Monday, November 05, 2012

Report from Coney Island- what some residents impacted by Sandy say they need

On Monday November 5- some of the folks we worked with on the ground in Coney Island this past Sunday, volunteers Nadav Samin and Tamar Matza sent this report.

They say they asked supervisors at hyper-local relief sites what resident's most pressing needs were as far as items. Below you'll find the names and contact for supervisors running those sites as well as the items they say residents in the area- that's largely cut off from much of the city-say is most pressing.

Samin said he ask the following questions;

<1. What do you have too little of?>
2. What do you have too much of?
3. What are the plans for Tuesday and Wednesday?
4. What medicines do you need, if any?
5. Are there special needs for children?

At Keyspan Park
Contact: Susanne James (She works for the Mayor, with the Center for Economic Opportunity)
Phone Number: 718-702-3140

1. Food, diapers, blankets, socks, hats
2. Water
3. Tuesday we are trying to move the site from Keyspan Park (was unsure where to, this should be confirmed with Susanne James)
4. The health trucks on site were distributing medicine
5. Blankets

At the 23rd and Surf site
Contact: Shirley Atkins (Coordinator for Coney Island Houses, I think)
Phone Number: 718-864-4856

1. Toiletries, blankets, feminine products, canned food, baby food, baby diapers
2. Clothes
3. Tuesday will be here. Wednesday will probably not be here because of the storm.
4. We aren’t allowed to distribute medicine (Red Crodd truck was right out front)
5. Baby food, juices, soups.

at 33rd and Neptune
Contact: Ms. Carter (Resident coordinator for Dwyer and Gravesend Houses)
Phone Number: 347-350-4966

1. Blankets, coats, canned goods, batteries, diapers, smiliac, baby food, body washes (because no hot water)
2. Nothing
3. We’ll be here on Tuesday and Wednesday (the distribution center is set up right in the lobby of the building)
4. Tylenol, motrin, band aids, alcohol, alcohol pads

Samin said the volunteers also spent some time driving around the neighborhood informing residents that hot food was being served at 28th and Neptune. A group called Mercy Chefs is set up at that spot, and he said they will be there for a few days. Samin said they seemed very pleased to learn about this, which suggests that an important part of the work is just getting out into the neighborhood and letting people know about the resources that are available.

Previously- that Sunday.
Sunday evening-November 5, 2012-Just in from volunteer work on Coney Island. Thousands in the area were still without power, many in high-rise public housing structures. Even if power comes back-boilers in some structures are flooded, so there would likely not be heat. Residents say they need fresh fruit, h20, batteries- most especially, blankets. Throughout the area, on block after block, countless homes where the entire first floors are ruined. The flood line was upwards of five feet. Most automobiles parked in the area during the storm are ruined. Transportation is a challenge since the subway does not run to the area yet. There are bus lines that run sporadically from subway stop at Bayshore- on the D line- Clear need for more bus service. Did not see RED CROSS- all day. FEMA was there, NYC officials, were present. National Guard. Lots of volunteers.
Donations can be made

Friday, October 05, 2012

Helmets on the bike Trail

From Cody Lyon

In a September 29, 2012 "New York Times" analysis piece called "To Encourage Biking, Cities Lose the Helmets...Elisabeth Rosenthal reported that... “Pushing helmets really kills cycling and bike-sharing in particular because it promotes a sense of danger that just isn’t justified — in fact, cycling has many health benefits,” says Piet de Jong, a professor in the department of applied finance and actuarial studies at Macquarie University in Sydney. He studied the issue with mathematical modeling, and concludes that the benefits may outweigh the risks by 20 to 1.

He adds: “Statistically, if we wear helmets for cycling, maybe we should wear helmets when we climb ladders or get into a bath, because there are lots more injuries during those activities.” The European Cyclists’ Federation says that bicyclists in its domain have the same risk of serious injury as pedestrians per mile traveled.

Yet the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that “all cyclists wear helmets, no matter where they ride,” said Dr. Jeffrey Michael, an agency official.

Although I may be missing a point- I had to respond in this blog;

Those cycling advocates who suggest that the pushing of helmet wearing makes a basically safe activity seem really dangerous- are being somewhat short sighted, perhaps irresponsible and a tad bit selfish. Helmets don't scare cyclists away from riding on city streets any more than seat belts frighten drivers from getting into a car and driving on the nation's deadly highways. The truth is, those who bike ride sans helmet in city streets- or anyplace for that matter, should pause and consider themselves as nothing more than human egg shells gliding along on two wheels. Sometimes, even the most seasoned riders learn that analogy is steeped in pain filled veins of truth thanks to the most random and mundane of accidents or mishaps.

