Congratulations. You have just finished your university studies after six years (masters) of hard work and you are looking for a job. At the same time, you are also looking for an apartment in Manhattan. You want to spread your wings. Build a life for yourself. That is logical and normal.
You can find a job. And a good job indeed. Many companies are begging for (good) employees. But will you be able to pay $4,000 a month for a studio in Manhattan? $3,000 for an apartment of the same square footage in Astoria and a little more in Brooklyn?
I wish you luck – but it’s going to be really hard.
The same applies to a newly married couple. With such rents where will they live? How will they cope? How will they start a family?
The strange thing for the non-expert is that everywhere you go you see bulldozers and cranes. New, theoretical buildings are being thrown up every day.
Take Astoria for example. This decades-old ‘humble’ area is turning into another Manhattan day by day. Already the area of Queensborough Plaza – next to the 59th Street Bridge – has turned into another Manhattan. Incredible skyscrapers have been built that rival those across the river.
And in the other areas, they are tearing down the old small houses and building new ones, much bigger than the ones they demolished.
So what’s going on? How are these prices justified?
In capitalist terminology, this is called supply and demand. It’s just that the demand in New York for houses and apartments is much higher than what is available. And more and more people from the United States, but also from all over the world, want to live in the city that never sleeps.
It’s that simple.
The population, which was 7.3 million in 1990, exceeded 8 million in 2020.
Manhattan will become, as it seems, an island where only the world’s rich will live.
Meanwhile, in areas like Astoria, building construction that would have added 3,000 units, 800 of them at a reduced price, was vetoed by politicians.
What should be done?
Apparently a lot. Already, many New Yorkers are leaving for other states, mainly in the South, where the rents are lower, the climate is better, and the traffic has nothing to do with the nightmare of driving in New York.
So leadership is needed. Men and women willing to displease some people in order to do what is necessary in the best interest of the city.
But I am afraid, as I wrote a few days ago, that Eric Adams, our mayor, cannot reach that high – and time waits for no man. Soon the average rent will reach $5,000 and $6,000.
And who will be able to pay but the rich of America and the world?
What kind of life will this be?