Financial Crisis New York City

Will New York Survive The Financial Crisis?

The initial response by many suggested that New York, the home of Wall Street, had been severely diminished in the financial crisis and would never recover. Washington was where the excitement was.

Yet, as David Brooks pointed out, even still:

Forty-five percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 would like to live in New York City.

Richard Florida points out in The Atlantic  that:

Worldwide, people are crowding into a discrete number of mega-regions, systems of multiple cities and their surrounding suburban rings like the Boston–New York–Washington Corridor. 

This is crucual according to Florida:

“A crucial contributory factor in the financial centres’ development over the last two centuries, and even longer,” writes Cassis, “is the arrival of new talent to replenish their energy and their capacity to innovate.” All in all, most places in Asia and the Middle East are still not as inviting to foreign professionals as New York or London. Tokyo is a wonderful city, but Japan remains among the least open of the advanced economies, and admits fewer immigrants than any other member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of 30 market-oriented democracies. Singapore remains for the time being a top-down, socially engineered society. Dubai placed 44th in a recent ranking of global financial centers, near Edinburgh, Bangkok, Lisbon, and Prague. New York’s openness to talent and its critical mass of it—in and outside of finance and banking—will ensure that it remains a global financial center.

This helps account for why “major shifts in capitalist power centers occur at an almost geological pace.” The perverse effect of this dynamism is that:

While the crisis may have begun in New York, it will likely find its fullest bloom in the interior of the country—in older, manufacturing regions whose heydays are long past and in newer, shallow-rooted Sun Belt communities whose recent booms have been fueled in part by real-estate speculation, overdevelopment, and fictitious housing wealth. These typically less affluent places are likely to become less wealthy still in the coming years, and will continue to struggle long after the mega-regional hubs and creative cities have put the crisis behind them.

National Security New York City Politics The War on Terrorism

Opposing Pete King for NY Senate

I didn’t realize that Pete King was planning on making a run for the New York Senate. I liked Pete King for a long time – and he’s now my Congressman. He seems a stand-up guy. He was one of the few Republicans to publicly oppose the efforts to impeach Bill Clinton. Which is why I decided to pick up his novel, Vale of Tears. I could excuse the clunky writing – but what was more difficult to accept was the bigotry towards Muslims and Arab Americans.

Since 9/11, he seems to have made a practice of such Muslim-baiting. Just this year, he demanded the MTA remove subway ads for a mosque in Brooklyn, stating:

They are especially shameful because the ads will be running during the seventh anniversary of September 11, and because the subways are considered a primary target of terrorists.

I’d like to give King the benefit of the doubt here and suggest that his wrath may not have been directed against the ads which simply promoted Islam.1 But either way, I’d be concerned if a man like him were in the Senate. Governor Patterson better pick someone who can take on Pete King.

  1. The ad campaign is also linked by a YouTube video to a controversial imam who was once thought to be possibly connected to the 1994 World Trade Center bombing – but who was cleared and never charged. []
New York City Politics

Caroline Kennedy (cont.)

I admit I don’t get the backlash coming from the potential Caroline Kennedy appointment. I don’t feel the anger, the urgency, the outrage at the idea of appointing someone like Caroline Kennedy. I can understand the arguments being made – but, as with all political issues, there is a gut-level response that is driving the issue forward – a gut-level response that is then justified by a variety of arguments.

Perhaps I’m missing that certain gene that causes people to root against dynasties. I’m not a Yankees fan – but I like their dominance – and I root for them to maintain it, to some extent. I like the fact that the Kennedys are involved in politics – and can usually get elected when they run. If I followed football (soccer), I’d probably be a fan of Manchester United. I don’t think it corrupts either sports or politics when dynasties are present. I don’t viscerally root for the underdog. To be fair – one of the reasons I like dynasties is that they are excellent foils. When the upstart Florida Marlins are playing the dynastic  and storied New York Yankees, it makes the games all the more dramatic. The same was true of Obama when be beat the Clinton machine. I often root for dynasties to do well until they are beaten by a worthy opponent.

But with Caroline Kennedy, that’s not my feeling. I’m not certain she’s the best candidate Gov. Patterson could appoint. But I think she stands a good chance of being an excellent Senator. Most people seem to agree on this point – even as they oppose her appointment.

