Nadler and Schumer, a pair of highway robbers

On Tuesday afternoon, a police officer gave a driver a ticket for “blocking the box” at the congested intersection of Watts and Thompson Sts. in Soho on one of the main Holland Tunnel approach routes. The Angry Buddhist and many other Downtowners say the one-way Verrazano toll exacerbates the area's traffic problem. Photo by Tequila Minsky

On Tuesday afternoon, a police officer gave a driver a ticket for “blocking the box” at the congested intersection of Watts and Thompson Sts. in Soho on one of the main Holland Tunnel approach routes. The Angry Buddhist and many other Downtowners say the one-way Verrazano toll exacerbates the area’s traffic problem. Photos by Tequila Minsky

BY CARL ROSENSTEIN | Colin Mixson’s Feb. 9 article “For whom the bridge tolls; New push to make Verrazano fee two-way,” explaining the current status of the Verrazano Bridge’s one-way toll, only touched the potholed surface of this corrupt political disaster. This nightmare toll has punished neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan with insane traffic for 30 years while robbing the M.T.A. coffers, to date, of what probably amounts to a half-billion dollars and counting from lost toll revenues. This is nothing less than highway robbery.

With E.P.A.-violating pollution levels and added carbon emissions, as well as the denigration of the quality of life of multiple communities and the untold social and medical costs, this is easily the greatest ongoing environmental crime in New York City. Nothing less than cheap shots, low blows and crass insults are due to the mendacious politicians responsible, except possibly multiple indictments for conspiracy, fraud, treason, narcissism and plain idiocy.

The one-way toll implemented as a study in 1986 at the behest of Republican Staten Islanders was codified in subsequent years by Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo and then fixed in stone in federal highway legislation. Living on Broome St., I have witnessed the madness firsthand. Traffic backups from the Holland Tunnel lengthened steadily over the years, extending eastward from Sixth Ave., then reaching to Broadway, to Bowery, and all the way to the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges, on a good weekend onto the B.Q.E. and on Memorial Day all the way to Montauk Point.

Pedestrians skirting a car blocking a crosswalk.

Pedestrians skirting a car blocking a crosswalk.

There have been ample opportunities over the decades to redress this injustice. But the elected officials responsible, principally Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressmmember Jerrold Nadler have lied to and betrayed their constituents repeatedly. If untrue, let them answer the following charges. They won’t.

I am not the only witness, just their angriest and most persistent critic. These two politicos have completely sold out their base and continue to lie through their staff or just ignore the matter completely. May they be reincarnated as one-eyed Australian dingo dogs.

The failure to represent their constituents is evident in their respective agendas. Senate Majority Leader hopeful Chuck spent time courting “Republican voters in the Philadelphia suburbs” for Hillary Clinton. Rep. Nadler obsesses on about his obsolete railway freight tunnel to New Jersey that envisions a monstrous trucking terminal for the reinvented Brooklyn waterfront.

The Verrazano issue is a microcosm of the Democratic Party and why for the last eight years they have been savagely and rightfully beaten nationwide to a bloody pulp at every level of government by the Republicans and into a marginalized and irrelevant party. The Democrats don’t represent the interests of their constituents! Why bother to vote for them?

In 2000, then-Congressmember Schumer addressed the Downtown Independent Democrats club at a Soho restaurant, seeking our endorsement that we gladly gave to unseat the dreaded Republican Senator Alphonse “Pothole” D’Amato. The major topic of discussion was the one-way toll that plagues Soho. Schumer “promised” he would address the matter immediately upon election. The Democrats controlled the Senate that cycle.

Less than two months after his election, Schumer announced that he would “not balance the traffic on Staten Island’s back,” even though the exact opposite was true. Orwell calls this “doublespeak.” It cannot be emphasized enough that New York City is 90 percent Democratic, yet politician after politician panders to Staten Island, especially this dithering duo. It is of significance to note that when Hillary was a senator, the only times she ever ventured south of her Midtown office was for World Trade Center photo-ops, and Kirsten Gillibrand is in a fog once she exits the New York State Thruway.

