Open Thread Wednesday

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  • Nomcebo Manzini

    Anybody else have a bad feeling about the interview the head of the “expert panel” on the BQE future gave the Eagle??

    2 excerpts:

    Scissura [panel boss] made it clear that the job of the BQE panel is not to specifically evaluate the numerous alternate proposals submitted by community organizations, officials and design firms, but to look at the realities of the BQE and decide what “can actually be built there…. We were brought together to look at facts, to understand the roadway and come up with ideas of what realistically can happen in this roadway.”


    “Some of the alternate plans would require MTA fan plants to be moved, and given the capital plans and needs of the MTA, it is in my mind doubtful that they want to spend a hundred, two hundred million dollars when they have other needs that they have to address.”

    People with long memories and who’ve dug a little into the little the City has made public know that 5 years back, the possibility a tunnel approach was scotched in good measure because unnamed engineers “had concerns” that going near the foundations of the Brooklyn Bridge with said tunnel would be precarious.

    Of course, at one level, they were doing their job properly, but if there’s one thing almost everybody agrees on re the BQE-related work ahead, THERE ARE NO EASY ANSWERS. His “$100 or $200 million to move the fan plants” is (a) a wild assed guess if ever there was one; and (b) of the $10B we KNOW will be ballpark for the job when all is said and done, $100 million is … wait for it … 1% of the tab!

    On the one hand, Mr. Scissura wants (all involved are giving this only a portion of their time and have a close-in deadline to deliver their report) to narrow their “mission,” but then he opines what the MTA will or won’t go for … and also points out (reasonably) that one cannot presume that the Feds would accept 4 lanes instead of 6.

    IN SHORT, did we just get a sneak preview of the final recommendation? – to go with one of the DOT plans, presumably with a tweak or 2 meant to convey, “We heard your pain and we did something about it.” … And will the leaderless BHA then have “space” to push back effectively? Or do they repeat their (likely futile) fight-it-in-court tactic, a big loser in 2 recent battles with BBP?

  • CassieVonMontague

    Riverside Tenant Association has set up a GoFundMe to appeal the permits to build a 90-car underground commercial garage behind their building.

    This is a worthy cause because Joralemon doesn’t need anymore traffic, and the garden should be protected as part of AT White’s vision for working-class housing.

  • CassieVonMontague
  • Local_Montague_Man

    Yes, I hear what you are saying. This is not great. The BHA & A Better Way have been saying to not let up the pressure, but where is the pressure point? Politicians seem satisfied (original disaster diverted, “I made a difference” type attitude).

    What is the best way to get this in the NYC spotlight again to let the appointed panel know the DOT options are not acceptable?

    How do we make this enough of an issue for the Mayor that he comes to an acceptable option? Would a story about how he is unable to coordinate an intrastate infrastructure project put pressure on him to make this work? Would that backfire? Wouldn’t it be a massive positive for a presidential candidate (however delusional) to say he is for updating the country’s infrastructure, and has started at home with a massive project that not only provides the necessary utility, but beautifies the area?

    Is it even a BDB issue? Who are they lobbying forces involved? What special interests have a hand in this?

    More questions than answers here. Such a big project, so many interests involved. Can anyone boil it down for me?

  • gc

    Totally agree. Mr. Scissura seems to be trying to set up some sort of false cover for a decision that will leave us with the so called “innovative approach” stuck down our throats. Why in the world are we even talking about the MTA absorbing costs for a DOT project. Any costs for moving MTA facilities should be built into the DOT project budget.

  • Nomcebo Manzini

    Heaven knows, I don’t have answers for most of those fine questions…. And I know that in theory, one should think, “What can *I* do,” but I really think the only things that would move the needle are NOT individual actions.

    You ask if it’s a BdB (Mayor D., since I had to look that up) issue. Well, of course it IS (or should be), except does he care any more about the job he was elected to do and paid to do? REALLY?

    Fortunately, several electeds who DO have their eye on HIS job in a couple of years have said some of the “right things.” Could they do more? I guess I’m like you – lotta “wondering” at this point.

    Clearly, the BHA has SOME resources and some credibility – if that panel really even tries for “community input” to tick that box, they will likely connect with the BHA. I wish I had more of a sense that that organization has its head screwed on. Especially, with Peter Bray’s departure, it may truly be a collection of empty suits, however well-tailored.

    Ms. Simon and Mr. Kavanagh and Mr. Levin surely know how the game is played, but it’s just not clear where they stand and how much political capital they’re willing to invest.

    Someone commented here a while back that a couple of the “green” plans have a VERY BIG real estate component. It would be great, of course, if B.I.G. (the author of one of those proposals) were willing to thump the drum and try to line up support. (Of course, many would gag on a more green/but more building deal.)

    I don’t think this even got discussed in Albany during the session just ended, even though there are all kinds of STATE interests involved.

