Monday, April 28, 2014

Kerry misspoke about Israeli "apartheid"

"...I have been around long enough to also know the power of words to create a misimpression, even when unintentional, and if I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word..."

On Support for Israel

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 28, 2014

For more than thirty years in the United States Senate, I didn’t just speak words in support of Israel, I walked the walk when it came time to vote and when it came time to fight. As Secretary of State, I have spent countless hours working with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Justice Minister Livni because I believe in the kind of future that Israel not only wants, but Israel deserves. I want to see a two state solution that results in a secure Jewish state and a prosperous Palestinian state, and I’ve actually worked for it.

I will not allow my commitment to Israel to be questioned by anyone, particularly for partisan, political purposes, so I want to be crystal clear about what I believe and what I don’t believe.

First, Israel is a vibrant democracy and I do not believe, nor have I ever stated, publicly or privately, that Israel is an apartheid state or that it intends to become one. Anyone who knows anything about me knows that without a shred of doubt.

Second, I have been around long enough to also know the power of words to create a misimpression, even when unintentional, and if I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two state solution. In the long term, a unitary, binational state cannot be the democratic Jewish state that Israel deserves or the prosperous state with full rights that the Palestinian people deserve. That’s what I said, and it’s also what Prime Minister Netanyahu has said. While Justice Minister Livni, former Prime Ministers Barak and Ohlmert have all invoked the specter of apartheid to underscore the dangers of a unitary state for the future, it is a word best left out of the debate here at home.

New York Assembly Votes to Authorize Speed Cameras bring total to 140 in NYC

New York Assembly Votes to Authorize Speed Cameras

The Assembly voted Monday to authorize more speed cameras for New York City, as well as Nassau and Suffolk County.
If the bill becomes law, it would bring the total number of speed cameras in New York City to 140. The legislation limits the operation of speed cameras to school zones.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has made reducing pedestrian fatalities a cornerstone of his administration, issued a statement that said the Assembly's vote brought the city "one step closer to the expansion of school slow zones throughout our city where we can install speed cameras, allowing us to protect our children and make our streets safer. This bill will truly save lives."
Currently, New York City is allowed to operate 20 speed cameras, although as of earlier this month only five were up and running. That handful of cameras has issued more than 12,000 speeding tickets since becoming operational in mid-January.
The Assembly's vote comes amidst a growing drumbeat of dissatisfaction from local legislators over how much control Albany maintains over city streets. In two days, the City Council is scheduled to hold a marathon hearing on nearly two dozen traffic safety items, including a resolution urging New York State to give the city the authority to reduce its speed limit.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he supports the bill. No word yet on whether a vote has been scheduled in the state Senate.

Holocaust Rememberance Day

Israelis stop their vehicles on the highway and stand still in the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv on April 28, 2014, as sirens sounded across Israel for a two-minute silence in memory of Holocaust victims. (JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bike Rage

Bikeriders behaving badly!
Cyclist races up behind jogger surprising her and forcing her off the shared path. There is plenty of room but cyclists need to slow down

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Running to the beach

Nargis Cafe: The Ever-Expanding Uzbek Flower -

The Ever-Expanding Uzbek Flower -

On a warm evening in Sheepshead Bay, under a dark canopy of Brooklyn sky, a crowd gathered on the corner of Coney Island Avenue and Kathleen Street, beside a midnight blue awning three storefronts long, enjoying, at last, a gentle spring that augured the tender lamb and other Central Asian delicacies awaiting inside.

The main room of Nargis Cafe is large, warm and colorful, adorned with Suzani carpets and Uzbek artifacts, and with the smell of wood smoke, seared meat and spices emanating from the bustling kitchen. Along with uniformed servers all wearing traditional tubeteika caps, an avuncular floor manager works the room, where platters and bottles and plates obscure the surface of tables surrounded by festive groups, mostly Russian-speaking denizens of outer Brooklyn. The crowded confines are also favored by hipster double dates and fashionable Chinese professionals speaking in Mandarin and English.