Nadler’s failing is even worse. Every time he spoke before the Downtown community — from the time he was appointed congressman in 1992, when his popular and ethical predecessor Ted Weiss died — the representative swore on a stack of pancakes that the first thing he would do when the Democrats controlled Congress would be to rescind the one-way toll. Well, finally, after the Obama tsunami in 2008, the Dems had a bulletproof congressional majority. And what did they do aside from passing what will now become a Republican healthcare package?

Staten Islanders moaned and groaned about bottlenecks at the Verrazano Bridge toll plaza so that they could get a one-way toll. The result is a daily backup on Broome St. Thanks a lot!

Staten Islanders moaned and groaned about bottlenecks at the Verrazano Bridge toll plaza so that they could get a one-way toll. The result is a daily backup on Watts St. Thanks a lot!

Nadler’s porous excuse is that no highway legislation was introduced in 2009 or 2010. Nadler, as the highest-ranking Northeastern member on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, could easily have spent some political capital and asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi to tack a rider to rescind the Verrazano one-way toll onto some other legislative package or onto one of the multiple omnibus spending bills that Congress passes annually. That simple.

But I surmise Nadler intentionally chose not to do the right thing. Instead he thought of his own vainglory and this is how he betrayed you, me and New York City. It is the congressman’s Napoleonic obsession to fund his $10-billion-dollar freight rail tunnel through the muddy bottom of New York Harbor from Brooklyn to New Jersey. At either dim entrance on some bronze plaque his name would be enshrined. I couldn’t think of a more befitting honor.

Dodging traffic as usual amid the Verrazano toll-aggravated Soho traffic disaster.

Dodging traffic as usual amid the Verrazano toll-aggravated Soho traffic disaster.

In light of Nadler’s irresponsible and puerile inauguration boycott against Trump — exacerbating a longstanding feud with El Jefe — don’t expect the toll structure to change during Trump’s reign. Their bitter clash dates back to Nadler’s vehement opposition in the 1990s to Trump’s Riverside South development on the Upper West Side, to be constructed on abandoned rail yards. The luxury high-rises would block the grand river views for residents of sprawling Lincoln Towers, a core constituency. As an opposition strategy, Nadler proposed the revitalization of that moribund relic of infrastructure that last saw activity in the 1970s. The train yard died when New York Harbor became obsolete with the onset of container freight. The days of “On the Waterfront” were just a black-and-white memory. It seems this is when Nadler’s freight train fixation began.

The Riverside South grand plan was to include the burying of the last existing stretch of elevated West Side Highway that begins at W. 57th St. This idea was supported by the Municipal Arts Society and many other civic groups and politicians. Similar deconstruction projects have been done with great success in San Francisco, Seattle and Boston. Tunneling the roadway would have completely opened up that stretch of waterfront for the Hudson River Park, then still in its embryonic, planning stages.

This guy definitely has a lot of work thanks to the out-of-whack Verrazano toll.

This guy definitely has a lot of work thanks to the out-of-whack Verrazano toll.

However, an underground highway also would have directly benefited Trump’s Riverside South project, and so the animus between the congressman and uber-developer was already beyond repair. Nadler had the underground highway project scrapped, to the detriment of everybody except his massive ego.

With his recent, sophomoric inauguration stunt, Nadler has again needlessly incited a most powerful and vindictive president. Instead of building — a politician’s job — Nadler has burned the proverbial and literal bridges needed to end the misfortune and grave suffering of his Brooklyn and Manhattan constituents. In light of his bitter and obviously personal feud with Trump, our district will be punished.

Narcissist Nadler has neither the vision nor temperament to represent us. Nadler must go in 2018.

As Dylan Thomas wrote, “When one burns one’s bridges, what a nice fire it makes.”

Ommmmmmmmmm…

Rosenstein a.k.a. “The Angry Buddhist” grew up in Brooklyn and resides in Soho but is on permanent vacation in Oaxaca, Mexico

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