The renewed focus on the Port Authority, specifically the Port Authority building in midtown Manhattan, was probably set off partly by the ongoing shenanigans of folks in and around the Port Authority and the brilliant John Oliver. Who makes some points (really, Port Authority?-ceasing and desisting Fishs Eddy?), but is, in fact, a young whippersnapper in terms of NYC whinging.
As is WNYC.
Yeah, the Port Authority is pretty terrible, but it is far from Hell. And it is far from where it was in the 80s. Maybe that's why I have trouble with these headlines. I try not to say this too often, but if you didn't visit/live in NYC inthe 1970s and 80s, you don't really have a clue about how hellish public spaces could get. Sometimes I just sit in Bryant Park and rub my eyes with my fists like a little kid: am I dreaming? Are the Greenmarket vendors at Union Square all actors? Did Will Smith just buy Washington Square Park and turn it into a movie set? Is this real life?
I have big fantasies about taking a crew of my favorite civic hackers in there, and just data/physically improve the building in a long weekend. Cardboard signs! Putting somebody on the second floor to answer questions! QR codes people could scan to get more information! Tweaks! Just to give a tiny vision of what the Port Authority could be doing NOW.
Here's what the Port Authority also is: There's a great blood donation center there (don't mock, there is) with cheerful staff and cheerful donors. And as crazy as their Au Bon Pain can be at commuter rush times, their wi-fi has been a life saver when I've had to do a quick online meeting. I've had a wonderful conversation with a postal worker (yes, there's a post office there, too) about Shirley Chisholm. And if you slow down, notice the rotating art gallery on the first floor of the south building, which has included art by two artists on the autism spectrum for the past two years.
There are TWO. FRIGGING. BOOKSTORES.
Still, kudos to the lovely funny Adam Wade for brightening up this article. You are the best. http://www.wnyc.org/story/surviving-port-authority-bus-termnal/