long island city, queens: tank full, yimby empty

Open Up, Open New York

February 11, 2023

Samir, my angel: my post about you getting a new job at Open New York was more about you getting a new job at Open New York than it was about your ability as a baker.

The point of my most recent post seems to have flown right over your head.

It wasn’t about the cookies, your leftover cookies, which lay stacked in your pink-lidded plastic container. I am sure they were delicious: cronyism generally is to the person who benefits from it.

My post was instead about how you had whined to me on that January morning about your unfortunate circumstances as an unemployed person while the likelihood instead is that you probably already knew that very morning that you were either on the short list for this new role at ONY or that you had gotten the job.

You were also that morning likely looking forward to your impending vacation to India while you cried poverty to me.

I wonder if you can understand that your pronounced level of comfort (high paying income opportunities, international travel) is not a place where most of your ONY opponents inhabit.

I don’t begrudge you your ability to earn a lot of money at a job you adore with fun friends you’ve known for years. But that’s a situation in which so few city residents and workers find themselves: so few of your New York neighbors have employment situations such as yours.

So now that you have this dream job, I wonder if you would be, um, open to speaking to the people and organizations which have been fighting for years to protect rent controls, maintain public housing and explore alternative housing solutions, like community land trusts, office-to-residential conversions and social housing.

During those years of fighting for fair housing and to even stay housed themselves, these people, me included, were called nimbies, vacancy truthers and brain damaged millionaire homeowners by ONY members.

You called me a “racist” that morning when I told you how professionally you presented and that you would likely get another job very soon.

And I mean, dang, how right I was, no?

But were you right, Samir? Was I “racist” towards you?

I don’t believe I was. I had kept telling you over and over that you would be fine and would land on your feet, it’s all on video: how was that “racist?”

Seriously, Samir: how was that racist?

And wouldn’t my “racism” have been on full display during our entire discourse? Wouldn’t the video have shown that?

When I was interviewed by Bridget Read (whose Curbed piece from this past week about an Open New York happy hour somehow neglected to reflect news of you having been hired), I relayed to her I’m still waiting to hear back from Annemarie Gray and that I welcome yimby/anti-yimby dialogue.

I wonder if you all do, as a group, maybe as individuals, welcome dialogue. I wonder if any of you would be open to that idea.

I wonder if you’re open to building a bridge instead of assigning a false narrative.

A town hall of Open New York and their opponents could be so clarifying to New York City residents: an opportunity for dialogue between both sides in this polarizing housing war.

Would Open New York be open to that?

Are any of you open to any discourse?

Wouldn’t it be useful to start some form of communication, or bridge building, or even just a simple hashing out between yimbys and the people who have issues with yimbys?

You’re part of this new chapter at Open New York, Samir, right? “Not All Yimbys,” right?

Then talk to people.

It doesn’t have to be with me, “the racist.”

But how about talking with some housing groups, some tenant groups, some neighborhood groups? Just open the door.

And how about showing your financials? Open New York is legally obligated as a nonprofit to be transparent, at the very least, about its received donations and doled out staff salaries: residents of NYC have been wondering about Open New York’s 990 form(s) for years now; I mentioned that very absence some three years ago when I wrote “Open Your Eyes to Open New York.”

Your own salary should be made public. So should Annemarie’s, and Asia’s, and Logan’s and Andrew’s. Open that up, it’s the law, make that information, your 990 forms (years of them at this point) public by opening your books.

And then, after you share the 990 forms which you are legally required to publicly post, how about opening a door?

Open a door, Open New York, by talking to New Yorkers. Not by talking to other yimbys at the pizza party but by talking to other New Yorkers who take issue with your organization and movement.

You claim you care about this city, then open yourselves up. Prove it. Prove your openness, Open New York.

You relayed to Curbed that you’re doing a “Not All Yimbys rebrand.”

Then show your work.

Prove your efforts with your neighbors, with your opponents, with us.

Your motto is “won’t you be our neighbor?”

Then demonstrate that.

Be a neighbor and open up.

Open up, Open New York.

Open your ears, open your minds and listen to others: open up, Open New York.

New Yorkers deserve that from every single one of you.

