Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Election fever hits Monsey

A whole lot seems to be riding on the elections scheduled for November 6th in the Town of Ramapo in Rockland County, New York. The main guy up for re-election is Town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence, the man who made Monsey into the awful town parts of it are now by granting zoning variances to anybody who made it worth his while. Mr. Lawrence is rumored to be a very rich man from meetings with developers.....First, a little Social Studies lesson for you outsiders, I hope I don't mess it up, being that I'm new to the town. Monsey is what's known as an unincorporated village, a hamlet as it were. I'm not sure why that is, but that's the fact. Vizhnitz did go ahead and incorporate certain blocs around the big Shul into the village of Kaser. What that did was allow them to introduce new zoning laws, which would supposedly alleviate the housing crisis that supposedly exists in the frum community. In reality what happened was that most lots doubled in value and those that owned homes already suddenly got rich overnight. Many sold and moved away, while others began attaching rental apartments to their existing homes, thereby creating income for themselves and turning neat little homes into awful eyesores with all kinds of entrances.

While that has been the case with existing homes the worst is what's happened to the open spaces. A plot of land meant for a one family home has been re-zoned to allow for G-d knows how many apartments, and not just a three family home but a maze of small apartments stretching for as far as the eye can see, with a slab of concrete or asphalt in the front, and lots and lots of garbage. Roads that are meant for suburbia and occasional light traffic now are clogged way past capacity, and cause traffic tie ups at all busy times. Open spaces are gobbled up by greedy developers claiming to do it for the "People," and build "low-income" housing while in essence they just line their pockets with the profits from the half-a-million dollar apartments they build. Every "second day" there are stories of lawsuits being brought by developers against villages that don't allow them to tear up all the old existing zoning laws and build a sprawling 100 unit development on a plot of land meant for 7 homes.

What happens is that an already miffed secular and Gentile population gets more and more miffed every day. They see what was once a pristine community become a haven for traffic and garbage, and old stereotypes begin to be accepted by an otherwise understanding populace. Jews become synonymous with greedy, dirty and rude. All of us. You can see it the checkout lines at Pathmark and Walmart; cashiers and customers groaning and moaning about the long lines and rude Jews and how they clog up the stores. In this regard all non-frum people now have found a common enemy - the frum Jew. Barriers between blacks and whites and rich and poor now fall when we're dealing with the black hatter. Of course the frum Jew just looks at them and sees anti-Semites, and sees himself as doing everything just the way it should be, with nothing needing to change just because he's now living in the suburbs amongst different people. He figured that the worst that could happen is that the people living there would just pack up and leave, and that DOES happen, but that's not the only thing that happens.

The backlash began a few years back and has been gaining momentum ever since. Movements like Preserve Ramapo have sprung up and demand that the "rape" of their town stop immediately. Jews, of course see it as an anti-Semitic movement out to stop the Jews from coming in there, but that's just plain silly. Shuls and Yeshivos will be eventually be casualties of the eventual turning back of zoning laws, and the frum will have themselves to "thank" because they never stopped to think that maybe the locals are offended by their actions. In the meantime they're fighting very hard to keep St. Lawrence in power so that at least existing variances will remain the same, which Preserve Ramapo had promised to repeal. The above Kol-Koreh is a very toned down letter, albeit made to sound as if the world were coming to an end, but some of the campaign literature not signed by Rabbonim was downright hilarious. Yiddish posters with slogans like "Girush Monsey" and "Germany 1938" were displayed in many of the shuls and sent out in mass mailings. People were frightened into believing that if G-d forbid Preserve Ramapo wins they'd all be thrown out of their homes, and their shuls and Yeshivos shut down forever. That didn't make them any new friends from within their secular and Gentile neighbors, if anything it made the current situation even worse. It remains to be seen what will happen with us in Monsey/New Hempstead/Wesley Hills/Spring Valley, but it sure doesn't look good.



U' N' said...