    Sure, the meeting at the Church was impressive by B.H. standards, but the powers that be probably blinked it away.

  • Cranberry Beret

    Agree. BdB panicked a bit when he heard Corey Johnson was about to get a big platform to skewer him at the BQE town hall, so he cobbled together a panel for PR reasons. But he made sure to get it headed by someone in line with DOT’s thinking. Scissura has tipped his hand that he sees his job to validate the traffic and bridge engineers’ way of thinking about what’s desirable, not any other consideration.

    The real levers of power are the state and city council. The state punted the project years ago to the city in order to avoid the hassle but ultimately the state is the conduit for the financing, so they have control. Cuomo couldn’t care less, UNTIL he sees an opportunity to get some glory for himself or to tweak BdB. The newly empowered legislature could push through a really progressive plan but that won’t happen because our local legislators are too middle of the road to influence the leadership and the locals won’t move unless they feel heat to fall in line if Johnson bypasses them and works a deal directly with the leadership.

  • Montaguy

    Yes, a really worthy cause, we rather have 90 cars driving around and spewing exhaust gases for hours looking for a parking space……

  • Arch Stanton

    Curious as to why you think Joralemon is entitled to less traffic than any other street?
    Also, everyone who is in favor of the BIG/BQP plan; please realize, it would put the 6 lane highway only a few feet away from the back of the Riverside apartments, at ground level… but I guess those ” working-class” renters don’t count as much as the Columbia Heights set…

  • Jorale-man

    Any new parking garages ought to come with a stipulation that the majority of spaces be set aside for electric vehicle charging stations. Otherwise, the last thing that’s needed in the city is more incentives for driving (and parking).

  • Montaguy

    I like the idea. We need to build the EV infrastructure.

  • Celeste B.

    Is that 60 Pineapple Street in the heading photograph?

  • Bornhere

    It’s either the Berkeley or Grosvenor on Montague Street.

  • CassieVonMontague

    A percentage of those 90 cars drove here because they knew there would be parking. Parking increases exhaust.

  • CassieVonMontague

    Because I just bought a $6,5 million townhouse on Joralemon and I discovered an Underground Railroad in the cellar.

  • Andrew Porter

    Can you use it to commute to Manhattan?

  • Andrew Porter

    I wish. No, it’s another great shot by Claude.

    Here’s 60 Pineapple in the snow in a montage from when I still had a film camera (click to enlarge):
    Photo © Andrew Porter

  • Andrew Porter

    Another Wednesday, another ancient BH photo courtesy the Municipal Archives. It’s PS 1 on Middagh Street in 1908, now apartments. The fence hides the playground, now a parking lot:

  • monteguy

    She does need it, she is using her private helicopter for that.

  • Montaguy

    Talking about the process of looking for a space to park a car in BH. I assume you don’t own a car, right?

  • CassieVonMontague

    It’s a 2006 Mazda CX-5. Sorry I’m not selling if you’re interested. I just had to replace the coolant water pump hose, though. Does my owning a car prove/disprove that parking increases exhaust? Luckily my 6.5 million townhouse has an empty lot next door where I park.

  • Arch Stanton

    Lionel or American Flyer?

  • Proto Plano

    Carlo Scissura is a NYC construction insider. His interest lies only in promoting big construction projects for his members and cronies in NYC. Projects that would not exist without having a harmonious relationship with state and city government. He was never the right person to chair this panel, a panel that requires vision and potentially the boldness to challenge the DOT’s planning and engineering “vision” of the BQE plan.

    I do not expect a positive feeling after tonight’s event at St. Francis.

  • Montaguy

    “Does my owning a car prove/disprove that parking increases exhaust?” All it proves is that you need (and in fact have) a parking lot. So according to your theory your parking your Mazda on the lot increases exhaust, and therefore are an air polluter!

  • Montaguy

    That Underground Railroad in your cellar, does it, by any chance, go all the way to Mexico ?

  • CassieVonMontague

    Yes I’m Latinx and German. Is that why I am not allowed to want less traffic?

  • CassieVonMontague

    Ok I lied I don’t have a car. Does that make me pure of heart and the evidence about the natural demand of parking true again?

  • gc

    Has anybody eaten at Dariush, the Persian restaurant on Montague St (same location where Taperia was)?
    How did you like it?

  • Arch Stanton

    The food was pretty good but the service was somewhat Strange. Kind of like when dining abroad, the staff may speak English but it all just feels different. For one thing, I ordered a classic gin martini, the waitron returned a few minutes later and said the bartender only knew how to make the drinks on the menu… Fortunately there was a reasonable facsimile available. Overall it felt like the management was lacking experience but were friendly and trying hard to make a go of it. I hope they succeed but have some doubts, Montague is a tough market.

  • gc

    Thanks Arch.