Those inside have endured the wait required to enter Nargis on a Saturday night.

In 2007, when the Uzbekistan-born, American-trained chef Boris Bangiev, now 36, opened his cafe, he named it Nargis, the Uzbek word for “flower,” which conjures curiosity and beauty and, fittingly, implies growth.

The original space was a narrow walk-in, pinched between a florist and a dry cleaner. A bustling takeout service began to accommodate those who could not tolerate the lines. In 2010, the flower shop closed, and Nargis Cafe expanded into the space, doubling its size. When the dry cleaner on the other side folded in early 2013, Mr. Bangiev shuttered the cafe for six weeks to absorb the new space, though even with the cafe’s current capacity of nearly 100 patrons at a time, patience is still customarily required. There is really nothing else like Nargis Cafe around.

Mr. Bangiev selects all of the ingredients — locally as possible, imported when appropriate. It is a balancing act between honoring tradition and catering to the modern palate. Decidedly non-Central Asian fish varieties, like salmon, sea bass and branzino, were added to the menu. Wood coal is imported from Argentina to ensure that the shish kebabs are infused with the perfect flavor.

Everything except a few desserts brought in from a local bakery is made in-house, including beef noodles pulled by hand, and dumpling casings and savory pastry crusts rolled early in the morning, long before the cafe opens. Mr. Bangiev performed the pulling and rolling and almost all the cooking himself in the fledgling years of Nargis. Even though he has entrusted the kitchen to his cooks, Mr. Bangiev can still be found each day and evening at the cafe, immersed in every aspect of his restaurant.

“I know everything that happens here,” Mr. Bangiev said with a knowing smile. “Sometimes even before it happens.”

What happens, though, for the most part, is fairly predictable. Groups arrive, liquor in hand. They endure the wait for a convivial meal of multiple courses, blending flavors from Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean: fresh breads, appetizer spreads, stuffed dumplings and pastries, rice pilaf (Uzbekistan’s national dish), roasted whole fish and shish kebabs. Hot tea is served in traditional pots.

Ekaterina Lapeva, 26, knows the routine well and was happy to wait on a velvety April evening. “I came here when I first arrived from Russia,” she said. “I love the food and all the people. I don’t have family here in America, but this is like my family.”

EXCLUSIVE: FBI investigation of mayoral race includes de Blasio's pledge to ban carriage horses - NY Daily News

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi
EXCLUSIVE: FBI investigation of mayoral race includes de Blasio's pledge to ban carriage horses - NY Daily News
BY GREG B. SMITH  NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Friday, April 25, 2014, 10:20 PM

FBI agents have been questioning people about the pledge de Blasio made in March 2013, and the ads launched the next month by animal rights activists attacking Christine Quinn, the Daily News has learned. Agents also appear interested in a $175,000 contribution to the animal rights group NYCLASS from a union tied to de Blasio's cousin, labor leader John Wilhelm.
An FBI investigation of last year’s mayoral race includes an examination of Bill de Blasio’s campaign pledge to ban carriage horses, the Daily News has learned.
NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiFBI agents have been questioning people about the pledge, which was made in March 2013, and the ad blitz launched the next month by animal rights advocates attacking de Blasio’s chief rival, Christine Quinn, two sources familiar with the investigation said Friday.
FBI agents also appear highly interested in a $175,000 contribution by a union tied to de Blasio’s cousin, labor leader John Wilhelm, to the animal rights group NYCLASS, the sources Friday.
NYCLASS helped to bankroll the “Anybody But Quinn” campaign attacking Quinn’s mayoral candidacy.
At least five people have been questioned by the FBI in the past month as part of the investigation, those familiar with the inquiry told The News.
The News first disclosed the FBI investigation on Friday, reporting that the FBI was looking at a threat by NYCLASS’ political consultant Scott Levenson early last year to undermine Quinn's campaign if she didn’t back the carriage horse ban.

