RNC Miscellany

Will the city reap any economic benefits from having the convention? Can the gains offset the cost of additional security measures and the impact of so many New Yorkers leaving town?
Sirotablog: GOP to NY: Drop Dead: ” House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s recent attack on New York City highlights a pattern of Republicans slamming the Big Apple.”
NY1: Rooftop, Window Banners (Un)Welcome Republicans

Some residents are placing giant anti-George Bush and pro-John Kerry banners on top of rooftops near the city

Posted in NYC.

Republican Convention Strategery

The Republicans are coming! The Republicans are coming!
NYC is trying to figure out how to deal with the influx of Republicans, increased security and disrupted traffic and transit. Three main strategies seem to emerge:

  1. Get out of town
  2. Protest
  3. Simply avoid midtown

After considering volunteering for the convention (and trying to understand the mind of the hardcore Republicans), getting involved in the protests, or taking a vacation somewhere else, I realized that the most efficient option is to stick around the cityand go to classes. Of course, during that week, like many, I will be avoiding midtown, if not Manhattan entirely.
Suprisingly, I was not invited to blog this convention.
John Perry Barlow suggests Dancing in the Streets

I want to organize a cadre of 20 to 50 of us. I want to dress us in suits and other plain pedestrian attire and salt us among the sidewalk multitudes in Republican-rich zones. At a predetermined moment, one of us will produce a boom-box and crank it up with something danceable. Suddenly, about a third of the people on the sidewalk, miscellaneously distributed in the general throng, will start dancing like crazy and continue to do so for for about a minute. Then we will stop, melt back into the pedestrian flow, and go to another location to erupt there.

The NY Times reports on plans to flee: As Convention Week Nears, Many Plot Escapes

It is too early to tell, of course, how many New Yorkers will actually flee. A Quinnipiac University poll released on July 20 gave one indication, finding that 12 percent of New York City registered voters who were questioned said they would be leaving town because of the convention.

Newsday has complete convention coverage

Posted in NYC.

Taxi Confidential

Taking a taxi for the first time since the fare hike last month, I was shocked at the cost. Both rides I took this weekend– one between Brooklyn and Manhattan and the other between Williamsburg and Brooklyn Heights– cost nearly 50% more than prior to the fare increase.
Gothamist covered the fare hike when it happened: Taxi Fares Go Up Today and The Taxi Fare Increase After 10 Days. Gotham Gazette analyzed the Taxi Fare Hike. New Yorkish looks into the future, all the way to: New York in 20 years
Taxi Blog gives a driver’s perspective on the new fares: “Overall, drivers will end up consistently making more. By October. I fully expect this summer to be a disaster, business-wise.”
If taxi rides weren’t a luxury before, they certainly are now and make the $70 Metrocard seem like a great deal.
Of course, the subway is becoming more interesting every day (if interesting means dangerous.)

Posted in NYC.

First Skate

This afternoon, I broke out the skates for the first time this year. (In contrast, last year’s first skate happened during a warm spell in February.)
Last night, in conversation, I mentioned how little I know of the geography of Brooklyn north of the Manhattan Bridge. Perhaps because of inspiration from photos taken on the Satan’s Laundromat walking tour of Vinegar Hill, I decided to skate along the Brooklyn Navy Yard up towards the Williamsburg Bridge, then over the Williamsburg Bridge, and back to Brooklyn over the Mahnattan Bridge. The route is similar to Jake’s Around the Navy Yard. This was a nice easy warm-up for an early spring day, albeit over streets that have not fully recovered from winter’s potholes.
Skating this route provided me with a nice reminder of the diversity among the population of Brooklyn.

Posted in NYC.

Cell phone problem survey has problems

Today, the City of New York released its Mobile Phone Deadspot Survey, based on the results of a self-selected sample of New Yorkers (including me) who complained about their mobile service on the NYC.gov website or to 311. The most problems were reported in midtown. 2003_11_deadcellzone.jpg
Unfortunately, these results are useless. The survey makes no distinction between the quality of service in each area and the nature or severity of the problems in each location. A more useful survey would not be that difficult to conduct: a couple of testers with one phone per carrier could walk each block and note the available signal strength for each service. Every so often, the testers would also check whether an outgoing call could be successfully completed. Of course, only Manhattan alone would be relatively quick to complete. Surveying the entire five boroughs would be a very long project, even by car.
(via Gothamist)

Posted in NYC.

$2 a ride

The Appellate Division issued its ruling in the Straphangers v. MTA lawsuit. The ruling upholds the fare increase, reverses the rulings from the Supreme Court and dismisses the petition.
In a unanimous decision, a five-judge panel ruled that the MTA fulfilled its statutory duty to notify the public about its financial situation before implementing a fare hike. Although the projected deficit figures were vaguer and more misleading than the public would prefer, the court finds that the MTA’s disclosure met the statutory requirements (NY PAL

Posted in NYC.

Philharmonic and Class Warfare

On Thursday, I headed up to the Great Lawn in Central Park for the NY Philharmonic in the Park concert.

A fireworks display followed the concert program. It is generally very difficult to photograph fireworks well with a handheld camera. After some wine, it is very difficult to photograph fireworks.

At the time, I didn’t realize that I was engaging in class warfare by not getting arrested for drinking wine in the park.

Posted in NYC.


While it’s possible to get a decent slice of pizza just about anywhere in NYC, a few places stand out above the rest. I went to John’s on Bleecker St. tonight and had some great pizza. From my experience, John’s (Bleecker St.), Patsy’s (East Harlem) and Grimaldi’s (Brooklyn Heights/DUMBO) stand out as three of the better pizza places in the city.
Even though John’s and Patsy’s have franchised around the city, the original locations are far superior to the new, more upscale copies. The pizza at the clone locations are not as crisp as at the original locations. Perhaps an inverse relationship exists between pizza quality and dining room classiness.
I’d link to Steven Shaw’s review of the classic NY pizza places here, but his site, the fat guy is “being redesigned” and the archives have vanished. (The Internet Archive has a copy.) Shaw is associated with eGullet, a food site with a blog and discussion board. eGullet’s message board is much better than Chowhound, since eGullet uses modern forum software, while Chowhound’s forums are very slow to load and relatively annoying to use.

Posted in NYC.