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John, I’m only decorating: David Bowie’s old apartment on sale for $6.5m

The New York apartment where Bowie lived in the 90s is on the market and his pianos included in the price

If youre still mourning David Bowie, and want something to remember him by, then theres one unique piece of Bowie memorabilia you might be interested in. The only drawback? It will cost you the thick end of $6.5m.

The item in question is David Bowies old three-bedroom apartment in New York, in which he lived from 1992 to 2002 with his second wife, Iman. It is being sold through the real estate firm Corcoran for $6.495m.

It should be said, its a fairly splendid setup, located in the famous Essex House apartment block on Central Park South. The living room of apartment 915 has panoramic views of the park, and opens into a stately walnut-panelled office that also faces Central Park the perfect place from which to close the next big deal, write the next bestselling novel or make into a third bedroom, according to the listing.

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David Bowies old living room the furniture belongs to the subsequent owner. Photograph: Corcoran real estate

The apartment also comes with a Yamaha piano that belonged to Bowie, but which he evidently did not feel the need to remove when he left the property. Or perhaps the removers took one look at a grand piano and refused to take it down nine floors.

When Bowie and Iman lived in the apartment, they reportedly had a panic room installed. That has since been converted back into a master bedroom, removing the opportunity for Bowie obsessives to recreate the cocaine-and-paranoia years from the safety of a sealed box.

The couple left the apartment to move downtown, to a property in SoHo that Bowie had bought in 1999.

The listing for the Essex House apartment reads:

Calling all Central Park and music lovers!

Make beautiful music in this elegant, Central Park-facing condominium home that includes a pristine Yamaha piano that was David Bowies! This tremendous home offers a gracious limestone entry foyer and generously proportioned rooms with incredible storage space. Large picture windows frame a clear and direct view of the incomparable Central Park. Look on to the perfect landscape, enjoy the serenity of the trees, flanked by the historic and commanding buildings the view is not to be missed.

The grand-scaled living room measures 28 feet wide and opens into a stately walnut-panelled office that also faces Central Park – the perfect place from which to close the next big deal, write the next bestselling novel or make into a third bedroom. The pass-through kitchen is newly renovated and features top of the line appliances. There are two master-sized bedrooms, with beautifully crafted en-suite baths made of custom marble, porcelain and limestone. The master bedroom offers a separate dressing area and extra large bath with separate deep soaking tub, rain shower and heated floors.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/mar/30/david-bowie-old-apartment-sale-65m-new-york


All under one roof: how malls and cities are becoming indistinguishable

Suburban malls may be a dying breed, but in cities from New York to Hong Kong, new malls are thriving by seamlessly blending into the urban fabric

We didnt expect to see stores, says Yulia, as her husband browses for shoes in one of the shops lining the Oculus, the new focus of New Yorks World Trade Center.

Visiting from Ukraine and on their way to the 9/11 memorial, they were beckoned by the Oculuss unusual architecture: from the outside, the Santiago Calatrava-designed ribbed structure reminds you of a bird or a dinosaur skeleton; inside, it is teaming with tourists taking pictures with selfie sticks.

But the Oculus, named after the eyelike opening at the apex that lets in light, is more than a piece of striking architecture. It exists as a mall, with more than a hundred stores, and as a hub connecting office buildings in Brookfield Place and One World Trade Center with 11 subway lines and Path trains, serving 50,000 commuters every day. Thats a lot of eyeballs on shopfronts.

The mall company Westfield, of course, hopes that the tourists and transit users will stray to the stores. The New New York Place to Be, reads the malls tagline. Shop. Eat. Drink. Play. All under one magnificent roof.

Oculus was Westfields $1.4bn bet that New York, a city known for its love of the street, could also have a successful mall. And judging from the crowds, it counters the narrative that the mall is dead, like those thousands of empty suburban malls dotting the American landscape, ghostboxes decaying on cracked asphalt parking lots.

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Boxpark turned shipping containers into an urban mall that merges directly with the London street. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

Michael Sorkin, professor of architecture at City College of New York, points out that Westfield is an example of a kind of global urbanism. The Westfield mall is virtually indistinguishable from Dubai duty-free, he says, pointing out that the same generic multinational shops are now to be found not just in malls, but on the streets of cities. The effect is compromising and imperial a real estate formula.

Certainly, the Westfield World Trade Center seems to demonstrate that it is not the mall that is declining, but suburbia. The mall, meanwhile, is becoming urban.

In fact, a new breed of shopping centre is integrating so seamlessly into its urban surroundings that it can be difficult to draw any line between city and mall whatsoever. Londons Boxpark, Las Vegass Downtown Container Park and Miamis Brickell City Centre are examples of mall-like environments that try to weave into the street life of a city.

Across the Pacific Ocean from the Oculus, developers in China are experimenting even more radically, with new mall configurations catering to the rapid rise of domestic consumerism and quickly evolving tastes.

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Sino Ocean Taikoo Li in Chengdu, China, an outdoor mall with streets. Photograph: Oval Partnership

In the early 2000s, when enclosed malls were the standard, architect Chris Law of the Oval Partnership proposed an open city concept for San Li Tun, an area in Beijings central business district. He proposed to inject the big box with a heavy dose of public space. He says people had a common reaction to his plan: You guys are crazy.

Instead of laying out asphalt parking lots, Law wanted sidewalks and trees that would cool and shade pedestrian outdoor space. He designed the shops and restaurants around two distinct plazas one brimming with an interactive water feature and a massive screen to televise events, the other for quietly reading a book over a cappuccino.

Rather than designing the whole complex himself, he created a masterplan with an urban design framework for other architects to fill in, making it appear as if the complex grew organically just like cities do, Law says.

As a result, the mall has the look of a modern village complete with irregular facades and zigzagging alleyways. It became a large success, not least for being a pedestrian respite in a city of cars.

