Monday, October 27, 2008

Queens-Midtown Tunnel Fizzle-Missile

Arye Sachs, 48, was recently in Federal court facing trademark infringement charges. It’s the way he got there that makes this story memorable. Sachs drove a 25-foot-long “missile” through the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and through the streets of Manhattan numerous times without being stopped! The phony rocket had the words “Viva Viagra” along the side. That didn’t make “little-blue-pill” manufacturer Pfizer Inc. any too happy. The judge, who ultimately ruled against Sachs, seemed more curious about how Sachs did it than what he did. According to Sachs, on September 8th, he simply towed his rocket right past laughing toll booth cops. In fact, Sachs stated that he drove the rocket through the Lincoln Tunnel five times without being questioned. Pfizer also took exception to the entrepreneur's mobile-billboard drive past their corporate headquarters too! A Port Authority spokesperson doesn’t believe Sachs could drive as freely as he did without being pulled over. He vows they’ll look into the matter. With the severe threats New Yorker’s face just by being New Yorkers, it’s pathetic and possibly criminal that the PA needs an investigation now to determine if this happened the way Sachs said it did. Shouldn't they already know for certain that it's impossible? It is impossible, right?

S and M Shops Look To Hit Back

Between the poor economy, prostitution raids and beaten clients who are deadbeats, local dommes are taking a beating! Some say business has been beaten down up to 70%. Many places along New York’s notorious “Dungeon Alley” in midtown have scaled back their sessions. Fear pervades the industry now and ("I've been a bad boy.") johns are too nervous to make appointments. Will things improve? One dominatrix says, “The uncertainty is torturing us.” To fight back and protect their interests, many are now looking to form a political-action committee and union. Unlike escort agencies and prostitutes, many in the BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism) business believe their business is legit. The law is unclear. “DomPAC” will soon lobby lawmakers to exclude BDSM practices from prostitution. (Could prostitutes legally become sex surrogates?) Dommes hope this may lead to legal unions, 401(k)s, insurance plans and unemployment benefits. One wonders if Sonny and Cher’s hit “The Beat Goes On” will still be a hit with the "S and M’rs" in 2009.

Navy Yard Ready For Inspection

After 200 years, the public finally gets to see what’s going on “behind closed docks.” The Brooklyn Navy Yard will finally open for tourists next month. This 300-acre industrial park along the East River is located on Brooklyn’s north shore. It was the birthplace of many American naval ships throughout history. None perhaps was more famous than the ironclad USS Monitor which was built during the Civil War. Tour stops include several historic buildings and the actual dry dock where the USS Monitor was built. Tours begin November 2 and will be conducted every Sunday. Tickets are priced at $30 per person.

OK To Geronimo

Superman may now return to Gotham! It’s apparently alright to “leap over tall buildings in a single bound,” in New York City. City-approved permits may now be obtained by parachutists looking to jump off Big Apple buildings. The building owner’s permission is also required. During the Great Depression, many people jumped off buildings because of their financial losses and uncertainty about the future. I wonder if the recent stock market plunge will cause others to “take the plunge,” permit or not, parachute or not.

Yankee Stadium Not Yanked Yet

No baseball farewell, perhaps no farewell in any walk of life, will ever be remembered as fondly as the one given by Lou Gehrig, July 4, 1939. Diagnosed with a fatal disease, Lou was saying "goodbye" to all of us, that day. Now, the Yankees are giving their loyal fans an extended opportunity through the end of the year to say “goodbye” to their old friend, “Yankee Stadium.” Mets fans have no such opportunity to do the same with Shea. As everyone knows, the Mets never ever did things to match the Yankees’ "class and tradition." In a hallowed place that’s given us so many wonderful memories, here’s a chance for Yankee fans, baseball fans and all New Yorker’s to have one last, intimate moment with the ballpark itself. Tickets will be $20 for adults and $15 for kids. Children 14 and under may enter free. For ticket information, call 718.293-4300.

Lou Gehrig’s Farewell Address, 7/4/39
Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.
I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans. Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day?
Sure I’m lucky.
Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy?
Sure I’m lucky.
When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift - that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies -- that’s something.
When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter -- that’s something.
When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body -- it’s a blessing.
When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed -- that’s the finest I know.
So, I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for.

