Taras Grescoe describes public transportation all over the world—from New York to Moscow, Paris, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Bogotá, Phoenix, Portland, Vancouver, and Philadelphia—and looks at how convenient, affordable, and sustainable urban transportation can lead to better city living. Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile makes an impassioned case for the end of car culture and starting a transportation revolution.
The United States has long been a car culture. But with fewer young people buying cars than ever, an American automobile industry in decline, and rising fuel prices, this culture is facing something of a crisis. Taras Grescoe, author of "Straphanger," takes this as a unique opportunity to look at public transportation throughout the world, and to consider how trains, subways, and buses can be better integrated into our daily lives.
Were it not for the subway, New York as it is today would not exist. At a crucial time in the city's history, the engineers of this ingenious subterranean railroad cleared the streets of impossible congestion and decanted the population of the teeming, insalubrious tenements of the Lower EastSide to the farthest corners of the boroughs. Because it was able to move so many people so quickly, the subway became the ultimate urban density amplifier, allowing the apartment buildings and office towers of Manhattan to be built side-by-side, and turning a 26-square-mile island of gneiss, marble, and schist into one of the world's greatest metropolises, where millions could live and trade services, goods, and ideas swiftly and efficiently.
When it comes to environmentally responsible eating, we’re often told what not to eat: Don’t eat tuna because it’s overfished. Don’t eat Chilean sea bass because it’s bottom-trawled. Don’t eat beef because of carbon dioxide emissions from cows.
But what we’re not often told is that putting jellyfish on the menu will help save the world.