NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Boomerang” report, which was released earlier this week, holds up a mirror to New York City and urges politicians to think differently about rising home prices. But the report hasn’t been met with universal support from New Yorkers themselves.
And now the pushback has emerged.
Perhaps one of the most widely circulated reactions to the report was an editorial in the New York Post written by restaurateur Joe Bastianich and restaurateur Daniel Boulud, who are the owners of some of New York’s most acclaimed restaurants.
Bastianich and Boulud are professional New Yorkers, but they are also expats who have succeeded in a city that is often hard on first-time and immigrant entrepreneurs.
Bastianich and Boulud wrote that a “bitter truth” about the de Blasio administration’s housing report is that it’s “hard to believe even one meaningful thing in this report.”
Here are the other bad parts of it, according to the Post’s headline:
It’s just, “another myth-busting report to serve up politics of sell-out, excuse-making and divisiveness to the detriment of the middle class,” the New York Post’s headline read.
“Not everything is not so great,” the article continued. “[It] goes back to old ideological left-right axes on power and privilege. More than anything else, it’s a report about land use and building. All the usual suspects, next to who knows what.”
And the New York Post’s take on de Blasio:
As if to say, “Thank you for the headwinds and the soft blows, but guess what? We have you wrapped around our fingers,” the op-ed ends with: “We have a few more decades of what we have, so cut us some slack.”
But a number of good-hearted New Yorkers disagreed. Even better-hearted people, like a panel of city residents and a doctor, have a point.
There are some misguided conclusions
In the study, de Blasio said “the glut of apartments available on the rental market in Manhattan increased rental prices at a faster rate than any other borough in 2016.”
In the Post’s analysis, “there are many non-P.R. reasons for the price increases.”
For example, the Post’s comment about rents in the City’s most populous borough is actually misleading: Manhattan rents are actually about the same as they were five years ago. And rents in Brooklyn — which the Post called “highest in Manhattan” — are actually down from five years ago. (The story focused on one city ZIP code).
Those kinds of disclosures make an important point that New Yorkers should heed: City real estate is a game of supply and demand.
Some have argued that rising prices are driven more by economic factors. Others — and perhaps many — are driven by political forces.
Bastianich and Boulud seem to think that politics should be a factor as well. In his editorial, they wrote that those “who are blessed with public office or influence” should “use it in service of the most needy.”
De Blasio disagreed. His administration’s study is the result of research, and this was how the mayor explained it:
“The Boomerang report — produced by the de Blasio administration — was a multi-year effort, and it was a research project,” de Blasio said. “The goal of the research study is to show all New Yorkers the facts on their neighborhoods.”
The questions of affordable housing and Brooklyn real estate include social and political as well as economic issues, which is why the mayor’s point about research and facts are as valid.
Like any city, New York will have neighborhoods that aren’t for everyone, whether it’s based on poverty or even because of geography. For decades, many new arrivals have found creative ways to adapt to an imperfect world by finding affordable housing and pushing back against boroughs that wouldn’t otherwise serve them well.
Bastianich and Boulud are absolutely right.