Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Bikes and the Fury

PhotoThe Bikes and the Fury -

Last week, street vendors in Lower Manhattan protested that racks placed on Broadway and Liberty Street threatened to displace their food carts and would force them to move. Shortly before that, Jacques Capsouto sat down on the curb to protest the placement of a bike rack in front his restaurant, Capsouto Freres on Washington Street, which possibly blocked a service entrance. The Friends of Petrosino Square, in SoHo, have fought the installation of a station close to the park of which they are advocates, believing that it would intensify traffic and impede safety. Such are the tempers in certain quarters that one member of the group created signage that called the Department of Transportation, which began the program, the “Department of Tyranny.”

Bathrooms’ Long Trek - Wall Street Journal

Bathrooms’ Long Trek - Wall Street Journal -

Bathrooms and other beach infrastructure along the public sand on Staten Island, Coney Island and the Rockaways, like most other coastal structures, became wrecks under superstorm Sandy’s floodwaters. With beach season now just a month away, city officials are racing to restore restrooms, lifeguard towers and maintenance sheds in time for the beaches to reopen.

The solution: bring prefabricated facilities to the boardwalks for about $2 million each.

But the unwieldy dimensions of these new buildings will turn their migration into a slow-motion race in which nearly three-dozen units will lumber to the city from a factory in Berwick, Pa. In total, the process will require three weeks of multi-state trips at speeds as low as 5 miles per hour, weaving through traffic, negotiating bridges and weaving around red tape.

“It’s just going to take a long time,” said Cristin Burtis, head of the Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management.
Beach buildings that will replace those wrecked by superstorm Sandy make their way to Coney Island from the factory

In Bike-Friendly Copenhagen, Highways For Cyclists (CAN THIS WORK IN NYC???)

Many Copenhagen residents already travel by bike, and now the city is building high-speed routes designed to encourage commuters even in the outlying suburbs.In Bike-Friendly Copenhagen, Highways For Cyclists : NP
NPR reporter Eleanor Beardsley rides in one of the new bike lanes in Copenhagen. The city is building more than two dozen lanes from the suburbs into the city. They cater to cyclists by including such things as rails and footrests at stoplights.
NPR reporter Eleanor Beardsley rides in one
  the new bike lanes in Copenhagen.

Every day, one-third of the people of Copenhagen ride their bikes to work or school. Collectively, they cycle more than 750,000 miles daily, enough to make it to the moon and back. And city officials want even more people to commute, and over longer distances.

So a network of 26 new bike routes, dubbed "the cycling superhighway," is being built to link the surrounding suburbs to Copenhagen.

Lars Gaardhoj, an official with the Copenhagen capital region, says the routes will be straight and direct.

"It will be very fast for people who use their bike," he says. "This is new because traditionally cycle paths have been placed where there is space for them and the cars didn't run. So now the bike is going to challenge the car."

The first highway, to the busy suburb of Albertslund some 10 miles outside the city, was completed in April.
To test it, I got a rental bike and went out for a ride.

No Place For Slowpokes

One of the first things you learn about these bike lanes is that you have to move in fast. This is not leisurely biking — this is serious stuff in Copenhagen.
It's a parallel world of transportation: You've got the cars on the roads and the people on their bikes. There are thousands and thousands of people on their bikes here in this city.

The city is building more than two dozen lanes from the suburbs into the city. They cater to cyclists by including such things as rails and footrests at stoplights.

As commuters pour into Copenhaghen on the new highway, I stop biker Cona Endelgo at a red light. Endelgo says he used to drive his car to work, but biking is better.
"It gives you more exercise and motion, and it's more free, and it's quicker. When I pass the harbor, I wave to the cars," he says.
Each mile of bike highway will cost about $1 million. The project is to be financed by the city of Copenhagen and 21 local governments. And in a country where both right- and left-leaning politicians regularly ride bikes to work, it has bilateral support.

Ocean Parkway Cycle to Cycle Hazard

Locked and abandoned this bike just south of Oceanview Avenue looks like a permanent hazard to cyclists on the bike path unless it is removed.  Let's track how long it takes the Parks Department to get it done.

Steeplechase Pier Renovation Continues

Weekend work goes on to rebuild the damaged Steeplechase pier in Coney Island.

Helping Youth Sports

NFL kicks off charitable giving in NJ, NY - SFGate

Saturday, April 27, 2013

'Door to Hell' - 2013 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest: Stunning travel snapshots submitted from across the globe

'Door to Hell' - 2013 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest: Stunning travel snapshots submitted from across the globe - NY Daily News (Click to access all photos)Submission photos for the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest.

