Sunday, July 16, 2006

Manifest this!

I love New York, I think it is a fabulous, diverse, vibrant place. It has it's problems, but mostly it is a fascinating, pulsating organism.

Summers though, can be a little harsh. It is hot, humid, and mostly smelly. So how do I best deal with them?

I love to walk down the street imagining an altogether more utopian New York. I think of a city with virtually no cars, and even those low or no emission. There are trees and flowerboxes lining the sidewalks. The streets are now walkways and bikeways. The air is fresher, cooler, cleaner. The buildings are all topped with gardens- all those green roofs helping to reduce the urban heat. A lot of the iconic New York sights sounds and smells still exist- the rumble of the subway, the smells wafting from the street food vendors, floods of tourists gawking at our city. The buildings are cleaner (no more smog to blacken their facades), the inhabitants are healthier and happier (no longer the worst air in the country). Everyone is better off, and this radical city extends into the outer boroughs so everyone benefits.

Is this an unrealistic utopian dream? Definitely utopian, but I don't really think it is unrealistic. It just takes a radical governing body to make it happen. It may be a slow process (it doesn't have to be). We can start with a few things, enact the congestion fee (a study showed that 90% of car trips in the city could be done on transit). Increase bike initiative - protected bike lanes, traffic reduction and abatement projects. Improve pedestrian access, wider sidewalks (narrower streets), pedestrian only areas (delivery trucks allowed in during specific hours, improved transit in areas). Be generous in creating a world class (beyond) transit system - clean fuel vehicles, rapid dedicated lanes. And that's just the short term work, after that start enacting more people friendly laws - require greener buildings, solar power, green roofs, pedestrian access and space, greener automotive technology on all vehicles in city. Just keep on going from there!

Yeh, I may be idealistic, and commenters may have diverse opinions, but just thinking about that world when I walk down Broadway in the insufferable heat and humidity, well, it brings a smile to my face.

For more information:
Top photo courtesy of MPMB, second courtesy of Michael L, photo of "Joey" courtesy of Irena Kittenclaw, all on Flickr.


esm said...

Oh, way to go Fort Greene Community Boards. Brooklyn Record reports that the CB voted NO on the proposed bike routes for Fort Greene. There was concern about additional congestion on the streets. Well yeh, if you all KEEP DRIVING. I don't even begin to understand this mindset. What a bunch of idiots.

kim said...

Hi --

I'm moving to Ft. Greene in a month, and am doing some advance research.

What exactly is Choice Market? You've mentioned it a couple times, but I'm not clear what it is. I assume it's some kind of food store. Where is it located, too?

esm said...

Hi Kim! And welcome (soon) to the neighborhood.

Choice is mostly I would say a Cafe. They have great coffee, LOTS of pastries and sweeties, plus sandwiches, salads, soups and things like roasted chicken, mac n cheese, etc.

Anytime I review (um, okay, talk about) a restaurant/cafe/store, I put the address at the bottom of the entry. So you will notice that at the end of the blog about Choice I put the address (Grand at Lafayette). The even cooler thing is the map at the top right of the blog. Click on that and you get a whole mess load of information about the neighborhood, including where its all located. (You can sort by categories to make it more clear).

Have a stress free move!