Open Thread Wednesday

What’s on your mind? Comment away!

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  • Adam

    Not sure if this has been discussed here previously, but has Packer ever been asked or encouraged to give up their little lawn/terrace on Joralemon so their parents and nannies can congregate there rather than on the crowded sidewalk at drop off and pick up? There’s sidewalk congestion every morning and afternoon, and that manicured garden and grass just sits there empty while the strollers and adults block BH foot traffic to and from the train.


    You may want to walk on the north side of the street. I don’t see the parents / nannies / strollers going away anytime soon.

  • AndyHeights

    Excellent point! I’ve been taking the subway to work in the morning for the last year and when I pass Packer each morning, it is definitely challenging with the strollers parked in front of the school with folks trying to walk past them to the subway and elsewhere.

  • Banet

    Good point. I’d also suggest that maybe 3 of the parking spaces in front directly of the school get some sort of waiting area. It could get built up to sidewalk level and it would only displace those DEP Priuses that have no business having permanent, dedicated parking spaces in a residential neighborhood.

  • Arch Stanton

    Why on earth should public space be commandeered to facilitate a private school?
    I suppose you think the DEP officials should spent there time driving around looking for parking instead of doing their jobs…

  • Banet

    Agreed. Public space should NOT be commandeered for private use. Which is why I think ALL street-parking should have a market-based price attached to it.

    Think about it. With the given width of Joralemon Street — or any street in the neighborhood — more of the width is typically given over to parking than to sidewalks. And who uses those parking spaces? A mere fraction of population who are 1) able to afford a car, and 2) lucky enough to happen to find a piece of public property to store it.

    As far as the DEP cars, if we charged market rates for all this public property that people store their private vehicles on then they’d have no problem finding a place to park their cars. But seriously, I’m fine with dedicated parking spaces for city vehicles. I just think it could be on the other side of the street. Or a block over. Or in a parking garage.

  • B.

    That little lawn has been there for a very long time, is part of the grounds, and goes a long way to making an ugly block a little nicer looking. The school is landmarked and rightly so.

    For heaven’s sake, cross the street. You are lucky you do not live on the Upper East Side when school lets out at Spence and Chapin. No front gardens there and still no room on the sidewalks anyway.

  • Daddyo

    Cross the street? Back of St. Francis usually pretty clear. Subway entrance on that side also. Or perhaps the grass could be turned into one of those stackable parking lots for mommies, nannys, dogs, kids and strollers.

  • Reggie

    South side of the street: Starbucks, former bank now becoming a restaurant, Equinox, DC37 health clinic, small apartment building, Packer. North side of the street: Duane Reade, commercial printer, St. Francis College, Rite Aid. One small apartment building does not a residential neighborhood make.

  • SilverShoes

    Anyone have news on the timeline or status of the Library demolition and start of construction for the skyscraper?

  • Banet

    Fair enough. But then how am I supposed to patronize any of those businesses if I can’t park anywhere on the block due to the parking being reserved for the DEP?

  • Reggie

    City cars need to go somewhere. I would like to see a motor pool someplace away from the civic center but I am sure the counter-argument will be, we need the cars nearby if we are going to do our jobs.

  • Arch Stanton

    Right out of the TransAlt playbook. However, a lot of their rhetoric is misleading or false. I know I’ve been a member for about 20 years.
    For one thing, about 50% of NYC households have a car, so quite a bit more than “a mere fraction of population”.
    Second, non wealthy people own cars, yes, even the working poor. there are many who need a car for their livelihood. Owning a car is not just for the privileged few.
    Also, The streets and sidewalks are public for everyone to use, meaning anyone can drive, park ther car, ride a bike or walk on. Parking is charged for in commercial areas.
    Should things be done to promote biking and pedestrian safety? Yes absolutely (hence my membership in TA). But it does not mean drivers need to demonized or punished for owning a car.

  • bpelle

    I agree. Also, car owners are charged a fee to register their cars. If people feel the fee isn’t high enough that’s one thing, but they aren’t free-riders.

  • Carlo Trigiani

    Does NYC enforce car registration? Cars with PA, CT, MA and NJ plates take up 20% of the parking spaces in our neighborhood. We all know these folks. They live down our halls. And if they are cheating NYC out of registration fees, safe to assume they are cheating on insurance. Maybe they are claiming the CT house as their primary residence and paying lower NYC taxes on income. How do we fix that?

  • mac

    curious what is going on with the construction (or lack of) in the lot on Cranberry between Willow and Hicks…the started on the foundation for the new townhouse , but have not done any more work for what seems like almost 1 year now…

  • StudioBrooklyn

    It seems that (a) NYC does NOT enforce registration and (b) there is no easy fix. Below is a link to an article about a guy who asked the same questions and got nowhere:

  • bpelle

    They definitely ticket people whose NY State registration has expired – personal experience. I didn’t realize how widespread the cheating was though. Perhaps match up the DMV records with tax records or NY Dept of Labor records. That might be an IT bridge too far for the state though.

