Follow by Email

Thursday, May 31, 2018

UNIVERSAL DESIGN: PUBLIC SPACES FOR ALL -- 4


BROOKLYN

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates placed so much emphasis on universal design in its creation of Brooklyn Bridge Park that the park’s website has a prominent link that details all of the accessible features on its piers and greenway.

The most dramatic piece of universal design in this 85-acre sustainable waterfront park that stretches 1.3 miles along Brooklyn’s East River shoreline is the 396-foot-long Squibb Park Bridge, a pedestrian bridge connecting Squibb Park at the north end of the historic Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

The 8-foot-wide bridge has gentle slopes, handrails and dramatic vistas of the Manhattan skyline, Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge. It zigzags through tall oaks, between buildings and over a street, descending 30 feet in elevation from its start to endpoint.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

UNIVERSAL DESIGN: PUBLIC SPACES FOR ALL -- 3


RON MACE

Thankfully, a growing number of architects, landscape architects, engineers, town planners and designers are creating warm, welcoming public spaces while embracing universal design as an essential element from Day One.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

UNIVERSAL DESIGN: PUBLIC SPACES FOR ALL -- 2


RON MACE

Universal design means many things to many people. But anyone who has used a wheelchair for mobility can tell you what it is NOT:

• A vertical platform wheelchair lift foolishly installed to provide access to beachfront shops and cafes — when the reality is keys that are required to operate the lifts get lost, sea spray rusts parts, and the enclosures around the lifts become filled with garbage or are used as bathrooms by drunken partiers.

• A park designed only with nondisabled visitors in mind, with winding staircases, inaccessible water features and barely barrier-free restrooms. The only accessibility features are ugly retrofits that accommodate disabled guests, but unacceptably segregate them from the main pedestrian routes that remain impassible to wheelers.

• Designs by architects and planners who clearly wish they could seek a zoning variance that absolves them from any responsibility for designing public spaces for people with limited mobility.

Monday, May 28, 2018

UNIVERSAL DESIGN: PUBLIC SPACES FOR ALL -- 1


RON MACE

Universal Design: “The design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.”

— definition by the late architect Ronald L. Mace,  founder of the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University.


https://stories.universaldesign.org/exclusive-interview-with-the-late-ron-mace-father-of-universal-design-7527ba104cba

Sunday, May 27, 2018

JANE'S WALK


WHAT IS THE GROVE BECOMING?


PlusUrbia’s Maria Bendfeldt led a portion of Jane’s Walk in Coconut Grove, a walk honoring the memory of urbanist Jane Jacobs, on Saturday May 5.


The event was part of a global walking event known as Jane’s Walk, in honor of Jane Jacobs, the author of The Death and Life of American Cities and a pillar of the walkable cities movement.

The walk was led by Coconut Grove resident Hank Sanchez-Resnik, the founder and president of Bike Coconut Grove, the sponsor of the walk.

The Jane’s Walk explored the commercial heart of Coconut Grove and the numerous major developments under way.

There were stops at several key locations where new buildings are being built, older buildings are being remodeled, and a new vision of Center Grove is emerging.

Along the way, the walking group talked with planners and developers who are behind the changes.

The walk ended at St. Stephens Church with a presentation of the master plan for the Grove’s commercial center developed by the Coconut Grove Business Improvement District.

https://plusurbia.com/janes-walk-what-is-the-grove-becoming/


Saturday, May 26, 2018

ORTAKOY CAMII

ON THE BOSPHORUS

Ortakoy Camii is "pint-sized" in comparison to other mosques "on the other side of the golden horn".

The mosque was built in Neo-baroque style.

In the interior of the mosque, there are wide, "high bay windows" which refract its reflection in water as well as daylight. 

There are also several panels of calligraphy by Abdulmecid himself.

Friday, May 25, 2018

ORTAKOY CAMII

ON THE BOSPHORUS

Ortakoy Camii consists of a two-story "sultan apartment" which has a "U shaped" plan, a main venue with a square plan which is covered with one dome.

The "sliced facades" with mounting columns are "enriched" by carvings as well as relief, giving the mosque a "dynamic appearance". 

There are two rows of windows providing the main venue a "good illumination".

