Tag Archives: #sohonoho

Sylvia Li, the Liar of DCP

Residents of Lower Manhattan, as well as New Yorkers and observers from all over, do not criticize New York’s Department of City Planning’s senior planner Sylvia Li because she is Asian: they do so because Sylvia Li lied to them.

Li was recently nominated for the Ibo Balton award for “community planning” from the creepy Citizens Housing Planning Council (with its Jessica Katz infamy), for having brought “equitablescams to SoHo NoHo. Since my tweets about Li’s dishonesty are currently hidden, here are screenshots of them from over a year ago which demonstrate Li’s cruel dismissiveness towards downtown elderly residents, her blatant favoritism of Open New York members, none of whom live in the rezoned area, and her unabashed dishonesty.

City Planners paused the meeting for their own five-minute break less than half an hour into this sham meeting: why did they need to talk privately during this barely “public” event?

Hmmmm
Sylvia Li laughingly referred to displacement while calling elderly New York City residents and their homes “relics:” she was insulting, dismissive and cruel

That’s why so many people have a problem with Sylvia Li, not because of her ethnicity
Sylvia Li wants to degrowth the artists and replace them with tech bros pretending to be artists
Sylvia Li hogged the call, rambling on endlessly, eating into public engagement time: and she did that on purpose
Pete Davies, a long time SoHo renter (not a homeowner👋🗣), calls out the years of lies told to the community by Sylvia Li
Sylvia Li is a cold cruel liar
Sylvia Li does not care about these residents: they are an impediment to her career growth
But guess who is given “privilege” and “priority?”

Open New York

😐
Displacement is their jam
This was a sham and we all saw it
Shame on you, Sylvia Li
Submitted questions by the public for the October 2020 Zoom ULURP call, the initial of four such public engagement sessions during the height of a pre-vaccination global pandemic: “almost no support for the rezoning”

My requested question was #354 on DCP’s list, on page 38 of individual queries, so I didn’t get to ask it

Funnily enough, though, Open New York’s Will Thomas was called on to speak by Sylvia Li. And going forward, he was allowed to speak on every other call, too, despite his not being a resident of SoHo NoHo and despite hundreds of other people having signed up to comment and who were turned away, which is immediately suspicious and potentially corrupt because of the obvious cronyism

Again, it ain’t your ethnicity or race which your critics abhor, Sylvia Li: it’s your blatant favoritism and your dishonesty

We’ve never not seen it

People hate your lies, Sylvia Li, not your skin color.

But keep collecting your gratuitous, crony, clubby awards and pocketing our taxpayer funding as your six-figure salary: we will all remain watching you.

(Also: all these tweets of mine about Sylvia Li, as well as this very blog post itself, are still missing all that alleged racism which I supposedly express at all given moments: weird flex, huh?)

Because Sylvia Li is the liar of the DCP

👋

#FreeFuelGrannie’s Screenshots, Aaron Carr

Which is it, Aaron Carr?

Because Twitter would like to know, too.

Is it “over a hundred” screenshots you have of my alleged homophobic racist behavior?

Or is it just those three old tired screenshots you keep hauling out as some deep, repeated and proven evidence of my consistent and thickly bigoted behavior?

Because there is no seething hatefulness or prejudice in any of those screenshots, including that one single tweet of mine, the one which you keep deploying as concrete, definitive demonstration of my raging homophobia: that tweet, which is now hidden due to the suspension of my account, describes “twinks + bears = yimby force.” This tweet is shady as all hell, it’s flat out rude, for sure, but it’s not, by any definition, hateful.

The overwhelming optics of yimby show young, white men, many with beards, many with glasses: Zach Galifianakis and Where’s Waldo.

If you’re going to refer to your opponents as the lead paint caucus, then we’re going to refer to you as twinks and bears.

Which I only did that one time, Aaron.

And which I had acknowledged had offended you (an acknowledgment you yourself had even liked👇) yet you have always, conveniently, omitted this tweet’s existence. You pretend it never happened.

So I have a screenshot, too.

I tweeted out the below apology to you (after hours and hours of enduring a typical endless Aaron A. Carrversation) where you had called me a “con,” a liar who habitually deletes her tweets and a racist, despite not having brought with you even one receipt to demonstrate any truth to any of these accusations.

I have a screenshot, too, Aaron👋

In fact, you had defiantly refused to produce any evidence, as if substantiating your indictment against me was somehow beneath you.

The only “proof” you were able to provide (which was curiously not in reference to me being a con or a liar or a deleter of tweets or a racist) finally arrived at 12:22am, almost six hours after you had initially accused me of being a “con” at 6:41pm: it was just that one “yimby force” tweet, via a screenshot of a purposefully unlinked tweet.

