1.5 Million Packages a Day: What Your Online Ordering Does to N.Y.


Weather: A mix of sunshine and clouds, with a high in the low to mid-40s. Gusty winds will make it feel colder.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until Sunday (Immaculate Conception).

Our demand for convenience is changing urban areas everywhere, and that transformation is especially apparent in New York City, where more packages are delivered than anywhere else in the country.

The push to quickly fulfill orders from Amazon and other online retailers has worsened gridlock and pollution. And the packages, often left unattended in lobbies and on doorsteps, are also luring thieves.

Now, New York is looking for potential solutions.

More packages mean more delivery trucks double-parking on city streets, contributing to air pollution with their idling engines and jamming busy roadways.

The Times reporters Matthew Haag and Winnie Hu found that parking violations for FedEx and UPS have gone up 34 percent since 2013. Truck traffic on the George Washington Bridge has gotten so bad that it is now the most congested stretch of highway for trucks in the country.

To accommodate all those packages — and deliver them as quickly as possible — companies are working to build warehouses closer to where people live, my colleagues wrote. In New York, five are in the works. Some residents, however, are worried that warehouses could increase the number of diesel-spewing trucks on the streets.

[Read more: How the internet brings chaos to New York streets.]

Many apartment buildings don’t have a system for tracking and storing deliveries, Mr. Haag and Ms. Hu reported. This leaves New Yorkers vulnerable to package theft.

The 90,000 packages that go missing in the city daily represent a 20 percent increase from just four years ago.

Some cautious customers are trying to protect their purchases by installing video doorbell cameras or replacing mailboxes with models that can accommodate large boxes. Shipping companies are also working to combat theft with real-time tracking services and secure delivery sites like Amazon’s Hub Lockers.

[Read more: Packages disappear daily in N.Y.C. Is help on the way?]

A new program in the city could replace up to 100 delivery trucks with cargo bikes operated by Amazon, UPS and DHL. Cargo bikes have been introduced in a number of cities, including Paris, London and Dublin, my colleagues reported.

Cargo bikes are smaller and nimbler than traditional delivery trucks, so they could help relieve some traffic slowdowns caused by trucks’ double parking. Advocates of the program also say the bikes are an environmentally friendly option that could make streets safer for pedestrians and other cyclists.

[Read more: Park it, trucks: Here come New York’s cargo bikes.]

Bodegas are quintessential staples, cultural exclamation points and sacred enclaves. Most New Yorkers can’t imagine life without them.

We want to know about your neighborhood bodega. Is it where you met the love of your life, or where you found a great chopped cheese? Is it the one that holds your packages, or the spot you retreat to for sustenance after a long night?

Tell us about the bodega here. We may follow up with you to hear more about your story.

The exhibition “Present Bodies: Papermaking at Dieu Donné” opens at the Gallery at BRIC House in Brooklyn. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. [Free]

Authors and activists discuss gentrification on the Lower East Side at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in Manhattan. 7 p.m. [$10]

— Melissa Guerrero

Events are subject to change, so double-check before heading out. For more events, see the going-out guides from The Times’s culture pages.

Move over, Smorgasburg.

The Bronx Night Market just wrapped up its second season of serving multicultural cuisine in the Fordham neighborhood, and the culinary event has been drawing a crowd: about 7,000 foodies each weekend.

Alyson Krueger recently wrote about the outdoor food fair in The Times, noting that among its offerings are chicken-and-waffle sandwiches, plant-based Dominican food and banana pudding.

Amanda Celestino, one of the founders of the market, told Ms. Krueger that she was tired of traveling to other boroughs for food festivals. “I knew there was a passion for food in the Bronx and a hunger for fun things to do,” Ms. Celestino said.

The market has become so popular that at least four of its regular vendors have gone on to open brick-and-mortar stores, Ms. Krueger reported.

The market’s season is May through October, but the New York Botanical Garden’s Bar Car Nights, which run through mid-January, will include a Bronx Night Market Holiday Pop-Up with six to eight vendors.

It’s Thursday — have a snack.

Dear Diary:

I moved to New York City from Georgia in 1969 after a hitch in the service. Two Marine buddies and I split the third floor at the Northern Dispensary on Waverly Place in Greenwich Village. (My uncle, at New York University’s School of Dentistry, made it possible.)

Raggedy hippy was the style then. I can remember antiwar protests, gay liberation demonstrations, fire engines, cops, ambulances and garbage trucks filling the neighborhood at all hours.

The three of us were regulars at the Lion’s Head and the White Horse, but eventually we grew into our individual lives and moved on to marriages and careers.

One February some 25 years later, I dropped my son off at a friend’s home in Westchester. It began to snow. I decided to pass through Manhattan on my way back to Pennsylvania.

I parked on Fifth Avenue near Eighth Street and walked to Waverly Place. The snowfall was getting heavy, and it was late. The streets were empty and except for some noisy merriment from a corner pub, it was quiet.

Walking further, I looked up at the old triangular building. The windows and doors were boarded up. It was a dark, snow-speckled silhouette against the streetlight. Nearby, General Sheridan was still keeping watch over his square.

I called my wife on a pay phone, got back in my car and made my way back home.

— Mike Malsbury

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