De Blasio's cousin John Wilhelm (pictured) is the former head of the union group UNITE HERE!, which wrote a $175,000 check to NYCLASS in June 2013.
The new revelations indicate the investigation is broader, touching on de Blasio as well.
De Blasio said Friday that he was unaware of any investigation. He added that nobody in his campaign had been questioned.
NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi
“Literally, I’ve told you all I know. I’m not familiar with the allegations so I can’t comment,” de Blasio told reporters.
Levenson said through a spokeswoman that he had not been questioned by the FBI, either.
But he said that he was “proud” of his consulting firm’s role in the mayoral race — which included directing the Anybody But Quinn attacks.

De Blasio's cousin John Wilhelm (pictured) is the former head of the union group UNITE HERE!, which wrote a $175,000 check to NYCLASS in June 2013.
In March 2013, de Blasio announced at a candidates' forum that he would eliminate horse-drawn carriages during his first week as mayor — much to the delight of NYCLASS and other animal rights activists.
“Our advocacy for the issues and clients we fight for is no different than advocacy work that takes place in our democracy every day,” said the spokeswoman for his firm, The Advance Group.
“Even if you are not happy with the results, our campaign cannot be characterized as anything more than that, and the fact that it was effective.”
De Blasio announced at a candidates’ forum in March 2013 that he would eliminate the horse-drawn carriages in his first week as mayor, delighting NYCLASS and other animal rights activists.
In early April, after Quinn refused to support the proposed carriage ban, NYCLASS founder Steve Nislick, and board member Wendy Neu, gave $200,000 each to New York City is Not for Sale, the political action committee formed by Levenson to carry out the Anybody But Quinn campaign of TV ads, robocalls and mailings — which began that month — attacking her.
In May and June, NYCLASS chipped a total of $225,000 to the anti-Quinn effort, records show.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi
The FBI is looking into the ad blitz launched by animal rights advocates attacking de Blasio's chief rival, Christine Quinn, after she refused to support the proposed carriage horse ban.
And in June, two of de Blasio’s top financial supporters gave $225,000 to NYCLASS, records show.
One of those supporters was de Blasio’s cousin, Wilhelm, who was then head of the union group UNITE HERE!, which wrote a check for $175,000 to NYCLASS — the biggest contribution NYCLASS had ever received. The other was Jay Eisenhoffer, an attorney.
Wilhelm and Eisenhoffer also acted as “intermediaries” for de Blasio’s mayoral campaign, collecting $165,000 in contributions for him, records show.
Still, de Blasio has said that neither he nor his campaign coordinated with NYCLASS or New York City is Not for Sale in attacking Quinn. Any such coordination could be a violation of campaign laws.
The Anybody But Quinn fusillade succeeded exactly as NYCLASS hoped. When the attacks began in April, Quinn was cruising in first place. By late June, she had fallen to third in the Democratic primary, which de Blasio won on Sept. 10.
With Jennifer Fermino

Brooklyn Intersection Plagued By Red Light Runners « CBS New York (VIDEO)

Brooklyn Intersection Plagued By Red Light Runners « CBS New York

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Red means stop, but at one traffic light in Brooklyn some drivers are just going right on by.
As CBS 2′s Dave Carlin reported exclusively Friday night, it is being called Brooklyn’s most confusing intersection. It’s so confusing some drivers think it’s OK to deal with it by breaking the law.
Red lights were ignored again and again on Friday at the intersection of Kings Highway and East 34th Street.
“They just come around and keep on going,” said Flatlands resident Eleanor Ortiz.
Neighbors in the area shared their videos with CBS 2, including one of an ice cream truck blowing the light and another of a driver so eager to run the light, Department of Transportation property was damaged in the process, Carlin reported.
Even a school bus was seen running a red light at the intersection.
Some drivers familiar with the area said you can break the law and not even know it since the multi-colored row of traffic lights can cause blurred lines.
“Even though the red light is for you, you’re also seeing the other light which is green. So you sometimes tend to ignore the red light even though it’s for you and focus on the green light which is visible to you, but not really for you,” said Flatlands resident Boris Siper.
Resident Simon Gifter said some of the red light runners know better, and are taking advantage of the confusion.
“I’m not talking yellow and then it turns red and maybe they’re just trying to make it. Clearly they pause for a few seconds, then look around and go right through it,” Gifter said.
A DOT spokeswoman said “Safety is DOT’s first priority. The agency is looking at the location to see if additional signage can enhance safety.”
Some neighbors also want a red light camera and better enforcement.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bragging of Safety While Many Live in Fear