And I suspect the photograph of that tweet was, in fact, not on your phone as a screenshot, as you had teased yet never delivered, but rather was texted or dm-ed to you as our 6-hour marathon dialogue dragged on.

This all raises suspicion.

You had made so many claims, declaring you had screenshots (now a familiar yet empty refrain from you) but the sole substantiation of it all was just one single screenshot, not the “many” tweets you had hissed about having.

And that one single screenshot was finally produced many hours into our conversation.

Why didn’t you provide that allegedly damning screenshot much earlier in the conversation? Why did it take you six entire hours to finally cough it up?

And why have you never supplied any other screenshots? You had alleged taking screenshots of my feed that very day, just about a year ago, January 27, 2021, but the screenshot you provided was from two months earlier, from mid-November 2020.

Odd.

You now claim that you have over a hundred of screenshots of me acting all racisty and homophoby and hatery in general: so, where are they, Aaron?

Where are those screenshots, Aaron?

They would add context to that one screenshot, wouldn’t they?

And I gave you that apology, almost immediately, which resulted in you blocking me, likely because you were caught. You got what you hadn’t expected to get from me, something the rest of us never get from you: accountability.

The fact that you yourself liked my apology also strongly implies you read the tweet: liking is an acknowledgment. But then you immediately blocked me, within seconds. You then blocked me via your Housing Rights Initiative account: I screenshot both of your blocks and tweeted them out.

Your action of using your HRI account to block me (and thus evade any confrontation) is just one reason why I block people who work for you at HRI: I don’t trust you, I don’t trust New Leaders Council, I don’t trust your yimby organization and I don’t trust the people you pay. That also includes the politicians you give money to: following your money is always an eye opening tell.

You wasted 6 hours, Aaron, accusing me of things you literally could not prove and then you blocked me on your two separate accounts for taking responsibility for the one sole offense you were able to produce.

What do you think that looks like, Aaron?

What do you think you look like?

Because you lie all the time.

You lied about me and the existence of all those screenshots (I mean, unless you have them: it’s ok, we’ll wait).

You lie about Manhattan being 30% landmarked when in reality “historic districts cover less than 4% of the lots and lot area in” NYC.

You also lied about the SoHo NoHo rezoning creating “700+ units of affordable housing at $900 a month for a family of 3.”

In fact, that fantasy has turned out to be a huge lie, and was likely bandied about in a lobbying effort to city council members as concrete truth so to sway the vote for the SoHo NoHo rezoning, and you told it many, many, many times.

So are you also lying about those 97 other screenshots you supposedly possess which can better document my racism, my bigotry, my homophobia, my hatefulness and my violence?

I mean, if you still have those screenshots, that is, as I know how much my content fully annoys you and remains beneath you to even research. But, just in the case that you might still have those scores of screenshots of my behavior, I reckon Twitter would want to see them, too, as I move forward with my appeal.

You’re selling “free fuel grannie” t shirts: the rest of us just want you to free the fuelgrannie screenshots.

“dozens ~*upon*~ dozens of screenshots!!!!!!!!😤🍼😫” (k guess we’ll wait for those, A-Plod)

It’s telling that you post this screenshot, Aaron, but you have yet to post all those (“like a hundred!!!!!😤🍼😫”) screenshots of alleged homophobia, racism, violence and hate which you claim to have. When will you post those? Or are you just lying?


Aaron: I have dozens upon dozens of screenshots, like, well, like a hundred of them!!!!!!😤🍼😫

Everyone else: k post them

Aaron: um let’s look at this tornado instead!!!😤🍼😫
(🙊)
Aaron’s notorious misplaced anger (“😤🍼😫”)
Oh look

It’s a screenshot of my tweet about how stressful moving homes is for old people

Huh

I keep wondering where all those “homophobic screenshots😤🍼😫” are cause this one still ain’t it, either

🤷‍♀️

Victory Yap

Shake off your black veil and grab that baby bottle, kids: we have a funeral to attend.

Fuelgrannie is dead.

Ok, maybe not in real life, but I have croaked on Twitter which just might be better than passing away in real life, which Twitter isn’t, amirite?

Ding dong that witch is dead: RIP to a real one.

Emilia Defraudin apparently has died from joy.

Rebel with Good Cause Aaron Carr is selling #freefuelgrannie t-shirts.

Ceiling-gazer Meeeeelar puts me in a league of my own: save a seat in the front row for him, pweeeese.

Ben Wetz, however, is muting both the fuelgrannie funeral and any of its related keywords: SpiderYim is already over this particular trip to six feet under.

But Ben Wetz is amplifying me as he tweets about muting me.

