Today’s Headlines

  • Reynoso to NYPD: Demonizing Delivery Workers Isn’t Making Streets Safer (News)
  • Transit Advocates Not Impressed by Cuomo’s Wi-Fi Buses (AMNY)
  • Chris Christie Counting on NJ Transit Users to Forget Years of Willful Neglect (MTR)
  • Parks Department Considers Decriminalizing Bike Riding (AMNY)
  • SUV Driver Who Hospitalized Third Ave. Pedestrian: “I Didn’t See Her … She Was So Small” (DNA)
  • DOT Debuts Pedestrian Improvements on Astoria Boulevard Segment (NY1)
  • CB 7 Wants DOT to Prioritize Walking at West End Avenue and 96th Street (Rag)
  • After Refunding Tickets (Post), de Blasio Should Restore Ban on Blocking Curb Ramps
  • LI Drunk Driver Who Killed Dad and 2 Little Kids Gets 12 to 36 Years in Prison (News 12)
  • Feds Will Fund Holland Tunnel Sandy Repairs (AMNY)
  • Here’s an Electric Cargo Bike That Could Help Get Trucks Off NYC Streets (Observer)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    SUV Driver Who Hospitalized Third Ave. Pedestrian: “I Didn’t See Her … My Car Is Too Large” (DNA)

  • Vooch

    we really need to understand the roots of this attitude.

    Until the mid 1970s, drivers didn’t expect to have clear passage on many city streets because children played there. Drivers knew they SHARED streets with people.,

    Somehow, Driver’s attitudes changed since the 1970s to the extent they now believe they have EXCLUSIVE right to be on city streets. The right of free & unhindered passage for drivers is a relatively new attitude.

    We see this bizarre attitude expressing itself over & again.

    The pathological statement of this reckless driver ‘the little old lady was too short’ betrays a deep cultural gap.

    Drivers seem like fanatical devotees of some crazed bloody cult to us, but…

    If we understood why the attitudes changed, we might be better able to convince the general public that “city streets are for people,”

  • djx

    I don’t begrudge the driver for saying it in the heat of the moment.What makes me mad is that he did it. And also that NYPD will likely use that as proof it was “just an accident’ and unavoidable.

    In a sane world, saying “I didn’t see” the person someone hit would be evidence they were driving badly (with some exceptions).

    In the US, and certainly with NYPD, it’s like “Oh, that makes it OK.”

  • Komanoff

    “Until the mid 1970s”? Really? What’s your evidence? And how do you square that with the higher pedestrian death toll then (if memory serves), even adjusted for improvements in trauma care?

  • Vooch

    stickball

    🙂

  • Vooch

    The killer driver statement betrays a attitude that the roadway belongs exclusively to drivers and woe betide all others

    Since Cops are obsessive drivers they also have this attitude

  • vnm

    There are places where this continues unabated. I’ve seen touch football and basketball being played in the streets in the South Bronx and Washington Heights. Drivers see what’s going on and slow down to a less-than-crawl. Kids usually part to let them pass.

  • Komanoff

    You’ve described my childhood in Long Beach (NY) in the fifties. Sweet.

    But NYC into the mid-seventies? Not the NYC (okay, Manhattan) I moved to in the late sixties.

    It would be amazing to have a dynamic map of every NYC street that could show when it “tipped”!

  • Vooch

    this is great news !

  • Vooch

    see vnm comment below

    there is hope !

  • Joe R.

    Kids used to play on my street when we moved to eastern Queens in 1978. Not sure when it stopped (1990s?) but it coincided with a general increase in traffic in my area. It used to be that for much of the day only a few cars per hour would pass down my block. Now you probably have some tens of cars per hour for most of the day.

  • Joe R.

    That was my father’s childhood. His mother kicked him and his brother out of the house in the morning, told them to come back at dinner. Don’t know their exact address but it wasn’t far from Carl Schurtz Park (which my father pronounced “Carshal’s Park”).

  • Vooch

    what changed ?

  • Joe R.

    Helicopter parents, plus an irrational fear of “stranger danger” thanks to the media hyping every child kidnapping or murder, are what happened. In truth, you’re probably safer from these things than when we were kids but you wouldn’t know it the way parents are.

    And don’t get me started on the mandatory child helmet laws in many places. I’m glad I was born before that ridiculous trend started. I’m 100% sure i never would have had any interest in riding a bike if I had to wear a helmet. Bike helmets didn’t even exist when we were kids and yet I never heard of anyone getting severe head injury. It was mostly scrapes and bruises from too much bravo.

