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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

New Roosevelt Island Shaped Main Street Benches In Place - What Do You Think?

Did you notice

the new

Roosevelt Island shaped Main Street


What do you think?


Mark Lyon said...

I'm not a fan of the odd shape. Would have preferred a more square design that uses the same/similar wood and tone to the new ceilings.

Jean M. Shea said...

very strange, doesn't look comfortable, doesn't go with the design in general of Main street...

CheshireKitty said...

I'm not sure many people will "read" the shape as echoing that of the island itself, and may be puzzled by it. Some may perceive it as a poorly-wrapped cigar, or even, a blunt. Is Kramer suggesting we all go out and indulge in some weed?

The oddly designed seating doesn't look particularly comfortable - plus either end of the bench, read as irregularly-shaped protrusions, may be seen as obstructions rather than additional seating areas (?).

All in all, the new seating seem designed to discouraged lingering/chatting - especially compared to the former much more capacious/comfortable, albeit concrete, benches.

I am certain the new, uncomfortable seating is part of Kramer's plan - designed to "banish" the many minority people who live in Northtown from Main St, so as not to give the impression to prospective tenants/buyers of units that RI is a "low-income" "down-scale" area. In this way, Kramer can successfully tout units in Southtown, as if the richer Southtown population was indicative of the population of all of RI, which it is most definitely not. RI is not a well-off part of NYC, despite what Kramer may be telling prospective tenants and buyers, in an effort to get them to pay near-Manhattan rents and prices for units.

Kramer may control Southtown, but he cannot banish the poor from Northtown, not as long as there are still some areas of affordable housing on RI. As much as he would like to demolish 2-4 River Road, since it is set aside for those who receive Sec 8, including the disabled and the elderly, Kramer is not exactly in a position to do so. It is predators like Kramer, who want to maximize the profits from every square foot of property they own, that, together with the Bloomberg administration, have ruined NYC for the vast majority of New Yorkers, most of whom can be said to not be in a position to afford the rents and prices Kramer charges.

Kramer is essentially waging war on the low-income population of RI, trying to pull off a Potemkin Village type stunt of slapping a new more yuppified "face" on Main St in hopes of tricking "suckers" many of whom are from overseas and don't know any better, into spending inordinate amounts of cash on overpriced Southtown apartments and condos, so that he can continue to rake in the dough from overcharging for rent on units that are not in a particularly upscale, or even interesting part of town.

The same thing was done at Stuy Town - although the developers who sought to transform that development into an enclave for the rich, eventually failed and went busto... :-D

You have here, with the "transformation" of Main St, under the Master Lease that was so touted by former/fired RIOC Board member Kalkin, a veneer of gentility being slathered over the gritty thoroughfare, as if photomurals of food the poor who live on Main St can never afford and probably are better off not indulging in, makes Northtown a yuppie-town. The Master Lease is supposed to make Main St acceptable to members of the "Master Race" perhaps?

The photo murals, the Kramer treatment of Main St, doesn't get rid of the low-income people in the WIRE buildings, which is what Kramer would like to see happen, so the yuppies he's gotten to lease in his buildings don't have to stare uncomfortably at the low-income, the disabled, the elderly, the people of color with no money, as they hurriedly rush down Main St to the Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings, or to and from Motorgate garage anytime.

Kramer and his friends can pray all they wants for the "disappearance" of the poor - but the poor have sent quite a message to Kramer and his friends on 5 November, with the election of Deblasio: Stop building luxury developments until sufficient affordable housing is provided for the overwhelming MAJORITY OF NEW YORKERS (at least 75%) WHO ARE MOST DEFINITELY NOT YUPPIES!

Mark Lyon said...

Please take your class warfare fantasies elsewhere. They are ludicrous, unproductive and offensive.

Denise K Shull said...

Agreed - this diatribe over benches? Really?

Besides how can benches in more places be construed as discouraging lingering/chatting?

KTG said...

Its a bench, you need to get realistic.

BTW great article on NYCurbed yesterday about DeBlasio refusing to make a comment on the slow down of the proposed affordable housing development for Atlantic Yards. It pointed it out that he took 73k from Ratner in the election.

Say what you want it was virtually impossible to influence Bloomberg with cash.

CheshireKitty said...

C'mon KTG - all sides takes money from the developers in elections. It's a duopoly after all. Deblasio can't say much now, since he's Mayor-elect; hopefully, he'll be saying more come January when he's in a position to do a lot more than just talk about affordable housing.

Incidentally, the slowdown at Atlantic Yards, mirrors the travesty with Southtown. At one point, buildings 7, 8, and 9, were supposed to have been set aside for affordable housing. That idea slid off the radar, and, as Kramer began to notice he couldn't actually rent or sell all the overpriced units at Southtown as originally planned, he also slowed down on developing 7, 8, and 9. There is, evidently, a limit to how much even he can put over the overpriced units in a not exactly "exciting" or even, "upscale" neighborhood. Now, rumor has it that he is not even going to build 8 or 9, and that 7, being developed as luxury housing despite the glaring need for more affordable housing, is all the he will build. Is any of this surprising, really? Kramer doesn't want to "sully" Southtown with the faces of the poor.. just like he wants to banish the down-trodden from Main St by installing user-unfriendly seating, and it looks like he'll get away with it..

CheshireKitty said...

Hey, I'm always thrilled when my comments make yuppies uncomfortable. Bring it on, Mark!

CheshireKitty said...

