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Well, only two weeks late with putting up some photos from my New York trip.  I took way more than was good for me, so  I decided to focus on some of the details in this set.

These are all from Day 1:  Brooklyn Bridge, Financial District, Broadway, Soho, and NYU/Greenwich Village.

Brooklyn Bridge Cable

Brooklyn Bridge Cable

 

City Hall Park

City Hall Park

Panda on Wall St

Panda on Wall St

Brick Building

Brick Building

Hydrants, Financial District

Hydrants, Financial District

Broadway and Pine

Broadway and Pine

Store Window

Store Window

Going to Temple

Going to Temple

 

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Returned from a whirlwind weekend in New York City… made many mental observations, and I need to translate those to type here.

In the meantime, this little gem from the CTA Tattler:

CTA proposes raising fares in early 2010

If this change goes through – $3.00 for a single train ride and $2.50 for bus – it will officially make Chicago more expensive to travel in (passes aside) than New York, for which I paid $2.25 per ride (Chicago’s current fare for both bus and train).  But, I look on the bright side:  when I was in London, the one-way ticket was 2 pounds; now it’s L4, which at the current exchange rate ($1.58) is $6.32.  Go USA!

Seriously though, it will be rough if this change goes through.  Not only for all the people who, working low-pay jobs and/or supporting families, can barely afford their monthly pass in order to get to work; but also for any hope of convincing people to stop driving in the city.  As it is, many people I know find driving (even with the added irritation of parking) more convenient and economical than taking one or more trains and/or buses to get to where they want to go.  Making it significantly more expensive is a major disincentive for a behavior many don’t consider in the first place.

The costs of public transit, of course, are not easy to meet – and the CTA, like many similar organizations, are legally mandated to balance their budget at the end of each year.  As far as I have heard, however, no transit system can meet its costs “from the farebox,” so I’m not sure a fare hike is the answer here, and might in fact only break even if fewer people choose to ride.

I guess what I’m saying is, it’s complicated.  But taking the subway in NYC made me appreciate two things about Chicago:

1) As much as I’ve complained about the bad design of the El(evated) system, it is pretty damn cool to be able to see the streets you’re traveling en route.  The short trip across the Williamsburg Bridge to Brooklyn was the best view I had all weekend.

2) The NYC system is definitely more comprehensive, in that you can get to more places via subway (and presumably bus).  It still has annoying construction reroutes, which were pretty confusing to figure out, and several times I ended up waiting a while for a train (longer than I ever remember waiting in London or Paris).  Judging from the impatience of those around me, it was either atypical, or both delay and reaction are typical.

Long story short:  Chicago’s CTA isn’t great, but NYC’s MTA isn’t actually much better!  Except in that people actually use it.

One of my favorite parts about the show is how they can spoof pop culture and/or get interesting celebrities to come and good around on their show, all in the name of children’s education.  A cursory glance at Youtube shows they’ve still got it.

Mad Men spoof – complete with sanitized version of beginning credits (i.e. he slips on a banana peel, doesn’t jump out of a building).

Michelle Obama growing a garden – she sounds a lot like Susan, reminds me of the show as I remember it!

Feist sings 1,2,3,4 on the street – slight changes to the lyrics and it fits right in.

I’m taking the name of my post from the anti-Olympics group that is/was operative in Chicago.

A lot of people are unhappy about this decision, and a lot of others are happy.  I’m in the latter camp.  Chicago needs love and attention in the form of economic development, but this is not the best way.  I really hope they can take some of the plans written up and turn them into non-Olympics-oriented development proposals/guidelines.

As far as the Michael Reese Hospital controversy,  I’m torn, but it sounds like they’re tearing down the Gropius buildings anyway.  If they can do something along the lines of repair and reuse, that’s probably the best solution.

Just returned from my first official professional planning conference, the APA Upstate New York Regional Conference!  I probably wasn’t as “professional” as I should have been, but it was a good time and the department comped most of it.

Most notable here:  I didn’t realize how much I missed delapidated city streets until our drives and walks through the area immediately around downtown.  I’ve included a couple photos (pre-processing) of my usual super abstract brick-wall-and-a-weed style.

Also, out of idle curiosity I checked out this and the other blogs’ reading stats lately… Stan&Ergo is doing better than I thought!  I should post some new ones soon.  Also, I found it amusing that almost exclusively, the key words listed to find the other blog were variations of “epic fail.”  Good times.

I’ll post the rest on Facebook, until I finally get around to a photoblog format.

Under Construction, Albany

Under Construction, Albany

Brick Wall, Albany

Brick Wall, Albany