Anarchy On The Belt Parkway

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South Ozone Park, Queens, New York

The recently departed legendary journalist Pete Hamill once said about New York City that it’s a “city of daily irritations, occasional horrors, hourly tests of will, and even courage, and huge dollops of pure beauty”. And strolling by the Belt Parkway recently all of those and some sorry imitations of them manifested on a formerly grassy knoll separating the highway and the South Conduit and it was more dollops of ugly than anything. The only dollop of beauty found is a dismembered doll head captured in the lead photo, which resembles Marie Antoinette or maybe Kellyanne Conway.

About those ugly dollops, I managed to catch them while kneeling to get that photo of that abandoned toy and the sense that something was off andwrong was immediate. As vehicle after vehicle on the service heading for the exit ramp veered off course and improvised short cuts to get off the Belt.

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The location of this is on 124th and South Conduit Blvd in South Ozone Park and it’s a remote residential area north of the JFK airport. Barely any pedestrian or even bike commuting goes here. The actual exit ramp for 130 st. is about a few blocks east.

But apparently, those venturous drivers looking to depart from the Belt didn’t want to wait that long…

 

What was once a standard exit ramp has extended to three of them, leaving muddy trails, butchered grass and damaged though still sturdy curb making mounting onto the  Conduit still an arduous task and an hazardous act of futility. These drivers would probably take the same amount of time driving to the proper exit than they would taking these shorts.

It would be natural to cite this illicit activity and vehicular highway infrastructure vandalism to the current dystopian state and economic budgetary malaise New York is  in and the fact that drivers are taking advantage of it along with the rise in speeding. But from the view of this layman detective, it’s obvious that these crappy new trails have been an open secret among drivers for a long time.

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A very very long time…

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Hopefully if this goes viral (and twitter can be picky) the city’s or states Department of Transportation will hurry up and put up new fencing to deter drivers from certain death from the cars speeding down the road from Lefferts Blvd.

When in Rome…

 

That should lay to rest any proactive measures to prevent an accident over here. Although witnessing this vehicular cumbersome ballet was surreal, with cars and pickup trucks coming from the illegal exits and speeding on the boulevard, there was a sort of solidarity going down between all of them. Which reminds me of another Pete Hamill quote: “In the end, the only thing the true New Yorker knows about New York is that it is unknowable”

So in a positive but unsettling way, it’s a bit reassuring that people are making concerted efforts to avoid crashes, but it’s certain not to last, because all it takes is one impatient selfish asshole (or dollops of assholes going by the number of new passages here) and one second to wreck your car, end your finances, your livelihood and ultimately your life. All for a cheap convenient way to get to your destination faster (however misconceived).

The city and state better fix this shit before someone gets killed.

Vision Zero Study Enables Cellphone Junkies Habitual Obliviousness

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In A New York, New York State Of Mindless

Something crawled out of the bowels of Mayor de Blasio’s Department Of Transportation not long ago that shouldn’t bode well for this city. Or state. Or this nation and planet and society at large. It is an incredible and retarded study about how citizens habitual cellphone usage while walking on these busy streets is not hazardous.

Seriously guys and dolls:

NY Daily News

Texting, checking email, Googling that restaurant across the street or just looking for your destination on a map factored in just two pedestrian deaths from 2014 to 2017, says a report by the city Department of Transportation.

 

Those two deaths were just a drop in the bucket compared to the 534 pedestrians who were killed on city streets during the four-year span.

 

One of the cell phone users killed in a car crash during the study period was texting, and the other was reaching for a device dropped in the street, DOT researchers found.

“DOT found little concrete evidence that device-induced distracted walking contributes significantly to pedestrian fatalities and injuries,” the eight-page report states.

A better way to improve pedestrian safety and save lives is cracking down on dangerous drivers, the DOT report says.

 

As smartphones rapidly grew in popularity, state lawmakers in 2017 passed a law requiring the DOT to look into “distracted walking.”