The developer then tasked Law to design another outdoor retail development in Chengdu near an ancient temple. Law respectfully designed structures with timber portal frames to match the cultural heritage, laying out the stores and restaurants along intimate, tree-lined lanes. He added a hotel, serviced apartments and an office tower to create a mixed-use district centred around intricate public space.

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An escalator gives the game away at this outdoor retail space in Chengdu, China. Photograph: HeZhenHuan

As innovative as his projects may be, we simply continued the urban pattern that has been around for hundreds of years, Law says. He mentions medieval cities such as Sienna, or those depicted on the Qingming scroll, where shops and food stalls lined thriving public space.

It raises the question: was the enclosed, suburban mall, located far from the city centre, a discontinuity? An invention for the age of cheap fossil fuel?

They certainly waste energy. The typical big box is thick and fat, says Ali Malkawi, professor of architectural technology at Harvard University and founder of the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities. In contrast, the outdoor retail village typically has a smaller ecological footprint. Thin structures allow for the possibility of natural ventilation and daylighting, and hence can be more energy-efficient, Malkawi says.

Malls first appeared in suburbs in the 1950s, when reducing energy was not a priority, says Malkawi, and they were only accessible by car. The more you move shopping away from where people live, the more you increase transportations impact on the environment, he says. (The transport sector accounts for nearly a quarter of all energy-related CO2 emissions.)

Architect Friedrich Ludewig of the firm Acme takes the idea a step futher. Knowing that the point to shopping in stores is to offer something physical that is interesting, otherwise we can do it all online, he designed a suburban mall extension in Melbourne around a town square, with a public library at its centre, not an anchor store.

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Offer something physical or we can all do it online … Friedrich Ludewig, whose suburban mall in Melbourne is designed around a town square with a public library (pictured) at its heart. Photograph: Acme

Customers prefer to be outside and to feel less artificial, Ludewig says of what is, in fact, an outdoor mall. His company has taken steps to create a seamless urban feel. There are guidelines for storefronts, including about colour, to ensure the visual coherence of the public space and avoid screaming yellow storefronts. When there are lots of people shouting, he said, you cant hear anyone.

He also thinks about the right ratio between landscaping and paving of the open spaces, and makes an effort to think about the city planning of how the space is used throughout the day. We spend a lot of time thinking: what does it feel like at Wednesday morning 11am?, when there are not a lot of shoppers around. He also argues that outdoor malls save money by having open spaces and buildings that are naturally ventilated rather than air-conditioned.

Above all, however, he says: It shouldnt feel like something is wrong. He describes a feeling akin to what is known as the uncanny valley: the hypothesis that when human replicas appear almost (but not quite) real, they trigger disgust and revulsion because they seem unhealthy.

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Langham Place, like many Hong Kong malls, is deliberately placed to capture natural pedestrian flows. Photograph: Alamy

The city of Hong Kong solves this issue by going one step further it weaves malls into the very urban fabric.

The city counts more than 300 shopping centres. Most do not perch on asphalt parking lots, but on subway stations and underneath skyscrapers. Hong Kongs transit provider is also a real estate developer, and has capitalised on the value created by its subway stops: it sandwiches malls between stations and skyscrapers, establishing pedestrian streams that irrigate the shopfronts.

Tens of thousands of people often work, live and play in a single megastructure, without ever having to leave. And the mall is deliberately placed on the intersection of all pedestrian flows, between entry points into the structure and the residential, office, and transit functions. These malls are, by design, impossible to miss.

Langham Place, for instance, is a 59-storey complex in Hong Kong that includes retail, a five-star hotel and class-A office space. It is connected to the subway with its own tunnel and pulls in an estimated 100,000 people per day.

My whole life is here, says Katniss. She works in the buildings office, where she also shops, eats her meals and watches movies. Even on her daysoff, she enjoys going on dates in the malls soaring atrium, and drinking coffee near the huge escalator.

This expresscalator whisks people up four storeys in a matter of seconds. To get shoppers back down, the Jerde Partnership designed an ingenious retail-lined downward spiral path, shaped like a corkscrew. Langham Places retail portion alone measures 15 storeys, which is a skyscraper in its own right a vertical mall.

On both sides of the Pacific, the mall is not dead. It has simply transformed into an integrated part of cities themselves.

For Sorkin, that comes with a risk. While the idea of the shopping mall becoming urban has a certain appeal, the net effect is to turn the city into a shopping mall.

Stefan Als books include Mall City: Hong Kongs Dreamworlds of Consumption and The Strip: Las Vegas and the Architecture of the American Dream

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/mar/16/malls-cities-become-one-and-same


Will New York get a Brexit boost to cancel out feared ‘Trump slump’?

While European cities led by Paris and Frankfurt wage campaigns for Londons financial business, some experts predict New York could benefit most of all from the fallout of Brexit on the UK capital

New York and London function as two prongs of one global economy. Banks and other financial companies headquartered in New York usually have their second biggest offices in the British capital, and vice versa.

For years, thats made economic sense. For London-based companies, New York provides an unparalleled density of financial firms, a regulatory framework in which to do business, and access to non-European markets. London provides much of the same for New York-based companies who need access to European markets.

Unfortunately for London, at least Brexit could change all of that: an isolated UK could mean financial firms would have a hard time accessing and doing business with other European markets. And while several EU rivals, from Frankfurt to Paris to Madrid to Amsterdam, are waging campaigns for Londons financial businesses, New York with its already established financial sector and finance-friendly regulatory environment could get the majority of Brexits financial runoff, according to some experts.

And this has New Yorkers bracing for a wave of British capital that could affect not only the financial industry but the entire city, from cultural production to housing.

People financial people, consultants, bankers already started calling looking for apartments two or three months ago, says Gennady Perepada, a real estate consultant who specialises in helping foreign millionaires and billionaires buy apartments in New York. Any problem thats not in New York is good for New York.

London and New Yorks financial industry rivalry goes back decades, and the two cities jockey for the title of biggest financial centre each year. According to Z/Yen, a London-based business think tank, London currently outranks New York by just one point on their scale. The next financial centre, Singapore, is 42 points behind New York.

