The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for November 1st, 2016

wholly beneath

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Detestation of the water lizard, in today’s post.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“There’s so many of us” is a choral from a song by the LA Punk band Fear, specifically their “Lets Have a War” anthem.

One is reminded of this ditty continually, and as I often find myself chiding narrowly focused members of the municipal governing class during meetings concerning the Newtown Creek situation – and effect upon the waterway of ongoing population loading of North Brooklyn and Western Queens – you have to think holistically about the “system.” The old adage about a Butterfly fluttering its wings in Borneo triggering a series of random atmospheric reactions which eventually result in an Atlantic hurricane often seems to apply. What’s one more truck? C’mon, it’s one truck…

What apocalyptic effect is just one more apartment house going up in Hunters Point, or Flushing for that matter, going to have? Who cares? That’s Corona, don’t you live in Astoria? Worry about yourself. Mind your own business.

That’s what people say, and I respond “think holistically.” That truck has to cross a bridge and drive down local streets, then it has to reverse out. Every truck trip is two truck trips, and it doesn’t just go through Greenpoint – but Bushwick and or Maspeth too. Maybe even Astoria, if it’s headed for the bridge.

The political districts of Western Queens and North Brooklyn serve to carve up the real estate development scenario and make things seem like the rising residential towers are individual examples of a series of an isolated and unconnected series of projects – not some vast littoral construction site that stretches out for a few miles – along the east river and between the Queensboro and Williamsburg bridges. It’s exciting to see the future taking shape, I guess, in the same way that a kitchen fire is exciting.

There is meant to be no cumulative relationship whatsoever between the Greenpoint Landing and Hunters Point South developments, which are separated by the Newtown Creek and connected via the G line subway. The 7 line crowding in Queens is (politically speaking) a Jimmy Van Bramer issue, the impending L line shutdown in Brooklyn a Steve Levin problem. When the L shuts down, MTA will be adding an additional car to the G and they plan on directing the L passengers to Court Square – where they’ll transfer to the 7.

Then they’re both going to have the same problem, the first of many such issues which the interconnected mega development of the east river coastline of Long Island is going to present.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The reason I haunt the transit corridors is precisely because that’s where you can discern the size and scope of the enormous build out that’s occurring across the boroughs and Queens in particular.

If you ride the 7, you are well aware that the entire transit corridor is booming with new construction, from its eastern terminus in Flushing right through Roosevelt, Corona, Jackson Heights, Woodside, Sunnsyide, and LIC, to its western terminus in Manhattan at the “Hudson Yards” megaproject. The so called “international express” is packed to the gills with commuters the whole way, even late at night. The City’s answer to mass transit congestion has been the creation of bike lanes. Bike lanes aren’t a bad idea by any means, but they don’t address the issues of how people will “get there from here,” and they leave an awful lot of older and disabled people behind.

You have to think holistically about the route of the 7, and the municipal needs of the people who are intended to inhabit all of these newly minted “deluxe apartments in the sky.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Holistic, as in totality, informs and instructs. Despite the tens of thousands of new neighbors – and to my knowledge – there are no new fire houses, hospitals, or police stations being planned or built along the corridor and route of the 7. We’re getting every last dollar out of the Bowery Bay sewer plant in Astoria, going strong since 1939, but there isn’t a new one in the works to handle the tens of thousands of new toilets being installed in Queens. Neither the Cops, nor DSNY, seem to be staffing up either.

In many ways, we could really benefit from the advice and talents of the late Robert Moses at this stage of the game. Moses thought holistically, and no matter what he built – there was a park attached to it. Did you know that the difference between expressways and parkways is that the latter has wooded shoulders that count as “parks”? That’s one of Moses’s, who was some kind of evil genius. If Superman was real and lived in NYC instead of Metropolis, Moses would have likely been his Lex Luthor.

Or we can extend the bike lanes into the subway stations, as “There’s so many of us.”

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Written by Mitch Waxman

November 1, 2016 at 11:00 am

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