Bragging of Safety While Many Live in Fear -

“Here’s something I’ve never heard from tenants in public housing: ‘There are too many police here,’ ” he says. “More often is the opposite.”

Sheepshead Bites » Blog Archive A Vision Zero Town Hall Meeting » Sheepshead Bay News Blog

Sheepshead Bites » Blog Archive A Vision Zero Town Hall Meeting » Sheepshead Bay News Blog
by Allan Rosen, April 14, 2014
THE COMMUTE: The second in a series of Vision Zero Town Hall meetings was held in the Brooklyn Borough Hall courtroom earlier this month. Several hundred attended the standing room only meeting. If you did not know any better, you would have gotten the impression that half the borough’s population was either struck by a hit and run driver or had a relative who was killed by one, according to testimony from the speakers.
I am not trying to minimize the problem of pedestrian fatalities, but the solutions proposed by the panel leave a lot to be desired. Supposedly the town hall meeting was called in order to solicit opinions and solutions. But was it? During the two-and-a-half-hour meeting, chaired by new Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and various City Council members, only about 45 minutes was allotted to hear views from the public. Much of the time was devoted to gaining sympathy from the audience for the casualties resulting from past crashes.
The Vision Zero Plan was described in the context of “this is what should and will be done,” in other words, ‘We need red light and speed cameras all over to catch offenders.’ ‘A 30 MPH city speed limit is way too high.’ ‘Everyone must drive more slowly.’ ‘The speed limit on every street needs to be 20 MPH and we need slow zones, speed bumps and pedestrian islands all over.’ So in which specific locations do we need to install these measures? Well, if you have all the solutions and are just looking for a list of problem intersections, you are really not seeking new ideas, are you?
So why was this even considered a town hall meeting? Each public speaker was only allowed one minute to express his or her views. (Even the MTA allows three minutes each at their hearings, which is still barely enough time.) In a true town hall meeting, there would have been, at most, a five-minute introduction of the panel and a 15-minute presentation. The remaining two hours would have been devoted to hearing suggestions from the public. The panel would not speak for one and three quarter hours and the audience would not have been stacked with the victims of hit and runs and their relatives. That was no accident, since Transportation Alternatives was an active member of the panel. Why was a representative from the AAA not invited to express the opinions of motorists, or should I just say murderers or child killers?
Well, if you have all the solutions and just need a few specifics to implement your plan, you are not really seeking new ideas. You are asking for support of a plan designed with the help of Transportation Alternatives. A “town hall meeting” was only held to give the illusion that the public provided input.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ocean Parkway east mall gets rehab

Good to see that the construction crews are back to renovate the Ocean Parkway malls.  This project will rehabilitate the east mall with new benches and surfacing from Avenue N to Kings Highway. No timeline on when this section will be completed but the pedestrian path is fenced off and not available to strollers orwalkers.
The real immediate work that really needs to be done on the west mall between Avenue U and Avenue X remains a dangerous hazard especially to bike riders.  Seems that that critical part of the entire mall renovation project is still a long way off.
Tree protectors installed in preparation for major rehab.
East mall will be unavailable until this section is completed.  Expected to take many months.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