  • I regularly played baseball and football in the street with the other kids in my area from about 1974 through 1979. This was in Queens Village; our field was 89th Avenue between 210th Street and 210th Place.

    And we weren’t the only group of kids playing baseball and football in the streets in the 1970s; you saw it wherever you went. From what I could gather, street baseball and football were thriving.

    But we didn’t play stickball. Our street game was self-hitting. We used a sponge ball and regular bats. (To be clear: you didn’t let the bounce on the ground. You tossed the ball in the air and swung at it as it came down, the way that coaches do with fungo bats.)

    We also played fast-pitch baseball, with a rubber-coated hardball. We’d walk down 89th Avenue a few blocks west to the schoolyard of P.S. 135.

    We did both the self-hitting and the fast-pitch concurrently; but there was a difference of approach. Whereas in the self-hitting games we’d choose up sides anew each time, in the fast-pitch setting we had stable teams. It was really a kid-run league!

    My team was the 210th Place Phillies; and we played most of our games against the 88th Road Red Sox and the 204th Street Yankees. Our most memorable game took place on August 16, 1977 against the 88th Road team.

    This game was a scoreless tie after nine innings, which was unusual enough. But it remained scoreless after 10, 11, 12 innings, after 15 innings, after 18 innings! We were starting to draw a crowd.
    Guys on both teams were making great plays in the field.

    The game went into the 22nd inning still tied 0-0. We were batting in the bottom of the inning, and we loaded the bases with two out. Our next hitter hit an easy ground ball to shortstop. I and the other players on my team all picked up our gloves and started to head out to our positions for the 23rd inning — and then the ball went right through the shortstop’s legs! The game’s only run came home, and we won the game 1-0 in 22 innings!

    There was a second of stunned silence, followed by an eruption of emotion unlike anything I have felt since. My teammates and I were jumping on one another, and there were actual spectators there who were cheering. It was surreal, a magical moment.

    Eventually we all went home and heard the other big news of the day. The players in that game were the last people in the world to find out that Elvis had died.

  • kevd

    “Bike helmets didn’t even exist when we were kids” They existed when I was a kid in the 80s (in a small town, far away from here) And they sucked.
    The ones now are 1000 times better.
    Big part of the reason I wear one now but didn’t then!
    We rode all over the place without helmets.

  • Vooch

    Stranger – Danger might be a big influence

    Another influence might also be parked cars. Went back to my childhood neighborhood and was shocked at how every garage was apparently stuffed with junk and now everyone parked on street. It made the street too narrow for ball games. Not sure, but might be a influence.

  • Vooch

    Imagine kids trying to play catch on a cross street in Yorkville today !

  • Vooch

    what do you think changed ?

    why can’t -don’t children play in street anymore ?!

  • Komanoff

    What an epic! Great story.

  • Hehe, thanks! It’s a cherished memory.

    I hope to get a few of the players together and to go visit the site of the game as the 40th anniversary approaches.

  • bolwerk

    I’ve read that Son of Sam radically altered how people interact on the street.

  • Great question, my dad played stickball in East New York (Bradford St x Linden Blvd) back in the 50s. In Park Slope in the 80s I recall vaguely playing touch football in the street, but it may not have been on weekday afternoons, maybe only on weekends.

    I ride home through Whitestone and I never see kids even playing in the front yard, let alone the street. I believe that parents these days prefer that children engage in supervised afterschool activities instead of unsupervised play.

  • Vooch

    interesting and possible.
    any more details ?

  • Joe R.

    Thanks for sharing! A story like that really deserves to be made into a movie. Seriously. And then at the end you have cameos of all the kids as they are today.

    Nothing quite as epic in my past but I remember my senior year at Bronx Science. Once our college admissions were secure in January or February, we were pretty much just biding our time until graduation. Quite a few times we had impromptu baseball games after school in Harris Field, right across 205th Street from Bronx Science. Both guys and girls, all from my large group of friends who were a mix of mostly seniors, some juniors, and some sophomores. We sometimes played until the sun set as spring wore on. That was really the only opportunity I had for fun in high school. Up until then, it had been mostly working my butt off to get good grades, plus plenty of nights where I was lucky to get a few hours sleep. I wish I could go back to those days.

  • bolwerk

    Really just that people stopped using their stoops, stopped letting kids out to play as generously, etc.. This is stuff I haven’t read in 15 or more years at this point.

    (Even if SoS can’t be blamed everywhere, arguably that is very much with us today still. Nationally, not only in NYC.)

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