Thursday, February 11, 2016

L train tunnel repair may not start until 2018

The MTA’s shutdown of the L train’s Canarsie tunnel — a three-year repair project expected to cause massive disruptions for Brooklyn commuters — may not begin until 2018, the transit agency’s officials are telling lawmakers.

Assemblyman Joseph Lentol (D-Brooklyn) said the MTA assured him and other elected officials in a recent meeting that L train repair work is likely two or three years away.

“The earliest will probably be 2018 — maybe a littler sooner,’’ Lentol said. In the meantime, community meetings with MTA officials and riders will be organized starting in March to keep residents abreast to when repairs will begin and what alternative transit plans will be provided.

MTA officials declined to comment on Lentol’s remarks.

The MTA is considering fully closing one half of the L train’s Canarsie Tube at a time to make Sandy repairs. A full tunnel shutdown would take 18 months, while one tube at a time would take three years, according to a spokesman.

The tunnel was hit with 7 million gallons of salt water during Sandy. About 225,000 weekday riders go between Brooklyn and Manhattan on the L train. The line’s total daily ridership is 300,000, according to the MTA.

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton to debate tonight in Wisconsin

After getting routed in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton will try to regain her footing in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination when she squares off with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in a Wisconsin debate Thursday night.

It’s shaping up to be a longer fight for the nomination that many pundits first predicted.

“Plans to wrap this up in hurry would only occur only if there was a major change in the campaign,” Marist College pollster Lee Miringoff said after Sanders beat Clinton by 22 points. “It was such a drubbing, Sanders now requires a full looking over by Democrats. If it had been 8 points, everyone would’ve said, ‘Oh, it’s just the neighborhood effect.’”

The debate, from Milwaukee, will air at 9 p.m. on PBS stations and CNN.

Sanders, who has called for a political revolution, tapped into anger on the left to score his huge win. But now the contest moves south and west to states with more diverse populations and stronger base support for Clinton.

“Now we will take the fight to the entire country,” Clinton promised her New Hampshire supporters after conceding the state Tuesday night.

Trying to immediately dispatch New Hampshire, the Clinton campaign handed out press releases before her remarks touting her strong support in South Carolina — site of the next Democratic primary, Feb. 20. She is seen as have broader support than Sanders among African-Americans, who might make up nearly 60 percent of the Democratic turnout in South Carolina, Miringoff said.

Other contests come up quickly. The Democratic caucus in Nevada is set for Feb. 23. Then “Super Tuesday” comes March 1 when more than 10 states hold primaries or caucuses.

After the Tuesday loss, Clinton vowed: “No one will out work me.”

“It’s not whether you get knocked down. It’s whether you get back up,” she told supporters.

Sanders contended he is the only candidate who can’t truly excite Democratic votes and generate a huge party turnout in the November election.

“What happened here in New Hampshire, in terms of an aroused and enthusiastic electorate . . . that is what will happen all over this country,” Sanders said.

Staten Island stabbing: Cops hunt for Michael Sykes in killing of Rebecca Cutler, 2 kids

A mother and two of her three young children were fatally stabbed early Wednesday in a motel housing homeless families on Staten Island, and police were searching for a man who they suspect killed the three, including his 4-month-old daughter, officials said.

“This is an atrocious crime,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference in police headquarters with NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton. “I think every parent would share my view that their hearts would break to see children attacked.”

Police suspect the slayings occurred about 8:50 a.m. after a man identified as Michael Sykes, 23, of Brooklyn, was seen on a surveillance camera entering the room at the Ramada Inn in the Willowbrook section of Staten Island where the victims were stabbed.

Killed were Rebecca Cutler, 26, and her daughters Ziana Cutler, 1, and Maiyah Sykes, 4 months. Maiyah was Sykes’ daughter.

A third daughter, age 2, also was stabbed but survived and was listed in critical but stable condition at Richmond University Medical Center, police said.

Cutler and her children had been living at the Ramada Inn since Dec. 6 rather than being housed in a regular shelter.

According to police, Sykes and Cutler had a dispute on Tuesday in which Sykes took Cutler’s cellphone. Investigators were looking into whether Cutler was trying to rekindle a relationship with the father of one of the children. Investigators noted that neither Sykes nor Cutler had any significant criminal history, record of domestic violence or problems with the law.

Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said surveillance cameras showed Sykes and Cutler going to a nearby deli about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, then returning. Sykes remained in the hallway, and then entered the room for about four minutes. Police think this is when Cutler and the girls were attacked, Boyce said.

Sykes called a family member about 10:30 a.m. and admitted committing the crimes, threatening to take his own life, Boyce said, adding police found the knife used in the attack.

“We will see if that happens. Right now I would recommend everybody call 911 if they see him,” Boyce said.

The Ramada Inn had overnight security on duty from about 10 p.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday, de Blasio said.

Sykes is believed to have taken a bicycle to the Staten Island Ferry and crossed to Manhattan, police said. Sykes, also known by “Skyes,” lives in Howard Houses in Brooklyn, police said.

Wednesday afternoon, police began relocating dozens of shelter residents.

Denia Cuello, 27, has been living at the Ramada with her 9-month-old son since Jan. 18.

She said she has been concerned about safety at the hotel since she moved in. “There was never a security guard there since I came. ... Anybody can come in and out of this hotel,” Cuello said.

Cuello, who has been living under the public shelter program for three years at multiple locations, said that hotel had the worst security she’d experienced.

AmNY Express (2/11/16): Occupy this

Occupy Wall Street has gone mainstream. Not the tent cities and drum circles, but the ideas and systems that defined the movement.
Weeks before Iowa caucused and New Hampshire voted, hundreds of supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders gathered in New York City's Union Square. At that point, Sanders had won no actual votes.
At the march for Sanders in late January, people chanted, "We are the 99 percent." The Sanders supporters were united "against the 1 percent."
The march ended in Zuccotti Park, birthplace of Occupy Wall Street. In a sense, it started there, long before Sanders announced his candidacy.

Where did Occupy go?

Inspired by the energy of the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street began in the late summer of 2011 to combat the villain of Wall Street. The movement had no clear leaders and focused on bringing attention to various issues, rather than doubling down on a particular demand.
At one time or another, Occupiers called for the repeal of Citizens United, the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, and new taxes on financial transactions.
When the tents came down, the conventional wisdom concluded that Occupy hadn't achieved anything because it had been too diffuse, splintering in too many directions.
One of the movement's early organizers, Micah White, wrote, "Occupy set out to achieve [a] very specific goal: to end the power of money over our democracies. And we failed."
It's not surprising that Occupy didn't result in the total and immediate overthrow of the economic system.
But Occupy's rhetoric and issue profile percolated through Americans across the political spectrum over time, achieving a slow victory.

