Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
So chill (pun intended), weather girls (pun intended). No need to “battan down the hatches,” fearless forecasters. Go put on a hat and coat, morbid meteorologists. I’m sure somehow you’ll survive just like the rest of us.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
NYC Transit has supposedly instituted many of the recommendations from this report to improve the custodial care and to ensure the safe return of rider’s lost goods. We’ll believe their assurances, if and when we see them produce better statistics. In the meantime, “hold on tightly to your belongings, riders!” MTA employees might be more dangerous than the thief riding next to you. In the words of Bette Davis, "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night!"
Thursday, December 13, 2007
NOTE: To add insult to injury, Brooklyn's famous Lafayette High School was recently closed down.
The story made headlines because Askari, a Muslim, aided Adler, a Jew. In sincere gratitude for his efforts, Adler invited Askari to his home to share in his family’s Chanukah festivities. The unreported and perhaps bigger story is why nobody else on board the train did anything to help. That is too often, a sad truth with violent crimes. Fear of involvement and physical injury is understandable. Admittedly, not all of us are heroes. However, failure to help others in need is a ride within a dark tunnel to a sad destination. It’s definitely not a trip on board the “Soul Train.”
The next time you ride the subway, pray you’re surrounded by those who will come to your aid if need be. And if need be, be as brave and selfless as Mr. Askari. He set a noble example I pray we all have the guts to follow.
Horse carriages are undoubtedly one of the lesser causes for city traffic jams. If Mr. Avella so strongly believes that horses are put at risk while in traffic, than he should extend his ban to police mounts too. That of course would be a foolish thing to do. However, Mr. Avella’s position does have some merit. Perhaps it’s time to consider restricting carriage rides to Central Park or to designated zones where horse and driver can better co-exist than they do now.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
A significantly higher parking rate would unfairly target moderate and lower income drivers. It’s one thing for private garages and parking lots to charge high fees. It’s the driver’s choice to park in these lots. However, it’s quite another thing for public parking meters to be setup with exorbitant rates. In so doing, they’ll create private parking spots for the rich by making these spots financially prohibitive to the general public of generally lesser means.
We know “Free Parking” is easier to find on a Monopoly board than in midtown Manhattan any day of the week. A reasonable meter fee is acceptable. With $15.00 meters on city sidewalks though, finding cars nearby valued under $10,000 will become a rarity … kind of like finding a parking spot now while circling around and around. We urge the Department of Transportation and other city officials to come up with a more creative plan to reduce traffic. Maybe we can reduce the fleet size of city vehicles as a start?
It’s hoped that the no-toll policy for Santa’s sled and reindeer will be maintained. But give it time. Political grinches are probably working on the legislation now to impose that kind of fee. With increased pressure every year on politicians to do away with Christmas altogether, it’s conceivable that they will look to increase city revenue by imposing a new "San-tax." Reindeer rider-ship need only drop by one to affect those who still hold the Christmas holiday deer … uhhh dear.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
This latest example of the lack of leadership and decision making that’s needed here makes me wonder about two things. Do we really trust that this kind of management team is responsibly protecting the city’s students now? Will we, the citizens of New York City, ever learn our lesson and demand better service and accountability from those who work(?) for us?
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
America honored its military personnel on Veteran’s Day and rightly so. Without these Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine troops and the courageous sacrifices they’ve made throughout our history, we might not today be in a free land called “America.” It might have been lost to a conquering enemy years ago. One national day of remembrance is certainly not enough to pray and give thanks for our sons and daughters who served. Commemorating America’s veterans should last a lifetime, demanding gratitude and respect from us all. Quite simply, America can truly never repay or honor these brave and patriotic men and women for all that they so justly deserve. The debt we owe is staggering … beyond comprehension … yet worth every penny, plus interest. Nevertheless, we must try. We must all be doing whatever we can to contribute to this cause of civilians protecting our veterans. Let it begin with these, our homeless veterans. Let it continue to those in VA hospitals. And let it embrace those on active duty as well.
New York City makes huge investments every year to invite tourists here. Can we not make a significant effort as well to welcome home and care for our homeless sons and daughters? These individuals have each paid a very high price for their service to our country. For some apparently, it’s cost everything. We all need to give whatever it takes to get the job done to help them … just like they previously gave all they had to do the same for us. Contact your local VA facility today to find out what you can do to help.
Monday, November 12, 2007
History shows that regardless of the plans that have been tried before, pigeons have never flown the NYC coop. There are too many food sources here besides breadcrumbs from the elderly. Strong initiatives should be taken to control the pigeon population (as with rats) but not with another new civil law and layer of government behind it. We don't need a "NYC Pigeon Czar." Try asking the public to understand the problem and to stop feeding the birds … don’t levy yet another outrageous fine upon those who elect you. We may respond better than you give us credit for.
