March 28, 2006

The R Train is Back

The R is back, as this NY1 story shows. You can click on to the " Dial up " or " RoadRunner " link to get a video of the story.

Very large photo of the scene in the print edition of the NY Post.

Bay Ridge Sinkhole Eats SUV

SANY0012, originally uploaded by ceonyc.

Sure glad I wasn't driving this thing. The driver, a woman, was going southbound, and was about to cross 73rd St when she fell into the hole and landed on a gas main. I am sure that it was one hell of a shock, but she was able to get herself out. From what I hear, she was taken into Lutheran Hospital for shock, but is basically ok. Nice shot, ceonyc

March 27, 2006

Bay Ridge Sinkhole: No R Train Today

Bay Ridge Photos 003, originally uploaded by Phantom Photo.

R train was out of service March 27, 2006 due to the sinkhole.

This morning, I walked to 59th Street, and was pleasantly surprised by a nice empty R train that had come up the Sea Beach " N " line.

This and the two photos below are posted through the Flickr service. I just signed up to it and am learning it while I go along.

By the time I got home it was too dark to take many decent photos.

Bay Ridge Sinkhole: Digging Up Fourth Avenue

Bay Ridge Photos 013, originally uploaded by Phantom Photo.

Digging up Fourth Avenue, at the site of the sinkhole. Of course, Our Lady of Angels Church in the background.

Bay Ridge Sinkhole: News Reporter

Bay Ridge Photos 006, originally uploaded by Phantom Photo.

Channel 5 news reporter on Fourth Avenue.

Sinkhole on Fourth Avenue Knocks Out R Train

A sinkhole opened up on Fourth Avenue and 73rd Street overnight, that looks to be caused by a water main bursting. A SUV fell into it, and rests atop a gas main. The driver was able to get out.

The R train is not running from Bay Ridge Avenue to 95th St, and is being diverted on the N line. The N is running normally. The best way to get into the city is probably to walk to the 59th St station and catch the N or R.

From Channel 4 WNBC

From NY 1.

March 11, 2006

Verizon DSL is Dead and I Killed It

Yesterday, I had Time Warner wire my house for cable tv, phone service, and internet access.

I had very good service from Directv and had no particular beef with Verizon for the local phone service I had. But I was unvelievably unhappy with Verizon DSL.

I started service with Verizon DSL about three years ago. I never received an acceptable service from them for any sustained period of time. The service run as fast as 3000 kbits / second download for hours at a time, but the service would often be no faster than 1200 kbits....and there were many slowdown periods when it was only as fast as dialup. My last week, it was usually down completely. The green DSL and Internet lights on my Westell modem would turn red, then go out altogether.

The worst thing was that this supposedly great company either did not care about their technology difficulties, or did not know what the problem was. I called Tech Support ( 800-567-6789 )many dozens of times. I was told that I should turn the modem on and off. That the microfilter from the phone jack must have come loose. That there was something wrong with the computer.

I think that most of these people were well-meaning but untrained people reading from a script. One time, over a year ago, I was told that they were getting a lot of complaints from Brooklyn...that infrastructure construction was causing big delays. Very recently, when the system was barely functional, I got a competent and honest guy who told me that I was not getting a good signal, and that many of his peers were " not that good ".

But thats in the past now. For the past two days, I have had an impeccable 5000 kbits/second signal, incl at peak hours. I've been flipping from site to site while watching a European tv stream in a small window. I so love this.

But I remain clueless as to how a supposedly great company like Verizon could be so completely incompetent in what you would think is one of their core products. I'm just one guy, but I took great pleasure in taking both the DSL and the Phone service from Verizon. I know others who've done the same thing. The cable guy told me ( when asked ) that he was getting many new customers due to grave dissatisfaction with Verizon DSL.

But I am now a happy guy. Never thought you'd here me say this but long live the cable company!!

March 10, 2006

Observed on Fourth Avenue

The red neon Guinness sign in the window of Scruffy Murphy's has been illuminated the past two nights. Does this mean Scruffy's may reopen? It's a mystery.

