How NIMBYs Use Infrastructure as an Excuse to Oppose Development

Comments (24)
  1. Sebastian says:

    What a BS article.

  2. staten islander says:

    Not every New Yorker wants to live in a crowded dense filthy neighborhood. The low-density neighborhoods of the outer boroughs are among the city’s finest and safest areas. The subway system is maxed out despite what the MTA official stats say. You barely mention the aging water/sewer system. The 3rd water tunnel is years away from completion and by some accounts deBlasio has under-funded it. Many of the city’s sewer treatment plants are nearly over 50 years old (the two on SI are 60 years old) and are over-worked as it is. We have enough people in NYC.

  3. David says:

    Smiling to seriously situations and peacefully talk about can be solved the problem (with reasons), development not war so we can argument but be cool. (I am for whatever)

  4. Mindi Michaelson says:

    It’s not “tribal concerns” as you seem to believe but the fear of loosing a neighborhood ‘s identity that drives the protests. New York is a city of neighborhoods each with its own personality. Thought and planning needs to be put into future development in these established neighborhoods. Arbitrary upsizing is not an across the board solution and until more commitment is made to maintain the integrity of each neighborhood Residents will continue to fight.

  5. antinimby says:

    This article is on point. To the commenter above that says not every New Yorker wants to live in a dense neighborhood…well then they should leave and make room for those that do. With the high prices, it means that there are plenty of people that love to live in a dense, walkable city.

  6. David Letterman says:

    The low-density Italian-American heroin addiction districts in Staten Island are indeed some of the finest and safest areas.

  7. stan chaz says:

    I assume that the writer was born & raised in Calcutta,
    and yearns to feel at home once again.
    Ah yes, home sweet home.
    Can we blame him?
    As for his ugly & dismissive comments about “tribal concerns” standing in the way
    of his Robert-Moses-like schemes for the rest of us,
    (that he would love to ram down our throats):
    – my, you really are a callous, unfeeling and arrogant individual, aren’t you?
    Crucial aspects of your personality certainly seem to be “under-developed”, poor boy.
    Was it the heat in Calcutta perhaps, that stunted your growth as a full & caring human being?
    Is that you DJT? 🙂

  8. Jose Peralta says:

    Yeah, good one Stan Chaz. Or maybe the author realizes that we have a critical shortage of housing in this city, which has resulted in an ever-soaring cost of living.

    If you don’t build enough housing for people, then yes, they’re forced to live in overcrowded conditions, like in Calcutta (Indian cities, by the way, have insane restrictions on development). YOU are the one who seems to be callous and unfeeling, since you would deny people a place to live in order to preserve the status quo. It doesn’t get more selfish than that.

  9. Jose Peralta says:

    What a ridiculous strawman. The author never said he wants to force everyone to live in a “crowded dense filthy neighborhood.” For what it’s worth, there’s a lot more demand for living in dense neighborhoods in NYC than in single-family housing–this is borne out by the fact that people are willing to pay more to live on the Upper East Side than in Annadale. But there’s not enough housing in dense areas to go around, and this is continually causing rents and housing prices to increase in dense areas, while they’ve stagnated on most of Staten Island. So it’s the NIMBYs that are blocking people from living how they want. Tens of thousands of people are forced to leave our area every year because there’s not enough housing, and they’re disproportionately young and poor.

    And I love that you dismiss facts and statistics as “fake news” off-the-bat. We should just ask Staten Islander instead of sending out people to do measurements and compile stats , because he knows better.

    As far as the water system, NYC consumes 50% LESS water today than it did 40 years ago, so there’s plenty of capacity. But I’m sure you’ll dismiss that as “fake news” too:

  10. TOM says:

    Alon Levy: Post-Sandy first concern is elevating ALL our Water Treatment Plants in NYC. If they don’t work–look out.

    Google NYC EPA Project 2b to fix the cracked water tunnel upstate which is the big billion-dollar issue now before you conclude we have water for all and forever–no water, get in the car and leave.

    We are seriously shy of school seats both in Queens and in Southwest Brooklyn. Where do you get info?

  11. Andrew Porter says:

    I was going to post a comment about what a piece of ill-thought-out-crap this is, but I see lots of others got there before me.

  12. staten islander says:

    Housing prices on SI have not stagnated on SI. Now we’ll never have the huge increases that Brooklyn has but that’s nothing new. Different market. Houses in my east shore area sell quickly at or near asking prices. Same for the rest of the island.

  13. Klaus K. says:

    The writer should try using the subway in the areas he cites as underused instead of relying on MTA statistics (it’s not like the MTA doesn’t have an agenda of its own). I can’t speak for every area he cites, but I can say that he is dead wrong about the F and G trains being underutilized in Carroll Gardens. There is never space on those trains during the morning rush hour – so much so that some people walk into Brooklyn Heights to take the 4 or 5.