Der antisemit habu-lugir, in Monsey for all of three months and already hates its guts. Frankly, nobody likes anthill housing and congested roads, but if there is a need to choose between that and no housing at all, I'd choose my sides carefully. Now Tzig is trying to blame "poilishers" from Monsey for the housing crisis and overpriced real estate. Are you sure that your leaders would endorse your public taking sides with Soinei Yisroel (justified or not), and spewing venomous hatred against frum population of the town you chose to dwell in as a klal ?

Hirshel Tzig said...

correction: 4.5 months

I love the place, but dislike small aspects of it, as do many of my Yeshivisher neighbors.

There's plenty of housing to be had, it just doesn't have to be 10 blocks' worth on one block.

It's not the Poylishers, it's the Marmorishers and my landsleit, the Ungarisher.

My leaders also endorsed St Lawrence, simply because the shul would not be allowed to expand, and the school would need to find a property 5 times larger than is the current law. Most Yeshivisher/Ungarisher voted preserve Ramapo simply because they already their fancy homes and shuls and don't foresee a need to expand. Otherwise they could care less about "The Yoilies."

You need to take a chill pill, Khaver.

arbiter said...

Hirshel, can't red the Kol Koreh... can you get a larger upload please?

Curious George said...

A repeat of the Tzig/Bok theme:A newcomer, who knows very little about the place/cult he is joining is already a 'de'oh zogger'
Only in Lubavitch can a two bit newcomer or ba'al teshuva feel like he is smarter and better than everyone else.
You have found yourself a good fit.
(Btw, you've never told us why you left Kahn Tzivo aka Creyn Eights)

Hirshel Tzig said...


I've been coming to Monsey quite often for 20 years now, so I see what goes on there. You, on the other hand are a monkey, eat a banana.

I left Crown Heights because of the Kedushah emanating from Phyllis Terrace....... There's nothing like it!

Hirshel Tzig said...


I'm not sure why it came out so small, I thought it was bigger when I scanned it.

yosef 718 said...

I hardly agree with your world view but on this issue every word you wrote איז שפתים ישק

this issue has been bothering me to no end for many years. Virtually every Heimishe Chareidi neighborhood in the entire world is embroiled with its goyishe שכניםon zonning issues.

Yes many of our detractors are anti semites. But are they 'all' wrong 'all' the time?

It would be nice if there would be a way for pictures to be posted here or links to pictures. I would show you the horrible things in Heimishe neighborhoods that go on. I just passed 12th Ave @ 52nd street in Boro Park and somebody is putting up on a block of 2 story homes, a shell of iron beams for 5 floors!!

Without reffering to the sheer uglyness of the thing (yes its nothing more than a 'thing') where are the people who are going to rent and live there going to park their cars?

The truth is that we don't study in our chadorim anything about economics much less urban affairs. I'm no experts in these matters. But it is obvious that strict zonning does not make housing expensive. Just the opposite the only people who benifit from a zonning change are the owners and speculaters, the general population has no benifit whatsoever the prices of rentals never goes down.

So in the vilage of Kesser my cousin a shlepper all his live became an overnight oisher. And those poor Koilel youngeleit living in the rat holes he rents out didn't gain anything with this zonning change.

And when all that was asked for is given and after all is said and done, we are still procreating does that mean in 20 years we will have to tare down this new rat holes to build even taller apt homes??

Can each and every daughter live within walking distance of her mom?

From Benei Braq to Montreal to Los Angeles, Do a google on London zonning for the ultra orthodox. Its the same thing all over.

A relative of mine in Monsey told me last week he voted according to the Rabonim. But he really doesn't understand why he did it since he knows that whats going on in Monsey is sheer distruction of a community.

There is much more to say I have no time to check for typos please forgive my rambling.

Anonymous said...

its unfortunate that preserve ramapo didnt have a few frum people running as im sure they would have gotten a large frum vote if tey were able to dispel the "anti semite' label

d lichtenstein

Hirshel Tzig said...


I'm glad to see we can agree on SOMETHING!

I'm sorry to see that the pressure from the "Askonim" made it so that a voice of reason wasn't allowed to be heard. There needs to be a middleground here; one where crazy housing additions would be outlawed, but Yeshivos and Shuls wouldn't be squuezed out of town. Had there been that middle ground I believe PR could've made a better case for their platform.