Absolutely! The "benches in more places" is not exactly true, if one considers that much more extensive seating was ripped out when the modules - containing the "window-seats" were ripped out all along Eastwood arcade first. No, the net effect is a reduction in seating/socializing space, which is exactly what Kramer wanted, in removing the seating/socializing space which was used mostly by the majority poor people of color who occupy Eastwood, he is removing the poor people from Main St.

As I said, it's all part of Kramer's plan to "yuppify" Main St, make it more "acceptable" to the of necessity richer folk, those that are in a position to afford the more expensive upscale apartments on offer.

Now, why would a rich person want to share social space with a poor person, perhaps of a different cultural/social/educational/racial background, perhaps an elderly or a disabled person, even for a second on a side-walk? Of course they wouldn't - they would do anything to avoid social interaction with them - even if they are nice people. That explains the sorting by socio-economic class that occurs throughout the City, and why RI was such a "revolutionary" experiment if you will. On RI, the more well-off and the less well-off, as well as people of all colors and ethnic backgrounds, are forced to live together, as opposed to what was the case for many years in the City, de facto housing segregation, or, as some used to refer to it, the "glorious mosaic". It wasn't so glorious, Denise, because it represented pure racism and bigotry, with building managers and owners refusing to rent to people of color; it couldn't be proved in most cases, but the racism then was prevalent and widespread. Today, things are much different, especially with the influx of Asians, South Americans, and those from India, Pakistan, Bangla Desh, etc. These new immigrants have tipped the "racial balance" in New York in favor of the end of the white-majority, except where it still exists in certain probably persistently racist enclaves such as large swathes of Staten Island, or even, areas of Queens such as Jamaica Estates etc. But there is no white majority in NYC anymore - there is no one majority ethnic group in NYC anymore.

The problem in NYC instead is the "selling" of the City to the highest bidder - capitalism running rampant under the biggest capitalist and richest New Yorker of them all: Mayor Bloomberg! The proof that New Yorkers had enough with his pro-rich policies, was that Deblasio won on 5 November with a historic margin of victory - literally burying the lapdog of Bloomberg, Quinn, and the Bloomberg lamer clone Lhota, under an avalanche of votes by disaffected voters, looking for big changes from Deblasio.

New Yorkers - the majority of New Yorkers, not the capitalist class catered to by those who suck up to Wall Streeters - want change now. They want the rich - those making over 500K a year - taxed, so that pre-K and after-school programs are paid for. The want more affordable housing, and they want the developers to turn their attention to building new affordable housing. Just as Bloomberg up-zoned swathes of the City to help his developer friends, so will Deblasio down-zone swathes of the City to help the constituency that elected him: The overwhelming majority of New Yorkers who are not in fact yuppies.

Denise K Shull said...

Cheshire - you need to start your own blog called RobinHood. Seriously. I would post the counter argument in terms of global-macro economic factors in play here but this isn't the right venue, imo.

As for the benches, they look odd in the picture but I am keeping an open-mind. They will probably fade to more match the ceilings and wood can be comfortable or at least as comfortable as the two long cement benches still remaining.

Frank Farance said...

Would have been nice to get feedback before installing benches. If the benches have intervening arms, then they should be the same (classic) style that is used elsewhere on the Island - why do we need multiple styles? However, I don't think intervening arms works well for these kinds of benches on Main Street because it implies two people in the middle, one on each end. Just a flat bench without arms would have been better (IMO).

If there is some "artistic" aspect, then it's not obvious to me what it is: certainly it's not Roosevelt Island (or Goosevelt Island, as in the artwork on the Rivercross lawn).

This is one of those moments where I think: We paid money for this? :-)

CheshireKitty said...

OK - we're on opposite sides when it comes to neo-liberalism; let's leave it at that, Denise. Time will tell which side will emerge victorious.

As for the benches, I have now tested just them and find them - OK!

Although Mark is correct in that they do not match the more blonde-wood tones of the ceiling finish, the new benches do seem to have a certain mystique all their own.

I spoke to 3 residents, 2 of whom were trying them out, and 1 who was just staring at a bench, and we all agreed that they're interesting and "seem nice". I tried them out - both the backless portion and the portion with the low backrest: They are not as uncomfortable as they look! The back rest is minimal, and, obviously, they are probably not meant for long, relaxing, sitting - as opposed to a regular park bench where you can drape your arm over the back of the bench, or throw your jacket on it etc. No - these benches are minimally "welcoming" or "comfortable", but, in their own unique way, they're attractive. Although they are clearly not made of real wood, the idea is, someone thought of this unique shape, and put some thought into the bench, as opposed to an off-the-shelf park bench (as nice as those benches can be). So - these benches are truly unique. That is why people were staring at them.

Having tried them out, I can say, they are not that bad; although they are not as good, i.e. comfortable, as a regular park bench, they have a certain aura to them!

There was only one thing they reminded me of: Nature, and that the designer of these benches was so deeply into "natural shapes" he or she refused to draw a straight line.

Maybe the benches will convey a "natural" cozy look on Main St., as opposed to the prior, more "machine-like" look. One thing I, as a cat, can say, though: They are not designed for extended relaxation - it's impossible to "curl up" on them.

The Best Home Services said...

Is anyone else being disturbed by the work being done on the river wall in Queens south of big Allis? I was under the impression that there is a law that noise producing projects could not start until 8 AM. The sound of metal clanging has reached my bedroom as early as 6:30 AM. on several occasions. mc