Monday, July 23, 2012
Manhattan will soon be handling it's share of trash in a new waste transfer station to be built in the borough.
Monday, July 16, 2012
By Jim O'Grady
(New York, NY - WNYC) Several Brooklyn-to-Manhattan commuters were baffled at 7:45 this morning to find an unexpected boarding ritual taking place at the head of the gangway leading to their ferry. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a likely candidate for mayor, stood there waiting to shake hands.
"Congratulations!" Quinn told the riders, one by one. "You're among the million passengers to take the East River Ferry!"
That's a million paid customers in just over a year, more than double the initial projection of 409,000 annual riders. But that success comes at a price to the city: a $3.1 million subsidy per year over the three-year life of the pilot program.
The money comes from the city's Economic Development Corporation. Private ferries that criss-cross the Hudson River, connecting New Jersey to various parts of the harbor, do not receive subsidies.
The East River Ferry started with 12 days of free service last June. From the beginning, it proved popular with New Yorkers and tourists. The boats follow a route that goes from Wall Street to East 34th Street in Manhattan with stops along the way -- four in Brooklyn and one in Queens. Then they ply the trip in reverse. (Bloomberg and Quinn boarded at the North 6th Street stop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for a three stop ride to Wall Street.) In spring and summer, the ferry adds a Brooklyn harbor loop and makes the short hop from Lower Manhattan to Governor's Island.
Weekend service is especially popular in the warm months. Billy Bey, the company running East River Ferry, says it has had to operate larger vessels on the weekends to hold the crowds, and a new landing at Brooklyn Bridge Park has been fitted with wider gangways to speed boarding and disembarking.
The ferry isn't cheap: $4 for a one-way trip, compared to the $2.25 base fare per subway ride with a Metrocard; and the ferry charges $140 for a monthly commuter pass, compared to $104 for a 30-day unlimited ride MetroCard.
But sometimes a passenger like Bloomberg can catch a break. The mayor ordered a $2 cup of coffee from the on-board concession stand, which a woman who gave her name as Jennifer served up gratis. Jennifer said she was happy to do it "because he's the mayor," although she initially called him Mayor Giuliani. But Jennifer also noted a Bloombergian particularity: the mayor added milk to his Joe but, true to his crusade against empty calories, no sugar.
Monday, June 11, 2012
By Jim O'Grady
(New York, NY - WNYC) Several New York City subway lines are at or above capacity. Relief is coming for some riders because of technology.
The chronically overcrowded L train, which connects Manhattan to Brooklyn's fastest growing neighborhoods, is now running 98 more times a week. The NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority just finished installing a new radio-based signal system that allows trains on the line to travel closer together and, as a result, more frequently.
Brooklyn Democratic District Leader Lincoln Restler, who joined elected officials at a press conference outside the Bedford Avenue stop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, said it's about time. "The complaint I receive most frequently about quality of life for Williamsburg residents is L train service," he said. "It is terrible. We've been unable to fit onto trains for too long."
Ridership on the L train has grown 141 percent since 1998 because of a population boom in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, the chosen enclaves of NYC's hipster set and more recently, a hub of new condo construction. It's not unusual for riders during the morning rush to let a packed train pass because there's no room to board it.
The NY MTA announced a plan to increase service on the line eight months ago, which led to a squabble with its largest union over why the new schedule would take so long to implement.
Riders will now see 16 more trains on weekdays and 18 more trains over the course of a weekend.
The MTA says, during the morning rush, customers can shave 30 seconds off their wait with trains now arriving every 3 minutes. Non-rush hour weekday riders, as well as Saturday night revelers, can expect a train every six minutes, down from 7 ½ minutes. And Sunday evening straphangers can expect a train every 6 minutes, down from 8 ½ minutes.
State Senator Daniel Squadron said those improvements should lessen claustrophobia on the line. "That means that you're going to spread out that sardine can crush. It'll still be standing room only but it'll at least get us below over-capacity."
The NY MTA said the added service will cost $1.7 million annually.
Monday, June 11, 2012
By Jim O'Grady
(New York, NY - WNYC) - Manhattan, where the standard rate of movement is an all-out manic sprint, is about to be told by the NY Department of Transportation to slow down. At least in part: a couple of dozen blocks at the island's northern tip in the neighborhood of Inwood are on track to become the borough's first traffic Slow Zone.
NYC DOT unveiled Slow Zones last year. The program calms traffic by lowering a neighborhood's speed limit to 20 miles per hour--the lowest in the city--and fitting it out with safety measures such as speed bumps, signs and street markings that either force or urge drivers to slow down. The city would also remove more than 20 parking spots in the neighborhood to open up sight lines at intersections.
