Monday, June 19, 2006

Who Are You? #2

Who the Hell Am I? #2
What I have been trying to say, evolution has changed: it has gone from the macro to the micro, which means outwardly it's satisfied but inwardly it's opened up a whole new world. This is not the "new world" of the New World Order. God no. To the Devil with the New World Order. No, I'm talking about an order to a new world.

One evolutionary phenomenon I am noticing--because it is going on all around me as I sit in my eerie not-that-high above one of the largest cities in the world, economically only high enough it keeps the mosquitoes down after summer rains or summer heat spells. But think if I were 20 more stories higher. Aha! Catch my drift? According to the "keeping up with the Joneses" rule of thumb, a white rule of thumb--I doubt if many people other than whites consider living above the 30th floor of an apartment building, you gotta be "movin' on up" if you wanna be with it; the very top, the very highest digs reserved for the keeko-muckity mucks like actors and actresses, pop singers, and high tab whores, the truly gifted people of our condescending country. Remember the Jefferson's theme song. Everything good is Up; nothing good is Down. Twenty floors is usually about as high as a poor person can afford to live. Above the 30th floor, well, that's another world evolving. I should write a sociological essay, "Those Who Live Above the 30th Floors."

The old-line-legal-reserve rich, the lucky rich, and the nouveau riche are coming out of selling homes that were overvalued by a phony marketplace to the point a $100,000 tacky house was suddenly worth $750, 000 or sometimes unbelievably a million bucks for a shack. Or you could be making little fortunes off .coms--like if you'd'a bought 3 or 4 thousand shares of Google stock when it first came out, you'd now be able to afford an apartment or condo over the 30th floor. At least ten floors above the poor, dig? Who lives between the 20th and the 30th floors--ne'er-do-wells? chartities? the affordable housing-finding people? From 30 on up to 60 is for those powerful enough to always live as far above the street as architects dare take them. Cloud 9 is an actual place to these people.

A Catholic Church has just built a 60-story behemoth three blocks away from me and looking out my eleventh-floor hall window, the damn thing looms up now into a skyline that for over 200 years hasn't had so tall a building built into its vertical air--the Empire State Building used to gloriously dominate the eastern end of my neighborhood, but now, there are apartment buildings being built all around this old darling of a building, two monsters right across the street from it that are over 50-stories each. And they are totally tacky. Prefab tacky. Levittown tacky. Ticky tacky. Plexiglas panels, blue plastic-looking panelled sidings all railroad tracked up with windows and aluminum frames, tacky, rising up amongst older lower brick and stone creations that were built by skilled hands and not construction jockeys with power hammers and riveting equipment--power screwdrivers--power stone-cutting machines. Why where it used to take years to build a 60-story building, this one the Catholic Church is building has taken about 5 months and it's almost "topped off" already. When they top a skyscraper off, you suddenly see an American flag fluttering madly at the building's pinnacle--then you know, the outer construction has been completed. This is like what mountain climbers do when the conquer a high peak; you know, they plant a flag there.

Count them: south of me are 5 40-story jobs already completed and two going up now, one which is going to be at least 50-stories. Over to the southeast of me sits a 60-story plexiglas and concrete colossal finished a couple of years ago now--with a weird sort of Cleopatra-designed temple-looking structure topping it off. The old NYC skyscrapers used to put lighthouses on their roofs. The Empire State Building has a replica of the lighthouse at Alexandria--the Pharos--as its crown. The ConEd Building has a lighthouse dedicated to its workers who fell in WWI. Most of these new skyscrapers are flat on top, though not entirely flat since all tall buildings have to have those tacky water tanks on their roofs. Those tanks's style and construction haven't changed much since the beginning of tall buildings, and all buildings have to have them in order for the building's toilets to flush all the tons of shit and piss and paper and mop bucket water that goes down the toilet, or to have enough water pressure so showers and lavatory faucets will work. So most buildings usually cover up these tacky tanks with cheap-ass tacky materials that end up looking like huge shipping crates from which these greedy developers hang their huge "NOW RENTING" gonfalons.

Over southeast of me also is an Epicopal church that has recently sold its air rights to a developer who is already hard and wrecklessly at work preparing to zoom another one of these sky palaces 60-stories into that already invaded sky.

My madness comes from the fact these are cheaply made buildings--you can see it the thin concrete floorings that you are amazed that anything that thin could hold up given the heights and the friction from the constant natural swaying of the building and its response to the curvature and spinning of the globe or the constant high wind forces that batter such buildings day and night. FEMA help us if a bad storm ever hit the middle of this huge city. Plexiglas and concrete boulders would be raining down on those of us left below; being blown by the winds of time flying as it flings its contents down where the poor live, work, and play.