We are all Occupy now

Both Sanders and Donald Trump have found success inveighing against fat cats at the top of the economy.
In lecture- or sermon-like campaign speeches, Sanders repeatedly rails against a rigged economy and the culture of greed on Wall Street.
His big-picture solutions — like single-payer health care or free college tuition — are as bold as the proposals that came out of Occupy encampments. They are infused with a sense of possibility, regardless of potential outcomes.
"Together, we are going to create an economy that works for all of us, not just the one percent," Sanders said in his victory speech on Tuesday night. That speech had one clear message: voters were sending a warning to the political, financial and media establishment.
Sanders uses the influence of money in politics to tie everything together. This is the spirit of Occupy to a T — the sense that everything is connected to and influenced by money.
Finding an alternative is the Occupy goal. Sanders sees issues similarly. Republicans say they don't believe in climate change because of the Koch brothers. Big pharma is the obstacle standing in the way of better health care. The bailout of the big banks by the little people continues to hold the little people back.
After New Hampshire, Sanders went to New York City, but not to fundraise, as many of his opponents do when venturing to the home of Wall Street. While he was breakfasting uptown with the Rev. Al Sharpton, Zuccotti Park was quiet and empty.
A merchandiser on the edge of the park said the Occupy crew mainly returns on anniversaries, if at all.
The physical movement has disbanded, but in America's slow incremental fashion, it has found a new standard-bearer after the fact.
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AmNY Express (2/10/16): How do you count the homeless?

On one night, New York City tries to number its street homeless population.
It was a formidable collection of volunteers, including a 70-year-old woman from East Harlem who had once been homeless and an instructor and cadet from West Point, who had bused here for the night along with dozens of their comrades.
They were among more than 3,000 volunteers who participated in the yearly HOPE count on Monday night, a point-in-time survey of individuals who are street homeless, which is required for certain types of federal funding.
Volunteer groups question every person they meet about their housing situation. Some groups profile passersby and leave out folks who don't "look" homeless; not this group.
An elderly woman walking her dog said irritably, "It's an apartment," when questioned about her housing status. A young man took iPod earbuds out of his ears, smiling, to say he had a home. Another said that he himself was fine but he'd noticed some homeless people sleeping downtown in a Citibank. Two bearded men said they had places to go, but they had their own earnest question: "Do you believe in Jesus Christ?"
The group's members was not perturbed as they wandered around the quiet streets of Murray Hill, mostly empty but for trucks and taxis, doormen and shop-owners.
"Sometimes you could assume wrong," says Maj. Laura Weimer, 35, a sociology instructor at West Point.
"Confirmation bias," chimes in her student, Cadet Mitch Boylan, 21.
They were right.

An imperfect tool

"There's a certain amount of cynicism in this world," Mayor Bill de Blasio said, as he sent the volunteers assembled at P.S. 116 out into the Manhattan night, saying he wished people could see the assembled crowd there to help the homeless at 11:30 at night.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro was on hand as well, mentioning the Obama administration's commitment to combat homelessness — $11 billion in his final budget, already being laughed away by Congress.
The mayor said the 2016 HOPE count would be the last before the introduction of quarterly counts, part of his much-hyped HOME-STAT initiative. That plan won't get underway until March.
The HOPE count itself isn't a perfect census, to say the least.
It's "most likely a vast undercount," says Giselle Routhier, policy director for the Coalition for the Homeless, given the untrained volunteers doing the counting and the single-night survey.
"We know they're there," she says of the homeless, "and we need to focus on what's going to move folks out of homelessness and into permanent housing," adding that permanent housing is the solution.
Getting to full housing is a lofty and distant goal, much like ending homelessness among veterans, which the administration said had been achieved in New York City in December — at least, "chronic veteran homelessness," a carefully qualified phrase that doesn't mean there are no veterans on the streets at all.
Veteran homelessness "obviously touches close to home," says Weimer, who served two tours in Iraq as a military police officer.
She remembers coming home and "losing that sense of purpose" that comes with a clear mission like protecting convoy routes or providing security for elections.
It's easy to fall into a "slump," she says, that might end in homelessness.

The man on the street

The first homeless person that Group 4 found that night was a young man, clean-cut, with a Nike draw-string bag and a friendly demeanor.
When asked whether he had a place to go that night, he looked slightly bewildered by the attention.
"That's crazy," he said, "I'm going to shelter intake right now."
The entire group scrambled to be helpful. As dictated by the pre-written questions, he was asked whether he was a veteran.
He was. He had been an "intel specialist," he said, for six-and-a-half years. Weimer asked whether she could do anything for him. He said he just needed "somewhere warm to sleep." She gave him a handshake and a half-hug.
When the young man was gone, Weimer turned to Boylan, her student.
"You know how high in the class you have to be to get intel?" she asked.
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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

AmNY Express (2/9/16): The big loser in New Hampshire is...

Poised to escape into his bus outside an American Legion last week in Rochester, New Hampshire, Gov. John Kasich wearily addressed a gaggle of reporters.
Was he viable as a candidate nationally? He wasn't even close to the top. Where would he win? Seemingly annoyed, he fended off questions. Finally, he allowed that he'd have to do well in New Hampshire, whose voters go to the polls today.
"If I don't, you know all these cameras and everything, they'll all be gone. But it's been nice knowing you," he smirked, "most of the time."

Nobody likes a gatekeeper

Such is one of the more polite condemnations of the media from the campaign in New Hampshire, marked more vocally by Sen. Bernie Sanders, who said after Iowa that his performance there had sent a "profound message" to the "media establishment."
There were the comments by Sen. Ted Cruz, ridiculing the attention paid by journalists to his rival Sen. Marco Rubio.
And let's not forget Donald Trump, king of the media bash, who feuds with journalists, insults them, leads crowds in decrying them and keeps them confined to pens at his events.
The distrust is not limited to politicians.
Austin Pilotte, 36, a carpenter from Whitefield, New Hampshire, watched Fox News regularly before the 2008 election but has since lost faith.
Pilotte remembers believing that candidate Barack Obama was a Muslim set on taking away guns. When Obama became president, he was surprised by reality: "He stands for everything I stand for," Pilotte said. "That was an eye opener."
This election, he says, he's voting for Bernie.

