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09.03.2014
New York City’s only army base is nestled between the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and the neighborhood of Bay Ridge in Brooklyn.
Aside from people dressed in fatigues and the occasional military vehicle, visitors may not immediately realize that they’re even in Fort Hamilton, which can feel more like a suburban neighborhood than an army installation. Today, Fort Hamilton is a Base Support Installation for the greater New York City area, playing a major role in coordinating disaster relief efforts. Fort Hamilton is located next to the southern tip of Bay Ridge, a waterfront neighborhood in Brooklyn. The walk towards Fort Hamilton from the subway is picturesque, with stunning views of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in America. Located on 101st street in Brooklyn, Fort Hamilton’s entrance is on a sleepy residential street typical of Bay Ridge. Fort Hamilton feels like a self-contained community, connected to but still separate from its Brooklyn surroundings.
The lower-ranking enlisted servicemembers in Fort Hamilton can live in garden apartments, though no one is actually required to live on base. After Hurricane Sandy devastated large portions of New Jersey and New York, Fort Hamilton became a Base Support Installation, hosting the FBI, FEMA, and other organizations coordinating the relief effort.
Joint Task Force Empire Shield, mobilized after the September 11th attacks to help protect infrastructure throughout New York, is also based out of Fort Hamilton. Fort Hamilton’s original namesake fort was built in 1831 and is still standing today, albeit with some renovations. Just outside the Community Club is the Hamilton Lounge, which features community events such as casino nights.
The primary street that leads into Fort Hamilton is still named General Lee Avenue, though Lee became one of the most controversial figures in American history due to his command of Confederate troops. Fort Hamilton also has its own on-post exchange, a strip mall-like complex better known as PX. The exchange sells fast food, electronics, housing items, and clothes at discounted rates and tax-free. Every military base is open to both current and retired military personnel, allowing servicemembers to receive lifetime discounts from the exchange and the commissary. Near the exchange is Fort Hamilton’s non-denominational house of worship, which routinely hosts religious leaders from the wider New York City community. As a large number of families live on Fort Hamilton, the base tries to accommodate individuals of all ages. Altogether Fort Hamilton feels like a close-knit and self-contained suburban community, and it’s perfectly at home in Brooklyn.
The MTA and NYCDOT released an outline last night for faster bus service and safer biking and walking on First and Second Avenues.
At a joint presentation to a group of local electeds and community board members known as the Community Advisory Committee, the agencies laid out a preliminary plan [PDF] to redesign the corridor from Houston Street to 125th Street with protected bike lanes, pedestrian refuges, and a package of bus enhancements.
Advocates and elected officials reacted with measured praise, characterizing the proposal as a starting point which they hope to improve upon.
On most of the corridor, the plan calls for bike lanes along the left curb, protected by a floating parking lane. On 30 blocks of Second Avenue in Midtown, as well as about 10 blocks of First Avenue south of the Queensboro Bridge, the plan calls instead for a shared route bike lane marked by chevron stencils. Additionally, all changes to the street are on hold anywhere construction of the Second Avenue Subway is underway. When an audience member asked how drivers would know to stay out of the bus lanes, Ted Orosz, the director of long-range bus planning at New York City Transit, contended that the lack of a separated lane would actually make bus operations smoother: "Trucks are going to get to the curb anyway. The curbside bus lane poses a greater challenge to deliveries, according to Joe Barr, DOT's director of transit development.
Presenters said Select Bus Service on First and Second Avenues will make use of features piloted on the city's Fordham Road route.
Streetsblog will continue our coverage later today with reactions from transportation advocates and elected officials. Great… So the only stretch of these avenues on which we actually need protected bike lanes is not getting them? It’s great to see new tools in the BRT street design tool kit and how that fits together with the tool kit for bike lanes.
What is extremely worrisome is that there might be a gap in the protected bike lane for 30 blocks in midtown on Second and 10 blocks on First.
If that gap is kept, the East Midtown meat grinder will continue and cyclists and pedestrians will continue to die so that a few more cars can use their precious free east river crossing. The 40 blocks with Design C maintain FIVE travel lanes for cars and have no protected space for buses or bikes. Let’s hope that the protected bike lanes are popular, and spur a popular clamor for the gaps to be connected.
DOT and MTA should look to what they have done in Paris for deliveries in separated (or curb side) bus lanes.
Apparently the MTA is against them thinking they will get blocked by delivery trucks parking in the separated lane and the buses won’t be able to get around them. There is already a bus lane on First and Second Avenues and very restrictive parking policies.