To all the do-gooder councilmen and other city officials, let’s be more concerned about pigs wasting taxpayer’s money instead of pigeons pooping on the statues of ex-politicians. Who knows? That attitude might get a statue erected for you.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Now, I’m a sensible guy. Manhattan real estate has gone up a bit since the early '30s. I know too there’s about 75 year’s difference between these two purchases. I’m sure inflation took its toll in the huge price/floor disparity. But, for $150,000,000 for only 3 floors compared to roughly $25,000,000 for 102 floors … can the seller be nice enough to throw in a big gorilla too?
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Molds in particular can cause severe breathing problems. This should be of great concern to all New Yorkers where an estimated 300,000 children have been diagnosed with asthma. It’s important to note that asthma is the number one cause of children being absent from school. One problem leads to another.
All sides must work together to reduce this problem. Landlords must provide safe and healthy living conditions for tenants. Tenants must be held to a higher standard for keeping their homes clean and available for monthly exterminating. Lastly, the government should take immediate and appropriate action against whoever is responsible for poor sanitary conditions. If they can insist that transfats be removed from our burgers, they should act even more aggressively to eliminate bigger dangers that put our children and the rest of us at greater risk.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Not having had my car on the course at the time and not having been an endangered pedestrian myself, I think there’s something very “New York” and thrilling about this kind of race. Maybe there’s something to be said for living life boldly and flaunting authority just a bit. Maybe in some ways too, a part of us wishes we could skateboard past the city’s traffic jams or crowded sidewalks. Imagine Errol Flynn boldly striding past “Do Not Enter” signs. You know he’s wrong to do so, but there’s a smile on your face anyway. You have a certain respect and admiration for him. In some ways, you might wish you were a rebel like him. Maybe there’s some skateboarder in you?
Pack a skateboard in your car’s trunk tomorrow. Stick one in your bag if you’re on foot. Tomorrow may be the day when you decide to take on Broadway yourself … all eight miles.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Years ago, we gave up our use of brown paper bags to save our forests. Paper bags were replaced by plastic ones. Environmentalists now believe it takes years for these plastic bags to biodegrade and that they pollute our soil and water. A more responsible “green” policy here would reduce that danger and the oil needed to make plastic bags by millions of barrels annually. Seems like an environmentally sound idea on many levels.
Other cities around the world have mandated these changes. New York City should too. I believe that swift passage of this bill is … in the bag.
It seems reasonable that a city be able to mandate residency as a condition of employment. In a similar policy, public schools are only open to city children. People who work and live here support the city much more than those making money here and then scramming across city borders to spend their paychecks elsewhere. That’s one argument. On the other hand, it seems unfair for government to demand that its employees setup home in New York City's environs if they and their families can live better nearby.
Tough to choose who is right and who is wrong. Both sides’ arguments have merit. But perhaps it’s just a matter of how the issue is framed that makes the choice difficult.
In the end, workers have freedom and flexibility to work anywhere that their skills allow. If they work here, they do because they’ve determined it’s in their best interests to do so. However, a city cannot move around like an individual. Its borders may be altered a bit over time but basically, its latitude and longitude remain unchanged. A city must do what’s in its best interests to remain vital … and to stay on the map! Therefore, if it can be proven that it’s in New York City’s best interests to have employees be residents, then that must be the only position city politicians and the mayor should support. Many qualified Americans would gladly move here to live in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island or the Bronx if it meant getting a good city job with benefits.
The “I Love New York” theme song should play loudly during all official talks on this matter. It should resonate in the minds of our politicians and city workers. Do what’s best for New York City in this matter and you’ll be doing what’s best for true New Yorkers.
Monday, October 29, 2007
I just watched a television show on the History Channel. It was on the famous 16th century French prophet, Nostradamus. Many consider him the greatest “seer” of them all. His prophecies and quatrains have survived and have been studied for nearly 500 years. (I sure hope he was wise enough to secure copyrights to his work!) Most things in the show dealt with the usual topics. Things like the antichrist, end of the world, famine, disasters, war, death, ecological disasters, etc.. The usual Sunday night, pick-me-up kind of stuff. You know.