Which presents the conundrum of the yimby victory lap: as they all howl for their opponents to just take the L, yimbys draw almost too much attention, sometimes even inadvertently positive, to their enemies, while also revealing their own bloodthirst for overkill.

Dresden, anyone?

The gloating may go over well in their limited bubble, but even a dead person like me can see the optics and downside of such off-putting bragging. The victory lap can bring its own backlash.

Yimby, as a movement, remains unpopular in New York City: it may be politically protected; it may garner obvious puff pieces from big press; but it struggles to attract much grassroots traction as many New Yorkers remain wary of a group of arrogant, condescending eye-rollers, who publicly infer to private jokes while struggling to connect with anyone outside their tight, mocking clique.

Housing is tapas to them: they move every year, tasting new apartments, trying on new neighborhoods, a living game of SimCity which can only be played by individuals making enough disposable income to crib-hop. Aka, not how the other 70% of us NYCers live.

And I have been calling out that inability to connect for years now: yimby doesn’t partner well; they don’t get their boots on the ground in any meaningful way, sticking mostly to their own closed meetings and whenever they do dare to show up for live, in-person public engagement with other humans, they are sorely outnumbered and jeered.

Because New York City can always smell insincere opportunism: we shudder at fake smiles; we know a scam from ten blocks away; we’re not dumb. We know when we are being excluded and when we are being played: a braggart’s pyrrhic victory does not win us over.

But whaddo I know? I’m dead.

So dance it up with my casket on your narrow shoulders, boys: no fuelgrannie in your backyard.

I’ll be here instead: in real life.

The Betrayal of SoHo NoHo by the New York Department of City Planning

(aka, why NYC needs you, elected NYC Councilmembers, to send this “plan” back to the drawing board for a more thoughtfully developed proposal which guarantees truly affordable housing and will also vigorously protect every unit of already existing, long-term, deeply affordable housing in all its forms which exists in Lower Manhattan.)

December 9, 2021

To the Members of the City Council of New York,

Please vote “no” on the Department of City Planning’s proposal to rezone SoHo NoHo and then please advise DCP to revise its purposefully vague plan to include, as top priority, specific protection against the displacement of over a thousand New Yorkers, many elderly, who reside in Lower Manhattan’s already existing deeply affordable units. There are almost 700 such units in SoHo and NoHo in almost 200 still-viable structures which will be threatened with a rezoning: we must protect these vulnerable New Yorkers above all.

As a former stabilized renter in SoHo and as a lifelong New York City renter, I ask all of you for a nuanced consideration of this flawed rezoning proposal and to acknowledge New York City Planning failed on its pledged deliverables of the Envision SoHo NoHo plan and process. The DCP has not done its job with its rushed and remote ULURP process, its conditional exclusion of public input and its repeatedly expressed obvious bias for real estate development interests.

This gratuitous and ruinous rezoning is defiantly being held up by its proponents as an opportunity for “equity” and “housing justice,” but there is neither “justice” nor “equity” for the vulnerable, mostly elderly, renters of SoHo, NoHo and the adjoining areas of Chinatown and Lower Manhattan who will lose their homes because of the zoning adjustment.

There is also no justice for the middle-income property owners, the artists of SoHo and NoHo, who, after working with the City decades ago to devise a form of affordable homeownership in repurposed industrial spaces so to ultimately age in place, will now no longer be able to afford to pay property taxes on the units they fashioned with their own hands back in the 1970s. Why is there no special consideration for these New Yorkers? They deserve to stay in their homes: as a city, we owe this to any threatened resident but most especially to this population who literally developed a globally adored tourist destination and now our collective payment to these people is to kick them all out.

It is disturbing what will happen to these elderly NYC residents, who have long been productive and industrious citizens: it is cruel, dishonest and dystopian.

The Envision SoHo NoHo process did not invite many of these constituents yet did, oddly, heavily involve real estate development lobbying group Open New York from its inception: Open New York, a pro-development group which has bragged about being the architects of the SoHo NoHo rezoning were considered by DCP to be valuable stakeholders, despite the glaring fact that none of them live in the area and despite the fact that their interests are purely about new development, not about consideration of existing housing or the value of the lives and experiences of the tenants who live in them.

The DCP-led ULURP public engagement hearings were held via Zoom while a global pandemic raged; the first of these meetings was in October 2020. I had signed up to speak but was number 354 to have make such a request and was thus not called upon as the session was deliberately limited to two and half hours: 365 people had signed up to speak that evening and DCP allowed for less than 10% of them to have had any voice.

How is that legal, NYC Council Members? How is it legal, in any way, to limit public engagement during a (wait for it) public engagement session?