 

Though the DOT found the legislature’s concern was a non-issue, its report noted that the city is campaigning to encourage young people to be alert as they cross the street.

But the real problem, the DOT said in the report released Friday, is speeding cars.

 

“The best way to address distracted walking, and all forms of distraction, is by creating a road environment focused on speed management — where vehicles are traveling at a safe speed so that crashes can be avoided, and when crashes do occur they are not fatal or severe,” the report said.

 

Not even not much of hazard. Nothing to fear or fret to repress you from typing vapid texts you can just verbally tell someone on the actual original function of the cellphone. No symbolic meteor like a car or a bike, a street gang or a yelling crazed derelict coming your way crashing your social network universe feeding as you post a photo on Instagapchat or troll some message on Twitter, Facebook or Reddit. Zero.

Funny I mentioned zero, because this report was written in association with de Blasio’s ineffective Vision Zero program for safe streets that has not prevented zero deaths or accidents at all.

The report itself is incomplete since it spuriously compares cellphone accident data with regular vehicular and pedestrian accidents and looks like it was gathering dust somewhere for a while since it was completed in 2017 and the data compiling cellphone usage accidents only goes up to 2015 and despite the low amount of fatalities tabulated, they actually went up. But it does point out cellphone addicts utter irresponsibility feeding their texting and continuing scofflaw pedestrian habits by not paying attention to signals. It also devotes a few pages to what the city does best, producing PSA videos, awareness campaigns and vibrant social events to promote awareness, which are the only thing this city seems to excel at.

The reason for releasing this study 2 years later is not only because of the usual delaying of information concerning the citizenry that has been expected of the de Blasio administration but because of the city’s redesigning of the streets to “calm” vehicular traffic. Everything about this study puts the onus of responsibility on the driver instead of the cellphone junkie who can’t put the goddamn phone down for even a second. Imagine you’re driving approaching a stop sign and once you think it’s clear, some imbecile materializes with little white sticks in his or her ears while diddling on their screen keyboard to test your defensive driving skills and your brakes.

As the study attests (and the sensationalist way the NY Daily News reports it) this could lead to cordoned off lanes and street corridors strictly for walking cellphone usage. This shouldn’t warrant any city planning that might get inspired by it, although it looks like it already has. What else can explain the justification for the all the LinkNYC kiosks and wifi in the subways and buses? Maybe NYC has a plan to build utopian villages reliant on oblivious cellphone navigation, like what Google’s trying to do in Toronto with their frightening Quayside project (or even in the newly christened Hudson Square on Soho’s west side).

It isn’t like nobody is aware of what the streets look like these days when you compare it to just a decade ago. 99% of the citizenry owns a cellphone and possibly 98% of commuters just can’t put it down. And you wanna bet that the people who did this study consist of them too? Especially the corrupt moron mayor and his equally oblivious cult of over 300 staffers and aides. Along with the editors of the NY Daily News who did this story. There must be a bias and a collective guilty conscience going on here.

Surely the main reason this study was recently put out besides the aforementioned theories concocted in this post is that the more people are on their cellphones, which the city hopes will be even more now that the DOT are telling them they are not responsible for their addiction, the web services will continue to make billions from the advertising that will be viewed by the celly fiends from the data revenue and personal information they will usurp from them.

The cellphone junkies of all ages, while not strung out or filthy, are no different than addicts of meth, heroin, crack, coke or opioid pills; they all selfish people who prioritize their selfish needs over the safety of others and themselves and wander around in a hazy daze like K-2 smoking zombies. Sure not that many celly fiends are getting killed now, but just wait for it. Then when some imbecile is texting some banal shit to his acquaintance, comment about something trending on the twitter, watching an amazon show or playing a app game and then gets clobbered by an approaching car, train or bike then you will see the inevitable clusterfuck of belated outrage of city officials suddenly decrying cellphone overuse. Followed up by a new old study critical of it too.

