August 16, 2017

Remember that Donald Trump destroyed sculptures.

"In 1979, when he was a relatively unknown New York real estate developer (the mind boggles), a 33-year-old Trump acquired the historic Art Deco Bonwit Teller building, only to demolish it a year later to build what would become Trump Tower. He promised, however, to save two 15-foot-high bas-relief panels that adorned the Teller building and donate them to the Metropolitan Museum of Art should he be able to remove them. Despite his word, the 'pieces that had been sought with enthusiasm by the Metropolitan Museum of Art…were smashed by jackhammers yesterday on the orders of a real estate developer,' as the New York Times report from the time tells it."

From "How Real Estate, Violence, and Public Protest Destroyed These Iconic New York Artworks" (which includes the story of "Tilted Arc," a sculpture people hated because it was massively in the way.)



Trump said at the time that the sculptures were "without artistic merit":
In the New York Times the PR spokesman identified himself as ‘John Barron’. In the Associated Press story the same publicity man called himself ‘Donald Baron’ and was quoted as saying that ‘the merit of these stones was not great enough to save them.’ Both ‘John’ and ‘Donald’ were Trump. ‘What do you think? Do you think blowing up the sculptures has hurt me?’ he asked Vanity Fair a decade later.
Who cares? Let’s say that I had given that junk to the Met. They would have just put them in their basement. I’ll never have the goodwill of the Establishment, the tastemakers of New York. Do you think, if I failed, these guys in New York would be unhappy? They would be thrilled! Because they have never tried anything on the scale that I am trying things in this city. I don’t care about their goodwill.

89 comments:

Rusty said...

What one does with ones own property is no one elses business. Public property is something else again.
I'm surprised I have to keep pointing that out.

EDH said...

All I remember is that at the end of To Tell the Truth they'd say "Kitty Carlisle's wardrobe provided by Bonwit Teller."

Ann Althouse said...

"What one does with ones own property is no one elses business. Public property is something else again. I'm surprised I have to keep pointing that out."

Try studying property law. You'll be surprised by that and then maybe not so surprised by what other people are saying about property.

tim in vermont said...

Fucking ay! I love this guy! They may tear him down, but at least I will die knowing the good fight has been fought. Against the class that makes the poor pay for their symphony orchestras through taxes, when the poor have to pay their own freight on for Garth Brooks concerts. These people care only about themselves and their kind, and they have an inordinate sense of privilege and inordinate power over other people's lives.

They pretend to care about the poor, but don't really look at the effects of their policies on the classes they are supposedly trying to help. They just pay of the self appointed leaders of the underclasses to keep them out of their way.

Trump ain't Reagan, he's Stonewall Jackson. Keep it up sir!

Ann Althouse said...

Would you say "What one does with one's own property is no one else's business" if your next-door neighbor kept pigs or ran an all-night discotheque-brothel?

tim in vermont said...

Try studying property law. You'll be surprised by that and then maybe not so surprised by what other people are saying about property.

Then the law is an ass.

Triangle Man said...

Rusty, keep preaching, maybe some of it will sink in. Your point being, how can what Trump did with his private property compare with what a community does with public property? Restricting the conversation to property rights makes it pretty clear. Althouse would like to discuss the disposition of sculpture that might also have artistic and/or historical merits. An answer is that such works, when removed according to property rights, could be put in a museum. An alternative, preferred by Trump in 1979, is simply to destroy them, which, as you point out, he had every right to do. Communities that choose to remove confederate sculpture from public places could do the same.

MadisonMan said...

if your next-door neighbor kept pigs

Do I occasionally get bacon? I can let a lot slide if good bacon is involved.

tim in vermont said...

Would you say "What one does with one's own property is no one else's business" if your next-door neighbor kept pigs or ran an all-night discotheque-brothel?

If he keeps the effects of it from spilling over onto my property, then no. But these are cases where there are externalities. To use them as an excuse to seize another's property when the only negative effects on others is the loss of the benefits they feel they have gained from something of mine that they don't own, is a hideous use of the monopoly of violence which is the government's.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Wait a minute. Althouse is doing a bit and switch. We stated talking about destroying or removing your own property. If the neighbors want to save a statue on my property they can raise the money to buy it or shut up.

