Showing posts with label Subway. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Subway. Show all posts

December 27, 2016

Two Men Holding Hands at Mural NYC Subway Station

The sight of two men holding hands is far from uncommon, but a mural of two men doing just that is showing up in an unusual place — on the walls of a new subway station in New York City.

Experts say that depiction of love between gay men is a rarity in public art.

The men, Thor Stockman and Patrick Kellogg, are part of artist Vik Muniz's "Perfect Strangers," a series of life-size mosaic portraits of everyday New Yorkers gracing the walls of the new station at 72nd Street on the city's long-awaited Second Avenue subway line. It's scheduled to open Jan. 1.

Stockman says being featured is "like winning the lottery." But he says he wishes that it wasn’t such a rarity.

June 3, 2015

If You Never Use Mass Transit but Live in NYC You Pay $130 a Month to MTA

The MTA is still struggling to close their capital budget deficit of $14 billion, calling on both City and State governments to step up their spending to help maintain, repair and expand the subway network that serves as this city's life-sustaining circulatory system. But a new report commissioned by City Comptroller Scott Stringer's office claims the city contributes far more cash to the agency than previously thought—in fact, according to the report, the amount New Yorkers contribute in taxes is the equivalent of a so-called $130-per-month "invisible fare" for each household, and it's time for the state and federal governments to chip in more.
The city as a whole contributes about $10.11 billion to the MTA annually, according to the report, with $5.31 billion coming from the fares and tolls we pay, and $4.801 billion sourced from taxes and subsidies. The MTA, meanwhile, "only" spends $9.86 billion on riders: $6.808 billion of that goes to New York City Transit while the rest is distributed among bridge and tunnel upkeep, the Long Island Railroad, buses, Metro-North, the Staten Island railroad, and debt service.
This means the MTA actually spends less money on New Yorkers than New Yorkers spend on the MTA. The report also notes that the MTA made about $325 million more in revenue than in operating costs in 2014. 
So what's up with all these budget constraints?
The MTA's 2015-2019 Capital Program proposed spending $15.5 billion on the subway aloneover the next five years, with plans to purchase new subway cars, replace track, and upgrade stations, among other improvements. But that $15.5 billion doesn't even cover completing the 2nd Avenue Subway, which may never be completely finished—and other mega projects that would considerably alleviate current commuter woes.
There's also the issue of the MTA's $34.1 billion debt, with the agency's heavy borrowing stretching all the way back to 1982. A fully funded Capital Program would permit the MTA to move forward with necessary repairs and projects without relying on further borrowing, according to the authority.
Governor Cuomo didn't seem to agree, calling the Capital Program "bloated" and thus far failing to provide the authority with the necessary funds. This has been an ongoing issue this year, and in order to alleviate what the MTA claims is a dire financial situation, earlier this month MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast called on the city to help out by giving the authority $300 million annually. The de Blasio administration has agreed to give the MTA $125 million annually, up from $100 million.
Stringer's report, however, uses fares and tolls to suggest the city contributes far more than $100 million per year, a claim with which the MTA takes issue. "It is incredible that the Comptroller acknowledges in the very first paragraph of his report that 'the MTA needs more funding from every level of government,' but uses fuzzy math to justify letting the city off the hook for using some of its billions in future surpluses to pay its fair share for mass transit," the MTA said in a statement.
Stringer, who is also displeased with our dirty subway stations, might make it seem like the city's off the hook, but the report doesn't let the state or federal governments get away with underfunding the MTA. The report points out that the State only offered $603.5 million to the MTA in 2014, making up about 4 percent of its operating budget. The federal government, meanwhile, has pledged $6.8 billion to the 2015-2019 Capital Plan, an amount Stringer says is $1.6 to $4.6 billion too little to keep the agency afloat. 
"As a critical engine of our regional economy, the MTA deserves support from every level of government," Stringer said in a statement. "But any conversation about how to fill the MTA’s budget gap must acknowledge that the City already contributes more to the MTA than it gets back in services, and that Albany must step up to the plate with greater support.”
Straphangers Campaign president Gene Russianoff seems to agree with Stringer's assessment that the state needs to step up to the plate:
The Straphangers Campaign agrees with the central finding of New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s just-released report on MTA funding, “The Invisible Fare.” He concludes that “despite the State’s sole governing authority and the tremendous MTA-related economic benefits that are spread across New York, the State’s contribution to the operating budget is” inadequate. We hope that the report can help revive progress on getting the MTA and its millions of riders a fully funded, five-year capital program.
You can peruse the whole report here [pdf], and be sure to tell your state representatives and Governor Cuomo to stop robbing the MTA of badly needed funding and figure out a way to come up with more cash for a 21st Century subway system.

