Tyrone has been harassing me at Union Square, I'm a street performance artist, I do clowning and make people laugh. He has already threatened to beat me up and kill me three times. I want something to be done about it...I have footage of him kicking my props during a show, when I have a crowd. Please help me get rid of this guy from the park, he's not good for anybody. He's a bully and he's not a nice man.
Friday, August 31, 2012
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Updated, 5:01 p.m. | New York City needs cleaner, cheaper energy. That’s the only thing everyone following a proposed natural gas pipeline in the Rockaways agrees upon. But the project — running pipeline from the Atlantic Ocean under the Rockaways and Jamaica Bay into southeast Brooklyn — has drawn concern and outright opposition since it became public earlier this year, according to the New York Times.
Natural gas saves customers money, eases dependence on foreign oil and is cleaner than other fossil fuels (though extracting it by hydraulic fracturing raises other issues). But in light of recent pipeline leaks and explosions, environmental advocates and Brooklynites worry that the pipeline could damage fragile ecosystems, create safety hazards and compromise Brooklyn’s biggest piece of national parkland, Floyd Bennett Field. And the planning process itself has drawn criticism from community groups who say it has not been open enough to public review.
National Grid, the utility that delivers gas to Brooklyn, says that as the need for natural gas grows, the system must be expanded. “Brooklyn hasn’t seen a new delivery point in 50 years,” said John Stavarakas, National Grid’s director of long-term planning and project development. “We are at capacity.”
Until environmental impact studies are done, though — especially on the ocean, where the pipeline calls for more invasive digging than on the bay side — many environmentalists are withholding support.
“If we don’t reduce greenhouse gases, then the Jamaica Bay marshes will end up under water anyway,” said Glenn Phillips, executive director of New York City Audubon. “But the temporary disturbances could be very damaging to this place, which is critically important for birds, horseshoe crabs and fish.”
The $265 million pipeline project, which would take about a year to complete, consists of three pieces:
- a three-mile connector, built by the Williams Companies, from its existing Transco pipeline in the Atlantic Ocean to the Rockaways;
- a one-and-a-half-mile line from the Rockaways under Jamaica Bay and Gateway National Recreation Area land to Floyd Bennett Field, the decommissioned airport that is part of Gateway;
- and a metering station built in an unused hangar at Floyd Bennett Field.
Supporters say that the construction would generate 300 jobs and that the finished station would bring the city $8 million annually in property taxes.
The plan was endorsed by the Bloomberg administration, which calls forexpanding the use of natural gas in its PlaNYC 2030 initiative. The city encouraged Representatives Gregory W. Meeks of Queens and Michael Grimm of Staten Island to co-sponsor the federal bill, passed in February, that authorizes the use of national parkland for the project.
The Regional Plan Association, a nonprofit group that studies and comments on local development issues, supports the pipeline. “The city needs natural gas to replace oil for heating, an important environmental goal,” said Robert Pirani, the association’s vice president for environmental programs.
But the Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline and other critics point toWilliams’s safety record and worry about an explosion in a national park or in a densely packed neighborhood. Since 2008, the company’s pipelines have had accidents — including leaks, ruptures and explosions – in at least seven states. The company and its subsidiaries have faced “corrective action orders” from the government in two cases, including a pipeline explosion in Alabama last year, and fines in two others. A company spokesman said that all the issues raised in the incidents have been addressed.
Brian O’Higgins, director of engineering for Williams, said much of the pipeline would be laid using a relatively noninvasive method involving a horizontal directional drill, which drills a small hole, bores underground, then gradually widens the hole. This would avoid digging up Rockaway beaches or Jamaica Bay. But 2.23 miles of pipeline in the ocean will be laid by traditional methods, requiring extensive digging, the company said. A Williams spokesman, Chris Stockton, said the planned route avoided “sensitive habitat.”
Two environmental advocates — Don Riepe, the American Littoral Society’s Jamaica Bay Guardian, and Dan Mundy Jr., co-founder of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers – said they were concerned about the ocean connector.
“It’s digging a huge hole in an extremely critical area,” Mr. Mundy said. “There’s a lot of life out there — fluke, flounder, lobster.”
Community Boards 14 in Queens and 18 in Brooklyn have also raised objections to the project. For the Brooklyn board, the deal-breaker was the proposal to build the meter and regulator station at Floyd Bennett Field.
At a meeting on Aug. 15 organized by the Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline, several speakers said that turning public park land over to private industry set a worrisome precedent.
The planning process itself has been a sticking point, too. In February, after Congress authorized the National Park Service to pursue the project, outrage and conspiracy theories ricocheted around local blogs, listservs and newspapers.
Mr. Stockton of Williams said that using national parkland required Congressional and presidential backing simply to start the process.
“This is an early, early, early step,” Mr. O’Higgins added, with many steps still required, including environmental impact studies, and approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Activists and environmentalists complained that the plan seemed a fait accompli and that the park service had been secretive, never mentioning the proposal during public meetings discussing Floyd Bennett Field’s future. The revelation that Mr. Grimm received a total of $3,000 from National Grid and Williams for his re-election campaign after co-sponsoring the bill also fed the controversy. Mr. Grimm said there was no quid pro quo.
If the project goes forward, another fight looms, over money; everyone involved seemingly has a different idea about how much revenue may be generated and where it would go. Local advocates say that if they have to live with the pipeline, the money should go to Jamaica Bay, not disappear into the National Park Service’s general budget.