Then Althouse switches too talking about use of property that reduces the value of adjoining land, i.e. pig farms or loud discos.

So dishonest!

Triangle Man said...

Do I occasionally get bacon? I can let a lot slide if good bacon is involved.

Usually only if you help with the slaughter.

AReasonableMan said...

Rusty said...
What one does with ones own property is no one elses business.


You apparently have never lived in a middle class suburban or exurban neighborhood. Trust me, you can't do what you want. I have had the police visit me over the exact placement of my boat on my lawn.

People in these neighborhoods aren't putting up with errant boats on lawns or heavily armed fascist thugs walking down the streets.

The middle class doesn't put up with a lot of shit in their neighborhood.

tim in vermont said...

We used to deal with peaceful demonstrations in support of abhorrent ideas through mockery. Kept everything peaceful, now we sent thugs with baseball bats to incite violence. This is the American that middle class people are going to want? Only if you can completely control what they hear, which is why the press is working so hard to not report all of the facts regarding Antifa and their bicycle lock brand of demonstration.

If it is all so wholesome, why not get the whole truth out there?

wendybar said...

tim in vermont said...
We used to deal with peaceful demonstrations in support of abhorrent ideas through mockery. Kept everything peaceful, now we sent thugs with baseball bats to incite violence. This is the American that middle class people are going to want? Only if you can completely control what they hear, which is why the press is working so hard to not report all of the facts regarding Antifa and their bicycle lock brand of demonstration.

If it is all so wholesome, why not get the whole truth out there?
8/16/17, 7:28 AM


Hear, Hear!!!

Hunter said...

@ARM

Exactly why I would never want to live in such a neighborhood. HOA enforcers are the worst sort of petty tyrants.

Henry said...

should he be able to remove them.

The man is the master of the conditional.

EDH said...

Actually, the more relevant body of law is "Moral Rights" under copyright law.

Moral rights are rights of creators of copyrighted works generally recognized in civil law jurisdictions and, to a lesser extent, in some common law jurisdictions. They include the right of attribution, the right to have a work published anonymously or pseudonymously, and the right to the integrity of the work. The preserving of the integrity of the work allows the author to object to alteration, distortion, or mutilation of the work that is "prejudicial to the author's honor or reputation". Anything else that may detract from the artist's relationship with the work even after it leaves the artist's possession or ownership may bring these moral rights into play. Moral rights are distinct from any economic rights tied to copyrights. Even if an artist has assigned his or her copyright rights to a work to a third party, he or she still maintains the moral rights to the work.

Matthew Sablan said...

"People in these neighborhoods aren't putting up with errant boats on lawns or heavily armed fascist thugs walking down the streets."

-- I for one will be glad when we stop giving heavily armed fascist thugs space to destroy in our cities, neighborhoods, rallies, parades and communities.

AReasonableMan said...

Hunter said...
HOA enforcers are the worst sort of petty tyrants.


I don't disagree with this, but the other options also have their problems. You can live in a poor neighborhood where anything goes, literally, or in the country where your kids future will probably be circumscribed by inadequate schools, or in a very rich neighborhood where everything is settled with expensive law suits.

Rich people aren't putting up with armed thugs from out of town walking through their neighborhood either. In fact they aren't putting up with anyone parking their car on the side of the road in their neighborhood, because the car owner might not be a local resident or servant. And they pay for a local police force to ensure that this doesn't happen.

Kevin said...

The middle class doesn't put up with a lot of shit in their neighborhood.-

True. The upper class litigates their disputes. The middle class lets the cops handle it. And the lower class dukes it out on the lawn.

Each has a way of enforcing local norms.

Glen Filthie said...

You're polishing turd, Althouse.

If they wanted those statues it would be reasonable to expect them to pay for them, along with any other costs incurred by the removal and transportation thereof. So unless money traded hands and Trump's in violation of some contract - pbbfbfbfffffft!

