Monday, September 29, 2008

777 Ain't Lucky After All

I'm talking about the stock market of course. The Dow Jones industrial average plummeted 777.68 points today , as the US House rejected a $700 billion bailout plan for the nation's crippling bank and investment system. It was the largest one day decline for the Dow Jones, resulting in a $1,000,000,000,000 loss for investors, and other markets both in New York and in the world quickly reacted and followed suit with their own losses. Looks like stuffing money under the mattress might be back...

(Screenshot from: CNN Money)
Edited 11:38

Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain Flip-Flops on Debate

I was going to post about how McCain put Obama in a tight spot earlier this week by "suspending" his presidential campaign to "work" on the bank bailout plan. However, it turns out that McCain relented flip-flopped today, and is on his way to the first presidential debate of 2008 in Mississippi tonight. I will watch it and blog about it soon after.

Historically, tonight's debate is also 150 years after Abraham Lincoln's famous debate with Stephen Douglas.

>>>ABCNews: McCain-Obama debate to go ahead

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Good and Bad News for Riders

(+) Yesterday, Google, the MTA, and New York Governor David Paterson unveiled Google transit for New York City. The Google Maps-based program helps travelers plan trips through an integration of the region's transit networks, including New York City Transit, Long Island Rail Road, Metro North, PATH, and New Jersey Transit. The maps will feature directions as well as suggested alternatives and even incorporates schedules. Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were also on hand at Grand Central to release the local version of Transit, which was already available in over 60 other U.S. cities and in areas of 9 other countries. The great part was, the MTA did not have to pay for this service, all they had to do was provide the data. Let's give them (MTA and Google) a round of applause!
>>>New York Times: Google Transit Expands to New York

(-) But we just have to end this post on a bad note since we all have to return to reality sometime. If the MTA had spent their own money doing that, I wouldn't have supported it, especially with their deficit growing everyday. Which may explain why the MTA is now delaying the completion of their $185 million, 152 station plan to install electronic displays on the IRT 1-6 lines. The displays which are supposed to provide info about train arrival times, were supposed to be installed by Siemens by 2006, but had their contract canceled due to glitches. The installation is now pushed back until 2011! The L line already has similar technology as part of a pilot. All platforms already have some sort of LED display, installed in the 90s, but all it does is display the current date and time and is useless today since most of us have watches/cellphones. Hopefully, the MTA can just incorporate the current date/time displays with the train arrival system, saving time and money.

>>>Daily News: Subway arrival info behind schedule

P.S.: The weird part is, the uptown Astor Place station has 2 displays, one just recently installed at an end of the platform far away from where most passengers wait for their train...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Long Lost Twins?

One is a comedian, the other is more into drama. But BOTH are actresses- Tara Summers and Nicole Parker. Can you guess which is which?

The one on the left is Nicole Parker, currently on MADtv. The one on the right is Tara Summers, currently on the hit show Boston Legal.
(I don't know, this resemblance struck me while I was watching the season premiere of Boston Legal last night.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Manhattan Living More Risky

Living in Manhattan now requires an adventurous side.

Last Thursday, the Office for Metropolitan Architecture unveiled a stunning new concept for an apartment in Lower Manhattan. Titled 23 East 22nd Street, the building extends out into the street!

And just this past Monday, Herzog & de Meuron (most recently of the Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing) released 56 Leonard, with an upper half that resembles the result of play blocks stacked wildly by a child.

>>>After Reading, vote here for your favorite.
>>>If you're interested: New York Magazine: One’s Huge, the Other’s Crazy (but which is which?!...maybe both)

Great Day to Take Transit

For me, at least. I arrived at my bus stop and waited only a few minutes for the bus to come. Stepped on at 8:26, took the F in Jamaica then E and stepped off the 6 train in the Lower East Side at 9:36. Total travel time: 1:10. (Recently, it has been taking a lot longer due to "track improvements" for "Some Manhattan-bound trains run local from 71-Continental Avs to 21 St-Queensbridge" which oddly does not affect the E and does not have any construction lights to show for it.) [Service Changes PDF:35KB]

On my way home, a R train was arriving right when I stepped onto the concourse/platform and I got on at 4:04. At Union Square, I transferred to an arriving Q train for a quick trip to 34th St, then for the F, which arrived as soon as I walked down the irreparable escalator. Stepped off the train after only 40 minutes! As I finished climbing the stairs out of the station, a bus was already waiting...with another pulling in several seconds later! 22 minutes after I alighted from the train, I stepped off the quick driving bus (when I turned my head to say, "Thank you," to the driver, he said, "You're welcome. Have a nice day," before I could even start.) Total travel time: 1:02! Unbelievable! (It usually takes 1:20, and a lot more waits)

Guess I was lucky today! I just hope I haven't angered the "subway gods."

Also, Second Avenue Sagas has taken a much deeper look at what was and became of the "1939 IND Second System," a plan by the city of New York to expand the subway system by an additional 100 track miles, potentially relieving today's packed subway cars and improving mass transit for everyone. (And potentially discouraging Robert Moses.)
Read about it here: Second Avenue Sagas: Dreaming of the Second System: Where the subways should go

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Perk to Being a Lehman Brothers Employee

I found a group that was trying to make light of the recent bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. I boarded a subway car this morning and caught an A-Capella group singing the Beach Boys' Barbara Ann. As the train came to a stop at the next station and they finished the song, one of the members said to the onboard passengers, "You can purchase a copy of our CD for only $9.99, but if you have a Lehman Brothers' ID card, we'll give you 2 for $10." Many riders, including myself, smiled. (They were obviously not employees of LB.)

>>> Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy filing...all those billions and millions of unsecured funds, oh my! (PDF file - 445KB)
>>>ABC News: As Wall Street tumbles, the world quakes

Naming the Subway

Second Avenue Sagas presented a collection of research ranging from the New York Times to the Waterfront Preservation Alliance of Greenpoint and Williamsburg on why the New York City Subway has so many stations with the same names and why some tell you that it's West 4th when there is only one station with that street number.

>>>Second Avenue Sagas: What’s in a name?