AGBC News Episode 45: Billboard Barges Give Up and the 14th Street Busway

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Podcast artwork via AGBC

Highway speeds drop as congestion pricing approaches 🏎️

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AGBC News Episode 45: Billboard Barges Give Up and the 14th Street Busway
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  • A surprising development in the city's fight against billboard barges — The company floating the LED billboards in the waters around Manhattan has thrown in the towel after new state regulations pushed them back 1,500 feet from the shoreline. The advertising company promoting the billboard boats has now settled with the city and agreed to be subject to a $100,000 fine if they operate within New York waters. The barge will be relocated to Florida, where the company set up a similar barge along the Miami shoreline in 2016. The agreement with the city ends both the company's six-month fight with the city and the challenge they raised to the state law. As of October 11th, the company's website has been replaced with a generic image saying the site is down for maintenance. According to a presentation acquired by Digiday in January 2019, the company was touting their Hudson River and East River coverage to advertisers at the rate of $55,000 for a 30 second looping at on the banner boats, and they referenced the city's plan to continue developing the shoreline and the city's ferry system as reasons to advertise on LED billboard barges.

  • 86 years ago on October 10, 1933 — A United Air Lines Boeing 247 from Newark, NJ exploded in what is believed to have been the first sabotage bombing of a commercial aircraft

  • 56 years ago on October 14, 1963 — A New York Airways helicopter crashes just after takeoff from Idlewild (JFK) Airport, killing all six people aboard

  • Double-check your speed if you're on the West Side Highway after October 12th — The city is dropping speeds from 35 to 30 mph on the West Side south of 59th Street beginning Saturday. The move comes as part of Vision Zero, a set of plans adopted by cities worldwide and introduced to New York by Mayor de Blasio in 2014. Vision Zero aims to eliminate pedestrian injuries and fatalities from vehicles, and the reduction in speed on the West Side Highway is meant to reduce the severity of vehicle impacts in areas south of 59th where the highway becomes street-level and pedestrians and cyclists frequently have to cross highway traffic at intersections, including busy areas like the Intrepid museum, Chelsea Piers, and Battery Park City. While drivers may rarely even have the opportunity to top 30 mph in rush hour traffic, the DOT will catch any drivers speeding using new speed cameras along the highway. If the area south of 59th Street sounds familiar, it's because it's the same area targeted by the upcoming congestion pricing plan, where a system of cameras will collect tolls on cars entering the area south of 61st Street. While vehicles staying on the FDR or West Side Highway will be exempt from congestion pricing, vehicles would also be monitored by cameras used for collecting tolls on vehicles exiting the West Side Highway once it reaches street level and begins exiting into the central business district south of 61st. The speed limits on all small streets within the city were dropped to 25 mph in November 2014.

  • If you can't enjoy a low-speed drive on the West Side Highway and don't want to pay a congestion toll, consider a ride along the new 14th Street busway, which was finally able to open on October 3rd, and has been going swimmingly ever since. The street has been cleared of cars, leaving the buses to freely glide from stop to stop along 14th Street from Third Avenue to Ninth Avenue. Even though the implementation was delayed by three months by community groups, the first week of the busway seems to have had no noticeable impact on the surrounding streets. Bus riders on social media showed quiet, peaceful, and efficient rides during multiple times of day, with just a sparse few delivery trucks parked along the curb. It remains to be seen if the city's experiment with a busway can indeed increase the average speeds of buses on 14th Street while also not slowing down the surrounding area, but for right now, the first attempt at reorganizing 14th Street seems to be a success. I'll bring you the full Department of Transportation report once the trial period for the busway is complete.

  • 16 years ago on October 15, 2003 — A Staten Island ferry strikes a pier at St. George Terminal, S.I., killing 11 people and injuring 165 of the 1,500 passengers

  • In A Great Big City history:

  • We're currently watching the MTA's new busway on 14th Street, but 3 years ago the MTA Sends Test Trains Along the New Second Avenue Subway. Train aficionado DJ Hammers on Youtube caught a glimpse of empty subway cars through a stairway at 63rd and Lex that were being run on the new Second Avenue line. The test cars were loaded with large boxes, presumably to simulate the weight of a fully-loaded train. The Second Avenue line would open three months later in January 2017.