Given the hostility of the New York upper echelons - I suspect Trump gave some self-important wank the finger by destroying them. Unless his enemies are in a position to hurt him, Trump doesn't give a hoot what they think. If they are in a position to hurt him, he attacks them on their home turf and uses them to increase his own popularity.

Henry said...

But these are cases where there are externalities.

One man's sculpture is another man's externality.

Exactly why I would never want to live in such a neighborhood.

My father-in-law found a house in the country on a dirt road and happily lived a god-awful way away from his business because he thought no one would bother him there. A few years later the county paved the road. Then some of the farmland was sold and new houses built. Then the new neighbors came to my father-in-law and said "that guy across from you has a broken down car in his driveway and scrap in his yard. We should ask him to clean up." And my father-in-law said, "Are you kidding me? I moved out here because I want to live across from someone who can keep a broken down car in his driveway if he wants to. Are you going to complain about me if I decide to put a car on blocks in my driveway so I can work on it?" Then my father-in-law retired and moved to Tennessee.

Dire Straits has a song called Telegraph Road that sums up my father-in-law's life:

Then came the churches, then came the schools
Then came the lawyers, then came the rules
Then came the trains and the trucks with their load
And the dirty old track was the Telegraph Road

Then came the mines, then came the ore
Then there was the hard times, then there was a war
Telegraph sang a song about the world outside
Telegraph Road got so deep and so wide
Like a rolling river

And my radio says tonight it's gonna freeze
People driving home from the factories
There's six lanes of traffic
Three lanes moving slow

Hunter said...

tim in vermont said...
To use [externalities] as an excuse to seize another's property when the only negative effects on others is the loss of the benefits they feel they have gained from something of mine that they don't own, is a hideous use of the monopoly of violence

Can't be stated more clearly. In a similar case when Martin Shkreli threatened to destroy his Wu-Tang album... call it a dick move if you want, but if the creators wanted to ensure that art couldn't be destroyed, they shouldn't have sold it on the terms they did.

So I guess no one is mad at the former owners of the building who didn't save the sculptures or get in writing that they would be preserved? It would have been nice if Trump saved them, I'm praising him for it because I am always sad to see old architecture destroyed, but he did nothing that wasn't perfectly within his rights to do.

Did anyone offer or try to raise the $500k to save the sculptures, if they thought it was so important? Or was Trump was just supposed to spend that himself because he's made of money.

Hunter said...

err, I'm *not* praising him.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Is that is a photo of the "sculpture" above, - I vote basement.

Who cares? Let’s say that I had given that junk to the Met. They would have just put them in their basement.

He's right.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Happens every goddamn day in Seattle. Has nothing to do with Trump though so I'm sure the NYT won't think it's an emergency.

Rusty said...

Blogger Ann Althouse said...
"Would you say "What one does with one's own property is no one else's business" if your next-door neighbor kept pigs or ran an all-night discotheque-brothel?"

Did Trump contravene the local zoning laws?
The sculptures were his, no?

Henry said...

He's right.

He's right.

gspencer said...

‘John Barron’

‘Donald Baron’

Obviously he likes the name. His youngest is named Barron.

stlcdr said...

"Blogger tim in vermont said...
We used to deal with peaceful demonstrations in support of abhorrent ideas through mockery. Kept everything peaceful, now we sent thugs with baseball bats to incite violence. This is the American that middle class people are going to want? Only if you can completely control what they hear, which is why the press is working so hard to not report all of the facts regarding Antifa and their bicycle lock brand of demonstration.

If it is all so wholesome, why not get the whole truth out there?

8/16/17, 7:28 AM"

To quote, again, this is something to totally agree with.

tim in vermont said...

Who said AntiFa = anti first amendment! Brilliant!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

MadisonMan said...

Do I occasionally get bacon? I can let a lot slide if good bacon is involved.

I was going to ask a similar question about the brothel...

Ralph L said...

Someone should have gilded them.

John said...

Blogger Ann Althouse said...

Try studying property law. You'll be surprised by that and then maybe not so surprised by what other people are saying about property.