Thursday, May 24, 2018

ORTAKOY MOSQUE

ON THE BOSPHORUS

The current Ortakoy Mosque, which was erected in its place, was ordered by the Ottoman sultan Abdulmecid and built between 1854 and 1856, on the ruins of the Cantemir Palace. 

Its architects were Armenian father and son Garabet Amira Balyan and Nigogayos Balyan (who also designed the nearby Dolmabahce Palace and Dolmabahce Mosque), who designed it in the Neo-Baroque style.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

ORTAKOY MOSQUE

ON THE BOSPHORUS

Ortakoy Mosque, officially the Büyük Mecidiye Camii (Grand Imperial Mosque of Sultan Abdulmecid), is situated at the waterside of the Ortakoy pier square, one of the most popular locations on the Bosphorus. 

On this site, a masjid commissioned by the son-in-law of Vizier Ibrahim Pasha used to stand. Built in 1721, it was ruined during the Patrona Halil Uprising.

Monday, May 21, 2018

ISTANBUL LOVE BUS

A NOVEL BY TOM BROSNAHAN, CREATOR OF TURKEY TRAVEL PLANNER


My friend Tom Brosnahan's Turkey: Bright Sun, Strong Tea memoir was a great non fiction read.

I've yet to read his novel, Istanbul Love Bus, but I plan to get it for the plane for my next 12-hour flight to Istanbul.

Here's the intro blurb for Tom's book:

It’s 1968 and the world is on fire, with war in Vietnam and riots in the Western world, but Istanbul seems peaceful: Turks go about their lives while carefree hippies smoke dope, make love, and set out on a hilarious journey toward Kathmandu in a VW van—the Love Bus. 

A student traveler and a US Peace Corps Volunteer fall in and out of love, and ask a Sufi mystic to show them their future. 

Hidden from view, a gorgeous Scandinavian hired to manage a nightclub discovers she is captive in a drug lord’s harem as the mafia and government agents fight a fierce clandestine battle over opium, and Soviet spies carry out their mission to detonate a US atom bomb beneath Turkey’s most iconic mosque.

The story is about to go nuclear...


Sunday, May 20, 2018

I WILL BE BURYING MY WIFE IF WE DON'T STEP UP ENFORCEMENT

 ON CARS ILLEGALLY PARKED ON THE SIDEWALK AND ON CURB RAMPS


We live in the very urban part of Miami known at Little Havana.

But our problem is relevant to anyplace where police tolerate cars illegally parked over sidewalks and curb ramps.

You see, in almost all of America, we still value cars 10 to 1 (maybe 100 to 1) over human lives.

A person would never park for the night out in a moving travel lane, because they know they would be ticketed and towed.

Cities care about cars being able to speed down the pavement – even in residential neighborhoods – unobstructed by cars parked in the way of the through lane.

But when those cars park over the sidewalk – forcing wheelchair users, children on bikes, elderly folks, moms with strollers and others out into the speeding traffic…nobody cares.

So long as the parked car isn’t blocking traffic, all is well and good. No one cares that an extremely vulnerable (because they are sitting at a low height that drivers do not see) wheelchair user is likely to get killed in traffic, because there safe path of travel on the sidewalk is blocked dozens of times in just a few blocks.

I have reached out to elected officials. They tell me if they start ticketing, people will be in an uproar. If they have cars towed, they will lose votes. Great to know that keeping the voters happy rates far and above my wife’s quality of life…and the very real possibility of her losing her life.

Cops are cowboys and thrill seekers. They join the force because they want to capture bad guys. They cannot be bothered to do their job (one they can retire from with full pension and benefits at age 50) and place warnings, then tickets, then order towing if cars blocking curb ramps and sidewalks.

Once, I posted a rant on the NextDoor social media platform. A caring police commander offered to meet with me over coffee at my house.  He really seemed to care. I think, for a few days after, there may have been fewer cars violating the safe sidewalk space.

But now, I think we’re two area commanders removed from that reassigned police official. And things are worse than ever.

And the illegal parking activity – which forces my wife to back track, find a driveway graded well enough that she doesn’t fall out of her wheelchair using it, go out into traffic (where the average selfish brute drives 50 mph in a 30 zone) whizzing from behind her, then slow down and hunt for another not-too-steep driveway to return to the sidewalk. Only to repeat this dozens of times on the way to the bus stop just blocks from our 1922 home.