Until then, and if there are people reading this walking right now, pick your stupid fucking head up and read it later when you’re sitting on your ass.

And to deBlasio’s DOT, why don’t you do a study regarding pedestrian and accident data on walking and chewing gum since you’re gonna waste our time trying to normalize stupid behavior like this?

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Affixing A Hole

051The star of the show.

New York is not only famous for being the biggest city in the world (by default, reputation and hype) but it’s also infamous for it’s potholes which manifest from time to time and also notorious for the tardiness to repair them. But decades riding (and at few occasions driving) in this big city of dreams, I don’t think I have ever seen the creative and quarter-assed way Mayor de Blasio’s Department of Transportation has displayed to remediate or even fix these blights on the roads and pavement. Especially with the usage of traffic cones.

Take the header photo of the subway grating. Clearly the hatch door is missing. Either it fell off or some enterprising derelict managed to rip it off and sold it for scrap. Or maybe by a MTA low paid contractor worker.

Despite how hideous and hazardous that looks, it doesn’t remotely compare to what the DOT is enabling or even ordering to temporarily remedy new road hazards on the streets this summer. Like this patch job on Central Park West.

 

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Looks like something went wrong on this road here, which looks like it was milled and repaved not long ago.

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Looking at this, I had thoughts of what else could be down there. Although I am partially glad that it the city affixed this hole, even if a rabbit won’t be able to make it to brunch with the Mad Hatter. Anyone could have rode over it and got a nasty flat or even ruined their wheel. Or maybe fall into another dimension or time. Other concerns I had was some sort of entity (or entities) that would rise from the depths of the netherworld like those shadows in “Ghost” or even worse a hipster version of Chutulu.

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Take a look at that depth, that’s about the size of the standard foot and a half high cone that are frequently used. Usually the safety standard would entail that inverted cone and a few others to surround that hole and obviously for a work order to close the street to repair it. But now the D.O.T., which is ever so busy with other things like shutting down streets for film shoots and helping arrange fun festival weekends barring driving on weekends, is now just looking at these spooky craters and putting a big orange cork in it.

After placing a message on the city’s social media account, the void did get remedied as it got tagged for eventual repair.

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They also stuffed it with what what looks like powdered sugar covered wet paper towels.

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After this I thought for sure the city won’t be stupid enough to be this lazy and careless when the next hole appears. But I stood corrected and beside myself when I saw this asphalt buttplug again in Hell’s Kitchen.

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This one was even worse. Fortunately this hole was actually not much of a danger to cars being that it was pass the crosswalk and away from the lane, but one could easily fall into the abyss walking, skating or riding on it. Especially when your staring at your phone screen like a stupid junkie.

To be fair, the DOT are still applying these orange cones properly for the majority of unsightly road hazards, when the holes are too big to use them as buttplugs.

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Well, sometimes.

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But the de Blasio’s D.O.T.’s shiftlessness is not limited to the lame efforts and solutions to warn citizens of road hazards, it also applies his Department of Environmental Protection for our dilapidated water catch basins. Especially the ones in the perpetually ignored neighborhoods in Southeast Queens.

Like this one here. This fucking wreck in South Richmond Hill has been like this for about a year. There’s suppose to be a big metal thing there on top. It’s a wonder how the city is able to lose parts like that and how mindblowing it is that they don’t immediately replace it.  Supposedly some homeless people or junkies find it (or pry it out themselves) and sell it for scrap too.

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This gives the impression that the city contracted Fred Flintstone’s employer Slate Quarry to renovate it.

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Then there’s this abomination:

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I want to mock this with another cartoon analogy but it’s just too repulsive. Fortunately, it probably will get repaired since it’s on a corner and it’s part of the citywide renovation to make them better for the handicapped.

And isn’t it nice of the de Blasio’s D.E.P. to provide a one legged girder along with a taped orange cone? It’s the equivalent of tying a string on your pinky to remember something.