"The Street." That's what these glorified castles are being built to avoid. Power loves living on top of whatever it has power over. Dig? Ancient kings and gods have always demanded to be housed in the tallest most impressive buildings possible. Look at the massive Temple of Luxor. Look at the Teotihuacan ruins in Mexico; the two tallest structures are massive and tall, looming over all their surroundings. Look at the beautiful tower at Chichen-Itza in the Yucatan--they bus you over there from Cancun as part of grabbing your turista dollars when your down there soaking up the margaritas and paying the big Amurican bucks to stay in a bactaria-filthy plasticized hotel room ("My God, honey, this looks just like the Holy Day Inn we stayed in in Baltimore!") and be entertained and fleeced at the same time by the Mafia who controls the action in places like this. Or when you're flying over the Central American jungles, especially over Guatamala, you look down on a solid unrolling of solid green carpeting, amongst which, some still solidly hidden, are massive Mayan structures reaching as high into the air as their technology allowed.

Frank Lloyd Wright firmly believed he could build a mile-high building--moored on concrete stilts embedded deep into the earth. Most architects aren't as confident as FLW, but I'm sure there are hundreds of architects working on the next record-breaking skyscraper as I speak.
Look at Hong Kong, Singapore--Hell, every city in the world--the power resides in the tallest buildings or the biggest mansions on the highest of hills.

I just saw a commercial on teevee that was promoting the first 50-story luxury apartment complex ever built on the Las Vegas Strip. Oh it will sell out, I'm sure, in a matter of hours. Vegas is the fastest-growing city in the U.S.

Las Vegas sits out in the true middle of a NOWHERE in the Nevada desert, just downwind from government property that no ordinary citizen has any idea of what's going on on it. Some believe it houses aliens--Area 51 (which for a while was the name of the Las Vegas minor league baseball team--the 51s); all know it was the site of nuclear bomb testing throughout the fifties up into the seventies; and all know, too, it is where Yucca Flats is and where literally megatons of nuclear waste are going to be stored deep underground. Powerful people believe in hiding their corruptions (or sins) deep underground. They believe it goes away when you bury it. That's why a lot of rich and powerful kingpins when they die don't want to be buried underground; they are buried in mausoleum-type above-ground vaults some of which look like temples to gods, all of which are bigger and better than the common grave. Garbage, for instance. There are literally multibillions of tons of garbage buried somewhere under us all.

Vegas has a shady history from its very start. It was a place where desert rats let their mules piss and shit while they had a shot of rotgut at one of the tent cantinos before 1931 when Nevada legalized gambling and work on the Boulder or Hoover Dam began. Thousands of men went to Boulder City, a company built city for the workers and their families, to work on this huge dam project, the biggest in the world at the time. The men who were "boys"--as in "boys will be boys"--got to going into Vegas, which when gambling was legalized set up rows of tent casinos on Fremont Street, which later became famous as the Vegas Strip.

In 1947, after beating a double murder rap in Hollywood, Benjamin Hyman Siegelbaum, born in Brooklyn, New York, where his best friend became Meyer Lansky, a really really nice little Jewish asshole who would kill your ass rather than argue with you. Siegelbaum learned well from Meyer; "kill 'em first, ask questions later." Lansky and Siegel (he changed his name like all good Jewish boys in those days) began working for Lucky Luciano, the New York mob boss who had been deported back to Napoli by the Feds, but still ran his US mob operations from Italy, using the Mafia resort of Havana as his home base when he needed to order hits on people in the US. In 1937, the Murder Inc. boys sent Siegel to California to help L.A. boss Jack Dragna. Siegel loved Hollywood. He quickly got hooked into the Hollywood inner circles through his banging a Hollywood socialite named Dorothy Di Fasso whose best friend was actor George Raft. Siegel turned into a partying fool in Hollywood, living like a king, banging actresses and rich women, one of whom was Virginia Hill, an Alabama girl already rich but looking for something a little sleazier than "just being rich." "Bugsy," as the Hollywood crowd were now calling Benjy due to their feeling he was a bit bats galore in the old belfy, had to, due a couple of hits in 1937--one of whom was his own father-in-law, the famous mob hitman Whitey Krakow--flee L.A. for safety's sake, and it was while fleeing L.A. that Bugsy stopped in seedy Las Vegas to take a piss. After that, Bugsy began having dreams of making Vegas into a gambling mecca for the mob. He talked the Luciano gang into backing him in building his dream casino, The Flamingo, the nickname he called his paramour Virginia Hill. The Flamingo, started in 1941, was built by the Del Webb Construction Co. Del Webb was owner of the New York Yankees and would go on to get hooked into Vegas himself by building his own Desert Inn (long blown away by the new Vegas "mob." Due to Siegel's dumbness about construction and costs and shit like that, Webb had to come to him and say he was a bit worried because construction costs for The Flamingo were running several million dollars over the original estimate and Webb said he was worried for his own life. This is when Bugsy supposedly told Webb, "Don't worry, we only kill our own."

