How Many Cyclists Can and Should Fit on City Streets?

The ferocious competition for a smidgen of asphalt on Manhattan streets might be best appreciated behind the handlebars of a bicycle. As I whiz up 8th Avenue or crosstown on 13th street, I’m confronted by double-parked delivery trucks, jaywalking pedestrians and meandering delivery boys, their bicycles draped with carryout food. Beside me, sleek SUVs with oversized grills, boxy belching trucks, and speeding yellow cabs all attempt, as I do, to grab a portion of street space and get where they are going as quickly as possible.

There’s no question that what I’m doing is dangerous. A careless taxi driver or a misplaced car door could kill or injure me in a heartbeat.

Atlas Is Still Shrugging – And Riding the Subway

First published in The New York Observer
March 25, 2002
by Alex Marshall

When I take the subway, and enter into that labyrinth of tunnels and tracks that transport some five million of us daily, I think about Atlas Shrugged, that mad, 1,200-page homage to money and markets written by Ayn Rand, the late Russian ‘migr’ accustomed to wearing an embroidered silver dollar sign on her black cape, and one-time guru to Alan Greenspan and other important money men.

The New Penn Station: When Will It Arrive?

The new Pennsylvania Station was originally due to open its doors this year, but the only noticeable progress has been the building’s renaming for its late benefactor, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. So what’s going on?

While months and even years have passed with little progress, the press has been largely silent. One exception to this was a recent piece in the New York Observer, in which the senator’s daughter, Maura Moynihan, announced the creation of The Citizens Committee for Moynihan Station. She feared the project would not happen without more public attention.

It’s Dangerous To Cycle in The City — That’s Too Bad

How Many Cyclists Can and Should Fit on City Streets?

The ferocious competition for a smidgen of asphalt on Manhattan streets might be best appreciated behind the handlebars of a bicycle. As I whiz up 8th Avenue or crosstown on 13th street, I’m confronted by double-parked delivery trucks, jaywalking pedestrians and meandering delivery boys, their bicycles draped with carryout food. Beside me, sleek SUVs with oversized grills, boxy belching trucks, and speeding yellow cabs all attempt, as I do, to grab a portion of street space and get where they are going as quickly as possible.

There’s no question that what I’m doing is dangerous. A careless taxi driver or a misplaced car door could kill or injure me in a heartbeat.

Coney Island: The Train is The Thing

by Alex Marshall
Metropolis Magazine
August/September issue, 2001

Today’s Quiz: What magnificent hall of marble, iron and glass, built about 1900, was torn down in the mid 1960s, robbing New York of one of the best examples of Beaux-arts architecture in the city if not the world?

No, not Penn Station. The Pavilion of Fun!!!!!! Of course! That magnificent hall inside Steeplechase Park on Coney Island that sheltered park goers on a rainy day. It was our Crystal Palace. And Fred Trump, Donald Trump’s father, tore it down in 1966 to build some condos that didn’t materialize.

Parking Over People in Brooklyn

With a distinguished history and at least two and a half million people, Brooklyn likes to proclaim itself “a real city,” one that would be the nation’s second largest – well actually the fourth largest – if only it hadn’t merged with New York City in 1898.

How ironic and sad then, that the borough where I live often comports itself like a distant suburb of shopping malls and subdivisions, seeking to keep newcomers out while in contrast accommodating new automobiles as much as possible. While there are many ways the borough does this, in the interest of brevity this article will focus on only one of these: parking. I focus on Brooklyn here because its policies and situation are particularly poignant, but the argument applies to all boroughs and many parts of Manhattan.

The Stock Transfer Tax: An Idea Whose Time Has Come Back?

By Alex Marshall

May 2003

It sounds too good to be true. At a time when New York City and state are billions of dollars in the red, they could raise that and possibly more by reinstating a tax that is mostly paid by people living outside the state and country.

It’s called the Stock Transfer Tax. Until 1981, the state had one, and the city got the revenue.

Until it was phased out, it was raising $300 million a year for the city. Technically, it is still in place, only the proceeds are instantly rebated to the buyer of a stock. Now some people, including an Albany legislator, are considering bringing it back in a new form.