  • Carlo Trigiani

    A lawyer who lives in my building drives a PA licensed car. Has lived in NYC for 10 years and my building a year and a half. Contacted Levin’s office who reached out to the local precinct and Squadron’s office. Waiting to hear back. A Goldman Sachs wife (across the street) backed into a blue Vespa in front of my building. I helped her pick the damaged Vespa up. They host political fundraisers but cant afford NY plates – the Land Rover had CT tags. Residential permits would help. Should we just give up?

  • Carlo Trigiani

    Residential parking permits is a way to generate revenues through fees and clean up much of the registration and insurance cheating. I suspect that many of those folks with out of state tags send their pay stub to CT, MA, NJ or PA. The guy in my building is the general counsel for a publicly traded company. The Goldman guy, just bought an apartment in the BBP park for $10.1 million. Low lying fruit , if you ask me.

  • gc

    … seems like a good deal more than a year to me.

  • MaggieO

    The insurance part is what really gets me. Folks who keep their out of state registration get to pay out of state insurance premiums which helps to keep our NYC rates unbelievably high. grrr.

  • stop bullies

    TMH will be presenting the Eighth Annual 4th Window Concert on Sunday, May 21st at 4 PM. The event takes place at the corner of State Street and Henry Street. It’s free and it’s fun. Hundreds of people show up to listen to a dozen plus performances by the piano studenst at TMH. The kids, ranging in age from 7 to 17, will play original arrnagements of some of the greatest rock classics of all time from bands like The Beatles, The Who, The Allman Brothers, Led Zeppellin, The Eagles, Queen, Billy Joel and others. We hope to see everyone there.

  • Banet

    If no one has ever stumbled across this, it’s one of the things that makes the Heights so special. Try to swing by — you’ll be impressed.

  • Banet

    Yes, about 50% of households own a car, but a huge amount of those cars are parked on private property. In driveways mostly (think all of Staten Island) but also in parking garages (think most private cars in Manhattan south of 110th street).

    Further, that’s 50% of *households*, or 1.4 million households according to the NYCEDC (which in turn got it from the U.S. Census), which is likely where you also got your stats. So that’s roughly 1.4 million cars (how many New Yorkers do you know who own more than 1 car?) out of 8.5 million New Yorkers. That’s not 50%. So now we have more space dedicated to parking that walking for, as I said, a mere fraction of the population.

  • Banet

    That registration fee is $26 to $48.50 per YEAR, depending on the weight of your vehicle.

    None of that money goes to the city — it all goes to the state. But seriously, that’s what it costs to park just a few HOURS in Manhattan.

    If you’re seriously saying that the registration fee should be used to make up the cost of free street parking, then you’re asking them to up State registrations fees — just for NYC residents — to what? $1,000 a year? $2,000? And I’d have to pay that even if I live on Staten Island, have a driveway, and never use street parking? That just doesn’t make sense.

    What *does* make sense is having people pay for what they use. Street parking — wherever it’s scarce — should have a cost associated with it.

  • Banet

    My college roommate lives in Washington DC. They have residential parking permits. Works really well. You pay a relatively low annual fee and get a sticker. It lets you park on the street. It also forces you to have DC plates and pay DC insurance.

    No permit? You’re general limited to 2 hours of parking.

    The only downside is that the city is divided up into dozens of zones. This keeps people from the edge of the city from driving to work and parking in residential neighborhoods close to the jobs (just as people drive from Bay Ridge and park here before taking the subway a stop or two into Manhattan).

    These zones mean that if you want to spend the night at your girlfriends, or even just go to a friend’s house for an afternoon, you’ve got a problem.

  • Jorale-man

    Agreed that the lawn does make the block much more pleasant visually (and perhaps contributes to cleaner air on some small level). That said, I do wish the Packer School would do a better job at keeping the sidewalk in front clean. It’s awfully filthy some days. If anyone from the school is reading this, please consider sending your cleaning staff out front on a more regular basis.

  • B.

    The Packer Collegiate Institute if in violation of litter laws should do more to keep its sidewalks clean. Difficult to do when garbage blows up from Court Street — but then, that’s the breaks. But thank you for agreeing re grass. You might also have liked the ivy that once festooned the bricks.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    My understanding was that the reason people register out of state was to avoid paying the in-state sales tax, which of course is nearly 10% of the total cost and has to be paid in a lump sum upfront regardless of how the car is financed, not just the registration fees. Of course I could be wrong.

    I often wonder how much the presence of idle demolition dumpsters and fallow loading zones contribute to parking congestion in the neighborhood, and whether it shouldn’t be harder in general to get a license (so many bad drivers out there, it makes you wonder) and therefore a car.