Inwood's community board passed a resolution in February that unanimously supported the Slow Zone, which would cover the blocks west of Broadway from West 218th down to Riverside Drive near Dyckman Street. A vote by the full board will be held on June 26. Should the Slow Zone be approved, as expected, the NYC DOT is set to install it this summer.
Inwood is frequently used as a short-cut by northbound drivers who cut through it, especially during the evening rush hour, to avoid paying the toll on the Henry Hudson Bridge, which spans Manhattan and the Bronx. Drivers have also learned to avoid the traffic lights on Broadway by traveling on Seaman Avenue, a parallel street that is heavily residential.
In general, Inwood's streets are hilly, narrow and almost wholly disconnected from the street grid. For those reasons, the NYC DOT not only approved the neighborhood's Slow Zone application but doubled the size of the proposed area.
Resident Dave Thom, for one, is pleased. "Our neighborhood is packed with schools, churches and young children," he said. "I have a two year-old and three year-old myself and it can be nerve-wracking to see a car racing down our streets."
The city's first and only Slow Zone was installed in the Claremont section of the Bronx last year. NYC DOT is considering adding another 13 Slow Zones, including the one in Inwood, by the end of 2013.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
There's a lonely, whistled melody that originates somewhere around section 133 in the Prudential Center in Newark. The crowd knows it well and when it ends, the house full of Devils fans chants in unison, "Rangers suck!” There is little love between these two teams and their armies of fans, separated by the moat of the Hudson River. And now, they’re locked in a grinding battle to reach the Stanley Cup Finals.
Monday, April 23, 2012
By Kathleen Horan : Reporter, WNYC News
An East Village bar known for its live music, vintage jukebox and $3 dollar beers is closing for good next week. The Lakeside Lounge on Avenue B, will be added to the growing list of the neighborhood's recently shuttered nightspots, such as the Mars Bar and Banjo Jim's.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Nearly four years after overcrowding in Greenwich Village led parents and elected officials to demand a new school, the city has agreed to buy 75 Morton St., a seven-story state-owned building.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
By Kate Hinds
Children under 18 account for 43% of car crash victims in Manhattan's East Harlem neighborhood. But just a few blocks south, in the moneyed Upper East Side, the same age group accounts for less than 15% of neighborhood car crash victims.
That's the conclusion of the new report "Child Crashes: An Unequal Burden"(pdf), released Thursday by Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group. According to the group's research, of the East Side's top ten intersections for motor vehicle crashes that kill or injure child pedestrians and bicyclists, "nine are located in close proximity to public housing developments in East Harlem and the Lower East Side."
The report draws upon data from 1995-2009 that the group received after filing Freedom of Information Law requests to the New York State DMV.
The city DOT is disputing the way Transportation Alternatives (TA) is presenting the data.
"There were a record-low three child pedestrian fatalities citywide last year, none of them in any of the neighborhoods cited in the report," said Seth Solomonow, a department spokesperson.
He cited agency statistics that show serious crashes went down 64% in the Lower East Side’s Community Board 3 and 38% in Harlem’s Community Board 11 over the course of the study period. In 2011, the number of traffic deaths in New York City fell to the lowest levels in a century-- a 40% drop from 2001.
A deeper dive into the data shows rates did indeed drop everywhere -- but that injury rates remain consistently higher in poorer neighborhoods. In East Harlem in 1995, for example, 107 children were injured by cars. By 2009, that number had fallen to 47. But that's still higher than the Upper East Side, which had 32 injuries of children at the highest point, and 17 in 2009. Children under 18 make up about 30% of the population of both neighborhoods.
TA concludes children on Manhattan's East Side are three times more likely to be hit by a car in a neighborhood where public housing is nearby. Just last week, a 12-year-old girl was killed crossing a street on Manhattan's Lower East Side. She was a resident of the Jacob Riis Houses.
The report singles out East 125th Street and Lexington Avenue as the worst intersection in Manhattan for children.
Melissa Mark-Viverito, the New York City Council member who represents East Harlem, called the report "alarming."
"This really just kind of exacerbates the urgency and really demonstrates that particularly in my community, where I represent the most public housing in the city of New York, where I have the most number of developments, that this is a real immediate danger," she said.
She said she will bring together community groups and the NYC DOT to work collaboratively on the problem. Mark-Viverito has also been working with the local community board to bring protected bike lanes to East Harlem -- a project which was recently derailed but she said is expected to go before the board again in March.
In an email, Paul Steely White, Transportation Alternatives' executive director, said “the NYPD must protect these children and hold dangerous drivers accountable.” The report calls for more targeted enforcement of traffic laws by the NYPD, as well as speed cameras. The group also says other city agencies, like the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, as well as the New York City Housing Authority, need to further study "what neighborhood built environment factors...may drive these neighborhood-based differences in child crash rates."
