Early in the 750 Walnut saga I predicted 300 apartments. (Sadly, I made the prediction on Facebook and not the blog, so I can’t smarmily link to it to show off.) The 900 unit proposal was purposely ludicrous and by Hartz’s actions was obviously never really serious. It was all to soften us up and accept a proposal we really shouldn’t have had to accept.

So we were treated to a few years of redevelopment theater.

Cranford Township and Hartz Mountain Agree to 750 Walnut Avenue Settlement | TAPinto

I’d like to be less cynical. But then I’d also be wrong.

According to the reliable sources on Facebook (I didn’t watch the meeting) the proposed Dunkin’ for the long-closed sketchy Sunoco on South and Lincoln was denied.

In this case I am pleased about that.

Granted, I prefer Dunkin’ over Starbucks and I like the covenience of drive throughs but the placement of it on this lot was a bad idea.

All you have to do is look at the chaos at North and Elizabeth to the laughably bad design of the Starbuck’s drive through. Then look across the street at the Bank of America branch which has wrought some interesting entries and exits – especially when someone is trying to turn left on to Lincoln or left on South through the line of cars at the light.

But the Dunkin’ was going to be worse.

Why? The morning rush.

If you are on the south side trying to get to the north side you have three choices – Centennial, Union/Walnut and Lincoln.

Between 7 and 8AM Centennial is terrible, as you have cars constantly funneling east and west from South into Centennial to get onto North. Drivers sitting on Centennial by the Exxon wait for multiple cycles as the feed of cars from South fill up the lanes and often cause gridlock because morons.

Also between 7 and 8 am Union/Walnut isn’t any better. You still have cars feeding from South with additional pedestrian traffic heading for the train (think pre-Covid and someday, post-Covid).

Lincoln is the least messed up of the three. Mostly because there is a right on red onto North going eastbound from Lincoln so the lane doesn’t fill up like the others. Secondly, Walgreens is not open yet so there is nobody trying to go in our out.

For getting to the north side, say to get to the high school in the morning, think about what the Dunkin’ on that corner would do, especially if it was successful. The backup of Lincoln would likely prevent the right lane on Lincoln northbound to get to the light. So cars would take the left lane and gamble that the person in front of them wouldn’t make the left onto South, which would kill most chances of getting through that cycle. Or you slalom around the cars trying to get through the drive through and the left turning cars.

The shortest State Highway (Route 59) would be an even higher accident magnet. New Jersey Route 59 – Wikipedia

Adding to that would be the cars coming from South trying to get into the drive through entrance.

Add 10 minutes to your trip.

Pretty much anything that is not yet open in the early morning rush would be more suitable.

Like a bank, pizzeria or nail salon.

A couple of weeks ago when I read that the 9/11 Memorial and Museum was going to blow off the tribute in lights scheduled for tonight, citing the Chinese virus of all things, I was angry.

They backed down after a day due to deserved backlash, but I would not be surprised if this will be a stunt that will be pulled every year with some excuse or another until people give up.

https://www.today.com/news/9-11-memorial-light-tribute-back-after-being-canceled-t189516

I will go to the Walnut Avenue School soccer field and look this evening. Hopefully the cloud ceiling is high enough to see them.

From My NYC Apartment Window

I don’t think we’re going to need it anymore.

About a decade ago, there was a big dustup about financing a second tunnel between Secaucus and NY Penn Station, where NJ would have to indemnify the Feds for cost overruns, which were certain to be epic. Christie, rightly, shot it down.

https://cranfordpundit.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/when-an-idea-is-too-stupid-for-nj-transit-you-gotta-go-amtrak/

Since then, I think some engineering and environmental consultancies have made bank doing “studies” and surveys for the tunnel, which would, allegedly, enable a permanent rush hour 1 seat ride for the Raritan Valley Line commuters.

But with the NYC exodus in full swing, the question should be asked: do we even need the tunnel anymore?

It can be argued that it will make our grandchildren’s commute better (because if it is built they will be the ones to use it), But with the Covid-19 craziness, the work environment has possibly changed permanently.

Like this article in the NY Post says: New York is not coming back.

https://nypost.com/2020/08/17/nyc-is-dead-forever-heres-why-james-altucher/

The author cites broadband as a major enabler. And I think he’s right. We have been home for months and have been on countless conference calls, Zoom meetings, FaceTime, Skype, Teams, and Webex’s.