Regrettably, there was no mention at all about specific
So this evening, I’m seriously questioning his voyeuristic abilities. Nostradamus may have envisioned many future events, but I don’t think he ever witnessed the high price of high-rises on
Nostradamus … famous prophet … lousy real estate speculator.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Judith Wendell, a noted feng shui and chi expert declared the new Yankee Stadium superior to that of the Mets’ Citi Field. A variety of tests and “energy vibrations” she felt at each construction site convinced her of that. In other words, better feng shui in the Bronx will give the Yankees better chi than their cross-town rivals. Or, put yet another way … more chi, more wins. Great news for Bombers’ fans!
Both fields are scheduled to open for the start of the 2009 baseball season. Perhaps a new chant will rise up from the crowd to the facade in the Bronx on opening day … “We got chi! We got chi!”
Saturday, October 27, 2007
I believe there are some things we can safely predict. For example, in the years to come:
1. There will be lawsuits and counter-lawsuits aplenty. Suits on behalf of the two people sadly caught in the blast, Con Ed vs. the city, the city vs. Con Ed and each of the building, store and property owners with damages vs. everybody standing. Maybe others too.
2. All sides will produce “expert” testimony. Each party pointing hired fingers at the other side. Each expert will present reasonably logical arguments while possibly obscuring important facts in the process.
3. Regardless of who wins and who loses, all costs will ultimately be passed onto New York City taxpayers and Con Edison’s customers.
4. More explosions, resulting from the city’s decaying underground infrastructure which is over 100 years old in many places, may be expected.
5. City residents will be generally unsupportive of tax increases to subsidize the “big fix” that’s needed underneath our town.
6. Local politicians won’t adequately address the growing dangers or propose important legislation to counter these threats. Heard any yet?
7. When all is said and done, there will be several additionally rich tort lawyers flashing their $1,000 bills to attract the gorgeous blondes in Bungalow 8.
There once was a time when pedestrians crossing NYC streets need only be cautious not to step behind horses or into an open manhole. Nowadays, horse manure isn’t a big concern. Sidestepping manholes, even those with covers securely in place, may still be a wise precaution. Unless of course you want to risk being launched through the 10th floor window of a skyscraper.
Tread lightly New Yorkers. There's a cauldron of trouble brewing beneath your feet.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Seems logical enough, right? Not for some of the most vocal cat lovers it isn’t! Valerie Sicignano of the NYC Feral Cat Initiative volunteered her group to trap, neuter and vaccinate the cats for free. She said that cats that could be put up for adoption would be, but that the rest would be returned to the airport! The Port Authority rejected her group’s offer. I agree with the P.A.’s decision. It's common sense (which is far from "common" nowadays, it seems). Ms. Sicignano’s proposal was only a partial solution to a serious problem when only a complete solution will ensure safety. Animal activists do good deeds and deserve support ... to an extent. That extent being that they must come up with comprehensive ideas that rationally balance the people's rights with the animals they’re trying to protect.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta issued a report stating that in the United States in 2005, there were 94,360 MRSA infections resulting in 18,650 deaths. For whatever the reason, New Yorkers have been spared the ravages of this deadly bacteria … until now.
Staph infections typically spread by skin to skin contact with an open wound or the sharing of personal items. All New Yorkers are urged to practice good personal hygiene including frequent hand-washing. Short of each of us living in a protective bubble, what more can we do?
Omar Rivera’s death may serve to protect others by alerting us all to this new threat. Those wishing to send letters, gifts or donations to Omar’s family might try contacting his school: I.S. 211, John Wilson Intermediate School, 1001, East 100th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11236. Attention: Principal Buffie Simmons-Peart. Tel 718.251.4411.
While you’re at it, how about more of the regular trash bins too? More often than not it seems, New Yorkers must balance their refuse on top of overflowing garbage pails. The green and blue receptacles will likely be filled with “bad” garbage and not recyclable material otherwise.
I realize operating expenses steadily rise and fares must rise accordingly. I just find it hard to believe that every option to cut waste and make money with the transit system to defray costs has been examined. How did the transit system run so well for so many years with so little money by comparison (See below.)?
Officer, I’d like to report a mugging.
NYC Mass Transit Fare History (1904-Present)
2008 $2.25 (projected)
Admittedly, too large a percentage of New Yorkers are overweight or obese (government employees especially … or is that just my imagination?). It would be a healthful thing for many of us to lose some weight, I agree. But, do we really need government involved here to unfairly compel fast food establishments alone to list calories? To my knowledge, not a single upscale restaurant with “white linen” on the table will be affected. Seems unfair and besides, we eat more at home than outside anyway. If their honest goal is for us to lose weight, then when will they begin to lay down the law about posting calorie counts on our cabinets and refrigerators?
