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New York

Housing Crisis Asserted

Housing Crisis Asserted

The architects weigh in

As Kimmelman’s employer keeps reminding us with googly-eyed headlines, rent is soaring. The city’s pandemic-era eviction moratorium has been lifted. Our new mayor is a cop who seems to disdain unhoused people. And the architects of the largest residential transformation in the city today—the supposedly radical campaign to close Rikers Island—insist that incarcerated New Yorkers should be in a better jail, not in apartments.

Foley Square, May 3

Foley Square, May 3

It was weirdly boring until it was devastating, over and over

They told me they’d wanted to be around women. They hadn’t loved the speakers or the claim that Mayor Adams was one of “the men who get it,” but the gathering was, at the very least, a space of shared outrage. Some 14-year-old boys told me the most memorable speeches were the ones that situated the court’s decision within broader struggles and insisted that this wasn’t a single-day or single-issue action.

What’s Disgusting? Union-Busting!

What’s Disgusting? Union-Busting!

A rally at Amazon’s LDJ5 facility

We pedaled in single file, hugging the curb to avoid the trucks. And there was the rally! The spring clothes were bright, the air loud with hip-hop. Some women were selling fruit. Drivers were honking support. The ALU’s logo, three fists thrusting up from an open box, snatched the alienated mojo from the huge boxlike buildings stuffed with billions of smaller boxes and transformed it into solidarity and joy.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Defeat

Salt, Fat, Acid, Defeat

The restaurant before and after Covid

Pandemic-era restaurant culture extends and amplifies forces that were already apparent under the old regime: the numbing frictionlessness of delivery food, the retreat into private spaces, the appification of everything. By raising the cost of staying afloat online, Grubhub and Yelp have contributed more to the demise of Covid-era restaurants than their survival. Delivery workers’ bodies are now deemed essential, but their paychecks remain as murderously trivial as ever.

All Eyes, No Skin

All Eyes, No Skin

On virtual Archtober

When I get tired I stop at an awning above a tall sidewalk table and an unopened Corona, thinking I’m at a bar. It turns out to be a barber shop, but the man inside insists I sit down as long as I like, and even lets me drink his Corona. The sidewalk is uneven, and this particular stretch of Flatbush is dusty and empty. The awning is not a particularly attractive color, nor does it really sit in my memory. But it was not created to be looked at; it was created to be used, and it was.

Everything Must Go

I realized I could no longer discount my feelings

Sometimes you could see where someone had fingernailed away the successive stickers to confirm the original discounted price, in the service of some private calculation or intimate feeling. In this peeling, there was some kind of retracing of the chain of events in capital and carbon that had accumulated into the original prices: cost of material extraction, cost of the labor of manufacture, cost of shipping, cost of marketing—plus obsolete speculation about what the market would bear on top of that.