Rules of the game

Media bashing has been a constant in this election cycle.
Most of this, of course, is pandering to partisan ears, candidates taking advantage of an anti-establishment fervor and pillorying a convenient target.
But it's not hard to see why voters in early primary states might bristle at reporters: At town halls and campaign events across the early primary states, journalists can nearly outnumber citizens in attendance at small venues. Reporters are the ones checking Twitter and listening for divergences from stump speeches while supporters wait outside. TV personalities report live while the candidates are still speaking, sometimes loud enough to be heard by the crowd.
The campaign trail can be tiresome and grueling for candidates, who wake early for events, phone calls and preparation, and pound the pavement (or highway) in search of one more event, one more vote. It's a different crowd every morning, but the same reporters. The journalists are the candidates' shadows, always there and always watching.
It's a necessary shadow, of course, and the nature of journalism is to push back.
And, of course, the campaigns need the media to bring the candidates' message to states that don't happen to hold early primaries.
Today, as New Hampshire votes, the much-maligned establishment media's questions will be answered: Will Sanders win, bolstering his appeal among voters across the ideological spectrum, unhappy with their economic situation?
Have Hillary Clinton's efforts to win over women backfired, blowing her chances of a surprise comeback?
Will Donald Trump be a winner in his second submission to the electorate? Will there be redemption for the senators (Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz) or the scrambling governors (John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie)?
One result will be entirely predictable: the media will lose.
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AmNY Express (2/8/16): The show that blew us all away

"Hamilton," the blockbuster musical, has wowed a president, celebrities and anyone with a patriotic pulse. We went backstage with one of the stage managers.
It was Amber White's second day as a stage manager on "Hamilton," and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show's creator and star, was sick.
Viewers who buy their tickets months in advance are never happy to hear about a substitution. This was Broadway's hottest show, based on a brick of a book by historian Ron Chernow, a fresh depiction of the New Yorker who fathered the American banking system, endured a sex scandal, and died in a duel. This was the first time that Miranda or Javier Muñoz, who plays the role on Sundays, didn't appear as the title character. The role went to Jon Rua, the understudy, making his debut as America's ten-dollar founding father.
White and the production team called an emergency rehearsal — 30 minutes long — for which the cast came to the theater. And then the show went on: "flawlessly," White said, thanks to Rua but also the professionalism of the rest of the cast and crew.
White, 36, is one of the crew members in the room where it happens for eight shows a week, critical to the musical's success but largely unseen.

Right-hand men and women

Stage managers, three of whom work at a time on "Hamilton," are the guardians and protectors of the show and the cast — "a cross between a flight attendant and a mom," White says — who tend to the mental and psychological well-being of the actors.
They are also often with the show long-term, from pre-production meetings on design and concept through to rehearsals, previews and performances, taking care of the practicalities of scheduling and organization. And, always, troubleshooting.
During a recent production of "Hamilton," an ensemble member hurt his neck with about 35 minutes left in the show.
Coming off stage, squeezing past barrels of prop rifles and shelves of neatly stored mugs, he went to the stage managers' office to find White. The actor said he couldn't go back on.
Quickly, White paged one of the swings — an understudy ready to fill in for multiple roles at a moment's notice — upstairs in his dressing room. She and the other stage managers coordinated the switch, getting the swing into costume and microphone and on stage in time for his new character's next appearance. The hurt actor went home.
The show went on. The audience never noticed. Crisis averted.
The other part of the stage manager's job is "preserving the artistic integrity" of the show, White says. The original director and choreographer check in from time to time once the show gets rolling, but on "Hamilton" the stage managers and a small creative team make sure the show stays consistent.
"You're supposed to do the exact same thing every day, but the show is a living, breathing thing," says White, in which even an actor's interpretation of character might evolve. Sometime it evolves too much, and the actors have to tone down their performances.
It's not surprising that the tension builds for the actors. In this show, "you're at war so often," White says.

History has its eyes on you

White has been a stage manager since college, when she switched from finance to a theater major.
After working in regional theater and in California, she came to New York with "two suitcases" and got her break on "Avenue Q." She met her husband at the Broadway Show Bowling League — he's a stagehand on "Kinky Boots." They've never worked on a show together. Both count themselves lucky to be in stable jobs on Broadway for the moment. It's not the kind of business where you "get an office job and sit in it for 20 years," White says.
The "Hamilton" phenomenon is a "once in a lifetime" experience, particularly for the young actors making their first appearances on Broadway, says White.
Hundreds of fans wait on the street outside the theater before the show in a bid for lottery tickets. Miranda, who is both the show's lead and creator, used to do a short live skit to entertain the show's fans while they waited, but had to discontinue it for safety reasons, White says. Since then, Miranda has brought the mini-shows, known as Ham4Ham, online.
Backstage, the actors and crew can escape the mania. There's not much more room than in a typical Lower East Side walkthrough, and the stage managers' office is prime privacy real estate. It also has the only stage-level bathroom, so celebrities are often stored there after performances — yes, President Barack Obama, too.
Before the show, one of the stage managers makes his or her way to the crow's nest, stage-left, reachable by a ladder. This is called the jump, and it's from this hidden perch that one of the stage managers calls and manages the play — checking the building's temperature, overseeing entrances, cueing the enormous bank of lights, unseeable from the audience but working busily from above.
"No matter how big a hit outside, we're still doing the same job." When the curtain's up, "the noise goes away," says White.
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AmNY Express (2/5/16): What is Donald Trump talking about?

At a Trump rally, one wonders what the candidate is thinking. Really, the man can be incomprehensible.
EXETER, N.H. — Norm Phillips, 95, is the kind of person who belongs in a campaign video.
He is both an Air Force and Air Corps veteran, flew different planes in different wars. He was shot down in Laos and rescued. He has climbed mountains and taught sculpture. The late writer James Salter dedicated a book to him. He himself published a book about flying.
Nearing his centenary, he looks about 73. He and a group of other older gentlemen, mostly conservative, mostly veterans, like to gather in a coffee shop here to analyze the state of the nation and the succession of presidential candidates who come to town. Yesterday, in a town hall across the street from the shop, it was Donald Trump.
If Trump becomes president, Phillips says, he'd head for Canada.

Beaten, but not broken

After losing the Iowa caucus to Sen. Ted Cruz, Trump was a little more reticent than usual.
Needless to say this didn't last long.
He has spent the week railing at Cruz and stumping for support in New Hampshire, where he still holds a comfortable lead in the polls.
In a field of career politicians, Trump's independence and willingness to say what he feels can seem refreshing to voters. His fabulous wealth can be read as a marker of success and a promise of independence. His "straight talk" cuts through the niceties of usual political discourse.
There is a visceral appeal in this kind of showmanship. Voters to whom this appeal truly resonates are unlikely to be dissuaded by any other arguments.
For now, Trump is at the mercy of New Hampshire voters, who are supposedly different from others: famously independent, famously last-minute in their choices.
But the concrete difference is that they see candidates face to face to a degree far exceeding any American outside of Iowa. They have their chances to see the candidates beyond sound bites, to hear full speeches, to assess the tenor of physical presence.