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It’s not the case for this cavernous basin though:541

It looks like the D.E.P. noticed this too while they were still around town. So they had a spare leg, girder and orange cone to remedy any resident’s worries.

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Surely, this was encouraging that remediation was on the way. But as Staten Island rock heroes Anthrax used to say…NOT!

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Unfuckingbeilievable and rigoddamndiculous. The D.E.P.’s saw fit to blacktop patch the hole and reinforce it with some discarded wood and just removed the leg from the fucking girder and left it there. Yeah, that looks durable, schmucks.

Who knows what 99 cent store inspired dinky fixes this city will to do our slowly crippling infrastructure. Because potholes don’t discriminate.

From Richmond Hill in Queens

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To NoMad in Manhattan

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Rest assured that these holes will get the standard safety cone buttplug treatment, as it’s now being applied to broken off parking sign poles like this one:

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And citizens, if you see these holes, say something about them. The city’s social media accounts do respond fast. But if results aren’t manifesting fast enough, don’t be shy to be proactive and do it yourself. How hard can it be to shove something in a disturbing looking hole.

The de Blasio D.O.T. standard street apparatuses won’t be hard to find.

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City Rolls Out Blacktop Carpet For Film Shoot In Richmond Hill, Queens

133Liberty Ave. And 123rd street. Where the gilded asphalt path abruptly stops.

Richmond Hill, Queens, N.Y.

A week before Halloween, an encouraging sight sprung forth to auto owners and cyclists. The decade long dilapidation of Liberty Avenue beginning at Lefferts Boulevard was about to get repaved with fresh tar and asphalt. Being a cyclist myself, it was elating to finally look forward to a smooth path and finally see the cracks and crevices produced by many winters, persistent double and triple parking and K and illegal U-turns by overtly aggressive drivers remediated.

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What’s frustrating about this is that a while back the D.O.T. milled and repaved the entirety of Liberty under the elevated train from Rockaway Blvd to the last stop at Lefferts Blvd but they decided for some damn reason not to stretch out the repaving 15 blocks east to the Van Wyck Expressway to at least make it look compatible as well as prevent the road from suffering from further degradation.

But in yet another case of diminishing returns of half-ass efforts from your city, it turned out that they only repaved 2 fucking blocks.

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Even more frustrating and fucking maddening is that the long overdue road repair was permitted and possibly inspired and demanded to make way for a film shoot.

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A day after the repaving, film permits appeared taped on lamp posts and this parking meter here for something mysteriously titled V3. It must be some sequel of some cruddy film franchise or maybe it could be a historic film chronicling the nascent stages of the invention of V8 juice when the beverage contained only 3 vegetables.The freshly paved scenery was supervised by someone only named Rocco.

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The trucks and trailers with the Jersey or Penn plates and catering truck were supposed to arrive to assemble the proverbial fourth wall for the shoot on Liberty on Monday but a strange development happened on the day that footage above was shot the day before though, all the permits were removed from said posts and meters and the producers decided to move all their rigs on 103rd avenue instead and 120 street.

The next day the catering truck moved to Liberty and two charter buses appeared buttressed by orange safety cones. The charter bus facing east and the catering truck in front of that charter bus facing west were parked on city bus stops for the Q110.

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And another charter bus was parked by 103rd avenue around the corner. I assume these vehicles were the mode of transportation for all the creative forces and talent involved with this project.

027And the action took place at Leo F. Kearns funeral home halfway down the block.

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026Spoiler alert! Someone in this movie dies!

It’s been a week since this production, and being that it took two days it will probably result in a 2 minute scene. I came to this synopsis because the last few times that major shows were filmed in this enclave of Southeast Queens were HBO’s Bored to Death where they took a day to film Rushmore star Jason Schwartzman ask a cashier a question in a scene that was 10 seconds and the other was also by HBO called …the Night Of where the trailers took over 2 blocks for a good week to film some catalyst scenes for the first episode (sadly, the shows executive producer, James Gandolfini died a week after that shoot in Italy, man it would have been actually cool to bump into him).