“This should at least provide some good money to the park,” Mr. Riepe said, adding that money was badly needed for marsh restoration. “That’s the lifeblood of Jamaica Bay.”
In the 11 months since the plans for a Low Line under Delancey Street on the Lower East Side were first made public, the project has garnered a ton of press and overwhelming support from the community and city politicians, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Now, the project also has an additional $150,000 to its name, according to the Real Deal.
The group behind Delancey Underground said yesterday it was successful in raising $75,000 in 75 days and triggered a matching donation from an unidentified donor, Bowery Boogie reported. Part of the funding will be used to build a model of the park in the vacant Essex Street Market building south of Delancey Street, which should be open to the public by the one-year anniversary of the project’s launch last September.
The project calls for green space on two acres of Metropolitan Transportation Authority owned-space underneath Delancey Street that served as a trolley terminal 60 years ago. Bowery Boogie noted Delancey Underground is one of two major construction projects in the area, as the Seward Park redevelopment plan was just approved. [Bowery Boogie] – Adam Fusfeld
Monday, August 27, 2012
Friday, August 24, 2012
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Today it’s difficult to remember that initial feeling. The High Line has become a tourist-clogged catwalk and a catalyst for some of the most rapid gentrification in the city’s history.
My skepticism took root during my first visit. The designers had scrubbed the graffiti and tamed the wildflowers. Guards admonished me when my foot moved too close to a weed. Was this a park or a museum? I felt like I was in the home of a neatnik with expensive tastes, afraid I would soil the furnishings.
But the park was a hit. Fashion models strutted up and down. Shoppers from the meatpacking district boutiques commandeered the limited number of benches, surrounded by a phalanx of luxury clothing bags. I felt underdressed.
That rarefied state didn’t last, though. As the High Line’s hype grew, the tourists came clamoring. Originally meant for running freight trains, the High Line now runs people, except where those people jam together like spawning salmon crammed in a bottleneck. The park is narrow, and there are few escape routes. I’ve gotten close to a panic attack, stuck in a pool of stagnant tourists at the park’s most congested points.
Not yet four years old, the High Line has already become another stop on the must-see list for out-of-towners, another chapter in the story of New York City’s transformation into Disney World. According to the park’s Web site, 3.7 million people visited the High Line in 2011, only half of them New Yorkers. It’s this overcrowding — not just of the High Line, but of the streets around it — that’s beginning to turn the tide of sentiment.
Recently, an anonymous local set off a small media storm by posting fliers around the park that read: “Attention High Line tourists. West Chelsea is not Times Square. It is not a tourist attraction.” A local newspaper talked to a 24-year-old who reported that young people who once met for dates at the park now say, “How about doing something that doesn’t involve the High Line?”
But the problem isn’t just the crowds. It’s that the park, which will eventually snake through more than 20 blocks, is destroying neighborhoods as it grows.
And it’s doing so by design. While the park began as a grass-roots endeavor — albeit a well-heeled one — it quickly became a tool for the Bloomberg administration’s creation of a new, upscale, corporatized stretch along the West Side. As socialites and celebrities championed the designer park during its early planning stages, whipping community support into a heady froth, the city rezoned West Chelsea for luxury development in 2005.
The neighborhood has since been completely remade. Old buildings fell and mountain ranges of glassy towers with names like High Line 519 and HL23 started to swell — along with prices.
The New York City Economic Development Corporation published a study last year stating that before the High Line was redeveloped, “surrounding residential properties were valued 8 percent below the overall median for Manhattan.” Between 2003 and 2011, property values near the park increased 103 percent.
This is good news for the elite economy but not for many who have lived and worked in the area for decades. It’s easy to forget that until very recently, even with the proliferation of art galleries near the West Side Highway, West Chelsea was a mix of working-class residents and light-industrial businesses.
But the High Line is washing all that away. D&R Auto Parts saw its profits fall by more than 35 percent. Once-thriving restaurants like La Lunchonette and Hector’s diner, a local anchor since 1949, have lost their customer base.
Hardest hit have been the multigenerational businesses of “gasoline alley.” Mostly auto-related establishments that don’t fit into Michael R. Bloomberg’s luxury city vision, several vanished in mere months, like species in a meteoric mass extinction. Bear Auto Shop was out after decades; the Olympia parking garage, after 35 years, closed when its rent reportedly quintupled.
Brownfeld Auto, on West 29th Street near 10th Avenue, lost its lease after nearly a century. Today it’s another hole in the ground. Its third-generation owner, Alan Brownfeld, blamed the High Line for taking away the thriving business he’d inherited from his grandfather. “It’s for the city’s glamorous people,” he said.
Mr. Brownfeld is right, for now. But just as the High Line’s early, trendy denizens gave way to touristic hordes, Chelsea’s haute couture moment may be fleeting. As big a brand as Stella McCartney is, she can’t compete with global chains like Sephora, which are muscling into the area’s commercial space.
Within a few years, the ecosystem disrupted by the High Line will find a new equilibrium. The aquarium-like high rises will be for the elite, along with a few exclusive locales like the Standard Hotel. But the new locals will rarely be found at street level, where chain stores and tourist-friendly restaurants will cater to the crowds of passers-by and passers-through. Gone entirely will be regular New Yorkers, the people who used to call the neighborhood home. But then the High Line was never really about them.
Jeremiah Moss is the pen name of the author of the blog Vanishing New York.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
(Photo via EDLP)
Prohíben usar parque de Flushing en Queens durante US Open
El Diario NY La Prensa - August 17, 2012 - POR: CAROLINA LEDEZMA/EDLP