Full of words, signifying nothing

Trump poses a serious challenge for those voters willing to really listen. Because the candidate makes no sense.
A casual reader of Trump's campaign statements might notice it. A close inspection of the looseness of his debate performance could give pause. But listening to a full Trump speech is a disturbing example of nonsense packaged for emotional appeal.
In Exeter, at a rally that had the usual staples of the Trump campaign — protesters, merchandise salesmen, The Wall, jobs going to Mexico — Trump rambled his way to comments that wouldn't have seemed unfamiliar coming out of Hillary Clinton's mouth: the indignities of high prescription drug prices.
Saying that he would end price gouging, he added, "We have such buying power it's beyond what anybody has ever had. We have massive buying power. And this is for so many things."
Those things? Presumably airplanes: "I read the other day — I shouldn't talk about this because if I win it'd be nice to use it, but I read the other day they're getting a new Air Force One — which we should have by the way, the old one spews into the air."
Trump then free-associates on the hypocrisy of President Barack Obama's position on climate change.
"Either you have to be a believer or you can't be a believer, but you can't do that. It's not right. It's not fair." His very next line:
"I will say this, I'm gonna spend so much time in the White House. Who would want to leave the White House? Although I'm building a hotel next door…" Which leads to a discussion of his property development.
It sounds like a comedian dropping filler, in search of applause.
New Hampshire voters have a ticket to the show, and hopefully some of those who haven't made up their mind will be put out by Trump's lack of seriousness.
After New Hampshire, Trump and the rest of the candidates will be bundled up, swaddled in a cocoon of security and briefer stops — but not before New Hampshire voters have a chance to see them up close.
They can be a firewall against him, or at least slow him down. Farther from the ground, Trump will recede into what he always was — television.
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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Opinion: Relationship state of humanity

Written by anchor/reporter Brandon Julien- Twitter: @Brandonjsnews

To quote Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw, a cynic can be described as someone who doesn't hold out hope that anything in the future will be good. And quite frankly, I find it harder and harder to understand why any regular guy wouldn't be a cynic at this point when it comes to relationships.
I personally believe that films starring Morgan Freeman would have you believe that hope is your magical shield against the tribulations of life, but the reality has collectively taken that shield and shoved it up our ass so many times it's probably time we started leaving it at home. To put it in another, less stupid way, if you go by the evidence of the last 2 months of news stories with people getting raped and getting pregnant and just assume that the world is headed for disaster with the next generation of teenagers, then you’ll be on the same boat as everybody else.

Now I know by saying that, I may have become your old grandparents hating the youth of today, even though I’m only 18 years old and am just 8 months removed from the end of my high school career. Although now that I think about it, it doesn’t make it better for me that I transferred from BMCC, where Stuyvesant was close by, to Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, where there’s a high school on campus. Go me.

I think that that part of the problem is that what girls are looking for in a guy is changing. I remember the times when girls went out with boys who were cute, or played on the basketball team, or had a cute butt or whatever. Now a days, they want to go out with boys who make a lot of money, or are “bad boys” or whatever, and people like me are sitting around wondering what the hell happened.

But the thing is- and maybe it’s just me- girls are using more and more boys for money, no matter how much they have- or don’t have. And I know this from personal experience. Back when I was in middle school in 8th grade, I dated a 5th grader, and I will state for the record right now that she was one of only three girls that I will say was the best I’ve ever dated. I’ll pause for a moment so you can find your socks that just blew off. Ok, so there was the huge grade difference, and we did argue about me “manning up” against my parents to save it, but one occurring theme was money. It felt like every week or so that she was asking me to buy her something- whether it was for her nails, or a new bra, or to take her shopping. Doesn’t she understand #TheStruggle is real?

So that concludes this little adventure in looking into reality. I'd like to clarify that somewhere in my heart, I'm open to the possibility of things changing when it comes to what girls look for. But my intention is not to bash for once, but to argue that it makes the most logical sense to sometimes be pessimistic. After all if the relationship is good, great. But if you see the clear warning signs, you've lost nothing. Plus you get the satisfaction of knowing that you're cleverer than clueless people, which is right up there with winning a beauty contest again Ariana Grande, but still, it's a good overall rule.

350 new bus countdown clocks, bus-only lanes coming to NYC

Bus countdown clocks will be installed at 350 additional stops around the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio will announce on Thursday, as part of a larger strategy to speed up buses citywide, including new bus-only traffic lanes.

The clocks utilize data from MTA’s BusTime system, which uses GPS to track where buses are.

Riders at stops without them now have to use a cell phone to check how far away the bus is.

The City Council allocated money for about 250 bus countdown clocks over the past two years, but only three countdown clocks have been installed so far on regular bus routes. There are also 29 clocks on select bus routes, where riders swipe their MetroCards before getting on.

The leftover City Council money, combined with an infusion of cash from City Hall, will fund the 350 new clocks. Installation will begin immediately and wrap up next year. Additional clocks could also be funded.

New York has the highest bus ridership of any city in the U.S., at about 2 million a day, but city officials say its buses are the slowest — due to traffic jams and the long times it takes riders to board.
To get buses moving quickly, the city will add traffic signal technology to eight routes by 2017. They will also add new bus-only  lanes.

For the traffic signals, a green light will stay green longer if a bus is approaching, and a red light will go green sooner if a bus is waiting. The MTA Bus Command Center communicates with the DOT’s Traffic Management Center through a transponder on the buses.

Routes that will get this new technology include Main Street in Queens, Victory Boulevard in Staten Island and Kings Highway in Brooklyn. It’s not clear where the bus-only lanes will be added.

“While we never want to wait for anything, 350 more countdown clocks will mean real-time information and less hassle,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, who will formally announce the bus plan in his state of the city speech, in a statement.“Combined with our efforts to further speed up bus service around the five boroughs, we’re focused on utilizing new technology to improve quality of life for New Yorkers.”

The Riders Alliance, an advocacy group that has been pushing for the clocks, says they are particularly helpful for senior citizens and low-income riders, who use buses disproportionately and may not have access to a cell phone or data plan.

“These clocks turn buses into a modern and convenient option for riders,” said John Raskin, the executive director of the Riders Alliance. “There’s nothing lonelier than standing at a bus stop wondering if the bus is ever going to show up.”

At Manhattan’s only bus countdown clock, on Broadway and Barclays Street, some riders from the x1, x17 and x19 bus lines said the sign was glitchy. They use the MTA’s BusTime service on their phone instead.

“The sign doesn’t always work,” said David Tricario, 42, of Richmondtown in Staten Island. “I’m using the MTA app now, it’s really good.”

Others liked having the sign there. “I think this is more convenient than the app,” said computer programmer Slava Roben, 43, from Staten Island’s South Beach neighborhood.

The borough’s councilman, Steven Matteo, who represents mid-island neighborhoods, said there had originally been enough money for 10 countdown clocks. The new money could allow him to double the number.

