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AGBC News Episode 49: Ellis Island Closes and The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

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AGBC News Episode 49: Ellis Island Closes and The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade
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  • If you're one of the 26,000 people who visit the Wall Street Bull on a typical day, you may soon need to ask for a different set of directions. Back in April 2018, when it was announced that the Fearless Girl statue was going to be moved from Bowling Green to outside the New York Stock Exchange, there were also rumblings of a possible move for the Charging Bull statue. The Bull is one of the city's most popular and iconic attractions, but its location in the middle of Broadway has long caused a dangerous situation, with onlookers standing inches away from the taxis and tour buses that travel down Broadway. A small pedestrian area added along the border of Bowling Green plaza has not helped, and concrete barriers are still necessary along the border of the plaza to prevent the multiple lanes of traffic from hitting visitors to the statue. A year after the city moved Fearless Girl, the mayor's office has confirmed that the Wall Street Bull will be moving out of Bowling Green and into the plaza outside the NYSE, where visitors can more safely gather around the iconic statue. Tourists may be asking for directions to the Bull for quite a long time, as Google Maps currently still shows the Fearless Girl statue as being located in Bowling Green, despite being moved to the Stock Exchange a year ago in November 2018. If you're a fan of the Bull, be prepared for its 30th anniversary, coming up on December 15th, when the Bull was first dropped off in front of the Stock Exchange in what sculptor Arturo Di Modica called a gift to the people of New York that was meant to represent the strength and power of the American people. Despite initially placing the Bull in front of the Stock Exchange, Di Modica is no fan of the statue being relocated there again. Although no final placement has been announced, Di Modica was also critical of the placement of the Fearless Girl near his statue, and would likely fight having the statues placed facing each other again. The Parks Department does not purchase art to display in city parks, so in a unique arrangement, the Bull is technically still owned by Di Modica, but has also long outlasted the one-year limit that pieces of art are typically granted to be displayed in public parks. This unofficial arrangement over the statue's ownership will likely cause further confusion if the sculptor disagrees with the city's plans to relocate the statue.

  • Checking in with the 14th Street busway, the Department of Transportation will be installing new bus-boarding platforms along 14th Street from now through December 2019. These are snap-together plastic islands that allow faster boarding of buses without taking up sidewalk space. The plastic platform extends out from the bus shelter and prevents vehicles from being able to block the bus stop and allows the bus to continue along the route without pausing to merge back into traffic. This, combined with the all-door boarding of the Select Bus Service allows faster bus stops with more room for passengers while exiting or waiting for the bus. Each platform will take about six days to install and will temporarily close the bus stop at that location, but the DOT will stagger the installations so that the nearest surrounding bus stops remain in service. The busway itself just passed one month in operation after a series of lawsuits delayed its opening. Both city Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and Transit Authority president Andy Byford have publicly praised the results of the busway and see it as a template for possible busways in other parts of the city where traffic has slowed buses to a crawl. The 14th Street busway program is expected to last 18 months, after which the DOT will examine the results and decide whether the program will continue.

  • If you're elsewhere in the city and can't catch one of the frequent 14th Street buses, soon you'll be able to flag down a truly unique taxi option. This week, the Taxi and Limo Commission added the 2019 Tesla Model 3 as an approved vehicle to be converted into a city taxi. The electric cars have a minimum range of 220 miles, but excel in city driving as they don't waste energy while stopped in traffic. During the Taxi of Tomorrow competition, part of the complaint against the winning Nissan NV200 was the cost of maintenance, another area where Teslas would shine, as they have no required maintenance. According to Allan Fromberg of the TLC, there are already Teslas operating as for-hire vehicles in the city, but none have gotten the full taxi treatment yet. Any potential Model 3s that will be used as city taxis will receive the same makeover as all other vehicles, from the yellow paint job to the clear partition and roof-mounted lights. It would be up to the taxi company using the Model 3 to figure out how and when to recharge the car, as Tesla explicitly prohibits taxi and rideshare vehicles from using its Supercharger network, which is the fastest way to recharge a Tesla vehicle. Taxi operators would instead need to install high-power electric hookups at their garages, much like companies install private gas pumps to refuel their fleets of vehicles.

  • Coming up November 28th, the 93rd annual Macy's Thanksgiving parade will feature 16 giant balloons, 40 smaller balloons and inflatables, 26 floats, 1,200 performers, 11 marching bands, and more than 1,000 clowns. New giant balloons this year are Astronaut Snoopy, Green Eggs and Ham, a new Spongebob Squarepants design featuring Gary the snail, and the reappearance of Smokey the Bear. If you've ever followed AGBC during the Thanksgiving season, you may know that this is also the season for the AGBC Thanksgiving Parade — a page on our site that takes all 93 years of balloons and jumbles their names into a wacky new lineup. Let's hit the randomizer and see what ideas we come up with for this year's AGBC parade: Visit agreatbigcity.com/thanksgiving to shuffle the list and generate your own funny balloon names. Where else will you see the Buzz Rugrats balloon, How to Train Your Santa Claus, and Mama and Papa Doughboy? Only in a hypothetical AGBC parade, of course!

