Bringing Back Cities

Fall is coming. We will be returning to the city. I am beyond excited to return. I know it will not be the city I left but to me, that is the opportunity.

My friend woke up the other morning thinking about how many billionaires live in NYC. If each of them gave $2m to a fund, which is a no brainer for them, that capital could be deployed into the right areas that need cash, it could be game-changing.

In the 1970s, Lewis Rudin led the charge and created the Association for A Better NY. He raised $600m from other real estate developers to prop up the parks, the museums, and other spaces including how to think differently about the city. It is time for another one of those moments, in all cities.

Cities are losing people to the suburbs. Just a side note, if you are a die-hard city person and leave for the suburbs, you will be very sorry. If you don’t love the city to begin with that’s a different story.

City leadership is poorly needed. There needs to be a vacancy tax implemented to get commercial real estate properties in line with the rent reality immediately. There is a lot of entrepreneurial-minded people in NYC and until those rents go down, restaurants, retail, and more are not going to benefit from them. This must be jump-started asap.

If you are a “statutory resident”, people who own properties in NYC who have enough money to keep an apartment here while choosing to live less than 180 days in the city gets to opt of paying income taxes. We have not lived in NYC 180 days this year due to COVID but we are going to pay our full income taxes because it is our main city of residence where we hang our hat regardless of how long we are there each year. The city needs cash.

I would suggest changing this law. If you live in the city 180 days only, then you pay 50% of your income tax for getting to live there 50% of the time. If you live there for only 90 days, then pay 25% of your income tax to NYC. Fair is fair. You own, you get to enjoy the city, pay your share, or move out.

Get major urban mayors together and put together a transportation bill for each of our cities. Bring them into the future. How much would it cost for each city to do this right? How many people would have to be employed in each city? How much would each of these people make and pay in taxes each year?

Housing needs to be thought about too. Not only for the people working on these projects but also the growth that will happen when the transportation infrastructure in cities change forever. Present this to the House and the Senate. Federal Government should be paying for this. Put American back to work. This goes the umbrella of protecting our environment.

Each company wins the bids for each city should have an advisory group of the best bankers and operators of their city to oversee these companies, as boards do to companies to make sure cash isn’t pissed out the door.

The most important thing is regardless of the groups of people who are going to come together to bring back our cities, these groups must have diversity on each of them. Not only a myriad of faces but youth. I want to see twenty-year-olds, thirty-year-olds, forty-year-olds from every sector, and maybe a few teenagers to talk about how they see the future of their city. The youngest ones are going to be able to build on those visions. The young adults will be able to push us down a new path. We need a new path. Let’s listen to the next generation.

The leaders in charge have just been able to hang in there because they are living longer. It is time for term limits. Our cultures are changing rapidly and the people who have been around for too long don’t really understand where we need to go.

Returning to NYC is around the corner and I am spending a lot of time thinking about how to make it better than ever. I believe change is great.