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The New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

In other words, New York and London stand alone as centres for global finance, far ahead of the competition. Thats for a few simple reasons: both have a tremendous density of talent, they house large groups of ancillary financial service professionals lawyers, accountants, consultants and, most importantly, their clearing houses (the places where investors and sellers can trade in complex financial instruments) are the worlds most developed, meaning London and New York are the only places where all of the worlds major currencies can be traded.

The UK has over one million people employed in finance, says Vincenzo Scarpetta, a senior policy analyst at the think tank Open Europe. The whole city of Frankfurt, by comparison, has 725,000 inhabitants. So there are only a few global centres where the industry can really go.

Indeed, New York is such an obvious choice for capital fleeing from London post-Brexit that it seems, unlike other European cities, it hasnt had to move a finger to convince British investors to consider taking the leap.

Ive talked to CEOs who are being heavily wooed by Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin, Frankfurt. Theyve sent out delegations, had formal presentations, says Kathryn Wylde, CEO of the Partnership for New York City, which represents and lobbies for the financial industry and other corporations here. Is New York doing anything similar? No.

Wylde and others say its because New York already has more immediate advantages: a larger talent pool than any of those cities plus more English speakers, and a pre-existing regulatory system for complex financial transactions such as derivatives.

But its also because any benefit for New York will take a while to materialise, so theres no rush to woo financial firms. Wylde envisions a slow bleed from Britain, not a flood: the majority of jobs in financial services are mid-level jobs, she points out, and the expensiveness of New York makes it unlikely companies would uproot their support and administrative staff for its shores.

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Rents have already skyrocketed in New York. Photograph: Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Instead, she says, headquarters of financial institutions that need to attract top international talent would be the ones relocating but slowly. These are long-term implications that really depend on how Brexit shakes out.

In New York, however, nearly every industry is tied into finance, and the industries most closely associated with it such as real estate are already feeling impacts post-Brexit, albeit at a low level.

Money-seeking New York or London will now fall in New York instead, says Will Silverman, managing director of investment sales at Hodges Ward Elliott, a commercial real estate investment firm based in London which recently opened offices in New York. But its probably actually less impactful than people thought it would be, especially if Brexit takes forever, and is walked back at all.

Still, some New Yorkers are worried about what global market fluctuations will do to the city. New Yorks theatre scene, for example, is heavily reliant on British and other foreign capital.

Whenever theres a global event, investors and consumers freeze up and stop reaching for their wallets, says Ken Davenport, a long-time Broadway producer. But there hasnt been a freeze yet, and he says that even with Brexit, people need to be entertained, so hes not too worried.

Im more worried about what Brexit will do to the West End than to Broadway, he adds.

The biggest concern, it seems, comes from New Yorks most vulnerable, who have been increasingly destabilised by the citys globalised economy. Rents in New York have skyrocketed in the last decade, and that means any new wave of capital fleeing Britain and entering New York could put further pressure on previously poor neighbourhoods already feeling a housing crunch, leading to even more evictions and rent increases.

In Brooklyn for example, many condo projects rely on billions of dollars from foreign investors seeking to place their money in economies more stable than those of their home countries. If the UKs economy destabilises because of Brexit, there could be even more capital finding its way into buildings in vulnerable neighbourhoods.

A lot of the rent-stabilised buildings here are being bought up by foreign investors, says Imani Henry, an anti-gentrification activist in the Flatbush neighbourhood of Brooklyn. Theyre being wooed with citizenship and tax breaks, and meanwhile we have entire blocks of businesses closing because of high rents.

Ironically, for those nervous about the effects of Brexit, Donald Trump may yet prove their saving grace. His election as the 45th US president may destabilise its economy enough to overwhelm any effect that capital from the UK could have on New York.

If the UK has excluded itself from the world economy, New York will gain. That was my first thought, until Trump was elected, says Richard Florida, director of cities at the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto. Trump is worse for the global economy than Brexit, so they kind of balance each other out.

Follow Guardian Cities on Twitter and Facebook to join the discussion

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jan/24/new-york-brexit-boost-trump-slump-fears-financial-business


The Art of the Deal by Donald J Trump with Tony Schwartz digested read

A timely reissue of the business tycoon/president-elects collected entrepreneurial advice from 1987 is redacted by John Crace

I dont do it for the money. Ive got more money than Ill ever need. Some of it yours. Lets face it, you dont file for bankruptcy six times if youre planning on paying your dues. The key to making the best deal is to let others take the hit. I do it because I can. If you can get away with losing over $1bn on a deal, youd have to be a schmuck not to. Theres no way that Donald J Trump is ever going to let himself be one of those deadbeat Americans with no hope and no prospects. No sir. And thats why were shamelessly republishing this load of tosh from 1987. Heres a diary of a typical Trump week.

Monday 9am. Call my broker, Alan Greenberg, to buy $25m worth of stock in Holiday Inns. I sense its undervalued. As we speak, its value increases to $30m. My cock goes hard and I decide to sell.

Tuesday 3pm. Try to evict Carly Simon and Mia Farrow from their rent-controlled apartments, but both want to play hardball. Their loss. When you do battle with the Trumpster, theres only one winner.

Wednesday 1pm. Lunch with Ivana. Try to grope her pussy. Probably not the best time to tell her about Melania.

Thursday 5pm. Some kid at the door says hes my son. Tell him to come back when hes made his first $10m.

Friday 10am. The banks foreclose on Trump Taj Mahal casino putting thousands of people out of work. But at least I come away with $50m. My cock goes hard again.

My style of dealing is quite straightforward: 1) Get as much as you can for yourself; 2) Theres always somebody stupider than you out there; 3) Any attention is better than none; 4) Promise people the Earth even if you know you can never deliver; 5) Get yourself a top haircut.

The most important influence on me when I was growing up was my father, Fred Trump. He taught me everything I needed to know about making money. If he had a fault, it was that he was not narcissistic enough. Fred never named a tower after himself. He also wasted too much time buying properties for deadbeats. If theres one thing Ive learned from real estate, its that poor people on zero-hours contracts just dont know how to look after themselves.