May 31, 2015

Do You Manspread? In NYC Subways if Caught You Will be Busted!

 Two Hispanics Arrested after bursting at the seams

 The Police Reform Organizing Project's new "That's How They Get You" report features a roundup of stories compiled from long hours spent monitoring arraignment and summons courts. Among the 117 vignettes, which PROP director Robert Gangi said were usually based on court testimony—and occasionally on conversations with defendants and lawyers, or reviewing lawsuits or news reports—this anecdote appears:
On a recent visit to the arraignment part in Brooklyn’s criminal court, PROP volunteers observed that police officers had arrested two Latino men on the charge of "man spreading" on the subway, presumably because they were taking up more than one seat and therefore inconveniencing other riders. Before issuing an [adjournment contemplating dismissal] for both men, the judge expressed her skepticism about the charge because of the time of the arrests: "12:11AM, I can't believe there were many people on the subway".
The two men had outstanding warrants for other Broken Windows charges, namely, being in a park after closing and public urination, and their arrests brought them out of the pool of 1.2 million New York fugitives who missed court dates or failed to pay fines for low-level offenses. The MTA's rules of conduct only prohibit taking up more than one seat when it interferes with the functioning of the train or the "comfort of other passengers." Nevertheless, the judge, instead of dismissing the midnight manspreading charge outright, issued what's known as an ACD, a decision meaning all the charges will be thrown out if the defendant doesn't get arrested for a certain amount of time. 
Last summer, the activist group started sitting in the gallery of various courts for several hours every week or two, but Gangi said it was the first time its members had ever heard anyone involved in the system say "manspreading" out loud.
Manspreading arrests are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to numbers-driven policing in the subway system, which often takes place in the middle of the night, according to Gangi. Underground is where Broken Windows champion and police commissioner Bill Bratton got his start at the NYPD as transit chief, and fare evasion consistently ranks among the most common types of misdemeanor arrests. But the maddening tickets and criminal charges recounted in the PROP report come in many shapes and sizes, for behavior like putting a foot on a subway seat or walking between cars (always illegal, whether or not you're bothering anybody). Gangi said that he has no concrete proof that quotas exist, but that it's the only explanation for the volume of questionable cases he sees coming through court.
"My very strong sense, and I think other people see it the same way, is that it’s quota-driven," he said. "These kinds of tickets or arrests are low-lying fruit, they’re easy pickings."
The report notes that 89 percent of cases the group tracked ended with no further jail time. One man claimed an officer apologized to him after ticketing him for walking between subway cars, saying, “I’m sorry, but it’s the 26th of the month and I have to make my quota.” Evidence of rush hour douchebaggery is abundant in our archives, but in tracking hundreds of cases, Gangi claimed he never saw subway-etiquette-based charges leveled against someone actually blocking a door, say, or taking up a seat someone wanted.
"We've never seen someone ticketed or arrested because they were actually inconveniencing somebody," he said.
Here is a sampling of the subway horror stories, not to be confused with these, compiled by another activist group looking for the state to fund the MTA:
  • On a Saturday night in spring, a Legal Aid lawyer in the Manhattan arraignment part represented four defendants in a row who had been arrested for having a foot up on a subway seat. One case stood out for the attorney: a 22 year old African-American man, a college student with a part-time job, who had an appropriate ID and no criminal record, had to spend over 24 hours in jail. A police officer arrested him when the train was four stops away from his house.
  • A young African-American woman, a student at LaGuardia College, had three punitive interactions with NYPD officers in a year's time: the first was a summons for swiping her school MetroCard on Memorial Day; next was another summons, this time for having her foot on a subway seat; in the third encounter, the officer charged her with being in a park after dusk and cuffed and arrested her because she hadn't shown up in court for her two summonses. Her failure to appear had resulted in her becoming one of the more than one million fugitives from justice who live in NYC, an unfortunate status achieved by not keeping a court date to clear up a ticket for a minor infraction. "I'm a criminal now," she said in a bewildered tone, "even though my friends call me such a good girl."
  • At 2:30 in the morning at the Canal Street station in downtown Manhattan, police officers arrested three New Yorkers at the same time: a young white woman charged with foot on a subway seat — although there were no other passengers in the car; and two young African- American men, ages 18 and 19, charged with walking between subway cars. The police locked up the woman and one of the teenagers for about 5 hours in a holding cell in the subway and released them with a DAT. The police held the other teenager overnight because they found an outstanding warrant on his record. As the woman was leaving the lock-up, an officer told her not to worry because the court would dismiss the charge against her.
  • On a monitoring visit to the arraignment part in Manhattan's criminal court, a public defender motioned that she wanted to speak with us during a break in the proceedings. "My first 9 cases were all unlawful solicitation," she said, her head shaking in dismay. Unlawful solicitation means a person asks someone to swipe them onto the subway and is considered a punishable infraction even if the individual asked is willing to do so. We asked her about the race of the people charged. "All black," she replied.
  • Suspecting her of fare-beating at a Harlem subway station, police officers threw a woman down, pressed her face to the ground, and kicked her in the ribs. She actually had just swiped herself through the turnstile and opened the gate to guide her baby in a stroller onto the station platform. Her older children, 7 and 14 years old, witnessed the beating. “I felt like I was raped in front of my children,” she said, adding that she had moved to Newark to escape the NYPD. The charges against her were dismissed and, through a lawsuit, she is seeking damages against the city.
The list goes on. Ninety-four percent of the 850 defendants observed by PROP were people of color, according to the report. Plenty more of the accounts take place above ground.
Nathan Tempey in                                      

March 16, 2015

1964 Subway Map, No Numbers just colors

Take a look at the MTA maps of today and compare to this classic and you might just get lost. Also some time between 1964 and 1972 the Logo of the Subway system changed. As a young boy I was confused didn’t know why the trains were being marked with an mTa instead of Ta. It took me a while to figure out what the M was for. Never bothered with them until I was an adult and now the subways went all colors and numbers over an actual landscape of the boroughs. Before it was just lines and colors and someone most’ve figured you didn’t need to know what borough you were traveling under. You only got a minimum of what you needed.       Adam Gonzalez
Before MasI was consufRaleigh D’Adamo, a lawyer, won that competition with this map:

According to FastCo, the original map disappeared not long after, and was only somewhat unearthed at the end of last year when D'Adamo himself found a color photograph of it sitting in his basement.
"D’Adamo's design featured color-coding that differentiated local and express routes, an innovation at the time. Station symbols were only drawn in spots on the line where the train stopped. To save space, lines that shared routes were indicated by alternating blocks of color instead of parallel strips. Over the course of three years, D’Adamo’s design underwent major revisions before it became New York City’s official subway map in 1967."
Peter Lloyd of Transit Map History, along with graphic designer Reka Komoli, digitized the map, which is what you see above. Lloyd that this "painstaking reproduction of the hand-drawn map took about three months." The map was presented on Tube Map Central, where Lloyd explained that D'Adamo is responsible for giving our subway maps all that color—prior to 1967, there were only 3 colors, which represented the IRT, BMT, and IND lines.
The photograph of the hand-drawn map hasn't been released (yet?), and the original paper that D'Adamo drew it on is believed to have been lost somewhere inside the Transit Authority’s publicity office.

March 10, 2014

50 New Yorkers Stood by as Two Gay Men Were Beaten to a Pulp in the Subway

50 New Yorkers Stood By As Gay Man Was Viciously Beaten On Subway Platform

After celebrating their 10th anniversary together, J.P. Masterson and his partner Peter Moore were attacked by a man on the W. 4th Street subway station in Greenwich Village early Sunday morning.
The attacker yelled “I fucking hate faggots” at the couple, before striking Masterson and pushing him toward the subway tracks.
Masterson was taken to the hospital with a broken nose, facial fractures and seven broken bones. “I have multiple fractures in my face, eye socket and nose,” Masterson told D’Auria. “I can’t really breathe because my nose is off center.”
The couple says there were about 50 people waiting at the busy subway station, but not a single person bothered to help the victim.
According to CBS New York:
Masterson added that he was very disappointed that when the attack happened, no one on the crowded subway platform called police or did anything. There were about 50 people on the platform at the time, he said.
“I want my New Yorkers to step up and help me out, because, you know, at the end of the day, we’re all just people,” he said.
But as he waited to undergo surgery, Masterson vowed that he is bruised, but not broken. “You might beat me down, and I might look real grotesque right now, but I’m still standing,” he said.
The suspect is believed to be about 5’8″, 170 pounds, and in his late 20′s. Police released this sketch of the suspect:

Featured Posts

Staten Island and The US Looses One of Its Fighters to COVID-19 {Jim Smith}

                             Jim Smith helped organize Staten Island's first pride parade in 2005. He served as its...