Archive for Self Promotion

I have a little bit of a last-minute announcement for you: I’ll be joining a group discussion this afternoon at the Transition Tent in Manhattan. Located at Canal St. and 6th Ave., the tent has been established by a variety of NYC groups, and it’s designed to be a part of the “open” transition from Mayor Bloomberg to Mayor de Blasio, and at 6 p.m. today, I’ll be a part of the Citizens’ Happy Hour, hosted by The New American Tavern. Here’s the listing:

Join us for spiced cider, beer, wine, snacks and civic conversation. During this Citizens’ Happy Hour, each table will host discussions on themes of interest to you such as: music, education, life for artists in NYC, access to healthy foods and more. At the end of the hour each table will summarize their conversation and present a relevant policy recommendation to the rest of the group.

I’ll be talking transit and transportation. I’m sure we’ll hit on subways, buses, bikes, roads and safe streets. You can find out more about the Transition Tent right here, and RSVP for the event either on Facebook or Eventbrite. It’ll be an interesting way to spend an hour on Sunday afternoon.

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Among my podcast, Twitter feed, Instagram account and Facebook page, you may not have enough Second Ave. Sagas in your life. So next week you have not one but two chances to see me live and in the flesh talking about transit matters.

First up is a panel I’m on this coming Tuesday, November 19. Hosted by the Manhattan Young Democrats, I’ll be joining Public Advocate-elect Letitia James and James Parrott, Deputy Director and Chief Economist at the Fiscal Policy Institute to discuss Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s first 100 days. Seth Barron from City & State will moderate, and I’ll tackle items I feel should be on de Blasio’s transportation agenda. (For a preview, check out my to-do list for our incoming mayor.) The panel kicks off at 7 p.m. at The Liberty on West 35th St. For information and to RSVP, check out the event’s Facebook page.

Then, on Wednesday, November 20, Problem Solvers makes its fall debut at the Transit Museum. I’ll be sitting down with Randy Gregory, creator of the project 100 Ways to Improve the Subway. Gregory’s 100 proposals, which range from subway car flooring suggestions to smell detectors, take an inventive, practical and fancifully creative approach to improving nearly every aspect of the subway system. (Read my June coverage of his site right here.) That one kicks off at 6:30 p.m. at the Transit Museum in Downtown Brooklyn, and you can reserve tickets here. I’ll see you next week.

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On my way to the All Star Game yesterday evening, I had a chance to walk to the western end of the 7 train platform at Times Square. If you peer into the tunnel, you see not a dead end but a temporary wall obscuring the 7 line extension. In less a year, these trains will run to the Hudson Yards, but for now, the signal system and third rail power end at 42nd St. I snapped the picture above from the railfan window at the back of train and posted it to Instagram. I like to think that it’s a pretty neat photograph.

While this site remains my primary outlet for transit-related content, I wanted to take a minute or two to point you in a few other directions. In addition to the blog, I’ve been maintaining that Instagram account where I post photos of sights and scenes from the New York City subway system. I’ve photographed old maps, unique Metrocards and Arts for Transit installations. Occasionally I’ll branch out to other transportation-related locales as well as I did a few weeks ago when I found myself across the street from the TWA terminal at night. Give me a follow right here for more.

Beyond Instagram, SAS maintains an active Twitter feed where I discuss transit-related news and developments that may or may not make it into a longer post. I also have a Facebook page with links to new content, photos and event announcements. If you’re into social media, check ’em all out. It’s a great way to get Second Ave. Sagas in many different forms, and as they say, variety is the spice of life.

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My long-standing series at the Transit Museum continues tomorrow, Wednesday, June 5, and this time, I’ll be talking transit security with Joseph Nugent, the liaison between New York City Transit and the New York Police Department. In the aftermath of the Boston bombings, Nugent and I will be discussing the extensive security measures — some visible, some not — in place to protect transit riders in New York. It’s not an easy task as the system is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and unmanned access points exist throughout the five boroughs.

Some background on my guest: Nugent is the interagency liaison between the New York Police Department and New York City Transit. He began his career as an officer with the NYC Transit Police Department in 1985, and was promoted to sergeant in 1993. In 2002, he became a lieutenant with the NYPD, retiring in July 2005. Before starting in his current position, he worked as an NYCT investigator in employee misconduct and workplace violence, and later as counterterrorism liaison. He received a B.S. in Business Management from St. Francis College in 2000, and a Masters in Public Administration from Marist College in 2009.

As always, Problem Solvers takes place at the Transit Museum in Downtown Brooklyn, and the program starts at 6:30 p.m. with doors at 6. Admission is free, but the Museum asks that you kindly RSVP right here. See you then.

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My long-standing series at the Transit Museum continues next Wednesday, June 5, and this time, I’ll be talking transit security with Joseph Nugent, the liaison between New York City Transit and the New York Police Department. In the aftermath of the Boston bombings, Nugent and I will be discussing the extensive security measures — some visible, some not — in place to protect transit riders in New York. It’s not an easy task as the system is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and unmanned access points exist throughout the five boroughs.

Some background on my guest: Nugent is the interagency liaison between the New York Police Department and New York City Transit. He began his career as an officer with the NYC Transit Police Department in 1985, and was promoted to sergeant in 1993. In 2002, he became a lieutenant with the NYPD, retiring in July 2005. Before starting in his current position, he worked as an NYCT investigator in employee misconduct and workplace violence, and later as counterterrorism liaison. He received a B.S. in Business Management from St. Francis College in 2000, and a Masters in Public Administration from Marist College in 2009.

As always, Problem Solvers takes place at the Transit Museum in Downtown Brooklyn, and the program starts at 6:30 p.m. with doors at 6. Admission is free, but the Museum asks that you kindly RSVP right here. See you on Wednesday.

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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.

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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.

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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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