“On Staten Island, in particular, where buses are the primary source of public transportation, these devices will make it just a bit easier to travel,” he said.

In Queens, councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland said the countdown clocks would be a boon to travelers on buses that connect with airports.

“Countdown clocks will be particularly useful in my district on the routes that take visitors, airport workers and residents to and from LaGuardia Airport,” she said.

City abandons bill to restrict horse carriages after union backs out

Written by Reuters

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday a proposal to rein in horse-drawn carriages had collapsed after the labor union that helped negotiate the compromise withdrew its support.

The abrupt reversal came just one day before the City Council was set to vote on a bill that would have cut the number of drivers from 220 to 95. The loss of union backing for the deal was a political setback for de Blasio, who pledged during his 2013 campaign to eliminate the iconic carriages.

The Teamsters local union, which represents carriage drivers and had worked with de Blasio to craft a deal that stopped short of a total ban, said on Thursday it had decided it could no longer support the legislation.

"With the legislation now finalized, our members are not confident that it provides a viable future for their industry," union President George Miranda said.

Earlier this week, the union had acknowledged the bill was not ideal but said "the goal has always been to preserve this industry."

In a statement, de Blasio said the Teamsters had backed away even though nothing had changed.

"While we are disappointed this bill will no longer be considered Friday, the people of this city know what I believe, and we will work toward a new path on this issue," he said.

Under the bill, horse-drawn  carriage s, which currently offer limited rides on city streets, would have been prohibited from doing so. The city would also have converted a portion of the park into a stable that would house all  carriage  horses by October 2018.

Street Closures for Mayor de Blasio's State of the City Address - Thursday, February 4

The following streets in the Bronx may be closed at the discretion of NYPD beginning at 6 pm until needed:
  • Area bounded by Kingsbridge Road on the south, Goulden Avenue/Reservoir Avenue on the west, Mosholu Parkway on the north and Grand Concourse on the east; all inclusive
  • Major Deegan Expressway north and southbound between RFK/Triborough Bridge and Van Cortlandt Park South
  • Van Cortlandt Avenue West between Bailey Avenue and Sedgwick Avenue
  • Sedgwick Avenue between Van Cortlandt Avenue West and Goulden Avenue
  • Bailey Avenue between West 230th Street and Albany Crescent
  • Albany Crescent between Bailey Avenue and Kingsbridge Terrace
  • Kingsbridge Terrance between Albany Crescent and Perot Street
  • Perot Street between Kingsbridge Terrance and Sedgwick Avenue
  • Sedgwick Avenue between Perot and Reservoir Avenue
  • Reservoir Avenue between Sedgwick Avenue and Goulden Avenue
  • West Kingsbridge Road between Grand Avenue and Bailey Avenue
  • Bailey Avenue between West Kingsbridge Road and Van Cortlandt Park South
  • Sedgwick Avenue between West Kingsbridge Road and Van Cortlandt Park South/Mosholu Parkway

AmNY Express (2/4/16): Ted Cruz wants a revolution, too

What do the Texas conservative Republican and Bernie Sanders have in common? More than you might think.
HOOKSETT, N.H. — The Bernie fan who found himself at an event for Sen. Ted Cruz yesterday didn't advertise his political affiliation.
He was a cheese purveyor, and said he was supposed to have a meeting with the chef at Robie's Country Store, a market and perennial campaign stop in this small town between Concord and Manchester. The chef told him to sit tight.
Instead, he had to stand in the back of the room as Cruz fans waiting in the rain outside the miniscule building shook their fists at late-arriving members of the media.
The cheese purveyor had been to a rally for Sen. Bernie Sanders Tuesday night. The crowd was "really passionate," he says.
"Passionate" also would be a good description of some of the hardline conservatives who came out to support Cruz here and those who lofted him to victory in Iowa over Donald Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio. Conservatives who would abolish the IRS, the Department of Education, and Obamacare (naturally).
It was only after the cheese purveyor had finally called it quits, inching quietly out the back door, that Cruz paid homage to his colleague across the aisle.
"In many ways I agree with Bernie in diagnosing the problem," Cruz said in response to a question from a struggling small-business owner: "Career politicians" from both parties getting in the way of the American people, who were forced to endure a "corrupt government."
Of course, Cruz had different ideas than Sanders about how to help the "little people."

A different kind of revolution

For the moment, Cruz is the man to beat in the Republican Party.
After a brief period of chastened quiet, Trump was back at it, ranting about Cruz the nogoodnik on Twitter, saying the senator had "illegally stolen" the vote in Iowa with misleading mailings to caucus-goers and his insinuation that Ben Carson was dropping out of the nomination contest.
Trump has reason to fear Cruz, in the battle for the anti-establishment vote in this election. If Trump is a rabble rouser, Cruz is a revolutionary against traditional conservatism.
His politics, like Sanders', are appealing in their directness. They address the problem head on, if from entirely different directions.
Sanders wants to break up the banks and establish single-payer health care. Cruz says, don't like the IRS? Get rid of it. Department of Education? Shut its doors. Foreign policy? Carpet bomb.
Cruz has a consistency of ideology that emanates strength — the opposite of Rubio's gymnastics on amnesty for immigrants here illegally and Trump's policies of reaction. It does not depend on others. And it attests to a purity of spirit that appeals to the disaffected.
At the general store yesterday, Cruz gave his spiel on not caring that the D.C. crowd didn't like him — Washington values don't appeal to him.
"No deals!" shouted a supporter.

How far will he go?

The question remains: Will Cruz's crusade work in secular New Hampshire, not to mention a general election. Cruz likes to position himself as the inheritor of Reaganism and that earlier conservative revolution, claiming that it was the failures of Jimmy Carter that paved the way for the Gipper. Similarly, he says, the overreaches of the Obama presidency will pave the way for "Morning in America" again.
Of course, Reagan was for amnesty and happened to raise taxes. He started out as a Democrat. And Obama is not losing office, but leaving it.
The country store where Cruz spoke was packed with mostly-adoring fans — and political paraphernalia, from local to national.
Cruz posters were added for the day at least. There were plenty of Reagan banners on the wall, successful and triumphant.
But not all revolutions end that way. Sometimes the revolutionary doesn't win, and sometimes such efforts take a wrong turn. After all, there were Goldwater posters on the wall, too.
This is amExpress, the conversation starter for New Yorkers. Subscribe at
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AmNY Express (2/3/16): A tale of two rallies

The results from Iowa are in, but all eyes are now on New Hampshire. What do Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders need to do next?
KEENE, N.H. — Whoever said it would be easy?
The Iowa caucuses clarified little for the Democratic candidates besides the fact that the nomination fight will be long.
The Democratic presidential hopefuls have set up shop in New Hampshire, where Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose Vermont home is just across the border, has a healthy lead in the polls. A win here is expected for him, but a loss wouldn't necessarily derail his campaign (or fundraising abilities) now that he's achieved something tangible. No easy coronation for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The strength of Sanders' run has pushed Clinton to espouse progressive bona fides. She and Sanders now talk about the same issues — about health care and women's rights, about criminal justice reform and the influence of money in politics. Sanders would go farther than his opponent, but these are now differences in degree.
Democratic voters have a choice: left vs. more left. But with the New Hampshire primary less than a week away, the candidates are sharpening their differences in style to help guide the choice.


The scoreboard at Nashua Community College is familiar — home and away, period and number of fouls, small ads for Dasani and Coca Cola.
Yesterday morning, it kept score in a curious way: The amount of time left in the game: 20:16. The score? Tied at 45, in honor of the candidate on the floorboards, Hillary Clinton, looking to become the 45th president.
It's not an unusual bit of political theater, but it underscores the theme of the morning rally yesterday in Nashua — political theater, effortlessly orchestrated. The goal was clear, and direct, the message crisply delivered — beat Republicans, retain the presidency.
And Clinton is the woman to do it, her campaign wants you to believe.
The events she helms are a testament to this: a well-oiled machine, a sheer unstoppable force. These were the optics at the morning rally, with polished and eloquent speakers including an impressive young organizer who raised the crowd's temperature — and then the big dog himself, former President Bill Clinton assuring the assembled that he and Hillary were awake (it had been a late night) and ready to take on Republicans.
She was still the progressive who gets things done, as her pitch to liberal Iowa caucus goers went, but, here in skeptical, independent New Hampshire, also the woman who would halt Republicans at the gates, refusing them the keys to not just the White House but the Supreme Court.
And of course, she was a woman. The first woman president. The first woman to win the Iowa caucuses. Get on the right side of history.

Do you #feelthebern?

Some 45 miles west and several hours later, the last remaining obstacle before a second Clinton nomination and presidency was rallying in Keene.
Like Nashua, Keene is well-trodden ground for presidential candidates. But this cycle, But this cycle, Sanders was the first to visit The Colonial Theatre in town.
And the elegant old theater suited the political revolution, a phrase his campaign likes to use. While there were similar numbers to the Clinton rally, here the theater was packed, the acoustics were good, the college town crowd was young and raucous.
Sanders was home again, or nearly, and his hometown jokes on the Patriots and University of Vermont didn't feel particularly forced.
He was comfortable with his audience: He asked supporters to call out their student debt. A woman bearing $183,000 won the dismal contest, earning recognition from the candidate.
He railed as usual against a politics of the-way-it-is, depicting a politics that should be. And could be, he says, claiming that America wants education, not jails, high wages, not cheating banks. He's a radical, but these things aren't that radical, he says.
"Please come out and vote," he finished.
Outside, cars beeped their support for the posters and pins. Volunteers rushed to sign up supporters for get out the vote shifts. One young woman said she was still "processing" the event. Others said they were inspired by Sanders' call to "stand up."
To reach full height, his revolution will have to prove more enticing than coronation.
This is amExpress, the conversation starter for New Yorkers. Subscribe at
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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Staten Island Chuck predicts early spring

If you're not a fan of winter, perhaps this news will excite you.

Staten Island Chuck and Punxsutawney Phil have both predicted spring will come early this year.
The famous groundhogs did not see their shadows, according to reports.

At 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, Chuck emerged and did not find his shadow, The Staten Island Advance reported. Phil searched for his at 7:25 a.m., and came up empty-handed.

This year, Chuck had an easier morning than in 2014, when Charlotte, posing as Chuck, was dropped by Mayor Bill de Blasio. She died a week later, but the Staten Island Zoo said it was from natural causes. De Blasio was not at the Groundhog Day event this year.

Son of former top City Hall aide arrested for fatal New Jersey stabbing

The son of Rachel Noerdlinger — a former aide to Chirlane de Blasio — was arrested and charged on Monday after he fatally stabbed a 16-year-old in New Jersey.

Khari Noerdlinger is facing charges of first-degree manslaughter, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and hindering apprehension, according to ABC News.

The 19-year-old reportedly stabbed a young man in the femoral artery of his leg during an alleged robbery on Sunday night in the town of Edgewater, the New York Daily News reported.

Noerdlinger was reportedly the victim of an attempted armed robbery by five suspects at about 10:30 p.m. and when confronted, the group of young men got into an argument.

The New Jersey resident then stabbed one of the assailants — who died later at a local hospital.

According to investigators, Noerdlinger and others attempted to remove evidence from the scene, ABC News reports.

Noerdlinger was later arrested along with the four other suspects and was being held on $500,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail.

Cruz beats Trump in Iowa race, Clinton edges out Sanders

Written by Reuters

Relishing his victory in the first Republican nominating contest of the U.S. presidential election, Senator Ted Cruz called his defeat of Donald Trump in the Iowa caucuses a tribute to "conservative grass roots."

Cruz also said the result from Monday's contest was a rebuke to what he called President Barack Obama's liberal agenda and a win for "Judeo-Christian values."

"This is the power of the conservative grass roots," the senator from Texas told CNN on Tuesday.

"One of the greatest lies that gets told on the airwaves over and over again is that this country has somehow embraced Barack Obama's big government. That's not true. This is a center-right country. This is a country built on Judeo-Christian values," he said.

Cruz won the Republican Iowa caucuses with 28 percent of the vote compared with 24 percent for businessman Trump, whose aggressive and unorthodox campaign has been marked by controversies ranging from his calls to ban Muslims temporarily from entering the United States to his pledge to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Marco Rubio, 44, a U.S. senator from Florida, came in third with 23 percent, making a stronger-than-expected finish and establishing himself as the mainstream Republican alternative to the two front-running rivals in the race to represent the party at the Nov.8 presidential election.

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won by a razor-thin margin against U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the closest in Iowa Democratic caucus history.

Clinton, 68, prevailed by only four delegates, according to party figures, Sanders, 74, a self-described democratic socialist who has strongly attacked Clinton's campaign from the left, declared the result a virtual tie after he had trailed the former first lady in opinion polls for months.

"I think the significance is for folks who did not think Bernie Sanders could win, that we could compete against Hillary Clinton, I hope that thought is now gone," Sanders told CNN.

Iowa has held the first nominating contest in the country since the early 1970s, giving it extra weight in the electoral process that can translate into momentum for winning candidates as they head into months of state-by-state battles.

Cruz, 45, was buoyed by evangelical support.

His strong get-out-the-vote effort helped counter the enthusiasm from large crowds that have shown up for Trump's rallies. The real estate magnate skipped the last Republican debate before the caucus because of a dispute with host Fox News.