If she is lucky, she is late for the bus, or drenched in rain, because she had to take so much extra time because the safe sidewalk is violated with offending cars. The day she is unlucky, I will lose my partner of more than three decades…my reason for living…my love…my soulmate…just so some jackasses can have their extra parking space.

In some cases, it’s just laziness. There is a woman who lives very near us and has a deep driveway and only 1 car. But she has a fence around her yard and evidently parking on the sidewalk is more convenient then hopping out of her car to open and shut the rolling gate on her fence at her driveway.

In most cases, the illegal parking is created because of other illegal activity. People have, without building permits or zoning clearance, illegally converted their garage and half their driveway into a spare bedroom or family room. They have 3 to 4 unrelated adults in a small house, so one car blocks the sidewalk, another parks over a curb ramp and two are in the driveway where they belong.

So the city’s blessing their illegal activity puts my wife in harm’s way. Seems like the priorities are correct, right?  BS.

Oh, and often time’s it’s even worse. People convert garages and build illegal additions to create illegal rental units. With faulty electricity, plumbing and construction – that could injure or kill a tenant, they make income enough to buy a boat. The City of Miami endorses this illegal activity by never cracking down on all the cars parked on sidewalks – because a little single family house now has as many (illegal) units at an 8 unit apartment building and no on-site parking.

If the City of Miami, if my neighbors in Little Havana, if society as a whole gave a rats ass about human beings and equal for mobility for all – people would be scared to death to illegally park in ways that block sidewalk and curb ramps. But my city, neighborhood and society do not care. 

A fender blocks a lane of morning rush hour, the cars are towed out of the way in no time, so the all mighty automobile can gain its rightful place among three lanes of break neck one way traffic into downtown. 

But expect a growing City, one that takes pride in its diversity, to give a crap about safe paths of travel for all pedestrians, especially those using wheelchair who cannot roll up into a yard to get passed a park car – forget it.  Not my job, not my priority, not in my nature to have enough guts to hack off a few potential voters, even if it means doing the right thing.

It is, nothing short of disgusting.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

ON COMMON GROUND, MAGAZINE OF NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS, FEATURES PLUS URBIA DESIGN

A Person with a Disability Could Rent an ADU at Below Market Rates to a Health Care Professional in Return for Providing Personal Care Services



The Little Havana “Me Importa” Master Plan is an action plan whose goal is to benefit tens of thousands of people who live in the heart of city — by providing a framework for development, open space, mobility and identity for Miami’s cultural enclave that includes world-famous Calle Ocho. 

PlusUrbia’s context-sensitive design advocates for historic preservation, adaptive re-use, ADUs and other tools to reinvigorate and sustain older neighborhoods. 

The boutique studio’s revitalization work in Miami’s Wynwood arts district has received multiple awards including the American Planning Association’s National Planning Achievement Award for Economic Development Planning — Gold, in 2017.

“It is a win-win situation all around: rents average lower than regular units, ADU renters, in turn, bridge the demographic gap in these older communities which creates a much-needed infusion of young talent in the inner city.” 

Many major markets are virtually pricing students, even young professionals out of their housing markets.

ADUs provide an affordable/attainable addition within the already available housing stock,” said Mullerat, whose firm dedicates thousands of hours to community-based pro bono work each year.

Mullerat said a person with a disability could rent, at significantly below market rates to a nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy or medical student/ young professional in return for providing personal care attendant and related services. 

The medical student/professional gets practical training working with their on-site homeowner, the homeowner gets care, the renter gets affordable housing and the community benefits from having bright young people in the neighborhood helping longtime homeowners remain in their home.



Friday, May 18, 2018

ON COMMON GROUND, MAGAZINE OF NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS, FEATURES PLUS URBIA

ADUs Aid Aging in Place




People with disabilities also are unlocking the potential of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), which are smaller granny flats, carriage houses, converted garages and other habitable units separate from the main house but on the same lot.

“Communities find that allowing accessory dwelling units is advantageous in many ways. 

In addition to providing practical housing options for the elderly, disabled, empty nesters, and young workers, ADUs can provide additional rental income for homeowners,” said a Case Study prepared for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by Sage Computing.

Many older urban neighborhoods have informal ADUs that — if upgraded to meet local building codes as safe dwellings — can add to the affordable housing stock in a community. 

