Archive for Self Promotion

Second Ave. Sagas hasn’t changed its look much over the last few years. I think it’s been since late 2008, and in Internet years, that’s an eternity. So I’m thinking about redesigning the site in the coming months, and I wanted to open this thread up to you, my readers. What would you like to see on a redesigned site? I’m not even going to give suggestions because I’m curious to hear your unfiltered comments. Have it below or feel free to contact me privately. I’m looking forward to the feedback.

Categories : Asides, Self Promotion
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My popular Q-and-A series at the Transit Museum returns tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. with a look at the MTA’s FASTRACK program. Joining me will be Larry Gould, a senior director for operations analysis in the Operations Planning Division of New York City Transit. Here’s the blurb:

While the closures for FASTRACK are brief, the planning process is extensive. As a part of the Operations Planning division, Gould helps determine what parts of the subway system can be shut down, decides when to shut them down, configures service to accommodate the shutdown and coordinates customer communications. Join the New York Transit Museum on Tuesday for another installment of Problem Solvers, a series of informal discussions that takes an intimate look at the most interesting people and topics relating to moving millions of New Yorkers in a city with a century-old transit system.

Larry Gould is Senior Director, Operations Analysis in the Operations Planning division of MTA New York City Transit where he is responsible for short term service planning for capital construction, maintenance, emergencies, contingencies and special events. A native of the Bronx, Larry attended New York University as an undergraduate and graduate school at the Northwestern University Transportation Institute. Outside of NYC Transit, Larry is executive officer of the New York Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism, an advocate for compact, mixed-use neighborhoods, and he won the Sloan Public Service Award in 2004.

We’ll be discussing all things FASTRACK. How does the MTA coordinate service outages? How does the agency inform the public? What happens during these overnights anyway? Our talk will shed some light on a process that happens largely behind closed doors and shuttered stations. The Museum asks that interested attendees RSVP at this link. I’ll see you tomorrow night.

Categories : Self Promotion
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Fort Greene’s Greenlight Bookstore will be hosting us at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Over the years I’ve run this site, one question often posted to me concerns its origins. How did I become so interested in transit policy and the New York City subways? I often talk about my formative years spent journeying to the Transit Museum with my parents, my interest in urban growth and development, and, of course, my love of good design and mapmaking. Put it all together, and out came Second Ave. Sagas.

Despite the frustrations New Yorkers often express toward the transit system, I’m not the only person who find the subways strangely alluring. From abandoned, half-built station shells to shuttered stations at 91st St. or the Romanesque Revival architecture on display at City Hall, the mysteries of the subway system are more romantic and appealing than the day-to-day drudgery of riding the rails. Heading down that rabbit hole at LTVSquad is always dangerous.

This Thursday, I’ll be part of a panel talking openly about the appeal of the unknown underground. Hosted by urban explorer and author Moses Gates, the panel will take place at Fort Greene’s Greenlight Bookstore at 7:30 p.m. Here is the official description:

New York City’s subways are an object of fascination for tourists, kids, commuters, city dwellers and urban explorers alike. What is it that makes those 722 miles of track and train cars so interesting? Tonight’s discussion of the appeal of the subway will be hosted by Moses Gates, author of the new book Hidden Cities: Travels to the Secret Corners of the World’s Great Metropolises. He’ll talk with Eric Ruggiero, an explorer and photographer from New York City; Benjamin Kabak, the proprietor of the popular subway blog “Second Avenue Sagas”; and Stefanie Gray, transit campaign coordinator for Transportation Alternatives, and the latest person to attempt to break the record for quickest trip through the entire subway system. Join us to share the obsession and learn some subway secrets from some serious urban adventurers with discussion, images and video.

Join us for an intriguing discussion on the hidden world all around us. I can’t tell you how to get into the South 4th St. shell, but I can certainly tell you why everyone wants to see it.

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Hot on the heels of this morning’s panel about social media and transit information amidst Sandy, I’m thrilled to announce my next Problem Solvers Q-and-A session in conjunction with the Transit Museum. Scheduled for next Wednesday, December 5 at 6:30 p.m., next month’s event will tackle storm preparedness efforts from an infrastructure perspective. Joining me will be two MTA officials, and we will be discussing the transit system’s preparation for and response to the storm and how the city needs to prepare for future natural disasters.

My guests at next Wednesday’s event are James Ferrara, the president of MTA Bridges & Tunnels, and Thomas Abdallah, Transit’s Chief Environmental Engineer. Ferrara has been with the MTA since 1977 and will discuss how his division dealt with the storm. The MTA tunnels suffered tremendous flooding and will require future mitigation work. Abdallah is a voice for sustainability within Transit, and he led the effort in the late 1990s to put forward the MTA’s Environmental Management System plan. Abdallah will address the short- and long-term challenges and goals facing the MTA.

The Fine Print: Problem Solvers takes place on Wednesday, December 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Transit Museum in Downtown Brooklyn. It is located in the old Court St. station with an entrance at the corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn St. The event is free with doors at 6 for those who want to check out the museum and its awesome collection of vintage rolling stock. You can RSVP here. Hope to see you there.

Categories : Asides, Self Promotion
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How transit riders and the general public receive up-to-the-minute and accurate details concerning transit services during emergencies periods has taken center stage in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and tomorrow, I’ll be joining a panel at NYU’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management tomorrow morning to discuss the role social media plays in disseminating that information. The event is a breakfast in the Puck Building at 295 Lafayette St., and I’ll be joining folks from the MTA, NYC Department of Transportation and The New York Times — perhaps slightly awkwardly — as we discuss how social media both helps and hinders the spread of information.