There is a " Subway's " ( sandwich shop ) awning at the store on the southeast corner of 68th Street and Fourth Avenue. That would be a decent addition to the block. And I do like hero sandwiches.

March 05, 2006

Bay Ridge Imam!

Today's NY Times has a big story on the imam of
Sheik Reda Shata,the imam of the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge, the mosque next to the Alpine Theater. The Times doesn't often do stories on Bay Ridge, I'm happy they didn't get lost coming over here.

This story has been reprinted in other papers, throughout the country. Wow.

Muggs Ale House - Barleywine Festival

Today, took a trek up to Bedford Avenue in Williams- burg, Brooklyn to attend the Seventh Annual Split thy Brooklyn Skull Barleywine Festival. These are strong ales. I tried three barleywines:
St. Bernardous (10% alcohol)
Russian River Pliny the Elder ( 8%)
Southern Tier Unearthy Double ( 11%)

Muggs is a friendly bar with an excellent selection of beers and decent pub food.

After the barleywine, went for a nightcap in Rose- marie's, on Bedford and 7th. This is a comfy Polish-Irish place that has been in Williamsburg for over 50 years. This blue collar bar is the most "real" establishment in the neighborhood. I had a one-quart glass of Bud. Yes!!

Gowanus Expressway to Dissapear?

The ugly, rusting Gowanus Expressay has blighted Red Hook, Sunset Park and Bay Ridge since 1941. I believe this is one of the many nasty projects that were rammed through city neighborhoods during the time of Robert Moses.

The Bay Ridge Paper reports that the state is considering several options that could replace the Gowanus with a tunnel. If the Federal Government can be convinced to contribute $13-18 billion, an 8.5 mile " Gowanus Tunnel " could run down First and/or Second Avenues all the way from the Verrazano to the Battery Tunnel by 2020.

Also under consideration is a much less expensive elevated monstrosity to replace the bucket of bolts that currently bights our neighborhoods. I don't think our Congressional delegation has the muscle to make the tunnel happen. I don't think we'll be riding through a Gowanus Tunnel anytime soon.

March 04, 2006

Muggs Ale House, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

I'll be making the trek to Williamsburg, one of my favorite Brooklyn neighborhoods, tomorrow. The great Muggs Ale House, on Bedford Avenue, is having their annual Barleywine Festival.

As the L subway is closed for construction, will take the G train to Lorimer Street,which is close enough.

Maybe I'll take a picture or two.

Cable Countdown

You've not heard much from me over the past week. Part of the reason was that work has been very busy, but another factor has been that Verizon DSL has been exceptionally slow. I've not wanted to spend as much time on the computer.

Help is on the way, and I am set to have cable Internet ( plus phone and tv service ) installed this coming Friday. My only regret is that I will be giving up the excellent Directv satellite tv service. I wrote them a letter today, which follows:

Unfortunately, I plan on cancelling my Directv account this Friday. I will call you when this needs to be done.

I am NOT dissatisfied with Directv, who has provided good service for over three years to me. And I am not moving either.

My reason for cancelling has to do with my internet service.

Currently, I have " high speed " internet service via Verizon DSL. It is advertised at 3000 kbits / sec, but is usually below that speed, very often dramatically so. This morning, it must be at 300 kbits / sec if that.

Verizon apparently cannot fix the problem, and their customer service people try to tell me that it is my computer's fault, which I know not to be so.

I know several other people who have had similar Verizon DSL problems, and their woes ended when they switched to Time Warner Cable Internet via Roadrunner.

So, this coming Friday, I plan to switch to Roadrunner.

But I will also give Time Warner my phone service and my tv service. They will give me a very nice package discount for including these services.

It will be a pleasure to take the phone service away from Verizon, as I am furious with their incompetent service.

But I am conflicted about taking the tv package from Directv, as you have been good over three years. This is strictly an economic decision. In this area of Brooklyn NY there is no alternative for internet service --there is ( horrible and incompetent ) Verizon DSL or there is ( 5000k, good ) Roadrunner service.

If you wish to discuss, call me on my cell phone ( 917-xxx-xxxx ) .

Otherwise, I expect to call you this Friday.