Wait, I forgot the odious and easily hacked social media platform corporation that sold out their customers for billions of ad dollars and now government contractor Facebook filmed a show here in the springtime. At least they split so fast it was barely noticeable. Probably because they realized it wasn’t Brooklyn.

Too bad Broad City is ending, it actually would have been nice if those funny ladies stopped by and did some jokes about roti shops.

But I’m digressing, because this road upgrade was obviously done for aesthetic reasons for this V3 movie. Which gives the impression that some special tweeding went down to benefit the film industry over the needs of the driving and riding constituents and also essential bus transit service that continues to get neglected again and again. This can be verified by the I.M. exchange between Cynthia Nixon and Mayor Bill de Blasio when the failed gubernatorial candidate wanted to get her pal in City Hall to halt chopper flights over Central Park that were bothering her director pal’s Shakespeare performances there as she forwarded his complaints to him and your mayor happily and hurriedly obliged and got it done for her. It also helped that TV’s Miranda’s wife was working for Mayor Big Slow at the time as one of his advisors.

So the rest of Liberty will probably remain a broken ass mess in this broke ass city. As well the majority of streets that intersect with it and the avenues south and east of the busy avenue are in equally shitty and even worse. It doesn’t look like there is going to be any upgrade in the near future or even beyond as the new pretty, vibrant and hip burgs get nice things and the dirty southeast of Queens gets dirtier and rockier. And not to mention the massive renovation of the BQE.

And even with this sudden attention from Hollywood, which from the way this city favors this industry, has become an official citizen person of New York. At the expense of safe streets, commuting and the dwindling patience and sanity of it’s residents.

 

 

 

 

 

Vision Zero Thought Or Consideration @ Metropolitan Ave. And 71st Ave.

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Find the impurity on the road. Winner gets a free lollypop.

North Forest Park, Queens, N.Y.

Welcome to Metropolitan Ave.. This is a tight yet standard two way road, a major 2 borough artery that spans from eastern Queens to the end of Brooklyn. The intersection crosses with 71st Ave., which goes to Queens Blvd to the north and ends at Forest Park to the south. It’s a busy traffic area but not typically hectic or hazardous.

Until now. Under the jurisdiction of Mayor De Faustio’s Vision Zero program, the DOT one day observed somehow that a lot of drivers traverse the 3 block path to get to Union Turnpike east and decided to cut the road in half to allow uninterrupted turns.

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Looks weird. And hazardous. Note the parked vehicles slightly above a cars length away.

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Now look at it from the east side and it truly shows how stupid it is. First off, there is not even a directional signal light to turn, which would make sense and justify this path. Now if you notice the car on the north side, there is a turning lane going the south also, it’s where people used to park. Now the most important thing about this idiotic design is that the cars heading east in the middle have to turn sharp right to avoid going the wrong direction and then merge left again.

I don’t know when this was repainted but I have seen similar road designs in the city but at least there was an extra lane of traffic to work with. Metropolitan just has one lane. This intersection is going to infuriate drivers if it’s not doing it already and it’s an accident waiting to happen.

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Look at the paint on the lines, it’s already fading out. Showing that no one can steer and avoid breaching the now other side of the road. Not only is this asinine but it has the potential of a ticket trap. It’s also worrisome for bikers that have to go all the way to the curb to give enough space for passing drivers. This is not safe. This is stupid. I wonder if anyone asked for this. But when it comes to dispensing policy and plans for neighborhoods, especially in Queens, the hacks in city hall has a long record of not telling anyone, from shitty unhelpful road designs like this, to unnecessary bike lanes and mental patients and recidivist criminals they put in homeless shelters.

For this to return to what it was, an uninterrupted two way street, someone of course has to get killed. But lately, even that hasn’t worked considering the amount of hit and runs and pedestrian crossing accidents borough wide.

Vision Zero? More like Vision Tunnel.