  • 8 years ago we were looking at the Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park Preparing Their Skating Rinks, and both rinks are on schedule this year as well! Rockefeller Center's rink opens on Saturday, October 12th, with regular admission being $25 for adults and $15 for children under 11 years old, and the Bryant Park rink will open as part of their Winter Village on October 31st, with free admission.

  • 2 years ago, the NTSB was working to track down the drone pilot who was responsible for a drone colliding with an Army helicopter. The Blackhawk helicopter was hovering at about 300 feet near Midland Beach in Staten Island when a DJI Phantom drone struck the helicopter's blade and window frame, which obliterated the drone but did lodge a piece of debris in the helicopter that the NTSB would use to identify the owner of the drone. When interviewed by the NTSB, the drone operator admitted that he was flying the drone outside of his visual range and was unaware of the helicopter's flight path. Data from the drone operator's controller showed the drone's flight from Dyker Beach Park out over the water, along the Coney Island shore, and then looping back over open water toward Staten Island. It was at that point that the drone hit the helicopter. — Drone Pilot Interviewed After Collision with Army Helicopter

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Park of the day

  • Corporal Fischer Park — Highbridge, Nelson Avenue at West 170th Street — This park honors a New Yorker who enlisted in the United States Army and served in the 75th Joint Assault Signal Company of the Army Air Corps during World War II (1939-1945), Corporal Irwin A. Fischer. The park land is undeveloped and appears to be inaccessible due to a fence around the property, but it adds a nice bit of green to the corner. Nearby Corporal Irwin Fischer Place was previously known as Highbridge Street, Hennessy Place, and briefly James R. Murphy Place.

Parks Events

  • Pumpkin-picking at Decker Farm in Historic Richmond Town on Staten Island — Admission: $6, Saturdays and Sundays through October 26th from 11am to 5pm. Featuring hayrides, a hay maze, apple cider, s'mores, and of course a variety of pumpkins to choose from! The farm may be 200 years old, but it even features pumpkin chunkin with a huge bungee slingshot! Visit the link in the show notes to for directions and more info.

Concert Calendar

Here's the AGBC Concert Calendar for the upcoming week:

  • Wilco is playing Brooklyn Steel in Greenpoint on Sunday, October 13th at 7pm.
  • Sara Bareilles with Emily King is playing Madison Square Garden in Midtown West / Chelsea / Hudson Yards on Sunday, October 13th at 8pm.
  • Post Malone with Swae Lee is playing Madison Square Garden in Midtown West / Chelsea / Hudson Yards on Monday, October 14th at 8pm.
  • The Black Keys with Modest Mouse is playing Barclays Center in Boerum Hill on Tuesday, October 15th at 7pm.
  • Post Malone is playing Madison Square Garden in Midtown West / Chelsea / Hudson Yards on Tuesday, October 15th at 8pm.
  • Steely Dan is playing Beacon Theatre on the Upper West Side on Tuesday, October 15th at 8pm.
  • Kacey Musgraves with Lucius is playing Radio City Music Hall in Midtown on Wednesday, October 16th at 8pm.
  • Steely Dan is playing Beacon Theatre on the Upper West Side on Wednesday, October 16th at 8pm.
  • The Chainsmokers with 5 Seconds of Summer is playing Barclays Center in Boerum Hill on Thursday, October 17th at 7pm.
  • Steely Dan is playing Beacon Theatre on the Upper West Side on Friday, October 18th at 8pm.
  • Moon Boots with Quantic is playing Brooklyn Steel in Greenpoint on Friday, October 18th at 8pm.
  • Mahalia with Jvck James is playing Music Hall of Williamsburg in Williamsburg on Friday, October 18th at 9pm.
  • The Misfits with Rancid and The Damned are playing Madison Square Garden in Midtown West / Chelsea / Hudson Yards on Saturday, October 19th at 7pm.
  • Mana is playing Barclays Center in Boerum Hill on Saturday, October 19th at 8pm.
  • Steely Dan is playing Beacon Theatre on the Upper West Side on Saturday, October 19th at 8pm.
  • Benin International Musical is playing Carnegie Hall - Stern Auditorium in Hell's Kitchen / Midtown on Saturday, October 19th at 9pm.

Find more fun things to do at

Learn about New York

Here's something you may not have known about New York:


The extreme highs and lows for this week in weather history:
Record High: 90°F on October 17, 1938
Record Low: 32°F on October 15, 1876

Weather for the week ahead:
Rain on Sunday through Wednesday, with high temperatures peaking at 73°F on Monday.

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