You are in good company, Ann. Here is something someone said about property:


Private property" as conceived under the liberalistic economic order was a reversal of the true concept of property. This "private property" represented the right of the individual to manage and to speculate with inherited or acquired property as he pleased, without regard for the general interests ... German socialism had to overcome this "private," that is, unrestrained and irresponsible view of property. All property is common property. The owner is bound by the people and the Reich to the responsible management of his goods. His legal position is only justified when he satisfies this responsibility to the community.

-Huber, Verfassungsrecht des grossdeutschen Reiches (Hamburg, 1939)

That would be Ernst Rudolf Huber, official National Socialist Party spokesman

But German National Socialism was not really socialism, was it Inga, Cook, et al? After all, they believed in private ownership. Right?

John Henry

Gahrie said...

I’ll never have the goodwill of the Establishment, the tastemakers of New York

When he's right, he's right.

Fernandinande said...

(the mind boggles)

Obviously the mind doesn't boggle at all, but that parenthetical is a fine way to say "don't bother reading any further".

Bob Boyd said...

When they try to remove Trump will it be like Charlottesville or Baltimore?

Cacimbo Cacimbo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cacimbo Cacimbo said...

"What one does with ones own property is no one elses business."

In NYC dictating what your neighbor can do with their property is a favorite pastime. Local busybodies take it upon themselves to get properties designated as "landmarks" or entire neighborhoods as "historic zones", often against the property owners wishes. Landmark status blocks any significant changes to the street facing side of the structure and makes renovations extremely costly since they must be historically accurate. Districts are a way of going around the zoning laws. If a street was "historically" four story structures you can not build a 10 story structure even though allowed under local zoning laws. I am surprised Trump was able to get this done. In NYC they keep putting more building restrictions in place while whining there is not enough housing for poor/middle class.

John said...

Ann,

I wonder if you have read Terry Southern's book "Magic Christian"? (Somehow I suspect you have.) I remember the book as pretty good but a long time since I've read it. I did watch the movie a year or two ago with Ringo Starr, Peter Sellers and John Cleese. Available on YouTube but I was only able to get about halfway through. Pretty dreadful, though it does have Raquel Welch whipping a bunch of galley slaves.

One of the episodes in the book involves the millionaire "Magic Christian" going to an art auction and buying some very old and famous painting paying lots and lots of money.

He then pulls out a scissors and cuts the nose out of the picture saying it is the only decent part of the painting. Then he walks off telling Cleese he can burn the rest. Of course the scene from the movie is on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK4jO80rmc0

On one level it is kind of horrifying, desecrating a great work of art. On the other hand, it was his painting, bought and paid for, and he had the right to do whatever he wanted with it.

Kind of what now President Trump did with the sculpture.

I am sure your artistic sensibilities are offended, Ann. But what about your legal sensibilities? Should there be some law preventing the desecration of art?

And who gets to define what "art" is?

And is it OK to desecrate phart? (Phony art as some commenter here called it a year or two ago)

John Henry

John said...

Blogger tim in vermont said...

Trump ain't Reagan, he's Stonewall Jackson. Keep it up sir!

Amen Tim! Preach it!

I'd not thought of Stonewall Jackson in this context before but you absolutely nailed it. Jackson got his nickname because at one of the early battles in the WBTTS he held the line, leading from the front and refusing to back down in the face of withering fire.

Someone said "Look at Jackson. There he stands like a stone wall." (quoting from memory)

"Look at President Trump. There he stands like a stone wall."

When people got upset about his saying, weakly, that there was blame on both sides, he doubled down and yesterday was very explicit about saying that the antifa fascists were every bit as bad as the National Socialists.

MY MAN!!!!! YES! MY PRESIDENT!

Someone finally has the balls to point this out. What other politician would have done this, calling a spade a spade? What other politician would not have allowed themselves to be backed down.

A year ago I was not sure about a Trump presidency. I did not think he was right for the job. Boy, was I wrong.

John Henry

Ann Althouse said...

"Then the law is an ass."

There is no property without law. It's a legal concept, start to finish. If you don't like law, get ready to defend whatever you want to call yours or take whatever you like.

Ralph L said...

