Friday Reading: Slate’s Green Crowdsourcing Experiment Winds Up; Manhattan’s Secret Subway Tunnels

The weekend’s more or less here, although weather-wise it’s strictly Tuesday. This means it’s time to read some interesting — if only tangentially gbNYC-relevant — stuff. What, you were going to work?

subway tunnels gbnyc

It’s Friday afternoon again, as you have probably noticed. Yes, the glaring gray skies and high-50s — perfect! — weather are pretty obviously on some Tuesday ish, but the calendar don’t lie. And if it’s Friday, then you’re up for some Friday reading, a couple of longer, more interesting-er features to ease you out of actually working and into staring at your computer and reading stuff. It’s a tradition, people! The reading part and the staring at your computer part. So, right:

There isn’t always a lot of gbNYC-worthy stuff over at Second Avenue Sagas, although I read it often anyway. I suppose the time I spend there could be filed under billable hours, if such a category existed for blogger types. But while subways are an integral part of New York City’s inherent sustainability and et cetera, Second Avenue Sagas is also full of the sort of dorky-cool forgotten-New-York stuff that I love. Recently, SAS’ Benjamin Kabak has been writing about the plans to redevelop some of the MTA’s long-shuttered pedestrian tunnels; fans of good-luck-with-that grandiosity will love Vornado’s plans to turn the formerly dodgy Gimbel’s Tunnel near Penn Station into a Rockefeller Plaza of sorts. (Who knew Steven Roth was such a fan of Stephen Millhauser’s Martin Dressler) But Kabak’s overview of these ghostly underground presences — left to the albino alligators and Mole People for the past couple decades — really got my NYC-nerd juices flowing:

Everyday, thousands of New Yorkers destined for Midtown exit the 34th St./Herald Square station and walk north along Sixth Avenue. Most do not realize it, but they are tracking the path of an underground complex that ranges north from 35th to 40th Sts. and connects the Herald Square subway station to the 42nd St./Bryant Park stop. That passageway, closed for nearly 20 years, is just one of the many secrets the subway system hides right before our eyes.

We’ve written about Slate’s green-living experiment in online crowd-sourcing in the past, although I’ve regrettably not kept up as well with its progress once it got into the user-submitted-idea phase. User voting closed in the contest earlier this week, and a panel of all-star judges have begun their deliberations. If you want to check out some of the user-submitted ideas, click here. It’s an interesting survey, but longtime gbNYC readers — or anyone who reads a lot about sustainable urbanism, or has read my demi-rants on this subject — will let out a sigh at how many more votes “develop a solar shingle” received than “move to a city.”

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