Juan Mullerat, founding principal of Miami-based PlusUrbia Design, lives in the historic Little Havana neighborhood and is a strong advocate for zoning that allows safe, habitable ADUs.

 “ADUs have many positives such as supplementing the income of the homeowner occupying the main house by renting out the accessory unit. 

For a person with a disability, that rental income can help cover the staggeringly high cost of adaptations to their home — ramps, elevators, accessible bathrooms, or even durable medical equipment such as a power wheelchair or van adapted to transport a wheelchair user,” said Mullerat, whose Urban Design firm has teamed with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to create a master plan for Little Havana in Miami. 

“Understanding the inherent advantages of legacy buildings and its ADUs provides a ready-made solution for affordable homeownership.”

http://www.oncommonground-digital.org/oncommonground/summer_2018_fair_housing_and_more/MobilePagedReplica.action?pm=2&folio=52#pg52

Part 2 tomorrow



Thursday, May 17, 2018

HOTEL ARCADIA BLUE

WHEELCHAIR-ACCESSIBLE ROOMS IN SULTANAMET, ISTANBUL, TURKEY



Hotel Arcadia Blue Istanbul, recently renovated, re-opened its doors in May 2013.

Its current architecture is very modernistic and elegantly lean, where Norm Architects with their contemporary style, gracefully established a relationship with the Sultanahmet 4-star hotels area, where the hotel is located.

Namely a district, where the historical texture of İstanbul is the most intensive.
For guests who manage to withdraw themselves from the comfort of our hotel in Sultanahmet, there are an infinite number of historical artifacts and museums in just a few minutes' walk.

The hotel's prevailing view of Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Bosphorus and the Marmara Sea, fascinates the guests in the restaurant and on the terrace, as well as in the rooms.

Our rooms for disabled are fully adapted to wheelchair height, so that light switches, remote controls, wardrobe shelves and everything in the bathroom can be easily reached, and well equipped for wheelchair access.

http://www.hotelarcadiablue.com/en


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

EDIRNE PALACE HOTEL

FOOTSTEPS FROM THE FAMED RÜSTEM PASHA CARAVANSERAI 
Hotel Edirne Palace is located in a quiet and peaceful part of the city.

But it also is just a few minutes of walking distance to the city center and historical places of Edirne.

Edirne was capital of Ottoman Empire for 92 years and is an outdoor museum of architecture and urbanism.

Edirne was the second Ottoman capital, chosen where three rivers join.


It also is a very short distance from both the Greek and Bulgarian borders.

http://www.hoteledirnepalace.com/en/index.html

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

ORIENT EXPRESS HOTEL -- 2

REVIEWED BY TOM BROSNAHAN OF TURKEY TRAVEL PLANNER



The Orient Express Hotel features an open-buffet breakfast with plentiful choices is served in the breakfast room where guests also receive complimentary copies of the hotel’s own Sirkeci Daily Express full of sightseeing tips and other useful information.

The reception area is decorated with posters which recall the glory days of the eponymous Orient Express trains that used to steam into Sirkeci station nearby.

Also, don't fail to enjoy the artwork with which the hotel's walls are decorated: pages from illuminated books, tile panels, original paintings.

The hotel's owner, Mr Faruk Boyacı, has a good eye for interesting art.

The ground floor features the pleasant Wagon Bar which has been designed to imitate the interior of one of Istanbul’s famous and much-loved ferryboats – they still leave from the Eminonu docks not far from the hotel.

https://turkeytravelplanner.com/go/Istanbul/hotels/districts/sirkeci/orient_express.html


http://www.orientexpresshotel.com/

Monday, May 14, 2018

ORIENT EXPRESS HOTEL

REVIEWED BY TOM BROSNAHAN OF TURKEY TRAVEL PLANNER
The aptly-named Orient Express Hotel is right on the Bagcilar-Kabatas tram line, between the Gulhane and Sirkeci tram stops.

It’s a very convenient location, only a few minutes’ walk to the Sirkeci train station and the Eminonu ferries, and just a 10-minute uphill walk to Old Istanbul and Topkapi Palace, Archeological Museums, Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya.

This is a delightful small 4-star hotel whose 52 immaculate guest  rooms are decorated in a cheerful, simple but appealing style with plenty of natural wood and soothing colors. 

