Snapping the snowstorm: Gramercy Park in pictures

Making the best of a weekend of being snowed in, numerous residents of Gramercy Park headed outside, cameras in tow, to capture the blizzard’s beauty as well as the opportunity to enjoy the snow with their families. The neighbor photo project was organized by Arlene Harrison, president of the Gramercy Park Block Association. Here are just some of the photos. The rest (over 100) can be seen on Harrison’s Flickr.

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Letters to the Editor, Jan. 28

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

TWC should consider the blind

On January 6, State Senator Brad Hoylman reached out to Robert D. Marcus,chairman and CEO of Time Warner Cable to ask about implanting services to make more television programs accessible to the blind. This is a copy of that letter.

Dear Mr. Marcus:

I am writing to state my concerns regarding the lack of accessibility features offered to Time Warner Cable customers who are blind or visually impaired.

Federal Communications Commission Chair Tom Wheeler has recognized the necessity to “dramatically simplify the ability of individuals who are blind and visually impaired to view television programming” by making video devices with “talking menus” and “talking guides” available to all consumers by December of this year. While I am pleased that the FCC has committed to ensuring that all cable providers adhere to high standards of accessibility, I am disappointed that enforcement will not go into effect until the end of 2016. Until that time, Time Warner Cable’s inaccessible interface and programs leave many blind or visually impaired consumers without the ability to take advantage of an activity that so many of us take for granted.

I implore you to take action as a responsible corporate citizen to improve the standard of living for your blind and visually impaired customers. Comcast has already set an example with its simple to use and accessible technology, making it possible for its blind and visually impaired customers to enjoy quality television programming with ease and independence. Time Warner Cable must step up as a leader in cable television technology and provide its customers with the accessibility features they need. Moreover, Time Warner Cable must implement basic accessibility standards, including the availability of television guides and documents written in Braille and the option to increase font sizes of on-screen menus for those with limited visibility.

Over 8 million Americans have a visual impairment, including nearly 400,000 New Yorkers. I recently had a conversation with a constituent of mine who is legally blind. He describes himself as a “movie buff” and recounts childhood memories of bonding with his father over favorite television shows. Despite his love for film, he is unable to fully access Time Warner Cable’s expansive movie and television options without great difficulty or assistance.

I urge you to take responsibility for giving consumers with visual impairments access to the same compelling and exciting television programming available to anyone else. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Brad Hoylman
New York State Senate, 27th District

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Maloney to MTA: Don’t shut down L

Dec31 Maloney

Congress Member Carolyn Maloney

 

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and a few other elected officials have asked MTA to reconsider its plans to shut down L train service between Manhattan and Brooklyn while the agency does repair work on the line.

The request came in the form of a letter to MTA chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast on Monday, requesting a meeting to discuss the impacts of the proposed Hurricane-Sandy related repairs.

“There is no duplicate mode of transportation,” Maloney said in the letter. “We understand that the tunnel is over 100 years old, that it was badly damaged by Superstorm Sandy and that repairs must be made; however, we are deeply concerned that the closure could leave commuters with no means of getting to and from the Williamsburg/Greenpoint area.”

The letter’s authors also requested that Prendergast or other MTA representatives work with them on a mitigation plan.

“We would like to be involved in the planning at an early stage so that our suggestions and concerns can be taken into account as you develop your plans,” they said in the letter.

Maloney was joined in the letter by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, State Senators Martin Malavé Dilan and Daniel Squadron, Assembly Member Joseph Lentol and Council Member Stephen Levin.

In response, MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz told Town & Village that while the work is necessary because of the damage done to the tubes because of the salt water that flooded in from the storm, the agency has not finalized decisions about the work, which won’t be started for a couple years. He added that the agency is planning to work with the community throughout the process, although he did not have specifics about setting up a meeting with Maloney and other local elected officials.

“We look forward to meeting with elected officials, community representatives and riders and listening to their ideas for the best way to mitigate the impact to customers who travel through the Canarsie Tube every day,” Ortiz said.

A number of community groups and businesses, including Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, the Greenpoint Chamber of Commerce and Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG), have organized to express their concerns about the proposed shutdowns. The groups are joining for a community meeting at Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg on Thursday, January 28 at 11 a.m.