There are 105 additional green and blue recycling bins throughout the five boroughs helping the city get a “do over” with its waste. The cost for this program which began in April 2007 is minimal. The message and goal is significant though. So New Yorkers, be “color coordinated” when next out in public. It's the good neighborly thing to do.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The City of New York wants its estimated half-million illegal immigrants to legally complete the 2010 Census forms. This will better reflect the actual number of people living here to help the city obtain more federal dollars. It’s unlikely however that many will step forward for fear of deportation. So why are we seeking hundreds of federal bucks for each illegal alien when each one reportedly costs New York City residents thousands of dollars annually? Especially now during this severe economic downturn, doesn't it make more sense than ever to enforce existing laws regarding illegal immigration from all countries?
Monday, November 10, 2008
35,210 people have gun permits in "Gun City," uhhh "Fun City." This total includes both “premise” and “carry” licenses for firearms. The NYPD which issues permits says that figure has dropped from 41,173 active licenses in 2003. The NYC gun application and approval process may take up to 18-months and cost many hundreds of dollars. New York is considered to be among the toughest cities in the nation in which to get a concealed-carry license. Qualifications include the ability to show documented threats against the applicant or proof that the applicant routinely transports cash or valuables in business. At first glance, it would appear that the rich and well-connected have a better chance of gun permit approval than decent and humble NYC residents looking to protect themselves or their families (Can any amount of cash or valuables be more important than this?) in a city of high violent crime statistics and criminals on the loose. To many, the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States grants all the approval they need to bear arms. It states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Not to all though … especially here.
A New York judge decreed that a lesbian couple married in Massachusetts may divorce in New York City. This, even though same-sex marriages are not permitted here. It seems as though “the three rings of marriage,” (1. The engagement ring. 2. The wedding ring. 3. Suffering.) are the same, whether "gay" or "straight." Divorce. Something we all can agree on.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
New York City is so desperate for cash that’s it’s "going to the dogs." Dog owners must now pay $250 for their doggies’ illegal dump on the “Sidewalks of New York.” That’s more than double the original fine of $100 established in 1978 when the pooper-scooper law went into effect. In the past fiscal year, only 763 summonses were issued. This obviously isn’t a big enough money-maker to get us out of the economic toilet. However, Mayor Bloomberg has recently proposed taxing "plastic bags" at 5-cents each. Maybe the mayor’s real bailout plan here is to get dog owners to use more plastic bags for doo-sposal ... at a nickel a plop.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
In 2007, Latino populations increased in every borough except Manhattan which showed a 4% decline. A recent survey shows that New York City’s Latino population increased 5.4% to 2.27 million. Only Los Angeles, CA has a higher concentration of Hispanic people with 4.67 million. For English, “Push 2.”
The City Council voted 29-22 (26 votes were needed) to approve Mayor Bloomberg’s bid to extend term-limits. This actually gives all elected city officials the legal right to seek third terms. The question is, does this extension give voters "more choice" by permitting an incumbent to run or "reduce options" by enabling an otherwise ineligible candidate to rerun. Bloomberg believes this last-minute move gives voters a “fuller choice.” Opponents were quick to argue that voters turned down term-limit referendums in 1992 and 1996. This new bill circumvents what New Yorkers voted against. Interestingly enough, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Mayor Bloomberg were also in favor of term-limits … until recently. No man should insist he’s “the only one” to lead us from economic darkness. Nobody should claim to be Moses or the Messiah. Those parts have already been played. New Yorkers are being played 2,000 years later. Mayor Bloomberg has done much for the city, but what might new blood do? The country voted “change” for President. In New York City, it seems the more things change, the more likely they will stay the same.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
The 2008 exhibit, “Waterfalls” overflowed city coffers with $68.6 million in economic activity … $13.4 million over estimates. Approximately 79,200 additional tourists visited New York City to see the East River’s water pouring forth from designer Olafur Eliasson’s four man-made structures. Circle Line reported water tour sales were up 213,000 compared to the same time last year. So what public art project is “on tap” next, Mayor Bloomberg?
The American Museum of Natural History is opening a skating rink behind its building but you won’t see skating dinosaurs. This state of the art facility, located on the Arthur Ross Terrace near the Theodore Roosevelt Park is for humans only. It will offer skating on a high-tech, artificial surface measuring 12,000 square feet. It’s scientifically advanced surface won’t melt, require refrigeration or maintenance either! This is going to be a fun trip “back to the future.”
