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Posts Tagged ‘New York City’
Our building allows its residents to connect with each other through a social network called Building Link. It has many functions including: a marketplace, bulletin board, and lists of preferred vendors. But, I think it is primary use is to be a public forum for kvetching. Whats more is that these complaints, in email form, are distributed to the entire building. There are only so many of these one can take before a response is necessary. The message subjects are enough to ruffle Gandhi’s feathers. I recently reached my breaking point and I have to say it was quite therapeutic. Below, I’ve included a few examples of Building Link messages drafted by residents in my building as well as my response.
1. “Subject: The elevator opens to a resident first floor not the lobby
Hello fellow residents,
I hate to be the one to write this but…..
Some of the residents think the first floor hallway is a lobby. It is not, people live here. Please try to keep your voices down when walking through and waiting for the elevator.
The way the building is laid out we dont have an elevator in the lobby….it is in the hallway in front of our apartments.
It is natural to be quiet in an elevator and speak at normal volume when in a lobby, however please remember the elevator does not take you to the lobby….it takes you to the residents first floor….it would be nice if you spoke softly until in the lobby.
Thank you for your consideration.
(Name has been removed)”
2. “Subject: Infant Nearly Hit By Thrown Cigarette–Please Stop Throwing Cigarettes Out Your Window
Dear Fellow Residents,
Our infant daughter was nearly hit by a cigarette thrown out of a resident’s window on the south side of the building. This is highly dangerous and without consideration for others. Would you like to be the one to burn a child?
In addition we have found numerous cigarettes and matches covering both our terrace and furniture. This has damaged our property, and we ask that you please stop this practice.
Thank you for your consideration for others,
(Name has been removed)”
3. “Subject: Title: Common Roof Areas
I really hate to be the one to write this kind of a post, but I have to complain publicly about the way the roof is being abused. We love our apartment and really love the building, but there seems to be some confusion about where the correct common areas on the roof are located. 3-4 times a month, we see people walk straight past our balcony, look into our windows and then continue on towards the common area. Sometimes, they just lounge around whilst our dog barks her head off. Obviously some people may not find this a terrible inconvenience, but this is our home. Often times these passings have happened after a shower, when my wife and I are relaxing in our home with our deck door open, and you can imagine the issue we have with our privacy being interrupted unnecessarily. What bothers us is not that we see our neighbors walking past, but rather that these walkways, aren’t that at all, they’re emergency paths. And what’s worse, we loose all sense of security when we know that people have complete access to our home any time they like. We have spoken with management, but i’d like you all to know that we love the building because of kinship all those who live here seem to have, it’s a great feeling, and the reason we moved here.
Please keep to the golden rule, we’re not uptight a-holes living in the penthouse, trying to keep everyone from having fun, we would just ask that you respect our privacy, as we do all of yours. Please use the elevators and the proper walkways, you’re invading on the privacy of not just us, but other people who are living in these apartments on the roof.
(Name has been removed)”
How would you have handled this? Let it go? Speak with management? Remove yourself from the distribution list?
Here is what I did:
Now that the new apartment smell has faded away, you are probably thinking to yourself, “a more in-depth inspection of the apartment building, unit, and neighborhood would have been a good idea. How much longer do we have on this lease?”
So until your stay in Williamsburg is over, if you could please make sure to cover your mouth while coughing and to excuse yourself immediately after each sneeze while passing through public areas of the building, that would be much appreciated.
I’ll leave the baguette rating here up to you. How would you rate my handling of the situation?
If the decision to allow Wal-Mart to open a mega-store in New York City were simply about jobs, then it would have already been made. Everyone wants jobs. But, it is about much more than that. People do not hate Wal-Mart because they offer quality products at a low price or because they employee millions of people across America. According to Wal-Mart’s corporate fact sheet, Wal-Mart employs “more than 2.1 million associates worldwide, including more than 1.4 million in the United States.” People take issue with the terms of employment.
Unfortunately, people across the country are all too willing to bow to the low prices and willfully ignore the terms and conditions under which their community is employed. I think this speaks volumes about our country’s value system. Would you rather buy material goods at a low price or see your neighbors, family, and friends earn fair wages and health insurance? Almost everywhere across the country this choice is given relatively no thought and people are overjoyed at how much money they are able to save. But, that is not the case in New York City. Employers are held to a higher standard and if they want access to this market, there are conditions that must be met.
New York City is one of the few places where people are willing to fight for fair and ethical treatment and worker’s rights. They will not allow corporations to exploit their communities is search of high profits and increased sales. The demonstrations and protests organized to draw attention to this issue have elicited the standard response from Wal-Mart, “we will do it our way, whether you like it or not.” The problem is this has not exactly worked here. They are finding it much more difficult and in turn, have unleashed a full-blown lobbying, advertising and PR campaign to topple the people of New York City. Here is the website: http://www.walmartnyc.com/
By taking these steps, Wal-Mart has solidified its position that fair wages and community development are the least of their concerns. At the top of the list is…surprise, surprise…money. According to a New York Times article dated February 18th, 2010, “For the three months ended in January, Wal-Mart had a profit of $4.63 billion, or $1.23 a share, up from $3.79 billion, or 96 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales increased 4.6 percent, to $112.83 billion.” Yet, people defend corporations like Wal-Mart even when it is against their own interests.
Instead of defending Wal-Mart’s “right” to do business wherever they see fit, we should be encouraging New Yorkers to demand more from corporations that want to do business in our city and state. People want low prices and will no doubt shop at a Wal-Mart in New York City. But, Wal-Mart should not be given huge tax breaks and allowed to take advantage of the very people that they expect toil in their stores for low wages and no benefits.
Wal-Mart has the means to pay its employs a fair wage and provide them health benefits, they just choose not to. And people let them off the hook because their prices are low. What is so perplexing is that this whole controversy could go away with one simple decision, but they refuse to concede. Why don’t they take all of the money they have spent of lobbying, PR and advertising and spend it in a way that supports the workers and the community they are trying to sell their products to? Because they are Wal-Mart and people have no meaning to them.
It is inspiring to see New Yorkers, including the poor and unemployed, stand up for what is right even during the hardest of times. We should all be asking more of corporations like Wal-Mart. If they want New York City, they are going to have to pay for it. And not just in terms of money but through a moral and ethical shift in their treatment of American workers.
The people of New York receive 5 baguettes for their continued opposition to a Wal-Mart in New York City:
Posted in Uncategorized, tagged California, Cape Town, Florence, Grafitti, iPhone, Italy, New York City, NoHo, Nolita, Photography, Santa Monica, SoHo, South Africa, Street Art on August 14, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
Because we all do enough reading during the week, here are some photos I’ve taken with my iPhone while traveling or just walking around my neighborhood for you to perusse: