This Sustainable Life

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518: Killing cities, gardens, and parks, New York's cruel "Open Restaurants" overreach

Ep. 518

Don't outdoor restaurants sound nice? During the pandemic, New York City allowed restaurants that couldn't host people indoors to serve them outdoors. Many restaurant owners credit the rule for keeping them in business. We neighbors happily supported businesses in need.

The landlords saw the huge profit in keeping this public space for their private property, started raising rents---profiting from a deadly pandemic---and tried to get politicians to give them that public land permanently.

I might not mind if that space were coming from just car spaces, or if restaurants weren't polluting the area so much with plastic, burning fossil fuels to heat the outdoors while California is on fire, other packaging, and noise.

There is a better alternative that no one thought of because we didn't know the city was willing to convert space from parking spaces and open sidewalk. We could turn it to living green spaces: community gardens, playgrounds, farmers markets, bike lanes, public pedestrian spaces, and such. There was already huge demand for such spaces. People wait years for plots in the tiny spaces we have. But search the web for "Manhattan community gardens" and you'll find almost nothing, especially around Greenwich Village.

This program is already raising rents, making new restaurants harder to start. It helps a few individuals while hurting the industry it purports to help.

Those who know New York City's history will see this land grab from the public on par with the failed Lower Manhattan Expressway. People organized to protect what became global destinations: Soho, Nolita, Tribeca, the Lower East Side.

If you have influence with New York City politics, end this program of pollution and destruction.

See images and videos I made of what Open Restaurants contributes to:

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11/27/2021

534: Mom, part 2: Opportunity and oppression: race and religion in my childhood

Ep. 534
I recorded my second conversation with my mom about my childhood and before during the pandemic, in the spring of 2020. Shortly after recording our first conversation, which covered race, George Floyd was murdered. You know the rest. I knew we had spent years as white minorities in India and in a black neighborhood in Philadelphia, at least part time.I was curious to learn more of the time she would have remembered better. In this episode we talk about being redlined, being the victim of race-based violence and objectifying, as well as the access to opportunity to resources for our skin color. Also friends who narrowly escaped Hitler, why my mom converted from Lutheran to Judaism, and bringing classes of her black students from Chicago in the 1960s to where she grew up in South Dakota, where the students declared the Native Americans had it worse.I've never understood the world people describe me coming from. I'm curious to hear the white experience from suburbs, never having lived as a minority, little crime or violence, never mugged, or whatever it's like. I presume it's no easier for them than anyone else, but it's foreign to me. I think if I learned it, I'd understand what people see in me.Anyway, my mom took a long time to agree to post this episode. I'm not sure her reasons, but I think America has so polarized talking about race that non-partisan mainstream people fear the consequences from those who benefit from polarizing from even simply sharing their personal experiences. I hope this episode helps defuse.