We’ve gotten our jobs done. We’ve gotten more sleep.

Yes, we will need to figure out how to network and find new jobs in the medium term, because we will probably move on from our employers at some point. It is harder to meet at a bar for a quick drink and catch up now.

But do we miss NJTransit and the PATH? Not even a little.

We don’t need NY anymore. It needs us, but after years of getting parking tickets, BS moving violations, demanding that we count the days we went there for work for tax calculations and all of the little insults and abuses over the years: F them.

And with each Sold sign you see out front of a Cranford house this summer, it is probably someone else who has said F New York too.

PSE&G has the Route 1 corridor territory for electrical service in NJ. They support from the NY border in Bergen down to the Philly burbs in South Jersey.

And they are probably a lot better than Jersey Central Power and Light.

As so many did here in town, we lost power around lunchtime Tuesday due to the fast-moving tropical storm. We are on the south side and are usually sort of lucky. We didn’t lose power with most of the major storms, including Sandy.

Our luck ran out.

We were restored after 25 hours. Which given the number of outages and people affected is not bad. It is one of the few perks of living in a populated area as opposed to a rural one: PSE&G can restore hundreds of homes by fixing a downed wire as opposed to, say, two rural customers with the same amount of work and resources.

For that, I am happy with PSE&G. Sandy and Irene’s effect on the north side of town were more due to the older technology of their infrastructure and the low-lying riverside substation that got submerged. PSE&G has made progress on those issues, especially the raising of the substation.

But here’s the gripe. I get it that PSE&G doesn’t want to be flooded with calls and texts about Estimated Time to Restore. So when reporting the outage to them on Tuesday, they sent a status of an ETR of Wed Aug 5th @ 6:15 AM. By keeping our fridge and freezers closed, we should be able to handle that. So we toughed it out. We don’t have a generator as we have only needed it once every three years or so for less than a day each occurrence.

Then there was a status change late Tuesday – Now Thursday, August 6th @ 11 PM. Uh, oh.

So, thankfully, a friend who didn’t lose power offered to lend us their generator. It took us a while to set it up, but we got it running for the first time in eight years and we were in business. We even had Fios service. So besides A/C, we were back to normal but with electrical cords going all over the place.

And three hours later we got power back.

Which is great. But with a less pessimistic estimate we could have saved a lot of time and angst and would not have inconvenienced a friend.

So the request to PSE&G is: It’s okay to pad the ETR. You don’t want angry customers, I get it. But ludicrous estimates can hurt too. For one, I don’t trust them and two, if I do, then I waste a lot of time and effort where I could have just waited it out. If the ETR was tonight at 6? We probably would have just bought bags of ice and placed them in the fridge. Done.

I am having trouble updating the links on the right hand side of the page. WordPress is updating stuff and I have to figure it out.

Til then, here is a link to the USGS with Rahway River data in Kenilworth:

https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?site_no=01394620

I donate blood regularly – at least three or four times a year. I have O positive, which is almost the “regular unleaded” of blood (O negative is), but it is useful for other O positive and any A, B or AB positives.

I figure it helps others and it helps me – if forces my bone marrow to do some work.

But what is getting old is the way New York/New Jersey Blood Services pounces on me as soon as I am eligible. Literally the day. “It’s a critical shortage!” they will say in their email, and their text, and their personal phone call, often within hours.

I get it. I do. I even went to the Scotch Plains donation center a couple of weeks ago to donate, it was the first place I had driven to in weeks.

But in the pre-donation questionnaire there are dozens of questions, all looking for a disqualifier -which is fine, you don’t want someone who is ill or on meds that could affect a patient when the blood is transfused.

But wide swaths of the population are eliminated outright. Former military members are excluded. Why? I could maybe understand active service or recently in the Middle East due to their vaccinations and those exposed to potential pathogens. But Gulf War vets? Why?

If you have been in Europe for more that three months from 1996 and earlier? You’re out. Because 300 people globally get Mad Cow (CJD) disease annually? This restriction has been in place for over 20 years. My spouse can’t donate because of that restriction. A multi-gallon blood donor. Why?

A friend of mine who came out can no longer give. Despite him being monogamous, he’s out.  I get the need to prevent HIV from being in donations, but with new once-a-year treatments and screening techniques, is it still the deal breaker that it was?

