We’re Moving to a New Commenting System

We have an exciting announcement to make: We are moving to a new commenting system! We hope regular Brownstoner readers, who have experienced so many frustrations with the current system, will be as thrilled as we are to hear it. The rollover will start tonight at 6 pm. We don’t expect any downtime, but you may experience a few hiccups during the process. On Wednesday morning, registered users will receive an email about the update asking them to set up their passwords again. Please be patient with us during the transition. Fingers crossed third time is the charm.

85 Comment

  • ianmac47

    Now if only you could do something about the actual commenters…

    • oh hey, look – the reincarnation of robert moses has a problem with the commenters on a website that focuses on historical preservation.

      go back to ohio.

      • ianmac47

        You keep saying that. I’m not sure you are familiar with Robert Moses or his legacy. Moses wanted to build highways. He loved cars. He wanted to reinvent the city in the same way Le Corbusier envisioned Paris. Those positions are the antithesis of anything I believe or have expressed.

        The advocation for affordable housing, higher density, and new housing units is not mutually exclusive to healthy, walkable, liveable communities.

        The newly moneyed who frequent this site looking to protect their small slice of private property by further restricting new housing units rarely offer any coherent arguments other than incorrectly tossing out hot button words like “Robert Moses” and “Jane Jacobs” and “preservation.” Most of the commenters like you have failed to articulate anything other than rich white people rage over not always getting exactly what you want.

        You’ve failed to recognize that the very things you are fighting to preserve — neighborhood character, architectural charm, uniqueness of place, diversity of people — has been squeezed out by wealth, celebrity, and the politically connected.

        But hey, I guess we can keep pretending like you’ve ever once made a constructive comment.

  • daveinbedstuy

    “We don’t expect any downtime, but you may experience a few hiccups during the process.”

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    I’m taking bets.

  • Arkady

    Expect the worst, hope for the best…

  • So soon??? But, it’s only been 2 years and 2 months since the PLUSAs Beta-tested the current commenting system and alerted Brownstoner to all the problems with disqus.
    Hmmmmm, perhaps that’s why the OT was abruptly ended and the PLUSAs were told not to let the back door hit them on the way out.

  • East New York

    “Hmmmmm, perhaps that’s why the OT was abruptly ended and the PLUSAs were told not to let the back door hit them on the way out.”

    I thought you guys were over that already.

  • expert_textpert

    Do we have to sign up with our current log-in name?
    I think I want a new log-in

  • It will be nice to be able to post in MM’s Plather of the Day columns again so that I can note the number of times she is in my nabe without calling me.
    (And, PS, I’m shocked that I’m able to post here today. Never would’ve tried if Slopey hadn’t sent me an OT Alert.)

    • expert_textpert

      do you want to know the number of times I’m in your name without ‘calling’ you?

      • In my “name”??? You mean in my nabe with your grubby paws in the olive barrel at Sahadi??? I thought you txtd me every time you streetwalked on Atlantic Avenue or loitered outside Montero’s???

        • expert_textpert

          No, I don’t text you every time I’m in your nabe. I’m there at least once a week, sometimes twice. And it’s my kid’s hands in the olive bins (and choco covered cashew bins)
          AND I avoid walking by monteros.
          And if I do see you, you know I’m not abashed to yell obscenities at you.

          • You didn’t yell obscenities last time you saw me go into Montero’s??? You just txtd something about my being shorter than when you’d last seen me. Next time you should come in and say hi to us and shout obscenties in person.

          • expert_textpert

            I didn’t yell obsenities cause I was with my child. I texted, I didn’t recognize you cause you look taller from afar.
            **edited**

          • We can take this offline later, but, joking aside for the moment, you really can come in and say hi to us.

  • return_of_benson

    “The newly moneyed who frequent this site looking to protect their small slice of private property by further restricting new housing units rarely offer any coherent arguments other than incorrectly tossing out hot button words like “Robert Moses” and “Jane Jacobs” and “preservation.”…………You’ve failed to recognize that the very things you are fighting to preserve — neighborhood character, architectural charm, uniqueness of place, diversity of people — has been squeezed out by wealth, celebrity, and the politically connected.”

    Excellent.

    • I found the comment rather myopic. Preservation and neighborhood character are valued by more than the rich, and practiced by those who do not live in tony, overpriced neighborhoods. The idea of enjoyable, urban living in a low-density, walkable, diverse neighborhood is embraced by more than just the rich.

      • return_of_benson

        “Preservation and neighborhood character are valued by more than the rich”

        No one argued otherwise. His point is that there is a class of people who are taking it beyond private values, and are using government regulations to create enclaves for the gentry, and at the same time pushing up the price of housing for those of less means.

        He is also dead-on in his observation that these same folks try to stifle discussion by invoking keywords that are supposed to represent settled wisdom.

      • Oh, sure, reply to “he who’s name dare not be spoken lest we have 40 years of plague and pestilence”, but ignore my efforts to bait you and lure you over here. And kindly tell pepper to stop talking about me behind my back.