As someone who has ridden a bike from points A to B, almost every day, for nearly 20 years of my New York existence- I can say I've had close calls with cars, pedestrians and cab doors flung wide open as I raced up Sixth Avenue or down through Times Square. I've cut in and out of traffic like a spawning salmon, raced buses as if there were a prize at the end of no where. I've even been spiteful to the commuters- whizzing down 9th Avenue at rush hour squeezing seamlessly through thousands of stalled frustrated cars-all waiting to get into those Jersey bound tunnels-looking back, smirking and thinking-suckers!

But for all those years of adrenalin driven,exhilarating cycling through these frantic city streets, I didn't wear a helmet. Oh I knew I should wear one, but it wasn't until one afternoon, while riding on my Mountain bike along the car free Hudson River bike path near around 123rd St when I unexpectedly became-shall we say- humbled. Again, no cars, in fact, at this point, no other cyclists, just me, a pretty sunset and the breeze, then all of a sudden, I lost my footing, and ka- bam!- down I went- real hard.

Through the grace of forces beyond my comprehension, I held my big head away from the paved path- and instead, hit the pavement with my chin full force. Two cyclists saw the benign looking crash and realized there was a much more serious looking bloody mess- so they stopped. One took it upon himself to call an ambulance. The two spandex sporting, helmet wearing types stayed with me fending off the curious inquiring passers by who wondered aloud- if I was okay. Looking back, I think they recognized that I was loosing a decent amount of blood-which had me spooked, one even offered his shirt to put pressure on the main wound until the ambulance arrived. When the EMS did figure out where we were and had parked on the car whizzing West Side highway- they made it to the spot and put me on a board. At that point my neck and head secured tight, all focus and sight was on the sky. The EMS loaded me and my bike up and took me off to a nearby hospital. Along the way, the EMT attendant kindly lectured,and informed me that if I had fallen in a slightly in different angle, my skull would have likely cracked, like an egg shell.

He said he saw bike accidents on the city's streets all the time- some more severe than others. And while the average risk for a cyclist to get hurt is relatively low- especially when compared to accidents in cars or even pedestrian who get bit by a car- there's no doubt-helmets reduce the chance serious injury in a bike crash, or even a simple fall like my incident.

Once healed, before I stepped back onto my wonderful bike and the adventure waiting on the city streets, I went out and found a helmet.

The fact is- I just lost my footing- and guess what- so could any of the thousands of other New York City residents who are discovering that this fast, clean, healthy way to get around our city is the most efficient, exhilarating and fun way to travel. Wearing a helmet doesn't make cycling seem dangerous- and if your worried about your looks like I can be-rest assured- you can fix your hair in a bathroom at your destination. The truth is- Helmets help those of us who wear them look a little bit smarter.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Why the NYC bike share is Delayed

From GOTHAM GAZETTE NEW YORK — The firm picked by the city to run what is meant to be the nation's largest bicycle share program has been dogged by questions about how it got a contract to run a similar system in Chicago, while its partner is being sued by a key software developer. City officials announced last week that the much-anticipated bike share program would be delayed from its expected roll-out this summer to March 2013. Mayor Michael Bloomberg blamed the system’s software. “The software doesn’t work. Duh,” Bloomberg said on his radio show. “We’re not going to put it out until it does work.” There may be a good reason why the software doesn’t work: It’s unfinished. According to the city official in charge of the recently launched bike share program in Chattanooga, Tenn., which uses the same platform, the software is undergoing “ongoing development.” "There's still work to be done — features to be added — and that's where we are at the current time," said Philip Pugliese, of Bike Chattanooga. Link to full story

Saturday, August 04, 2012


BY Cody Lyon | Friday, August 3 2012 (from TECH PRESIDENT- PERSONALDEMOCRACY.COM Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Joshua Boschee is an openly gay candidate for public office in a socially conservative state, but observers say he's got a real shot at becoming one of Fargo, North Dakota's next representatives in the state legislature. Boschee's home state of North Dakota has, according to one study, the lowest proportion of same-sex couples in the United States. It's a conservative state, although "conservative" means something different in the only state in the Union with a state-owned bank and a state-owned grain mill and elevator. LINK TO FULL STORY

Share your ride; Make some Cash- story from BIZJOURNALS.

by CODY LYON 8/4 ...FROM UPSTART-"But while riding in a car with a potential BFF sounds more fun than schlepping to a crowded, stinky bus station—and whole lot cheaper than a plane or train—what happens if you're a chatty self-professed fashion junkie who enjoys Madonna in a smoke-free, air-conditioned environment? Your idea of a perfect nightmare might be a road trip with a patchouli-wearing, pack-a-day Marlboro Man driver that prefers listening to Phish with the top down for the four-hour drive to our nation's capital. To help avoid such uncomfortable rides, users need a Facebook account to set up profiles at the Zimride website. That lets both driver and passenger check each other out in advance, see if their musical tastes jive, and determine if they have some shared friends. Established in 2007, the ride-share program is just one of three products Zimride offers. The other two parts of the business are a short-route phone app-based service that’s being piloted in San Francisco and software that Zimride has licensed to 140 universities and private companies to help ease parking congestion." FULL STORY AT BIZJOURNALS