Lock Your Pedals To The Metal

As NYC becomes more "bicycle-friendly," there’s a definite need for more security stations to protect rider’s bikes. At present, the city has 5,000 U-shaped bike racks for that purpose. Most appear to be underutilized. Perhaps they’re not even noticed because of their simple design. Well, there’s a "bike rack bike contest" that's underway in the boroughs to change that. The goal is to come up with a unique design for many new “lock-down locations troughout the Big Apple. The contest winner will receive a check from New York City for $10,000. Once selected, our “greening” city will install 1,000 additional racks by next July in the new style at a cost of $275 each. The nine design finalists are currently on display at Astor Place in Manhattan. Why not ride over and lock them over?

Home Values Heading South

As financial portfolios decline in Wall Street's Stock Market debacle, so do the prices for most people’s largest asset, their homes. On average, NYC July 2008 home values dropped 16.3% since last July. The study didn’t include co-ops and condos. There are some signs of a price-drop slowdown but no basement price is in sight yet. New York City homeowners did comparably better than owners in other cities. That's little consolation to those hurting here. This bad economy is hitting most of us hard … right where we live.

The Ball Isn’t In His Court

Bruce Ratner’s plans to build his $950 million NBA arena in downtown Brooklyn have run up against a pressure-defense of neighborhood opponents. As a result, groundbreaking for the Atlantic Yards project has been delayed at least 6-months. This means his New Jersey Nets can't relocate until 2011 … at the earliest. Now, Ratner demands that New York State claim the land under “eminent domain” laws. This game is really getting out of hand. It’s unlikely that Ratner will be denied development forever. Therefore, it makes sense for the two sides to get together, talk and reach an agreement. Both sides must play on the same team to benefit New Yorkers.

War For Tobacco Wampum

The city is d-e-s-p-e-r-a-t-e for money, so what’s a mayor to do? Declare WAR on honest tobacco-selling Indians, that’s what! Mayor Bloomberg is suing eight Long Island smoke shops on the Poospatuck Reservation in Mastic, Long Island for selling cigarettes (about $5 per pack) without charging local and state tax. He contends that if cigarettes weren't sold in these stores, they’d be bought in New York City instead. He believes this has cost the state $525 million and the city $195 million since 2004 however estimates vary. He’s called upon Governor Paterson for action. The governor is reportedly “negotiating.” An Indian spokesman believes they’re being unfairly blamed for the fiscal problems of others. That may be true. According to New York state law, cigarette buyers are responsible for reporting tax-free purchases, not the stores. Indian smoke shops operate legally throughout New York. These establishments buy cigarettes wholesale and then sell them without tax. All legal. No “smoke and mirrors.” Without a change in state law and unless NYC can somehow prove that cigarette buyers would purchase packs in the five boroughs and not on the reservation, Mayor Bloomberg’s case will likely go "up in smoke." One other thought. Since Mayor Bloomberg is actively engaged in reducing smoking in New York City, shouldn't he be looking to curtail sales as opposed to making money from them?

Our Intrepid Friend Is Home

A “gray lady” may now be seen on a Hudson River pier. Fresh from a two-year restoration in Staten Island, the USS Intrepid majestically cruised back to the West Side of New York. USS Intrepid, back home at Pier 86, reopens to the public on November 8th. To students of history and to all yet to learn of America’s great naval history, this is a trip worth taking. About 250 ex-sailors took the tow from Staten Island to Manhattan. What memories they must have. What memories you will have.

EMT’s Booted For Boots

The FDNY reported that 18 EMT workers who complained about the department’s new boots were reassigned to desk jobs. These boots became mandatory footwear on September 8th. Workers started "kicking up a storm" shortly afterwards. They claim the 8-inch-high, leather-and-fabric footwear causes bleeding, rashes, back pain ... even stress fractures! The FDNY is awaiting delivery of alternatives. IF, there’s nothing wrong with the boots, why order the alternatives? IF, as this pending delivery suggests, there may be something wrong with the boots, why keep highly trained and necessary technicians with their aching feet up on desks? Let them wear what they were wearing before September 8th. Get them back in their trucks where they belong! Lifesavers like these professional men and women shouldn’t be "kicking back" in New York City.

Dog-NYP'd Detective Sues

Could a K-9 actually bite a fellow cop instead of "taking a bit out of crime?" Detective Vincent Manco alleges that Officer Figueroa’s dog did just that. His suit claims that the officer failed to properly handle his dog. Also, that Figueroa, “knew well of [its] vicious and ferocious nature and disposition.” He says the city and K-9 unit officers knew the dog had a “record” of attacking people and didn’t take proper precautions. Manco claims the police dog had poor training and was on the wrong leash. Manco crosses the supposedly un-crossable “Blue Line” by also claiming that his fellow officers were either ill-advised or unable to handle their assignment. Cop vs. cop and canine. Is New York's NYPD going to the dogs?