My first deal in Cincinnati taught me that lesson. Having persuaded the banks to lend me the money, I put the day-to-day management of the rebuild in charge of a man I knew to be a conman. I figured he would con the contractors far more than he would con me, so I would end up ahead on the deal. No flies on the Don! Though I was glad to sell the houses off for a $10m profit before the market crashed.

In 1974, I moved into the New York property market when I bought the Commodore Hotel near Grand Central Station. It was rundown and operating at a loss and everyone thought it was a turkey, but I could immediately see its potential. As usual, I was proved 100% right and made $280m in an afternoon after renaming the hotel Trump Plaza.

I then built Trump Tower after buying a department store whose owner didnt understand its true worth. That project taught me that most politicians are just in the game for themselves. Its a mentality I just cant understand. With Trump Tower, I was determined to build as big as possible and the results speak for themselves. I have my own apartment on the top three floors and employ some limey called Nigel Farage as my lift attendant. It could be worse. I could have had Piers Morgan working for me. Can you believe that man? I met him once for five minutes on a reality game show and he hasnt stopped going on about it ever since. The guy must have nearly as big a personality disorder as me.

After Trump Tower came Trump Castle, Trump Palace, Trump Island, Trump White House and Trump Great Wall of Trump. Basically, it was the same deal every time. I was fabulously brilliant and made a huge amount of money for myself while everybody else lost big time. I was living the American dream. Bankrupt one day, rich the next. But my biggest success is the 120-storey Trump Toilet that can flush every Muslim, Mexican and gay back into the sewers where they belong. It might even come in useful for this book.

Digested read, digested: The American nightmare.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/nov/20/the-art-of-the-deal-by-donald-j-trump-with-tony-schwartz-digested-read


Trump Tower becomes focus for protesters and partisans of New York

The Republican president-elects base, a hitherto unremarkable building in midtown Manhattan, is now subject to tight security and a no-fly zone

Perhaps no other building has shot from irrelevance to epicenter as quickly as Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan.

Following Donald J Trumps shock of a winning campaign, the home of the president-elect has drawn to its doorstep the full presidential protection apparatus, as well as both sides of a deeply divided nation.

Hes a male chauvinist, a fucking rapist! yelled a woman, streaming the experience to the world on her phone. Fuck Trump!

Scuse me! There are kids here, another woman yelled, looking harried as she pushed through the crowd with a stroller, a tiny hand grasping hers.

A circus of protesters, supporters, tourists, gawkers and New Yorkers just trying to get where they were going formed in front of Trumps home by the end of the week. Pedestrian traffic rivaled Times Square, as police arbitrarily cordoned off corners. Press were kept in a pen.

A uniformed cop adjusting barricades remarked: This building was never important until just a couple days ago.

The gray-glassed skyscraper on 56th Street and 5th Avenue was, on Monday, just a tower of steel built atop Gucci and Tiffany & Company stores. By Wednesday, it became the site of protests and pleas, rancor and adulation. The stink of a bitter campaign lingered over the building.

Trump eat shit! yelled one passerby. Another yelled back, What about Bill Clinton? his phone raised above the crowd.

A man with a sign scribbled on a spiral-bound notebook yelled, Antisemitism is not OK! The man, from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, said he came to protest about the way Jewish journalists were attacked, during the campaign. He asked to be identified by James G, because he feared retaliation. I guess I just feel vulnerable right now, James said. This is the first time Ive ever protested anything.

Others approached him and wondered aloud whether Trump would, quote the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a fraudulent early 20th-century document used to justify antisemitism.

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Hundreds protest near Trump Tower in Manhattan. Photograph: Nathanael/Rex/Shutterstock

Added security in front of the building made it look more like a fortress than the monument to luxury it was presumably meant to embody. The Federal Aviation Administration instituted a no-fly zone in the area. Residents of the buildings, at Trump Tower and along the street, were required to show ID to get past barriers, New York police officers and the US Secret Service.

New York area newspapers have reported that residents are considering moving from the tower.

These are wealthy people. They dont need this, and they cant take it any longer, an unnamed real estate broker told the New York Post. They no longer want to stay there. Some of them are already planning on moving out, and theyll decide later whether or not they want to sell.

Deliveries of soda, dry cleaning, stationery and catering were all eyeballed for authenticity before guards let them behind blockades.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/11/trump-tower-protesters-new-york-security


Will Trump’s former neighborhood vote for him? ‘Unequivocally, absolutely not’

Employees of the private school he attended and residents of the upper-middle-class neighborhood where he grew up express concern about the GOP nominee

In his 1987 book, The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump recalled punching his second-grade music teacher in the face: Because I didnt think he knew anything about music.

The alleged recipient of the punch, who taught Trump at the private Kew-Forest school in Queens, New York, would later insist it never happened.

Even so, it seems Trump is still an unpopular figure among the schools staff.

I dont think any of us that work here are proud that he went here, one employee told the Guardian on Monday morning.

The woman requested anonymity because some of the parents here are gung-ho for Trump. She said she did not plan to vote for Kew-Forests most famous alumnus.

Unequivocally, absolutely not. Because of who he is. His stance on women, on immigrants, on vets, on the disabled, and just Trump as a person, she said.

Trumps father pulled him out of the Kew-Forest school when he was 13 years old after numerous misdemeanors. Trump was sent to the New York military academy, located 70 miles north in Cornwall-on-Hudson, in upstate New York.

For Trump it meant leaving behind both his school and the Trump family home, located in the upper-middle-class neighborhood of Jamaica Estates.

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Donald Trumps childhood home in the Jamaica Estates neighborhood of Queens. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

If that experience was jarring for the teenage Trump, a jarring experience for the septuagenarian Trump might be learning that he isnt very popular in his old neighborhood.

The shit hes said its just so disrespectful, said Steven Morello, a 19-year-old college student. He lives around half a mile from the old Trump homestead.

