Tag Archives: New York

(1176) Tonawanda moves forward


Between the Niagara River and Route 266 in Tonawanda, New York sits the blocky red hulk of the Huntley Generating Station.  For most of a century it brought the power to a series of major industrial customers that gave the town and the region much if its economic life.  And a robust life it was.
Until it wasn’t.  Like many towns throughout the American rust belt, Tonawanda is fully compelled to face a mixed new post-industrial reality.  While not easy it looks like the town, directly north of Buffalo, has the beginnings of an interesting and powerful template for moving itself forward into an economy after coal-fired electrical plants and manufacturing.  It’s always very nice to find positive stories and this seems to be one worth considering.
Rising from the ashes, a Buffalo suburb ends its dependence on coal
Grist/billmoyers.com
image: Deutsch Fetisch via Wikimedia Commons

(949) More fun with cars: cardboard NY license plate

NewYorkplate
And always there’s the cars.  Workers are screwed by them and screwed without them.
A semi-disposable Internet moment caught suburban-poverty.com’s attention yesterday.  It illustrates succinctly one of the themes we’ve come back to often.
Seems a young woman in Western New York ran afoul of the sheriff for having to resort to making her own license plate.  Her cardboard plate looks like something a kid would do in art class.  Even has the little New York state map in the middle of a crooked row of letters and numbers.  It’s kinda cute.
Mainstream media networks picked up the story.  This “going viral” prompted Erie County resident, Amanda Schwieckert, to come forward and tell The Buffalo News her side of the story.  Looks like she struggles a bit to get by.  Insurance, registration fees and a parking ticket had whacked Amanda financially.  Yet, she could not keep her hotel industry job without her car.  The state took her plates.  Amanda made her own.
This kind of moment is straight from the pen of Barbara Ehrenreich or Linda Tirado, two popular writers chronicling how tough it is for working people to get by in America these days.  Amanda exemplifies the dual nature of working class motoring.  The expenses for a set of wheels often take things from bad to worse, can be unpredictable and enormously consequential.  Amanda is facing some steep charges including felony counterfeiting.  Ouch.
We can’t help but think that a little Jane Jacobs would go a long way in the life of Amanda and the millions of workers like her.  Community design, or the general lack thereof, reinforces poverty.  So much of North America is so totally car dependent its inhabitants cannot function in their native landscape without cars.  Many cannot even intellectually conceive of life organized at any other level than that of total mediation by automobile.
Hopefully Amanda’s resourcefulness is a sign she’ll be okay.
Single mother gives real reason for fake license plate that went viral

See also: (689) Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America [Book review]

(832) Hampcompton, USA

guaTwo US ‘burbs.  A continent between them.  Both household names.

Straight outta suburbia.  A rap album made Compton an icon of urban decay, but the struggles of that California town are common to inner-ring suburbs
theatlantic.com

The workers catering to the Hamptons’ super-rich: ‘this is not paradise for me’.  Among the women paying $1,000 for a massage and the men lounging in $100m homes in the billionaires’ playground of the Hamptons is a largely unseen, mostly Latino, workforce toiling all summer in order to survive the winter
theguardian.com
video 5:10

image: screen grab theguardian.com