it was really exciting to see an article today in the NY Times about Grimshaw’s design for the Queens Museum of Art. i took off last semester from school and worked at Grimshaw NY, and spent some time on the QMA project, so i was really happy to see it unveiled. the design hasn’t changed much since i left in early july, and i was especially happy to see that the design for the west facade (containing ‘Queens Museum of Art’ in the 138 languages spoken in Queen) remains.
i’ve been waiting for Google Transit to include Austin for a year now, but the other day saw only the addition of four other cities. i’ve emailed Google Transit and CapMetro multiple times, but never saw anything happen. well, now that Google Transit has added more cities, they’re providing the ability for transit agencies to get their route info into Google Transit. that’s super exciting, b/c now the possibility exists for CapMetro to become a part of Google Transit, which means that getting route info and times could be a relatively painless issue (if you’ve ever tried to find out the route you need to take using CapMetro’s ‘Trip Planner’, and then checking out what route the recommended bus actually takes, you know what i’m talking about [*see explanation below]).
in an attempt to jumpstart the process, i immediately emailed CapMetro’s customer service, and then called them as well. i then spoke to the first operator, who hadn’t ever heard of Google Maps. i was then transferred to a different operator who had heard of Google Maps, and she then hooked me up w/ the CapMetro IT dept. now we’re getting somewhere. the IT dept doesn’t handle this type of request, though, so i was hooked up w/ the head of customer service next. this guy rocked, he knew of Google Transit, and was eager to learn more about it. i emailed him the link w/ instructions to get Austin involved, and then we chatted up the benefits of getting Austin into Google Transit. he did tip me off that we’re dealing w/ a bit of a bureaucracy, so this wouldn’t be an overnight fix, but he was encouraging and took my contact info. here’s to hoping!
*okay, here’s how i sometimes like to drive myself mad: start out at CapMetro’s home page where i can find the ‘Trip Planner’ in the righthand column. i then insert as starting point: ’50th St. and Duval’ and as ending point: ‘W. 22nd St. and Guadalupe’. CapMetro doesn’t know what 50th St. is, so i need to go back and specify Eas 50th St. it doesn’t recognize that either, so i specify 51st St., and then East 51st Street. no-go. i then finally insert my address as a last ditch attempt, which works. now it doesn’t understand the ending address, so i try West 22nd St. and West 22nd Street, both to no avail. it finally just recognized Guadalupe Street, which in reality is not what it should do (maybe i want to get off at 7th St. instead of 22nd).
ok, we’ve got the route set. now i’m given a list of 3 possible itineraries. i can either take the #7 from 51st and Duval to San Jacinto and 26th – or, get this – 50th and Duval to San Jacinto and 24th. wow, incredible recommendation. i can also take the #5 from Speedway and 45th to Guadalupe and 25th. but where do those routes go? how do i know which one would be a better choice? the only way to see the route is to open the accompanying pdf file containing the route and stop times. what a huge aggravating waste of time. plus, all the time required for me to input the info has probably made me miss the most recent bus. grrrrr.
so this is why it would be great for CapMetro to join Google Transit. 🙂
today as i ascended from the bowels of Penn Station, i was greeted with the welcoming stench of stale urine for the second day in a row (the staircase of track 16 as it meets the main concourse). aside from my vehement distaste for Penn Station and my continuing desire to see it demolished, this brought back not just a memory from this past weekend, but also an aggravation with public behavior in NY.
this past saturday evening, my lady and i were about the town. we were on our way from midtown to the west village when we were visually assaulted by such a lack of taste and morality that i was beyond baffled. we were transferring subways, i think from the 7 to the 2 at times square or from the 2 to the 1 at 14th street – it really doesn't matter. we were waiting for the train with quite a full platform, and watched in horror as a woman traveling with her 3 young children had to make a difficult decision: go back upstairs and lose her subway fare or have her youngest child pee his pants. but she thought outside the box – she took her kid to the edge of the platform, at the end so he was hidden from view by nearly everyone (except us and a young couple trying to get busy), and let her kid pee onto the tracks. luckily his stream wasn't strong enough to hit the third rail.
i was so disgusted by this lack of respect for public space that i started looking for a cop. i didn't find one and am kind of happy that i didn't. honestly, she was in kind of a bad spot and there wasn't really much choice for her. 2 things come of this, though:
- her children are taught that public space is worthless and is available for debasement without retribution. they will grow up thinking it is ok to pee on buildings, throw trash on the street, and deface property.
- we can recognize (as i've unhappily grown to accept) that the NYC subway system is in woeful disrepair and horribly out of date. the fact that we don't have public restrooms in major subway stations reflects poorly on NYC's outlook on its responsibility to the public good. the lack of public restrooms is being addressed slowly – Grimshaw has designed a major addition to the public domain in the form of freestanding public restrooms, bus stops, and magazine kiosks. the horrible state in which our subways lie is a different story, though.