Like getting rid of all the Muslims. I know its not going to happen, hes not going to get all Muslims kicked out. But still.

Morello said that a lot of Muslims live in Jamaica Estates. The neighborhood was whiter when Trump was growing up here, but 45% of residents were foreign-born according to the 2000 census, with substantial Bangladeshi, Filipino and Haitian populations.

Trumps childhood home was built by his real estate mogul father and is still standing, although it is no longer in the Trump family. The home, on Midland Parkway, is a two-story redbrick with four large white columns on front of the porch. It has 23 rooms and nine bathrooms, according to the New York Times.

No one answered the door on Monday, although a Range Rover was parked in the driveway.

Like many houses in the neighborhood, Trumps former residence is vaulted on the street, with stairs winding up to the doorway. The imposing white columns are a typically extravagant detail adorning many houses in the neighborhood.

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Jamaica Estates, where Donald Trump grew up. Photograph: Mapbox, OpenStreetMap

Down from the old Trump place theres a house with a huge spire on one corner, and a stone folly on the lawn. Opposite, one home has a 20ft glass window looming over the street. One house had a courtyard. Many had lamps designed to look like old-fashioned gas lights.

There were few people walking around Midland Parkway. The only real signs of life were landscaping trucks. It seemed Monday was lawn maintenance day, with five separate crews blowing leaves off lawns.

One crew was working on the house next to Trumps former home. A man named Miguel, who was unloading a lawn-mower from a trailer, was surprised to learn Trump had grown up in the area. He described Trump as no good.

He doesnt like Mexicans, Miguel said. He said he was from Guatemala and wont be voting as he doesnt have papers.

There were no Trump signs on the businessmans childhood street, although it seemed as if the neighborhood was doing its best to ignore the election altogether.

The Guardian only saw one Clinton sign, and not many people in the area were keen to talk about Trump. Even if they were aware that he was from the neighborhood.

Oh, I know exactly where he grew up, said a man called Jean, who asked his last name not be used. He said he lived in the neighborhood, although not on Midland Parkway itself.

Im not voting for either of them, Jean, 61, said. One of them is a liar. The other is crazy.

Jean said he believed Trump to be the crazy one. He took issue with Trumps stance on immigration.

Its a country that was based on immigration. How can you ban people coming in? Its impossible to do it.

Jean said he was originally from Haiti. The Guardian asked how he felt about Trumps comments on Hispanic people.

It hurts, Jean said.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/07/donald-trump-jamaica-estates-new-york-election-day


Jay McInerney: ‘You can only blow up your life so many times before it becomes ridiculous’

With Bright Lights, Big City, the novelist established himself as the chronicler of New Yorks hedonistic 80s elite. Thirty years and four marriages later, he is still fascinated by wealth and Donald Trump though his friendship with Bret Easton Ellis is flagging …

It is more than 30 years since Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerneys first and most famous novel was published, and everything and nothing has changed. The 61-year-old still lives in Manhattan, in apenthouse a few blocks from one of his first addresses in New York. (In the early 1980s, the rent on his Bowery apartment was $375 a month. A night at the Bowery Hotel, where McInerney stayed last week while his air conditioning was being fixed, is $425). He doesnt snort cocaine in club bathrooms any more, but when hes in the city, he still goes out every night. And he retains a charm perennially described as boyish but that strikes me, today, as something more tentative, a state ofmild bafflement that seems poised between hopefulness and the ever-present threat of disappointment.

The most unwavering aspect of McInerneys life, at least as it pertains to his public image as a novelist, is his identification with the upper echelons of New York society, an affiliation that has earned him a reputation over the years as a social butterfly. McInerney is the first to say of his own experience: It became alittle unrepresentative. Successful novelist is not an everyman category, and to add, somewhat ruefully, that unlike the protagonist of his latest novel, Bright, Precious Days, who struggles to raise kids in New York on a publishing salary, when McInerneys own children were born, I was actually pretty flush.

The novelists divorce from Helen Bransford, his third wife and his childrens mother, wiped him out financially, but his fourth wife, Anne Hearst, is an heiress and a certified member of the Upper East Side social crowd, the ins and outs of which continue to preoccupy his work. In light of all this, I had expected to find someone a little mannered, a touch absurd in the Tom Wolfe style. Instead, this morning, McInerney is guileless to a degree that makes me feel vaguely anxious for him.

Bright, Precious Days is the third novel in a series, after Brightness Falls and The Good Life, and chronicles the lives of Russell and Corrine Calloway, who came to New York in the 1980s chasing a literary dream and woke to find themselves, at 50, in a small apartment with two children, one bathroom and no money for summer plans. McInerney calls this the life not lived; had he not become a successful writer, he would in all likelihood have become an editor like Russell Calloway, one of the stretched middle classes in a city increasingly hostile to anyone not on or married to a banking salary. Theyre lucky and privileged in some ways, hesays. But in other ways most 50-year-old parents would like to have some space and multiple bathrooms. These are the kind of sacrifices people make to stay in Manhattan. Is the price of being a New Yorker worth it?

This question and the assumptions underpinning it are, as with the focus of so much of McInerneys work, vulnerable to a charge of so what?. The Calloways, who live above their means and knock around town with hedge fund managers and billionaires, might move out of the city to a perfectly good life elsewhere. That they cant bring themselves to go not even to the suburbs, but merely uptown to Harlem is not a drama with wide-ranging appeal. Meanwhile, their creators view from the penthouse can come across, in these times, as a little unseemly. Beyond the exigencies of the story, the rich matter, says McInerney, because, I think as a writer its certainly interesting to observe them. And I think not enough people do. These people have a huge influence on the way that we all live. And I do think these [hedge fund] guys are usually either figures of satire or weird wish fulfilment girly romance-novel fantasy. But more often theyre objects of derision.

There is an assumption of philistinism, I say.