If you like part of this proposal and want to see it implemented, or if you don’t like part of it and want to see it changed, start organizing potential users and people who live and work in the area! As a cyclist living on the UES who uses cycle tracks almost exclusively when I’m cycling with kids, I typically will detour all the way to the West Side bike path in order to avoid Midtown East. We here at Streetsblog are a creative and insightful bunch, and are clearly all underwhelmed by the DOT’s proposal. First, by combining bus and cycle path in a two-lane separated path, then if a truck somehow gets into the path to park at the curb, the bus can detour around it through the cyclist portion.


Second, I think the cycle track, standing alone, is a very vulnerable political target that may be sacrificed as soon as there is a fight over reduced parking. Without sweating the details this looks like a great improvement and will probably use it all the time as a cyclist: more space for the people! BicyclesOnly, I like your idea, but I would like to add that the flexards between the bus lane and bike lane are the most important part. This seems to be the first time that pretty much everyone (residents, community boards, electeds, etc) want the same thing here, but for some reason the design has not serviced the goals.
I know MTA and DOT had concerns, so I’ve read through their notes and spent some time this weekend thinking about how to service the goals, while addressing their concerns. Sean, after a harrowing ride this morning up First Ave, past Bellvue and NYU Medical Center, I saw your plans.
Sean, only thought is that if a local bus is stopped at the bus stop, the SBS bus can’t pass because of the dividers you have separating the bus and bike lanes, as well as the bollards to keep cars out of the bike lane. AlexB #36 Well Alex if you actually use the bike lanes year round then you are in the minority in this City.
Word On The Street “In all honestly, the workload frequently placed on volunteer CB members is often so large that only the retired or financially independent can put in the time without burning out.
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has come up with a new way to target rats. As 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported, the MTA will place rat bait containing birth control in certain select subway stations – specifically in the trash rooms. New York City rats are known to like discarded pizza, old bagels and French fries, so the challenge will be to get a bait that has the flavor the like. At the Flatbush-Atlantic Avenue subway station in Brooklyn, Rodrigo said he knows the best flavor for the rats. Female rats begin breeding at four months old, and give birth about four times per year, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported. The rat birth control has been tested in rural areas, and has been found not to be harmful to humans or other animals. In particular, I’ve always been curious to see how the city changes along the route, so I brought my camera and took a single picture outside each regular stop along the way.
If you enjoyed reading this post, would you consider making a donation to help me make my first movie?
And hey, if you've made it this far, why not follow us via RSS, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Tumblr? I enjoy living vicariously through you and hate the thought of you leaving NY, but I hope it’s for bigger and better things. Please, please set the blog to cycle through the archives for the latest post box so we can pretend you’re still here, and still discover new things we may have missed on the first go-around.
Agree with Ben – ScoutingNY has been a great resource, from the occasional NYC top-up to fascinating bits of trivia!
Really hope this means you can scout other locations for the blog–I love these posts, but have always lamented that they only cover New York City and nearby areas, as opposed to other cities and locations.
You did a brilliant job with this photo essay, I especially appreciate Rockaway, which we don’t get to see that much. Have been a huge fan of your work, and often cite your post about The Bronx being the friendliest borough in NYC whenever some survey comes out saying that NYers are unfriendly, rude, etc. Is it too late to visit the Morris Park neighborhood in The Bronx and show it to people through your eyes? This website inspired me to do one of my own, and I’m certain anything you do in the future will inspire many more. I hope that the references to moving is just a simple move to the ‘burbs because this websites is one of the best, most honest, and most insightful websites. But if it’s the beginning of the end I hope whatever you have up your sleeve is an amazing opportunity that was too good to pass up. Your insightful details of the different neighborhoods of NYC has been greatly appreciated, especially the ones I have walked through and also photographed. I have to ask: if you jumped off at each station to take a photo, and had to wait for the next train, how long did this photo journey take? Anyway, wherever you’re headed next, I hope the skies and sights are inspiring and the rent is more reasonable.
Through your stories and photo’s I stay in touch with the greatest and most inspiring city ever. I'm also available for speaking engagements discussing my work as a scout and my explorations throughout New York City (accompanied by hundreds of photos, of course!). Working in film, I have amassed a sizable collection of merchandise for movies and TV shows that no one remembers.
It was from this location that an American battery fired cannons at an approaching British naval convoy on July 4, 1776, at the start of the American Revolution. Federal employees, military contractors, and civilians can also sign up for a waiting list to live in the apartments. Fort Hamilton now provides support to over 70,000 retired servicemembers in the New York Metropolitan area. The redesign is the flagship project in New York City's plans to enhance its surface transit system by improving bus service, a long-held priority for transportation advocates and a stated goal of Mayor Michael Bloomberg going back to his days as a first-time candidate for office.
