AGBC News Episode 48: The True Horrors of New York City
Take a trip through the slimy, sickening side of the city 🕯️
Visit agreatbigcity.com/support to learn how to support New York City local news and allow us to keep bringing you this podcast. If you are a New York-based business and would be interested in sponsoring our podcasts, visit agreatbigcity.com/advertising to learn more.
Prepare yourself for A Great Big SCARE!
It's ironically appropriate that the subway celebrates its birthday right around the spookiest time of year, as it prominently features in New Yorkers' nightmares. 115 years ago on October 27th, 1904, The original 28 subway stations opened, stretching from City Hall to 145th Street in Manhattan. From 1904 until 1948, the price for a subway ride was just 5¢, a price range that's equivalent to about 92¢ in today's dollars. Instead, you'll be paying three times that amount for a ride today, in a 100-year-old system that is struggling to keep up with modern demand. Although the subway's on-time performance recently hit a six-year high, only 81% of trains arrive on time during a typical weekday, and the subway's previous on-time figures put it at the lowest among all major cities' transit systems. In 2017, Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the New York transit system in an effort to revitalize the deteriorating subway and modernize its signal system. In an effort to avoid further increasing the subway fare, the MTA's $54 billion plan to improve the subway will rely on revenue from a congestion pricing toll on vehicles that enter Manhattan south of 61st Street. Vehicles entering central and southern Manhattan will be subject to a toll of around $12 for the privilege of sitting in traffic that has slowed to a crawl in recent years as rideshare drivers have flooded the streets, with speeds in Midtown in 2018 averaging just 4.7 mph. If streets lined with traffic and a subway running on ancient tracks make New York sound like the city for you, don't forget to pay at the door! Beginning January 2020, the cost of entering the city via bridge or tunnel will increase to $16 and the AirTrain ride to JFK Airport will increase to $7.75.
If you've finally paid your toll to get into the city, good luck finding a place to stay! According to real estate site StreetEasy's data through August 2019, the prices of rentals are increasing while the prices of homes for sale are decreasing. The median asking price for a one-bedroom in Manhattan jumped 7.5% year-over-year, adding $233 to the monthly rent. If you end up looking at apartments more in your price range, the horrors continue. According to bedbugregistry.com, there have been 4,490 reports of bedbugs across the city, including a report from October 26th of a traveler who woke up from a lovely sleep in room 1622 of a hotel in Midtown only to find a bedbug crawling on his pillow. The hotel refused to believe him until he capture a live bug in a sandwich bag and showed it to the hotel staff. If you think you're safe from bedbugs if you don't stay in a Midtown hotel, consider the tale of a resident in Long Island City, who ordered a bed frame and headboard online, only to open the package and find bedbugs inside.
When New Yorkers glance up to see air conditioners precariously hanging from every apartment window, a pedestrian's mind turns to tragedy, picturing their inevitable death after one of those menacing sheet metal boxes breaks free from its windowsill. If the air conditioner plummets toward you, will those days at the gym give you the nimble speed to heroically jump out of its path? In the past 30 years, there have been only a handful of documented air conditioner drops, despite millions of New Yorkers propping their A/Cs up on the hopes that the power cord will support the full weight of the machine if it ever tears loose. While you allow the fear of falling machinery to fade from your mind, consider a report from 2008 that showed the increased energy usage of air conditioning during the summer directly contributes to up to 1,000 deaths annually in the eastern United States. Without sustainable forms of energy, power-hungry air conditioning units put extra demand on coal-burning power plants, increasing ozone levels and fine particulate matter in the air, all of which will only get worse as climate change increases the frequency and duration of summer heat waves.
