I know many readers will not like my ideas about real estate. But after studying history and living in a world where elitists amass unlimited amounts of real estate and use it to control others, I know my concept of real estate and land ownership in Salvation Time is right. One of the most enjoyable things about writing my book was fusing fact and fiction to make my points. With real estate, I took this report from excellent journalist/blogger Stacy McCain about New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio’s actual motivation for wanting to outlaw iconic Central Park horse and carriage rides:
“The bad guy in this drama, according to the carriage drivers, is Steve Nislick, chief executive officer of a New Jersey-based real-estate development company, Edison Properties. The company ‘employs legions of lobbyists to influence city decisions on real estate and zoning in its favor,’ journalist Michael Gross reported in 2009, pointing out that two of Edison’s businesses ‘have multiple locations in the same Far West Midtown neighborhood as the stables where the Central Park horses are housed.’ An anti-carriage pamphlet Nislick circulated in 2008 made this interesting observation: ‘Currently, the stables consist of 64,000 square feet of valuable real estate on lots that could accomodate up to 150,000 square feet of development. These lots could be sold for new development.’
Gross asked the obvious question: ‘What are the odds that good neighbor Nislick, the out-of-state real estate developer, simply covets those valuable, underdeveloped New York lots — and has teamed up with ambitious pols to use the emotions of animal rights activists as fuel for their own agendas?’”
Since my characters travel to New York City in Step Three, I decided to incorporate McCain’s story into a fictional event 400 years into the future when four Arusha City teens decide to take a romantic horse and carriage ride through Central Park:
“Wow, this is so beautiful!” Ruth Bader Ginsberg gushed. She was seated with Mao Tse Tung, Golda Meir and George Chamberlain in a lovely carriage pulled by a magnificent white horse through New York’s famous Central Park. Earlier that day the boys had surprised both girls with an invitation to experience one of the city’s most famous attractions during their free time. When the foursome had arrived at Central Park South between 5th and 6th avenues Ruth and Golda squealed with delight at all of the gorgeous horses just waiting to offer tourists an unforgettable ride through Central Park and Manhattan.
Their friendly carriage driver Marty—a tall, handsome guy with sparkling blue eyes and a warm smile—welcomed them to the city and offered them a hand into the elegant, old-fashioned transport.
“Welcome to New York City! I’m honored to be the one taking you on this tour of Central Park. This here’s Liberty,” he explained with a nod to the horse. Then as they settled into the black cushioned seat he asked, “So, are you all enjoying your stay so far?”
“Yeah, it’s great! I’ve never seen so many skyscrapers, museums and stores in one place!” Golda exclaimed. “But I think this is going to be my favorite part of New York.”
The sun was beginning to set, filtering golden rays of light through the trees and casting an orange glow on the tall buildings in the distance.
“Mine too,” George agreed, placing an arm about her and giving her an affectionate squeeze.
As Marty led the horse out of the line-up and onto the tour route he explained how this longstanding New York City tradition had nearly been destroyed by a corrupt, collectivist mayor named Bill De Blasio.
“Wait! I thought the carriage rides made a lot of money for the city,” Tung challenged. “Why would a mayor want to outlaw them? Wouldn’t people like you lose their jobs if that happened?”
“Absolutely! But Mayor De Blasio didn’t care about any of that. He was in cahoots with his greedy real estate crony Steve Nislick. I know for a fact you guys studied collectivism in your history class. De Blasio was nothing more than a modern-day communist who used propaganda very effectively. He claimed he wanted to outlaw horse and carriage rides because of animal cruelty. But as with all commies, the reality did not match the rhetoric. In truth, he and Nislick wanted to seize the 64,000 acres the horse stables stood on so that they could develop hotels and make even more money for themselves—the little people be damned!”
“Wow that is unbelievable!” Ruth exclaimed.
“Well, it was the End Days,” Mao reminded her. “It’s bad but not surprising.”
“Yeah, it kind of reminds me of my ancestor’s horrible Kelo decision to seize private property,” she sighed. “Except this was about taking good jobs away from good people and ruining other people’s fun.”
“So what happened, Marty?” Golda asked. “I mean, obviously they didn’t get their way or we wouldn’t be here right now.”
“No ma’am, they did not, thanks as always to ordinary people who fought back. It was a tough go for a while but common sense prevailed. That’s one reason why in Salvation Time no one person is allowed to own more than 50 farming acres and they cannot own more than three private residences. Commercial real estate is limited to either five shopping centers or 25 stores, whichever is greater. And when a homeowner dies, they cannot leave their home to their children unless there’s a physical or mental handicap that would create a hardship by moving them. Otherwise, they must sell the home. Of course, they keep the money from the sale but the house must transfer ownership to someone else, a non-relative. Many people complained about that at first but it’s to prevent the out-of-control corruption we had in the End Days when a single person could own unlimited real estate and use it to control and manipulate others.”
The teens listened attentively before a thoughtful Chamberlain had another question.
“Marty, can I ask you something?”
“You seem like a really intelligent guy. I’m not putting down your line of work but something tells me you haven’t always been a carriage driver.”
He burst out laughing while Golda gave her beau a sharp nudge, believing it to be a rude question.
“Thanks for the compliment, George,” he answered. “You’re right I haven’t always done this for a living. After I had a great career in finance and made plenty of money helping entrepreneurs achieve their dreams I decided I wanted to do something less stressful with my life. So here I am.”
“Good for you!” Ruth enthused.
“Shall we continue?” Marty asked, his azure eyes twinkling. The foursome gave him a hearty “yes” in unison. Then clearing his throat he announced his official transition from friendly political junkie to formal tour guide as he began to share factual information about passing landmarks.
What do you think of my ideas about limiting real estate ownership? Too much? Just right? Please contact me here as I would love to hear from you.