Sunday, January 2, 2011

#364: They'd Sell You the Brooklyn Bridge

Baltic Street, Brooklyn

What with my aversion to Facebook, I don't get a lot of space in the interwebs to flaunt the lurid details of my many leisure-time pursuits. Sure, I've carved a wee niche for myself in the picture-taking department, and I have been known in my spare time to partake in novel-scribbing, accordion-squeezing, university-professoring, and general mucking about.

But what a lot of people don't know about me is that I'm also an entrepreneur. Oh yes. Keeping an eye on the neighborhood's numbers is busy work, but I'm never too busy on these strolls to forget to size up the nooks and crannies of my 'hood and consider ways to capitalize on crap nobody else is interested in. Take this vacant lot at 364 Baltic Street. The poor scrap of land doesn't even have a broken-down brownstone to hang a number on. A vacant lot smack in the middle of the dashingly desirable borough of Brooklyn? Isn't that, like, the sixth deadly sin?

You hear a lot these days about the gentrification of Brooklyn. As one of the landed gentry myself, I try to avoid casting too many stones at my own glass houses, but as an armchair urbanist, gentrification is an issue that concerns me. Having lived in the same tenement building for seven and a half years now, I count myself lucky that I can stay put where I am. Were I just moving into Brooklyn in this enlightened year of 2011, I doubt I'd be able to afford the paint job on the fire escape.

I'm perfectly content to bloom where I'm planted, but sometimes I still get carried away by rakish fantasies of real estate. Who knows? Maybe if the price is right I could pool together some pennies with my starving artist friends and build a nice studio space on this very spot, or maybe commission a novelist's tree house, a modern nest built by Libeskind with northern exposure and lots of pointy detailing. It's a long shot, but rather than stand idly by and watch this ideal slice of property fall prey to the greedy land-grabbers, I decided to investigate. So I did what anyone seeking salient information does: I consulted the internet.

Braced for bad news, I'd been expecting the worst. You can imagine my shock, then, when I encountered these highly competitive going rates for a slab of land on Baltic Street:

Cost of Baltic: $60 (!)
Cost of houses and hotel: $50 per house, $50 plus four houses for hotel (not bad!)
Rent: $20 for one house, $60 for two houses, $180 for three and $320 for four, $450 for hotel
Location of property: Space #3, between Community Chest and Income Tax

Well, dear readers, I had a rude shock when, armed with this enticing information, I wandered into a nearby deli and asked where I could find the Community Chest. It was some time before I realized my mistake and saw I'd been consulting the wrong property listing all along. Ah well. If only I'd played more Monopoly over Christmas break and a little less Balderdash.


Jackie said...



Let's buy that property anyway. We could open a Pen & Post-It Shop.

Therese Cox said...

Excellent! "They had $10 in their bank accounts, a couple of Post-it notes, and a dream."

Julie said...

I actually read this yesterday, but forgot to comment.

What I wanted to say is that it reminded me of why I became your virtual-flunkie in '09. Love the lateral flow of word ideas.

Therese Cox said...

Thank you, Julie. Though with all your classroom time, I think you can consider yourself a proud virtual-graduate!

Therese Cox said...

That is, unless being a flunkie is more fun. In which case, carry on.

Conan Drumm said...

A suitable site for work in progress, if ever there was one.