My last night in Manhattan was spent dining and clubbing — it's been a very long time since I danced in the strobe of a disco ball — in the old meatpacking district of Manhattan. My escort/friend, who grew up in NYC, said it was an area filled with criminals and danger when he was a kid. Now it's gentrified, trendy and expensive, as is so much of the city.
Like so many others in so many places, he's been economically displaced from the place he once called home.
Earlier, I'd walked city streets lined with shops selling designer goods — luggage, crystal, clothes, shoes, jewelry, hats, handbags, chocolate. You name it, they've got it. But few of the stores had any customers, their clerks and doormen standing idle and bored. I'm sure some people must buy, or they wouldn't remain in business. Still, I couldn't help wondering who does support this ultra-abundance of luxury. Is there really that much big money floating around?
I cruised through the Frick Collection, an art gallery set in what was once a private mansion facing Central Park. It now displays works by Rembrandt, Monet, Manet, El Greco and other European masters. Many of their subjects were nobility opulently decked out in pearls, gold, silks and jewels. It's been 400 years since some of these pieces were painted, and still we have not lost our fascination with finery.
Speaking of big money, a friend sent a link to a New York Times article featuring houses that cost more than $1 million — one of which is located in Haena. The 1,524-square-foot house sits on two-thirds of an acre across from “Tunnels.” It's one of the most beautiful coastlines in the Islands, and almost entirely devoted to vacation rentals these days.
I got a giggle from the line, “It consists of one residential level, elevated from the ground for treetop views.” That's got to be the best euphemism yet for flood zone compliance. What caught my eye, though, was the mention of a “yurt next to a seasonal stream.” Hmmm. Guess you're never too rich to turn down the income from an illegal vacation rental.
And so goes Haena, yet another place in Hawaii where the locals are being steadily squeezed out by new big money.
Though I've often heard that New Yorkers are surly and rude, everyone I encountered was friendly and polite — right down to the TSA staff at La Guardia.
After the security officer checked my ID, he looked me in the eye, and said, "Now I want you to promise me you'll do something amazing today."
"Well, I did give the cab driver a big tip," I said, and he laughed. "But I'll try to do better."
"Good," he replied. "Now you have a wonderful day."
I went on my way, warmed and cheered, despite the news that my flight is delayed.
Money is useful, and necessary, and it can do good. Still, it's no substitute for the kindness and humanity that springs from an open, loving heart.
Promise me you'll do something amazing today.
Have a great flight back home. Regarding the Haena for sale, across from Makua is conservation district, where vacation rentals are prohibited. Also only 1 home is allowed. And flood zone prevents one from using the ground floor for other than storage or parking, but never mind cause no one enforces the law in Haena.
To 6:59 AM....or anywhere else, it seems.
Displaced by the moneyed, those on the mainland may still have many more opportunities than the local families who are being displaced here. Moving from one island to another won't solve the lack of affordable housing and decent job dilemma.
Such a beautiful post Joan, we love you!
No one in the US has a birthright to live where their family lived, whether it is Wainiha or NYC. Families getting displaced is a truth of capitalism. It can be in Manhattan or Kauai.
If you work hard and succeed you get to buy a place somewhere good.
If the kids or grandkids of someone who worked hard don't do the same, they get displaced by someone who was successful. It is the law of the jungle.
And these newly successful displacers (often called yuppies) tend to not be criminals so when they move into places like Wainiha and the meatpacking district they make them SAFER.
Don't F with the "Wainiha Boyz" though. Keep Wainiha ghetto.
On, and they want to tear down the Lihue Shell station. Save Lihue's SOUL!!!!
How do we apply to take in a refugee?
get your groove on Joan!
Perfectly said. If you work hard and succeed you get to buy a place somewhere good!!!!!!!
Survival of the fittest is the law of the land.
