This weekend, the Times covered a brewing controversy right here in DUMBO, where people are apparently kind of upset that the Transportation Department is replacing some of the streets' old-fashioned "Belgian block" cobblestones with newer, still old-fashioned-looking cobblestones. Uh-oh. It's all in an effort to make roads more bike-friendly (and, in part, to comply with the Americans with Disabilities act), and anyway, the city is taking pains to artfully distress the replacement stones in the style of the old ones.
Still, in one of Brooklyn's most dramatically developed neighborhoods, people are pissed. Petitions are circulating, etc. For the time being, I'm staying out of it. But, this whole thing did get me to thinking. This is a city with a lot of history! Some of it great, some of it.... meh. Surely there are other things that, if not done away with in their entirety, could stand to be replaced with newer, better versions of their former selves? Why yes. There are. 5 of them, in fact.
Now, I will admit a pretty strong bias against the Yankees based on a season that took place over a decade ago and destroyed another team's miraculous, never-to-be-repeated winning streak. We don't really need to get into it. The point is, this institution feels tired, doesn't it? Maybe even bloated? If even the New Yorker is poking fun at them, maybe time to give these guys a rest, and swap them out for newer models. This goes for everyone other than Ichiro, who can stay as long as he likes.
Granted, rescue workers saying despicable things about the people whose lives they're honor-bound to save have mostly garnered public attention in the past few weeks, thanks in large part to some unexpected whistle-blowing on the part of the New York Post. Even so, safe to say this tradition didn't materialize overnight, right? Enough. Replace them.
This isn't necessarily because of the crowds, the mascots, the neon. On the right day, I'm actually kind of into that stuff! It's just all the "Old Times Square versus New Times Square" debates have gotten very, very tired. Can we re-purpose the whole thing for a third, equally controversial incarnation? Maybe a large-scale, all-cars-are-banned garden or dog run? Or some kind of giant food court? I don't know, anything to shake up the routine.
I know we rail about this kind of often, but come on! Fix this already! If not full-blown legalization, then at least decriminalization of small amounts. Preferably full-blown legalization, but really, any kind of step forward here. It's time. And I will make as many god-awful "cobble-stoned" jokes as I have to until it happens.
Clearly still a day-to-day necessity, and considering both its age and constant wear-and-tear, impressively functional. But what if, like the cobblestones of DUMBO, it could be replaced with a better-smelling, cleaner, quieter version that still looked more-or-less like the old one? Possibly something fancy and electric? And with all the money a bustling legal weed trade would presumably add to the local economy, this would maybe even be affordable. Yes, this all seems possible, even likely. What a bright future this city has ahead of it.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.