Category Archive 'New York City'
25 May 2016

A German Visits NYC

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On Quora, a German answered the question: What was your biggest culture shock visiting New York City?

My shocks were mostly negative.

I am German, male and 25. I had travelled to the US quite often and had been to a lot of different places there. I love the US, especially the National Parks. I also love US cities regardless wether they are cheap or expensive.

When a few years ago I came to NYC for the first time I had the expectation that NYC wouldn’t differ more than other cities from how they are shown in movies and tv shows. I was wrong.

I expected NYC to be at least somewhat of a modern and shiny skyscraper city. The secret capital of the US – and – maybe the world. I expected something at least iconic.

Now when I landed at JFK moldy carpets and a worn down airport greeted me. I took the train to Manhattan that overpasses ghettos.

I could not believe how loud and shaky the subway was. The awful state of maintenance. How extremely dirty it is. How bad signs are placed. How counterintuitive everything is made.

Everything must have been great some decades ago but was never kept well. There was no good way to get from one part of the city to another. Taxis are stuck and the subway is disgusting. Busses are worse.

The smell. When I think of NYC I no longer think of lawyers in suits on a rooftop terrace. I think of the strong smell of death – of rotten rat meat.

The garbage. Everywhere. On the streets. I mean black sacks full of garbage to be picked up in few hours stinking and leaking.

How unimpressive 5th Av is. Or Times Square.

The skyline is really not so impressive or iconic if you have been to Hongkong or other places.

I was amazed by the the awful German translations on the large signs of the 9/11 sight. I always thought that this was a place of big importance and that NYC would not use Google translator to greet the world when they are visiting to show respect.

You might think that I am exaggerating and describing things that one could look over. Maybe. But I am just trying to justify my disappointment.

The poor quality of life and the huge costs. You can park your car in NYC for a few hours for a couple of hundred dollars. But why would anyone consider it worth it? You can live in a shoebox and do your laundry in a nearby laundromat? What good reason is there to do that? The prices felt very artificial. Now if there was a demand justifying these prices I would shut up. But for good reason there actually isn’t.

NYC was a big disappointment for me. It is just another US city. I did not feel safe. I was simply asking myself why anyone would want to spend so much money for such a bad quality of life.

Read the whole thing.

This German chap is perfectly right. New York City has been declining in governance, liveability, and affordability since WWII. He doesn’t realize, though, that the city is actually cleaner, less smelly, and less crime-ridden since the time of Giuliani.

18 Mar 2016

R.A.T.S.

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'Unlike Anything I've Ever Seen': Mike Rowe Describes His Wild…

"Unlike anything I've ever seen": Mike Rowe describes his wild night with rat-hunting dogs in NYC.

Posted by TheBlaze on Friday, March 18, 2016

01 Mar 2016

That Fabulous Dealmaker Donald Trump

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TrumpGenius

Timothy L. O’Brien explains how Trump blew his biggest real estate deal ever.

Through Trump’s rise, fall and rebirth, there was one major real estate project that he tried to keep. The tale of what happened to that property should be of interest to anyone looking for insight into how Trump might perform as president. It was a deal of genuine magnitude and would have put him atop the New York real estate market. And he screwed it up.

The deal involved Manhattan’s West Side Yards, a sprawling, 77-acre tract abutting the Hudson River between 59th and 72nd Streets and at the time the largest privately owned undeveloped stretch of land in New York City. The Yards were a vestige of the Penn Central Transportation Company, a failed railroad enterprise that, in 1970, filed what was then the biggest corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history. In the wake of that collapse, Trump leveraged his father’s ties to New York’s Democratic machine and local bankers to acquire pieces of Penn Central’s holdings, including the Yards, in the mid-1970s.

Unable to reach agreements with the city and community groups on how to develop the site, Trump let his option lapse in 1979. His Yards saga began in earnest in 1985, when he bought back the property from another developer for $115 million.

Trump’s plans for the property included office and residential space; a new broadcasting headquarters for NBC; a rocket-ship-shaped skyscraper that would have been the world’s tallest building and cast shadows across the Hudson River into New Jersey; and a $700 million property tax abatement from the city as an incentive to build it. The $4.5 billion project — which Trump called Television City — would have been New York’s biggest development since Rockefeller Center.

Like London’s Canary Wharf, begun a few years later, Television City promised to reshape a significant portion of a major urban center. “It’s an opportunity to build a city within the greatest city, and I don’t think anybody’s ever had that opportunity,” Trump said in an interview at the time.

With the property, financing and plans in place, a large part of what Trump needed to do to make Television City a reality was to bring together different stakeholders: locals (like the late actor Paul Newman) who wanted parks and a less imposing development, and a mayor, Ed Koch, who had his own outsize personality and who was trying to balance the city’s redevelopment with the needs of the area’s longtime residents.

Had Trump appeased these interests, he might have made the project a reality. Instead, the author of “The Art of the Deal” quickly became entangled in an epic, only-in-New-York round of public fisticuffs with Koch in the spring and summer of 1987. The brawl devolved into name-calling — and ultimately helped doom a deal that could have had vastly different results if Trump chose different tactics.

