Saturday, August 16, 2008

J-igantic Jumbo Jet At JFK

A couple of weeks ago, the largest passenger airliner in the world touched down at Kennedy Airport. New York City was the jet’s first American stop. It certainly won’t be the last time for this plane or the others likely to follow. The much-hyped plane is a brand new double-decker, Airbus A380 owned by Emirates. It carries a $327 million price tag along with 489 passengers plus crew! The Port Authority spent $179 million to reinforce runways and taxiway bridges to accommodate aircraft of this type. It was proven a wise investment once the future of commercial aviation landed in Queens. 105 years after the Wright brothers’ success at Kitty Hawk where only one flew in a glider, five hundred can now take to the sky in a jet. Automakers the world over should be embarrassed by the tremendous advances in transportation made by the aviation industry. Hey, Detroit! Build us that long talked about 100 mpg car and drivers might be impressed by your technology leap too.

Mayor Does The Job For Trade Schools

Reading, writing and arithmetic will now be stressed at the city’s 21 technical training schools. This policy will make New York’s young craftspeople better scholars upon graduation. Along with this new emphasis, Mayor Bloomberg will ask various business trade corporations and industries to better support local business trade schools. This is his two-prong plan to improving vocational schools. Good for students. Good for business. Good for New York City.

NYPD BlueTube

Big Brother wants to watch you. Actually, the New York City Police Department wants to watch what you see and video-record if it contains evidence of criminal activity. Very soon, they’ll make it very easy for people to upload videos and text, direct to 911. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says this will increase the flow of information which in turn will help law enforcement and make New York a safer place to live and work. As most sports fans know, video replay of a close play can eliminate doubt and bring the truth to light. In that light, this is a good program. Evidence will help protect the rights of the innocent and to obtain justice when necessary; depending on the camera angle, of course. It remains to be seen whether or not police receive many spiteful videos from neighbors filming neighbors littering or not cleaning up after their dogs. This new system may become an invasion of privacy for some but may ultimately prove to "make better neighbors" than Benjamin Franklin's fences.

Life’s A Big Baked Apple Beach

The 18th annual beach report prepared by The Natural Resources Defense Council is in with the tide. Their top beach rating is 4 stars. Rockaway in Queens and Coney Island in Brooklyn each had beaches with 2 and 3 stars while Orchard Beach in the Bronx received only 1 star. Overall, our local shores had the second highest increase of "contamination closings" in the nation. Their report concluded that storm water runoff was the cause of contamination 70% of the time while raw sewage was the culprit another 19%. Common sense suggests that local sun worshippers check out local health conditions at their favorite beach before slipping on the Flip-Flops.

City Construction Costs Climbing

Building in the Big Apple is getting more and more expensive. Prices have risen 32% in just the past three years alone. Blame that on the costs and availability of materials, higher labor rates and the general expense of building in congested areas like New York. What’s more, an office building here will cost twice as much as in Chicago, three times as much as in Atlanta. Don’t expect costs to go down anytime within the next few years either. These higher building costs greatly affect not only office buildings and skyscrapers but large public projects too. Ground Zero, the PATH Transit Hub, the Javits Convention Center’s expansion and the MTA’s Fulton Street Transit Center have all been delayed or scaled down to save money. Mayor Bloomberg is looking to increase bid competition for public-works projects to lower costs. That may help a bit, but increased building in India and China, coupled with less available steel worldwide, may be a building not even our Superman-like mayor can vault.

Doorman On The Outside Looking In

Six weeks ago, Brooklyn's Richie Randazzo, 44, won $5 million in the New York Lottery. Since then, he's lived life large, often in the public's view. Randazzo received much notoriety, first from his expressed desire to find a girlfriend, second by finding one and partying with her in Atlantic City. After ignoring a warning from his employer about his deteriorating work habits, Randazzo was fired. He quickly filed a complaint with his union which is now investigating the matter on his behalf. His 23 year old girlfriend, Sabina Johansson has her problems now too. She was recently busted for allegedly promoting prostitution at a popular New York City lap dance club. It seems that money has bought them some temporary happiness. Soon, it may have to go towards buying a couple of good legal shysters. Not even $5 million will last that long when divided by two NYC lawyers.