Aerial view of London.
…His [Simon Kuper’s] column is about London becoming a place in which no normal person can afford to live in future. Neither London nor New York will be livable in ten years. Only last Saturday, 18 April, there were six shootings in the space of a few hours, including a 15-year-old girl in the Bronx. And it hasn’t even got warm yet, which is when the bullets tend to fly. In Brooklyn, houses are being sold for $6 million, whereas 20 years ago the price was less than 150,000 big ones. One house in Brooklyn Heights has a $40 million price tag. Last year I described 432 Park Avenue as an undulating middle finger to good taste. It is 1,396-feet high, the brainchild of a horrible real-estate shark I had the bad luck to go to school with. He was big and brash but wouldn’t go out for sports. His name is Harry B. Macklowe. I am sure some American citizens might end up owning an apartment there, but I am equally certain that they will be naturalised Americans, born under a somewhat bluer sky in Taiwan or India, or southern China.
London, of course, is no longer the grey, grimy city that I moved to 40 years ago because it was fun. On Friday nights one could get the best table anywhere as the Brits queued for hours on the M4 to prove they were country gentry. No longer. The Gulf Arabs have descended and there are no tables available anywhere, anytime. Property prices, needless to say, are at nosebleed levels, and even the upper middle classes are moving out. London’s state schools cannot meet the standards of private ones — too many immigrant children who don’t speak English at home — which means that only rich foreign people with children will be welcomed by London’s warm and extremely expensive embrace….
The original column by Simon Kuper is at the pay-walled Financial Times (link given above). A version of the same piece is available here (free). The main points are made in the piece above.