Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Bike Racks By Byrne

Former Talking Heads band frontman and avid NYC cyclist David Byrne has designed nine artistic bike racks. Passersby are definitely turning their heads and talking about them. The rack design concepts are fitting to the particular New York neighborhood they’re in. There’s a shoe rack outside Bergdorf Goodman, a busty woman’s profile rack for Times Square, a dollar sign rack design for Wall Street and an electric guitar in Williamsburg. Timeless art they’re not, but who would want to padlock a bicycle to the Mona Lisa anyway?

Cash For Grades Is A Poor Investment

The Board of Education, in their infinite wisdom, approved a plan to pay some high school kids $500-$1,000 each to pass Advanced Placement (AP) tests. Their goal was to motivate students to get better scores by … showing them the Benjamins! The result? 35% of the test students passed in 2007 without reimbursement while only 32% of the “pupils for pay” passed in 2008. Cash incentives don’t work yet there are those looking for positives in a dismal idea. New York City kids shouldn’t be paid to learn. They should be inspired to take advantage of the opportunity a good education can provide. The reward for our children shouldn’t be "pocket money for the mall." It should be a bright future where they may fulfill their potential and dreams.

Urban Turbines Blow Mayor Away

Mayor Bloomberg recently proposed installing large wind turbines atop New York’s tallest buildings and bridges. Donald Trump likes the idea … but not on his buildings! He said, “My buildings are known for their great architecture, so I’d have to give it some serious thought.” The mayor’s windy ideas are far reaching however, going way beyond the boroughs. He also wants “wind farms” built miles out in the Atlantic Ocean. He believes these farms can supply twice as much wind as land-based wind farms and supply 10% of the city’s energy in ten years. A wind farm is already being built at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and there’s a proposal for a larger one on the Fresh Kills, Staten Island landfill. Wind turbine opponents point to problems with funding issues (public vs. private investment), noise pollution, safety issues (think toppling cranes), environmental impact and even the likelihood that the blades will kill birds. Most importantly perhaps, Siemens AG, one of the biggest makers of wind turbines says huge windmills in cities are not realistic. A company representative said that turbines attached to bridges and buildings would put too much stress on the existing structures which weren’t built to accommodate them. Undeterred, Bloomberg believes in using many approaches to solve our energy and pollution problems. The mayor realizes his breezy ideas are unlikely to fly. His intent is simply to get people talking … and thinking. He said the city will welcome “anybody that has brilliant ideas.” Who’s tripping down the streets of the city? Everyone knows it’s Windy.