They come with comfortable beds, flat-screen TVs with foreign-language channels, air-conditioning, mini-fridge, free coffee- and tea-making equipment, and free Wifi Internet.

The private bathrooms all have bathtubs (some of them mini-tubs) with showers, hairdryers, bath amenities, telephones, and that most thoughtful of hotel appliances, a pull-out string line for drying clothing items you've washed in the sink.

https://turkeytravelplanner.com/go/Istanbul/hotels/districts/sirkeci/orient_express.html

http://www.orientexpresshotel.com/

Sunday, May 13, 2018

CELEBRATING 165,000 READERS

BEFORE THE YEAR ENDS, WE WILL HAVE MORE THAN 180,000 UNIQUE VISITORS


Thanks for reading this.

This is roughly our 1,900th daily blog post.

Before the year is out, we will have hosted more than 180,000 unique visits to this humble blog on travel, urban issues and disability advocacy.

We started this when we were in our 40s. Now we are well into our 50s.

We first started writing for a living in 1985.

Our first job at a big daily newspaper was the Akron Beacon Journal.

That Pulitzer-winning Ohio paper reached a daily circulation peak of 176,929 in 1973.

In early 2019 at the latest, we will eclipse that circulation of a mighty newspaper where our dad worked nearly 4 decades and where we honed our craft in the 1980s while attending Kent State University.

It’s been a fun ride. More than 90 percent of the thousands of photo images shared on this site our originals that we took ourselves in Turkey, Spain, Brazil, Mexico and dozens of other places that require a passport to visit.

We have published enough words of disability advocacy to fill an entire, standalone non-fiction book.

We have shared great ideas for the built environment through affiliations with PlusUrbia Design, On Common Ground, New Mobility and dozens of other firms and publications.

We will continue to mix fun with passionate advocacy for as long as blogging is a form of online communication.




Saturday, May 12, 2018

MIAMI CONTRACTOR BLUES PART 5

PLUMBER FULL OF SH-- FIRED BEFORE HE MAKES IT TO OUR HOUSE



In part 1, we met a plumber who was not only late, but lying about how close he was. Now he tries to move the appointment, further screwing us over.

My phone rings again nearly an hour after I lost money by leaving work early to make it home to a no-show plumber.

“Mr. Wright. Could we do this Friday night or Saturday?   You see, it’s bumper to bumper on the Turnpike and I don’t understand why..."

I interrupt….you don’t understand why. Do you have a brain injury?

It’s always bumper to bumper on the Turnpike out that way.

Pretending you are shocked that there is heavy traffic during rush hour is like telling me you walked out into four feet deep water in the bay and can’t figure out why your clothes are wet.

 “Bear with me. I’ll do right by you.”

I’m broiling angry. I don’t want Friday or Saturday – I want the day I scheduled. Get your ass here today I say.

Another 20 minutes pass, then the moron of the plumbing industry calls.

“Mr. Wright I can’t make it. You see, I have a brand new customer in Doral and if I come to you, I’ll have to cancel him. And he’s right off the Turnpike, so it makes more sense for me to keep out west on it and get to him today.”

Wow. So not only could you not call me to tell me you were running super late…you were such a big wimp, you kept hoping, on each call, that I’d cancel/postpone and somehow it would be my fault, not yours.

Well, guess what, I’m ready to reschedule for next week, Mr. Plumber. But here’s how it’s going to work. 

I left work 90 minutes early. That’s money left on the table that I’ll never get back – because of you.

So when you get here and do the estimate, it will deduct the first 90 minutes of your fees.

You rob me of 1.5 hours pay, I do the same to you. It’s called fair play.

“Now Mr. Wright, I think we’re getting off on the wrong foot here. Maybe you need someone else. You sound like my three ex-wives (the guy’s under 40, but is it any surprise three spouses have dumped the loser?). I think we should just go our separate ways and…”

That I should never hire you, I agree.  But since you cost me money by not even having the common courtesy to give me heads up that you were super late and wanted to reschedule, I’m going to punish you.

“Mr Wright, is that a threat?”

Why no, Jose my new friend, it’s a vow to post the real story about you on every consumer website that I can find.

I will warn people: if you want to take off work and waste your time and money and be lied to and worse, do business with Jose.

I sincerely hope I cost you at least $1k in lost business...you selfish horse's ass.

