For the longest time, the idea of having cameras on all modes of public transportation seemed out of reach. But in an age where every rider has a camera on their person, why can we not have cameras on all train cars and buses?
The last two administrations in City Hall have been clear that they are not enthusiastic about adding more police to the NYPD force. If that is the case, then there needs to be added investment in technology.
Along with ramping up technology to record criminal activity on buses and trains, there needs to be heightened minimum sentences for people who assault bus drivers and transportation personnel. The Long Island Railroad and Metro-North railways take a pretty definitive stance on any kind of harassment toward their employees; the city needs to do the same.
Many of us have had run-ins with difficult city employees, but there is never a situation where assaulting a bus driver or train operator is acceptable.
This is an opportunity for the new team in City Hall to take a tough stance on what is a consistent problem in certain parts of the city. While public transportation serves all New Yorkers, it is the life blood for the poorest in the city, and there is no reason for government not to empathize.
We need cameras on all buses and train cars. If we want all parts of the city to feel a sense of equity, then the time is now to make that a priority, and among other ambitious public policy goals, this is very possible.
Gentrification is part of NYC
In the last 20 years, we have seen Brooklyn experience a rebirth, as young professionals have moved in and made the borough a more sought-after destination.
In 1996, I thought about buying in Brooklyn much to the surprise of family. For $60,000, I could have bought what now costs north of $250,000. The borough has changed. It has gotten trendier. It has gotten more expensive.
When film director Spike Lee rails against gentrification, he claims to be defending a way of life (a culture) that is now threatened by hipsters moving into areas like Fort Greene. Change is one of the few things New Yorkers can count on.
When Ozone Park and Richmond Hill went from predominantly Italian and Irish to Latino and Guyanese neighborhoods, it was just New York being New York. Those who complained about the change in culture were sometimes criticized as racist. Is that not what critics like Lee are doing right now? They complain that their way of life has changed because people who are different are making them uncomfortable. How is it any different?
Make no mistake, I would love to go back in time and get that condo for $60,000; I am not in a position to gobble up Brooklyn real estate since prices have shot up. But being a New Yorker is a lot like being a Yankee fan; the team changes from year to year. Everyone else hates you. You win a lot, and it is expensive.
If you cannot handle all of that, you can either move out or live with it. This gentrification is part of the reality of living in a city that is in a constant state of change.