      • ianmac47

        If someone can point to a neighborhood that has been preserved in height and under historic zoning that has not then become obscenely expensive pushing out local businesses and the original people living there, please, I’d love to know WhereTF that is. Meanwhile, the same people arguing for preservation and limiting new growth are against rent stabilization and affordable housing units.

        • expert_textpert

          “If someone can point to a neighborhood that has been preserved ……and the original people living there,”

          I can’t. Native Americans haven’t been in Brooklyn since the late 1600′s

        • I am all for rent stabilization and affordable housing. I’ve advocated it on this site, since day one, and have worked for it in the communities I live in. Landmarking protects the community, and it’s not just richy rich neighborhoods that get landmarked. Stuyvesant Heights was landmarked in 1971. It hardly started a rush of gentrification. Same with Greenpoint, Fort Greene, Boerum Hill, Clinton Hill, and parts of Harlem. Even Park Slope, when it was landmarked in 1973, was hardly land of the rich at that time.

          Crown Heights North was landmarked in 2007, and since I had a small bit to do with that one, I can assure you that rich people were not in the picture, nor were gentrifiers. It was just folks, ordinary people who wanted the protection of landmarking to assure that our beautiful buildings wouldn’t be replaced by stark condo towers.

          The fact that neighborhoods do gentrify has nothing to do with landmarking. It has much more to do with housing stock being available, affordable, at the time, and the urban landscape, public transportation, and other factors conspiring to make a neighborhood desireable.

          I was here when no one would live on the Upper West Side’s side blocks but starving actors and rent controlled senior citizens, plus all of the lower middle class and poor who couldn’t escape to the suburbs. Same for Park Slope. Same now for Bed Stuy and Harlem. When the city stopped being broke, and people started to swarm back to the cities, that’s when demand made the undesireable palatable, then desireable, and then ridiculously hot. Preservation, and by extension, landmarking, justified the desirability, but it did not cause it.

          • sixyearsandcounting

            MM pwns Ian MacAllen. Too bad actual history is a lot more complex than the Econ 101 textbook.

          • he’s reading the wrong version!

          • ianmac47

            Far too often anti-affordable housing rhetoric sits alongside pro-downzoning arguments as if subsidizing the housing of lower income people is somehow different than subsidizing the value of property owners through artificial scarcity. (over looking that the main difference is the demographic and access to money, power, and least of all, internet).

            Landmarking is a hugely powerful tool and there are definitely all sorts of examples of how its been useful, missed opportunities, and mistakes. Penn Station clearly, obviously should have had landmarking protection, and its sacrifice as a catalyst to create landmarking designations is a painful loss. Protections, like prohibiting destruction of potential landmarks prior to designation — the Hoffman Auto Show Room, for instance — need to be addressed.

            And sure, there are have been some great examples in the first years of landmarking designations that have preserved important styles. That was really important in the 1970s and 1980s when people wanted to replace historic properties with cheap, slipshod construction materials. Asphalt shingles and vinyl siding come to mind. But certainly the Bloomberg era has seen landmarking focused on neighborhoods that have gentrified or were primed to gentrify that then had that process accelerated by the artificial constriction of supply.

            The East Village became the playground of the yuppie frat boy with banks on every corner because the West Village was already the playpen of celebrities and bankers. The upzoning in WIlliamsburg accelerated the rent increases there because the new construction catered to the yuppies while the now preserved, now limited in height housing stock failed to sate demand. It was a lose lose proposition.

            Ultimately there is a distinction between contemporary historic preservation and applying the tool when it first became available.

            Bloomberg has wielded his preservation stick like a gentrifying tool to push young, often white, often wealthier than existing residents into deeper extremes of both last the remnants of poverty in Manhattan and distant reaches of Brooklyn.

            Add to that opposition to development on empty land — like for example, the large project slated for empty lots on the Gowanus — and that only makes housing more expensive. The Lightstone development there isn’t changing the demographics, its catering to an existing group.

            So yes, not all preservation has increased the costs of housing, but much of it, especially the more recent use of it, has.

          • Ian, you are blaming the wrong people here. Preservationists did not make Williamsburg expensive. In fact, 98% of Williamsburg is NOT landmarked. The only landmarked district there is that one block of houses on Fillmore Place, plus a dozen or so individual buildings. You really have no leg to stand on arguing that preservation is jacking up the prices in this neighborhood.

            In fact, one could argue that had all of those warehouses and factories been landmarked, the yuppification of WB would have been better contained, because developers would have had to keep the buildings that were there, instead of tearing them down for taller, more dense, condo towers. They might have gone elsewhere with easier pickings, and for a while, at least, Williamsburg would have at least looked more like Soho than whatever it is now. It still would have gentrified, but it would have taken longer.

          • ianmac47

            A huge portion of Williamsburg was downzoned, which of course, is not preservation, but has the same effect of reducing the availability of housing. Plus on top of that, the combined efforts of preservation and downzoning in Manhattan along the L helped propel people eastward, just as that downzoning in the LES has pushed people out along the J.

            SoHo and Williamsburg look very similar these days: American Apparel, Urban Outfitters, Brooklyn Industries, and Anthropologie (coming soon). All that’s missing from Bedford is a Gap.

