Say you're a landlord. You rent out a nice storefront for $2,000 per month. The lease is about to expire, and you think you could get as much as $2,750 per month for it.
So you inform the tenants; they balk and move out; and you put it on the market.
Every month the storefront stays vacant, you are now losing $2,000 per month—maybe more, if you have to keep some heat and electricity going to protect and show the place. You also have to prep it for showing and a new occupant, and maybe pay a realtor a listing commission, and may need a lawyer to draw up a new lease, etc.
So let's say it stays vacant six months; you incur some costs, you hire a realtor to show it; and eventually settle with the new tenant for $2,500 per month. Success, right? Not so fast.
It will now take you at least two years to show a profit from your decision—maybe more, depending on the variables above—since you've lost $12,000-$15,000 on a speculative profit of just $500 monthly. If the new tenant stays anything less than two years, you're guanteed to lose money.
So, was your decision worth it? One could imagine a simple formula to do the math: number of months vacancy times rent lost per month plus other expenses divided by new revenue from raised rent equals the number months necessary to begin seeing a profit... (That would omit the headaches and other human tolls of your choice.)
In a down economy, the only time it makes sense to raise the rent is if (A) the existing tenant isn't paying, and you expect to evict them anyway; or (B) you have a new tenant already firmed up; or (C) the prospective raise in rent is large enough to warrant the risk; or (D) you have so much money already that you can afford to roll the dice this way.
For about eight years in Hudson, I rented out the ground floor of my house (which opened onto a garden) for less than $500 per month, utilities included. The reason? My tenant was reliable, unobtrusive and friendly. Trying to get more money would have exposed mr to both losses and potentially serious hassles. A bird in the hand, &c.
Lest sports fans endure years of Ravens homers, Patriots haters and Skip Bayless braying about how they were robbed by the refs in the AFC Championship Game, I’ve taken it upon myself to do a frame-by-frame video analysis of the now-infamous play: New England cornerback-du-jour Sterling Moore slapping what might have been a game-winning touchdown pass out of the arms of Baltimore receiver Lee Evans.
After a couple dozen viewings, I isolated the crucial frame which proves that Evans had lost control of the ball before his second foot had hit the turf, as required by the NFL rules:
Just before this freeze-frame, Evans had the ball cradled (albeit too loosely) to his stomach. But Moore swatted at Evans, and batted the ball downward. And as these details show, Evans lost control of it milliseconds before his second foot hit the turf:
The proof? As the detail above shows, there is a visible shadow which extends under the entirety of the ball and toe of Evans’s second foot... his heel being nowhere near the turf:
Higher-resolution video would demonstrate this point even more conclusively, revealing one or more frames immediately prior to this one (but not available to those of us who have to rely on YouTube) which would show Evans’ foot even farther from the ground with the ball already dislodged by Moore’s clutch slap.
Here is the relevant NFL rule:
If a player controls the ball while in the end zone, both feet, or any part of his body other than his hands, must be completely on the ground before losing control, or the pass is incomplete.
Moore, it’s worth nothing, was brought in from the Patriots’ practice squad after a host of other defenders either got injured, got cut, or just generally sucked this year. His instinctive but precise slap at the football, at a moment when others would have given up in despair at having given up a season-ending catch, proves the value of relentless practice and commitment to finishing every play. Über-coach Bill Belichick will no doubt be reminding his teams of this for years to come.
Lastly, here is a final screenshot showing all the emotion which Belichick evinced at the moment that Billy Cundiff’s attempted game-tying field goal sailed left of the goalposts... Which is to say: None.
Personal Note: Though a total sports nut as a kid, for years I lost interest. Two things conspired to bring me back into the fold: (1) The endless St. Lawrence Cement controversy. When one is involved with such an all-consuming, round-the-clock fight, virtually everything one does, hears, or watches in some way starts the mind thinking again about the endless amount of work at hand. Sports, I found, were the only form of recreation which didn’t relate at all to the intense, complex and maddening business of stopping the plant; (2) Belichick’s highly methodical, analytical, dispassionate, disciplined and rational approach to coaching in the salary cap era is fascinating to watch, teaching lessons applicable far beyond football. His success is the triumph of matching talent to strategy: finding both novel and conventional ways to win. He’s married asymmetrical forms of warfare (e.g. surprising Denver with run plays by nimble tight end Aaron Hernandez) to grind-it-out study and training. Meanwhile, there appears to be virtually none of the usual chest-thumping bravado, knuckle-dragging bluster, or faith-based superstition involved. That makes victories over the likes of pious but undisciplined opponents like Tim Tebow’s Broncos all the more awesome. The Patriots do their homework, rather than saying their prayers.