Exactly. And sometimes its justified. I had dinner with a friend of mine last night whos a Wall Street guy, and hes on the board of the Whitney Museum, hes the major patron of the Roundabout Theatre. Hes involved in so many cultural and charitable activities I admire that. I know him because hes a wine collector. I make fun of wine collectors; some of them are philistines. But I dont know. I try to keep an open mind.

McInerney is, famously, a wine collector himself and his enthusiasm for his billionaire chums on the scene is so artless, it feels a little grudging to hold it against him. Nonetheless, a few months ago, his old friend Bret Easton Ellis took McInerney to task, telling the Sunday Times that their friendship had cooled because Easton Ellis wasnt rich enough for McInerney.

McInerney
McInerney and Bret Easton Ellis on the town together in 1990. Photograph: Catherine McGann/Getty Images

Huh! says McInerney. I didnt see that! He looks taken aback. Actually, Isay, Easton Elliss first charge was that their friendship had cooled because McInerney didnt like how his friend had portrayed him in his novel, Lunar Park. I actually thought it was very fun, says McInerney and laughs, mirthlessly. He insists on saying that. I thought it was very amusing. Bret never says … you can never take anything he says straight. Hes always gone for effect. Up until a couple of years ago, Isaw him pretty regularly. I hope to seehim next month when I go to LA on book tour. We were very, very close. I think when Bret decided to leave New York he chose to reject a lot of what he left behind. He had a very hard time here in the end and I think that, basically, hes very down on New York for very complicated reasons some personal, some symbolic and Ithink Irepresent New York and his old life, including some very difficult aspects.

In their heyday, the two men, along with the novelist Tama Janowitz, formed a literary rat pack and were frequently out on the town until dawn. McInerney gives a big sigh. Personally, Im a little sad about his wholesale rejection of the city. Hes been saying for the last 10 years that New Yorks over, New Yorks over. Well, just because you chose to leave, doesnt mean everything ended.

One thing that strikes me about McInerneys image in that era is that he was only a bad boy in comparison to some perversely old-fashioned idea of the novelist. Unlike Edward St Aubyn, say, McInerney never seemed in any real danger of falling down a drugs hole never to return.

No, no, I wasnt that guy, he laughs. I was the guy who, after staying up till dawn, would feel horribly hungover and remorseful for the next few days, before I went out and did it again. What is that book of [St Aubyns], set in New York? Its just gruelling. And wonderful.

He means Bad News, the second in St Aubyns series of five autobiographical novels that describes how he nearly died from a heroin overdose while in New York in the 80s. It makes me think, Hey, Im not so bad! He was so far out there. Also, I had to write.

You werent privately funded, I say.

I wasnt. I graduated from college and my parents said goodbye and good luck. They paid my tuition, and that was it. So I was scrambling around. When I first came to New York, I was writing freelance book reviews, doing freelance copy editing. Until I published Bright Lights, I was very strapped. Which Im, frankly, grateful for. Ive seen far too many trust fund kids fail to launch in any direction except down.

McInerney
McInerney with his fourth wife, Anne Hearst, in 2005. Photograph: Startraks Photo/Rex/Shutterstock

McInerney grew up all over the US as his father, a sales and marketing executive, frequently changed jobs, eventually settling in Pittsfield, Massachusetts for his high-school years and graduating from Williams College in 1976. He went on to attain a masters degree, studying writing under Raymond Carver, at Syracuse University, and then moved to New York, where he set about living the rackety life that would provide the material for his first novel.

Bright Lights sold millions of copies when it came out in the mid-80s and established McInerney as an arresting new talent and, perhaps,, thanks to the vigour and innovation of that book, with its famous second-person narrative you are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning as a more literary novelist than he would turn out to be. In Bright, Precious Days, there are many good, sharp scenes that nail the social swirl and hypocrisy of wealthy New York, but there isnt much in the way of real psychological acuity, and many of the characters struggle to rise above the level of stereotype. McInerney has, it seems to me, suffered over the years bytrying to flog himself into a posher novelist than he naturally is.

Either way, he seems touchingly pleased with the good reviews the novel has earned in the US. For years, I felt like I had been paying for the success of Bright Lights, Big City; my perceived manner of life, whether its the alleged partying or being a semi-public figure, or being comfortably off. I feel like, with this book, it was finally judged on its merits. There are a lot of people out there who resented me. Ihope thats over.

Most novelists who read their own reviews can probably recite by rote the best and worst lines, but few would expose themselves to potential ridicule by doing so in public. McInerney is so game and, in this regard, so likable that he plunges in regardless, quoting word for word not one, but two Janet Maslin reviews in the New York Times, one of which is seven years old. Her review of his latest novel was a little cryptic, he says. But then when she said, Please, Mr McInerney, write another, I thought, I guess she likes it. Because her review of my short stories His idea of etiquette is holding a girls hair while she snorts a line of cocaine was favourable but very prickly.

McInerney is surely right when he says his early fame and wealth tipped opinion against him. Twenty years ago, when his twins were born, he was living in very un-writerly style in a four-bedroom co-op in the Carlyle hotel. (It was originally a two-bedroom, but, when the twins arrived, he bought the co-op downstairs from his friend Stephen Fry, and knocked through). And look I wish I had been more sensible. I wish I had invested more wisely. I wish I had bought the painting that Jean-Michel Basquiat offerred me at three in the morning, for $700. It would be worth like $30m today. I didnt invest wisely, I didnt conserve the money. I got divorced three times, which squandered money. On the other hand, I havent been a trainwreck, either. Ive been stumbling along fairly successfully.

His worst financial period was in 2000, when McInerney was overdue by a year in delivering The Good Life and living alone in a one-bedroom apartment. I was really up against the wall. I was getting divorced and trying to take care of the kids, and I had to really produce to get my way out of this. I was in debt. It was boom and bust. The Carlyle apartment mostly went to my ex-wife and kids which is as it should be. I dont regret any of that.