All was downhill after that for Mister Siegel. Virginia Hill was a smart-ass bitch and she got to making so many trips to Switzerland, Lucky and the mob accountants (Meyer Lansky was one of their top accountants) figured out she and Bugsy were stealing from them, money out of the failing Flamingo project. Meyer Lansky got Bugsy saved from a hit. But soon they had to have another Havana conference and during that one, and this after the Flamingo was opened two weeks and failed and then was closed down for renovations. Lansky again got Siegel an extension of his life. Then, after the Flamingo hit the skids for good and Virginia Hill openly stole as much as she could out of the mob coffers, Lucky said, "Kill that Jew bastard," and that's just what a guy named Little Eddie did. Bugsy was sitting in his mansion livingroom in Beverly Hills reading the New York Times when Little Eddie let fly a couple'a rounds from an US Army M1 carbine rifle that hit Bugsy right square in his left eye, blowing the eye and its socket 15 feet to the far side of the room. Bugsy's death foto was published widely all over the world. Bugsy was gone. Bugsy's style of death was idolized by Hollywood in several movies. Hollywood fell in love with the Mafia through Siegel and that love affair goes on to this day. Bugsy's "right through the eye" way of death is called the "Moe Greene style" in the movie The Godfather in which the Moe Greene character is shot "right through the eye." Also, in The Sopranos, this is the way they rub out the character Brendan Filone. Yes, Hollywood loves the Mafia, and the Mafia loves Hollywood. Jack and Bobby Kennedy knew that through their brother-in-law Peter Lawford (later a member of the Rat Pack with Frank Sinatra, also a big Mafia fan and some say brother) and they loved the Mafia, too, though the Mafia killed both Jack and Bobby, I'll bet'ya.

Now Vegas is respectable--good family entertainment; so why not buy a condo in the first skyscraper luxury apartment building ever built on the Strip? You think Mafia money is involved in it? Just askin'.

Back in the late sixties when I first approached the East Coast after living a life of artistic ease in San Francisco, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Victoria, British Columbia, Mexico City, and New Orleans, one of the first things I noticed was Rockefeller's biggest folly, the World Trade Center, two of the tackiest tall buildings the world had ever seen. Designed by a young Japanese architect who got so pissed at the low-cultured creeps who were the developers wanting to cut corners at every design improvement he suggested he walked off the job. However, it didn't matter to these men of great power, and the Rockefellers at that time still had enormous power in this country--Nelson had one of the greatest murals of all time by Diego Rivera destroyed because Rivera put a bust of Lenin too prominent for it to reside in those hallowed halls of Capitalist bravado; hell, Larry, David, Nelson, and John D. III controlled banks, properties, coal mines, oil reserves, most of the supermarkets in South America, most of the banks in Latino countries (like Banco Popular)--and like we say, powerful people love tall monuments to themselves. John D, the old Big Daddy of the family built Rockefeller Center--and in it built the tallest building allowed at the time, the 60-story RCA Building, now owned by General Electric. General Electric already had a high-rising cathedral of their own over on Lexington Avenue-- a catheral of lights, as its crown was a splashing out of lightning bolt lights like electric embroidery when it went on at night. But that building was part of the lighthouse-on-the-roof ideal; same as Woolworth's cathedral he built out of his poor folks nickels and dimes, the first truly tall building worthy of being called a skyscraper, though the Flatiron Building way on uptown on Fifth Avenue is considered the world's first skyscraper. It still is an impressive building, which, I think, is currently being developed into luxury apartments.

It's the latest fad in world real estate, not just New York City. I've previously told folks these same NYC developers are racing to New Orleans to buy politically stolen property so they can turn New Orleans into a city of 60-story high-rise luxury apartment complexes--with a nice marina where they can tie up a casino boat. Oh what fun there will be for rich white folks in the new New Orleans--and alas, no Colored, except those allowed to stay to be servants in these new complexes--"Hell, those are jobs no decent white man would think of doing."