How to Get a Job at Google, Part 2

(Excerpt) try to understand what an employer like Google was looking for and why it was increasingly ready to hire people with no college degrees. Bock’s remarks generated a lot of reader response, particularly his point that prospective bosses today care less about what you know or where you learned it — the Google machine knows everything now — than what value you can create with what you know. 
“My belief is not that one shouldn’t go to college,” said Bock. It is that among 18- to 22-year-olds — or people returning to school years later — “most don’t put enough thought into why they’re going, and what they want to get out of it.” Of course, we want an informed citizenry, where everyone has a baseline of knowledge from which to build skills. That is a social good. But, he added, don’t just go to college because you think it is the right thing to do and that any bachelor’s degree will suffice. “The first and most important thing is to be explicit and willful in making the decisions about what you want to get out of this investment in your education.” It’s a huge investment of time, effort and money and people should think “incredibly hard about what they’re getting in return.”

Thunderbolt roller coaster rises in Coney Island

Building the tower that will launch the cars down the tracks
Tracks waiting to be installed

Riding down Ocean Parkway

Waiting for the light to turn to cross safely

Logjam ahead!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Fair to End All Fairs

The Fair to End All Fairs -

When you drive by on the Van Wyck Expressway or the Grand Central Parkway, the space-age towers of the New York State Pavilion, among the few remaining traces of the 1964 New York World’s Fair, rise up from the trees like a relic of some vanished, Jetsonian civilization, and the people who built them seem much more than 50 years distant from us. They were people apparently inspired by the idea of progress, and by a now quaint-seeming faith in the future, who actually believed in things like world’s fairs. Who would think of organizing such an event now? Who would pay for it? Who would bother to go?

Continue reading the main story here.

Carriage Horse Foes Picket Liam Neeson's Manhattan Building

Carriage Horse Foes Picket Liam Neeson's HomeCarriage Horse Foes Picket Liam Neeson's Manhattan Building | NBC New York

Animal rights activists protesting outside Liam Neeson's home say they don't agree with him that New York's carriage horses should keep working.
Neeson didn't appear Saturday as about 50 demonstrators filled the sidewalk in front of his Manhattan apartment building. They held signs with such slogans as: "Liam Neeson: Stop Supporting Cruelty!"
The 61-year-old actor is a vocal supporter of the city's carriage horse industry. His publicist hasn't immediately responded to a request for comment.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged to ban the horse-drawn carriages and replace them with electric vintage-style cars, commissioned by a group called NYCLASS.
Its members joined protesters from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals on Saturday.
They say it's inhumane for the horses to be subjected to traffic, pollution and possible accidents.

Choosing Citi Bike

Choosing Citi Bike by Nicole Gelinas, City Journal 18 April 2014

More than 100,000 people have signed up for memberships since Citi Bike launched last Memorial Day. For an annual fee of $95, they can “undock” a bike at any one of 332 stations in Manhattan and northern Brooklyn and take a 45-minute trip. So far, New Yorkers and visitors have taken 7 million trips. But the company that runs the program, a division of Alta Bicycle Share, has made some missteps. As the Wall Street Journal reported in March, Alta invested in glitchy software, making it hard for casual users to buy daily passes. The company also misjudged demand. Because people use the bikes to commute, docks in mostly residential areas empty out in the morning, while docks in Midtown and downtown fill up. Last October, Alta moved 1,940 bikes around every day. There simply aren’t enough bikes and bike docks to meet current demand.

Let's Go Coney! Island (1932)

Chicago's Vanishing Middle Class

Chicago's Vanishing Middle Class by Aaron M. Renn, City Journal 16 April 2014
In cities around the world, two-tier societies are becoming increasingly common. While much ink has been spilled over widening income inequality in cities such as New York, where Bill de Blasio rode his “tale of two cities” theme all the way to City Hall, most attempts to solve the problem have focused on the poor, not the middle class. Liberal mayors across the country are proposing an array of policies intended to address income inequality, including minimum-wage hikes—Seattle’s mayor wants to raise it to $15 per hour—affordable-housing mandates, and tax increases on the wealthy. At the same time, they’ve made massive investments in upscale neighborhoods and business districts. But no one is championing the middle class, even rhetorically.

Archive: Give loved ones a virtual piece of the New York Aquarium for the holidays

OPINION: Give loved ones a virtual piece of the New York Aquarium for the holidays | Brooklyn Daily Eagle

"Now, New Yorkers can go on-line to support our fundraising efforts as we build the NEW New York Aquarium by purchasing virtual tiles of this shimmering wall. Purchasing $100 (tax-deductible) tiles offers a real act of support and a special way to spread holiday cheer.

The virtual tiles, which can be customized by colors and animal themes, are a lasting way to acknowledge friends, family or colleagues who care about conservation. Messages for the aquarium can be included on the tiles that will be displayed on the aquarium’s website:

The New York Aquarium is more resilient now than it was a year ago. WCS is working with city, state and federal government officials every day on its full restoration. Our comeback will help the Coney Island community become more vibrant than ever. We invite you to be part of the transformation."

Jon Forrest Dohlin is WCS Vice President and Director of the New York Aquarium.  Virtual tiles of a shimmer wall, which will surround the new Ocean Wonders: Sharks! exhibit,  are being sold at

Archive: Coney Island's New York Aquarium breaks ground on new $157M shark exhibit

A rendering of the 'Ocean Wonders: Sharks!' exhibit at the New York Aquarium. It's scheduled to open in 2016.
A rendering of the 'Ocean Wonders: Sharks!' exhibit
at the New York Aquarium. It's scheduled to open in 2016.

Coney Island's New York Aquarium breaks ground on new $157M shark exhibit on Friday  - NY Daily News

Coney Island is set for a shark attack.
After years of planning, New York Aquarium is finally set to break ground on a jaw-dropping new shark exhibit Friday.
The massive 57,000-square-foot "Ocean Wonders: Sharks!" exhibit will feature a coral reef tunnel that will give guests a 360-degree-view of the new plethora of ocean life when it officially opens to the public in 2016.
The New York Aquarium will be home to even more sand tiger sharks once the brand new shark exhibit opens.
“You will be surrounded on all sides by not only sharks, but by schools of bright colored bony fish and the sort of beauty of the tropics that we all associate with diving,” said Jon Forrest Dohlin, aquarium director and vice president of the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the aquarium.
The $157-million exhibit will feature more than 100 species of marine animals, both local and from around the world, including sharks, rays, sea turtles, thousands of schooling fish and other crustaceans.
More than 45 sharks, including sand tigers, nurse sharks, blackttip reef sharks and bamboo sharks will swim around inside the three main 500,000-gallon tanks.
“It’s going to be a tremendous expansion of our collection,” said Dohlin. "I think people will be amazed, exhilarated and inspired.”
The three-story facility will also boast a roof-deck overlooking the ocean, classroom space and a cafe.
Officials were supposed to break ground on the exhibit a year ago, but Hurricane Sandy devastated the aging aquarium and delayed the project, which has been in the works for several years

Closing Bishop Ford High School is like 'A death in the family' - NY Daily News

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiClosing Bishop Ford High School is like 'A death in the family' - NY Daily News
by Denis Hamill, April 17, 2014

Closing Bishop Ford High School is like 'A death in the family'
If Bishop Ford closes, he will lose another part of his Catholic youth, writes Hamill. The Bishop Ford board of directors is closing the school because of reductions in enrollment. But the alumni association is looking for ways to save the school.

"On Monday, Principal Thomas Arria addressed a general assembly with news about Bishop Ford that was even darker than O’Keefe’s humiliating old rant. “He walked on stage and told us that Bishop Ford would be closing forever in June,” says Sean. “Everyone was shocked. Some kids broke into hysterical crying. Some needed counseling from the school psychologist. It was a death in the family.”
Dr. Daniel Ricciardi, a noted rheumatologist, of the Bishop Ford Class of 1970, says the closing smells like a land grab to many alums. “That square block of land in desirable Windsor Terrace must be worth at least a quarter-billion dollars,” he says. “There’s been lots of mismanagement at Ford. The alums raised a half-million dollars recently that just went to pay outstanding bills. We met with Bishop DiMarzio last year asking if we raised $3 million could he guarantee Ford would remain open. He wouldn’t guarantee it.”

Archive: Childs Building Coney Island | Seaside Park Community Arts Center

Childs RestaurantChilds Building Coney Island | Seaside Park Community Arts Center
A proposal to convert Coney Island’s Childs Restaurant to an amphitheater and public park is well on its way to full City Council approval before the body’s last meeting of the year.
The council’s Land Use Committee gave the project, dubbed the Seaside Park and Community Arts Center, the thumbs up Wednesday, Crain’s reported. In order for the plan to come to fruition, zoning laws must be changed and permits granted for an outdoor amphitheater that would hold more than 5,000 people.
Advanced by the city’s Economic Development Corporation and iStar Financial subsidiary Coney Island Holdings, the project has key support from Domenic Recchia, a City Council member from Brooklyn. The plan is expected to sail through the full City Council vote thanks to his support.
Backers of the development say that it would provide economic stimulus for the area, but detractors cite concerns about increased traffic and noise, and question the redirection of taxpayer funds in an area still plagued by heat and power outages a year after Hurricane Sandy. [Crain's] — Julie Strickland

Fifty Years After the New York World’s Fair, Recalling a Vision of the Future

Click the link below to get the full experience including maps.  It's wonderful!

Fifty Years After the New York World’s Fair, Recalling a Vision of the Future -

The grounds of the 1964 New York World’s Fair were a blur of perpetual motion: Gondolas dangled above the crowds from the Swiss Sky Ride, a monorail glided in the Lake Amusement area, Greyhound Escorters ferried fatigued visitors, helicopters landed on the Port Authority’s helipad and a giant tire Ferris wheel spun.

On the 50th anniversary of the fair’s opening, we asked readers to share their memories of the event and photographs from their visits. We got more than 1,200 responses, which included many snapshots of visitors with the Unisphere and recollections of eating Belgian waffles, being entranced by new technology (the touch tone phone!) and feeling moved by Michelangelo’s Pietà.

The fair, with pavilions sponsored by car companies and insurance giants and with special effects by Disney, may have been as corporate as a modern Olympics, but it still sparked the imaginations of those who attended.

The grounds sprawled over 646 acres of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, divided geographically into five sections: Industrial, International, Federal and State, Transportation and Lake Amusement. There were more than 100 restaurants. Here is a sampling of readers’ recollections and images from the fair, and a map of the fairgrounds.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Keep the Carriage Horses

Keep the Carriage Horses -

Mayor Bill de Blasio noted his 100th day in office last weekwith a big speech and a proud recitation of campaign promises kept: universal prekindergarten, an end to unconstitutional policing, paid sick leave, among other things. There is one prominent pledge he would do better to break.
Mr. de Blasio ran on a vow to abolish, in his first days in office, the horse-drawn carriage rides that have been a fixture for generations in and around Central Park. To fulfill that promise to animal-rights activists, his administration is considering sending more than 200 horses to pasture and finding something else for their 300 drivers to do, like possibly shuttling tourists around in antique-style electric cars.
Don’t do it, Mr. Mayor. Here’s an instance where delay and inaction are the preferable form of leadership. Let the carriages and the horses alone. Let this small business survive. Side with the drivers and do not add fleets of new cars, electric or not, into the streets and parks.
The carriage opponents argue — often vehemently, though with very little evidence — that pulling people around is a terrible fate for a horse and that city living and working the streets are abusive by nature. The owners counter that this slow mode of transportation has a good safety record, considering how few horses have ever been injured or killed in accidents given the tens of thousands of trips taken over the years. They say they treat their horses with love and comply with strict city regulations like five weeks of vacation a year for the horses and other health and safety standards.
While there is no lack of animal-welfare problems in the city — abused pets, feral cats, rats, Asian long-horned beetles, geese at the airports — New York’s well-treated, well-regulated carriage horses are not among them. Mr. de Blasio should, by all means, protect the health and well-being of horses, but he has far bigger and better things to do than eliminate the carriage trade.
Besides, there is much room for compromise here, short of abolition. Let the horses work, but maybe just in Central Park, not on the avenues or in Times Square. Find ways for more children and the disabled to get close to them, and for the horses to eat and socialize with one another when they aren’t pulling carriages. To get the horses safely to and from their stables on the West Side of Manhattan, block off a lane for them twice a day.
Carriage horses have a place in New York, a working, workaday city. The de Blasio administration should make every effort to ensure that they are safe and protected. They do not need to be banished.

ARCHIVE: BusTime Is Now Available In Brooklyn » Sheepshead Bay News Blog

BusTime Is Now Available In Brooklyn » Sheepshead Bay News Blog

Display using the BusTime app on an iPad. Click to enlarge
Display using the Bus Bus NYC, an app on an iPad that uses BusTime data. Click to enlarge
THE COMMUTE: BusTime, already available on all bus routes in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island, has been expanded to all bus routes in Brooklyn as of Saturday. Previously in Brooklyn, it had only been available for the B61 and B63 bus routes. The expansion throughout Brooklyn and Queens, originally scheduled for 2013, was revised to March 9, 2014 according to an MTA press release, but was actually available a day early.
Signs, however, announcing the expansion to every borough already began appearing in several subway stations as early as February 24th. Leave it to the MTA to cause unnecessary confusion, even if it was only for two weeks.
What Is BusTime?
We’ve discussed BusTime several times before. It isa bus tracking system advising passengers where the next bus is so they would no longer have to rely on schedules, which are mostly not adhered to. Originally intended to be digital displays, either stand alone or built into the bus shelter, showing the arrival of the next bus, the MTA opted for a different system. A system that is only available to computer and smartphone users and those who know how to send text messages on a cell phone. Yes, that is most of the population, but does not include many seniors who are not tech savvy.

One winter day on the Coney Island boardwalk

Dog walking on an empty beach is special
Cool running to the ocean

Walkers rule in the pedestrian path

Bike cannot move easily in the snow

Tight squeeze to avoid remaining ice

Joggers and walkers share space

I see some ears popping out

Video: Adorable Baby Seal Sunbathes Leisurely On Brighton Beach

3214seal.jpgVideo: Adorable Baby Seal Sunbathes Leisurely On Brighton Beach: Gothamist

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Rules of the NYC sidewalk

Walk right.For NYC, a few rules of the sidewalk  - NY Daily News

New York City has the nation’s highest rate of commuters who walk or use public transit. A whopping 56% of households in the five boroughs don’t own a car, tops in the country.
In the East Villiage, where I live, It’s tempting to envision the city as a symphony, with millions of people weaving around each other in choreographed harmony. But then some guy with a yoga mat cuts in front of me, stopping me short and sending coffee down the front of my coat.
In this city, where battle lines have increasingly been drawn between walkers, bicyclists and cars, we take it for granted that cars don’t respect pedestrians. Should we also take it for granted that pedestrians don’t respect each other? I grew up driving my grandfather’s Ford LTD upstate and, ironically, I’ve noticed a few big things we pedestrians can learn from car culture.
Stay on the right. The most basic rule of the road applies to sidewalks as well. Whenever I see someone strolling down the left side of a sidewalk, I can’t help thinking, “I hope to God that maniac is British.”
Don’t drift out of your lane. Walking diagonally is inconsiderate. Straight lines and 90-degree turns mean fewer hassles for you and everyone else. Definitely don’t veer to one side, then overcorrect and veer to the other. Your unpredictability makes you difficult to maneuver around.
Don’t pop out into the middle of a busy street. It’s amazing how often people coming out of stores walk straight into the middle of the sidewalk, as if they take precedence over everyone else on the street. Would you exit a parking lot that way — zooming into the middle of the road without regard for oncoming traffic?