It’s a very odd argument opponents of Caroline Kennedy are putting forward. Most would acknowledge that Gov. Patterson wants her on the ticket because she would be a very strong candidate drawing many voters in 2010, and that she also would be able to raise money easily, including for his reelection. Yet, the opponents maintain that even though Caroline Kennedy would probably do very well in an election, appointing when she hasn’t run for any office conveys a sense of entitlement. Now – if Kennedy wouldn’t need to run in two years, and again two years after that, I feel like this argument might have more weight.

Life National Security New York City The War on Terrorism

The American People, Properly Informed

For those of you that don’t know, I take the Long Island Rail Road into Manhattan every morning to work. I always get in the first car at my station. When I take the subways, I go from Penn Station to Times Square to Grand Central Station, where I get off to go to the Chrysler Building where I work.

So, reading that a Qaeda group wanted to attack the LIRR during this holiday season hit close to home:

The FBI’s source reportedly told agents of an al Qaeda-connected group’s desire to place bombs or suicide bombers inside the first and last Long Island Rail Road commuter cars and detonate them as the train entered Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan, also used by the Washington-New York-Boston Amtrak system and the New York City subway.

It’s the particulars that are chilling. That and the scare headlines – which were quickly eclipsed by the massive terrorist attack in Mumbai. But it’s not as if I am going to let such a threat change my life, my routine. The article also included a number of caveats – including a suggestion that the FBI wasn’t sure this had moved past the planning stage.

But it seems to me that making this potential means of attack public is quite a positive service, and suggests that maybe the national security infrastructure of the United States finally has figured out the lesson it had failed to learn after September 11:

The federal government cannot be everywhere. The best defense of our way of life, of our institutions, of our government, of our people is the American people themselves – properly informed.

By letting us know, the government is treating us as adults rather than children – and betting that a few million people paying extra attention is worth something.

Life New York City


Today was Manhattanhenge, one of the semi-annual days in which the setting sun lines up with Manhattan’s main street grid.

[Image by sahadeva.]

[Image by the idealist.]

Election 2008 Foreign Policy New York City

A Night With Chuck Hagel

Chuck Hagel


Update: The Hagel event has been postponed due to vote that the Senator will need to be present for on that date.  I’ll let you know when the event is rescheduled to.

Senator Chuck Hagel, long-shot potential Vice President for Obama, likely Cabinet member for McCain or Obama, and the independent maverick that McCain claims to be, will be doing an event in Manhattan next Monday.  It’s well worth going.  The event should be relatively small – so it will allow participants a decent chance to ask a question or to talk to the Senator.

It is being sponsored by the American Business Forum on Europe and has been organized by my good friend, Tobias Dose.  If you can make it, you really should go:

The American Business Forum on Europe

Sven C. Oehme, President
Henry G. Meyer-Oertel, Exec. Director

cordially invites you to a discussion with

The Hon. Chuck Hagel

U.S. Senior Senator from Nebraska (R)


America and Europe in Today’s World

The Major Political and Economic Challenges We Face

Senator Hagel is the author of the just released book “America: Our Next Chapter”

Monday, July 7, 2008
Reception: 6:00 p.m. Presentation: 6:30 p.m. (promptly) <
Networking Reception following the presentation and at the McCann-Erickson Building, NYC, 622 Third Avenue between 40th & 41st Streets
Please RSVP and send payment by 7/2/2008

There will be a charge of $35 for non-members
(This amount can be applied to a $180 annual ABFE membership)

Fax Response sheet is enclosed or e-mail to

The Hon. Chuck Hagel, Nebraska’s senior U.S. Senator, is serving his second term in the United States Senate. He is a member of four Senate committees: Foreign Relations; Banking; Housing and Urban Affairs; Intelligence and Rules. Senator Hagel is the author of “America: Our Next Chapter”, a straight-forward examination of the current state of the United States. The book provides substantial proposals for the challenges of the 21st century. Alan Greenspan says, “America: Our Next Chapter should be required reading,” Former World Bank President James Wolfensohn declared the book “a must read.” Journalist Tom Brokaw states, “this is a book for people who care about their country”.

