ChunkofWhat t1_jb2232m wrote

I have read that the use of contractors is also a huge driver of cost. In the early and mid 20th century, NYC had a small army of public planners, engineers, draftspersons, and architects on the payroll for public works. As dedicated staff, they were familiar with their specialized area of work and were well integrated into the bureaucracy. After decades of budget slashing, most of those public servants are gone, and now the city must hire contractors who are not well integrated into the city planning system, who must do research and extra planning for jobs they are less familiar with, and who command a far higher hourly rate.


ChunkofWhat t1_jb215iy wrote

Perhaps the tracks were more reliable in ye olden days because they were not so old back then. The NYC subway system still runs largely on technology from the 1930s. Much of the switch infrastructure still runs on vacuum tubes. Maintenance was heavily neglected in the late 20th century, ridership is way up, and repairs are challenging to schedule on one of the world's only 24 hour subway systems. Maybe if NYC of your time hadn't coasted on the investments of the early 20th century, your train wouldn't be so late.


ChunkofWhat t1_ixxaoee wrote

That's a nice idea, but it gets a bit tricky with the reality of landscaping. A lot of these cemeteries are way too densely packed to allow one tree per person. You'd need to group people up. If we're going to group people up, we might as well make one big marble mausoleum that contains the New Yorker Ash Heap where we can all mingle like rush hour 6 train commuters for all time. Designing a park around bodily remains will always be cumbersome and will also creep a certain number of potential visitors out. People get called out all the time for taking overly frivolous social media posts at cemeteries - there is a stigma for many activities in a burial ground. Remove the bodies and make them real parks. The Big Ol' Ash Heap can go somewhere cool like Randal's Island or the interior of the Statue of Liberty.


ChunkofWhat t1_ixwu6lc wrote

I feel like most of the green spaces in Queens are cemeteries. I know people get squeemish about disturbing the dead but there just isn't enough room in NYC for corpses to be taking up precious real estate. Sure, Greenwood and a few others are pretty, but most NYC cemeteries are densely occupied, ugly, treeless, and generally not used as parks by the public. At some point we are going to have to get over the idea that a dead body deserves a plot of land for all time and transition to some kind of temporary, 1-2 generation-duration memorials so we can make more room for the living.