insights, observations and tips about the West Village
Bike City (aka Citi Bike) Meets with Protests
Posted April 30. 2013In case you’ve been unconscious or living on Mars, you will have noticed long rows of ugly gray posts going up all over the neighborhood, perhaps even on your block. They’ve popped up everywhere over the past weeks, and there are more to come.
If you believe in eco-friendly causes, you should be happy, because Mayor Bloomberg believes that bike riding instead of driving will save the environment.
But if you’re like many others, you find these bike stations ugly and in some cases dangerous. According to DNAinfo.com, there was even a lawsuit by the co-op owners at 99 Bank Street against the city and the Department of Transportation stating “that such placement will severely endanger the health and safety of the residents of 99 Bank Street.” According to STREETSBLOG.org, the suit, which has already been rejected in court, states that “the station violates a rule against the placement of ‘street furniture,’ and blocks the building entrance” and that “the bike-share station will impede fire truck access, cause tourists to ride on the sidewalks, and lead to cyclists congregating under the building awning when it rains.” Looking at the length of these stations and their omnipresence, we can’t help but agree.
The residents of 99 Bank Street are not alone. Complaints are rampant throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan, and there have been protests as well as vandalizing at these stations. It seems, however, that the program is a fait accompli. As the old saying goes. “You can’t fight City Hall”.
West Village Word hopes to report back after the system is up and running, so stay tuned…
Update, June 19: The program seems to be popular and successful so far, but is experiencing a few glitches as not all of the bike posts are working perfectly.
Repairs and Lights for Hudson River Park Will Happen Soon
Hudson River Park will soon be open at night after damage from Hurricane Sandy knocked out the lights in late October. The plan is to have all the lights on by mid-May, and many are already chomping at the bit for those evening strolls as the weather warms up.
Dog owners who use the Leroy Street run have been asking for Klieg lights to be installed until the repairs are made, as their canine companions need the exercise and play time that the dog run offers, but will just have to make do for another few weeks.
According to DNAinfo.com, the repairs will cost $20 million, twice what was originally projected, and will include repairing damaged walkways and more. FEMA is expected to cover most of the cost.
Tribute to Boston
A Red Sox banner hangs in front of the 6th Precinct to honor and remember the city of Boston and those who were victimized by the Marathon bombings.
Goodbye to More Local Businesses
Food Emporium on Sixth Avenue is just the latest in local business closings. It follows the closing of another large-space retail outlet, Barnes & Noble, on the avenue a few months ago.
A predominance of “For Rent” signs on storefronts throughout the neighborhood is, unfortunately, a sign of the times. Some businesses have failed, but most have been driven out by astronomical monthly rent increases as leases end and building owners hike the fees to what they consider market value.
There was a time when small businesses serving the needs of their neighborhoods were able to thrive. The rents were manageable and the business steady. We now have to worry about the future of the local deli, laundromat, hardware store, shoe repair shop and other small local businesses that may not be able to survive in this commercial real estate market.
Eart Week Celebrations in the Village and Beyond
Do you want to learn more about environmental issues? Do you want to make the Earth a better place to live? Or would you just like to celebrate your love of our planet on Earth Day? The next week and beyond is full of educational and celebratory Earth Week events in the West Village and beyond.
The major festivals take place on Sunday at Union Square and Grand Central Terminal, but there are many local Earth Week events including free films, cooking demonstrations, a community swap and a rally against fracking and the Spectra Pipeline.
In Bloom, At Last
With all the chilly days and nights we’ve had recently, one had to wonder, will Spring ever come? This week the trees finally came into bloom, as well as many tree surround plantings.
Charles Street will host a neighborhood planting for the entire street on Saturday, May 4. Check with your block association to see what the plans are for Spring beautification.