Physically separated bus lanes, viewed by many transportation planners as the most effective method to improve travel times on highly trafficked streets, are not part of the plan. Overall, the MTA and DOT estimate the bus improvements will reduce travel time along the route by 20 to 25 percent. At dozens of crosswalks along the corridor, the design would also install pedestrian refuge islands in this parking lane.
According to DOT Bicycle Coordinator Josh Benson, the MTA and DOT were unwilling to continue the protected bike lane through those areas because "the traffic levels are the most intense in the entire city.


For the time being, there will be no physical alterations to enhance bus service roughly between 70th Street and 100th Street on Second Avenue, and no protected bike lane on Second Avenue between 34th Street and around 100th Street. In one design, planned for First Avenue south of the United Nations, an exclusive bus lane would be offset from the curb, meaning it would be situated between a parking lane and general traffic. Fares will be paid before boarding; riders won't have to show anything to the bus driver, but fare inspectors could ask for a receipt at any time.
He has been covering the movement for safer streets, effective transit, and livable cities since 2008. I also find it ironic that physical separation is listed as a problem since it allows trucks inside? How can anyone claim that this is at all visionary or even much better than the status quo? Most deliveries in the area are done by truckers who already know what they have to deal with. I think its clear livable street advocates are SUPREMELY disappointed but was the crowd on hand amazed?
Would you let your 12 year old kid or your mom ride through midtown protected only by sharrows? I’d stick the bus lane on the left side of the street next to the bike lane (like the paris picture linked above).
We have a lane like that in Boston, it’s impossible to enforce because cars are allowed to use it to park (and make right turns). Enforcement doesn’t work when delivery companies get their tickets dismissed en masse! As a biker, I love the separations, but I think the SBS has to be able to pass the local to maintain speed. I agree there has been a lot more bike lanes installed but there’s still a huge need to get more protected bike lanes in the other boroughs. All I see is a wasted lane of traffic which increases the noise from vehicles with their horns honking, more traffic accidents, an increase in vehicle congestion and pollution. For just the standard fare of $2.75, it will take you more than 31 miles from Inwood to Far Rockaway, passing through three boroughs and 36 regular stops (65 at night). Rather than skip to the next stop, why don’t we hope aboard here at Howard Beach and ride to the next station together. Whatever you do, and wherever you go, all the best and thanks (but hopefully plenty more on here!). Thank you so much for sharing all the hidden gems of my city and best wishes on your next endeavor! In the second design, on Second Avenue below 34th, the bus lane would instead run right next to the curb, with the parking lane eliminated.
On the Upper East Side, planners are still studying the business needs along the corridor and have not yet announced whether offset or curbside bus lanes will be installed.
It is also the number one route for cyclists coming off the Queensboro Bridge and the East River Greenway, where a gap extends for 23 blocks.
This is a sad lack of leadership by the MTA, at a point when elected officials are finally showing some leadership.
As far as looping over to Broadway to go downtown, what do you do with the younger cyclists between 47th St and 42nd St, now that Times Square has been pedestrianized? If I can find two coworkers to carpool with me from Brooklyn we can pay for off street parking for the same price as we’re now paying for metrocards.
This blog has been one of my favorite things on the internet for the last several years and really makes me appreciate living here in NYC even more.
I’ve been visiting this blog since its old template days and each time has been so delightful. The Bronx is so often ignored or shown in such a negative manner in movies, but there are many architectural treasures in my borough that need to be seen and appreciated.
While the offset bus lane is expected to reduce travel times the most, the MTA and DOT argued that it was inappropriate for narrower or busier parts of the corridor. Also, do you have any suggestions about what to do about salmon-cycling families who will be using the 1st Ave lane for downtown trips to avoid the lack of facilities on 2nd Ave? I was hoping this plan was going to make my life easier, but it looks now like it won’t help much at all. You managed to find spaces that I would never know about otherwise and always provide such a thorough history on them. Not only I’ve gathered information for past and future NYC trips, but its images and stories have fulfilled many daydreams. Another Bronx treasure is the Bronx Court building at 161st and Washington Ave, that is currently being used as a cultural institution. A parking-protected design would actually increase the amount of parking and loading zone space- a clear benefit to local merchants. A decision was made to give all the space to people who drive, and no space to people who bike.
The clear message from the city and state these past few years is that cars are always going to come first, so I might as well just accept that and join in. For 50 years, 1010 WINS has been a news and information utility for the New York metropolitan area. A barrier to keep traffic out also keeps buses in." Orosz did suggest augmenting the city's terra cotta bus lane paint with "some sort of soft mountable barrier that communicates, 'Yeah, I'm not supposed to be there'" to drivers.




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