Chase: the right relationship is staring down at you, balefully.

I was thinking I was going to pen the definitive post on traffic congestion, but you know, that’s one of those topics that I can’t muster the energy needed to make an obvious argument. I think we should put up signs at the border that say “Look, you’re lucky we even let you in” and be done with it. Really, all those ‘ooh, I won’t work there, and business will relocate’ comments? Whatever. Who would have thought that a half million Staten Islanders that wouldn’t lift a finger for rent stabilization would turn into a Fifth Column over toll stabilization?

But since we are talking about rolling over for minority interests, let’s find a useful segue in the form of Shelly ‘The Tinpot Roadblock’ Silver holding a press conference announcing the ‘agreement’ regarding the new JPMorganChase headquarters (currently known as Site 5) at the WTC site. Silver pretty much ignored the big issue overhanging that deal to note that even though the congestion pricing plan is a solution in the form of action, that didn’t mean he wasn’t working on the issue. And to a New York Assembly member, stopping legislation favored by the elected official mandated to provide the best solution for his constituents is most certainly work. Since it looks like the legislation would pass without his interdictory (yeah, I made that up, childishly, because there is a hard sounding dick in the center), it is hard work indeed.

But let’s not leave this BigCorporateMergerBank story, um, yeah, hanging. To quickly recap, Chase agreed to ‘relocate’ downtown, a offer that translates into taking back slightly less space than they had downtown, say, ten years ago, not moving the corporate headquarters from Park Avenue, and demanding a sweeter deal than Goldman got (Goldman, you might recall, has always been headquartered downtown — though they too flirted with moving all the way to Jersey City, but had to more or less abandon an $800 million tower when they found out most of their trader staff flat out refused to take even a company owned ferry across the river) over at at the last site in Battery Park City.

Aside from a pretty generous deal, the larger footprint Goldman has allows for large trading floors. I know, you are asking yourself, ‘weren’t trading floors supposed to disappear five years ago’? You know, back when Grasso was cashing out his $120 million paycheck and threatening to move the NYSE floor to, where was it again? Jersey City, I think. So yeah, something big is popular with the knuckle-dragging (thanks to a brand manager from State Street for that description) set. And Goldman, like every other outsize stat you hear associated with them, has huge — sorry — tracts of trading floor.

Which means everyone needs them. Apparently it takes a lot of guys who look like they’ve never seen American Psycho to take a bath in the CDO market, and they need to be standing in the same place — well, on the same floor, and ideally perched over a church and a park, to best manifest that tired old chestnut, Master of the Universe. One would hope that someone at KPF has a particularly dark sense of humor, and decided to make the most literal expression of how the financial services industries sees itself. But they can’t even do that right. It makes me recall a friend’s comment in response to a crit: “Well, if it was phallic, shouldn’t it have a slight bend to it?”

Even though CAD makes it so a monkey can design a building, it seems that the primate population refuses to take credit for this, finding that being known for throwing one’s own feces is a more respectable characteristic than designing something like this (it would appear that throwing someone else’s shit lacks ingenuity). Stepping down in the evolutionary chain, you are left with assigning responsibility to PANY/NJ officials, which does make some sense. See, they don’t have to follow development rules, zoning rules — hell, when the two governors that supposedly run that damn place recommend changes in how the agency reports to the public it putatively serves, we still have to wait for them to approve the revisions — and since they are awful designers, poor planners (how many times are they going to build that PATH station? Six?), and generally the most outstanding example of bureaucratic myopia and stasis, one would expect the absolute least in effort when it comes to bending over for corporate interests faced with a program problem. And, boy did we get it. Remember, these are the people who hand $230 million to Chase and then claim they got the better end of the deal.

Let me launch my ‘outrage at the WTC redevelopment’ macro for the next couple lines: So, once again we see that the most closely observed development site in the western world manages to set new standards for failure in the form of a proposed design that seems to have been stolen whole hog from a what initially derided as scaremongering rendering intended to whip up opposition. Or perhaps we are supposed to sing praises to such chutzpah. At the very least it will teach the opposition forces to proceed carefully when speculating on how bad things will get (note to DDDB: stop showing those shadow calculations — you may be insuring your own demise).

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