Tuesday, January 29, 2008


In absolutely stunning news, the MTA has announced that they are cancelling plans to build "Downtown's Grand Central." The New York Post's Steve Cuozzo has been all over this sad story from day one. No one who has followed the trials and tribulations of post-9/11 construction downtown should be surprised by this news.

But nor is anyone outraged. In today's apathetic political climate, the vast silent majority care nothing for issues big (Iraq) or local (Alan Hevesi winning an election despite corruption charges comes to mind). This allows our elected leaders to get away with doing absolutely nothing. George Pataki slithered out of office last year with Ground Zero still a massive hole in the ground. Nigh on 8 years later shouldn't Pataki be confronted with his colossal failure to build anything, a memorial, something, every single time he shows his face at a public event?

Of course, in New York State, our elected leaders can always pin the blame on our quasi-independent public authorities. It's a fair point, and worth discussing in the future. The main point for now is that $900 million will go down the drain without adding an inch of track to our subways. Dozens of viable small businesses who kept going through 9/11 were evicted, in the name of us, the public, in order to build the grand station you see above.

Now we will likely be left with a subway staircase attached to the side of a massive condo tower sold to a developer at a bargain rate. We all know that the only condos get built in this town. The 7-train extension to the far west side? The 2nd-avenue subway? the LIRR connection to Grand Central? Moynihan Station? The Freedom Tower? A 9/11 memorial?

Could the money earmarked for the unnecessary Fulton St. Hub have gone to speed up the MTA's myriad capital projects that make weekend subway travel confusing and long? We'll never know. And as long as our papers don't make these stories front-page news and as long as they don't ask the simple questions that can shed some light on Albany we'll continue to never know.

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