Friday, May 11, 2018

MIAMI CONTRACTOR BLUES PART 4

SIR, I’M JUST 5 MINUTES FROM YOUR HOUSE...NAH, BS
I’M 40 MILES AWAY BUT I WILL INSULT YOUR INTELLIGENCE AND LIE


I need a second opinion on a plumbing job.

I find a highly-recommended guy and when I reach him, I tell him that being on time is very, very important to me. 

I figure if you cannot master the simplest act of not wasting my time, then you must not be able to know the difference between hot water and cold….where the difference between where #2 exits the toilet and where the water comes in to flush it down.

He says he’s always on time, so we schedule for 4 p.m. on a weekday.

At 3:30 p.m., I text to him to confirm.

Nothing. 

I go ahead and leave work early. 

On the way home at 3:50 p.m., I text him my address…just in case he needs it.

Nothing.

As I’m pulling into my driveway, at 4 p.m., he calls.

“Mr. Wright, I’m going to be about 15 minutes late.”

Ok, I can live with that I say.

About 15 minutes later, my cell phone rings again.

“Mr. Wright, what’s your address?

I texted, I remind him.

“Oh, well, okay, give it to me again.”

Okay, but where are you?, because if you were 15 minutes away from my house when you phoned 15 minutes ago, you’d be here by now.

“Oh, I’m in far West Kendall.”

For those of you not from Miami, that’s a good 30 miles from our home. In rush hour traffic, it could take well more than an hour.

Uh, if you do not have a helicopter – and by theway, we don’t have a helipad – you will not get here till 5 p.m. at the earliest, so at 4 p.m., why did you lie and say you would arrive in 15 minutes?

“Well, Mr. Wright, sir, we got really busy with this job and lost track of time.”

But when we made the appointment, I said being on time is important to me.

Surely, when you saw the job located so far from my home was getting out of hand, you could have texted me to tell me you’d be late.

And stop calling my sir. It is doing nothing to make me forget you are screwing up royally.

“Yes, sir, I know, I’m going to drive really fast….”

Knowing it is impossible to drive really fast in Miami traffic – unless maybe you’re the last person left alive after a nuclear holocaust that somehow left your work van and the roadways from Kendall to Little Havana intact – I quickly lose interest in this clown. 

But there is much more to this idiot’s incompetence. 

We’ll visit that tomorrow. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

MIAMI CONTRACTOR BLUES PART 3


THE PLUMBER'S VISIT TO OUR PREVIOUS HOUSE



The plumbing guy says:

“That toilet in the garage is done the lazy way.”

“Instead of breaking the floor and running to the opposite wall to pick up the main line, they just raised the floor and tied the pipe into your bathroom toilet.”

“You shouldn’t have done it that way?”

“Why did you do it like that?”

"Yep, just like I said when we made the appointment on the phone, the owner from 35 years ago commenced a project to put a bath in the garage to convert it into a sort of crummy apartment.”

So yes, I get it, what they did is the lazy route.

But you are looking at a 27-year-old brand new homeowner.

And the work looks like it was done in the 60s, when I lived 1,000 miles away and was in the first grade.

So why on earth would you expect me to be able to answer the theory, approach and methodology of something that a moron, let alone you the specialist, could tell happened decades before I had any control over the property we’re talking about?

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

MIAMI CONTRACTOR BLUES PART 2


NEWS BULLETIN: THE HOMEOWNER WHO YOU ARE TRYING 
TO IMPRESS WITH YOUR EXPERTISE HAD NO CONTROL
OVER THINGS DONE TO HIS HOUSE BEFORE HE OWNED IT




Why does every contractor ask you about stuff done to your house…

 A)  Like you did it yourself, despite telling him when you set up this appointment that don’t do handyman stuff?

B) Implying you did the previously botched job, even when it's obvious the work was done 50 years ago?

Windows, roof, appliances, flooring -- you name it.

When they walk in the door, I politely tell them the house is damn near 100
years old and had a fire in the 40s or 50s.

I tell them, by city permitted and approved work, we fixed and legalized some weirdo, ill-advised stuff done possibly in the 60s through 80s.

Though I'm no teenager, I'm pretty sure I look about 50...or 100.

But the window guy says:

"Why didn't you use standard openings?”