Transportation Alternatives acknowledges that the DOT has worked hard to make the streets safer. “We’re pushing the NYPD to step up,” said Jennifer So Godzeno, pedestrian advocacy manager. But, she says, "the NYPD is completely failing to use these penalties. When you look across time, 60% of these crashes are attributable to drivers breaking laws. But we don’t see the NYPD making enforcement of these laws a priority at all.”
No response yet from the NYPD.
Thursday, December 01, 2011
By Jim O'Grady
Every year, the group gives out two awards for poor bus service: the Pokie, for the slowest bus, and the Schleppie, for the least reliable.
The advocacy group said it clocked the M50 -- which runs crosstown between the United Nations on the East Side of Manhattan to Pier 43 on the Hudson River-- at noon at an average speed of only 3.5 miles per hour.
"The bus is just tremendously slow," said Straphangers spokesman Gene Russianoff. "You can push a lawnmower faster across Midtown than it takes the M50 to go from First to Second Avenue."
Russianoff said that though the M 50 is particularly desultory, the city's bus system is plagued by plodding speeds as it makes 2.5 million trips on an average weekday. "That's a lot of people stuck in traffic who deserve quicker trips," he said.
The Straphangers Campaign gave its Schleppie Award to the M 101, 102 and 103 buses on the Upper East Side of Manhattan for arriving in bunches and failing to meet their schedules. He said those lines could move faster if the city protected them from traffic with dedicated lanes and sped up boarding by having passengers pay beforehand at bus stop kiosks--as is the case with Select Bus Service on the 34th Street crosstown route.
The NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority agrees, in concept."The past year established Select Bus Service as a game changer in New York, with 20 percent faster bus service now on three routes," said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz. "We are working with the city to expand the SBS network, bringing faster boarding, dedicated bus lanes and enhanced bus lane enforcement to more and more routes."
The city's bus system has absorbed some blows in recent years. The NY MTA cut 37 bus lines and shut down 570 bus stops as a cost-saving measure in June 2010. And while subway ridership has grown over the past two years, bus ridership is down by nearly two percent.
MTA statistics show that breakdowns on city buses have increased by 12% since last year. And the percentage of city buses that are 12 years or older has more than doubled, from 16% of the bus fleet in 2010 to 35% in 2011.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
By Annmarie Fertoli : Associate Producer at WNYC
New York is a city of specialists from foodies to academics, laborers to shopkeepers. Every Wednesday, Niche Market takes a peek inside a different specialty store and showcases the city's purists who have made an art out of selling one commodity.
Monday, October 17, 2011
From Tuesday through Sunday, more than 1,350 bands, DJs and comedians will perform at the annual CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival. Check out WNYC's trippy color-coded map to see our CMJ picks — from En Vogue to Mike Birbiglia to Dum Dum Girls — for each night of the festival.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Even with over 300 galleries in Chelsea, many younger artists struggle to have their work seen and promoted. To that end, we've highlighted eight alternative arts destinations to explore in the city.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Sharif El-Gamal, the developer of the Park51 project, talks about the passionate national debate that was sparked last year when the Islamic Community Center and mosque was proposed. Yesterday, Park51 opened its doors.
Frontline tells the story of Sharif El-Gamal and the story of the Ground Zero Mosque controversy. “The Man Behind the Mosque” airs Tuesday, September 27, at 9 pm on PBS.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
The Richard Hambleton retrospective at Phillips de Pury & Company is only on view through Tuesday. But there's still plenty of historic graffiti around town to cast your eye over. With the help of graffiti aficionada Katherine Lorimer (who snaps shots of street art as Luna Park), WNYC has created a tour of five of the coolest and oldest pieces of graffiti around town.
Friday, September 09, 2011
Restaurateurs Drew Nieporent, Michael Lomonaco (formerly of Windows on the World), and David Bouley all had restaurants in lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001. They describe the impact of the attacks and their aftermath on the restaurant scene in downtown Manhattan, and how it's changed in the last decade.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
By Julia Furlan : WNYC Culture Producer
At 19, jazz prodigy Matt Savage is at work on his ninth album, which includes a five-part tribute to New York City. Download "Big Apple Blues" for free here, or check him out at the Iridium jazz club Wednesday night.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
By Julia Furlan : WNYC Culture Producer
An air conditioning unit has lately been the hottest -- or coolest -- commodity around town. But to the dismay of many overheated residents looking to buy or replace a broken AC unit, they've all but sold out in area retail stores.
Saturday, July 09, 2011
By Luna Lin
Thursday is Bastille Day. Here are some ways to celebrate in New York City.