Sunday, September 09, 2007

Going to the dogs

I've been reading. Of couse, I read a lot. I like to know what's going on in the world. Sometimes I'm appalled at what's going on in the world. Sometimes for big political reasons, sometimes for smaller but indicative reasons. That's the case with this weekend's reading. Why I receive Metropolitan Home is involved. I like shelter mags for the design element but MH is often ot of touch with reality. This month's issue has pictures from an L.A. showhouse -- which is meant to suggest new and exciting design to the attendees of the open house. It's a big house with various rooms designed/decorated by various designers. That's all usual, and there are show houses as fund raisers for various worthwhile causes all over the US. The thing is this show house has a dog's room. Yes, an entire room for the dog! It's as large as the bedrooms of children in normal suburban homes. Yes, dog houses out in the backyard sometimes get fanciful but does anyone need a house with a whole room for the dog?

It's housing insanity time, maybe because of the mortgage problems. You wouldn't really know many normal people have been pawns in the great mortgage, housing equity suffling of the last several years. The NY TImes special real estate magazine this week offers one luxury tower of condos after another. Some 30,000 new apartments are being built in, mostly, Manhattan, at prices to make you breathe shallowly and maybe even faint. An article also notes that imaginative developers are building garaging space for the third or fourth special sports car -- not just parking space but space for the owner to "express himself" with whatever amenities might be needed, wet bars, wifi connections, entertainment areas. They didn't mention jacuzzis but if you really want one -- what the hell, why not?

Who are these people who care about dog rooms and places to sit and commune with their new.,stationary, Porsche or BMer of Alfa Romeo? What kind of people are they? Do they have poor coursins whose houses are being repo-ed by the banks, who are forced into bankruptcy because they've over borrowed or purchased a house too expensive for them tyring to keep up with their rolling-in-riches cousin, the MBA Bank Executive or the Hedge Fund Manager?

And who are those people who are going to spend megabucks to own an apartment in a glass tower with 30 mile vistas on a clear day? Will they be home enough to see their vistas or are they the ones who get up at 5:a.m. work out in the gym, get to work at 6:30 and come home at 10:00 after a long day selling tax xhelters to other people just like themselves? These are not only men, there are many woman doing these jobs. Probably they stay at work long enough many evenings to see the platoons of immigrant women who speak little English come in to clean the offices ... at only a little over minimum wage. They leave their children with a husband who works a day shift delivering pizza or being a janitor somewhere, in a tiny tenament size apartment somewhere in Queens or the Bronx. It's always been a country of inequality, in fact, if not, theoretically, legally. The gap grows wider, right here in my city ... never mind vis a vie the masses who have yet to have running water in their town, let alone home.

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