  14. Mike D says:

    And just like those that got there before you, you bring nothing of substance to the table.

  15. staten islander says:

    Zoning is a local issue as it should be. Note how in NYC more neighborhoods have chosen downzonings over upzonings. Not every neighborhood wants density. The zoning process in NYC is not perfect but we are a democracy.

  16. staten islander says:

    He uses the Sheepshead Bay station as an example. Narrow platforms and the B and Q tracks merge before Prospect Park station, which has been a bottleneck forever then proceed through the DeKalb Avenue bottleneck and the Manhattan Bridge.

    And then there’s this –
    ‘Meanwhile, Chinese New Yorkers suffer disproportionately from overcrowding, and many are recent immigrants who would like to bring family members to the United States.’

    Oh really? Well isn’t that just too damn bad.

  17. antinimby says:

    And if you read the article, it clearly talks about the reasons why some communities are more anti-development than others. However, it does not mean that those that oppose development are doing it for anything more than selfish reasons.

    I find it incredibly hypocritical and illogical that some people who detest density will choose to live in the largest and busiest city in the nation. There’s an entire country out there that is neither crowded or overdeveloped.

  18. antinimby says:

    NYC has decided to be a sanctuary city that welcomes everybody. It’s going to have to make room for all those people.

  19. staten islander says:

    In defiance of federal law. The Federal crackdown on Sanctuary Cities will not be pretty. Picture deBlasio and Cuomo being arrested. It’s a possibility.

  20. Youraptisyourkingdomnotmystreet says:

    This is a great post and you can tell by the NIMBY’s crawling out of the muck to complain about it. Infrastructure is absolutely a bullshit excuse to oppose development because it’s entirely solvable – feel free to demand developers spend money on infrastructure. The 1 Vanderbilt project is a great case and it’s a much better use of the resource than to force non-market housing units so a handful lottery winners can have a lifetime rent-controlled apartment somewhere they otherwise can’t afford.

    NYC’s biggest issue is lack of development and that is the cause of skyrocketing housing costs, which are the cause of the gentrification effect where existing residents are pushed-out en masse due to increasing rents. It makes 100% sense to identify underutilized areas of the city, which exist in large numbers, and to target them for major development. Previous to the past 15 years this almost exclusively occurred inside of Manhattan where numerous underutilized areas have been built-out, filled in, and grown taller. Meanwhile most of the boroughs was available for the same treatment. This is why huge areas, like the well-identified zone around the EMR in western Astoria, are now ripe for massive development of housing. If schools are needed we open schools, if sewers need work we fix sewers, if sidewalks and streets need to be updated for higher pedestrian numbers, bikes, etc, we do that. None of this are difficult problems to solve.

    It’s correct that some people simple like where they live how it is now and never want it to change. These people feel entitled, as “residents,” to determine the future of the entire city around them and blocks and blocks of their neighborhoods. Newsflash, NIMBY’s: you aren’t entitled to the entire neighborhood, merely your own little square. The rest of the city marches on, as it always has, growing and changing. Throughout all of NYC history the character and residents of any particular neighborhood have changed completely over a couple of decades. This is the most New York City thing there is – you fighting it is what is choking NYC from its natural and well-earned vibrancy. You are the problem and when you abuse eveyr process designed to protect against shady developers you undermine those protections for all of us.

    NYC is a dense place – that’s what gives it life. There is not a proposal to take a single-family picket fence neighborhood and bulldoze it to be replaced with high-rises. This is about taking already dense areas full of apartments and shops and mixed-use and making them BETTER by adding new houses, shops, mixed-use, etc. If you idiots would stop wasting your time trying to stop gravity and plate tectonics you could actually win some concessions and participate with the rest of us in shaping the city’s growth. When you take an all-or-nothing approach you often end up with nothing.

    Finally, on the topic of subways, it’s pathetic that we expect so little thanks to the state’s mismanagement of the MTA. A new Utica avenue line could be sent through central brooklyn and into Manhattan (crosstown 23rd st, anyone?) and then up the far west side. Branch off to Maspeth, Elmurst, Northern BLVD, and La Guardia. Then you can redevelop areas along the line into massively increased densities and effectively reduce costs and pain for all in the city. This is the kind of thinking we need, not this whining about a platform being too narrow. DEMAND THE MTA DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. New staircase entrances, widen platforms, whatever. Effective transportation means change and effective development means change and New York Fucking City means change – get on board or get out of the way. That’s how it has always been here and if you disagree you should really learn some history because you’re simply wrong.

  21. CC says:

    Sounds a lot like tribal concerns to me…

  22. staten islander says:

    NYC has always had a variety of neighborhoods with different housing stock and densities. The less-dense neighborhoods are the most livable and have more reasonable home prices.

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