The Tombs

Situated in lower Manhattan just alongside all the famous court houses you see in the TV shows and movies is, The Tombs.  The Tombs, is the prison that holds all the real criminals before they go to trial in all those various court houses.  The Tombs are so named because of the Egyptian style of the first prison that was built there in 1838.  That structure was an imposing and frightening thing that looked like the Tombs of the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt.  What that building said to its occupants was, this is the end.

Since 1838 there have been new prisons built on that site but no matter how many times they built a new prison there and no matter how many times they’ve officially gave it a new name, it has always remained, The Tombs.  No one ever calls it, anything else.

But now some people on the City Council and their friends have looked at the site and realized it would be a great place for “affordable housing”.  Now you could say it is already a great place for “affordable housing”, as none of the occupants pay any rent or any other housing costs.  Those costs are all paid by the State, City and Federal governments or the tax payers, better known as, you.  But the geniuses behind this idea are saying that regular people like you, will be able to live there.  That’s what you’re supposed to think, when you hear the term “affordable housing”.   And, it’s a great location as it’s in lower Manhattan and just minutes from everything the City has to offer.  Be aware though, “affordable housing” usually goes to the friends of friends and or, others who know somebody.  Your chances of getting a unit there short of getting arrested, are nil to non-existent.  But why throw cold water on a dream?  Of course some of the new housing has to be sold at “market cost”.  It always is.  And, that means only the millionaires and the billionaires will be able to “afford” it.  Hey they have to pay for the “affordable housing” by selling “some units” at “market cost”, don’t they?  And “some units” has been known to turn into a whole lot of units.

Now you might ask what to do with the prisoners currently held in The Tombs?  But the geniuses on the City Council and their friends say not to worry.  They’ll just build on top of the current structure.  The prisoners will remain where they are for now, with the “affordable housing”, right on top.  The prisoners will be relocated later.  They’re in rush to get this built.  I mean people in New York City need “affordable housing” right?

Perhaps all involved need to remember one of the basic rules of the Real Estate business, caveat emptor which means, let the buyer beware.  For whoever gets one of those units, no matter how they dress it up, no matter how much an apartment there will eventually cost and no matter what they try to call the new place, it will always be, The Tombs.  And for many who enter, it just could be, very may well be, the end.


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Don Frankel

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