There was supposed to be a perhaps epic/perhaps lukewarm snowstorm the day before my departure from Albany. It snowed maybe four inches, and that’s somewhat lukewarm for NYC. Considering how fast they make the white stuff disappear, anything less than half a foot is probably considered a dusting. The morning after the storm, there was still a lot of slush and ice all over (and it made hiking through Manhattan more annoying that it had to be). Today, it looks like it hasn’t snowed in a month. That is a special sort of black magic that only true New York residents practice. Go them.

That same four inches is more like an antarctic blizzard for Amtrak. They cancelled my first train, and all other departing trains, save for one. I ended up only slightly delayed.

Not much else went wrong. I was stereotypically splashed by a big truck while I out walking, and later that day I found a long black hair on one of the bath towels in my seedy-as-CENSORED hotel room. Oh, by the way, I’m not allowed to curse anymore. My family views me as sort of an angel (he he), so harsh combinations of letters offend some of the retired family folk. I’m not sure why. I was told that the kind of combinations of letters I so, so, so often use outside of social media turns more people off than on. That’s probably why the aforementioned family members only watch Disney movies instead of The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones (if it wasn’t clear, they do not watch Disney movies. They do watch The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones).

Anyway, the snow slowed my descent into the southern bowels of Manhattan somewhat, and I wasn’t able to visit all the places I had wanted to visit. I did go check out One World Trade Center and the accompanying memorials. It’s a cool area, and if you haven’t gone, then you should. I also went into a shopping mall called Brookfield Place so I could use the restroom. I realized immediately that I didn’t belong, and I’m surprised I didn’t get kicked out. They looked like they wanted to, but I have a pretty smile and almost pearly white teeth, and I’m sure that’s how I was able to successfully complete my mission. I left quickly after deciding the coffee was too high-end for me and I didn’t want to pee again in an hour anyway.

After that I realized it was gonna take me hours to find my hotel. It took me longer than that, so I called an Uber when I couldn’t find a walking path over the Queensborough Bridge. The hotel was a CENSOREDhole, as mentioned, but still manages to maintain the title of most expensive accommodation I booked for the next three months. But the hand soap smelled fantastic–so there’s that. When I was settled, I went out to dinner with friends at the oddly named “Butter” restaurant. ‘Twas a delight, and tangerine glazed duck thigh is a surprisingly awesome combination. We followed up by seeing the Broadway production of “The Play That Goes Wrong” which is a play about a play that goes terribly wrong. You read that correctly. The funniest part was listening to the three or four audience members who couldn’t just laugh normally–no, they had to cackle like the possessed. The play was great.

I went back, posted some photos to Instagram (follow follow), showered, and slept. And slept. Today I didn’t do much but take some more pictures at Roosevelt Island–which we’ll just say I posted to Facebook (friend friend).

The Innovations

Sadly, you won’t find much in NYC that you can’t find elsewhere. Manhattan is extremely walkable, but the traffic is terrible and the city needs to find a better way to make commuting easier for everyone. They won’t.

NYC does have the Citi Bike program which allows people to pick up or drop off bikes at easily accessible locations. In 2016, about 14 million rides were taken. Neato, but that’s still not enough to make much of a dent in a city of about 9 million people. This is just my opinion, but the only way I would exercise the option is if the bike paths were separate from the road. Most of them aren’t totally segregated.

There are a few true bike/pedestrian paths on the outskirts of Manhattan, but not enough to really compel anyone to use alternate transportation. Pedestrians and cyclists don’t need much space to move. There is a short above ground path called “The High Line” near Penn Station (which was CLOSED because of the snow), and it seems somewhat popular. If these elevated paths extended throughout NYC, the city would be an easier place to get around. Segregating pedestrians from cyclists from motorists is the best way of reducing traffic, noise pollution, actually pollution, and everything else you don’t want to deal with. If you don’t need to stop at every crossing, you get to where you’re going a lot faster. Of course this option would be expensive as CENSORED, but tourism would go up as well. So would artistic endeavors. Basically cars are the foundation of everything wrong in every city and they should just GO AWAY.

Taxi services are still chugging along, and ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft are rapidly swallowing the rest of the industry. They’re going to bring a lot of change, especially with the addition of driverless cars sometime in the next few years. That’s still not the right kind of change.

I did notice the LinkNYC kiosks that I wrote about years ago. Right now there are less than a thousand, but eventually the city plans to increase the number to about 7,500. They blanket areas with free WiFi, and the touch screens provide easy access to city information and free calls. It’s a pretty cool idea, and I wonder if it’ll get used. A lot of people were opposed to the idea for the same reason that #deletefacebook is gaining so much steam. The kiosks could theoretically gather a lot of information about anyone who uses them. I think people should probably get used the world in which we live.

Either way, Facebook, Google, and SpaceX all plan to blanket the world with free WiFi, so the LinkNYC adventure might prove obsolete before they even finish building the remaining kiosks.

By the way, I’m taking music and audio book recommendations for parts of my upcoming trip. Send me a message, or leave a comment, or stalk me, or some such other nonsense. If you know of any fun or exciting tech innovation happening in NYC, please mention it!


About Author

Jeff is a self-proclaimed pragmatic futurist; that is, he has high hopes for absurd life-altering technologies which sound too good to be true, and probably are. Although he writes on a variety of subjects, his real passion is for technological innovation and the people who make it happen. By day, he enjoys fuzzy bunnies, kittens, puppies, roller coasters and a sardonic written word or two. By night, he's busy running MMR, replaying a random Final Fantasy game, or pretending to be Batman. He currently resides in Upstate NY.