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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Tired of the Transit Strike?

Day three of the transit strike has left many people wishing it would all go away. Bloomberg and the city's MTA has done an excellent job of spinning the media against the unions. However, the fastest way to resolve the whole thing and send the transit workers back underground is to meet their demands; fines, jailtime, and empty threats will not get union workers anywhere. Instead of complaining that the subway isn't runing, do us all a favor and make a few phone calls telling influencial people to meet the union's demands:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, NY 10007
PHONE 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK outside NYC)
FAX (212) 788-2460

Governor George E. Pataki
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Mapping Crime

Councilman Steve Fulop has begun mapping crime [patience, long load time] in the downtown in hopes that the map will be used as a crime fighting tool. We thought we would help out the project:

What Not To Wear

Blogger Philly2Hoboken has some fashion tips for winter travelers. Normally we tend to stay away from the frivolity of local fashion [after all, ten minutes in a bar in Hoboken would produce a blog's worth of comments; we mean you, sorority sisters], but this was too good to pass up:

"I see the girls & guys walking down the street, shivering, and they don't have a coat & loudly complain how cold it is. These are the kind of asshats we get into Hoboken."

Well said.

Strike Spikes Ferry Service; Cuts Tunnel Traffic;

In what is no surprise for anyone, HOV 4 restrictions on the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels drove many commuters to use local ferrys instead of their cars. Perhaps one benefit of all this chaos will be the conversion of some drivers to ferry riders for the long term. Meanwhile, tunnel traffic was limited and local streets also so a reduction in vehicles.

Fulop Calls Bullshit On Lipski's Embankment Maneuver

The Sixth Street Embankment controversy continued as the council attempted to vote on an ordinance requiring developer Steve Hyman to prove Conrail granted the city an opportunity to buy the property-- a ploy that is likely only intended to stall redevelopment of the embankment in the hopes of deterring Hyman from building condos. Lipski, who was not at the meeting, tabled the vote through Councilman Gaughan by informing him there was "new information." Downtown councilman Steve Fulop referred to the maneuver by the highly technical term: "bullshit." Literally.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

PATH To Keep Manhattan Moving During MTA Strike

The MTA strike is in full swing today leaving millions of commuters stranded. The Holland tunnel is operating on an HOV restriction of 4 passenger minimums until 11am, and later today may be converted to execlusively outbound traffic depending on traffic situations in Manhattan. Meanwhile PATH trains are still running on time.

Special PATH Train Service:
33rd Street to World Trade via Pavonia / Newport
Every 7 Minutes until 8pm


Monday, December 19, 2005

Briefly Noted

$40 Million In Parking Tickets To Fill Budget Gap: Tax Hikes Could Be Averted With More Parking Tickets

MTA Hopes No One Will Notice When 35,000 Transit Workers Don't Show Up: Stalled Talks Likely Will Lead To Strike

Melted: Melt Has Closed

Signs Of Life: Does Hoboken Have a Signage Problem?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Embankment Meetings

For those of you concerned about the fate of the 6th Street embankment, Jersey City Vibe has listed serveral key meeting dates. Whether you want to see a park, parking lot, or condos on the site of the embankment, it might do you well to attend.

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Jersey City Could See Tax Hikes

Property Taxes in New Jersey have always been a hot button issue; elections are won and lost on a politicians tax record. However, Jersey City is set for what could be a record tax hike in a worst case scenerio. Mayor Healy is blaming past decisions and debt service.

No doubt however, many city officials are regretting some of those tax abatements carelessly granted to developers. As the new developments fill up with residents, they are demanding services without fully paying for them. Meanwhile, anyone thinking that the Parking Authority is out of control, it could get worse: "The city also could be more aggressive in its collection of parking tickets." Be prepared for plenty more wrongfully issued tickets.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Software Integrates Google Maps And Subway System; Still No Good Way To Get To Brooklyn

Mister Snitch! has found a most intriguing program based on the free Google Maps software. The Interactive Transit Map allows you to click on a starting location and an end location and then tells the user which subway lines to take. The software integrates MTA subways, PATH, and the Light Rail, as well as the Newark Subway. The service is not bug free-- for instance, tell it you want to go from City Hall [New York] to Grove Street [Jersey City] and it sends you up the R/W line to 33rd Street. But still, we're impressed by the service, and think you should be too.