An uncharacteristically humbled Trump, 69, congratulated Cruz and said he still expected to win the Republican nomination. Opinion polls show Trump leading nationally and in New Hampshire, which holds the next nominating contest next week.

"I'm just honored," Trump said.

Republican establishment candidates more traditional than Rubio did not fare well in Iowa. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush took 2.8 percent, Ohio Governor John Kasich took 1.9 percent, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took 1.8 percent.

The 2016 election is shaping up to be the year of angry voters as disgruntled Americans worry about issues such as immigration, terrorism, income inequality and healthcare, fueling the campaigns of Trump, Sanders and Cruz.

Two White House hopefuls, former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, who had trouble gaining any traction in the Democratic race, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a Republican, suspended their campaigns after doing badly in Iowa.

Carmen Electra sues NYC strip club over this sexy promo

Carmen Electra filed a federal lawsuit against a Queens strip club after they allegedly used a sexy image of her in club advertisements.

La Oficina Bar is the target of a lawsuit filed by singer-actress Electra accusing the Corona, Queens, establishment of using her image in a club advertisement on Instagram, the New York Daily News reported.

“This image shows Electra in a sexually suggestive outfit and was intentionally altered to make it appear that Electra was either a stripper working at La Oficina or endorsed the club,” the suit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court was quoted by the Daily News.
Models Tiffany Toth, Claudia Sanpedro and Brenda Lee Geiger have joined Electra in suing the club, alleging that La Oficina also used their images without permission, the Daily Mail has reported. Each plaintiff is seeking at least $75,000 in damages due to defamation and trademark infringement.

According to the lawsuit, Electra and the other models claim that the alleged use of their images has led to “hatred, shame, obloquy, contumely, odium, contempt, ridicule, aversion, ostracism, degradation, or disgrace, and/or could induce an evil opinion of plaintiffs in the minds of right-thinking persons,” the Daily News added.

AmNY Express (2/2/16): One down, 49 to go

The results are in from the Iowa caucuses and now all attention turns to New Hampshire.
MANCHESTER, N.H. — It wasn't reality television. The first votes toward the 2016 presidential election have been cast and Iowa lifted Sen. Ted Cruz over Donald Trump in the first step to the GOP nomination.
The anti-establishment trend, if not The Donald's winning record, is real — Sen. Bernie Sanders also fought Hillary Clinton to a tight finish.
It's left to the rest to live with the results and adjust or double down on their strategies — and, of course, head to New Hampshire.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich was nowhere near the top in Iowa, but then again, he's hardly campaigned there.
Instead, Kasich has staked his claim in New Hampshire, where he's hoping that a win in the-first-in-the-nation primary will translate into momentum as the truly mainstream Republican who can win in November.

John who?

New Yorkers might think of Kasich as that guy at the debates who seemed reasonable enough, at least compared to the rightward shift going around him.
But many New Hampshire voters know him more personally: Today, he'll hold his 90th town hall in the state, his campaign says.
While recent polls have him trailing Trump in New Hampshire by a significant margin, he's in the thick of it here with Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Chris Christie and former Gov. Jeb Bush.
Attack ads between this scrum of second-place contenders have increased, including one from a super PAC supporting Kasich that attacked Rubio. Kasich's campaign expressed its disapproval over the ad, and it came down--a sign of the positive, less-confrontational attitude the campaign thinks might resonate as an alternative in this Time of Trump.
At an American Legion post in Rochester, New Hampshire — town hall number 87 — Kasich stood in front of his favored prop a national debt counter (upward and upward, naturally) and took questions from supporters, some of whom were worried about the governor getting enough attention to outshine his rivals.
"We've cast our lot here and it's important that we do well here," Kasich said, noting that if "we do well here, we'll be fine."
Of course, at some point he'll have to win.
But for now, New Hampshire's culture of intimate politics has allowed Kasich to "share his vision for the country one on one," says Scott Blake, a regional political director for the Kasich campaign.
Blake says the campaign has 15 full-time staff in the state and volunteers have 4,000 days of work.

Courting voters, one door at a time

"Second touches" — or multiple contact between a voter and a volunteer — will be crucial to Kasich's momentum in the Granite State, Blake says. With less organizational strength in other states, Kasich will have to finish a strong second in New Hampshire to be considered a viable alternative to Trump or Cruz.
As Iowa prepared to caucus, Kasich was the lone candidate touring the state. And volunteers were making the "effective-conservative" Kasich pitch door to door.
Carl Reid and Ashley Zabriskie, both 21, consulted a smartphone app that directed them to particular houses — mostly "moderates and undecided" at this point, Reid says — and prompted them to fill in information after each door. Towards the end of a workday, on mostly empty residential streets, they weren't having much luck.
"Is there a side door?" Reid asks. "They say to try the side door because that's what people use." Knocks elicited no response.
Some people close their blinds when they see the pair coming, they say. Sometimes the residents don't speak English. Reid, whose father is from Costa Rica, speaks Spanish, and says he's used it in some cases.
Retail politics is important here, Reid says, though not everyone is receptive.
This is amExpress, the conversation starter for New Yorkers. Subscribe at
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Monday, February 1, 2016

Chuck Schumer proposes plan to fight Zika virus

Sen. Charles Schumer proposed a 3-point plan on Sunday to protect the country against the mosquito-spread Zika virus outbreak in the Americas.

“We need to build a firewall against Zika,” Schumer said. “The government was late to react to Ebola. We don’t want that to happen now. We have to get out front early and get a handle on it, show the public we have a handle on it, and prevent it from spreading.”

The senator called on the U.S. Agency for International Development to increase its involvement in Zika-affected countries, highly concentrated in South and Central America.

He also called on the CDC and National Institutes of Health to promote the development of a vaccine. He then urged the World Health Organization to declare the virus a health emergency at a meeting to discuss the virus in Geneva on Monday.

The Zika virus is transmitted through mosquito bites, and can cause fever, a rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis, or red eyes. It is particularly dangerous for pregnant women — the outbreak in Brazil led to women giving birth to babies with birth defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

While Schumer said the spread of the Zika virus doesn’t have the same dangers of an Ebola outbreak, he doesn’t want the government to fall behind on preparation.

“I don’t think it will be as bad as Ebola,” said Schumer. “But the late attack on Ebola, the delayed attack on Ebola should be a lesson.”

Armed suspects tie up 4 victims in Bronx home robbery

Police are looking for two men they say robbed a Bronx apartment on Saturday while armed and after tying four people up inside the home.

On Jan. 30 at about 10 a.m. the suspects — who were armed with guns — knocked on the door of an apartment in a building on Beck Street and claimed to be exterminators, authorities said.

