Mysterious NY HarborWay Banners:
Overnight Thursday, dozens of "NY Harborway" banners were installed on utility poles throughout Dumbo. Having followed the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, the Mayor's PlaNYC 2030 scheme, Brooklyn Bridge Park development - and just about anything to do with the Brooklyn waterfront over the past few years, we were surprised we hadn't heard about this one.
Thinking we'd missed some new Bloomberg pre-election PR initiative, we quickly Googled the phrase "NY HarborWay". Nuthin. Tried all the iterations: "nyharborway". Nada. "NYC harborway". Nuh uh. "+NYC +harborway". Bzzzt!
NYC.gov offered up "did you mean ARBORWAY?" Nah. Google News, Google Blog Search: Nope. Neverheardovit.
A friendly 311 operator offered up the observation "oh yes, you folks have a port in that area, where ships come in, right?" Um, well sorta...but this is on Water Street and Pearl, about half a mile from where the Water Taxi stops.
Following a hunch, we called up the folks at NYC & Company, the city's 'official marketing and tourism organization.' They're the people behind the nycgo.com banners in the city, including the hilariously tongue-in-cheek "Rainbow Pilgrimage" campaign seen recently riding poles around the West Village.
A frustrated NYC & Co. staffer explained that the banners are indeed theirs. NY HarborWay is a new designation soon to be announced by the city, to promote the connection of waterfront districts and parks by bicycle, public transportation, and - eventually - ferry service. The banners were ordered a while back, and were meant to be held and installed in conjunction with the official press announcement. Apparently whoever is in charge of installation (the DOT?) jumped the gun by a few weeks. Maybe they wanted to get them up during Thursday's break in the nonstop monsoon rains.
In any case, keep an eye out for the official announcement from the Mayor's office. We're curious to see how this does (or doesn't) tie in with the Greenway Initiative; how it may impact the ongoing bike lane controversies; and whether there's more city funding in store for East River ferry service. If there's one thing way under-utilized in NYC, its our miles of waterfront. Here's hoping NY HarborWay is more than just a banner campaign.