MTA Strike Closer To Reality

With a little more than 12 hours to go before New York City is shutdown by a possible transit strike, it seems the MTA is no closer to resolving the issue with the union that represents bus and subway drivers. City government seems fairly determined to work around a strike if the union fails to give into demands. Part of the plan includes running additional PATH trains from 33rd street to the World Trade center via Jersey City's Newport station. In addition, Holland tunnel traffic will be restricted to high occupancy vehicles.

For Hudson County residents, an MTA strike will mean heavy demand for parking spaces near PATH and light rail stops. Of course, it will also likely be a boon for Hoboke and Jersey City's parking authority once the lots are filled and commuters resort to defying the cities' restricted parking zones. On the other hand, with many fewer cars coming through the Holland Tunnel, getting around the area might be easier.

Meanwhile, the MTA has truly made their own bed. This year they have a project $1 billion suprplus and expect a surplus next year. Additionally, the MTA has already declared they will insist on raising fares next year. And to top all this off, the MTA has been giving weekend riders -- tourists mostly -- a fifty percent discount on ticket prices. The money is quite obviously there and the union no doubt sees an opportunity to get a little more for their workers, and rightfully so considering how dependant we all are on their services.

While most reports suggest that the big area of contention is the amount of a pay raise-- the MTA wants 3% and the union 8%-- and retirement ages-- the union wants to lower the age to 50 and the MTA wants to raise the age to 62-- the deeper issue might actually be technology. Over the last decade the MTA has been installing and preparing automated transit lines such as the L train. Over the next few years, the MTA is planning on installing new rail cars where computers will announce stops and as the automated system expands, drive themselves as well. Recent experiments with running trains with reduced staff have lead to outcrys from the Union and we suspect this might also be an issue. In either case, we think the MTA will be hardpressed to deny pay raises to the union that literally keeps New York moving.

Regardless, Hudson County residents should be aware that if MTA workers strike, PATH trains will be exceptionally busy.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Melt, a Jersey City restaurant rumored to have excellent food, apparently is closing down, at least for now.


Hate Snow? So Does Hoboken's Automatic Parking Garage

Mister Snitch! has posted some observations regarding Hoboken's automatic parking garage, the eighth wonder of the modern world. It seems the garage is more suited to warm climates; melting snow from cars can cause electrical problems. So you probably shouldn't park here when it is raining outside either.

Perfect Storm Brewing in Hudson County Political Game

As we reported yesterday, the relative peace the Hudson County Democratic machine was enjoying was shaken when Assemblyman Joe Vas launched his campaign for the Congressional seat that Bob Menendez is about to vacate. Meanwhile, we were a bit surprised that newly elected and still campaigning Jersey City councilman Steven Fulop hadn't launched his own bid to fill the seat. Apparently, our assumptions were accurate, and Fulop is considering a run.

Albio Sires, the Hudson Democratic party endorsed candidate, has a huge advatange over Vas because Hudson County is such a large part of the 13th district.

"A spokesman for Vas also welcomed Fulop, saying the race would benefit from an infusion of his ideas" neglecting to mention that any Hudson County candidate that would take votes away from party endorsed candidate Sires would greatly benefit Vas's campaign.

Indeed, the real trouble with Fulop entering the race for Congress would be that he potentially would be a spoiler for Sires in Hudson County. And while a unified Hudson County would easily defeat Middlesex man Vas, a divided Hudson County could lead to a Vas victory. Of course, if that were to happen, two years later Vas would likely face another primary challenge from a unified Hudson. Leaders of the Hudson Democratic party are probably not looking forward to the fight, but then again, getting Fulop out of his Jersey City municipal office may not seem such a bad idea to them either.