DCP assigned the role of rezoning Senior Planner to Sylvia Li who referred to both the residents and structures of SoHo NoHo as “relics,” often and readily admitted she did not understand loft laws or other Lower Manhattan anomalies while also displaying an uncomfortable favoritism towards real estate development lobbying group Open New York. The entire process was a sham: right in front of the eyes of the rest of us.

You are our elected representatives: DCP doesn’t listen to us, so please be our voice and send this inadequate rezoning back to the Planning drawing board; this is not a vote to stop all development, it is instead a demand for better development from DCP, not their current lazy effort as this thoughtless initiative which will solely benefit the worst type of developers and create the least affordable and barely livable housing.

Please vote “no.”

Thank you.

Dresdon’t: The Argument Against the SoHo NoHo Proposed Rezoning

(My spoken statement to the September 2, 2021 City Planning Commission’s hearing on the proposal to rezone SoHo NoHo)

My name is Connie Murray, I’m a lifelong New Yorker and a former SoHo resident.

I oppose the city’s plan to rezone SoHo NoHo as this proposal will likely not produce any affordable housing despite that very promise being this project’s top selling point of allegedly providing more opportunities to low-income New Yorkers. This rezoning will also eliminate tenant protections for over 1200 residents in over 600 buildings in their already existing deeply affordable homes. These are vulnerable, elderly and immigrant residents: they deserve to be considered in this process, they deserve to be protected and we all have a moral obligation to keep these folks in their homes.

As well, MIH affordable housing is not all that its name is cracked up to be. Recent “affordable housing” listings on NY Yimby reflect salary requirements above $80k for small studios and 1-bedroom units which rent for upwards of $3000 a month. These are not apartments for working class families: who are these developers really building for? They never create 3-bedroom units and via advertorials in real estate media, developers are even marketing their alleged affordable housing to households earning over $100k annually.

This rezoning’s proponents focus so heavily on this fallacy of its opposition being wealthy but in fact it’s the residents who are not wealthy and whose homes will be threatened who are here today, speaking out against this proposal. The very wealthy do not care, they can move, they have other homes, they have endless resources. It’s the residents without endless resources who are opposed to this plan, the people who are mostly elderly and mostly those who built these neighborhoods into what they are today. And now they are being shown the door out of this magical place they created with their own hands, money, sweat, love and tears. What a vicious betrayal by this city.

Adding to that betrayal is the false narrative promoted by Yimby zealots that these senior residents are members of the Ku Klux Klan and that their neighborhoods should be bombed like Dresden. Elderly residents have been bullied out of public engagement meetings because their pictures were taken and posted on social media so to shame them as alleged racists who no longer deserve to stay in their homes.

They do deserve to stay; they don’t deserve these lies. So let’s protect them.


🤦‍♀️

Open Your Eyes to OpenNewYork

Just who are these Yimby lobbyists behind the push to rezone Soho and Noho?

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s call to rezone Soho and Noho seems more like Blaz’s desperate, last-year-in-office, attempt to appease his real estate developer donors more than it does any sincere step towards providing truly affordable housing to working New Yorkers.

And this rushed push to upzone two industrial, historical and particularly unique downtown Manhattan neighborhoods has found its ultimate cheerleader in Yimby [“yes in my backyard”] group Open New York.

But who exactly is Open New York, aka ONY?

Self-describing as an “all-volunteer group advocating for abundant homes and lower rent,” ONY certainly presents itself benignly enough as it implores, with sad dog eyes, for you to be its neighbor.

But the barest scratch beneath the ONY surface reveals a laser-focused real estate development agenda steered by a vigorous yet small troupe of garrulous and snippy professionals who are mostly men, mostly younger than middle-aged and majority white.

Initially naming itself “More New York,” Open New York was “started in a basement in Murray Hill in 2016” by “Quantitative Real Estate Investor” Ben Thypin, and grew into an incorporated nonprofit in January 2020, making it eligible for tax-exempt status with New York State (although no 990 filing appears to be currently publicly available regarding the group’s not-for-profit viability).

Perchance to strategically distance himself, founder Thypin has since stepped down as a founding ONY board member, but on paper only, as the optics of him having such a seat might begrime that ONY fallacy of equitable housing and “lower rent.” Born into steel industry wealth, Thypin arranges multi-million-dollar real estate deals as a developer and landlord of multiple buildings with a penchant for Lower Manhattan properties, like his company Quantierra’s management of the $30 million sale of 64 Washington Street.

And what exactly is Yimby?

Yimby is the pro-gentrification movement and clapback to its older Nimby opposition, composed of what used to be the 1960s/1970s “not in my backyard” racist Archie Bunker stalwarts opposing any potential real estate development in their area. The Yimby movement, not just in NYC but nationally too, claims to be about housing equity thus the potential insidiousness lies in its promoters flying under the radar as well-meaning “housing activists” who portray themselves as cute, fun and accessible. Twitter usernames include avocado emojis (“hey! healthiness!”) and/or bike emojis (“hey! small carbon footprint! awesomeness!”) to enhance this manipulated semblance of niceness and/or normalcy.