Since 1992, I've lived in a historic district with a commission enforcing their "guidelines."
It always blew my gaskets to read them. They forced me to leave my wretched wood siding exposed and buy more for $3000 (not including installation) for the rebuilt back wall of my house.

A near neighbor had a yuge tree (that my great grandparents planted) cut down on a Saturday, so the City wouldn't know about it. Tree man said that was common, now.

Ann Althouse said...

"Should there be some law preventing the desecration of art?"

Yes.

Ralph L said...

There he stands like a stone wall.

"Rally 'round the Virginians!"
In the immortal words of Inspector Clouseau, "Nut any more"

Ann Althouse said...

I live in a historic landmark neighborhood too. I greatly enjoy walking around in it, and all the homeowners get benefits from the quality of the area that surrounds our own lot.

I don't agree with all the restrictions, but I'd also like to impose some restrictions. For example, I'd ban leaf blowers.

Ralph L said...

Define art

It's obscenity

n.n said...

Progress.

stever said...

Hopefully I've grown since 1979, in fact I'm sure I have. Of course some people never did anything stupid, ever.

Ralph L said...

OK, you got me on the leaf blowers.

Almost all of the handsome turn of the century houses were long gone when they started ours. The driving force was a retired Navy captain (like my father) from Connecticut (Damnyankee!)

Statewide, the district commissions pissed off so many homeowners, churches, and businesses that the state government created a generous income tax deduction for construction or repairs over $25,000 in two years. Those had to be approved by the state board and included inside work.

Snark said...

I have an acquaintance who lives in an upscale subdivision whose block organized against her and her husband for putting a clothesline up in their back yard. They sent an envoy to demand that this offense to eyes and class sensibilities be removed forthwith.

John said...

I live in a neighborhood with an HOA. Also about 2 pages of covenants in the Master deed (for the whole development) and in the individual deeds. These tell us pretty explicitly what we can and can't do with our homes and are unchangeable except by unanimous approval of all owners and then only once every 20 years. In other words, solidly locked in.

One of them requires me to belong to the HOA and pay dues.

I knew about this when I bought the house 25 years ago. In fact, the developer presented it as a major selling point.

I have been active in the HOA, was first president, been VP, president and treasurer at various times. Not currently involved.

So I guess I am one of those busybodies.

OTOH, we hear a lot of people talk about how great democracy is. An HOA seems like a perfect example of democracy for good and for bad. Dues, maintenance of common areas, and everything else is voted on once a year at the homeowners meeting. Each house gets one vote. What could be more democratic than that?

For those who don't like the HOA, don't buy a house in a development with one. Or, if you do, and don't like the rules, go to the meeting and change them. Since few people go to the meetings, it would not take much to change them. In out development of 120 homes, we seldom get more than 30, usually pissed off about something, people to show up at the annual meetings. 16 of them could completely disestablish the HOA. All it would take is a motion, a second and a vote.

So those of you that complain about HOAs? Unless you are going to meetings, serving on the board and taking part, go fuck yourselves.

Henry's father's problem with his neighbors was not with an HOA, it was with a city govt and zoning laws.

John Henry



John said...

Blogger Snark said...

I have an acquaintance who lives in an upscale subdivision whose block organized against her and her husband for putting a clothesline up in their back yard. They sent an envoy to demand that this offense to eyes and class sensibilities be removed forthwith.

Was this an HOA?

What do the covenants and/or bylaws say about clotheslines?

If there is a rule against them, then your acquaintance was in the wrong.

That is what democracy is all about. Surely you aren't against democracy, are you, Snark? (Borrowing Sarah's shocked face)

John Henry

John said...

So who decides what "art" is, Ann?

John Henry

mtrobertslaw said...

I might be sympathetic to a law preventing the desecration of art so long as "art" is not defined as "a deep expression of the self." Some "selves' are so atrocious they should never be expressed.

John said...

Tim,

You and I comparing President Trump favorably to Stonewall Jackson probably makes us horrible, horrible, people. We should be shunned by all right thinking folks as beyond the pail.