8 responses to “Open Up, Open New York”

  1. The biggest enemy to those opposed to ONY and urbanists are some of the ones opposed to ONY and urbanists. Not you Connie, but some of the people who want resident only street parking, some of the people who ride LIRR trains and don’t want the wrong kind of people on “their” train or “their” neighborhood. It is those people that Aaron Carr, Ben Thypin etc. know all too well and that is a weakness they’re exploiting now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree. And look at what they’re currently promoting: “pro housing😤🍼😫” meetings for the burbs https://twitter.com/OpenNYForAll/status/1625172504762372096?s=20&t=Ae5wHvAVNJbGfwqq6MJrSg

      I wish the Curbed piece had talk to more ONY opponents (because Cea Weaver and Émilia Decaudin are yimbys and ONY supporters): the full story of this group isn’t being shown or told.


      1. The way Curbed mentioned you came off condescending to me.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I spoke with the reporter for 40 minutes and she never once asked me about who I network with or if I had any other references for her to connect with concerning how harmful Open New York is. She also didn’t seem to believe ONY’s abusive and harassing history and instead focused on Annemarie’s gender as the cure all for ONY’s toxic masculinity. The fact that she asked me more than once if I was going to be “more gentle” on Annemarie because she’s a female still makes my skin crawl: when will the press itself be less “gentle” on ONY? Why are they all so scared of being on Ben Thypin’s bad side?

          Even though I ended up as an unquotable, unlinked troll in parentheses in the Curbed piece, I appreciate that the reporter at least mentioned me by name. When AstoriaNotForSale gave a tour around InnovationQNS to David Brand, he purposefully left out any mention of our group and the members who had met with him because he’s so drunk (paid?) on the yimby Koolaid https://citylimits.org/2022/08/19/innovation-qns-plan-to-upzone-industrial-astoria-on-life-support/


  2. The media pays attention to money. Thypin and friends have it, his opponents do not. The ONLY thing those opposed to Open New York could do is build alliances and hold the line and not turn on any potential allies. Also build relationships with those in the NYC suburbs as their elected officials have a constituency that is more likely to elect officials who are willing to openly challenge the urbanists. We see that with the opposition to congestion pricing where it is the NJ and Hudson Valley electeds opposing congestion pricing, yet what bugs me to no end is going on the West Side Rag comments section and seeing commenters calling NJ residents who park on the UWS to go to work, do business or see friends/family as freeloaders. Would you (not you Connie) rather see Sara Lind build bridges with these people in order to garner support for a rezoning in other neighborhoods of Manhattan like the UWS? Because from what I saw in 2021 when she was out there talking to people, she was willing to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wish the media was attracted to the idea of truth. This is a group whose members hate people who aren’t like them: they want to silence communities by humiliating them and lying about them (“entryism!!!😤🍼😫”). They hate people, they hate choice, they hate democracy, they hate seniors and they know no low income earners. Open NY is literally dangerous and the press doesn’t care: dystopia.


      1. Open NY cares about people who are potential supporters. They know who to reach out to. People who deal with exclusionary practices in the suburbs and outer boroughs (among other things LIRR examples I’ve mentioned in comments in the past) who have a job in Manhattan are prime targets for them. People with disabilities like autism spectrum disorders who are isolated socially and constantly worry about exclusion and marginalization are prime targets for them, notice how many urbanists and folks on NUMTOT groups have autism spectrum disorders. As much as urbanism and YIMBY is viewed as a cult, dissenters who can be converted are welcome. They’re not stupid. I’m sure you know that, but there’s people on Facebook groups, Twitter and comments sections of local publications like West Side Rag that don’t get it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What’s frustrating to me is on one end I disagree with Thypin, Carr, Lind etc. on most policy and I think their policies are dangerous for the NY metro area. I empathize with the concerns shared by Soho rezoning opponents and oppose ending single family zoning. On the other end, given the experiences I’ve had in our suburbs, outer boroughs and in certain Manhattan neighborhoods like the UWS, I sometimes say to myself that certain people’s chickens are coming home to roost now that Open NY and Aaron Carr have a larger platform now.

    Liked by 1 person

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