The Blog Wars: Hudson Blogging The New Hotness

Curbed has discovered a real estate blog covering the Hudson County Market. Editor Judy Marciano is also a licensed real estate agent, which should make her insights on the local market much more interesting [and perhaps relevant] than our own. In either case, we look forward to hearing what she has to say.

Shopping In Jersey City

Jersey City Vibe has taken the time to put together a local shopping guide just in time for the Holiday season.

Local Salon Too Busy To Serve Customers

Many economists tell us we're living in a "service economy," but it seems time and time again that businesses don't understand just exactly what customer service is. Community blog The Boke has a little bit about poor customer service at Emanuel's Salon in downtown Hoboken. We can understand how this local blogger feels, so we'll suggest avoiding this local business.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Corzine's departure Leaves Political Quagmire

Everything seemed to be going smoothly the Hudson County political machine ever since former Jersey City Mayor Glenn Cunningham died a year and a half ago. Hoboken resident Jon Corzine was preparing to go to Trenton as Governor, and now is. His neighbor, Congressman Bob Menendez readied himself to step up to Corzine's senate seat, and now he is too.

But of course, it wouldn’t be Hudson County if there wasn’t more to the story. Menendez's promotion leaves an open Congressional leading into next year’s midterm cycle. Two candidates have emerged to fill it. Joe Vas, an assemblyman and Mayor of Perth Amboy announced today that he was seeking the nomination. Albio Sires, also an Assemblyman and mayor of West New York is looking to fill the seat.

Vas stated during several press events today, one of which was held in Jersey City, that he hoped to bring an innovative new vision to the table, a clear shot at the Hudson County Party Menendez leads. Not to be outdone though, the Hudson Democrats endorsed Sires at the same time Vas was making his token appearance in Jersey City. During his Jersey City event, Vas played up his role in redeveloping Perth Amboy while claiming the redevelopment of Jersey City should not be restricted to the downtown. We of course, couldn’t care less about places west of the Turnpike, since this blog is, after all, a downtown blog.

Hudson county makes up the lions share of votes in the 13th Congressional district. The district also leans heavily in favor of the Democratic party, essentially ensuring that the November election is a mere formality and the most interesting part of the match up will be the June primary. Demographics of course favor a Hudson County man, essentially paving the way for a Congressman Sires. But what is certain, if either men wins the primary, an Assembly vacancy will be created.

With Democrats dominating statewide elections, there hasn’t been much room for promotions within the party, and Corzine’s departure in the Senate has laid the groundwork for a serious number of party favorites to move up the ladder. If Sires wins the Congressional seat—and be sure the party of Bob Menendez is working to make that happen—yet another Hudson County up-and-coming will see their careers advance.

MTA Strike Could Cause Parking Nighmare for Jersey City

With MTA workers threatening to strike, it seems officials are looking to restrict the number of cars on inbound city tunnels. One plan includes limiting access to cars with four or more drivers. Just in case you've never tried to carpool with even a single passenger, we'll tell you its not so easy to find people willing to share a car with you. So no doubt many of these distressed motorists will be packing into parking lots and garages throughout Jersey City when they get to the tunnel entrance and realize they'll be turned away.

Oh, and never you mind that the MTA has done its best over the last few months to inconvience riders entering New York through the WTC. PATH is still coming to the rescue. That's right, a special PATH train shuttle will be running between 33rd street and the WTC in the event of a strike, so while the MTA never hesitates to give a bit of the old FU to PATH riders, it seems PATH will be the only way to go downtown if there is a strike.


History Lesson: You Thought The Streets Were In Bad Shape Now

Showhank Hill, a blog, has uncovered a the Library of Congress archive of photographs, including one of a Jersey City Streetscape. Potholes be damned, at least the streets today are paved.

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New York's Sixth is a blog for the forgotten, de facto borough across the river featuring original content, commentary, and information relevant to living in Downtown Jersey City / Hoboken.


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