Philippa Kaye, a Greenpoint resident, faced a reality that is the stuff of nightmares (not ours, we're not that screwed up) this weekend as she innocently passed Flatbush and Fifth Avenues to view the New York City marathon. That's when she "encountered a hole in the sidewalk so massive it swallowed her whole," reports the Brooklyn Paper. As you can see from the photo at right.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini, via the Brooklyn Paper
As we learned earlier this week, there are 33 miners trapped 2,000 feet underground after a mine cave-in in San Jose, Chile. Fortunately, they are all still alive. Unfortunately, it's going to take three to four months to extricate them, via drilling a hole large enough for their release. This story deserves to be mentioned because, honestly, it is just insane.
Craigslist is as obsessed with their Missed Connections as we are, to the extent that they dug in and calculated which subway lines and stations are "most romantic" in a month-long study of nearly 500 New York City Missed Connections posts. We'd like to point out that just because a subway train is mentioned as the location of a so-called Missed Connection, that doesn't mean the posters are "romantic." But since the New York Times probably isn't allowed to say "horny," we'll let that slide. (Not letting slide: "Commuteris downcastus" -- oof.)
Service cuts = More time for love.
America's most notorious Ponzi family are now calling themselves "the Morgans." At least some of the Madoff clan have adopted that name: Stephanie Madoff, second wife of Bernie Madoff's son Mark Madoff, has gone to court for the name change for her and her kids Audrey and Nicholas.
The Post calls the new name "far less controversial," but it's a rum choice and not really a change but more of a synonym. The most famous "Morgan" brand name in the world — Captain Morgan rum — derives directly from Captain Henry Morgan, one of the most dangerous 17th century Caribbean pirates and the inspiration for numerous books and movies.
The MTA just voted to spend $28-billion on various transit projects -- among which are a second LIRR track and parking help at congested stations. But what will make a lot of commuters' day is news that a few of our filthiest train stations will be getting some much-needed renovating.
They include seven stations along the F and M lines, six on the A, L and 3 lines -- all in Brooklyn and Queens -- and four N and W stops in Astoria specifically. The Grand Street stop on the B and D lines in Manhattan will also be included. The upgrades will mean that stairs and ceilings will be fixed and aging platforms will be redone -- all at a cost of about $650-million.
The MTA's plan will unfold slowly over the next five years.
Green isn't the first color that comes to mind when you think about New York's subway system. Brown maybe. Some kind of charcoal-y color. Urine yellow, perhaps. But a new stimulus package from the feds is about to change that.
The city's set to receive $2-million dollars put aside for green technologies on our subways. It's part of a $100-million dollar initiative designed to create greener public transportation across the country.
The money New York's getting will go toward installing remote controlled third rail heaters which can be turned off when the weather permits -- thereby saving energy.
There, wasn't that fun? The Straphangers report always gets big play in the news because it's simple, it's list-y, and it's something to whom We the People can relate. Also, since it follows standard, quotidian measures of performance -- on-time operation, cleanliness, etc. -- it does not get into bigger issues like the massive service cuts the MTA has promised. In fact, if you remove stops from a train's route, as is proposed for the W, or eliminate night service, the line may operate more efficiently by the Straphangers' metric. Thus a totally devastated subway system might set a record for high marks.
Plus, it's the buses that really suck. We also notice there's no category for robot conductor stop-skipping.
Update: In comments a Straphangers spokesperson rebuts. He's correct that the service cutbacks promised by the MTA should have been rendered in that past tense, but we expect those threats to be made with each budget until someone gets serious -- which is to say, when it's too late.