I just hope they don't decide to protest my Packaging Machinery Handbook. (Available via Ann's portal) I would not want to suffer like Chik-Fil-A, Memories Pizza, Milo and others have.

If they don't decide to protest over Stonewall, I hope they don't decide to protest because the book says nothing good about gays or transgenders.

Now to go read some Uncle Remus stories...

John Henry

Henry said...

@John Henry -- The problem is that you can never far enough away. Thats what my father-in-law discovered. But he's happier in Tennessee than upstate New York.

John said...

Ann,

Could you talk a bit more about laws prohibiting the desecration of privately owned art?

Who gets to decide what is art and what is not? The pile of dirty laundry in the Rizzoli museum is "art" and can't be destroyed. The pile of dirty laundry in my basement is just dirty laundry and needs to be washed, which destroys the work. (I wonder if my wife would let me get away with this? "I'd wash the clothes, Honey, but then I would be destroying a work of art and Ann would not like it". Perhaps that would work for taking out the trash, too. Meade, you want to give it a shot and report back?)

What would be the moral justification for a legal prohibition on destruction of art? Absent some covenant put in place by the artist or a subsequent seller and assuming that the destruction is by the undisputed owner.

John Henry

John said...

“To put it quite clearly: we have an economic programme. Point No. 13 in that programme demands the nationalisation of all public companies, in other words socialisation, or what is known here as socialism. ... the basic principle of my Party’s economic programme should be made perfectly clear and that is the principle of authority ... the good of the community takes priority over that of the individual. But the State should retain control; every owner should feel himself to be an agent of the State; it is his duty not to misuse his possessions to the detriment of the State or the interests of his fellow countrymen. That is the overriding point. The Third Reich will always retain the right to control property owners. If you say that the bourgeoisie is tearing its hair over the question of private property, that does not affect me in the least. Does the bourgeoisie expect some consideration from me? ...
The bourgeois press does me damage too and would like to consign me and my movement to the devil. You are, after all a representative of the bourgeoisie ... your press thinks it must continuously distort my ideas.

—Adolf Hitler, to R. Breiting, “bourgeois” newspaper editor, 1931

AReasonableMan said...

Speaking of neighbors:

Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski threatened couple with a baseball bat and promised to use his 'political clout' to make their lives a 'nightmare,'

Henry said...

You can never *move* far enough away

Drago said...

ARM, what actual evidence exists that Lewandowski threatened his neighbors?

Or was that claim part of some new "Russian" "dossier"?

Don't worry, no one expects you to answer that.

n.n said...

the good of the community takes priority over that of the individual.
-- Adolf Hitler

Hitler was the original "community organizer". Like his successors, he believed in [class] diversity (e.g. denying individual dignity, close association by "color"), Pro-Choice/abortion (i.e. denying lives deemed unworthy), "Planned Parenthood" (i.e. Mengele clinics), and single-payer financial constructs. He also favored elective wars, elective regime changes, and forcing catastrophic anthropogenic immigration reform. The left has its heroes. Perhaps they are removing other leftist statues to make room for them.

tim in vermont said...

Stonewall Trump. Fucking ay!

Joe said...

I'm puzzled by what Trump did in 1979. Why didn't he donate the art to the museum and then write off the donation? Or auction it off?

Ralph L said...

He should have just told them to come get it themselves if they want it. Saved himself a lot of trouble and money.

It wouldn't surprise me if contractor employees defaced it unknowingly, and Trump just bragged about it later.

During construction of a new dining hall, some college friends of mine opened up the contractor's desk and wrote "Save Tree" on the plans where there was a magnificent oak. Next day, they put up a temporary fence around it.

James Graham said...

As a young guy working in a Rockefeller Center office I watched the Bonwit Teller store being constructed circa 1949.

Years later as a middle-aged guy I watched it being torn down.

As has been said by others, New York will be a great town if they ever finish building it.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

" If you don't like law, get ready to defend whatever you want to call yours or take whatever you like. "

When the law only is enforced for democrats/antifa/lefties/goodthinkers, then we are already at that point.

Trump was the attempt at stopping brute force from being the only law, but the cuckservatives like McCain, Rubio, the demcong media, and commie twats seem hell bent on preventing law.