When a 34-year-old woman answered the door, the two men pushed their way into the apartment and tied her up, along with three other people who were inside, according to police.

The suspects then searched the apartment while asking where there was money. After finding no money, the men fled the apartment with an iPhone.

Police have released surveillance photos of the two men.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.

The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

The Internet is a frequent NYC dinner companion, Kitchensurfing study finds

Digital distractions are an entrenched part of dinner for many “always on” New Yorkers: 21% of New Yorkers report they are on the Internet while eating dinner at home, with Brooklynites, at 24%, the most likely to be on the web while chowing down at night, according to a new study by Kitchensurfing.

While 54% of New Yorkers eat dinner while watching television, 13% say they are checking their social media or posting to it during dinner, 14% are texting and 16% are checking email. Eleven percent of Manhattanites — the least likely of all New Yorkers to cook their own dinners — work straight through the evening meal, with eight percent of New Yorkers overall saying they stay on their grind through dinner time.

The findings could have health implications. The National Weight Loss Control Registry determined through studies years ago that dieting veterans who are successful in maintaining weight loss watch minimal television. Too, some health experts say a singular and unhurried focus on food while eating it is an important strategy for weight maintenance.

But dinner here is not even always eaten at a table, according to the Kitchensurfing study: 37% of New Yorkers eat their home suppers somewhere other than the dining room table or the kitchen. The couch was the most popular alternative, with 19% chowing down from there. An amazing 6% of New Yorkers say they eat their dinners in bed, with Bronx residents (11%) most frequently reporting that they eat where they sleep. (The survey did not probe whether this habit reflects frequent amorous sessions incorporating strawberries and champagne, the lack of a dining room in which to dine, or the lack of will to sit upright at a table. )

The survey, of 1,000 New Yorkers found that 57% also chat with family members during dinners.

Kitchensurfing, a service that provides chefs who prepare home-cooked meals, discovered that only 7% of New Yorkers spent “nothing” on takeout and delivery meals, with 5% spending more than $100 a week.

The survey also revealed that ovens are increasingly conscripted into uses other than which the appliances were intended: 10% of New York men say they keep shoes, and valuables such as jewelry and money in their ovens, and 30% of guys here use their ovens to store other kitchen appliances.

Eight percent of men and three percent of women use their ovens as de facto file cabinets for mail and papers.

The oven is also, apparently, a useful bin: Eight percent of men and two percent of women use the appliance to store garbage and recyclables.

DUI suspect found dead, hanging from his T-shirt while in NYPD custody

A DUI suspect has died in police custody after apparently hanging himself in a Brooklyn holding cell.

The 28-year-old man was arrested on charges of drunk driving on Sunday afternoon, NBC reported, adding that police transported him to the 69th Precinct in Canarsie to be processed.

Around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, officers at the 69th Precinct stationhouse found him hanging by his own T-shirt in his cell, the New York Daily News stated in a related article. The suspect was taken to Brookdale Hospital, but he could not be saved.

In custody because of his role in a car wreck on Avenue J near Remsen Avenue in Canarsie, the suspect had originally been taken to an Intoxicated Driver Testing Unit in the 78th Precinct for blood alcohol testing before being moved to the 69th Precinct, the Daily News added.

No injuries were reported in the initial car wreck, according to NBC, which added that the medical examiner will determine the suspect's exact cause of death.

AmNY Express (2/1/16): They want to do WHAT to the L train?

The subway line needs serious maintenance, and the MTA is talking about shutdowns that could last three years. How will people get to Brooklyn?
When you arrive in the station just as your train is leaving, you chalk it up to karma.
When your train is delayed, you grin and bear it.
When you hear about weekend repairs, maybe you hop a bus to make a connection. But when the train shuts down entirely, you're in uncharted territory.
L train riders are now being forced to contemplate this unknown, as the MTA explores options for repairing damaged subway tunnels.
The MTA says the plans aren't finalized, but options include a shutdown of the L for 18 months in both directions. Another option is to shut down the L tunnels one by one — that would mean very limited service for about three years. Confining the repairs to weekends would take even longer.

Why? Why? WHY?!?

Superstorm Sandy flooded the L train tunnels with 7 million gallons of saltwater.
"Rebuilding the tunnel will be an enormous task with significant implications for many customers," MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg wrote in an email. These repairs are "vital work," Lisberg says, to the "signals, rails, walls, conduits, cables" underground.
The MTA is still planning when the work will be scheduled, how it will be conducted, and what the MTA will be doing to get riders to their regular destinations.
Non L riders might view this as hipster comeuppance, but the spindly line, which supports 400,000 weekday riders, is more or less the only means of transit to and from Manhattan from Bedford to Canarsie. No L would be no fun.
Last week, a group of concerned citizens, including many business owners, convened at the Brooklyn Bowl with elected officials and an MTA representative to consider the fallout of a shutdown, asking why it was really necessary and what could be done if the trains really stopped. Cooler heads did not prevail.
When the MTA official explained that he was there to listen but didn't have new information, the locals kicked him out.

Lessons from the R

This is not the first tunnel shutdown related to Sandy damage.
The Montague Tunnel on the R line swallowed 27 million gallons of water during the storm and was closed for 13 months between 2013 and 2014. During that time, the R ran in two sections — one in Brooklyn, one in Manhattan and Queens.
Repairing the R did not require a lengthy shutdown like those being considered for the L train, and transfers to other lines meant that residents from Bay Ridge to Sunset Park could still get to and from Manhattan via train, even if it took a little longer.
But it was still a "challenging," process, says Cate Contino of the Straphangers Campaign, especially for people living off local stops.
Since there are fewer options off the L, "the MTA will need to find ways to ease the pain," Contino says, citing ideas such as bus service, bike caravans and bike shares.
Council member Vincent Gentile, who represents a swath of R-train riders, said the service changes had a silver lining: the segmented lines ran smoother than the full stretch had, and new cars subbed in on the line meant a cleaner ride than usual.
In navigating closure, Gentile says it was necessary to "press the MTA from the viewpoint of what's best for riders," suggesting that L riders work with the MTA and the Department of Transportation on other transit options — ferries, select buses in dedicated lanes, for example, as some have suggested.
Gene Russianoff, an R train devotee and head of the Straphangers Campaign, remembers the difficulty of the tunnel closure.
"You moan about your own subway line," he says, but "fourteen months being on the A and the F turned me into a permanent R worshiper."
The Jay Street-Metrotech platform, crowded with R regulars, was like "the burning of Atlanta in 'Gone With the Wind'," Russianoff says.
The R isn't "a day at the beach" but it had more room than the A and the F, he says. "It was a glorious day when it came back."
This is amExpress, the conversation starter for New Yorkers. Subscribe at
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