These members and supporters work diligently, while not always that successfully, to present a neutral and friendly front despite their thick, obvious, and undeniable ties to the real estate industry which belie their alleged better intentions; their act has fallen so flat with others that the frequently-employed avocado has been viewed as a “political emoji.”

A false narrative perpetuated by Yimby is that all Nimbys are wealthy, elderly, elitist and racist homeowners, but in truth the modern Nimbys’ cultural alignment has morphed more into what the hippy artistic 70s Yimbys of yore used to be: Nimbys now are politically progressive, socially open and include many renters, including older, working-class-income creatives with stabilized leases.

I first came across ONY, and subsequently Yimby, only last year during the spring and summer of 2019 when its membership had cultivated and promoted the campaign of Long Island City resident and ONY member Justin Potter, an openly pro-AmazonHQ2, pro-development candidate for Queens District 12 State Senate, challenging infamous “Amazon Slayer” Michael Gianaris. Potter, a 20-year-voting Republican, had changed parties so to run against Democrat Gianaris but the former’s quiet and inconsequential campaign ended with Potter dropping out even before the race’s June 2020 Democratic Primary.

But what had stuck out most in Potter’s lackluster crusade were his honkingly loud Yimby supporters, including the real-estate-industry-aligned consortium ONY: a Greek chorus of earnest urbanists mocking Jane Jacobs; advocating to turn NYC into a modern Asian municipality and scoffing at concepts like “neighbor character” and “historical value.”

Although mostly not from NYC, ONY affiliates nonetheless claim that New Yorkers “view themselves as separate from and superior to other Americans.” They even have a snarky book club where they enjoy “salty” discourse about supposedly “characterless” brownstones: they even publicly cheer when NYC brownstones are demolished.

I was stunned to read such discourse.

My NYC childhood had been heavily peppered with the squawks of adults who had never gotten over what had been the recent destruction of the old, iconic, airy Pennsylvania Station, occurring the year before I was born. The former Penn Station’s demolition horrified NYC (and rest of the world), and birthed the local landmark and preservation movement the year after I was born. I have always been in love with New York City and have long felt protective of its old, glorious structures, appreciating their history, significance and beauty along with the fathoming that once something beloved is gone, it is gone forever.

I had figured preserving New York history, especially its architecture, would never be threatened again.

But then along came NYC Yimby Daddy Nikolai Fedak.

It was Fedak who coined the concept that NYC preservationists were selfish: “There’s a lot of hatred of development out there,” he declared about Nimbys in 2014. “But generally it comes from selfish people who don’t want to lose their views.”

Selfish is a purposeful and deliberate word choice and is also the hook upon which every Yimby persists on hanging their primary argument: they are “hated!” by “selfish people!” By alleging it is not sentimentality which endears people to their environment and physical surroundings but rather narcissism, self-absorption and an absence of empathy, Yimby attempts to pivot the aesthetic appreciation argument to a character flaw. The tactic depicts Nimby as lacking decency, being morally inept, even racist, simply because Nimbys enjoy and celebrate specific places and neighborhoods; this enjoyment is viewed as selfish and perpetuating prejudiced practices.

This is the only way Yimby and ONY know how to defend their argument for development: their opponents are immoral while they, themselves, are not.

The argument against aesthetics is an unworthy argument. Winston Churchill celebrated the delight of humans experiencing architecture: “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”

Because aesthetic appreciation, or the lack thereof, is a matter of taste, not morals. It is a perception, not a moral flaw, by where one conceives of preference and of appeal: aesthetic inclination is more opinion than feeling; it is what a person likes and to which they are drawn and cannot be utilized in good faith against any person because none of us have any control over what we love.

We cannot help to which we react, to which we are attracted, those sights we love, the places which inspire us. ONY and Yimby strive to use that against us. So if you find yourself fancying a building for your entire lifetime or being awed by the expanse of sky or feeling a strong, primal attachment to a geographic area, you are perceived, strategically and deliberately, by this small group as “being selfish.” An intentional and purposeful strategy: you are selfish while they, by default, are not. The Yimby “I’m good! You’re bad!!” strategy also allows for the morphing of the accusation of “selfish” slapped onto Nimbyism to start wearing more sinister coats: “horrible” is commonly used by this faction as well, as are “immoral,” “racist,” and “classist.”

A fight for the city’s architectural posterity is neither “woefully out of touch” nor an “extremely myopic prioritizing [of a] sense of aesthetics over other New Yorkers’ housing.”

