Thursday, October 25, 2007

Recycle The Proposed E-cycle Program

City Councilman Bill DeBlassio (D-Brooklyn) is trying to put through a bill requiring certain manufacturers to be responsible for the collection and recycling of their products. This currently includes items such as televisions, computers and other electronic devices. A provision in the bill would prohibit manufacturers from selling their goods in New York City unless they agreed to the new policy. According to him, a deal with the mayor is imminent. Requests to the Councilman’s office for additional information have gone unanswered.

At first glance, this proposal seems well intentioned though a bit ill conceived. At second glance too. Who truly benefits by this bill and how? If companies are held responsible for disposing of their products beyond the product’s lifetime, it’s likely that costs will rise. Perhaps the Councilman has another bill pending to help NYC consumers offset a price hike? Perhaps not. If this bill passes and manufacturers decide not to sell in NYC, what will happen? Consumers will need to make arrangements for the collection of their electronics. NYC retailers will lose business as consumers will shop in New Jersey, Connecticut or upstate; an inconvenience to the people here and a loss in city tax revenue. Lastly, why limit this bill to electronics companies, Councilman? Why not also force auto manufacturers to tow away junked cars, plastics manufacturers to collect coffee cup lids and God to collect the leaves that fall to the ground every Fall?

Gowanus Canal Plans Still Murky

Toxic chemicals in the Gowanus Canal and its surrounding areas remain because of “scheduling conflicts” between city officials and the Army Corps of Engineers. This bureaucratic mess is delaying vital cleanup of the 1.5 mile long canal and slowing much of the area’s planned development and growth. Worse still, thousands of homes may be completed before work on the canal is done. This may require additional decontamination efforts in years to come. Who’ll be responsible for future rehab costs and associated health problems? Let’s have names!

Here's a name. 231 years ago, George Washington courageously stood up in a boat while crossing the Delaware River. He inspired his troops, led them to victory and buoyed a young nation’s spirit. Is there nobody now willing and able to stand up to take control of this ecological disaster to get the job done? If not, could it be that there’s fear among our “leaders” about falling off a boat into toxic waters? Government workers and military officials would do well to keep in mind that there are families with children who presently live by the shores of “Lavender Lake.” Many more will be arriving. Action is needed NOW … not ineffectiveness from those who can’t even manage their Day-Timers.

Do your jobs NOW people, or in the words of an old Brooklyn philosopher, "Take a long walk off a short pier!" (I’m sure you can guess where that pier might be located.)


For a previous generation of fringe music fans, a once sordid spot on the Bowery became a world famous, punk rock mecca. CBGB’s was born, lived and died in just a few dozen years. Not much time by some measures. Enough time though for CBGB’s to become legendary. To clubbers who entered and enjoyed, the memories will live on.

A chic boutique will become the first of several upscale businesses to open on CBGB’s grave. The Bowery and the surrounding neighborhood are changing; supposedly for the better. That it’s happening isn’t news, really. Like a volcano periodically spewing out lava, rebuilding the land around, New York City too incessantly rebuilds the new over the old. Dig deep enough and you’ll see generational histories, one built on top of another.

If punk is old now, those who “lived” it are older. Punch an air hole in the lava, rockers. It’s your only chance to survive. Or lay still beneath a trendy boutique in what was once the center of your world.