Monday, February 17, 2014

Definition of an "Iconic Structure"

Algiers Ferry Landing
Algiers ferry landing in March 2006 dressed up with a marquee for its cameo in the movie Deja Vu starring Denzel Washington

Maybe someone should tell Dizneylandrieu that the people really like to go on the Ferry Boat Ride.

Varg gives it a go here.

With a quick shot of the ferry, a narrative can be told in one second. The premise is, “Look at New Orleans, this venerable city on America’s most vital waterway. Look at its robust culture and how it moves its citizens from one place to another across this great, historic river. Here is this vast expanse that previously would stop human migration right at its banks but here, now, daily, in the great city of New Orleans, the citizens can simply ride their bicycles onto a ship and cross the river whilst sipping cocktails from plastic cups. How glorious is humankind?!”

But of course, it is a lie. It’s just for TV. Like so much of New Orleans is becoming these days. The reality is the ferry is a symbol not of the vibrancy of public transportation but of its abandonment.
The rest is freaking righteous.

Varg takes a position I wish we'd see more often when this comes up.
The Algiers Ferry needs to be free and it needs to run all the time. Find a way. Ferries all over the world are paid for by governments. It is a public service.
Maybe eventually the answer ends up being that the boats logistically can't run for free all the time. But at the very least, this should clearly be the policy goal everyone aspires to.  And we're never going to get there if we keep conceding to a wrong-headed preference for a privatized or quasi-privatized self-sustaining business model for this critical piece of infrastructure. 

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