They will all reap what they sow.

Trumpit said...

Would you say "What one does with one's own property is no one else's business" if your next-door neighbor kept pigs or ran an all-night discotheque-brothel?

My next-door neighbors ARE pigs, and the police frequently have to tell them to turn down their loud awful music. Next, we have my tenants who are also filthy pigs. They have several dogs that I was unaware of and at least nine occupants. There was a leak underneath the kitchen sink that they only recently told me about. All the lower kitchen cabinets, and the counter top are ruined and there is black mold present. Farmer's insurance won't cover it, saying that it was a long-term issue, and not due to a sudden pipe burst. The badly-soiled carpets have to be replaced from so much foot traffic.

I sent the tenants a 60-day notice to move. How many thousands I will have to spend to fix the place up, I don't know. I will fumigate the place once they are gone for termites and cockroaches. I didn't need this big expense and extra stress right now.

CStanley said...

I live in a historic landmark neighborhood too. I greatly enjoy walking around in it, and all the homeowners get benefits from the quality of the area that surrounds our own lot.

I don't agree with all the restrictions, but I'd also like to impose some restrictions. For example, I'd ban leaf blowers.


The boundaries between personal freedom and what happens in the commons is where the rubber meets the road. If you can see the problem with unbounded property law affecting aesthetics of your physical environment I hope you can also see that social conservatives feel the same way about unbounded laws on moral issues when they restrict the space for us to live (and teach our children) in the moral environment of our choosing.

Ralph L said...

Trumpit, my sympathies for your rental management problems. Own-homeownership is bad enough.
Trump had "people" to deal with it.

Then when you sell, state & federal governments will take a big chunk of your sweat and anxiety equity, plus inflationary gains. It's enough to make a free-market conservative out of you.

CStanley said...

As a young guy working in a Rockefeller Center office I watched the Bonwit Teller store being constructed circa 1949.

Years later as a middle-aged guy I watched it being torn down.

As has been said by others, New York will be a great town if they ever finish building it.


My great grandfather in 1939 presided at the dedication of the Kosciusko Bridge which was just demolished.

Trumpit said...

@Ralph L,

Thank you for your sympathy, and your insight. I'm not so keen on being a landlord anymore - just too many headaches. But as you suggest, it would be costly to sell off my properties.

Rusty said...

so we can conclude that there is no moral equivalence between what Trump did to his own property and the hat others have done to public property, right?

Ann Althouse said...

I was asked if I thought there should be "some law."

That's a yes/ no question, and I answered yes. I didn't make any claims about being able to draft or enforce it. I don't see how I should answer no just because I can't. Don't ask questions unless you want answers.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Trumpit-

Being a slumlord is tougher than it looks. Renting them a place with leaking pipes, black mold, termites and cockroaches? You're lucky you didn't get sued.

CWJ said...

John Henry,

Speaking only from memory, there's an alternate interpretation of the "standing like a stonewall" quote. Namely that General Bee, it's author, was angry that Jackson hung back and did not advance to support his troops before they had been overwhelmed. Either way, Bee did not survive the battle to make his meaning clear.

Ralph L,

Small point but I think it was "rally behind the Virginians."

I'm sure quaester will come along and set all of us straight.

Kevin said...

No true statues were destroyed.

MadisonMan said...

I live in a historic landmark neighborhood too. I greatly enjoy walking around in it, and all the homeowners get benefits from the quality of the area that surrounds our own lot.

I'm surprised you were able to remodel. Maybe that predates some things. I was talking to a homeowner on Chadbourne who had remodeled recently, and when talk fell to windows, the homeowner was pissed because he couldn't replace the windows -- because a replacement window is way too expensive. So he's stuck with leaky old windows that maintain the character of the neighborhood. But as he says -- if you walk in the alley, away from the prying eyes of the inspectors, you'll see a lot more new windows.

Jim at said...

"If you don't like law, get ready to defend whatever you want to call yours or take whatever you like."

It's rapidly approaching the point of "AND" take whatever you like.