It is not selfish nor trite nor superficial to experience aesthetic appreciation: it is human. But ONY narrowly depicts its Nimby opposition, as all “wealthy homeowners who… seek to maintain ethnic and class composition [while] selfishly trying to thwart development… over parochial concerns like aesthetics and shadows.”

It is bad faith to either blame, or read more into, the human inclination of the appreciation of beauty.

But bad faith is all that Yimby, and Open New York, bring to the table.

It shouldn’t matter that ONY and their supporters are, like Potter and Thypin, mostly in their 30’s, most male, mostly white and mostly not from NYC, but that materiality is nonetheless their own glaring reality. Composed solely of highly educated, multi-degree-earning individuals, ONY is deeply aligned with NYC real estate development although it hotly protests not to be. Thypin even plays defensive victim crying poor when confronted on his background and financial success.

The smokescreen ONY creates, and then hides behind, is an alleged advocation of housing and a claim there are not enough homes for NYC residents, which is complete balderdash. They pretend not to be wealthy and privileged while whiningly accusing any opposition of being exactly that: wealthy and privileged. Deliberately and strategically, they falsely characterize Nimbys to be old, white, wealthy, cheap, immoral, selfish and racist: all Nimbys are the same to them, one big tenet in their quite flawed argument.

And with ONY, it isn’t just their insincere platform: it’s their conduct. Bad faith arguing is born out of desperation, which can be tough to discern when the manner of conduct is so brash and confident.

ONY board members include the easily annoyed Jake Schmidt, good cop/bad faith debater Will Thomas, native Illinoian Dan Miller and recent Columbia University public affairs grad Kyle Dontoh. Its more vocal members are the sanctimonious and damning Pennsylvanian native Mike Cherepko, the aforementioned New Jersey native founder Thypin, Southern Californian transplant Spencer Heckwolf, Philadelphia-raised Stephen Smith, aka Twitter urbanist celebrity Market Urbanism (who is also Thypin’s employee), and their lawyer, Sullivan and Cromwell land use attorney Charley Dorsaneo.

As a lobbying entity, ONY presents a threat to New York City historical landmarking and preservation as they aim to abolish landmarking preservation in the name of racism. But ONY’s motivation goes way beyond standing up to racism just like the issue of racist housing practices spread way beyond redlining and historical preservation.

It is the behavior, comportment and type of engagement exhibited by the ONY crew which screams louder than their anti-racist rhetoric: they are, as individuals and together, a group of purposefully impatient, condescending, exaggerative (dishonest) bullies with no productive, civic or good faith engagement.

Cherepko, long known for his bad attitude (of which he is quite proud) and his moral judgment, doesn’t care if the proposed Elizabeth Street Garden replacement housing stays affordable in the future: which is odd for the guy who’s fighting for it, all in the name of affordable housing.

ONY board member Miller’s piece to support urban density rests on his sole argument that Nimby objections to gentrification should be answered with a toddleresque and astonishingly obtuse retort of “tough.” No logic, no facts, no math: just “tough.”

ONY knows me, too: founder Thypin grumbled about my speaking at the January 2020 Manhattan Community Board 2 meeting and took issue with my presence at the meeting but had no comment on what I had specifically stated; I was faulted solely for having attended. Waterfront developer Thypin had no defense for what I said, he was only angry that I said the words, that I showed up.

I had also dared to confront ONY board member Schmidt on Twitter about a resoundingly abhorred project in Sunnyside, Queens, the notorious Phipps proposal at 50-25 Barnett Avenue, only to experience the signature and oft-practiced pile-on of a dozen Yimbys jumping in to accuse me of hating poor people and of being an immoral person. It was a conversation which started at 9am and lasted through the whole day until after 8pm: that is how they operate; they’ll take hours working on one person, trying to exhaust them, trying to get a bad reaction out of them, deliberately and habitually.

City officials have also sparred with ONY members. Lower Manhattan District Leader Paul Newell’s tweet thread on Thypin’s history and behavior is gloriously thorough and revealing. Committeman Ben Yee called them out for the same pile on treatment I received.

ONY and Yimby are intrigued by the idea of being perceived as thought leaders and world changers and they are eager for a substantial win: knocking down the Elizabeth Street Garden is seen as important and urgent to them. They don’t care how much the community loves this space: they care about winning; they crave a psychological conquest and they want to be victorious over Soho. This has never been about what the community wants for them: they loudly advocate that the community shouldn’t even have a voice (they feel they should have a voice but not the residents who actually live in the area).

One challenge we do not need now, especially as we endure the covid19 pandemic, is a Yimby apocalypse. The last thing we need are more new buildings, more empty luxury tax-break structures and more of the exasperated youthful white males who support their construction.