U' N' said...

Yossele, now the BP developments bother you too ? The hamlet of a town that Brooklyn is, with the beatufil springs of Bushwick and green meadows of Prospect Heights and Bed-Stuy, and here comes the Jew with his Jew-claw and puts up ugly steel beams on 12th ave, eh.

What if many daughters to want to live in walking distance to their mothers; you have to deny them because your dubious aesthetic pleasures were satisfied ? Most of suburbian United States is a pretty ugly, bland and tasteless, and if it takes to swipe one ugliness for another but give some benefit for a whole lot of people who're better then me, then so be it. If you don't like it, don't move to Kaser; Pomona, Wesley Hills, Forshay are all just 10 minutes away and they all share your petty pathetic weltanshaanung.

Hirshel Tzig said...


you do realize that Kaser was once no different than Forshay, and that the people were basically forced to sit and watch this happen. Many people that live there are not Chassidim of the Rebbe of Kaser Village and didn't want this to happen. The people of Pomona and Forshay directly affected by the changes made there simply because they live there and shop there and send their kids to school there. To have this shoved down their throats is - for lack of a better term - very Soviet, if you know what I mean, especially since they're very worried about Hisgaris BeImes. VeDal.

U' N' said...


Kaser is just a couple blocks aroung Phyllis and Maple. People who were forced to sit and watch their properties and lots triple and quadruple in value have no problem selling their inflated property and moving into a much more upscale property in a more Judenrein area. And some did, and they were laughing all the way to the bank. Developments outside of Kaser are for the most part just luxurinzing otherwise dilapidated blocks. North Cole, Decatur, even Union look (and value) much better today then they did five-ten years ago, precisely because of the Jew-claw.

Freie chazerfressers of Airmont and Tappan have absolutely nothing to lose because of the "sprawl" of Monsey. It's a completely different area. Tartikov perhaps shouldn't have done it in their face so much, but at the end of the day - it IS affordable housing for yunge leit and someone needs to have priorities straightened.

Hirshel Tzig said...

A few blocks with the population quadrupling, and then some. They're big, long blocks like Blauvelt and Calvert and Rita and Ralph and Jill and Yale and Ashel and Phyllis. The only place I can think that luxurinized anything is the development on 306 near Kearsing Pkwy. That at least LOOKS good, as it was done with some class. But the problem remains; There are too many people living there, and not enough room for them. Most of these new developments are far from affordable for the average Kolel family.

Hirshel Tzig said...

Look at New Hempstead

Compare it to Kaser

The population density per square Km in Kaser is more than then times that of New Hempstead! That cannot all be blamed on Vizhnitzers having more kids, especially since there are many, many frum families there. Yeshivishe families with lots of kids. And that's from the "official" census, imagine how many more unofficial there are.

U' N' said...

If you're talking about Wiener Dr condos, they do look your style (tasteless bourgeois) and they are relatively affordable - definitely more affordable then any new development of this class in BP or Flatbush. 350k-500k for a condo of such size is a very good deal in this day and age and is as affordable as it'll ever get. You're taking issue with the new developments but nobody seems to complain about the sprawl of Victoria Gardens or Regency. Ah, fewer Jews there - so that must be ok. When you say "not enough room for them", what is it that you mean ? What is "enough room" ? And where should they go, newly married poor couples that were born and grew up in Monsey right on that block ? Or are you advocating having less children (in retrospect perhaps) ?

Yes, Kaser has a high population density. That is so because many relatively poor Jews with many children would like to live near their Rebbe. I'm sure that concept is both alien and irritating to you, for whom all this is just a theory that was never meant to practice. There is no pressure on a fat New Hempstead snag to live close to anywhere; he doesn't need a mikve, his wife drives to grocery without a problem and he doesn't go to tishen. Shul is the only thing he might need. So they don't need to live in such a proximity. But there is no comparison.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for trying to understand the other side !

You make some fine points.