No job on Kauai especially on the north shore enables one to buy a home here, only the selling of drugs or real estate. And don't give me your BS that the people who move in are innocents, since a lot of them earned their money selling drugs, then became real estate brokers here. It may not be a guarantee anywhere , but the disparity between wages and property value here is a huge chasm. The Wainiha boys as you call them, desperately try to protect a way of life and invasion of what was.
spoken like a true realtor. money counts. you got it, you in. you don't, you out. your law of the jungle is why the world lis so fucked up.
People work 2,3 or more jobs here and still can't afford to pay the rent, let alone eat, things are out of whack here. The resorts should have stayed out of the residential areas, and then property would not have risen so that no local families can afford a home. Notice how Agro people are here, no amount of hard work can earn families a home in the place they were born and raised in, except selling the aina, which most local people would not do. The county failed in following the VDA laws, it is no wonder people are not so nice here anymore.
7:06, please tell us what jobs or what hard work enables you to survive here?
"(often called yuppies) tend to not be criminals" LOL
@7:25 pm, its really not my law. It is the way things are - just saying. The law of the money jungle been around thousands of years.
Crying about how its unfair for local people does nothing to help local people. It just makes everyone mad.
And why do some local people succeed and others become losers?
Its because of upbringing, discipline and avoiding substance abuse. These are the recipes for success. There are lots of local people who worked hard in school, got good enough grades for college, took student loans and have good jobs on Kauai. They don't really love excuse making criminals either.
The Wainiha Boyz might justify their thuggery by pretending its to protect some old way of life, but its really just about substance abuse and violence and they are just making things worse for their families and eventual spawn.
Lack of housing, roads, drug treatment, friendly government workers smooth County operations are at the feet of the Council and Mayor.
8 people are responsible for every problem.
8 people could at least work together to fix these problems.
At least the roads.
Hooser, Mason and Yukimura are the three most responsible for STOPPING any law that assists the local guy. Don't be lured in by their cute faces and slippery words.
The election is upon us,Da Hoos is already pandering.....let's get some people who car about the regular folks instead of the elite, so-called farmers, newcomers and others who got here yesterday and now want to be the masters of the Kauai universe.
If you are working 1 to 3 jobs it is very clear to me that you have made many mistakes in your life, namely that you did not get an advanced education.
Cannot believe the arrogance in the comments! I can only speak from personal experience and those of close relatives and friends. ...I did all the right things: held responsible jobs in high school, put myself through college and then grad school, saved money, got a decent job, took no vacations, but I got married and had kids. Your equation does not work, especially if you try to give your children a better education than they might otherwise get in some of the public schools. Throw in any medical catastrophe, aging parents who need help, a divorce, saving for kids' college, or any of the unfortunate, but normal things that are part of life, and there is no way a decent house here is affordable.
And if I weren't married, I'd never be able to afford mortgage payments.
Twice this week I've heard that the north shore community is growing. (How is that possible if we're being taken over by vacation rentals?) Parents, it's your job to encourage your kids to stay in school. No education means low paying jobs. Kapaa High School has one of the highest drop out rates in the nation. I say shame on the parents. And before you try to tell me I don't know what I'm talking about: my daughter, born and raised on Kauai, product of the Kapaa school system, went to college, has a good job. Unfortunately, until the County figures out they need to actually encourage developers she will never be able to return to her home. If we didn't let another family move here from the mainland, our population would still grow. We still need housing.
Regarding all the comments blaming real estate for selling out Kauai. Can anyone give any evidence of a real estate agent holding a gun to a land owners head to force them to sell? While I agree we have enough shady agents to last a life time, they only make money because my neighbor's a greedy seller. How about talking about them for a change?
Most sellers just can't afford the taxes and insurance or mortgage payments.
some guy just bought 3 ocean front lots in a row at Hanalei. He paid millions because he could. Guys like this don't care about "market value" or worry about qualifying for a mortgage. He has more money than the bank. price is no object. but what about the guy down the street who is cutting it thin just to live in Hanalei. wanna guess what his next tax bill is gonna look like? think he can hold out?
Post a Comment