Posts Tagged ‘williamsburg’

Free Bridges — Will They Be History?

It was always nice to have the option– pay for the Midtown Tunnel and get to the Village or Midtown faster, or battle with 59th Street Bridge or the BQE, and the crowded Williamsburg Bridge — but save the toll. Sometimes, it was six of one and half-a-dozen of the other, because you could burn so much gas on the BQE backup that you might as well have paid the tolland sometimes the choice was clear. But you had the choice!

Now, they want to put a toll on previously-free bridges, as an alternative to raising MTA fares. When I first heard, it seemed like a plan; we should be taking more mass-transit anyway! And of course, Bloomberg now has a platform to yell at us like naughty children — on the news, he said something like “See? I had the perfect solution — congestion pricing — and you didn’t want that” Okay, Uncle Mike — we get the point. So here’s another way we can stick it to the “bridge-and-tunnel” crowd.

But here’s what I want to know: let’s say they DO work out a method to collect tolls [since toll-booths are near-impossible, they are talking about a machine that will read your license plate, and bill the driver later — good luck!], how high do we have to raise the stakes before people WILL say “hmmm…..this is just like congestion-pricing after all. AND, congestion pricing wasn’t supposed to be in effect on the weekends anyway. Are they thinking of making the 59th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges free on weekends? My guess is “no”.

In other words, was it the intention all along to present options to the “bridge-and-tunnel” crowd [of which I am one, by the way] that turn out to be just as bad, or even worse for private cars, than congestion pricing? And how high can the stakes go, before car-dependent suburbanites will finally load their families onto commuter railroads for their day in the city? What is the tipping point when private drivers will leave the cars home?

The Brooklyn Bridge is now free, but would charge a toll under the new proposed plan

The Brooklyn Bridge is now free, but would charge a toll under the new proposed plan

Last week at McCarren Pool: Oops, you missed it

It’s 8pm in Brooklyn and the sun has already set, one of the many reminders that it isn’t summer anymore. Another sign is last weekend’s final show at Greenpoint’s McCarren pool, once again relegated to a desolate reminder of good times, at least unti 2011, when the pool will reopen as a real, live, wet, swimming pool! The New York Times chronicles the end of (good) times here. We know you’ll miss them (or you missed them).

Yah, we know you all didn’t brave the lines at Yo La Tengo, but we will miss the crouching, sitting, lying on our stomachs on piles of chipping lead paint during the Tuesday movie nights — oh how hard it is to sit in one place for two hours on concrete. This summer we did manage to go to the nostalgic edition of Wet Hot American Summer, and that one flick about glam rock that we couldn’t concentrate on because we overindulged in that bucket of free Starbucks energy drinks. But what we’ll miss most, and we know you do, will be the after-pool traipse over to Matchless across the street, and the valiant attempts to score [an innocent chess] game with the crowds of lingering directionless hipsters.

Thankfully, we’re going to have a public pool of epic proportions if all goes well with Bloomberg’s budget, construction, and all. Hopefully the VIP line won’t be as long as the one into MGMT on that one soggy day in early August. And, I suppose, we’re equally scared of the lines everywhere else next summer, when all of the label PR kids and their legions of tag-along writers are trying to get into, when there is no universal pool event to house them all. Glasslands: watch out, they’re coming for you.

Everyone, get out of the pool. [NYTIMES]

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