Here’s the summary from the Rudin Center’s website: “From the front lines of Hurricane Sandy, New York’s transportation providers delivered information, images and video nonstop. Both official and informal information services emerged on social media networks to convey clearly the extent of infrastructure damage, and how New Yorkers could expect to get around.” We start at 8:30 and should wrap by 10 a.m. Check it out.

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A few upcoming events: Let’s start with the open bar fundraising. A few months ago, I joined the board of a nascent organization called the Riders Alliance, and this upcoming Monday is our official launch party. Run by John Raskin, a veteran community organization and former Chief of Staff for Daniel Squadron, the Riders Alliance is a membership organization of subway and bus riders in New York, dedicated to winning better transit by organizing transit riders into a powerful political constituency. I think it fills the gaps where other transit advocacy shops leave off.

So on Monday, we’re officially launching the event. Pete Donohue wrote a column about the organization earlier this week, and now we’re ready to go live. I’m one of the hosts of the launch party, and I’d like to extend an invite to my readership. This org lines up with many of the criticisms I’ve leveled at the lack of political organizing around transit issues. If you’re interested in the details, mosey on over to this page, and consider a $50 ticket for the open bar. If you do sign up, tell ‘em Benjamin Kabak sent you. I’m one of the hosts.

Meanwhile, on November 27, I’ll be a part of a panel at NYU’s Rudin Center on social media and transit information. Here’s the summary, “From the front lines of Hurricane Sandy, New York’s transportation providers delivered information, images and video nonstop. Both official and informal information services emerged on social media networks to convey clearly the extent of infrastructure damage, and how New Yorkers could expect to get around.”

Joining me on the panel will be Aaron Donovan and JP Chan from the MTA, Robin Lester Kenton from NYC DOT and Tyson Evans from The Times. It’s an 8:30 a.m. breakfast event at the Puck Building at 295 Lafayette Street. Check out the new-ish Broadway-Lafayette/Bleecker St. transfer while you’re there, and RSVP here.

Categories : Asides, Self Promotion
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Tonight, my popular Q-and-A series run in conjunction with the Transit Museum returns for its fall debut. I’ll be interviewing “Gridlock Sam” Schwartz, and we’ll be discussing his plan to mitigate traffic congestion in New York City while generating revenue for transit investments. We’ll talk about the ins and outs of his plans, the opposition it faces and the paths toward implementation. At some point, after all, New York City will have to address its traffic and transit issues head on.

Tonight’s event happens near, but not at, the Transit Museum. We’ll be at The Actors Fund Arts Center at 160 Schermerhorn Street in Brooklyn. Doors open at 6, and the session kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 17. To reserve your seat now, mosey on over to this link. I’ll see you there.

Categories : Asides, Self Promotion
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A few mid-day reminders for you: First up is some FASTRACK news. This week marks the final shutdown on the West Side IRT for 2012. Beginning at 10 p.m. and running through 5 a.m. each night this week, there will be no 1, 2 or 3 train service between 34th Street-Penn Station and South Ferry or Atlantic Ave./Barclays Center, as the case may be. The 5 will make local stops to Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn, and the 4 will do the same to New Lots Avenue. The Shuttle will operate through the night. Check out the map here, and plan accordingly.

Next, on Wednesday evening, my popular Q-and-A series run in conjunction with the Transit Museum returns for its fall debut. I’ll be interviewing “Gridlock Sam” Schwartz, and we’ll be discussing his plan to mitigate traffic congestion in New York City while generating revenue for transit investments. We’ll talk about the ins and outs of his plans, the opposition it faces and the paths toward implementation. At some point, after all, New York City will have to address its traffic and transit issues head on.

This month’s event happens near, but not at, the Transit Museum. We’ll be at The Actors Fund Arts Center at 160 Schermerhorn Street in Brooklyn. Doors open at 6, and the session kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 17. To reserve your seat now, mosey on over to this link. I’ll see you there.

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Next week, my popular Q-and-A series run in conjunction with the Transit Museum returns for its fall debut. I’ll be interviewing “Gridlock Sam” Schwartz, and we’ll be discussing his plan to mitigate traffic congestion in New York City while generating revenue for transit investments. We’ll talk about the ins and outs of his plans, the opposition it faces and the paths toward implementation. At some point, after all, New York City will have to address its traffic and transit issues head on.

This month’s event happens near, but not at, the Transit Museum. We’ll be at The Actors Fund Arts Center at 160 Schermerhorn Street in Brooklyn. Doors open at 6, and the session kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 17. To reserve your seat now, mosey on over to this link. I’ll see you there.

Categories : Asides, Self Promotion
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It’s the final FASTRACK of 2012 for the IND Sixth Avenue line. (Click the map to enlarge)

How about some mid-day announcements on this fine fall Monday? We start with the return of FASTRACK as the MTA’s work program enters its final home stretch for 2012. Despite initial plans for two more treatments, tonight’s work begins the last rotation for the program’s first year, and the current victims will be passengers riding along the 6th Ave. line. From 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., trains will be rerouted along the 8th Ave. line between 59th St./Columbus Circle and West 4th St. For all of the gory details, check out my post from July. Nothing has changed.

Meanwhile, I’m pleased to announce another return: “Problem Solvers,” my popular Q-and-A series with the Transit Museum, is making its fall debut on Wednesday, October 17 at 6:30 p.m. I’ll be sitting down with “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz, traffic engineer extraordinaire, to discuss how the city is combating congestion and what else it could be doing. The event will be at The Actors Fund Arts Center at 160 Schermerhorn Street, just a few blocks from the Transit Museum. Reserve your seat for this free event now.

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