Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Pane In The Glass

Many New Yorkers believe that an apartment overlooking Central Park is about as good as an apartment gets in New York City. How about one with wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling views of that scenic park below? Well, there are four elderly tenants in rent-controlled apartments at Lincoln Square who prefer to pass on the possibility. They filed suit against their landlord, the Church of Latter-Day Saints, to prevent installation of those wonderful windows. They’d be irreparably harmed by construction, so they claim. The landlord argued new windows were necessary to transform the property into a “premium building.” The judge agreed with the tenants saying the work wasn’t “necessary.” As of now, only the four tenants who sued will have old windows after renovations are completed. According to the landlord’s spokesperson, the tenants refused $25,000 each, but supposedly agreed to have the work done for $100,000 apiece. The tenants deny they were offered that amount, though it seems one or two might be interested in a higher offer. For that kind of money, they might even agree to live in glass houses!

Growth At Ground Zero

Finally! It’s taken nearly seven years but the first steel column was set into place for the 9/11 WTC memorial. Workers finished laying the foundation for the National September 11th Memorial and Museum last month. The first object to be lowered into the Manhattan bedrock was a Vesey Street exit, also known as the “Survivors Stairway.” This flight of steps enabled hundreds to escape the World Trade Center attacks on that horrific morning. When completed in time for the tenth anniversary of September 11th, the memorial will include two large reflection pools with the victims names inscribed around them. A plaza with 400 trees will surround the pools. Leaving the footprints of the two towers intact was an inspired idea. They'll serve to remind the people in New York City for generations to come of just what we lost that tragic day. People. Buildings. Innocence.

In The Middle Of It All

New York City’s newest pedestrian-friendly islands won’t be making good buddies of midtown drivers anytime soon. Broadway’s pedestrian plazas merge four traffic lanes into two between Herald Square and Times Square. They’ll undoubtedly create additional traffic problems and pollution for midtown. For those who wish to be surrounded by speeding traffic and vehicle exhaust fumes, “Welcome to Fun City!” Other new traffic-related projects in Manhattan include a bicycle lane on Ninth Avenue between West 16th Street and West 23rd Street, bike lanes on both Washington Street and Greenwich Street and a bus-only lane along 34th Street. Let’s hope city officials are monitoring the popularity, safety and impact all these new initiatives have on both foot and vehicular traffic. It's not smart to play in traffic, or with it.

School Locker Limbo

Here's another Board of Education plan that didn’t go ... according to plan. Not surprised, are you? It’s over a year now that they decided to install guarded mobile phone storage systems in 16 New York City schools, for both intermediate and high school grades. To date, "0" of the planned "5,600" lockers have been setup. First, there was a delay regarding who would monitor these coin-operated lockers. Then Celstor, the company chosen to handle the project demanded a longer contract. Kids don't like the plan. Parents aren't crazy about the idea. There's no end in sight to the delays. Demanding that kids give up their cell phones in school and requiring them to pay “locker fees” for storage are bad ideas. Let’s end it all now before we waste more money for a bad plan that has as much of a future as those who work for the Board of Education … were they not Board of Ed employees.

The Principal Principle

In this school year, the Board of Education will pay $16 million in salaries for 154 unplaced assistant principals (APs). These are principals with no permanent post ... so they basically do nothing for their pay. This is WRONG and should be ended, IMMEDIATELY! Schools Chancellor Joel Klein believes these “qualified” administrators should "leave" the system. Leave? Shouldn’t Klein "boot them out" if possible? Or, be more concerned about enabling them to work in some kind of teaching capacity? Or, establishing new policy that prevents others from following in their footsteps … right to the bank without helping our schoolchildren? Where is the concern about wasting money of New York City taxpayers? Maybe others in the Board of Education should “leave” too.

NYC Baseball Is The World Serious

NYU adjunct professor, John Tepper Marlin, prepared a report to show how much money New York City businesses will lose if New York’s two baseball teams fail to make the post-season this year. The following figures represent the amounts for each team at each level of play. For the Yankees elimination, $26 million for the AL Division Series, $54 million for the AL Championship Series and $61 million for the World Series. Should the Mets not play “October baseball,” $21 million for the NL Division Series, $45 million for the NL Championship Series and $81 million for the World Series. Marlin was chief economist for three former city comptrollers so he knows something about money. But, how can he be talking cash at a time like this? Neither team is a lock to get in! He may know money but he obviously knows nothing about the heart of Big Apple baseball fans. Should either team fail to make it, money lost will mean nothing to their faithful. We’re talking the end of the world, here.