Tag Archives: NY Times

NY Times Says Buffalo is OK: Then This

1 Aug

You likely saw the New York Times article that was published Wednesday, explaining how Buffalo’s Niagara Falls Medical Campus was transforming the city for the better. It was all over Facebook and Buffalo Twitter yesterday. Well, this also happened:

[View the story “Listicle Prediction: Achievement Unlocked” on Storify]

Shorter New York Times on NY Secession

2 May

Those people upstate are just a bunch of ungrateful fucking whiners.

Oversell at the Times

29 Mar

The New York Times published a piece a few days ago entitled, “Reinventing America’s Cities”. It recounts how during the ’80s and ’90s, while the US was in full Reaganomics-small-government-is-good-government mode, Europe was building things like an efficient high-speed rail network, and doing so in an environmentally sensitive way. The piece mentions how several European cities are contemplating change.

It then turns to US cities and brings up the New Deal’s WPA and Eisenhower’s interstate program as examples of our country making that sort of groundbreaking change.

The problem in America is not a lack of ideas. It is a tendency to equate any large-scale government construction project, no matter how thoughtful, with the most brutal urban renewal tactics of the 1950s. One result has been that pioneering projects that skillfully blend basic infrastructure with broader urban needs like housing and park space are usually killed in their infancy. Another is that we now have an archaic and grotesquely wasteful federal system in which upkeep for roads, subways, housing, public parkland and our water supply are all handled separately.

With money now available to invest again in such basic needs, I’d like to look at four cities representing a range of urban challenges and some of the plans available to address them. Though none of the plans are ideal as they stand today (and some of them represent only the germ of an idea), evaluated and addressed together as part of a coordinated effort, they could begin to form a blueprint for making our cities more efficient, sustainable and livable.

  • New Orleans: needs to rebuild almost from scratch.
  • Los Angeles: give the Los Angeles River its natural flow and riverbank again, and the Metro should run along Wilshire Blvd.
  • the Bronx: demolish some of the Bruckner and Sheridan Expwy, freeing up 28 acres of land for housing
  • Buffalo: don’t expand the Peace Bridge plaza, thus requiring the demolition of 5 blocks’ worth of homes on the West Side.
  • Regardless of how you feel about expansion of the Peace Bridge plaza (I favor shared border management, with all inspection carried out on the Fort Erie side of the river), I fail to see how that would be a “reinvention” of Buffalo. Halting yet another in a long line of bad ideas? Sure. A victory for that neighborhood? Naturally. But reinventing the city?

    Seems a bit of an oversell.

    Byron Brown for US Senate?

    2 Dec

    It’s definitely possible.

    Anyone with a memory of Mayor Brown’s illustrious career in the State Senate will remember that, of four ground-breaking bills he introduced, three involved changing the names of certain streets in the 60th SD.

    That’s street-name change we can believe in. Seriously good government, earth-shattering stuff.

    Brown is mentioned in this New York Times City Room piece, and I wondered why it was that the Times would be talking up Brown. Sure, they got a quote from his Grassroots teammate Antoine Thompson. But then the source of the article became clear:

    “Byron would be great in that position,” said Steven Pigeon, a former Erie County Democratic Party chairman. “And I’m one of the people promoting him. I think it would mean a tremendous amount to the people of western New York to have him there.”

    Mr. Pigeon is also a co-chairman of Responsible New York, a political organization backed by the Rochester billionaire Tom Golisano.

    “He would be great for the whole state,” Mr. Pigeon said. “He can deal with people in urban, suburban and rural parts of the state. He’s done it his whole career. If the governor is inclined to consider anyone from western New York, he’s the person that makes the most sense.”

    Any buzz, therefore, about Brown going to the US Senate, is in Pigeon’s head.

    Think about the Brown administration’s ham-handedness and insular secrecy. Think of the utter charade that is a CitiStat meeting. Think of the hirings and subsequent, often rapid, departures of people to help run the Brown administration. Think of Casey’s cameras, and the way in which their camp has tried (and usually failed) to take over the county Democratic committee, and allegedly used scare tactics and intimidation in order to do it. Think about how City Hall requires a FOIL request for the most routine public record. If you think party machines are bad, evil would-be party machines are worse.

    The only viable, responsible choice from upstate to replace Senator Clinton would be Brian Higgins.

    Although the thought of sending Steve Casey 500 miles from Buffalo is an attractive idea.

    (Photo via cluckbucket @ Flickr)