Photos: Smith-9th Street Station Finally Reopens But Isn't Handicap Accessible: Gothamist

Photos: Smith-9th Street Station Finally Reopens But Isn't Handicap Accessible: Gothamist

[UPDATE] Citi Bike Ate My Car (And Many Others Too, Apparently):

42613bikeshare.jpg[UPDATE] Citi Bike Ate My Car (And Many Others Too, Apparently): Gothamist

[UPDATE BELOW] When it comes to selecting its prey, Citi Bike does not discriminate. Its all-consuming appetite has engorged Fort Greene, where residents blame the racks for sullying the beauty of their historic neighborhood, and inhaled Lower Manhattan, where newly installed stations have displaced longtime street vendors. But none of this could have prepared us for what we learned today: Citi Bike eats cars.
The trouble started for Chelsea resident Max Dowaliby on Wednesday afternoon, when he left his car on Bank Street, just west of Hudson Street in the West Village. When he returned on Thursday morning, his car had vanished, replaced by a row of Citi Bike stations standing innocently where his ride used to be. Remnants of "No Parking" signs were visible on poles across the street, he said, but Dowaliby insists that no such signs were visible where his car once sat.
Thinking the car had simply been relocated, Dowaliby called both the NYPD impound lot and the 6th Precinct, neither of whom had any information about the car. He tried again, and luck. In an email, he explains: "My girlfriend was walking and saw another Citi Bike share install going on in the West Village, and asked where they were towing cars. They said to call Metropolitan Tow company, and that the cars were likely in Brooklyn… BROOKLYN." (Is that even in New York?) His saga continues:

2013 Sakura Matsuri - Brooklyn Botanic Garden

2013 Sakura Matsuri2013 Sakura Matsuri - Brooklyn Botanic Garden
(click above for more details and schedule)

Saturday, April 27–Sunday, April 28, 2013 | 10 a.m.–6 p.m.

A weekend celebrating traditional and contemporary Japanese culture

Taiko Drumming • Manga • Tea Ceremonies • J-Rock and Pop • Samurai Sword Fighting • Bonsai • Cosplay Fashion Show • Ikebana Flower Arranging • Hands-on Kids’ Workshops • Nihon Buyo Classical Dance • Puzzle Plaza and More!

NYC Council Member Letitia James: Bike-Share… Get Used To It

NYC Council Member Letitia James: Bike-Share… Get Used To It | Brooklyn Heights Blog

Despite mounting disdain in Brooklyn Heights—and throughout the borough—Citi bike-share is here to stay. At a Town Hall meeting Wednesday in Fort Greene that the New York Times deemed “raucous,” NYC Council Member Letitia James—who helped formulate the program with NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg—told 100+ neighborhood residents, “The public streets belong to all of us. We have to learn to get along.”

VOTE! Brooklyn Heights Blog Snap Poll in the upper left corner: “Great Idea” or “Worst Ever.”

Not good enough, according to area residents—including kiosks stickered with signs of protest in Fort Greene saying, “Landmark residential blocks are not for sale!” The Times quotes Fort Greene resident Dr. Noreen Hosier at the meet: “We pay a landscaper to maintain our property. They can no longer get to them. You talked about meetings held for locations? We never received anything.”

Others complained about sanitation issues, safety of bikers backing into the street and previously, that the bike stands don’t fit in with the historic tenor of Brooklyn brownstone neighborhoods. Regarding a loss of parking spaces because of the bike-share stations, James had no sympathy, claiming the BQE and Flatbush Avenue have fostered “one of the highest asthma rates in the city. We have to do our part to address global warming.”

Citi Bike docking stations have been installed by the Department of Transportation in the Heights, DUMBO, Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, so far, in preparation for the citywide bike-share program next month. In Brooklyn Heights, stands are now at the corner of Remsen & Hicks, Clinton & Joralemon and Clark & Henry (outside of the Hotel St. George), with locations coming to Clark & Montague and Borough Hall. Users can rent bikes by the ride, day or week.

Citibank and Mastercard sponsors the New York program, modeled after similar systems in Washington, London, Paris and Madrid.

Citi Bike stations raise both praise and opposition in NYC

Citi Bike stations raise both praise and opposition in NYC | Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Traffic, access, and historic district aesthetics at issue
By Robert Abruzzese and Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Walk up to any of the new Citi Bike stations throughout Brooklyn and there is no doubt a small group stopping to check it out. For the most part the flashy new bike sharing docks are met with excitement. There are some installations, however – especially in historic districts -- which have residents and businesses upset and feeling left out of the planning process.

Residents in areas like Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO and Washington Park in Fort Greene, and Tribeca, in Manhattan have complained about the logo-covered bike stations’ aesthetic intrusion on their neighborhoods and have expressed concerns about their impact on traffic safety and truck access.

The residents of 150 Joralemon Street in the historic Brooklyn Heights neighborhood are one of the groups upset with the station installed in front of their building this past Monday.

"It's very inappropriate to have a bike share station in front of our building," fumed resident Kenneth Wasserman. “This is a very busy block during the day and it's a very quiet block at night. To have 25 docks out there without anybody notifying us beforehand really pisses us off."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Anatomy of a Bike Share Docking Station Installation

Anatomy of a Bike Share Docking Station Installation - WNYC
The station is located on a beautiful Soho block that's both residential and restaurant-heavy. (Side note: it's also home to a "virtual botanic garden" — but we digress.) When we arrived, a car whose driver had presumably ignored the "DO NOT PARK" signs was being towed away to make room for the station. As its car alarm blared, an elderly woman watching the street from an open third-floor window shouted down "this is going to ruin the block!"