McInerney
McInerney in 2006: he likes his fine wine. Photograph: David Howells/Rex/Shutterstock

He and his ex-wife remained on good terms, which is characteristic of McInerney. Of the various exes, he says, including the ones that I didnt marry, Im close to all but one or two. One knows men like this and they are always on good terms with their exes, always given the benefit of the doubt by their women on the basis of likability, affability and a mild but irresistible propensity to appear slightly lost. To marry four times is, of course, not a sign of cynicism, but its opposite. I am an optimistic person. I like to think Im romantic. McInerney shrugs and looks pained. I also think Ive settled down. You can only blow up your life so many times before it becomes a little ridiculous.

In other words, he grew up and is now something of an elder statesman a scary thought. Well, Ive been waiting! The trilogy is an attempt by McInerney to take a mature, panoramic view of New York and some aspects of that aremore successful than others. The publishing world is, of course, very well rendered, but Corrine Calloway runs a food bank in the Bronx and there is some excruciating dialect Dont you be talking bout my kids. Aint none ayo fuckin bidness from the characters there, to whom Corrine ministers before popping off to lunch at the Four Seasons with her billionaire lover. Imention Jonathan Franzens spat overrace the novelists confession, in an interview in Slate, that he doesnt write books about race because, I dont have very many blackfriends.

Did he? I missed that one. Oh lord. Well. On the one hand I suppose I understand that response. On the other hand, Ithink if youre someone like Jonathan Franzen, who attempts to write on the grand scale about the large issues of the republic, and of existence, I can understand why somebody noticed this omission. Its true. Now that I think about it, there arent any black characters in his books. Well, far be it from me to criticise Franzen. Hes an important novelist. But yeah, suddenly it does seem slightly surprising. McInerney laughs good-naturedly. I hadnt thought of his work in that way, but looking back, yup: white, white, white.

The current political landscape is one that, along with everyone else in the US, McInerney can only look on at in wonder. In the 2008 election, he was an early Obama supporter and says of his tenure: I dont think hes done a terrible job, given what hes faced. Im not sure who couldve dealt with that obstructionist Republican congress; a Lyndon Johnson, or someone with slicker legislative skills couldve brought them around a little, maybe, although obstructionism is the religion of these rightwing republicans.

Incredibly, Rudy Giuliani, currently stumping for Trump, officiated at McInerneys fourth wedding. They havent met this election season but generally, When I see him,I just avoid the subject of politics altogether, because I know were not going to agree on anything.

As for Trump: Hes this cartoon of aNew York tycoon, and barely a tycoon at that. I have friends in the real estate business and they say, number one, he has hugely overinflated his wealth, and number two, hes impossible to do business with; hes not trustworthy, he sues everybody. Hes not well regarded in that community.

Its the community McInerney holdsdear. And seriously, he was not a presence on the Upper East Side social world. Hes not charitable, or philanthropic and hes not social. One of the reasons many of us think he wont release his tax returns is that hes never given anything to charity in his life. As a New Yorker, I regret that hes associated with the city I love.

Whenever McInerney starts a new novel, he has to clear out of the city to Vermont, or Rhode Island, until he has the thing under way. But he always comes back. And when hes in New York, he really does go out every night. Every night, he says. Otherwise, I dont know; thats the point of New York?

It is this, 30 years down the line, that distinguishes McInerney from so many other burnt-out veterans of his city and his trade the utter lack of a jaded world view. This is a nice apartment, he says, enthusiasm rising. But most of what Im paying for is out there.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/nov/01/jay-mcinerney-regret-trump-associated-city-i-love-new-york-bright-lights


New Yorkers left in a pickle by news famous Carnegie Deli to close

Restaurant in shadow of Billionaires Row was setting for a Woody Allen masterpiece but legal beefs and business pressures grew too much for owner

Theyre calling it pastrami on cry: after nearly eight decades of serving 4in-high sandwiches to hungry New Yorkers and tourists, the Carnegie Deli has announced that it will close its doors at the end of 2016.

The Jewish delicatessen, open since 1937 and known for its gruff wait staff and massive sandwiches its motto: If you can finish your meal, weve done something wrong announced its impending closure in a Facebook post on Friday.

Speaking to staff in an emotional address, owner Marian Harper Levine said the stresses of running a restaurant in New York City had grown too much to bear.

The restaurant business is one of the hardest jobs in New York City, she said. At this stage in my life, the early morning to late-night days have taken a toll, along with my sleepless nights and gruelling hours.

On Seventh Avenue at West 55th, in midtown Manhattan and in the shadow of rising towers on Billionaires Row, the Carnegie is one of few businesses surviving from an era before rampant corporate investment and rising commercial rents. Recently, though, times have been hard.

In 2014, the delis owners were ordered to pay a $2.65m settlement to 25 employees who alleged they had been cheated out of fair wages. Harper then went through a contentious divorce, in which she claimed her husband, Sandy Levine, had shared secret recipes with his girlfriend, whose family allegedly launched a rogue Carnegie Deli in Thailand.

From April 2015, the deli was closed for more than nine months after the utility firm Con Edison discovered an illegal gas line hookup that had been working for six years, similar to a hookup that caused an explosion in the East Village, killing two people and destroying Pommes Frites, another famous restaurant. A fine and a backdated utilities bill of more than $40,000 followed.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/01/carnegie-deli-new-york-closes-woody-allen


Life in Chelsea one day after the New York bombing

(CNN)New Yorkers who live near the site of a powerful explosion in Manhattan waited to get back in their homes Sunday and exchanged stories about the frightening moments after the blast.

As they waited for further word on the cause, people who felt and heard the detonation said they had been shaken but would carry on with their lives.
    “I feel a little bit insecure, but we have to do what we have to do,” said Omar Len, a real estate investor who was visiting a friend on Saturday night in the building directly next to the blast site.
    “There’s nothing you can do, really,” Len said. “You have to read their mind in order to prevent this. Anybody can be around us that has that mentality. Our lives continue.”
    The explosion, which injured 29 people, rocked the Chelsea neighborhood at 8:30 p.m. By morning, authorities had reopened most streets nearby, but they still blocked off West 23rd Street, where the blast happened. Some subway entrances remained closed.
    Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters on Sunday that “a bomb exploding in New York is obviously an act of terrorism,” but that there was no evidence tying the blast to known terror organizations.

