A Visit With a Real Estate Deveoper at the James A. Farley Post Office
- Subject: [cg] A Visit With a Real Estate Deveoper at the James A. Farley Post Office
- From: Adam36055@aol.com
- Date: Thu, 2 May 2002 10:49:22 EDT
The winter cold/flu/misery that eluded me in January has bitten me now in May
- a matter of bad timing. Last night, armed with several packets of Kleenex
and a bag of throat losenges, I sallied forth to the James A. Farley General
Post office on 34th Street near Macy's. It is our post office of last resort,
being open 24 hours - the TV cameras are always there on April 15th to
embarrass last minute tax filers. It's an event like the running of the bulls
at Pamplona or the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.
As the money was in our checking account, we decided to take advantage of
the early-bird registration before we spent the money on something
frivilous...like bills. My wife the nurse was looking the other way ( she's
studying for finals) otherwise she would have kept me from coughing on the
outside world last night.
The line in the lobby at the James A. Farley Post office was a crypt-like
crew, something out of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" - late bill payers, second
shift office workers and anal-compulsive real estate developers making sure
that their filings have the right postmark when their admins call in sick.
So, as fate would have it, I was right behind a low-income-housing developer
whom I've duked it out with in the past when he tried to get approval to
build a development on a struggling community garden in CB4 - the short
story: finally, we ended up getting another not-for-profit developer to build
near the garden, not on it. As a give back, this developer gave the garden a
brand new fence ( it's the Juan Alonzo Garden on 53rd and 11th. I'll show it
to you if you want when you get in town.)
Needless to say, I was not one of his favorite people, but seeing that we
were on line we chatted. It's called information exchange. Now, we ACGA'ers
know it is possible to have both low-income housing and gardens, but this
developer can't see it in a city. He sees folks living on the streets,
families with a need for more room as his justification ( I also noticed his
very nice watch). He asked why I was there, coughing like it was the last
act of "Camille."
"Taking advantage of the early bird American Community Gardening Association
NYC Conference offer, " I croaked. "It's at Columbia University this July."
I swear, it was like one of Buffy's wooden stakes had been hammered into his
chest. "Columbia Unversity?", he said, reeling back in not so complete mock
"Yes, " I coughed, " we're national, even international. Here's the catalog,
" which I dragged out of my back jeans pocket. As a real estate guy, he
reads fast and carefully. Looking as if he's seen a cross, "Aresh Javadi is
appearing at Columbia University, that pain-in-the a - - garden guy in the
flower suits who always gets arrested?"
"One and the same, "sez I, " he's doing his talk with some Land Trust
gardeners and NY Restoration, if you don't wanna see him, I'm presenting at
the same time with some folks from a 40 year old Boston garden."
The idea of supporting community gardens by registering struck the developer
as ludicrous as marriage without a pre-nuptual agreement.
"How many people are you expecting," he asked.
"Several hundred, "sez I, knowing that the idea of several hundred garden
activists entering the city from all over the world for a convention at IVY
LEAGUE COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY ( he went to a state school) has to upset him as
much as alimony payments to his third wife. He got his postmark and flew off
into the night like a bat. As my convention materials got stamped and sent, I
knew that I had to share this with you...
I just wanted you to have this picture in your mind when you send your
convention registrations in...
Hope to see you in July.
Volunteer Clinton Community Garden
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