Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, April 03, 2021

So you too want to live in the Big Apple? Can’t say I blame you — it’s the place to be!

It helps “to be” rich, though. The “Saving Our Middle Class” study by the Drum Major Institute pegs middle-class income status in the Five Boroughs at between $75,000 and $135,000 for a family of four.

Not surprisingly, not many make the cut:

“Most people are not earning enough in New York City to make it into the middle as the consensus defines it,” said John Mollenkopf of City University of New York’s Center for Urban Research…

Mollenkopf, speaking at a Drum Major Institute-sponsored forum about the middle class at Baruch College yesterday, said his study of census figures from 1990 to 2005 shows increasing numbers of New Yorkers live in households making less than $30,000 or more than $250,000.

And that’s not just Manhattan, where cost of living is assumed to be way out of whack. Even Brooklyn, Queens, et al are pricing out the traditional city bourgeoisie:

Until recently, a family of moderate means could hope to make a home in a shelter from greed such as Stuyvesant Town. The rents there have gone beyond the range of the cops and firefighters such as have settled there in the past, and heaven only knows what will happen now that a developer has bought the complex. The cheapest of the two-bedroom apartments currently listed there is $3,325 a month. A three-bedroom goes for $4,650.

And, as [violinist and now-Yonkers resident Marya] Columbia noted, things are not much better in the boroughs.

“When I was growing up, when you made some real decent money you moved to the suburbs,” she said. “Now you have to move to the suburbs.”

How does one make it? I think it’s a given that things are generally easier when you’re living single in New York. That same $75 grand goes a lot farther when you don’t have a couple extra mouths to feed and house and spend time with. And despite the ever-rising real estate rates across the board, renting almost always makes more sense than buying; with that, mobility keeps expenses lower. It all makes for a swingin’ scene — economically and socially.

All that said, when has it not been expensive to live in New York City? I remember hearing about the outrageous rents and everyday costs when I was a kid. I’m not sure things are as egregiously out of kilter now.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 04/03/2021 11:26:13 PM
Category: New Yorkin'
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If you’re too lazy and/or technophobic to set up encryption on your wi-fi Internet, perhaps bundling that task into another household chore will make it more manageable. EM-SEC Technologies has announced a special paint that creates an electromagnetic shield to bottle in wireless network signals, thus blocking access to outside leeching.

Granted, EM-SEC is marketing its product for commercial use, along the lines of data-storage bunkers. But some see broader applications, including for personal dwellings, movie theaters and more.

It’s rightly pointed out that home use would be negated by things like windows and other non-paintable openings. Plus, such a wall-to-wall coating would probably prevent you from making cellphone calls inside your own house. So maybe it’s more worthwhile to tinker with the wireless router instead…

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 04/03/2021 11:07:12 PM
Category: Internet, Tech
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sold separately
Curious thing about Tribune’s announcement yesterday on its planned sale of the Chicago Cubs after the 2007 MLB season:

The team and its interest in Comcast SportsNet Chicago were specified as the assets to be moved. But the third obvious component — Cubs-owned Wrigley Field — was left off the list. And apparently, that’s intentional, which triggered loads of speculation over what incoming Tribune chief Sam Zell has in mind by holding onto the landmark ballpark.

Normally, uncoupling a major-pro team from its wholly-owned stadium makes no sense. The key to sports economics these days is not in owning merely the team, but also the facility in which it plays. That way, the owner pulls in all revenue streams possible from the venue: Concerts, conventions, surrounding commercial development, etc. Practically every MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL team today has that sort of arrangement in place (with legal “ownership” being a flexible concept — as long as the money goes into the right pockets, the deed can be in anyone’s name). Given this landscape, a prospective team buyer expects to get the all-inclusive package when buying a sports property.

So why would Tribune seemingly devalue a Cubs sale, or even potentially sabotage it, by excluding Wrigley from the deal? Zell’s real estate background is cited as a factor, as is this unique possibility:

But the Cubs conceivably could bring in more should a new owner agree to a lease arrangement with an eye to the unthinkable, in the eyes of many fans: building a new stadium to replace Wrigley.

That’s a perfectly rational scenario, and very likely the early strategy for this sale. The Cubs are one of the few franchises that can command a premium sales price, even without accompanying stadium control. Wrigley is close to 100 years old; a prospective team buyer would actually be better off not picking it up. A short-term lease agreement with Tribune to continue using Wrigley, while immediately starting efforts to build a modern new park (likely outside of Chicago city limits), makes the most sense. After the team moves out, converting Wrigley into prime real estate development will bring Tribune a hefty windfall.

None of those steps are automatic, of course. But they represent the maximized value that can be extracted from a sale of the Cubs. A traditional team-stadium package deal is still workable, but most buyers would prefer the flexibility of the team-only purchase, with an eye toward the future.

And for that reason, I’m sticking with my prediction on the final bill of sale: The Cubs will change hands for $1 billion. That price will, in fact, necessitate the eventual phase-out of Wrigley Field.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 04/03/2021 09:12:16 PM
Category: Baseball, SportsBiz
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