Sam Schwartz

City Living, Transportation

mastic, gridlock sam, subway, mta,

Image: Xymox/Flickr

Do you ever wonder what that black schmutz that collects on the subway platform is? Has all the discarded chewing gum in the world begun to mobilize? What if I put my bag on it? Slate’s What’s That Thing column appropriately examines the phenomenon: After repeated unreturned phone calls to the MTA, the intrepid journalists got “Gridlock Sam” Schwartz and his transit gurus on the case.

Finally the fine folks from the MTA rallied and gave name to the mysterious muck. According to NYC Transit assistant chief of the Division of Stations Branko Kleva, the stuff is mastic, a tar-like substance used to seal and waterproof the subway tunnels. When it heats up, (in the summer, for example, ironically from the heat generated by subway car air conditioning) it starts to “flow and drip down from the roof of the tunnel onto the platforms below.”

More on the mysterious gunk…


EZpass nyc

Image via Wikimedia CommonsEZpass nyc

Car-happy city folk are sure to grumble over this latest proposal from MoveNY to toll four East River bridges (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Williamsburg and Queensboro) and 60th Street in Manhattan. The group’s plan, backed by former traffic commissioner Sam Schwartz, is looking to raise funds for the MTA’s five-year capital plan (which is about $15.2 billion short of its target), and to make the cost of the city’s transit more equitable. The new program would apply a $5.54 toll each way for bridge-crossers traveling with an E-ZPass, while drivers without an E-Zpass will have to shell out $8 to cross each time. The same tolls would also be applied to all avenue crossings at 60th Street.

Find out more here


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