            But I’m sure it must be great to have bought one of those condos in a finger building in Williamsburg before the city preserved the views in perpetuity.

          • OK, now you’re not even making sense. Retailers go where they think they will have a steady stream of customers, and they will make money. If you don’t like the stores, don’t shop there. But to blame landmarking, even downzoning, for the mallification of WB is ridiculous.

            You want to blame someone for the lack of new affordable housing in WB, blame the developers who choose not to build it, and go for the most bang for their buck, which is in luxury housing. Blame Bloomberg for the tax breaks, I’m not too happy with him not demanding more affordable housing in general. But blaming downzoners and preservationists is absurd.

          • ianmac47

            Retailers follow the demographics. They’ve come to Bedford because the kind of people moving in over the last several years have absurdly high incomes, with many more on the way. There are arguably other reason — most national retailers prefer dealing with larger landlords, perceived hipness of a given location.

            Bloomberg certainly is to blame, but its not just the tax breaks; his administration has been pushing huge blocs of downzoning and preservation. Its probably not that surprising that his voter base is the middle-age, upper middle class white people who are eagerly pushing for those kinds of reforms.

          • sixyearsandcounting

            All you seem to understand is a very simplified version of supply and demand, and then you project backward. But as MM (and DH) have shown, your way of thinking does not explain What Actually Happened. When that happens, the normal reaction is to look for other explanations, but you keep doubling down. Time to step back and think outside the box you’re in.

          • ianmac47

            The collective delusion is amazing.

          • That’s amazing Ian, because if anything, Bloomberg and REBNY have been in bed for the last 8 years, and REBNY hates landmarking and downzoning. I think even Mayor Mike would laugh at being characterized as a preservationist. It’s the furthest thing from the truth.

          • ianmac47

            You say Vader betrayed and murdered Luke Skywalker, I say Darth Vader is just Anakin Skywalker with a black cape. We’re both right, from a certain point of view.

          • Yeah, but Vader did not murder Luke Skywalker, so your argument kinda falls apart, there.

            (Can’t believe I got sucked into that analogy.)

          • american apparel and brooklyn industries were there before the condos. (and you, i’m assuming)

        • return_of_benson

          Ian;

          You’re wasting your time here. The good news is that prominent economists, sociologists and urban planners are starting to speak up on these issues. For instance, check out Edward Glaeser’s “Triumph of The City” for a good discussion of these issues. Fred Siegel has also written on it. Finally, the larger sociological issue is well described in Charles Murray’s recent book “Coming Apart: The State of White America”.

    • Agreed. But whether one agrees or not, I’m not really understanding the shunning. I like clear opinions hear, including the generously shared opinions of the neo-shunners here. It’s kinda baffling, really.

  • Why do I fear that the “What could suck worse than Disqus?” question is about to be answered?

  • dashr

    I just finally got disqus to work for me.

    What’s a PLUSA? What’s an OT?

  • expert_textpert

    And while you’re fixing things around here, can you get the floorplans to be displayed correctly in the listings. As it is, they’re being cut off, top and bottom.

  • “Bloomberg has wielded his preservation stick like a gentrifying tool to
    push young, often white, often wealthier than existing residents into
    deeper extremes of both last the remnants of poverty in Manhattan and
    distant reaches of Brooklyn.”

    And that one’s just not true. You obviously don’t know anything about landmarking works. The LPC does not just ride in and declare a community landmarked. It’s a protracted and lengthy process, that begins and ends with community support and a desire to be landmarked. If there is no local interest in landmarking, or the community is dead set against it, the LPC will not landmark the area, they’ll move on to the hundreds of other communities and buildings that want to be landmarked.

    As a concrete example, the Bedford area of Bed Stuy was deemed more than worthy of landmarking in the early 70s. The community will was not there, so it was not done. Six or seven years ago, local people brought the LPC back, and it’s taken this long to get calendared, which just happened this year. Like in Crown Heights North, this was a group of grass roots people, most of them black, who have had multi-generational ties to the community, not white gentrifying yuppies. You don’t have to be white, or rich, to know you’ve got something worth protecting.

    Yes, people are getting pushed out, people with low incomes, or people who lost their incomes in the last recession. I was one of them. But I don’t blame Bloomberg, or white gentrifiers, or rich black people coming back to the neighborhood. Gentrification here was inevitable. The wisest thing anyone can do is to work to steer it in the direction that best serves the greater community, by angling for jobs and affordable housing, which IS being built, here in our community. Bloomberg had nothing to do with it, and neither did landmarking.

  • Yo, yo, yo – I like this new comment interface as long as I don’t have to fill in my deets every time I comment. Who is this new guy, Ian? Perhaps he’s the What?

  • Bob Marvin

    I’ve managed to re-set my password and log in, but it seems that the only way to comment is to click on the “Recent Comment” section. There’s no space for comments on each individual item. It looks like you can’t comment on anything that didn’t have a comment prior to the change-over. I hope you can sort this out soon.

  • Sweet. My username has reverted to the original one without those stupid dashes.