Monday, November 3, 2008
Commercials for commuters and communities. That’s what the MTA is testing in Manhattan with huge digital screens on the sides of buses on the M23 route. If they're pleased with the results, screens will be installed on at least 200 buses early next year. Titan Worldwide has a 10-year contract with NYC for this advertising. Using GPS technology, they transmit different ads based on each bus' location. In this way, they target ads to a specific market which should deliver better results for the advertiser. The screens may also be used to broadcast news bulletins or "missing child" alerts. Outdoor advertising is undergoing a digital transformation. The MTA is looking to boost passenger fares with more advertising. This year, their advertising revenue is expected to hit $125 million. In an effort to make more and more money, expect to see ads in more and more places. In our "captive consumer society," sellers will always look for innovative ways to bring ads to us, rather than wait for us to stumble across those ads. If money can be made working for the seller, expect the seller to have a vehicle (in this case a New York City bus) to get their message out to the public.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
In Manhattan’s East Village on Marks Place, the very popular Kim’s Video store is up for immediate sale. As video rentals and sales decline, the store’s owner, Youngman Kim, has decided to skip the business by January, 2009. He insists that a new owner must buy his entire 55,000 videotape collection and continue his policy of only charging an inexpensive membership fee. It’s hard to believe he’ll find an interested buyer with those requirements. The wide availability of movies on the Internet and declining sales can't help his cause, either. Kim was a very successful New York City entrepreneur. Sadly for him, he should have seen this day coming many years ago. Let’s hope a local library or community group can reach a deal with Kim soon. Film students and movie nostalgia buffs should be able to enjoy this diverse collection long into the future.
[Insert "George Orwell, 1984" reference wherever appropriate.] The NYPD wants you! A new Web site encourages the good citizens of New York City to report on bad citizens suspected of criminal activity. It’s easy now to submit “e-tips” or upload photos or videos of alleged criminals or crimes in action. The site is nypd-crimestoppers.com. This website is secure, anonymous and has five language options making it more accessible to the general public. A tipster receives an unique identification number for a tip. A call to the Crimestoppers hot line at 800.577-TIPS lets the tipster follow the case’s progress. In September, police began a similar program for cell phone users. With only 13 texts, 4 images and 1 video received so far for that concept, it can’t be said that the public is overwhelmingly embracing the “dirty rat” concept. It takes time for society to be changed. However, one of those tips did lead to an arrest. The NYPD is testing image and video transmission direct to police in the field. In the past 25 years, Crimestoppers has helped police solve 2,500 violent crimes including over 1,000 homicides. Substantiated tips leading to arrest or indictment are eligible to receive up to $2,000 from the New York City Police Foundation. It’s generally known that cell phones and personal computers are easily traceable back to the user. In a time when being Photoshopped is commonplace, it’s hoped that the police are careful in their response to any anonymous received. Bringing crime down to zero and catching real criminals is a good thing and we should all be on board with that effort. How police respond to a SPAM campaign against an innocent person remains to be seen. People, be very sure of your facts before you click that Send button.
The police department has $40 million to launch a new cadet recruitment campaign. They want to engage an experienced marketing company to help them spend it wisely. The agency must be capable of producing effective television, radio and Web ads. Maybe the NYPD should first recruit a few Darren Stevens types to work in-house so they could save money on expensive ad agency fees? Welllll? (Bewitched TV show, Samantha Stevens, catch phrase for all those under 30.)
Saturday, November 1, 2008
The courts “just said no” to a type of drug testing preferred by the NYPD. The Police Department’s change from random urine testing to comprehensive hair testing was recently cut down in an appeals court. The union representing New York City cops, detectives and sergeants claimed the city never negotiated for their approval during collective bargaining agreements. They also argued that “bald” cops were subjected to “invasive” screening because hair samples from them were taken from legs or pubic areas. The NYPD countered, claiming it didn’t have to bargain because only the “testing technology” changed, not the policy. It sounds like one or both parties are "splitting fine hairs," here. Hair testing can screen for drug use going back 90 days vs. only a few days for urine tests. That fact alone makes it imperative for the safety of citizens and police officers. We must implement this form of illegal drug screening. Not only that, it makes sample cheating more difficult. The city will look for other ways to implement this vital program. What was hair once may be hair again.
There’s a new "smash hit" on Broadway … Broadway and 47th Street, that is. The star is a new TKTS booth in Duffy Square, Manhattan. Not only does it sell discounted tickets to Broadway shows inside, but it offers free seating on its stepped-roof enabling viewers to look down on the world-famous "Broadway and Times Square Show" below. Customers and pedestrians are equally enthusiastic in their praise of this unique edifice. Though the project was beset with delays and cost overruns, it’s a welcome addition to NYC; another bright light on Broadway.