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    “My friend thought it was thunder. I said, that doesn’t sound like thunder,” said Crissy Holland, who lives a block uptown from the explosion. “It sounded like someone took a barge and threw it all the way off a building.”
    Wendy Baboolal said she had just arrived in New York from Trinidad and was taking a nap in her hotel room half a block west when the detonation shook her awake.
    “I was asleep and it rocked me. I felt it in my chest,” she said. “When I looked out the window, I saw people just running.”
    When Baboolal walked outside, “I saw a lot of people, a lot of cops, the fire people, a lot of ambulances were here,” she said. “It was frenzied, people wondering what happened.”
    A tense calm was restored within minutes as police began closing off nearby blocks and moving onlookers away. People leaving restaurants and a play in the neighborhood stood around checking their phones for news.
    Baboolal said she visits New York frequently and sometimes stays with an aunt upstate. But “I love the city, so I wanted to be in the city itself,” she said. “I wasn’t scared. I love New York so much, so what’s the problem?”

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/18/us/new-york-chelsea-mood/index.html


    Clinton and Trump join families of 9/11 victims at ‘place of reverence’

    Survivors and relatives share stories and moments of silence at Ground Zero, where nominees make rare joint appearance until Clinton leaves after feeling unwell

    Presidential rivals Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump visited Ground Zero in New York on Sunday, for ceremonies marking the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001. Their unusual appearance at the same event ended early, when Clinton felt unwell and left.

    Just two weeks before the first presidential debate and 58 days before election day on 8 November, the Democratic and Republican nominees were present to pay silent tribute to the almost 3,000 people who died in the attacks 15 years ago.

    Politicians are invited to attend ceremonies every year at the site where the World Trade Center was destroyed by two hijacked jets, but not to speak. The event centers on those who lost loved ones. Some of the families gathered to commemorate their relatives, however, cheered and clapped as Trump arrived.

    According to a spokesman for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum that now stands at Ground Zero, it was the first time the New York real-estate billionaire had attended the official ceremony.

    Trump, who was born in Queens, grinned as people waved, and posed so they could take photographs. Clinton, who in 2001 was the junior US senator from New York, arrived quietly, greeting some families on her way into the site, and did not prompt applause like her rival. Both candidates issued short statements about the need to mark the day solemnly.

    In Washington, Barack Obama observed a moment of silence in the White House and spoke at a commemoration of those who died in the attack on the Pentagon.

    People also gathered at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where one of the planes hijacked by terrorists crashed into a field.

    In lower Manhattan, family members of those who died, New York firefighters who lost 343 of their colleagues, police officers and survivors gathered under overcast skies. It was humid and haze obscured the top of One World Trade, the skyscraper that now dominates the New York skyline, in contrast to the clear blue skies that dawned on the day 15 years ago that changed the course of history.

    In total, 2,977 people were killed. In Manhattan on Sunday, wives who lost husbands, children who lost fathers and mothers and other family members and friends laid flowers on the names of the dead that are engraved into the stone surrounds of two huge reflecting pools with waterfalls, constructed on the exact sites where the twin towers stood. The stage for the event sat between the two pools.

    A youth choir from Brooklyn sang the Star-Spangled Banner, to warm applause. A group of first responders in dress uniform held up the torn flag that was raised over the wreckage at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the attack, before marching away to the sound of a piped band.

    Then the site went still, for a moment of silence at 8.46am, the time the first jet hit, near the top of the north tower.

    Monica Iken Murphy, 46, from New York, attended with her daughters Madison, 10, and Megan, eight. On 11 September 2001 her husband, Michael Iken, a bond trader, was working on the 84th floor of the south tower.

    Monica
    Monica Iken Murphy holds a picture of her husband, Michael. Photograph: Joanna Walters/the Guardian

    He called me that morning to tell me to watch the TV because a commuter plane had flown into the north tower, thats what they thought had happened, she said. But they could not see what I saw when I switched on the TV the big, gaping hole in the other side of the north tower.

    He told her he was fine. Some workers had left the building but he and some others were trying to help a colleague who was quaking with fear and hiding under a desk. A few minutes later, he called again.

    The last thing he said was, People are jumping out of the windows, then I have to go. But no-one thought the towers would fall.

    He told me to start calling friends and family and thats what I was doing when I saw on the TV the second plane hit the south tower. I froze, I could not believe what I was witnessing.

    The second plane hit the south tower about 20 minutes after the first impact. Michael Iken died when the tower collapsed, a short time later.

    His wife now comes to the site as a place of reverence, she said, and because, like many relatives of those who died, she never received any remains.

    But this is where these people took their last breath, she said.

    After the overcast start to the morning, the sun suddenly shone. Iken Murphy stepped into its rays.

    When the sun comes out, she said, I feel his warmth and a connection to him as if he is communicating with me or hugging me. Even if its raining, somehow the sun always comes out when I come down here.

    Ten years ago, she married a New York firefighter, Robert Murphy. She also met Clinton when she was campaigning to have the memorial to the victims built at the actual site of the World Trade Center, not nearby.

    Asked how she felt about Clinton and Trump attending the ceremony on Sunday, she said: As long as they were not doing any of their politicking, thats fine.

    After the first moment of silence was marked with the tolling of a bell, Jerry DAmadeo approached the microphone to talk about his father, Vincent DAmadeo, who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald in the World Trade Center and was killed when Jerry was 10. DAmadeo choked up as he recalled how many people helped him in the years since 9/11.

    He told those gathered that he had recently attended a childrens camp for those who lost family and friends in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut in December 2012.

    Suddenly I was able to be there for people and use my experience to help them, he said. DAmadeo now acts as a visitors host at the museum at the World Trade Center site.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/11/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-9-11-anniversary-ceremony-obama


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