Monday, July 23, 2012

A plan for Austin's South Shores Central (Next American City)

by Cody Lyon from NEXT AMERICAN CITY On any given day after 5pm, thousands of joggers, cyclists and pedestrians descend onto the Roy and Ann Butler Hike and Bike Trail along Lady Bird Lake in central Austin, Texas. For 5.4 miles on both the water’s north and south side, enchanted tree-lined paths offer big views of the lake, sunsets and twinkling lights of a constantly changing downtown skyline. It is one of those places, like Austin City Limits venue Zilker Park or the south side’s funky, food-truck-lined streets, that make the boho Texas capital what it is. Recently, property owners in the district — including the city’s daily paper, the Austin American-Statesman — have realized there is potential for growth yet untapped in the area, and put several tracts totaling 19 acres in the area up for sale. Given Austin’s boomtown status, it’s no secret that developers smell opportunity. Full story at AMERICANCITY.ORG

New York City and the nation's largest Bike Share (2 part series- Gotham Gazette)

Cody Lyon for Gotham Gazette NEW YORK – On a recent Sunday afternoon at the outdoor flea market along the Williamsburg, Brooklyn waterfront two blue bikes splashed with the Citibank logo stood under a tent awaiting riders. As hundreds of people walked among the flea market vendors, a few peeked in to check out the cycles. One guy said the bikes "ride pretty smooth." The unisex, 3-speed, bell-and-light-laden upright bikes were being demoed to give New Yorkers a chance to try out the city's big bike share before it gets up and running later this summer. Once it has been completely rolled out, the program will likely be the largest of its kind in the nation – and New York City will have finally joined other cities in the U.S. and in Europe, where such systems have been around for years. LINK TO PART ONE OF STORY ****************************************************************************************a LINK TO PART TWO

Monday, July 16, 2012

Will the new Bike Share Change the face of NYC

Will NYC bike share change the collective psyche on cycling in NYC (Gotham Gazette) Once it has been completely rolled out, the program will likely be the largest of its kind in the nation – and New York City will have finally joined other cities in the U.S. and in Europe, where such systems have been around for years. If the $41 million program makes it in the city, it could potentially transform the way that New Yorkers get around the metropolis with hundreds of thousands of new bike trips being taken each year. But will the Big Apple's collective psyche shift from the bike being perceived as a tool of recreation and exercise to that of a more utilitarian or alternative form of public transit? Will it be safe, in a city that is notoriously peevish toward cyclers? Simply put, will the share program usher in broader acceptance of the bike? Link to full story

Friday, June 15, 2012

Accepting my human Vulnerability on Two Wheels

by CODY LYON Images below-

I ride my bike pretty much everywhere I go here in New York City. This past year, while living and working in Austin, I pretty much subscribed to the same practice.

I got back to New York the first week of June and since then, have been using my bike as a primary mode of transporation but also, kissing the city I love so much. There's nothing like catching up with familiar sights up and downtown while pedaling from neighborhood to neighborhood each with distinct flavors and sounds. It's also easier to catch the city's waves of infectious street energy while pedaling past the walking masses on their way to meetings, lunch or maybe just the gym. Cyling is the best way to scope out new construction projects across town that could lead to potential new stories for a real estate reporter-like me. And, like a child in a candy store, I've had my I Phone with me everywhere, taking photos and showing them off-in real time- on facebook as well as other social media sites.

But- recent events have reminded me that I've been pedaling sans helmet again. My most recent excuse-fitting-you see, I have a large head. In Austin, it was the heat, oh it gets to hot under there. Then of course,pure vanity, my hair-or, oh at forty something- I'll look dorky? What's really stupid is the fact that the minimal protective armor a helmet provides has been shown to reduce the incidence of catastrophic injury that can occur when skull-bone- meets hard concrete or the steel frames of a moving tons heavy austomobile or truck.

Worth noting- cycling in New York City increased 8% between 2010 and 2011, 102% since 2007, and 289% compared to 2001. During the same time, safety increased for all road users. As recently as 2010-of the more than 6,000 New York City traffic accidents that involved cyclists, 36 people died, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Also in New York City- 92% of all bicyclist fatalities occurred as a result of crashes with motor vehicles, and 91% of bicyclists who died were male.

As part of my welcome home to New York City, I've had two close calls on my bike over the past 8 days. The first time-I was behaving foolishly-filming the sights of Times Square while riding on the bike lane. That behavior-despite being called out by a friend who'd spied me texting while riding my bike just days before. Although I was moving slow while obtaining my tourist footage, I wasn't looking ahead or paying full attention to my surroundings. Then suddenly-a cab door had swung open in my path- I hit it- and fell off my bike. That time I landed on my feet. It made for a silly You Tube video moment.

