A Fine Blog, Am I Back? An Update.


Hey, folks! It’s been a while, a long while since I last blogged. I’m still here, still selling coops and condos (30 years worth), and I am more active in community issues than ever. While I haven’t been writing much in long form, I have been on Twitter (X) almost daily as @afineblogger, expressing my thoughts and concerns about the goings-on in NYC. Frankly, the more you learn about how the NYC runs, the more disturbing it is. In the vacuum of voter apathy, special interests and often shady “non-profits” have taken control. The way I look at things, it’s either fight, or flight, and I prefer the former; though, at times, you really question this decision. I encounter people on a fairly regular basis, that I know from the blog days, who ask where I’ve been, what I’ve been up to, and why I stopped blogging. That’s a loaded question, but here is my best answer.

Time. If only there were more time!

About 10 years ago, I got involved in the East 86th Street Association, where I currently serve as VP. We are an all-volunteer organization, and there is no compensation for anyone, but plenty of work to be done. Working with the City and our elected officials to “get stuff done” is like herding cats. This is not easy. I’ve been told for more than a decade to just wait, an East 86th Street B.I.D. is coming! My answer has always been “that’s great, but in the meantime, we need clean and safe streets.” I’m proud of what we have accomplished. While retail in general, and shoplifting are ongoing challenges, the garbage cans are not regularly overflowing, there are police stationed in the area, we have planted every tree pit from Park Avenue to Second Avenue, and we remove graffiti quarterly, just to mention a few improvements. I helped build the East 86th Street website, the social media presence, and organize the plantings and regular Clean Team events.  But, what about that B.I.D? The B.I.D. idea has been tried and failed three times, but it seems to have a better chance this go around, SO, I’m on the Steering Committee for the East 80’s Yorkville Alliance B.I.D. effort. Another hat! One issue that has been on the East 86th Street radar for years is the threat of Congestion Pricing. Yes, it is a threat. It is a regressive tax, it is inflationary, ableist, and the worst thing Manhattan businesses and depressed commercial real estate needs right now. People will debate me on this, but it seems that New Yorkers are FINALLY figuring this out, as evidenced by a recent Sienna poll that shows that only 25% of NYers favor it. East 86th Street has been involved for more than a decade as 86th was the original (and who knows, maybe the future) border. I was engaged by a few CB8 Members almost two years ago to form “The Coalition in Opposition to Congestion Pricing”. I know, long name, that was not my pick, but I’m a Founding Member. Through this organization, I reached out to build relationships with reasonable, moderate lawmakers, community activists, and like-minded folks that were ready to activate. Eventually we leveraged these relationships to build a bigger organization, the “New Yorkers Against Congestion Pricing Tax”, of which I am also a Founding Member. The group, also all-volunteer, of course, has raised funds for a lawsuit that we filed in the U.S. Southern District with 49 Plaintiffs representing all five boroughs. We have Oral Arguments on May 17th and feel very good about our prospects. We are seeking a formal “Environmental Impact Study” to examine the negative consequences that CP will have on the environment, the economy, and equity. But, that’s not all!

Over a year ago, I was contacted by someone in a Facebook Upper West Side Parking Group. As it turns out, this person, Janet Schroeder, and I, had a very common pet peeve- lawless and unregistered e-bikes and mopeds running wild on our streets and sidewalks. Janet was starting a group called the NYC E-Vehicle Safety Alliance and invited me to join as a Founding Member. Turns out, this is an issue that has people animated all over NYC. People are fed up! In short order we’ve grown to 650 Members, 74 of which have been physically impacted by “micro-mobility devices”, injuries which are grossly underreported. Injuries range from brain bleeds, broken bones of all types, paralysis, and in a handful of cases, death. Leveraging already established relationships, and building new ones, we’ve managed to get an e-bike registration bill up to 34 co-sponsors (out of 51 NYC Councilmembers), have advised on a dozen bills in Albany relating to moped registration in shop, reporting, leaving the scene of a micro-mobility accident, and e-bike registration, insurance, inspection and licensing. Despite having the “will of the people”, a vast majority of NYers, it is still an uphill battle! Special interests in the FHV space (Uber, Lyft) and the delivery apps (Doordash, as one example) have a firm grip on our politicians and no shortage of money to throw at them, and special interest groups like Transportation Alternatives and Riders Alliance, that they use as proxy to further their bidding. It’s a tangled web, to say the least, but we are making progress! The e-bike registration bill in the City Council, for instance, was languishing in the council for a year with only a dozen sponsors before we got involved. We made it acceptable for some of our weaker electeds to stand up to these interests, and actually stand for the will of the people (for once). There is still plenty of work to be done, and we won’t rest until someone who gets hit by an e-bike or moped can identify the vehicle, and not get stuck with the doctor’s bill at the end of the day. We are not trying to penalize anyone, or any specific group of the oppressed- we are trying to change behavior. Accountability creates responsibility!

I’ve been asked to get involved in other organizations, but politely declined. Aside from all of the above, I do feel we need to work together for common ground on common concerns. The extremism in our society, left and right, is out of control, and does not represent us. Most of us are in the middle and just want to live with a reasonable chance to get by with a decent quality of life. So, despite my plate being full, very full, if I can help replace some extremists with moderates, I may just have to take a little bit more on.

Did I mention that I’m trying to also make a living and raise a family in NYC? These are the ultimate priorities, as I can’t possibly do all of the above without my one paying job! To that end, keep me in mind if you are buying or selling an apartment, townhouse, or house in NYC. I’ve promised myself that I would try to remind people of this more often. In the meantime, I will try to blog more often. It may be a tad more political, and I can’t help that because of where things have taken me, but I will try to keep it light! In the meantime, if you are interested in helping any of the aforementioned causes, see below. Thanks, I miss y’all, and I will be back!


Andrew (@afineblogger)

East 86th Street Association

New Yorkers Against Congestion Pricing Tax

NYC E-Vehicle Safety Alliance



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