In the Rezone
Planes Trains & Automobiles
Based on the arguments made by those both for and against the Midtown East rezoning—a “sweeping proposal,” wrote New York magazine architecture critic Justin Davidson, with “swollen ambitions for the skyline”—one might think that the proposed land use change, which would affect 78 blocks between Second and Fifth Avenues and East 39th and East 57th Streets, would be a dramatic revision of New York City’s most hallowed business district.
Crain’s New York Business calls the plan “essential.” The Post’s Steve Cuozzo, ever a friend to big real estate, says it’s “vital to the city’s future, a way to ensure that Manhattan’s most desirable commercial zone can compete in the future with global capitals like London and Shanghai.”
City Councilman David Greenfield is introducing a bill today to require every New York City cyclist to wear a bike helmet.
It is an intriguing proposal on a number of levels.
Currently, only children 13 and younger are required to wear a bike helmet. Think of the last time you saw a cyclist cruising by—were they wearing a helmet? Through highly unscientific personal observation, this reporter would say odds are evenly split for and against helmets. Maybe it’s a little higher, hopefully, so this is simply a safety measure, and a warranted one, like seat belt laws.
This is to be the attitude of the councilman, who told The Observer, “This is the simplest thing a cyclist can do to protect themselves. To do anything else is frankly irresponsible.” He pointed to federal statistics showing that 96 percent of bicycle fatalities involve people not wearing helmets (which may have as much to do with the cyclists attitude and actions as the presence of a helmet, but the numbers still speak volumes.)
Still, the best way not to get killed on your bike in the city is to keep from getting hit by a car. Which begs the question if this is not simply more anti-bike legislation masquerading as pro-bike legislation. Going back to the back-of-the-envelope assumption that half of city cyclists don’t wear helmets, dumb if legal as that may be, how many of them might stop riding if it meant the choice between mussed hair and a $25 fine? With thousands of bike share bikes on the way, could this kill the program before it even gets off the ground?
Our colleague Jonathan Liu has a nice appraisal in this week’s culture pages of what it means to be the architecture critic at The Times and whether Michael Kimmelman is up to the task. Mr. Kimmelman replaces the oft-maligned Nicolai Ourousoff, who stepped down last month, and over here at the real estate desk we have been hearing much the same thing: It is borderline offensive that The Times promoted an arts writer to cover architecture, but let’s hold out hope because he can’t be much worse than his predecessor.
With the Whitney really, truly, finally for sure moving downtown – into a Vader-like new building, no less — its old ominous digs will soon be forlorn and vacant. The Met has expressed interest in moving in in some capacity, but New York architecture critic Justin Davidson and design doyen Robert Read More
The real estate world is still wiping a long weekend of sleep from its eyes. What Newsday architecture critic Justin Davidson sees in front of him is the city’s <a href="http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/brooklyn/nyc-rive0905,0,6282381.story?coll=nyc-manheadlines-brooklyn$150 million plan to landscape the East River around Wall Street. He concludes: “Compared with the monstrous cost and difficulties of forcing Read More