What’s on your mind? Comment away!
Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to receive updates.
Open Thread Wednesday 8/12/2020
Brooklyn Heights should basically be 100% OpenStreets, with streets reserved for biking, pedestrians, umbrella cafes, bookstalls, schools (and street cleaning). It would be the sweetest European village, and would help us get through the pandemic stronger than ever.
My heart is with you, but USE YOUR HEAD.
Any one-size-fits-all solution in a densely populated area – esp. one that upends a pattern going back 100 years is beyond dubious.
Many who say what you do would all but outlaw cars … and if you think that should be on the table, good luck with that.
Even now, many drivers move the barriers, and I’m not sure we want every other city employee to be in “enforcement.” It’s not entirely a liberal vs. conservative issue, but more liberals, I”m almost sure, think cars play too large a role. Now consider those who NEED cars – the elderly, disabled, etc. Most liberals would stand up for them.
Sadly, the change from horses to cars was more workable given where houses and streets are is less daunting than one which contemplates hobbling cars as you suggest.
NYC is on the ropes at this point – imagining that we can go back to a village (1850’s Brooklyn ?) life is seriously misguided.
Would miss shopping at Key Food (and every other store and restaurant nearby) if all internal combustion vehicles were banned!
The reason the disabled and elderly need cars is part of the same root problem of which car traffic in general is a symptom. There could be better motility solutions for everyone, but they are prevented from being developed by our unexamined loyalty to the car owning, car parking, internal combusting, driver-controlled transportational paradigm. Probably has a lot to do with the American “individualist” thing which pervades even our densest urban areas.
And I submit this as a car owner who recognizes my own discrepancy between thought and deed.
You’re right that change would be difficult to bring about; that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be advocated for.
When “difficult” shades into IMPOSSIBLE, there is a downside to “advocating.”
Trumpism should make everyone aware that “weak links” are going to be attacked relentlessly until the chain breaks.
By which I mean positions like the OP’s (and yours ?) are why we get a Rudy as Mayor every now and then. Beware what you wish for – because if it’s wacko, the reaction makes a bad situation (or a flawed one) a WHOLE LOT worse.
Few Heights children wish for a pony. Somehow, some adults in BH seem (too often) not quite as cognizant of “reality.”
People move the barriers because they know/see there will be zero consequences from the city. The city has let most of the barriers fall broken to the wayside anyway. All we need to do is use the same parking enforcement folks to do periodic checks of the barriers and traffic on the Open Streets. Perfect? No. Much better than status quo? Yes.
However, our no-imagination, no-effort mayor can’t get his head around this. We don’t need the utopian vision of the OP’s message, we just need a decent realistic plan and solid execution.
I don’t see it as quite so either/or. In European cities that I’ve visited, cars are banned from large parts of the historic centers, but with some exceptions – such as for handicapped pick-up or emergency vehicle access. Deliveries are done mostly overnight and parking spaces are converted to areas for garbage storage containers (no stepping around loose, leaky piles of trash three times a week).
I agree with Cranberry Beret that such innovation probably won’t come under the current mayor – he’s shown almost zero interest in city infrastructure or urban planning matters. But perhaps the next occupant of City Hall can take a more visionary approach.
I come back to … we can’t and probably shouldn’t have hundreds of thousands of people playing “gotcha.” This is whackamole and make no mistake. If you need to make a delivery, you’ll move the barrier and not move it back. The folks with those ticket books do NOT want to risk their lives by saying, “Sorry, bud.” I agree with you about the Mayor, but only someone like Rudy (too high a price to pay) would agree with you that “rules are rules.”
And who would be happy when stores, rstaurants and supermarkets ran out of things to sell when trucks couldn’t deliver?
Photo of Borough Hall in 1910, apparently before the cupola was added. All other buildings in foreground plus elevated train tracks, including those with domes, subsequently demolished for redevelopment over the following century: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9eec3c841ca8439a34677151e4dd1f2c44bbba5f42689d8806112505f93899fe.jpg
Are those people in your photo lined up to shop at the Greenmarket, Claude? I admit I have not shopped there since the current situation started.
Anyone know if the parking garages in BK Heights provide monthly parking for bicycles? Wife and I are moving to an apartment that doesn’t have the basement or space to store it, no suitable common spaces. I am considering just locking it outside with a heavy duty Kryptonite lock (apartment is on Willow St.).