Which would be fine by me. Just make sure the rules, such as they are, are applied equally to everybody.

Things would settle down very quickly. Guaranteed.

Michael K said...

"The badly-soiled carpets have to be replaced from so much foot traffic."

I owned nice two unit buildings in Washington State about 30 years ago. There were three of them and each unit was about 1500 square feet, They were in a nice neighborhood of Puyallup, WA. The tenants destroyed them. One was working on a motorcycle in a living room. Another had a teenage son who was parading around the streets with a gun.

Then the Congress passed law in 1986 that took away the tax advantages of passive investments. I had to dump them.

Rusty said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Then the law is an ass."

"There is no property without law. It's a legal concept, start to finish. "
I'll go you one better. It is a moral concept from start to finish.
Were the frescos Trumps property to do with what he pleased? Of course they were. Only an idiot would argue that they were not.Did Trump have a moral duty to preserve the frescos if at all possible? Yes he did. That he did not is sad for the world of art, but I'll tell you. If you wanted them preserved you should have made arrangements with Trump to remove them yourself he obviously didn't value them as highly as you did.

Kevin said...

If you wanted them preserved you should have made arrangements with Trump to remove them yourself he obviously didn't value them as highly as you did.

Nah, Trump is rich and therefore there was no need to spend one's own money on something they valued and he didn't. Either they get the art they wanted or they get to call him names for the rest of his life. Win-win.

Remember this example when they're coming for your money and calling you names.

Ann Althouse said...

"I'm surprised you were able to remodel. Maybe that predates some things. I was talking to a homeowner on Chadbourne who had remodeled recently, and when talk fell to windows, the homeowner was pissed because he couldn't replace the windows -- because a replacement window is way too expensive. So he's stuck with leaky old windows that maintain the character of the neighborhood. But as he says -- if you walk in the alley, away from the prying eyes of the inspectors, you'll see a lot more new windows."

Our house would be better if the addition had nebeen put on. It was done around 1970, before I bought it. I've put a lot of work into trying to make what was added more normal. The front of the house is all original except for the way the kitchen breaks through to connect the old and the less old.

I would have preferred pure historical preservation.

SukieTawdry said...

Well, maybe he wasn't able to remove them. If he could have removed them, he should have removed them and given them to the Met as promised.

Fabi said...

One of my many real estate foibles was buying an antebellum manse in an historic district. Yes, the architectural details couldn't be recreated today at almost any price, but dealing with the hysterical preservation society was a nightmare. Did I say "hysterical"? Sorry -- historical. I'm not talking about changing the architecture in any way; I'm talking about a fight over windows. I'm not talking about changing sashes; I'm talking about poured glass for the individual lights. Yeah.

I had the last laugh after I signed a contract to sell and before we actually closed. The landscape codes were equally as strict -- couldn't have any plants / shrubs not "period appropriate", so I planted corn on the street-facing side of the circular drive. :-)

Rusty said...


"I would have preferred pure historical preservation."
Like when the privy was in the far corner of the back yard and you also drew water from a well on the property?
You like what you have because it has all the amenities you like while still maintaining the homes original.........flavor. The hard work of modernizing and bringing the house up to code was done before you bought it. My family owned a house where the original house was 150 years old. It had a red brick floor and a flagstone foundation. It was added onto four or five times over the years the last time around 1911 when a sun porch was added and a breezeway to the old barn-now a two story garage.The kitchen was tiny and at one time was a seperate structure. As my father used to say,"You have a 150 year old house, you have 150 year old problems."

Midtown Maniac said...

I would be very surprised if there weren't public resources in some form in Trump Tower.. and even if not, there are other public interests involved.. Trump's lowlife lying is unacceptable and inexcusable.

JamesB.BKK said...

"An HOA seems like a perfect example of democracy for good and for bad."

Unlike democracy, one consents to an HOA and its rules/procedures by buying affected title. In democracy, consent is a fictional concept that is jammed into our heads starting very early and hammered in during our years in state-run schools or schools with state-approved curricula, as if it were actually real. Ordinarily, stating the simple truth that there is no consent brings a baying mob seeking to enforce submission.