More than one buyer is showing interest (reportedly) in the old Half Moon bar building, possibly for a restaurant... (Two downtown residents have been urging the Curry House in Red Hook to open a tandoori outpost there, but that seems too good to be true. Their Sunday and Tuesday night Hundi buffets are terrific.)
Interest in the former Strongtree location (where the rent reportedly jumped from $3,000 to almost $4,000 per month) across from the Amtrak station is also said to be restaurant-centric.
Meanwhile, on the other end of town, talk is that the principals behind Red Sparrow (going into the Keystone building) are veterans of Wylie Dufresne’s WD-50 on Manhattan's Lower East Side, known for its innovative “scientific” kitchen. Next door, the rumor mill alternately says that either a sports bar or condos are slated for Ackerman’s, which would move a slowing business to the Bell’s Pond area... Considering that existing venues for watching sports seem pretty quiet except for a couple of hours on big game days, the first idea seems improbable, but you never know.
Lastly, the handsome building next to the DMV in the 500 block—which has housed Fabrications Quilt Shop for as long as I've been around—has a sign saying it's been sold, with big discounts on existing inventory.
UPDATE: A reader in a good position to know says that the buyers of the Ackerman’s building are an arts-minded couple from Northern Dutchess. So the sports bar rumor seems that much more unlikely.
In 1975, the Atomic Industrial Forum had invited David Comey to tell the nuclear industry how it could be more credible with the public. He was a high-priced consultant; not a lobbyist, an historian. Comey gave them his standard answer: To become credible you must tell the truth.
The Albany Times-Unionreports that appointed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (formerly of Greenport) is siding with Hollywood and music industry lobby groups over, well, pretty much everyone else when it comes to internet censorship. The PIPA and SOPA bills in Congress have inspired numerous sites (from Wikipedia to Boing Boing to Reddit) to go "dark" for the day. More than a passive supporter, Gillibrand actually co-sponsored PIPA in the Senate.
As if to illustrate what such censorship might be like, a reader reports that comments about these bills were being erased from Gillibrand's Facebook page, though now it appears they are coming too fast and furious for monitors to keep up with.
Public outcry has already caused some initial supporters, such as hosting provider Go Daddy, to withdraw support from these measures (which would help rich entertainment businesses eke out a modest improvement in profit, at the expense of free speech). A former attorney for Big Tobacco, Gillibrand has a history of changing her noxious positions if there is enough pressure: she formerly opposed gay marriage, and held anti-immigrant positions such as making English the "official" U.S. language.
But such pressure has rarely come from Hudson Valley Democrats, who have tended to value their personal access to a "local" politician over their own political principles. Will Columbia County Dems hold Kirsten's feet to the fire on this huge issue?
At this link Google has an action page for speaking out to Congress.
Martin Luther King's trenchant and essential Vietnam speech, as timely as ever, though his stance brought down the condemnation of The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time Magazine, and over 150 other mainstream publications when it was delivered, to their enduring shame.
A trusty set of eyes who witnessed the much-anticipated (and well-attended) Taghkanic Town Board's organizational meeting reports that the new Democratic majority made two big decisions on Monday night:
(1) Longtime Town Attorney Rob Fitzsimmons (who also advises the County and Town of Claverack, inter alia) was not reappointed, and that the firm of Carter, Conboy in Albany was selected from among the applicants for the position;
(2) That the tenure of Building Inspector Dennis Callahan will be extended six months, during which time a job search will be conducted, with Callahan able to apply “like anyone else.”
Both Fitzsimmons and Callahan were closely associated with the previous Republican-led Boards, and deeply involved with the long-running Wilzig controversy in Taghkanic.
Carole Osterink is back on the scent of Hudson news at The Gossips of Rivertown after a month-long medical hiatus.
Will Pflaum has published a potentially explosive report at Sunshine on the Hudson, in which he alleges fraudulent billing by a County and municipal attorney, as well as a pattern of sketchy billing by a host of other County legal advisors... (For more on the role of small-town attorneys in local politics, see my piece from last summer on Legislation By Lawyer.)
Following on last year’s opening of Grazin’ in Hudson, another farm-to-table restaurant is set to open in Columbia County in 2012—the Crossroads Food Shop in Hillsdale. (Check out this 1998New York Times review of what chef David Wurth managed with the lowly pumpkin at Savoy, a 1990s Soho favorite.) You can sign up to get an announcement of the top-secret opening date here.