It’d be nice if Blood Services can modernize something besides its social media outreach.

 

As of today, we have another month of lockdown – until June 6th and school is distance-based for the rest of the year.

What are the main takeaways (for me, at least) thus far?

  1. Cranford’s cases and deaths are skewed due to the nursing homes and rehab centers here in town. We have a lot for a town our sized and sadly we lost some people who were not in the homes as well. The infection rate is inching towards 2%, but hasn’t mushroomed at all. Especially since I have no daily contact with someone vulnerable, I am not worried about it. I wear a mask when I am out because I don’t want to be yelled at; not out of caution or fear.
  2. We have a much clearer idea who the “Karens” and who would join the American version of the Stasi if they get one ramped up. I have heard people muttering “assholes” after passing others that they thought committed some infraction, and the Facebook groups – sigh.
  3. Maybe it’s the libertarian in me, but I don’t care if people aren’t following the arrows or social distancing if the parties not distancing have no issues. How do you know that they are not family or cohabitants? I don’t bother social distancing with my immediate family because if the germs are in our house, they’re probably everywhere.
  4. Work from home is here to stay. Thankfully our household has been extremely lucky in that we have been able to work from home this whole time. We are getting our work done and delivering what we have to deliver.  If fact, I recently completed a meat-grinder of a project. Everyone I needed things from was accessible and delivered and they were all working from home as well in NJ, Ireland, England, and India (although they have had some problems with power outages). If I never have to go back to NYC for work I would not be upset. I don’t think I am alone.
  5. Since my spouse and I commuted into NYC at least occasionally until mid-March, and rode the germ-infested subways and PATH trains, I wouldn’t be surprised if we had it already and were asymptomatic. When tests are ubiquitous, we’ll know for sure.
  6. Expect an NYC exodus. That should help home values here in the next few years.
  7. Governor Murphy has come across as less of a drooling idiot than his record indicates he is, but there are plenty of missteps that can be pointed out. The fact is, the state is essentially an epicenter and we’re kind of stuck.
  8. The poor kids. In our house the adjustment went well. Some neighbors and friends are less lucky. I would have liked for school to resume at least some time in June to give the kids some closure and the seniors a proper send-off. The kids in this situation have taken a lot of the consequences. The kids have dealt with it reasonably well.
  9. “Stay Safe” will be the new “Have a Nice Day!”

I’m sure there will be more takeaways given that we’re housebound for another month. I hope for the sake of hourly and furloughed workers, they are insulated from this, and of course, for as few people to contract this as possible.

Stay Safe!

The Corona virus – aka the (not rascist because it’s where it’s stinking from) Wuhan Virus, has wreaked havoc on life in the Metro NYC area with mass cancellations and people behaving irrationally.

It has hit home a bit, with colleagues at both my and spouse’s business having come down with it. To restore confidence, the property management companies have taken the step of closing a floor for cleaning at my job and steam cleaning the elevators at my spouse’s. Who knows if that will make a difference?

Today we were notified of cancellations all over the place – school tomorrow, plays, sporting events and all but one event we had planned for this month are cancelled.

So without any means of procrastination available, it looks like we will get our . basement and yard in order. Finally. I can do those things at a safe distance from everybody.

Which lately I want to keep.

Going on Facebook has been a mood killer. Especially the Cranford groups. I can scroll past the meme bomb throwing by people who don’t even live in town (how are they members of a Cranford group again?).

But what is most draining are the repetitive and useless arguments about politics between people I sort of know. And it is sad. And I have to disengage because there is no point in trying to derail (or, more accurately, re-rail) those arguments. All I can say is that I lost a lot of respect for a substantial number of people who are horribly misinformed and incredibly closed-minded.

I think I know where the toilet paper hoarders come from.

 

I was a little surprised that the Cranford Police Department posted this, as getting accurate crime statistics for the town has been a challenge, and the police blotter on Facebook and the Westfield Leader is pretty much useless info about people driving through town with excessive window tinting and drug paraphernalia.

http://www.communitycrimemap.com/?address=cranford%2Cnj&fbclid=IwAR3IQGFsh993xwPi5FOygUKDe12NaqD2kyezGfb-5pkUoU6naQ5HEMUAoLk

Taking a look, there are a fair number of thefts in the past year, but overall, Cranford is still a pretty safe town.