  • 61 years ago on November 10, 1958 — New York jeweler Harry Winston donates the Hope Diamond to the Museum of Natural History by mailing it to Washington D.C. via registered mail

  • 50 years ago on November 10, 1969 — Sesame Street debuts on public television after an earlier test period in July when episodes were shown to preschoolers in Philadelphia and NYC

  • 212 years ago on November 11, 1807 — Washington Irving gives New York the name "Gotham", which means "goat's town"

  • Bill de Blasio finally called it quits after attempting a Presidential run back in September, but this week former Mayor Bloomberg indicated that he may take another swing at the campaign, himself! Bloomberg has toyed with the possibility of running for President over the years, but seemed to declare his most serious effort for the upcoming 2020 election. While he has not officially declared his candidacy, this week Bloomberg filed paperwork to appear on the Alabama ballot, which had an early deadline candidates must meet, and is in the process of filing in Arkansas and is listed as a potential candidate by the Michigan Department of State. According to various reports from people close to Bloomberg, he has not made a final decision, and will soon announce his intentions. In a statement, top advisor Howard Wolfson stated that this was not a campaign announcement, but that Bloomberg was increasingly concerned that the current field of Democratic candidates are not well positioned to defeat Donald Trump. Neither Bloomberg nor Wolfson provided any specific criticisms on policies or candidates that they find troubling, earlier in October, Bloomberg had reportedly only considered entering the Presidential race if front-runner Joe Biden dropped out. With Bloomberg's recent filing of paperwork in Alabama, the latest Quinnipiac poll was only able to ask the final half of those surveyed about a potential Bloomberg Presidential run, and although the sample size is only 636 potential New Hampshire Democratic voters, the results are certainly less than encouraging: Of the 636 surveyed, 54% responded that they would definitely not vote for Bloomberg in the Democratic primary. Among the full 1,134 likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters, Joe Biden still takes the top spot, but with only 20% of those surveyed choosing him if the primary were held today. In a separate question, 61% indicated they might change their mind on which candidate they'd vote for before the primary. In a November 8th poll by Morning Consult, Bloomberg faced high unfavorability numbers, but would fare about as well as Biden, Sanders, and Warren in a hypothetical match-up against Trump if the election were held today.

  • 65 years ago on November 12, 1954 — Ellis Island is closed after years of serving as a detention center after both World Wars

  • 18 years ago on November 12, 2001 — American Airlines Flight 587 crashes in the Belle Harbor neighborhood of Queens on takeoff from JFK Airport, killing all 260 people aboard and five people on the ground

  • In AGBC history:

  • 2 years ago — Hugo Boss Rooftop Features Massive Cologne Bottle — Wednesday, November 8

  • 8 years ago — Occupy Wall Street - Evicted From Zuccotti Park by the NYPD — Tuesday, November 15

  • 3 years ago — NY1 is Rebranded as "Spectrum News" — Tuesday, November 15


A Great Big City has been running a 24-hour newsfeed since 2010, but the AGBC News podcast is just getting started, and we need your support. A Great Big City is built on a dedication to explaining what is happening and how it fits into the larger history of New York, which means thoroughly researching every topic and avoiding clickbait headlines to provide a straightforward, honest, and factual explanation of the news. Individuals can make a monthly or one-time contribution at agreatbigcity.com/support and local businesses can have a lasting impact by supporting local news while promoting products or services directly to interested customers listening to this podcast. Visit agreatbigcity.com/advertising to learn more.

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Park of the day

Parks Events

Concert Calendar

This is the AGBC Concert Calendar for the upcoming week:

Find more fun things to do at agreatbigcity.com/events.


Did you know?

Weather

The extreme highs and lows for this week in weather history:
Record High: 80°F on November 15, 1993
Record Low: 17°F on November 16, 1933

Weather for the week ahead: Light rain tomorrow and next Monday.


Thanks for listening to A Great Big City. Follow along 24 hours a day on social media @agreatbigcity or email contact@agreatbigcity.com with any news, feedback, or topic suggestions. Subscribe to AGBC News wherever you listen to podcasts: iTunes, Google Play, or Podcast Addict, Player FM, Spotify, or listen to each episode on the podcast pages at agreatbigcity.com/podcast. If you enjoy the show, subscribe and leave a review wherever you're listening and visit our podcast site to see show notes and extra links for each episode.

Intro and outro music: 'Start the Day' by Lee Rosevere — Concert Calendar music from Jukedeck.com

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