In June 2008 I was walking down Fifth Avenue and saw George Soros’ new book “The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and what it means.” I bought the book, read it, and thought to myself “whew, let’s hope this guy is wrong”. Unfortunately, he was right on the money, and the global financial and housing crisis is almost exactly as he predicted. The video above from 2006 further validates his foresight. He has been politically outspoken and has provoked some passionate rhetoric from the left and the right. Love him or hate him, one can’t argue with his success and foresight.He is one of the few billionaires (estimated above $9 billion) who’s net worth is growing, not shrinking. I would love to know a few things from him. Namely…….
1) What do you think of the stimulus plan?
2) Can you explain to me why Czech prime minister Mirek Topolaneka calls the plan a “way to hell” that will “undermine the stability of the global financial market”?
3) What is your outlook for the housing market in the next 12 months?
4) When will we hit bottom (if we haven’t already)?
I’m hoping to see a new book from him soon that will answer some of these questions, and more. I’ll certainly be paying attention!
The New York Times recently published an article written by Nicolai Ouroussof titled “New York City, Tear Down These Walls”. In the article, he contends that there are some buildings, so ugly in nature, they should be torn down. He goes as far as naming the top contenders. (I personally think he missed a few). I am not as bold as he, to name them here, but I do support his overall position and additionally contend that we are seeing some of the wrong buildings built in the wrong neighborhoods. If we look to the successes of the past, we will find a commonality in the architecture being intuitive in a way that it adds, not detracts to the landscape. History will soon show us that buildings out of context with their surroundings will not resonate as well, if at all, with the people they are attempting to attract. Would you be comfortable living in a sixty story building in an historic neighborhood surrounded by six story pre war loft buildings?
New York Magazine published a similar themed piece about Starchitects and their possible added value (or not). I am all for architecture representing progress and being an expression of our society. Hopefully it pays respect to the past and takes us a direction in the future that we can be proud of in the years that follow.
As the last of the colorful leaves fall from the deciduous trees in the city, it is easier to understand the great gifts provided by our leafy friends during the warmer months. I attended a lecture by New York City Department of Parks & Recreation Commissioner, Adrian Benepe, last week where he outlined a great number of the benefits trees provide on many levels. Aside from the measured effects of slowing climate change, protecting water quality, improving air quality, lowering summer air temperature, conserving natural resources and providing wildlife habitat, there are tangible economic indicators from a real estate perspective as well.
A property’s proximity to a park or other area with trees has a significant impact its value. Just like a landscaped home’s value increases 5 to 11%, New York City’s added street trees increase property values by $52 million each year. Added trees also increase economic activity in business districts and elevate community pride.
I will be sure to remind myself of the significance of trees as an asset for New York City when the buds appear again in the early spring.