A couple of weeks ago I came across a blog called BatteryPark.TV. The blog focuses on life in and around Battery Park City. No, I’m not planning on moving down to the battery. In fact the blog itself doesn’t even interest me. Nearly every post promotes the continued gentrification of New York. End the concerts. Eliminate the food vendors. Bring on the Citi Bikes (not that I’m against the bike share program). And for the love of god, stop the ferries from tooting their own horns!
It was the post concerning ferry horns that had me reading BatteryPark.TV. In Wolfgang Gabler’s post on the issue, Gabler questions why the use of horns is necessary. After-all, he finds them annoying. “Maybe everyone who feels stressed out by this could write an email or call them to stop this” he writes. His hope is that riling the troops will put a stop to this madness! As Gabler has since learned, the horn use he loathes so much is required by law–and for good reason. In a world without marked intersections, marked lanes, and traffic signals, visual and audible signals keep the waterways safe. Horn use is an integral part of a functional waterway. Without these “disturbing” rules, countless lives would be lost on our waterways. But what’s one kayaker’s life when the peace and tranquility of hundreds of Battery Park City residents is at risk? I mean, they pay extra to live there. That has to count for something right?!
I suppose now would be a good time to introduce myself to the BatteryPark.TV community. Hi! My name is Chris Schiffner. I’m a local kayaker, cyclist, and waterfront activist. I’m one of those detestable people whose lives you hold little regard for. One of those people you would rather see pinned under a ferry than risk interrupting your beauty rest. But enough with the formalities. Now that you’ve drawn a line in the sand–even vilified one of my friends–it’s my turn. You live in New York City. One of the most densely populated cities in the world. What’s more, you picked one of the busiest parts of the city. The Battery is filled with numerous transportation options–buses, trains, bike share programs, and ferries. It should come as no surprise that a neighborhood that’s so densely populated, surrounded by parks, and flanked by New York’s highest concentration of water-based transportation options, might come with some caveats. New York City is the city that never sleeps…and it earned that reputation. The next time a pesky ferry wakes you from a sound sleep, remember that phrase wasn’t just randomly plucked from a Rolodex. Don’t like it? Move! No one’s forcing you to live there. I hear the Hamptons are wonderful this time of year. With all that extra money you brag about spending to live in The Battery, you shouldn’t have a problem finding some new digs. But don’t you dare suggest that your distaste for ferry horns makes your sleep more valuable than my life. That, sir, just makes you a douchebag.