A link on Facebook got me nostalgic for the days when the local papers took an interest in future of the city and stood in the way of its business and political leaders. I was thinking about the old Penn Station, and Ada Louise Huxtable who was an architecture critic for the NYT. She raised a crucial question as the city rushed to tear it down. How unusual for a news person to become part of the story! And, how appropriate.
It's an idea that's still alive. Nick Bilton used his pulpit at the Times to ask the FAA whether there was a real reason we had to turn off portable devices during takeoff and landing, or if it was just a matter of inertia and/or superstition. That resulted in the removal of the ban, and our airplanes aren't crashing because of it, as far as anyone knows. (Knock wood.)
We still do great things here in NY. For example bike lanes and CitiBikes. And we hold on to traditions and develop them. No one talks about putting freeways through the middle of Manhattan, as they did in the past.
It's important that we not to see all change as good. The urban renewal advocates thought creating a sports arena on top of a train station that moves 650,000 people in and out of the city every day was the right thing to do. Why couldn't we have both a fantastic sports arena and a world class train station?
Here's the podcast.