Garden in Transit is a historic community collaboration that will transform the streets of NY beginning in Sep. 2007 when up to 800,000 square feet (nearly 14 football fields!) of hand-painted floral panels created by up to 40,000 kids and volunteers cover up to 13,000 NYC taxis in what is possibly the largest ongoing public art project in the world.I actually found the more relevant website to be http://www.portraitsofhope.org/git/index.php, but the idea is still lovely. Wouldn't you like New York City to look a bit more like this?
Visit www.gardenintransit.org for more information on the project.
Okay, so it's not quite as good as real flowers, but I think it's kind of nice. I really love public art. And public art that involves children is somehow even better.
Secondly (to further the suspense about the NYT quote from a mishna), here is a nice op-ed from Sunday's New York Times about the possibility of replacing New York City's 12-18 mpg Ford Crown Victorias with hybrid cars that average 39 mpg and will pay for themselves in gasoline savings within one year if you compare the cost of the hybrid cars with the current Ford Crown Victorias. According to the op-ed, "The city requires that most cabs be retired after three years," so something like 90% of taxis are going to be purchased anyway within three years. They might as well be low-emissions models.
Finally--oh, no! It's a Times Select thing and I can't find any way around this one. Anyway, the quote was from this column by Clyde Haberman this past Tuesday, and he quoted (only in English), regarding Mayor Bloomberg's plan to make New York City environmentally sustainable by 2030:
Anyway, it was a nice column, and if I could figure out a way to post it for y'all to read, I would. I thought it was nice that the New York Times quoted a mishna, and that they picked such a nice one. I wonder how often that happens?א,יד] הוא היה אומר, אם אין אני לי, מי לי; וכשאני לעצמי, מה אני; ואם לא עכשיו, אימתיי?He [Hillel the Elder] used to say, "If I am not for myself, who will be? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?"
מסכת אבות, פרק א--
--Pirkei Avot 1:14
I assume that the Bloomberg plan is the same one that I referenced here. I haven't paid much attention to the details, other than the suggestions that people who drive into Manhattan from other boroughs pay $8/car. As someone who relies on public transportation, I think it's a dandy idea. Buses are very slow here because of all of the congestion, which also makes it stink to high heaven a lot of the time (that, and the garbage that piles up on the streets as evening approaches). Taxis would not pay the fee, and cars driving within Manhattan would pay a lower fee. Also, it would only apply to cars driving below 86th St. Someone (I forget who, probably someone who writes for the NYT) suggested applying the $8 fee only below 60th St., and I'm fine with that as well. (Here is another article that discussed the idea before Bloomberg officially unveiled it.)
Someone (again, probably either an editorialist--is that a word?--or letter-writer to the New York Times) said that this amounts to a regressive tax. I'm not sure I buy that. I actually don't know if studies have been done, but I would assume that wealthier people drive into and around Manhattan more than poor people do, and if poor people live in areas without access to public transportation (much of Queens? Brooklyn?), then they probably carpool into the city (I know some people who do that), so it would not cost each person $8/day. It is terrible that some neighborhoods don't have good, quick, public transportation access into the parts of Manhattan where many people work and shop. Bloomberg addressed that, though, when he:
Mr. Bloomberg also called for improvements in express bus service and other public transportation in neighborhoods with little access to the subway, and where people are most inclined to drive into Manhattan for work or shopping. He said the city would complete those improvements before anyone is charged in the congestion pricing system.That's all for now. I'm curious to see how this plan will play out.