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Historic Brooklyn fights new bike-share program

Historic Brooklyn fights new bike-share program -
The city’s just rolled out its bike-share program — and it’s already been targeted by a gang of preservationist vandals in Brooklyn. Flyers plastered yesterday on a “Citibike” station on Clermont Avenue in Fort Greene warned sponsor Citibank, “Residential landmark blocks are not for advertising or commercial activity.” Other messages ripping the use of Citibank’s corporate logo reportedly popped up at similar stations in another historic district in Clinton Hill, and the real estate blog Brownstoner fielded many other complaints. “Homeowners on these blocks can’t even repair a crack in their sidewalk without [the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission] watching so why does Citi get a free pass? Plus, they’re friggin’ hideous,” cracked one Brownstoner reader.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

F.B.I. Releases Video of Boston Bombing Suspects -

F.B.I. Releases Video of Boston Bombing Suspects -
BOSTON — The F.B.I. on Thursday released still and video images of two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings — including a man who was seen setting down a backpack at the site of the second blast — and appealed for the public’s help identifying the men. One was seen placing a dark-colored backpack outside the Forum restaurant, the site of the second bombing, just minutes before the explosion, said Richard DesLauriers, the special agent in charge of the F.B.I.'s Boston field office.

“Today we are enlisting the public’s help to identify the two suspects,” Mr. DesLauriers said at a news conference on Thursday evening in Bostonown a backpack at the site of the second blast — and appealed for the public’s help identifying the men.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Holocaust Remembrance Day Begins In Israel (PHOTOS)

Holocaust Remembrance DayHolocaust Remembrance Day Begins In Israel (PHOTOS)

JERUSALEM -- Israel dedicated its annual memorial day for the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust to mark 70 years to the Warsaw ghetto uprising, a symbol of Jewish resistance against the Nazis in World War II that resonates deeply in Israel to this day.

At the opening ceremony at nightfall, President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu both linked the desperate Jewish revolt of 1943 to the warrior mentality that enabled the establishment of Israel five years later.

"There was a never a rebellion like it. They were so few and their bravery remained as a model for so many," Peres said at Yad Vashem, Israel's official Holocaust memorial, before hundreds of Holocaust survivors and their families, Israeli leaders, diplomats and others.

"A clear line exists between the resistance in the ghettos, in the camps and in the forests and the rebirth and bravery of the state of Israel. It is a line of dignity, of renewed independence, of mutual responsibility, of exalting God's name," he said, "as a ray of hope which was not extinguished even during terrible anguish. The ghetto fighters sought life even when circumstance screamed despair."

Netanyahu called the uprising marked "a turning point in the fate of the Jewish people" where they transformed from helpless victims into fearless warriors.

Six million Jews were killed by German Nazis and their collaborators in the Holocaust, a third of world Jewry.

Through Don Draper’s Eyes: A Tour of the Time-Life Building of the Sixties

Time-Life BuildingThrough Don Draper’s Eyes: A Tour of the Time-Life Building of the Sixties | Time-Life Building |

In anticipation of the Mad Men season 6 premiere on AMC this Sunday night, TIME brings to you a rare insider’s tour of the Time-Life Building in the 1960s—the setting of everyone’s favorite mid-century ad agency, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. The Time-Life Building, designed by the Rockefeller family’s architects, Harrison & Abramowitz & Harris, opened in 1959, meaning that Don Draper et al. were some of its earliest (fictional) occupants. Time Inc. magazines like TIME, Fortune, People and Sports Illustrated still call the building home—but it must be said that, six decades later, hardly anything seen there today can match the sleek, ambitious style that defined the place, and the people who worked there, when 1271 Avenue of the Americas first opened its doors.

‘50 Children,’ About Saving Jewish Children, on HBO

‘50 Children,’ About Saving Jewish Children, on HBO -
The documentary “50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr. and Mrs. Kraus,” Monday night on HBO, may have the same template as other tales of impossible odds and outsize courage, but it’s still heart-wrenching, thrilling and above all relevant. The film, by Steven Pressman, is about a Philadelphia couple, Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus, who got it in their heads that they should try to bring 50 Jewish children out of Nazi-occupied Austria in 1939.

New York Aquarium on Coney Island, swamped by Hurricane Sandy, to reopen May 25

Kids  love the New York Aquarium.New York Aquarium on Coney Island, swamped by Hurricane Sandy, to reopen May 25  - NY Daily News
The beloved New York Aquarium in Coney Island, devastated during Hurricane Sandy, has set a date to reopen — and its famous sea lions will be out for the big day in May.
The aquarium will partially reopen on Saturday, May 25 at 10 a.m., said Jon Dohlin, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society New York Aquarium.
The reopening will come seven months after Sandy’s unforgiving storm surge inundated the 14-acre facility, trashing buildings and exhibits and damaging the aquatic life.