Category Archives: Outer Boroughs

Good Luck Getting Around Gotham

David Yassky, the new chairman of the Taxi and Limousine Commission, has made a SHOCKING (not) discovery: Manhattan has more yellow cabs than Brooklyn.

To be fair, it’s not something he just recently discovered. He discovered it some time ago (I imagine the same way most people do – by using their eyes) but now that he’s Mr. Taxi, this revelation becomes a newsworthy lead in to his declaration that chairmen, he intended to “ensure the industry serves all parts of the city effectively.

I wish him luck but sheesh – why not just scale Everest? It would be easier.

Speaking of transportation, there was a piece in the Gothamist about bad subway announcements — bad being defined as inaccurate, too garbled to understand, or just not made at all. I know, I know – you’re thinking, “Duh” but since the Straphangers Campaign went through all the trouble to come out with a new report on the subject, it wouldn’t hurt to mention it again. In a way that everyone could understand. Maybe the MTA would learn by example.  Or not.

So what did the report find? Well, it found that 55% of the announcements were bad. 55%? Only 55% And apparently this is an improvement. I must be riding a vastly different system than they looked at. Or I’m just unlucky.

They also point out that “Poor announcements can mean missed stops, longer trips and a lot more stress.”  Amen. I had an unnecessarily long trip, missed two stops and had tons of stress just this weekend trying to get from point A to point B on the 1 train this weekend.

You know what would have made the whole thing a lot less of a hassle? If the sign telling everyone that the 1 train wasn’t running had been VISIBLE to anyone other than the person standing right in front of the ticketing window. There was a massive white board on the back wall of the booth that – had anything been written on it – would have been easily seen by people coming down the stairs (assuming they could push safely past those stomping agrily back UP the stairs. But was the news of the non-running 1 posted ON that white board? It was not. It was written – in ball point pen on a half sheet of 8×11 paper in front of the ticket book attendant. Who was blocked by annoyed people trying to get answers about alternatives and updates.

Borough Bookshelf: Staten Island

So – we’ve got the borough of Brooklyn done, and Queens has been sorted. I bet you thought I was going to The Bronx next, right? Not so.

I thought it would be nice to thrown a little love Staten Island’s way. Oh I know they get tetchy sometimes but you can’t take all that talk of secession seriously. It’s like a small kid declaring really loudly that he’s running away so that someone will stop him. We understand, SI. And we love you anyway. Never fear, Da’ Bronx. Your turn is coming.  We’re just gonna put SI a treat as part of our new outlook for the new year and build up it’s virtual bookshelf next.

As was the case with Queens, a lot of the most current non-fiction on Staten Island is pictorial with commentary. There was a great deal of serious scholarship and reports published in the first half of the 20th century but – as you might expect – much of that is now out of print. I’m starting to think a 5 volume history of the city (one volume per borough) might not be a bad idea . . . It wouldn’t be cheap and it wouldn’t be the kind of thing someone would pick up on a whim but I can see a place for it. Hmmmm.

Borough Bookshelf: Queens

Previously on “How I Purged My Bookshelves Only to Fill Them Up Again” . . . .

I had gotten rid of some books to make room for others. In the spirit of expanding (or trying to expand) my admittedly Manhattan-centric view of Gotham, I went hunting new books. But this time books on the other boroughs. Brooklyn was a goldmine.

Queens is up next. One thing I’ve noticed – and which might be more a function of my searching rather than reality – there has been more ink spilled about Brooklyn while more cameras have been trained on Queens. Again, that might just be me and further searching may prove me wrong. And so without further delay, the Queens bookshelf:

Next up – well, obviously The Bronx or Staten Island. We shall see which I manage to turf up the most stuff for.

Borough Bookshelf: Brooklyn

I have a lot of books about New York. I have slightly fewer than I had last year as one of my New Year’s resolutions was to clear out at least some of them. As I sorted through the titles however, I noticed that the majority of these titles were essentially about Manhattan. I admit – I can be overly Manhattan-centric myself here on Greater Gotham but I am trying to be aware of that tendency and trying to overcome it.

Therefore, I went to browse the vast and virtual online shelves for new titles to enhance my geographically wider, all-embracing library. Here’s what I’ve found so far. I’ll have to pick and choose which to start with but I was so pleased to find so many choices that I had to share the bounty! Brooklyn this time around. Queens, Staten Island and The Bronx to follow.

Brooklyn: histories, photo collections, guidebooks, and maps.

Anyway – the list could go on and on and on. There were many more older titles as well that I could have listed. Possibly I will attempt a more complete borough bibliography one day. Though I suspect it could be a life time project to do something of that scope.  So let us call it a “work in progress” – and I shall add them to the Greater Gotham store as we go as well.