Friday, June 27, 2008

My 'hood

I am back home now from a week-and-change in KY, and I took an hour to re-explore Brooklyn Heights. It is still as beautiful as ever. . . . more or less.

Almost every day since the beginning of the summer I noticed that somewhere on Montague Street there are annoying people, usually working in teams of two or more who want to stop you on the street and ask you to sign something, or more likely to contribute to some cause or other. I seem to recall last year when the Turkish restaurant had people on the street harassed people, I was very annoyed, same goes for the time the Jews for Jesus did it a year or two ago, and I think I am at that point now. It is either the Save the Children people, the ACLU, gay activists, DNC, Obamaheads, or some other do-gooder group that will not let me walk down the street unmolested. Is there some way to stop these people? Is this legal or are the police just too scared to enforce the law when it comes to the ACLU?

(Apparently this problem is at least 14 years old.)

Secondly, there are these hideous structures ruining the view from the southern part of the promenade. For months, these ugly scaffolds have been hanging around and I was wondering what they are going to be used for. Now I found out. They are used to pump water from the river in to the river.

There are four things I think worth considering here. First, the environmental impact on extracting metals from the ground, making steel, molding it to scaffolding, transporting it to Brooklyn and Govenors Island etc is non-negligible. In the grand scheme of things it isn't much, but it is something.

Secondly, It also takes electricity to run, and I don't know who is paying for that, but when office buildings are being asked to cut electrical use so that the grid doesn't go down during peak times, what can possibly justify the expenditure on this? Pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of water upward takes lots of energy.

Third, the amount of tax-payer funded bureaucracy that went in to approving and planning this is also not negligible. It is not like someone filled out a form and it was approved and that was the whole government expense. I can't imagine how much this must have cost the taxpayers.

Finally, and I think most importantly, the things are useless and pointless. They are supposed to be "waterfalls" but really they look like construction sites without buildings after it rained, with torrents water falling off of them. Ugliest piece of "art" I've seen in a long time. And worse, the only way to really get a good view of them is to be standing in middle of the river. New York is not that desperate for attention or good art that we have to resort to this.

They attract people to the promenade to stare and take pictures of this crap, and that does little help but make parking that much harder around here (though I don't drive) and ups the demand (and hence price) for the restaurants and other stuff in the neighborhood (which I and most of the residents have little financial interest in). They are like tourists, but from here.

I can't wait for them to take down this junk.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I am now leaving Kentucky where I spent the past week and change in charge of someone else's unit. It was a pretty good experience and I had a lot of fun.

I hope I never have to come to KY again.

I am exhausted.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Just got back from a friend's wedding in Wilmington, DE. There is nothing to do in that town. The wedding however was absolutely beautiful.