Monday, October 12, 2015

Avenue A's high-wire act



Several readers have asked in recent weeks what the story is with the wire/line that, in the right light, is very visible above Avenue A between East Seventh Street and East Sixth Street (and maybe elsewhere?)… it has been up there for months now… running from the light pole on the northwest corner of Sixth Street to the southeast corner of Seventh Street… and then across to the northwest corner of Seventh Street…



Another view…



… and because of contractual obligations…



… and it also stretches from the northwest corner of Sixth Street to the southeast corner… (and it looks like some wire up at Fifth and A too...)


[Photo by Derek Berg]

Perhaps a clue on Avenue A and East Fourth Street…



Facts and theories welcome…

Updated 9:08 a.m.

That was fast! Many people had the answer... see the comments for the explanation...

26 comments:

Matt Rosen said...

Maybe this?

"Orthodox Jews are allowed to push baby strollers and carry prayer books on the Jewish Sabbath thanks to a loophole made of fishing line that stretches some 18 miles on utility poles around the city.

The line forms a nearly invisible enclosure, called an eruv in ­Hebrew. Jews are prohibited from doing these simple tasks outside on the Sabbath, but carry them out in the confines of the eruv because it symbolically turns a public space into a private one."

http://nypost.com/2015/05/24/high-wire-strewn-through-city-lets-jews-keep-the-faith/

There's even a Twitter feed:

https://twitter.com/manhattaneruv

Unknown said...

Manhattan Eruv? See

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?hl=en&msa=0&z=12&ie=UTF8&mid=z7K5eCPkfN-M.kljutWhtv8Pw

Anonymous said...

It's an eruv:
http://nypost.com/2015/05/24/high-wire-strewn-through-city-lets-jews-keep-the-faith/

PJ said...

Probably part of a sabbath "eruv".

NOTORIOUS said...

Mystery solved.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/06/15/a-translucent-wire-in-the-sky/

Now where's my Scooby Snack!

LPIFLY said...

This is driving me crazy!

Anonymous said...

It's the East Village Eruv. It's a demarcation for religiously observant Jews to know where they're able to carry things on Shabbat and holidays. Rule is that you can't carry outside of an Eruv because it's considered work. It's actually checked every week by a rabbi.

From the Manhattan Eruv website:
Most of the Eruv consists of fishing wire strung from lamppost to lamppost. It is typically very difficult to see, even if one knows where it is. The most reliable guide to where the Eruv goes is the map and explanation. Furthermore, the wire is designed to survive all natural elements.

On many occasions, the eruv consists of regular buildings. There are no physical markings on these buildings.

On some occasions, there is a gap between the lamppost and the building through which eruv continues. As long as the gap is less than fifteen feet, it is considered a “gateway”, not a break.

Lexoo said...

There is a Hasidic practice of running lines across areas as a loophole to sabbath rules.

"Eruv" on @Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eruv?wprov=sfti1

DrGecko said...

It also discourages helicopters from flying between the buildings.

EV Grieve said...

That was quick! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Drone free zone!

Anonymous said...

Ha ha take that God. Got you on a technicality.

Anonymous said...

I've wondered what these are for years, after seeing them everywhere.
I liked it better when I didn't know the answer.

Shawn G. Chittle said...

In both 18 years in the East Village and as a former employee of the Satmar Hasidim in NYC, I've seen maybe 5 actual orthodox carrying anything on shabbos around here. Methinks that eruv is ancient, at least 30 years old or more?

Most of the families have absconded to Kiras Joel and Boro Park.

Anonymous said...

I noticed on the other day on E. Houston near the Whole Foods and was perplexed.

Thanks for the explanation.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to start cutting them down now. I wonder what happens when they discover themselves working outside the boundary?

Anonymous said...

It really shows you what bullshit religion is. No divorce, unless the marriage is annulled. No working on the sabbath, unless it's inside a fishing line. Etc.

Bill the libertarian anarchist, and enemy of organized superstition.

Anonymous said...

Ain't religion grand? Let's put our faith in invisible boundaries, 1500 year-old predictions and ghosts from the past.

WAKE THE FUCK UP PEOPLE!

Anonymous said...

Interesting, as a neighbor of mine noticed that an orthodox Jewish family had moved in across the street, and was told by a member of that family "we're going to buy up your whole neighborhood."

Anonymous said...

Oh I thought Philippe Petit was preparing his next stunt!

Anonymous said...

> a loophole to sabbath rules.

A religion built on loop holes - that kind of says a lot.

Anonymous said...

I've heard it explained that even by exploiting loopholes, these people are still making an effort to abide by God's so-called rules, and therefore maintaining a connection to God and their religion, which is way better than casting aside the so-called rules altogether. At first I was like "Ah that makes sense" and then I was like "Wait, isn't that just another moral loophole?" These people are slick!

Anonymous said...

Holy crap - Friday during the wind and rain I saw this coming down to the street on 4th A NE corner and thought it may have been a live wire and reported it...Because it was right where a dog or a child could have run into it - someone could have hurt themselves even if it is fishing wire - invisible so you can trip right over it.

Anonymous said...

Between Icon Realty Management's Terrence Lowenberg and Todd Cohen, Ben Shaoul, and Steve Croman, I'd say "they" a have already bought most of the neighborhood and not done a very good job of it.

Anonymous said...

Wait until the fisherman on the East River find out that they can have all the free fishing line they need.

Anonymous said...

You see the wire around parts of Montreal, too, where there are large Hasidic communities. I am surprised to see it here just because I never see Hasidic people in the neighborhood. Could it be the wire is for something else?