Unmasked

It will come as no surprise to regular readers of Quilas that I’ve been wary of No 7‑Eleven NYC from the beginning, but it’s starting to spread to those who may have been followers until now. On February 28, EV Grieve wrote:

evg-bowery-poetry-story

One of the comments to the above-mentioned post:

evg-comment-re-bob-holman-0301

Bob Holman is one of the founders, if not the founder, of No 7‑Eleven NYC.

A search for Bowery Alliance of Neighbors yields:

invite200res.55174433_std

There’s no question that this area has an important history, but there isn’t a single aspect of that history left. Nothing of the past is being preserved, nor would any of them want to preserve it. In fact, they’re not preserving anything, as you’ll soon see. What they’re doing is creating the Bowery Theme Park.

[T]his project will enable the Chinatown, Little Italy, Lower East Side,
and now, the Bowery communities to develop a comprehensive approach
to community planning, centered around history, culture, and
economic development.

Take a look at what National Register designation confers:

Eligibility of property owners (and in certain cases lessees) for federal tax credits on qualifying rehabilitation of historic buildings within the historic district. Owners of depreciable, certified historic properties may take a 20 percent federal income tax credit for the costs of substantial rehabilitation as provided for under the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Any contributing, income-producing building would be eligible for the federal investment tax credit.

Owners of contributing buildings within distressed census tracts are eligible for additional New York State tax credits. Distressed census tracts are those identified as being at or below 100% of the state median family income ($51,691) in the most recent census. On the Bowery, this includes properties on the east side of the street south of East 3rd Street and on the west side south of East Houston Street. …

Private property owners of contributing buildings are eligible for grants and loans administered by New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and other sources

Municipal and not-for-profit owners of listed historic properties may apply for matching state historic preservation grants

Registered properties and properties determined eligible for the Register receive a measure of protection from the effects of federal and/or state agency sponsored, licensed or assisted projects through a notice, review, and consultation process.

What it doesn’t provide is any real protection:

National Register status is an honorific designation. Unlike New York City Landmarks designation, which is not being sought as a part of this effort, there are no restrictions placed on private owners of registered properties in a National Register Historic District. Private property owners may sell, alter or dispose of their property as they wish, although an owner who demolishes a certified registered property may not deduct the costs of demolition from his/her federal income tax.

So that’s what they’ll be gathering to celebrate on the 20th: a host of tax credits and deductions for building- and land-owners.

Democratic control over neighborhoods is not an impossibility. The residents of this area could band together as well. Of course, they wouldn’t have the backing of the city government, or celebrities, or the banks lining up to fund this “preservation”, but they can provide a necessary counter-balance to the gentrification effort.

By way of example, the Clinton Special District Coalition was formed to protect the people who lived in the Clinton Special District (located on the West Side between 41st and 59th Street, from 8th Avenue to the Hudson River). The CSDC fights for social and economic justice, for the rights of poor, low-income and working individuals and families, with a primary focus on strengthening and preserving affordable housing.

The organizers of the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors would run screaming if such an initiative were proposed!

Advertisements