People say I’m extravagant because I want to be surrounded by beauty. But tell me, who wants to be surrounded by garbage?*

The rich aren’t like you and me. They have better views, and they don’t defecate. Or so you would think, given their hyper-aversion to refuse. Who can blame them? With private sanitation trucks running down pedestrians every time they turn a corner, and bugaboo still a couple years away from producing a stroller than can go toe to toe with a Mack truck (but it’s coming, I promise), one has good reason to fear garbage — even if you discount the potential mafia connections.

The latest skirmish in the inevitable nexus of shitty, ready for their Wall Street Bonus close-up condos, development creeping to the edges and rapidly disappearing industrial lots for city services is occurring in WeSp (no, that isn’t a Swedish snowboard fashion company). Or, rather, the butt end of Spring Street, being feverishly hawked as upscale.

This time is it a proposal by the Dept of Sanitation, being pushed off their existing garage location up near the Meatpacking District, to build a garage just south of the UPS depot that runs from Houston to Spring long Washington Street.

I’m not going to bother with the list of sins. The Downtown Express did a good job of it, but even if they hadn’t, you can easily fill in the blanks: terrorist threats, WTC suffering (though none of the new residential buildings nearby existed on 9/11), on site fuel storage, rats, etc.

No one mentioned ruined views, though this is an obvious and important subtext. Why? Because residents of The Glass House, 515 Greenwich and the Dubbledam building have astoundingly bad views, mostly because the exhaust towers for the Holland Tunnel block the due west view. If you crane you neck in a whiplash inducing way, you might be able to gaze out over the UPS lot currently there, over Pier 40 and a multitude of parked cars, to look upon Hoboken. Should the garage plan happen, their limited view will likely be reduced to a glimmer of sun disappearing around 4pm.

Follow closely here folks: No view lasts forever. In fact, most views don’t outlast the duration of your residence in a particular locale. When that view is taken over by garbage trucks, well, I sort of feel your pain, but isn’t that part of the sexy danger of rezoning industrial lots as residential? That’s the beauty of gentrification: just because it’s expensive, doesn’t mean it’s a good deal.

This is a retread of the fight a few years back when the city issued a revised solid waste plan. New York has a massive solid waste problem (how massive? Well, check out Staten Island), regardless of what all these “New York is actually sooooo green” articles pitch. The city is in the verge of getting sensible — a qualification that will stick until a train tunnel for freight and waste is underway — plan, but such a plan requires hard, ugly, smelly decisions. If we don’t truck out our garbage, we barge it. So we need waste transfer stations — near water, tunnels and major roadways.

The mayor got his plan pushed through in 2005 by basically sticking a transfer station in his backyard, a act of civic virtue and realpolitik that was probably lessened by the fact that he has a couple jets to get him out of the neighborhood if the smell gets too bad.

The Department of Sanitation is doing its part to shift towards multi-storey garages (on 56th Street and in this plan), to reduce the footprint and, in principle, the visual clutter, so no one has to stare at a field of dirty trucks. Everyone seems to be a reasonable adult of about some very unpleasant, pragmatic choices.

Except for, of course, the NIMBY-come-latelys over in “Hudson Square” (which takes the award for a the neighborhood moniker that still won’t stick, even after ten solid years of Trinity marketing). But since the Borja Brouhaha has pretty much cemented that the WTC attacks were actually all about giving magnificent, old school New York assholes bulletproof license to pout and whine about tragedy they are entirely divorced from (I can’t wait for the stories coming years down the road of Brealey girls who were in preschool the day of using 9/11 on their college applications) to gain a minuscule advantage on a meaningless point, go crazy you HudSquos: if we build this garage, then the terrorists have won.

Links in the header don’t work so well.

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