BY BENNETT KREMEN | I can only rejoice that those insane Vornado/REBNY Towers of Babel won’t be built now around Penn Station.
I live just two blocks from that near missed disaster, and though breathing with relief, this is no time to lay back, thinking the war’s over. We’ve treated a symptom here, stopping 10 30-story, life-stifling buildings from decimating Midtown Manhattan — yet the underlaying disease continues.
The Real Estate Board of New York, our billionaire landlords, has, yes, had a rare defeat but remains as powerful as ever. However, in their suffering at least this one clear setback lies an urgent, perhaps historic opportunity for the organizations, politicians and regular folks who stood up and made this fight to continue that fight even more fiercely.
Surely, in these troubled times it’s drastically overdue for some checks and balances on the REBNY shadow government’s rapacious, unending gentrification, their cynical destruction of any possible commercial rent laws that might stop the scourge of empty stores on every block, their lusting after hospitals and playgrounds and senior centers as more sites to keep building their empire.
Well, finally a competing force has been amassed — that’s us — created by this Penn Station battle, and it would be an a historic tragedy if we just disbanded with the wind at last at our back and let REBNY simply go on doing what they always do: destroy the art, originality and soul of this city — their one puny value being riches and power.
Also REBNY’s roll in the rise of fascism now terrifying America should be passionately kept in mind because they powerfully facilitated this through their unwavering financial support and prideful encouragement of one of their own — Donald J. Trump.
Yes, Madison Square Garden should be moved, a modern, glorious train station and rail system built. But the movement we’ve constructed to accomplish this should only grow. We need to keep stopping REBNY from rezoning neighborhood after neighborhood, imposing their billionaire lala land on the rest of us. We desperately need new ideas and inspiration to save a stricken city.
Kremen is the author of two novels, “Savage Days Haunted Nights” and “The Passion Of Anyaskaya,” both available on Amazon, and has just completed a novella and series of short stories called “Catastrophe’s Stalking The Euphrates” currently looking for a publisher. He’s long been a labor activist.