The great 20th-century philosopher Buddy Hackett used to end each show rousing his audience to stand up for themselves: “Tell the umpire he’s full of it! Don’t wait for the call!” And so, it was in that very spirit that the Munsey Park Biddy Brigade declared it’s opposition to the proposed redevelopment of the Manhasset Macy’s site before seeing it. These are the same folks who got you the Sixth Precinct.
Now, 10 units show up to “investigate” a minor car accident instead of the usual six. I feel safer already.
There are the usual complaints: “It’s out of character for the area!” Which may be so, but since Manhasset was settled back in 1680, one could consistently make the same complaint for 340 years. Hardly original.
“What about the schools? What will we do about the schools? Won’t someone please think about the poor children toiling in our overrated and over-remunerated schools?”
Well. Let’s dig into this, shall we?
As someone whose profession has led him into a deeper look into brick and mortar retail’s travails, this piece of property has long been of interest to me.
With the malls losing department stores, how is it possible that this particular solitary unit, sitting on a giant land parcel with what must be the highest property tax burden this side of Rodeo Drive, hasn’t shut its doors yet? And what would happen to the land if it did?
But aside from that, the redevelopment of this piece of land and the proposal to build apartments there is an answered prayer for the Town of North Hempstead. Here’s why:
The elected officials who pay lip service to the housing crisis around here can finally stop talking and start doing some leading. We hear endless speeches about the young not being able to afford to live here and the elderly who can’t age in place unless their husband’s insurance policies hit the high seven-figure mark.
The bloviators omit the reality that thanks to Long Island’s fealty to single-family housing, that’s not a bug, that’s a feature. And one long overdue for modification.
People are starting to rethink what we need in housing. They’ve been blown up in square footage without respite for decades, and that results in some unforeseen outcomes.
Add a regressive tax policy that ensures more and more people will never experience ownership, plus our famously rapacious civil service, and you wind up with a situation the local pols mourn about but lack the courage and intellect to address.
The only solution for them, of course, is to follow Mencken’s dictum of stoking up fear and anger among the villagers.
However, the villagers shouldn’t worry about these shady renters with their lack of a $100,000 down payment for a handyman’s special. The natural cohort for this project are your very own neighbors.
There are thousands of people around here who would love nothing more than to cash out their equity, leave their property tax bills behind, and stay in the town they’ve lived in for decades.
They’ve always wanted to- but the housing template imposed on us doesn’t allow them to. They have no decent options for downsizing except for moving out of state.
Providing housing for local empty nesters, some of whom have supported this Town and County with hundreds of thousands of dollars (a lot of it wasted) in taxes over the course of decades of their working lives deserve a place where they can remain.
No doubt the Munsey Park Biddy Brigade thinks otherwise. Stasis is one of the rewards of enforcing the status quo, after all. But outside the selfish bubble they dwell in, there are people who deserve to be served.
Adding to this is that Brookfield is a damn good property developer. It won’t be done on the cheap. No doubt some of the residents have legitimate concerns, and they should be heard. But this is an opportunity to seize, not shun.