December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

Happy New Year from sunny Bay Ridge. Hope your 2006 is just fantastic.

December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

It's actually not snowing at all here, and its warm on Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas to you all.

December 22, 2005

Subway Strike - Day Three, Which Ends It

Today was an interesting commuting day.

I had been given a ride by Nina from Bay Ridge yesterday, and she actually called me yesterday to arrange a ride to lower Manhattan. I met her in front of the firehouse on Third Avenue / 66th Street at 710am, and down Third Avenue we went.

Nina is from Davao, in the southern part of the Philippines, and she works for Catholic Charities. Her only concern in the three days of the strike was to help a few people each day get where they needed to go.

We picked up her pal ( also from the Philippines ) on 52nd Street Brooklyn who lives in a house across the street from an inflated Grinch ( God I loved that ) and headed down Third Avenue on the way to the Brooklyn Bridge.

With three in a car, we still could not cross the Brooklyn Bridge, so we went trolling for hitchhikers. We hailed two black women who had walked from Prospect Park, and who were preparing to walk across the bridge. They were really happy for the ride, and after they squeezed in, the five of us went off to Emerald City.

I got off in lower Manhattan with the other three passengers, and Nina headed back to Brooklyn. Her job is in downtown Brooklyn, her only purpose for driving into Manhattan these last three brutal days was in order to help her friend and to help other people.

I hitched a ride to uptown with Robert, a small business owner with a Mercedes-Benz BMW SUV. The FDR Drive moved very quickly

The evening commute was not so good. It was a busy day at work, as is normal for this time of year, so I could not leave before 630. And WINS news radio said that all the roads out of Manhattan were hopeless. So I started walking.

I walked over to Second Avenue, then hung a right, south. With only a stop for some Chinese Mexican tacos at Fresh Tortillas Grill Tex-Mex ( 31st/Second ) , went down all the way to the Manhattan Bridge.

There's normally very few people on the pedestrian walkways of the Manhattan Bridge, but tonight was an exception. There were a fair number of pedestrians, and a steady stream of bicylists, with their helmets and red light blinkers, whooshing by.

Trains and cars share this major bridge with pedestrians. One empty train went by, positioning itself for the imminent return to service. The car lanes to my right were bumper to bumper, at about the same speed as me, walking.

I went down Jay Street, and asked a cop at the Lawrence St station when subway service would return. He said maybe midnight. Not soon enough. He asked where I had walked from. When I said 52nd Street in Manhattan, he was pretty surprised.

I went past the urban nightmare of Fulton Mall, turned right at Flatbush, then right again at Third Avenue. I had hoped to hit the lottery with a just-restored Third Avenue bus service, but it was just too early for that. I passed Atlantic Avenue, and hailed a " black car " who for $15, took me back to the sunny shores of Bay Ridge.

After the long walk, it took a bit of effort to get up out of the car, legs weighing a millon pounds each. I treated myself to a 40 ounce Budweiser and a bag of cashews to celebrate the strike's end. Both are no more.

Looking forward to a normal ride to and from work tomorrow. Won't kill the workers, who are good guys in the main, but they did the wrong thing and they know it.

Tomorrow, heroes and villains of the strike on

December 21, 2005

Subway Strike - Day 2

Got a ride back to Bay Ridge from someone at work today. It took an hour and a half to get from 54th St / Madison. We went through the Midtown Tunnel and the BQE, which flowed well, then via the BQE, which was very slow until we reached Hamilton Avenue.

Got a ride at 720 at 3rd Avenue / 66th Street from a great lady who dropped me off near 59th Street Bridge. She dropped someone off in lower Manhattan first.

Lots of congestion on the approach roads to Brooklyn Bridge. Saw plenty of foot passengers on it. Traffic flowed well on FDR Drive. At work right on time at 9am.

December 20, 2005

Subway Strike-Day 1

The buses and subways are on strike.


Got back just now, after a ride from Aida from work. Traffic was great. Her husband took us down Park Avenue / Park Avenue South, down Water Street, over the Brooklyn Bridge, and down the Gowanus. Didn't like staying late after such an early departure, but the traffic was great.

726 pm
There was a lot more traffic to be seen by 2pm. A lot of people, incl a woman at work, came in or were driven in after the ban on vehicles with less than 4 people ended at 11am. Still at work, not looking forward to the ride home, though at least I have a ride home and don't have to hitch.

I " hitchhiked " a ride to Manhattan at near the entrance to the Gowanus Expressway at 66th St / 3rd Avenue in Bay Ridge at 650am. The ride on the Gowanus went well, as we were in the HOV lane. In Manhattan, there was a lot less traffic than normal, due to efficient NYPD enforcement of the four-passsengers to a car rule on the main highways.

We'll see how we get back home.

December 19, 2005

R Train / Bay Ridge Subway Problems

Bay Ridge is served by the R local subway. It does a workmanlike job most of the time, but it falls short in the late evenings, after 9pm. From 9 to 11pm, there will often be two or three N expresses rolling into 59th Street, for every R train that lumbers in. Why?

In the peak hours, the M train shares the track with the R from 36th Street to Borough Hall. The only problem is, the R trains are nearly full, while the M train is nearly empty. This is because the M train has a route , from Bay Parkway to Chambers Street, to Middle Village that makes no sense. It would make more sense to
have the southbound M end at Chambers Street, and add a couple of R trains that would start in Bay Ridge and end at Chambers Street. There was once an RR or RJ train that made this run.

The route of the M train makes no sense. It makes for very bad service from Borough Hall all the way to Bay Ridge.

Why such poor service on the Bay Ridge subways? And why don't the Bay Ridge elected officials do something about it?

December 17, 2005

Christmas is Coming

And the illuminated decorations come out. From north side of 68th Street, betwen 3rd and 4th Avenues, 30 minutes ago.

December 11, 2005

Brooklyn Nets Coverage

The " Bay Ridge Paper " and the " Brooklyn Paper " have instituted coverage of what I shall henceforth refer to as the " Brooklyn Nets ".

I am delighted that there is now coverage in the, ahem, Brooklyn media. Now, who plays for this team? And what is their record?

December 04, 2005

Alpine Theater to Close?

--Business was better in 1946. ( Click on the photo image to make it larger ) Few cars, no tv. See women and ( tugging ) child waiting for the trolley. And Neilsen's Furniture, which lasted into the 1970'S or later. And katty-korner across the intersection, the " Haddon Hall " sign on the candy store ( which of course is still a candy store. ) --

Say it ain't so.

The NY Daily News reports that the Alpine Theater is for sale for $10 million . The seller has no restrictions on the future use of the building, so the Alpine Theater could soon be no more.

This would come less than a year after the death of the Fortway Theater

Like the Fortway, the Alpine was chopped up into a multiplex years ago, and lost its magic as a theater.

Neighborhood theaters all over America suffered a big wound with cable tv/HBO/VCRs/etc and most have probably suffered a fatal blow with DVDs/Netflix/etc. Ask not whom the bell tolls, theaters of America--it tolls for thee.

Mournful dialogue in Cinema Treasures

See a movie at the Alpine when you can. Maybe I'll see " Walk the Line " again there.