Who said we need “hundreds of thousands” of enforcers? That’s just hyperbole, along the lines of the mayor who says “It’s hard, so let’s not do anything.”
See Jorale-man’s comment above — plenty of cities do this and it works. New Yorkers aren’t so special or different.
Emergency, public transit, and delivery vehicles should be allowed. Through-traffic and street parking shouldn’t be.
If you lock it outside make sure you lock it up properly. There is an art to it so you don’t come out and find a bike with no front wheel or worse yet a front wheel locked to a pole but no bike. Google for suggestions on how to best lock your bike.
You’re likely fine parking on the street. I’ve seen the same (expensive, European) bikes locked up on my street for multiple years.
Just use a massive chain and lock it up right.
That domed building and the one to its right are spectacular. What a loss. Do you know more about them?
Somebody used a hitch and chain to pull our fence out of the ground to get at a bike. If you put something worth $1,000 out on the street somebody is going to steal it no matter what kind of chain you use.
The availability of bike parking should be posted on the sign just inside the entrance that lists the rates.
The domed building was the Kings County Courthouse, 1896-1903. The Second Empire building to its right is the original Municipal Building, 1878-1923.
…and bike thefts are up during this time when subway ridership is down.
This topic came up when we were in the thick of discussing the BQE rehab. I think the reality is that one way or the other, the way human beings move around, and transport things, in and between their communities, is going to change.
At this point it’s a question of what direction we want that change to go, and start anticipating and “paving the way” (no pun intended) for it to happen.
Are there any pictures of the interiors of the old Kings County Courthouse or the Hall of Records?
This weekend had especially long lines—all the way back to Mr. Beecher at times.
Good to see the social distancing in effect. Not everyone in our ‘hood has been behaving so carefully of late.
St. Ann’s wants to use local parks and streets for classes.
In Brooklyn Heights, the Saint Ann’s School eyed using local parks and streets for its kids.A parent at Saint Ann’s said the lack of information is “shocking.”“Maybe this doesn’t work, maybe it can’t work. But for God’s sake, if we can figure out a way to let people drink outside, you should at least be contemplating a way for people to get educated outside,” he said.
In Brooklyn Heights, the Saint Ann’s School eyed using local parks and streets for its kids.
A parent at Saint Ann’s said the lack of information is “shocking.”
“Maybe this doesn’t work, maybe it can’t work. But for God’s sake, if we can figure out a way to let people drink outside, you should at least be contemplating a way for people to get educated outside,” he said.
The NYC Dept of Ed should receive a portion each child’s $51,650 tuition if St. Ann’s wants to use public spaces for private education.
Brooklyn Heights cooling center offers relief from heat, with safety guidelines in place
Lifestyles of the Rich and Reckless: Posh Pandemic Parties
Several days ago, a small group of parents at Packer Collegiate, a private school in Brooklyn Heights, drafted a letter to administrators expressing outrage that the school year would begin remotely. They came from the worlds of finance, law, design, dentistry — which is to say that they did not make up a team of renowned epidemiologists. And yet they wrote with the apparent conviction that their own knowledge was beyond dispute, helpfully footnoting their missive with links to articles in The Atlantic and other publications, as if the educators enacting the plan had somehow failed to pay attention to the virus coverage.Implicit in these entitled outbursts is the fear that, somehow, children of nearly unfathomable advantage will fall behind. But behind whom? And how many of these parents, you have to wonder, quietly spent the summer sequestered at home?
Several days ago, a small group of parents at Packer Collegiate, a private school in Brooklyn Heights, drafted a letter to administrators expressing outrage that the school year would begin remotely. They came from the worlds of finance, law, design, dentistry — which is to say that they did not make up a team of renowned epidemiologists. And yet they wrote with the apparent conviction that their own knowledge was beyond dispute, helpfully footnoting their missive with links to articles in The Atlantic and other publications, as if the educators enacting the plan had somehow failed to pay attention to the virus coverage.
Implicit in these entitled outbursts is the fear that, somehow, children of nearly unfathomable advantage will fall behind. But behind whom? And how many of these parents, you have to wonder, quietly spent the summer sequestered at home?
The long lines are really only for two stands. Philips Farm and the guy from South Jersey. Everyone else the lines is rarely more than 3 or 4 people long.