Street Fighters Too
Remember the graffiti from a few years ago, the stripe down the sidewalk dividing it between New Yorkers and tourists? If ever there was a place for such a demarcation, it would be the Brooklyn Bridge, where wayward out-of-towners and death-courting cyclists do battle on a daily basis.
“We are issuing a call to expand the human capacity of the bridge,” Councilman Brad Lander of Park Slope declared at the Manhattan entrance to the 129-year-old span yesterday. An average of 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 bicyclists cross the Brooklyn Bridge every day, according to the Department of Transportation. A good many of them have close encounters of the two-wheeled kind.
Along with a few colleagues in the council, Mr. Lander wants the city to consider expanding the narrow boardwalk atop the beige bridge to accommodate more passengers.
Each year, there are upwards of 3,500 serious injuries resulting from traffic accidents. The NYPD has ten times as many officers, yet it only assigns 19 of them to look into such incidents and investigates less than 1 in 10 as a result. Even then, investigations take place only when those involved are dead or believed to be dying. Sometimes they die without an investigation because on the scene, officers believe the injured will make it.
Members of the City Council and families who have lost relatives on the road arrived on the steps of City Hall this morning to decry what they consider a lack of enforcement and announce the introduction of a set of bills and resolutions they hope will impel the police department and the Bloomberg administration to take action.
Early this morning, a handful of city park advocates, a trio of council members, and a smattering of curious onlookers gathered on the steps of City Hall to talk parks, budget cuts and leafy green things.
“Funding for our parks must be restored,” cried City Councilmember Brad Lander, who was joined at the rally by park-loving compatriots Melissa Mark-Viverito and James Oddo.
The last few years have not been kind to the Department of Parks and Recreation, which has been the victim of a number of heavy-handed budget cuts since 2008. This year, the Parks Department faces a proposed budget cut of $33.4 million that, if approved, would lead to a cumulative loss of $62 million in funding—or 17 percent—over the last five years.
Downtown Brooklyn developers and cooperators, with a hefty helping hand from the real estate lobby, threw everything they could at the Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District, a new landmarking effort aimed at saving the area’s historic highrises. In the end, the preservationists won out, as a City Council subcommittee voted unanimously yesterday to approve the historic district, all but ensuring its passage by the full council on February 1.
Planes Trains & Automobiles
How many buses must be plodding along the streets of New York right now, showing up late, freezing out their riders as the weather turns toward winter? Too bad for those riders they do not have warmhearted elected officials preparing reports on their behalf. A pack of Brooklyn pols convened at a B61 bus stop at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street in Park Slope this morning to take the M.T.A to task for failing riders of this lonesome shuttle.
“The results are clear and dramatic,” said Councilman Brad Lander, whose office produced the report. “More than half of B61′s don’t arrive on time during rush hour, that’s unacceptable and is failing riders.” The report, entitled “Next Bus Please” harnessed a gang of volunteers to gather the information during the three month period of July to September this year, surveying the peak hours.
Best Laid Plans
For years, planners and politicos have talked about transforming Brooklyn’s dingy Fourth Avenue into the borough’s own version of Park Avenue. That transformation is still in the works, but thanks to a handful of rezonings along the thoroughfare, the strip has gotten its fair share of mid-sized apartment buildings. Leaning more Robert Scarano than Rosario Candela, it is not exactly the sexiest strip. But one issue that has caused some real complaints within the community is the utter lack of street life.
For decades, Brooke Astor’s duplex at 778 Park was the pinnacle of New York City living. This had much to do with the society queen and her courtiers, who hosted lavish parties there, but also with the 16-room home, boasting six terraces and a renowned red-lacquered library. That was before the wallpaper began to peel Read More
Two Wheel Trials
Park Slope Council Member Brad Lander held a hastily-arranged news conference on the steps of City Hall today to refute charges laid out in a lawsuit that seeks the removal of a bike lane in a tony neighborhood in Brooklyn.
The suit made the front page of The New York Times today, and the Read More
Not since Terry Malloy and Johnny Friendly menaced the docks of Red Hook has there been such a to-do on the waterfront.
While the mayor announced at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens today that the city enjoyed (read:loathed) a record number of tourists in 2010, a group of local pols gathered in Red Hook to Read More
In Da Slope
The Journal had an interesting story today about the slower-than expected development of Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn, which was rezoned in 2003 with great hopes for creating “Brooklyn’s Park Avenue.”
While much of the article is a by-the-numbers status report on what’s built and what’s stalled, there is an undercurrent emphasizing Read More