New York is a world-class city that will survive far into the future, or at least some parts will survive. As the earth's climate changes and sea levels begin to rise, more and more of the city's shoreline will be regularly inundated with water, eroding the city's most valuable infrastructure. Water levels around New York have already risen more than one foot since 1900, and the rate of sea level rise is only increasing. By 2100, the waters around New York will rise from between 18 inches to over four feet, due to damage that has already been done to the planet. On a map from FloodHelpNY that uses FEMA data to estimate future flood-prone areas, water is seen flooding coastal areas across the city as water levels rise, putting areas like Long Island City, the Rockaways, and both JFK and LaGuardia Airport at risk. In Manhattan, the appropriately-named Canal Street will become a canal once again, pouring water directly into the Hudson Tunnel entrance, and in Brooklyn, the sea will wash over Red Hook and swell the waters of the Gowanus up into the surrounding neighborhood. New data shows that the elevation data used to calculate the impact that sea level rise will have on coastal cities was actually using satellite data that measured the heights of trees and buildings, mistaking them for the ground level, so much more low-lying land will be inundated with water than previously estimated.
And all of that water is just on a good day, not when a 100-year flood hits the city. Seven years ago on October 29, 2012, the city saw how intensified natural disasters can bring an unprepared the city to its knees. When Superstorm Sandy hit the city, sweeping corrosive ocean water into basements, power stations, and subway tunnels, the city suffered a $30 billion impact, and one still felt seven years later as subway repairs continue and residents struggle to rebuild their homes. — Hurricane Sandy hits New York City, causing a five-day blackout across downtown Manhattan and damage to infrastructure across the city, on Long Island, and in New Jersey
And now let's see what haunted happenings our robot friend has found for this Halloween night:
Dead & Company is playing Madison Square Garden on Thursday, October 31st at 7pm.
Flatbush Zombies is playing Brooklyn Steel on Thursday, October 31st at 8pm.
Dead & Company is playing Madison Square Garden on Friday, November 1st at 7pm.
Blues Traveler is playing Beacon Theatre on Friday, November 1st at 8pm.
King Princess with Girlpool is playing Terminal 5 on Friday, November 1st at 8pm.
Live from Here With Chris Thile with Gregory Alan Isakov is playing The Town Hall on Saturday, November 2nd at 5pm.
Mumiy Troll is playing Webster Hall on Saturday, November 2nd at 6pm.
Super Freestyle Explosion with Stevie B and Expose and GEORGE LAMOND and Lisa Lisa are playing Prudential Center on Saturday, November 2nd at 7pm.
Marc Anthony is playing Barclays Center on Saturday, November 2nd at 8pm.
The Fab Faux is playing Beacon Theatre on Saturday, November 2nd at 8pm.
Rosanne Cash with Ry Cooder is playing Carnegie Hall - Stern Auditorium on Saturday, November 2nd at 8pm.
King Princess with Girlpool is playing Terminal 5 on Saturday, November 2nd at 8pm.
Leslie Odom Jr. is playing Bowery Ballroom on Monday, November 4th at 7pm.
Clairo (16+ Event) is playing Brooklyn Steel on Monday, November 4th at 8pm.
Little Steven And The Disciples Of Soul are playing Beacon Theatre on Wednesday, November 6th at 7pm.
Clairo (16+ Event) is playing Brooklyn Steel on Wednesday, November 6th at 8pm.
Find more fun things to do at agreatbigcity.com/events.
Here's something you may not have known about New York:
According to a 2014 study, there are approximately 2 million rats living in New York City. The common brown rat not only carries a wide variety of diseases and viruses that is spread via saliva, urine, and rat droppings, but microscopic fleas also catch a ride on rats and carry diseases like the bubonic plague, typhus, and spotted fever. Although an adult rat weighs about as much as a can of soda, they can squeeze through an opening the size of a quarter and jump three feet in the air.
Park of the Day
- Visit the former home of the king of horror, Edgar Allen Poe, at Poe Park in the Bronx, on Grand Concourse at 192nd. The poet rented the home from 1846 to 1849, just before his early death at the age of 40.
The extreme highs and lows for this week in weather history:
Record High: 84°F on November 1, 1950
Record Low: 23°F on November 5, 1879
Weather for the week ahead:
Light rain throughout the week.
- Intro and outro music: 'Start the Day' by Lee Rosevere
- Concert Calendar music: 'La beauté dans les gouttes de sueur qui perlent sur ton front' by Dancefloor is Lava
- Feature music: 'Abyss' by Demoiselle Döner — 'Hello Michael !' by Loyalty Freak Music — 'Monster Parade' by Loyalty Freak Music — 'Insomnia at the bottom of the river' by Soft and Furious