Another developer fad going on in NYC, thanks to the billionaire mayor giving them tax-free building permits and tax-free incentives galore, and that's the rehabbing of any old elegant office building, the original occupants long since giving them up in terms of office space, to turn them into luxury condo or rental buildings or superspecial little extravagant luxury hotels for the very very wealthy, like Britney Spears, who buys luxury NYC apartments for her trailor trash Lawbanana KKK relatives. There are now in NYC literally hundreds upon hundreds of luxury condo rehabbed office buildings and foreign-developed rehabs of all the older hotels that dot every block of every street in this city. In my neighborhood alone, there are at least 20 old hotels that had sunk to housing crackheads and whores back in the late sixties that are now almost all owned and operated as semiluxury (meaning you can get a closet room for $100 to $150 a night whereas in a big-class hotel you'd pay $250 for the same room) hotels. They do great business because right now, the number one industry in NYC is tourism. NYC used to be where everything you needed was manufactured and distributed or at least headquartered; now it's nothing but a tourist trap--all thanks to our Rudi-Guliani-hero-worshipping shanty Jewish billionaire mayor who believes tourism is the way of the future for NYC [that silly asshole is trying to get the 2008 Repugnican Convention back in NYC again this time--and this the same party who stiffed his short ass in Homeland Security bucks]--plus, the Hiz Honor gets a huge 14% hotel tax off every room rented in this city. That means when you get your bill, say for your $250-a-night closet room, it will be at least $40 more because of this tacked on hotel tax--I think this city even charges you a tax on hospital beds!--anyway, in these once-fleabag hotels, you will come out with a bill for around $310 for a room advertised at $250. How stupid are Amuricans? Very stupid. You can get just as good a room in these mostly Indian-run (and I mean Bombay-type Indians and not our Native Americans) second-graders for sometimes under a hundred bucks a night during a slow season. "Our" Native Americans have learned all about running hotels now that they are all getting gambling rich and building bigger and bigger and more gaudier and more taller casino-hotel combos on their sacred lands, which are scattered all over this gambling-crazed country. They even have Native American concentration...oops, I mean reservations in Iowa, where gambling is bankrupting everybody in the whole damn state.

I don't understand gamblers. Nowhere in the history of gambling has there been any winners except the Mafia and politicos who create these gambling venues for all us suckers. Look at how many games of chance are thrown at us by our own governments. Only the Native Americans can have land casinos anywhere--Vegas and Atlantic City are the only real Amurican land casino places. If you don't think the Mafia runs the gambling industry--think again. Ballys--a former pinball machinemaker out of Al Capone's good ole days in Chicago. Caesars. Same thing. Steve Wynne. His daddy was a small-time Mafia illegal gambling flunky in Pennsylvania who passed his knowledge on to his son. Steve Wynne is such a phony bastard, but that's not my concern.

So I am living within an urban evolution where the rich are moving in droves back to center cities, driving rents up past the Pearly Gates--currently in NYC, the average price to buy your own apartment is one million bucks. You heard me. Rents are basing out at $2,000 a month for a tiny studio. People are flocking into these places willingly paying these over-the-top free-for-all market prices. In my building, which is over 157 years old, tiny apartments with no bathrooms are going for $1200 a month, I kid you not. And this old building mildews and smells to high heaven every summer--plus it gets hotter than seven Hades within these old double-thick walls in the brutal NYC summers--and most people have to have air conditioners the heat is so insufferable. As a result, our dear, sweet, considerate landlord doubles your rent in the summer months if you have an air conditioner. Can you imagine, paying $2400 a month for 4 months out of the year. Talk about crafty. Even the Mafia ain't that crafty. In the winter, I don't think I have to tell you this building is colder than a witch's tit with the heat failing enough you get used to ice on your windows and ass.

I am breathless from writing this. Plus, my rent is coming due in a matter of days so, I guess I better scrape the bottom of the pot...or run down to Atlantic City and see if the Mafia will let me win a pot or two. Yeah, sure.

thegrowlingwolf--whose head is buzzing from the 90+ degree heat NYC is currently suffering
for The Daily Growler

Remember: Charles Darwin was once overheard singing, "All the monkies ain't in a zoo, there's some runnin' loose around me and you..." A song brother Tommy Collins wrote and sung many years after Darwin's monkey was run up the flagpole.

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