, parking and subway places, greenery.

In London, massive arrival of Russian rich has also brought street shootings, plutonium murders, and suspicious “suicides.” Chinese and French are better behaved, but they still push up real estate values to make anyone with a normal income unable to afford living downtown in the city. New taxes to tap into the nouveau riche element often also hit people who are rich only in property and cannot pay them. Not what I want here.

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