NY unveils Brooklyn-Queens streetcar (tramway) plan

New Yorkers could be riding such a thing as soon as 2024.

The New York Times reports that de Blasio plans to announce his push for a $2.5 billion Brooklyn-Queens Connector during today’s State of the City speech, and that the above-ground service would utilize existing rails on city streets along the East River, from “the industrial centers of Sunset Park, Brooklyn, to the upper reaches of Astoria, Queens”.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has introduced an idea to link Brooklyn and Queens by streetcar, a mode of transporation not seen in the city in decades.

Light rail would enable residents to much more easily get to, and keep jobs that would help them improve their standards of living.

One benefit for De Blasio is that a streetcar plan would be completely separate from the current subway system, which would mean he would not have to involve political foe Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Image via Friends of Brooklyn Queens Connector.

The relationship between the two Democratic politicians – who have engaged in bitter public power struggles over the city’s schools, subways and homeless population – has become more strained recently as they have fought over MTA subway funding.

The preliminary estimate for the purchase and installation of the system is approximately $2.5 billion.

“The city projects that initially, the BQX Connector will serve fewer than 25,000 riders every day while linking them to nearby bus lines, subway stations and ferry landings, and also so-called “innovation clusters” like the one at Industry City in Brooklyn”.

Light rail has proved successful in many cities internationally throughout Europe, and even in cities across New Jersey. “If the money were spent on an extension of the Second Avenue Subway or a line on Utica Avenue-as Mayor de Blasio proposed in previous years-would the public be better off?” Some of the route would put the streetcars in their own dedicated lane, separate from vehicular traffic.

Honored guests at the event will include NYPD heroes such as officers Anthony Barton, of Suffolk County, and Michael Pyzikiewicz, of Nassau County, who delivered a baby along the Long Island Expressway last month in Queens.

Ben Fried at Streetsblog NYC thinks the streetcar is more of “an expensive way to connect waterfront neighborhoods and destinations to each other” than a real solution for Brooklyn’s average commuter.



New York officials unveil RFP for $3 billion Penn Station project

The Empire State Development Corp., the organization that will oversee the $3 billion redevelopment of Penn Station and the Farley Post Office Building in Midtown Manhattan, has released a request for proposals (RFP) for the project.

The RFP was issued jointly by the corporation, the state of New York, Amtrak and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) just a few weeks after Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined his vision for redeveloping the station and post office into a passenger-rail hub that will be known as the Empire Station Complex.

The existing station, which is located beneath Madison Square Garden, will be dramatically renovated, and the post office building will be transformed into a train hall for Amtrak, which owns the station. The hall also will offer services for MTA Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit and the new Air Train to LaGuardia Airport.

According to the solicitation document, the complex development will consist of three major components:
• redevelopment of Penn Station’s upper and lower levels;
• additional project enhancements at Penn Station (as described in the document); and
• adaptive re-use of the Farley Building, including the Annex and Moynihan Train Hall.

The joint solicitation contains a request for expressions of interest, a request for qualifications for the redevelopment of Penn Station and an RFP for the redevelopment of the Farley Building into the Moynihan Train Hall. Respondents can submit responses to either or both solicitations, according to the document.

The deadline to submit responses is April 22.

Looks to be end of the line for Saranac Black Forest beer

When Jay Sumner found out that Saranac no longer would be making Black Forest, his heart sank.

The F.X. Matt Brewing Co.’s German black lager is not only the 38-year-old New York Mills man’s favorite beer to drink, but also to cook with — as he’s used it to create everything from stew to chili.

“To me, Black Forest reminds me of home,” Sumner said. “I remember sneaking bottles from the fridge of my parents’ house and trying to figure out how to open it in the woods. The rich and hearty beer has been a great tasting accessory ever since.”

President Fred Matt said the difficult decision to discontinue the cult favorite has been met with similar stories from its customers who are loyal fans of the beer, which was first brewed in the early 1990s.