Thor’s $100 million dollar investment to redesign and develop Coney won’t save Astroland or many of the other places we know. That means New Yorkers and tourists have just one more season to enjoy what remains of old Coney Island before “Corporate Coney” replaces it. Future images of this world famous attraction look more like a generic Disney theme park than a unique Brooklyn experience. That's sad. We can only hope that Coney Island will become as wonderful and distinctive a place as it once was, many, many, many years ago.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
At first glance, this proposal seems well intentioned though a bit ill conceived. At second glance too. Who truly benefits by this bill and how? If companies are held responsible for disposing of their products beyond the product’s lifetime, it’s likely that costs will rise. Perhaps the Councilman has another bill pending to help NYC consumers offset a price hike? Perhaps not. If this bill passes and manufacturers decide not to sell in NYC, what will happen? Consumers will need to make arrangements for the collection of their electronics. NYC retailers will lose business as consumers will shop in New Jersey, Connecticut or upstate; an inconvenience to the people here and a loss in city tax revenue. Lastly, why limit this bill to electronics companies, Councilman? Why not also force auto manufacturers to tow away junked cars, plastics manufacturers to collect coffee cup lids and God to collect the leaves that fall to the ground every Fall?
Here's a name. 231 years ago, George Washington courageously stood up in a boat while crossing the Delaware River. He inspired his troops, led them to victory and buoyed a young nation’s spirit. Is there nobody now willing and able to stand up to take control of this ecological disaster to get the job done? If not, could it be that there’s fear among our “leaders” about falling off a boat into toxic waters? Government workers and military officials would do well to keep in mind that there are families with children who presently live by the shores of “Lavender Lake.” Many more will be arriving. Action is needed NOW … not ineffectiveness from those who can’t even manage their Day-Timers.
Do your jobs NOW people, or in the words of an old Brooklyn philosopher, "Take a long walk off a short pier!" (I’m sure you can guess where that pier might be located.)
A chic boutique will become the first of several upscale businesses to open on CBGB’s grave. The Bowery and the surrounding neighborhood are changing; supposedly for the better. That it’s happening isn’t news, really. Like a volcano periodically spewing out lava, rebuilding the land around, New York City too incessantly rebuilds the new over the old. Dig deep enough and you’ll see generational histories, one built on top of another.
If punk is old now, those who “lived” it are older. Punch an air hole in the lava, rockers. It’s your only chance to survive. Or lay still beneath a trendy boutique in what was once the center of your world.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Dracula knew how to sip on a neck and not gulp. He didn't completely drain his victims to leave them dead. He managed his resources more intelligently than those controlling the bottom lines now. OTB is looking very pale.
Someone up in Albany has to realize you can’t beat a dead horse to cross the finish line. It has no incentive or life. OTB is in a similar state. Under the present financial system, we can’t win in our place, when we have nothing to show for it in the end. Either the state government should restructure the deal to overwhelmingly benefit New York City or the city should put OTB out to pasture until more reasonable minds prevail.
This compass idea seems a bit off course to me. I have another idea. Why not install clocks in the sidewalks? With those in place, riders will know if they’re going to make it to where they’re going on time … or if they’ll be late because of yet another transit service delay!
Let’s not waste revenue on nice but unnecessary devices. None of us want the fare to go north again in the near future, do we?
Monday, October 22, 2007
Today, there are engineers and developers who wish to expand the borders of Manhattan; this time in a horizontal direction. In our city’s history, it’s been done numerous times before. In fact, one of the more recent success stories is the 92 acres of landfill upon which Battery Park City arose. This time however, it’s those concerned about local fish habitats that seek to kill this project as was done did years ago with the West Side Highway. Kill it dead ... before it even has a chance to get off the ground (Or is that water?), so to speak. Unfortunately, it’s yet to be proven by this lobby that any fish have been harmed by any recent landfill project. Nevertheless, this project is now at risk.
New York City became one of the great cities of the modern world with progressive thinking. We need it now to remain a vital location and destination. Let’s make sure all of the homework is done by experts (on both sides) and thoroughly checked before proceeding. Any large scale building project that may have any possible negative impact needs to be studied. Unless the opposition can present undeniable proof of irreversible harm to the citizens or wildlife around the city, I say … “let’s change the maps and make New York City a bit closer to New Jersey.”
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Be courteous to your neighbors, people! Walk where you're supposed to. Getting hit by a fast moving bicycle can definitely ruin your afternoon stroll ... maybe even the way you're able to walk in the future.
A recent poll found that only 22% of New Yorkers approve of this license giveaway. 78% of New Yorkers should provide a "get out of town" ride to those in office who turn justice into road kill.
A diverse population is one of America’s greatest blessings. So too is our judicial system. Let’s continue to support legal immigration, not reward those who don’t obey our laws.