We face extraordinary times and we need perchance very un-American approaches, like a socialist methodology for emergency housing needs along with rent and mortgage forgiveness and universal basic income. These are uncomfortable constructs: I appreciate how traditional capitalists balk at such concessions but we still need to consider them because rampant construction has never been the answer.

ONY and Yimbys come up short on any answers for NYC, especially regarding its historic districts. ONY’s flimsy claims about creating less racist living standards are revealed as false by expiration-dated affordable housing which will revert to luxury units within one generation. The effort to upzone Soho by angry young transient landlord developers is not what NYC architecture and history needs or even deserves.

Open your eyes to Open New York: New York City can do so much better.

Postscript: It seems I misunderstood Ben Thypin’s mention of his “ancestral homeland of LIC:” how foolish of me to have drawn the conclusion that he was, indeed, from Queens. Mr. Thypin, is in fact, not from New York but rather New Jersey, a detail which I have amended above. But the fact that Thypin, along with the rest of his small knot of Yimby proponents, is not from NYC even more weakens and diminishes his argument to destroy this city in the name of his own profit.

oh
(🙊)
“pretty hypocritical
Why, Open New York, do you rich people need even more money?🤔

“This Person Just Schlepped”

Guilty as charged, Ben Carlos Thypin.

I did indeed “just schlep all the way from LIC” on January 23, 2020 to attend and address Manhattan Community Board 2: but it wasn’t to “just shit all over Open New York.” And it certainly wasn’t much of a “schlep,” either, Mr. Thypin: it’s ackshually called a “direct subway ride.” Perchance I am out of the loop on just what exactly a schlep entails but a trip to Soho via New York City mass transit is especially quick and easy from Long Island City.

To clarify, I did not attend that CB2 meeting to shit all over you: I don’t need to do that because you and your fellow ONY members and supporters do a sufficient job of defecating all over you and your “organization” all by yourselves; your own words and actions reveal that.

If anything, you all make your critics’ work easy: all we have to do is shine a light on your words and actions.

The simple truth is I “schlepped” that night to CB2 out of love, to be another voice speaking up for historic preservation and to stand up against the way ONY operates, especially its deplorable age-shaming habit. I believe ONY’s pro-rampant-gentrification slant, condescending attitude, sporadic deceit and poor judgment do not serve any New York City neighborhood or community, especially one like glorious, unique and beloved Soho.

Again, I made this trip, I executed this “schlep,” out of love.

New York City, my hometown, is my first and most enduring love and I will always feel compelled to fight for it. I do what I do in Queens out of love and I said what I said at CB2 out of love. Last year, I stood up to and spoke out against Amazon HQ2LIC because Seattle warned New York that, among other aspects, Amazon “[hasn’t] been the best civic neighbor” and I care about who moves into my neighborhood, especially when they appear to be a global bully with a shady land deal. As a former executive search industry researcher and knowledge manager, I know a poor corporate culture when I read about one and Amazon reeked and acted like early 2000s Walmart: I wasn’t about to let an abusive tyrant just slide on in, using public land (our land, our city land) via a secretive, vague and breakable deal, without saying something about it. I love where I live: I will always stand up for it, out of my love.

There was no other reason for me to do this. This isn’t about my hatred of wealthy people or my need to be popular with radical groups: this is about how much I love my city, my enduring, magical, extraordinary city. Downtown Manhattan was where this country was born and for centuries now has never diminished as the city’s center: the whole area, most especially the airy lofts of Soho, deserves special consideration for preservation. Development is neither desired nor necessary in this area; repurposing is a better option and running an inventory of all unused spaces and apartments, especially chronically empty luxury apartments, is a logical next step.

I had no idea such a movement as yours existed until last year, when ONY member Justin Potter ran his quiet, inconsequential campaign against Senator Mike Gianaris before unsurprisingly dropping out earlier this month. Aside from supporting a skittish monopoly, Potter’s pro-Amazon supporters also advocated for the destruction of landmarked buildings, the elimination of historical districts and the demolition of brownstones: I was surprised such sentiment existed and was saddened to see it. The logic employed had some reason to it, though, even I had to admit that much: the promotion of a carless society in cities by increasing residential density near mass transit. But there was a brusqueness to this group’s engagement, a snappy impatience, an eye-rolling mocking snarkiness, a trigger-happy tendency towards insults, condescension and even sanctimoniousness.

Back in mid-2019, I was so unassuming when I first stumbled across ONY on Twitter that I had started following the account; I naïvely assumed too quickly that ONY was a pro-tenant organization because of the reference of wanting to be a neighbor in its Twitter bio. This implied ability to partner was soon revealed as conditional and ultimately insincere.

