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June 11, 2008

Economy: America’s For Sale!

Because of George W. Bush and his economic non-strategies, America is for sale – again. 

I distinctly remember in the late 1980s when the Japanese started to purchase significant amounts of American real estate in Hawaii.  The yen had improved and the US economy was struggling and Hawaii saw a substantial increase of Japanese tourists and subsequently Japanese investors.  It got to the point where local home buyers and investors in Hawaii were competing for the limited supply of real estate with investors from Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong and Canada.  Once the Japanese investors bought up Honolulu and The Big Island, they set their eyes on the “The Big Kahuna”.  They came to Manhattan and purchased Rockefeller Center.  New Yorkers were up in arms!  Shocked!  Livid!

It was a matter of pride with New Yorkers and most Americans. The very idea that the center of journalistic and architectural modernity, Rockefeller Center, should belong to another country was beyond comprehension.  Things were THAT bad in America.

Rockefeller Center was named after John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who leased the space from Columbia University in 1928 and developed it from 1930.  It was the largest private building project ever undertaken in modern times. Construction of the 14 buildings in the Art Deco style began on May 17, 1930 and was completed on November 1, 1939 when he drove in the final (silver) rivet into 10 Rockefeller Plaza. Rockefeller Center is a magnificent complicated beauty.  Radio City Music Hall is a part of it. It’s the home of NBC and it’s where Saturday Night Live broadcasts from.  It is the home of the iconic Rockefeller Center Ice Skating Rink which we see in the background of so many movies.  It is where thousands gather each December to watch the lighting of “The Christmas Tree”.

In the late 80s, sadly, the Japanese purchased a major slice of America’s apple pie.

Here we are in 2008, 20 years later and the Chrysler Building is for sale; the world’s tallest brick building is now owned by the United Arab Emirates.   Another beautiful Art Deco building being purchased by a foreign country, this time the super-rich Abu Dhabi Investment Council is negotiating an $800 million deal for a 75 percent stake in the Art Deco treasure that has defined the Midtown skyline since 1930. (more…)

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