On the Street
Primary Day: it is, for many New Yorkers, a time when the next mayoralty moves from the realm of the hypothetical to the realm of the real; the current administration recedes accordingly. But for a few hours at least, on a street corner in Bed-Stuy, the leaflet-brandishing volunteers seemed very far away, as Bloomberg administration commissioners, political appointees, local buinsess leaders and term-limited outgoing council member Al Vann gathered to celebrate a brand new pedestrian plaza. After all, what could be more Bloombergian than a new pedestrian plaza?
Who says the Department of Transportation does not respect the will of the community in which it is working? Last week, the local community board in Astoria voted against plans for a new pedestrian plaza, wanting instead to preserve access for vehicles on the street. Despite the widespread assumption that the Department of Read More
THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
The knives are already drawn for a proposal that might not even happen, a proposed closure of Vanderbilt Avenue to cars. The mayor supports it anyway, and when the City Planning Commission unveils the outlines for its Midtown East rezoning tonight, New Yorkers may have a better idea of what is in store. Or not. Time and again, it has been stated that this maybe-plan is far from certain.
So now is the time to attack it.
The Post has with relish, as should be expected, and so has The Times in its way, tapping its target demographic, the Yale Club, which faces onto Vanderbilt Avenue.
It was a big deal when JetBlue decided to move to Long Island City two years ago. The air carrier founded here would not be splitting town, and it would even be boosting a nascent business district that has never done much beyond the Citi back offices despite the one-stop subway ride to Midtown. But it turns out there might also be implications for the skyline.
No, JetBlue is not building a big new tower, it is still moving into an eight-story loft building beside the Queensborough Bridge. But there are plans for a big blue sign on the roof, a 40-footer. That is bigger than the GE sign atop Rockefeller Center, and that is kind of the point. “When complete, it will be easily seen from the east side of Manhattan across the river,” the airline writes on its corporate blog, BlueTales.
It is a 50 minute ride on the 3-Train from Times Square to the end of the line in New Lots, Brooklyn.
The blaring lights, the towering canyons, the masses of tourists, all disappear as the subway leaves Manhattan far behind, rising above ground after Utica Avenue in Crown Heights. The steel and glass skyscrapers have been replaced by rowhouses of siding and stone and the occasional redbrick cluster of public housing.
Yet stepping off the stairs at the elevated station in East New York, Times Square and New Lots are not that different. The crowds are still there, darting across the busy streets to board buses and cabs that carry them beyond the reach of the subway tracks. Shops—Piggy’s, York Chan Chinese, Kicks & More, numerous bodegas—line the triangle formed by Livonia and New Lots avenues. It is a hive of activity in the heart of the neighborhood.
And starting a few weeks ago, just as in Times Square, travelers and locals have been greeted by a generous pedestrian plaza hugging the middle of that triangle.
“We wanted to create a space that was safe, we wanted to create a space that was inviting, we wanted to create a space for the neighborhood,” Eddie Di Benedetto, head of the local merchants association and a champion of the project, said on Friday, during a tour of the space.
It looks like the bicycle backlash is nothing new:
The Times described upper Broadway as “a regular race track” for speeding cyclists, one of them, operating without bell or whistle, killed 7-year-old Katie McGlynn just as she was exiting a streetcar at Broadway and 67th. “They make no noise Read More
In her four years atop the city’s Department of Transportation, Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has masterminded a re-engineering of the city’s streets that not so long ago would have been impossible. Bike lanes proliferate, parking spaces have been transformed into cafes, and Broadway, the most famous road in the world, has been almost entirely closed Read More