“It was painful, because it was definitely one of our buzz beers, but when it comes to sales it just doesn’t deliver,” Matt said of Black Forest, which typically falls between seventh or eighth in the brewery’s sales behind such top sellers as Pale Ale and Legacy IPA. “It’s going to take a little vacation … but it’ll probably make reappearance at some point.”

Matt said Black Forest still will be available for a couple of more months in six packs and Saranac’s Adirondack Trail Mix collection in stores and at the brewery gift shop. It will then be replaced in the trail mix by its Gen IV Session IPA.

The brewery also has introduced a new style in its 12 Beers a Falling variety pack called Dark-tober(fest) to help

fill the void.

Utica-native Jason Pardi, who now lives in Fairport, said he was shocked to learn that Saranac was dropping one of its “staple beers,” but intends to enjoy it while it lasts.

“It’s a beer you can really trust, a solid performer,” the 39-year-old said. “It’s hard to believe it’s going away, but I will be going out and buying as much as I can while it’s still around.”

Comets 5 @ Ice Caps 2

The Utica Comets struck early and often, and then never looked back en route to a 5-2 win against the St. John’s IceCaps Friday night at the Mile One Centre. The Comets first ever game could not have gotten off to a better start as the team struck three times in their first four shots during the first 5:16 of play to jump out to a quick 3-0 lead.

Wacey Hamilton (2-1-3), Carter Bancks (1-2-3), John Negrin (0-2-2) each recorded multi-point nights. Fresh off of his American Hockey League All-Star Challenge appearance, Hunter Shinkaruk (1-0-1) scored his team-leading 18th goal of the season. Richard Bachman made 40 saves for his ninth win of the season.

The Comets wasted absolutely no time jumping on the IceCaps. Just 16 seconds in the hard-working line of Chris Higgins, Carter Bancks, and Wacey Hamilton, staked the Comets to a 1-0 lead. Higgins chipped a pass to the slot that Hamilton sticked up-and-over Fucale for his fifth goal of the season.

Two minutes later Joseph LaBate scored an odd one. From the boards, and along the blue line, Joseph LaBate shoveled a back-handed dump-in that hit the ice and took a screwy hop that kicked into the empty net. IceCaps’ goaltender Zach Fucale had vacated the net in an attempt to knock down the dump-in attempt, and could not recover in time to stop the tricky hop.

The Comets successfully chased St. John’s starting goaltender when Hunter Shinkaruk scored his team-leading 18th goal of the season with a nifty backhand deke just 5:16 into the game. Zalewski added an assist on the goal, his sixth point since returning to the Comets three games ago.

The IceCaps finally got on the board 15:27 into the game. IceCaps leading point-scorer Bud Holloway one-timed a shot that just barely trickled over the goal line while on a 5-on-3 power play.

With a little over three minutes remaining in the second period, the Higgins-Hamilton-Bancks line struck yet again. With extended pressure in the St. John’s zone, Chris Higgins rang a wrist shot off the post. Higgins collected his own shot and cycled the puck back to Taylor Fedun. Fedun fed a pass over to his defensive partner, John Negrin, who quickly fed the puck down to Wacey Hamilton. Hamilton connected with Bancks on a cross-crease pass that forced the goaltender out of position for Bancks to easily score his seventh of the season.

Hamilton notched his second goal of the night after he cleverly redirected a Carter Bancks pass through Pasquale late in the third period.

Jacob de la Rose of the IceCaps scored a power-play goal with less than three minutes left in the third to wrap up the game’s scoring.

The Comets penalty-killing unit killed seven of the IceCaps’ nine power-play opportunities, while the Comets failed to convert on four power-play chances. With the win the Comets record improves to 21-17-3-3.

The Comets are right back at it tomorrow night in St. John’s to wrap up their brief two game road trip in Newfoundland. Puck drop is scheduled for 6pm.