You know what? Let's just give up on this whole congestion- pricing business. We're now convinced it'll make no difference, anyway. Keeping a car in Manhattan is such a profoundly terrible idea, such a profoundly impractical one, that clearly those inexplicably sold on it won't be deterred by a little additional fee. Witness a test case reported in today's Times: A Long Island family that regrets not having snapped up a private parking space in Chelsea for $168,000 when they had the chance. Turns out it would have made a great investment property, with spaces in the neighborhood now going for $225,000. (The kicker is that, in several new condos, your $200,000 parking space comes with a $50 monthly maintenance. That's right, for a swatch of poured concrete.) So who pays this kind of money? Well, our heroine is a Long Island mother of three kids, ages 7, 9, and 11, who is brought to Manhattan at least twice a week by "her children's modeling schedules." We rest our case.
For Parking Space, the Price Is Right at $225,000 [NYT]
• Six men from New Jersey and Philadelphia are charged with a bizarre plot to attack Fort Dix with assault weapons; this time, the Feds seem to have all the necessary goods on the plotters, including tapes of weapons training (in rural Pennsylvania!). [NYT]
• A huge chunk of Albany's political elite, from Eliot Spitzer on down, are poised to align themselves with Hillary Clinton in the '08 race. Lieutenant Governor David Patterson, Andrew Cuomo, Shelly Silver, et al are all in; Spitzer will announce from Statehouse steps this noon. [amNY]
• Mike Bloomberg is not exactly kind to the city's parkers (who can forget "Stop griping"), but at least he's fair: The mayor's annoyed with municipal workers who whip out government car placards in non-emergency situations, and wants to kill the perk. [NYP]
• Noticed a rash of nasty labor disputes at big-name restaurants lately? So has the City Council. A new bill, to be introduced today, would empower the Health Department to crack down on eateries with labor and wage violations. Bring on the (inflatable) rats! [MetroNY]
• And, teams of sewer workers — with names like the Tallman Island Turd Surfers and the Bowery Bay Bowl Busters — have competed in the twentieth annual Olympics of Sewage Treatment. The Bowery Boys won and will move on to the state finals. That is all. [NYDN]
In the face of citywide grumbling and tabloid pummeling ("Nix Those Tix!"), Mayor Bloomberg caved and ordered an amnesty on all alternate-side parking tickets issued Thursday and today, seeing how most of the ticketed cars were encased in marble-hard ice moguls. The pardon went out roughly 24 hours after the mayor told people to "stop griping" and, in our estimation, marks just about the first time Bloomberg backed down so swiftly on, well, anything. The amnesty was even accompanied by an apology, of sorts: "I'm sorry for the inconvenience to people, but you know you have to make decisions." Indeed you do.
Bloomberg Backtracks on Parking Tickets [NYT]
• A riot is brewing — or, more likely, the tabloids are picking up some easy populist points — over Mayor Bloomberg's failure to lift alternate-side parking rules during this week's snowstorm. [NYDN, amNY]
• Guess which single mayoral action is "tragic and misguided", and will "degrade societal standards" — the smoking ban, LES rezoning, the 2012 Olympic bid? Wrong: it's those damnable free condoms, according to Cardinal Egan and Brooklyn Bishop DiMarzio. [NYP]
• We all know about the sex-offender registry, but what does one do with homeless sex offenders? Suffolk Country found one, vaguely medieval, solution: put them in trailers that are periodically rotated around the county. [Newsday]
• MoMA director Glenn D. Lowry is even richer than we (and the IRS) knew: In addition to a jaw-dropping salary of $1.28 million a year, Lowry has been getting millions through a murky tax-exempt trust set up by the Museum's benefactors. [NYT]
• And in parting, this, from today's OMG-straight-men-can-cook "trend" profile in the News : "I'm constantly bringing wild game back to my apartment, and my girlfriend and I sit outside and pluck it." Don't we all?[NYDN]
• Anyone who's ever walked by the Hell's Angels' redoubt at 77 East 3rd Street knows the place is a bit creepy. But holy crap: After an injured woman was found outside, the police had to cordon off the block and use rooftop snipers, machine guns, helicopters, and a Bearcat vehicle to storm the mini-fortress. [amNY]
• The Post whips out the trusty "Un-Fare" pun for an unpleasant little scoop: The much-covered Fulton Street Transit Center will force riders switching from, say, J to R trains to swipe their MetroCard twice. And suddenly, we couldn't care less about the shape of its dome. [NYP]
• If you're at all hip, you know that the absolute trendiest thing to do is to beat the living shit out of someone and post the footage on YouTube. All the cool kids are doing it, including four aspiring documentarians on Long Island. One thing about video, however: It makes it awfully easy to identify the perps. [WNBC]
• A Manhattan professor expresses parents' overarching sentiment on the new school-bus routes, as quoted by the Times: "It looked as if a monkey had done it." [NYT]
• And if you like self-piloting trains and automated dry cleaning, you'll love robotic parking. The first such garage opens this February in Chinatown; your car will be lowered through the floor on a moving platform and assigned a free space by a computer. One hopes without you still in it. [FoxNews]
Yesterday we received a forwarded — actually, a several-times forwarded — press release from the New York City Department of Transportation. Next year, the city will expand the sidewalk into the street at the southeast corner of North 7th Street at Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, removing several parking spots but creating space for more bicycle racks. The forwarders were enthusiastic: "A truly progressive move by DOT," said one; perhaps the first time the city has removed vehicular parking spots to make room for bike parking, suggested another. But what does that corner look like at rush hour now? Photog and Williamsburger Everett Bogue checked it out on his way to work this morning, and we can't help but wonder: Once the new bike racks go in, how will they get the Bud to Williamsburg?
DOT to Widen Sidewalk & Install Bike Racks in Williamsburg, Brooklyn [PDF]