Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, April 29, 2021

The question burns among those who fancy themselves to be oh-so-clever societal observers: “Why is there braille on drive-up ATM teller machines?”

Answer: Because it’s Federally mandated, and a fair number of blind folks drive up in taxis to said machines (and thus wouldn’t want to give their account code to the cabbie).

What I’d like to know is, why are there braille instructions on New York State Lottery vending machines, as I noticed earlier today? If you’re sightless, and you’re still compelled to buy scratch-off games that you can’t properly play unless you can see the card, I don’t think the State should be helping you along with your gambling addiction.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 04/29/2006 08:15:27 PM
Category: Society
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The Albany Institute of History & Art has come up with a jaunty semi-acronymical “AHA” to use as a marketing nickname. This conveniently ignores that pesky “I”, for Institute, in the full name. I guess “AIHA” would be a harder sell — comes off as vaguely Japanese.

If the Albany museum really wants to go full bore with this questionable branding, then they should put a comedic punctuation upon it: Get Steve Coogan to do some promotional commercials as Alan Partridge, who’s fond of using his “A-ha!” catchphrase. It’s damned obscure, but maybe it’ll attract some British tourists.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 04/29/2006 07:47:27 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Creative, New Yorkin'
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The crowds at JFK, La Guardia, and Newark aren’t getting any smaller. And so, aviation officials in New York and New Jersey are rumbling about gearing up a fourth metropolitan airport to relieve congestion.

The problem: There’s no land to be had inside or near the metro area. So planners are casting about miles from the city center, with Stewart International Airport, 65 miles up the Hudson (and about 10 minutes from my boyhood home), emerging as the likeliest candidate for a proposed boost-up.

Stewart is bigger than [regional airports] MacArthur, Westchester and even Newark. It sits on 2,200 acres near the junction of two interstate highways, the New York State Thruway and I-84.

Although it is 65 miles from Manhattan, [Stewart managing director Charles] Seliga said that distance should make Stewart more attractive as a reliever for the big three. [Port Authority chairman Anthony] Coscia would also like to see some of the private aircraft traffic diverted from the Port Authority’s Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to Stewart…

Mitchell L. Moss, a professor of urban policy and planning at New York University, endorsed the idea of a fourth airport as “a wise strategy for the 21st century” and said he favored Stewart because of its size and location. Stewart “is especially well suited for air cargo,” Mr. Moss said, because “it has better highway linkages than any existing airport to the Midwest and New England.”

If this gains any traction, maybe it would serve to close the deal on changing Stewart’s name to the more sensible (if overlong) “New York Hudson Valley International Airport”.

Stewart’s gone through this teasing before. It’s an “International” airport in name only — pretty much nothing but low-cost carriers occupy space there. Ramp-ups for the former Army base have been talked up since I was in diapers, and they’ve never come close to fruition. Future planning for capacity woes to the south has always turned out to be false alarms.

Its location is both a blessing and a curse. For cargo, it is indeed a boon to be positioned at the crossroads of the Northeast, and it would make sense for a lot of commerce to route through there. But for passenger traffic, it’s a tough sell to get travelers with an NYC destination to alight in a boondocks that will require an additional two hours of travel to finally get to Manhattan.

There are factors that suggest better timing this time around, though. Exurb expansion to Orange County, where Stewart is located, means that there should be more people and infrastructure to make a high-capacity airport palatable. The mass transit link to the City wouldn’t have to be built from scratch: In addition to Metro North tracks nearby in Rockland County, there’s already a bus link from Stewart to the Metro North station in Beacon. It would have to be expanded bigtime, though.

Like I say, I’ll believe it when I see it. With the history of near-misses, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a site in New Jersey or on Long Island get the nod instead.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 04/29/2006 05:59:57 PM
Category: Business, New Yorkin'
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Today offered me two big-big-big sporting events in New York City that I could have attended:

- The 2006 NFL Draft, at Radio City Music Hall

- A few blocks away, Game Four of the Rangers-Devils playoff series, at Madison Square Garden

Given that choice, I opted for None of the Above.

The Draft is better experienced via TV, with ESPN’s chattering classes providing the background noise, especially this year when there’s nothing of note to see after the first half of the first round. Besides, the audience is always overloaded with obnoxious Jets fans, and I can think of more pleasant experiences on a Saturday than enduring that rabble.

As for the hockey game, the prospect of the playoff experience at MSG was certainly tempting. But that’s tempered by the likelihood that the Rangers are about to get swept; and since that complete invalidates my playoff prediction, I’m miffed enough to embargo my attendance. (I am, of course, couch-potatoing the game as I write this.)

I certainly feel like a slug. But this too shall pass.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 04/29/2006 04:37:33 PM
Category: Football, Hockey, New Yorkin'
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