Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, April 19, 2021

It’s common knowledge that rents are abhorrently high in Manhattan. But the monthly payments are just the bar tab, so to speak — the cover charge in preliminary fees and procedures are the real eye-poppers:

Aside from the realities of price and space, the requirements set by New York landlords are also bound to help turn a bright-eyed first-time renter’s outlook grim. To start with, landlords want only tenants who earn at least 40 times the monthly rent, which means an $80,000 annual salary for a $2,000 apartment. According to census data, more than 25,000 graduates ages 22 to 28 moved to the city in 2006, and their median salary was about $35,600.

Those who don’t make 40 times their monthly rent need a guarantor, usually a parent, who in turn must make at least 80 times the monthly rent. In addition to a security deposit, some landlords also want the first and last month’s rent. Tack on a broker’s fee and a prospective renter for that $2,000 apartment is out of pocket nearly $10,000 just to get the keys to the place.

Yep, it ain’t cheap. No need to wonder why so many people are loathe to leave their dwellings when they don’t have to — they want to maximize the amount of time they spend in the place they spend so much on (even when it’s a shithole).

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 04/19/2008 08:05:21 PM
Category: New Yorkin'
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I sure do pick the damnedest times to leave town. While I was funning and sunning in Florida, a silent rave broke out in Union Square yesterday evening.

What’s a silent rave? It’s a rave without sex, without Ecstasy, and without music — at least outwardly-audible music:

It was striking for what could not be heard.

On the west side of the square, city workers ripped up the street with jackhammers. On the east side, a stalled caravan of drivers, no doubt frustrated by streets’ closing for the visit of Pope Benedict XVI, leaned on car horns.

But in the middle, there might as well have been a Cone of Silence. A mass of people — a head-bobbing, arms-above-the-head, conga-line-forming full-tilt boogie-woogie — emitted what seemed like no sound but rather music visible.

Everyone danced in place, listening to an iPod and prancing to his or her own playlist. For long minutes, in the distance, only the square’s ever-present bongo players could be heard, while close up only shoes, or bare feet, could be heard padding on concrete. Video cameras and cellphones were everywhere.

Note that this go at silent raving differs from the conventional version, where all the separate iPods are synced to the same playlist. Personally, I prefer the Union Square method — more chaotic and freeform.

This couldn’t have been a more perfect opportunity for me. I may not be Facebook-enabled to have RSVP’d, but there were other ways of finding out. And the start time: 6:17PM? Practically my lucky number (don’t ask). Plus, like so many New Yorkers, I’m practically fused to my iPod.

The negative is that this is, obviously, little more than a latter-day flashmob scene. But with a decidedly individualistic edge: While social grouping is the point, having everyone listen and groove to their own private soundtrack injects some self-absorbedness into the experience. It’s really the natural next step in the prevalent iPod cocooning that everyone does daily. (That may be corrosive societal trend, but it’s pretty well unstoppable at this stage.)

I’m going to keep my eyes open for the next edition. A repeat of the Union Square site would be just dandy, but any Manhattan location would do.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 04/19/2008 07:36:02 PM
Category: Creative, New Yorkin', Pop Culture, iPod
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Last night, while staying out way too late at Tampa’s Channelside pre-fab dancetoriums (note to self: three hours of sleep doesn’t work once the approach to middle age sets in), I had the most minor of epiphanies:

The extreme fragmentation of pop music output that’s a result of legal and illegal Web downloads? It’s nowhere as apparent than it is in an all-comers danceclub. Far too many dance standards from 15 years ago, as if not enough of note has been produced since to push the 90s stuff into (usually thankful) retirement. And the most pathetic part is that the crowd, including the 20somethings who were in diapers when the soundwares of House of Pain and 2 Live Crew were still fresh beats, were actually appreciative of the warmed-over songs.

I guess this means I can revisit a place like Banana Joe’s or Splitsville in another 5-10 years — by which point I’ll be undeniably too old to show my face in such a joint, but whatever — and hear pretty much the same grooves. With a random new iteration of Soulja Boy tossed in, despite itself. The recurring feeling of familiarness just won’t go away.

On the plus side, there was enough eyecandy to make that imperceptible pivot that turned midnight into 4AM within seconds a most pleasurable ride.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 04/19/2008 10:30:35 AM
Category: Florida Livin', Pop Culture
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