As I had witnessed with its pro-Amazon peers, I observed Yimby in New York to be a small group of easily identifiable and loquacious personalities; I became quickly acquainted with the tiny cadre of troupe players and what I suspected was a strategic and deliberate style of social engagement, and with which I was already familiar having witnessed Justin Potter in action. ONY members and supporters conduct themselves in a ridiculing, impatient, snarky and disrespectful manner.

Deliberate bad faith is consistently used by ONY: mockery is tossed as bait to throw off the main focus of discourse; derision is hurled in what seems a desire to get a reaction; words are purposefully twisted and nontangential accusations are created to deflect from the point at hand. This is a repeated pattern, seen in numerous public interactions, all by the same players, this same small group.

Good, fair and productive arguments include respectful debate, a reasonable and generous attitude and a sense of peerage and deference to the other person. Not with ONY members and supporters, though: you guys arrive at the ready with impertinent (and false) accusations of racism, classism and depravity. A pattern of accusations, the same accusations, over and over.

And that, Mr. Thypin, is what I strove to “shit all over” at CB2 on January 23: the repeated behavior, the insults, the bad faith engagement. I shine a light on it. You wish it was shit: because feces isn’t see-through. And what you all do and say is very easy to see through: it is all clear and self-evident to everyone but you and your small group, it seems.

Another tidy little fact in all this is that you, sir, in particular, stand to make a profit in the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan. And you already have, Scion Thypin: your family’s wealth expands way beyond real estate.

And I mean, if your tactics are fair, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about when you receive criticism, right? You should be proud of how you operate: you don’t have anything to hide, do you?

And of course, I can express myself publicly, just like you can express yourself in such a fashion: that’s only fair, isn’t it? It’s only right, isn’t it?

Because, to me, two sides expressing their viewpoint seems like the crux of democracy: you have your opinion and I have mine and we both get to express our own opinions. No matter what our opinions are or how disparate they may be, they get to be expressed by us in public forums: that in itself is a beautiful thing; a democratic declaration.

And I don’t put you down, Mr. Thypin, for having an opinion, no matter how much I take issue with what you say. But what I *do* do is take issue with your opinions, aka your words. I then form specific arguments against your opinions, against the words you say. I use my words to express my issue with your words.

You, in turn, use your words to express your issue with me opening my mouth but you quite never get around to the part of specifically critiquing what comes out of my mouth: you only take issue with me expressing myself.

You never address what it is that I say, instead you disparage me for opening my mouth. Conveniently, though, you ignore what I say.

Someone from ONY must have filmed the speakers at that January 2020 CB2 meeting: you have a history of photographing community speakers. I wonder if I was videotaped, if my words were captured. And if so, I wonder why no one posted what I said: I mean, it must have been absurd and untrue, right? I must have looked like a crazy person, I am sure.

Funny that what I *said* was totally disregarded.

How come you never directly address what I say?

Because that’s what I do with you: I cite your own words and actions to depict how you and your ONY cohorts conduct yourselves and how you chronically treat other people. I seek to raise awareness about it: I wonder why you are not open to such relevant and fair criticism. And it’s not slanderous, either: if I am showing your own words and your own content along with published media about you, how can that be considered defamatory or even insulting? If you wrote it, you should be able to stand by it: all of it.

Right?

Like the sweet nothings you tweet to me.

Or your rejoicing in the destruction of brownstones in my neighborhood.

Your words and actions represent you: I assume you are proud of them. So it’s problematic how defensive you are about your own words or your real estate business and family legacy. It’s problematic how snarky, quick-tempered, overly dramatic, condescending and insulting ONY members and supporters are. It’s especially problematic as this behavior appears to be strategic and deliberate: even city officials have noted this obvious and clumsy conduct. Lower Manhattan District Leader Paul Newell’s tweet thread on your own history and comportment is gloriously thorough and revealing. Committeman Ben Yee called ONY out for something I experience for one whole day: the pile on. My own pile on lasted 12 hours where I was falsely but deliberately accused of hating poor people and of being immoral. It was so obvious what you all were doing in that conversation with me: it was so telling. It shows who you all are.

At the end of that discourse, as I am wont to do, I asked you out for a cup of coffee. I am known for coffee terrorism: I have a reputation for wanting to meet people in person so to create a better rapport, to build a bridge and for me to learn more.

But you never took me up on that offer from a half a year ago. I wonder why.

Maybe because it is difficult for you to truly face any of the shit you do.

You most likely will never take me up on it, Mr. Thypin but my offer still stands.

(“But I haaaaaate schlepping anywhere!!!!!!😤🍼😫”)

Weird flex that you are a landlord too.