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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

PhotoWednesday - New Condo on the Block Edition

I feel like singing "You Are Not Alone..." for the new condo rising across from the Forte in Fort Greene

Monday, November 5, 2012

New York Keeps Running and that's a good thing.

(Wrote this on Friday 11/ 2, had some technical issues preventing me from publishing (nothing tragic) but I stand by this even and especially in light of the type of criticism the Marathon received and it's cancellation)

Friday, Nov 2nd:

Cancelling the Marathon doesn't remove water from people's homes, lift trees off of houses and cars, repair roofs, return electricity to the hundreds of thousands without it. Deliver vital medicine to those with chronic illness or sadly raise the dead. Beat cops do not conduct disaster relief missions. Currently relief efforts are underway it's a shame that they were not there sooner, just as its
equally a shame that people who didn't take two days of evacuation orders and open shelters and near by higher ground were not willing or able to use them. Should evacuation failures be investigated and improved, definitely. Cancelling the Marathon doesn't do that. Should available resources from the marathon go to survivors I think so, should the proceeds of the marathon go to survivors, i think a chunk should at least.

Should people get booted from hotels for marathoners? Hell no! Give the runners trailers or something, they're only here for a few hours, but does cancelling an event that arguably focuses the city and to a degree the nation's focus on New York at a time when many New Yorkers need all the attention and assistance they can get, improve conditions for hurricane survivors? I don't think so.
The Marathon should be used to increase attention and aid to people in need, so regular people who've focused their lives on this event can be given the opportunity to run for something bigger than personal achievement. Let's make that happen. The Marathon has run through Harlem, Spanish Harlem & the South Bronx for 40 years and in that time child mortality rates in those areas have rivaled 3rd world nations. Economic, educational and environmental suffering has existed in those marathon run through neighborhoods for years as well. Yet there's never been a huge outcry that the marathon is being run while people suffer. Quitting the marathon doesn't miraculously fix things.

When we fall we get up. When people fall we think it's right to give compassion and we hope that compassion will be there if we ever need. I think people should be helped when they fall. all people. but when we fall we don't make progress but asking the people standing to lay down.

My two cents.
(As I was writing this word came in that the Marathon would be cancelled, the following then came to mind)

I blame Bloomberg but not for a failed response to the Hurricane. Personally I think people need to go back and look at the days preceding that terrible storm and look at what and how Bloomberg did to prepare New Yorkers of the disaster to come. There were two days of warnings that people in the flood zone (Evacuation Zone A) were in danger and needed to leave to be safe.
Shelters were opened. Evacuation instructions were given. Warnings were made.

So what do I blame Bloomberg for? His style of leader ship for more than a decade, which in and of itself is part of the problem. He broke the rules, bending them from illegal to legal for his own desire, and said it was for our betterment. He's made dozens of changes to our city, often against public opinion and ignored most grievances saying essentially it's for our betterment.

I blame Bloomberg for squandering his clout and the goodwill of New Yorkers such that anything he does is now likely to be greeted with scorn. A Mayor, a leader, who engendered good will of his constituents could have presented an event like the Marathon as a way for New Yorkers and the world (by way of the international cast of competitors) to give to the hurricane survivors. 

As of last weekend most people in outside of Staten Island wouldn't know where or how to get to Staten Island right after the disaster, or who to help. People didn't know how to reach out and some New Yorkers didn't have a direct connection to the tragedy in Staten Island, Breezy Point, Rockaway and the Lower East Side but you know what does reach Millions of New Yorkers? The marathon, which is why i feel it could'a been and could still be a way for people to help. 
On the street level it almost all volunteers, runners could have been designated as representatives for stricken communities. rest stops could have been set up as donation points, the proceeds or at least a sizable chunk could have been donated to the disaster relief.

The NFL continued with the Giant's game in New Jersey less than 20 miles from the destruction zones. They used the game to honor 1st responders, donate to the survivors and encourage more donations and awareness.

A better leader who would have been able to show and connect us to the ties that bind us as people and New Yorkers instead of stubbornly plowing ahead as our communities frayed.

Subway recovery status as of 11/4/12

The status as of Sunday 11/4

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sandy Aftermath, Sights Seen

Yesterday I took the bike into Lower Manhattan for a look around. Flooding aside with the power out there were no subways rumbling, no red lights for people to ignore or linger of front of which meant no horns blasted in disgust. Granted there was vehicular movement, but it had the ebb and flow more in common with country intersections than city speedways (although the cab's did all seem powered by Red Bull). Here's a lot more of my musing from the trip:

The food in most of the small biz food spots, diners etc was being eaten by the staff as they sat in front of the establishments.

People have realized you electric outlets are everywhere, saw people sitting on the floor at the bank charging laptops and phones

I was busy standing almost in the street taking photos of a flooded tunnel when I noticed a city bus creeping up on me. I quickly got out of the way and walked passed, only to realize the bus driver was taking pictures of the same thing.

Homeland steaks started cooking their entire inventory on the street at 9th ave btw 15th & 14th streets. smoke billowed a line formed (most people not exactly sure for what) and smiles floated through over the sidewalk along with the scent of marinated steak grilled to perfection. Then the police showed. Their window rolled down and a steak was offered to them as to the other New Yorkers and soon they were on their way. It was the kind of classic New York scene you only find in memory or a movie like Ghostbusters. Steak was delicious by the way, I'll have to go their for dinner when the world is a little less upside down.

(as mentioned) It's weird how quiet manhattan is if you just take away the subway and red lights. seriously I heard almost no horns. because no one was reminding someone to go through the green light. drivers for the most part have to look to see whether they can drive. much more attentive that way.

had this thought,"The Street Lights have fallen!! Give over your allegiance to our new lord and road masters the taxi!!"

Cabbies were speed demons.

Streets were nearly to totally empty. If ever you wanted to film a dystopic future set movie or that zombie apocalypse that everyone is so found of, now's the time. early morning especially.

I had a "I Am Legend" moment as I approached a barricade at the South Street Seaport not far from the base of the Brooklyn Bridge. The moment got more surreal when suddenly two blackhawk helicopters appeared and landedgreated by reporters and troops. I don't know what that was about.

I only saw three people who looked hilariously stereotypically shady to me. I mean pick any movie with a criminal and these three dudes (of diverse backgrounds but essentially the same grimy gear) fit the mold. the were trying doors at an office building.

Someone mentioned cab drivers would rack up because of the lack of transportation. I disagree. Cab driving in this situation is risky because most fares looked packed to get the hell out of dodge. If that happened the cabbie would spend way to much time on one-way fares.

Who was racking up? Food cart dudes. Matter of fact if you know anyone with a coffee truck, send them to astor place stat. (Gothamist posted a story about this later)

North of 30th Street no one seems care, they aint waiting, they aint worried.

Having a bike is gonna be so awesome when the electromagnetic pulses start.