The American Business Forum on Europe, 405 Lexington Avenue, 37th Fl., New York, NY 10174

New York City

The Sale of an American Landmark: The Chrysler Building

I just opened up the Drudge Report a few moments ago and was momentarily stunned to see a large picture of the building I am currently sitting in over a large, bold, red, and underlined headline. After a spasm of concern – there aren’t very many positive reasons for Drudge to feature a picture of a building as a breaking news headline – I noticed the headline was less urgent than it seemed:


Yet another American landmark being sold.  This time, it happens to be the one I work in each day.

Catholicism Domestic issues Election 2008 Environmental Issues Foreign Policy Iraq Law Morality New York City Obama Politics The War on Terrorism

Pope Endorses Barack Obama in UN Speech

Pope Benedict @ the United Nations

[digg-me]Not quite. But close.

Addressing the United Nations on Friday, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of reducing income inequality; of increasing international cooperation; of respecting the law; of having solidarity with the poor and weak; of opposing (unnecessary)1 war; of “giving attention and encouragement to even the faintest sign of dialogue or desire for reconciliation;” of creating “structures capable of harmonizing the day-to-day unfolding of the lives of people;” of the “protection of the environment…and the climate.” And like Barack Obama, though many conservative Catholics are loathe to admit, the previous pope, Pope John Paul II even specifically opposed the invasion of Iraq.

In the past eight years, the Republican party has come to stand for the right of the president to torture prisoners; for rising inequality and acceptance of corporate fraud; for elevating the executive above the Rule of Law and the other constitutionally co-equal branches of government; for ignoring the climate crisis; for refusing to give aid to the poor and weak because of potential “moral hazards” while bailing out big corporations; for preventive war; for refusing to engage in dialogue with our enemies. Pope Benedict’s speech was a direct challenge to the worldview and policies of the Bush administration and an articulation of basic moral principles and basic responsibilities of the state.

Within these principles articulated by the pope, we can easily find the mainstream Democratic agenda, a rejection of the radical policies of George W. Bush, and more specifically, an endorsement of the school of politics that Barack Obama stands for: talking with our enemies; avoiding unnecessary wars and violence; respecting the Rule of Law; reducing income inequality; promoting access to health care; and protecting the environment.

This is the Democratic agenda.

The Pope explained that it is the responsibility of “every generation [to] engag[e] anew in the arduous search for the right way to order human affairs…motivated by hope.” I would call that a pretty good encapsulation of Obama’s appeal – that he represents a new generation striving to find the best way to manage the world and our nation “motivated by hope”.

Jonah Goldberg may call it fascism; Steve Marlsberg may call such efforts to reduce inequality and allow citizens access to basic needs Communism; Rush Limbaugh may call efforts to focus on the real threat of Al Qaeda in the Pakistani/Afghani border “cut-and-run.” But those who listened to Pope Benedict’s address to the United Nations can see that he stands with those the so-called “conservatives” have labeled fascists, communists, and cowards – and the pope understood that the basic moral values he stood for are the essence of what he called “freedom.”

  1. I inserted unnecessary here although Pope Benedict did not. Although the pope spoke in this speech of avoiding war, I presume he speaks of this in the context of the “just war” theory that has been accepted by him and the rest of the Catholic Church in the past. []
Election 2008 Giuliani New York City Obama Politics The Clintons

Hillary running to be president…of 9/11

Ben Smith at the Politico also picked up on one of my observations from my post about last night’s debate:

Hillary… brought up 9/11, more or less unprompted, three times so far in the debate, a level not seen since Rudy Giuliani dropped out in January.

The three examples:

“For Pastor Wright to have given his first sermon after 9/11 and to have blamed the United States for the attack, which happened in my city of New York, would have been just intolerable for me.”


“If I’m not mistaken, that relationship with Mr. Ayers on this board continued after 9/11 and after his reported comments, which were deeply hurtful to people in New York and, I would hope, to every American, because they were published on 9/11, and he said that he was just sorry they hadn’t done more.”


“I certainly would not meet with Ahmadinejad, because even again today, he made light of 9/11, and said that he’s not even sure it happened and that people actually died.”

She’s not at the “a noun, a verb, and 9/11” level yet – but then she just started playing this card last night…

Domestic issues New York City


This line jumped out at me from yesterday’s New York Times article on the astronomical income brought in by Wall Street’s big shots:

Since 1913, the United States witnessed only one other year of such unequal wealth distribution — 1928, the year before the stock market crashed…