But then on Thursday June 15th at around 730, I was riding my bike along the Hudson west side bike path. At some point, around 105 st, perhaps I was distracted by the beautiful sunset or maybe my chain malfunctioned, as the EMS official later theorized. All I know is that I lost my footing and down I went. No cars, no other cyclist were involved at all-I'd gone against the statistics- this incident was just me and I was not wearing a helmet.

This time, as I flew down to kiss New York in a way I'd never intended, I had horrible and split second fatalistic thought that this was not good. Through the grace of God, I didn't hit my head or land in a way that compromised my upper spinal cord. Instead, my big chin took the brunt. Blood was gushing from my face, I felt the flap of flesh on my chin and rubbed my tounge on my teeth- they were all there.

Several people stopped, but two in particular stayed with me and waited until the EMS arrived to take me to the hospital. At St Luke's hospital, I was cleaned up- x-rayed and my chin was sewn up- 7 stitches. (Sweet folks in that ER.) Funny-but I look like Mike Tyson after a bad fight. Lessons learned- we are fragile creatures, eggshells on two wheels so NEVER ride without a helmet. Also, there are angels among us, like the two who stayed with me until help arrived. And friends like those who called and the one who came to get me and take me home- are to be treasured.

After these days of mishap and a painful but mild recovery but in fact-I'm accepting my vulnerability as a human being- I am only human. I only have one body, and one brain that is housed inside this shell called a skull. My spine allows me to walk and lift my arms and even scratch myself because it allows me to know, I have an itch.

Sometimes, accidents do happen regardless of how carefule we are, but it's probably best to to pay close attention to what I'm doing while riding a bike- and always-always wear a helmet. Otherwise, I may not be able to advocate for what I still believe is the most exhilarating, efficient and beautiful way to get around a city- esepcially the one I love most, New York.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

New York City-

Crossed the Brooklyn Bridge by bike around 545 pm -then headed west to the WTC. Everyone else-thousands that they were- hurried off to rumbling trains, honking cabs or boats big and small-all heading to points north/south/east or west of this tiny sliver of earth downtown. But me, I stood with my bike and stared up. That's what happens after a year away from this magic island called Manhattan.-end.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Maintaining and Building a Viable Downtown Austin


We rarely need to get in our car. Life just feels simpler for us. The strange thing I’ve noticed is our lack of a need to get out to places like the grocery store. We just don’t need the same things we used to so our plate has been cleared of those soul crushing weekend errands, " said Westmoreland.

Close to 9,500 residents call downtown Austin “home." But even beyond that key core, within a three mile radius, are another almost 150,000 people and growing.

The desire to live, work and play downtown is measurable. But it remains to be seen exactly how leaders, planners and businesses will come together to sustain true healthy growth towards full downtown density enabling more Austinites to live, work and play downtown.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Local music Legend and Austin nightlife titans form a venture (ABJ)


excerpt from Austin Business Journal;

“I’ve been playing bars for 45 years and I’ve seen plenty of them open then close the next year,“ said Benson, who was only recently spurred to get into the bar business.
When approached with the idea to open a bar, Benson knew Luckie and Williamson had a solid record of food and beverage success and couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
There’s no doubt all three men recognize that nightlife is as much an industry, as it is entertainment. Millions are spent each year on the construction of bars and restaurants and Texans spend upwards of $4 billion a year on liquor alone, according to the Distilled Spirits Council . That figure doesn’t take into account cover charges and other revenue streams, all providing employment for thousands of people.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012




Many high-end home sellers are bypassing the traditional multi-listing service in Austin, relying instead on the so-called “silent market.” Cody Lyon of the Austin Business Journal explains more about this word-of-mouth style of selling real estate.

I would describe it as sort of an insider’s club for home sellers. What you have are people who, for whatever reason, choose to market their homes more discreetly. The silent market is really a term that was coined by some folks who market homes not through the traditional multiple-listing service, but they do it by word of mouth. Probably the biggest benefit to not advertising on the multiple-listing service is the discretion that you are afforded by going quiet – by marketing quiet.

If you’re in a hurry to sell your home, then the multiple-listing service is the way to go. But if you’ve got a lot of time to kill, you know, you’re not really thinking about selling your home but you’re flirting with the idea of selling your home, if you put it on the silent market then you are able to sort of test the market and see whether or not there’s even any interest at all.

One broker that I spoke with told me that this is generally an area within five miles of the Capitol. He said that the homes start at around $500,000 and go up to $1 million or more.

Read Cody Lyon’s full article online at the Austin Business Journal.