After learning that Koch was going to turn down his request for the $700 million abatement for Television City, Trump dashed off a letter to the mayor.

“For you to be playing ‘Russian Roulette’ with perhaps the most important corporation in New York over the relatively small amounts of money involved because you and your staff are afraid that Donald Trump may actually make more than a dollar of profit, is both ludicrous and disgraceful,” he wrote to Koch.

Koch wrote back to Trump, warning him to “refrain from further attempts to influence the process through intimidation.” Koch then held a press conference, during which he released the letters and said he wasn’t going to give Trump the abatement.

Trump doubled down, holding his own press conference and calling on Koch to resign. The battle played out in a carnivalesque stream on TV and on the front pages and gossip columns of newspapers.

Koch said Trump was “squealing like a stuck pig.” Trump said Koch’s New York had become a “cesspool of corruption and incompetence.” Koch said Trump was a “piggy, piggy, piggy.”

Trump said the mayor had “no talent and only moderate intelligence” and should be impeached. “Ed Koch would do everybody a huge favor if he would get out of office and they started all over again,” he noted. “It’s bedlam in the city.”

16 Jan 2016

Ted Cruz Apologizes to New Yorkers

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15 Jan 2016

“New York Values” Comment Won’t Hurt Ted Cruz

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NYDailyNewsAnti-Cruz

Ben Shapiro observes that the rest of us understand exactly what Ted Cruz was talking about.

The media of New York City playing dumb on “New York values” while they look down their noses at the rest of the country is the height of ridiculousness.

Mark Twain knew what New York values were: “All men in New York insult you–there seem to be no exceptions. There are exceptions of course–have been–but they are probably dead. I am speaking of all persons there who are clothed in a little brief authority.” That was in 1885. Nothing has changed.

New Yorkers are famous for being rude, socially liberal, in favor of big government, in favor of social leftism – and most of all, convinced of their own superiority. This is why everyone hates Yankees fans.

There are wonderful things about New Yorkers, too. But when people say that someone is “New York” outside New York, everybody knows what they mean, just as if they say that someone is “Texas” outside Texas, everybody knows what they mean.

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Any Iowa Banker knows what Cruz meant.

03 Dec 2015

Daily News Calls Republicans Names, Insults Religion

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DailyNewsAssholery

Editorialist Rich Schapiro and the New York Daily News this morning are insulting religious faith and calling Republicans who spoke of praying for victims of the terrorist shootings in San Bernardino, California “cowards.”

“God Isn’t Fixing This!” thunders the Daily News headline, obviously preferring to believe that the cult of the Leviathan state to which Mr. Schapiro bows down can do better via Gun Control. All we need to do is follow the example of democrats like Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley and support Gun Control, sacrificing the Second Amendment and American’s individual rights on the altar of Statism and we will receive safety and security in return.

People like Rich Schapiro cling passionately to their own twisted version of religion in which the State and the Rule of Experts and the Calculative Power of Human Reason are deemed totally omnipotent and beneficent, somehow managing to overlook the record their philosophy compiled in the last century of transforming civilization and the state into an abattoir resulting in the deaths of hundreds of millions, and also managing to overlook the fact that, only a few weeks ago, a much larger armed massacre took place in Paris, the capital of a country which has in place every element and detail of the gun control laws desired by the most hoplophobic of democrats. These kinds of people don’t even notice that the San Bernardino shootings occurred in California, one of the most gun-controlled states in the country.

There is more than a little irony in a bunch of metrosexual simps who disapprove of self-defense, who are afraid of the very sight of guns, who systematically delude themselves with fantasies of universal harmony and safety brought about by the unilateral disarmament of the peaceful and the law-abiding going around calling other people “cowards.”

Personally, if I had a laboratory need for a pure and authentic specimen of the coward, I feel certain that Rich Schapiro himself would function perfectly in the experiment.

30 Sep 2015

Not Just a River in Egypt

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NYCEthel
City Council member Mark Levine, City Council member Daniel Dromm, Robert Meeropol, Michael Meeropol and Gail Brewer on the steps of City Hall.

Atomic spy Ethel Rosenberg, executed for treason in 1953, was honored last Monday on the occasion of her 100th birthday. Not as you might expect at FSB (Федеральная служба безопасности Российской Федерации [pФСБ] headquarters in Moscow, but in Manhattan!

NY Post:

Three council members joined Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer in issuing two proclamations lauding Rosenberg, a Lower East Side resident, for “demonstrating great bravery” in leading a 1935 strike against the National New York Packing and Supply Co., where she worked as a clerk.

The proclamations also said she was “wrongfully” executed for helping her husband, Julius, pass atomic secrets to the Soviet Union.

“A lot of hysteria was created around anti-communism and how we had to defend our country, and these two people were traitors and we rushed to judgment and they were executed,” said Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Queens).

27 Sep 2015

Stopping Crime in NYC Requires Americans in 50 States to Surrender Their Guns

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West Indian American Day Parade

Steve Sailer admires Governor Cuomo’s reasoning.

    Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, during a fiery eulogy on Saturday for a lawyer in his administration who died after being shot in the head, implored New Yorkers to carry on the slain man’s mission by reforming schools, fixing public housing and, above all, demanding stronger federal gun laws.

    Mr. Cuomo’s remarks came in a 17-minute address delivered at the funeral of the lawyer, Carey W. Gabay, 43, who was apparently caught in a shootout between rival gangs during a pre-dawn celebration that was a precursor to the annual West Indian American Day parade in Brooklyn.

But, of course, no public official should ever even think of cracking down on West Indian American Day, an annual frenzy of Hobbesian gun violence in New York City. White rednecks in Flyover States must give up their guns so New York politicians can feel like they are doing something about black immigrants shooting each other in New York City on West Indian American Day.

23 Aug 2015

You Really Have to Hate New York

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From a Newsday story about working as an usher in NYC’s theater district:

Among memories of gallows humor, Scanlon [an usher] remembers the time some poor man died in the audience of the Kerr Theatre. As the gurney took the corpse out and his wife followed, two people hurried down to take their better seats. “It’s so New York,” he says, not in an entirely disapproving way.”

Via Leah Libresco.

31 Mar 2015

Coyote Spotted on Roof of Bar in Queens

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NYCCoyote

New York Daily News: Coyote seen on roof of bar in Long Island City, Queens.

Hat tip to Lisa Schiffren.

05 Mar 2015

Flatiron Building, NYC

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FlatironBuilding

Ten Interesting Facts About the Flatiron Building. Untapped Cities

08 Feb 2015

I Always Walk or Take a Cab

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Subway

Cornell scientists spent 18 months collecting and identifying DNA samples collected on the trains and at 466 open stations in the New York City Transit System.

They found lots of bacteria, including those responsible for Anthrax and Tetanus.

Wall Street Journal:

Among the pathogenic and infectious bacteria, the Cornell researchers identified DNA related to strep infections at 66 stations and urinary tract infections at 192 stations. They found E. coli at 56 stations and other bacteria related to food poisoning at 215 stations.

A multidrug resistant bacterium called Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, associated with respiratory ailments and hospital infections, turned up at 409 stations. Another antibiotic resistant infectious microbe, called Acinetobacter baumannii, turned up at 220 stations.

New York Times:

..fragments of DNA associated with the bubonic plague were found at three stations in disparate parts of the city: on a garbage can at the 103rd Street station on the No. 6 line in Manhattan; a stairway railing at the 111th Street station of the A line in Queens; and another railing at the Winthrop Street station of the No. 2 and No. 5 lines in Brooklyn.

But you’re perfectly safe, the WSJ reports:

We think the rats are the likely carrier [of the plague bacteria], since we see plenty of rat and mouse DNA,” said Dr. Mason.

They also found a trace of anthrax DNA on a railing at one station and on a handhold in a subway car. “The results do not suggest that the plague or anthrax is prevalent, nor do they suggest that NYC residents are at risk,” the researchers reported.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene “strongly” disputed that the bacteria were correctly identified. “The interpretation of the results are flawed, and the researchers failed to offer alternative, much more plausible explanations for their findings,” a department spokeswoman said in a written statement. “The NYC subway system is not a source of plague or anthrax disease, and the bacteria that cause these diseases do not occur naturally in this part of North America.”

Data links here.

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

SubwayBacteria

06 Feb 2015

Grand Central’s Secrets

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FDRCar

Did you know that Grand Central Terminal’s spectacular ceiling is backwards? Or That there is a secret bar, a secret tennis court, and a secret platform? Untapped Cities:

Track 61 still serves as a means of clandestine transportation. There is one track at Grand Central that sits abandoned in the midst of the busiest train terminal in the world. That is Track 61, or the Waldorf Astoria track, originally built for freight and as a loading platform for a powerhouse that sat above it. After being decommissioned, it served as a private railroad station, a clandestine way for distinguished guests of the Waldorf Astoria to enter and exit the city. This track is famously thought to have transported Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to hide the fact that he was wheelchair-bound due to polio. Today, the track continues to provide a clandestine means of transportation; it is kept up and running when the President visits town, in case he needs a means of emergency egress from the hotel. Read even more about this abandoned platform here.

26 Jan 2015

Blizzard of 1888

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1888-1

All correct-thinking members of today’s community of fashion know that human energy use and economic activity is altering the climate and producing extreme weather. Of course, until recent years when the earth’s human population has enormously increased along with accompanying energy consumption and industrial activity, we all know that extreme weather never really happened.

Gawker, nonetheless, today took the occasion of “extreme weather” visiting the Northeast to remember the Great Blizzard of ’88, which was obviously merely a case of perfectly ordinary weather. 200 people, however, died.

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Trains full of people were trapped without food. Public transportation stopped, and hundreds of people went home to Brooklyn by crossing the East River over the ice.

Men of fashion were obliged to take shelter in Bowery flophouses, sleeping beside the tramps. The flophouse operators took advantage by raising their rates from ten cents to fifty cents.

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