“Replacing them would cost a lot less if it was a standard sizes.”

Uh, as discussed just five freaking minutes ago, the house was built in 1920.
According to the abstract, by two old boys from Georgia.

You see any good old boys from Georgia running around la pequena Habana in the last half century?

I didn’t think so.
Anyhow, I’m guessing back in the early 20th century, when two craftsmen were building a home, when they wanted a window space, they framed it out on the spot.

They didn't go to Home Depot for a production built, standard size – because there was no Home Depot. 

The 50+ guy who you are driving insane right now was born in the 60s, not 1900.

So could we not pester me about why the six decades from being born me did not make your job easier by taking a time machine into the future to pick out what would be standard size window openings in 2005?

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

MIAMI CONTRACTOR BLUES PART 1

(not our crawl space, just a gruesome photo I found online)

THE CRAWL SPACE

The handyman crawls into our godawful crawl space, where perhaps urban rats and roaches dwell in humidity bathed with pinhole leaking pipes.

Nearly 100-year-old pipes that also provide food in the form of kitchen grease ground up in the Insinkerator then served up via the cracked cast iron route to the main sanitary line.

So he says, after we summoned him telling him we’re pretty confident the ancient pipes are slowly leaking "you have some vermin down there.”

“Do you know every time you rinse the dishes, some of that crud feeds them? 

“And why, in the middle of the crawl space, is there some poured cement?”

“I mean, it looks like it's 60 years old, but…”

Wow.

Okay, I don't get enough exercise, but I'm pretty sure I don't look 60.

And since no one is a homeowner before being about 20, I'd have to been flippin’ 80 to have been the one who asked for some cement to be poured where just old dirt is supposed to be. 

So why on earth would you be asking me?

And since I told you when I made this appointment that I don't do work on the house, just why would I have crawled through the fat man's squeeze of a crawl space opening and waded through vermin droppings, to dump some concrete under my old house?


Am I the only one who gets asked so many stupid questions?

Monday, May 7, 2018

PLUS URBIA DESIGN IS A DBE FIRM


MIAMI-BASED URBAN DESIGN STUDIO IS CERTIFIED SMALL BUSINESS

PlusUrbia Design is proud to announce its certification as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), specializing in Urban Planning Services.

The Miami-based boutique Urban Design studio also holds Miami-Dade County Small Business Enterprise (SBE) certification in the Architecture & Engineering (A&E) Category, technically certified in 21.0 – Land-Use Planning.

The American Planning Association (APA) national economic development award-winning PlusUrbia holds Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) technical qualification in 13.6 - Land Planning/Engineering.


WWW.PLUSURBIA.COM

Sunday, May 6, 2018

MIAMI HERALD NEWSPAPER CONTINUES TO USE PEJORATIVE LANGUAGE


WHEN WRITING ABOUT PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES


Perhaps in the near future, my wife and I could speak to the Editorial Board or to news executives about the portrayal of disabled people in the Herald. 


Frankly, I see far too many references to a person being "wheelchair bound."

It's a phrase we grew up with, but it is inaccurate.

My wife's wheelchair is an enabling device.

Just like a Toyota helps a person get from Hollywood to a downtown Miami job more efficiently and faster than jogging, my wife's wheelchair is more enabling of her mobility at work, home and on the road. 

She most certainly is not bound to it when she showers, sleeps, sits in a lounge chair, etc....no more than a person is bound to his sedan.

We also see too many stories that over idolize a person with a disability for overcoming. 

It's a worn out story line. 

Maybe there was an ugly and patronizing time when newspapers wrote about an achieving African American like it was some kind of against all odds miracle that they escaped their destiny as a janitor or shoe shine person. 

Those shameful days have ended.

So why is it that when a wheelchair user needs a boost via Wish Book, or comes back from an injury to be a workforce leader, that the narrative sounds like we should be shocked and inspired?

Portraying a disabled person's overriding purpose as being on earth to inspire the non-disabled majority....it is no worse than some WWII era portrayal of an African American's best purpose being a tap dancer or an athlete to entertain the white majority. 

Just some food for thought for the journalism craft I still love.

--Steve

(Letter emailed to a high-ranking Herald editor contact more than two years ago.
Still no reply. Guess coverage of people with disabilities still deserve to be covered like other minorities were in the bigoted, patronizing era of America.)