Category Archive 'New York City'
08 Oct 2022

Crackpot Wokery Makes the Obvious Problematic in Park Slope

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For some reason, the media did not publish a picture of Moose, the deceased Golden Retriever.

Even the NY Times is a bit amused at Urban fashionista liberals squabbling over the “correct” perspective to be taken when a minority crazy wino attacks a bourgeois female in the park and kills her dog.

Real-world ethics question: In a well-used city park, a man with a history of erratic behavior attacks a dog and its owner with a stick; five days later, the dog dies. The man is Black, the dog owner white; the adjoining neighborhood is famously progressive, often critical of the police and jail system. At the same time, crime is up in the neighborhood, with attacks by emotionally disturbed people around the city putting some residents on edge.

In a dog-loving, progressive enclave, where pushing law and order can clash with calls for social justice, what’s the right thing to do? How do you protect the public without furthering injustice against this man?

Here’s what happened in Park Slope, Brooklyn, when real-life residents faced this situation.

On Aug. 3, Jessica Chrustic, 40, a professional beekeeper, was walking her dog in Prospect Park a little after 6 a.m. when she saw a man rifling through the garbage outside the Picnic House. She had seen the man before — tall, with dreadlocks wrapped in a turban, carrying a long staff and often muttering to himself or cursing — and she usually kept her distance. But this morning there was no room to avoid him.

According to Ms. Chrustic, he started yelling about immigrants taking over the park, then grabbed a bottle of what she later concluded was urine and sloshed it at her and her dog. She tried to run away, but Moose, her 80-pound golden retriever mix, was straining toward the man, trying to protect her.

The man started swinging the stick, she said. One blow hit her, not seriously. Another connected solidly with the dog’s snout. Mary Rowland, 56, a hospital manager who was walking her dog nearby, said she heard the crack of wood on bone and came running toward them, screaming at the man to get away.

Both women called 911, and four patrol cars arrived within a few minutes. But by then, the man was gone. “Moose was bleeding from his mouth and pulling to get home,” Ms. Chrustic said. “My focus was just on caring for him.”

Ms. Chrustic was physically unhurt, but she was shaken. How could this happen in a park where she had never felt unsafe, even walking her dog late at night?

Moose had a shattered tooth that needed to be pulled. Ms. Chrustic posted a description of the encounter on the neighborhood social network Nextdoor, warning others about the man and asking them to report any sightings to the police. Her post elicited more than 280 comments in the coming weeks, mostly expressing sympathy. A total stranger on the forum offered to make her a bracelet with the name Moose on it.

But then the next weekend, Moose developed sepsis from a perforated intestine, caused by a blow Ms. Chrustic had not noticed. After emergency surgery, Moose died.

Weeks passed, and the man who attacked the dog was still at large. People on Nextdoor, working from Ms. Chrustic’s description, posted that they had seen him in one part of the park or another. Ms. Chrustic, who used to visit the park four times a day, now found it too traumatic to enter unless necessary.

She was especially frustrated that the man, who was well known to people in the park, had not been arrested. “You have a person who is walking around the park who is violent and needs to be removed,” she said. “He’s known by the community. It’s disheartening.”

It was a random incident that might once have been discussed by a group of dog owners. But now it had a forum for a much wider community, with arguments about policing, vigilantism, homelessness, mental health care and progressive obstinacy all feeding into a conversation that evolved beyond the crime that set it off.

“It’s complicated,” said S. Matthew Liao, a professor of bioethics, philosophy and public health at New York University. “It’s a conflict of values, between wanting security and social justice. Everybody has a responsibility in some ways.

“There are a bunch of issues here, a bunch of threats,” he added. “We can deal with them in a compassionate way, or a not compassionate way.” …

Nextdoor, which claims an average of 37 million users per week, started in 2010 with the promise of connecting people with their neighbors and neighborhoods. One slogan went, “When neighbors start talking, good things happen.”

One thing they talked about, a lot, was local crime. In Nextdoor forums for communities all over the country, this included suspected crime and sightings of “suspicious” characters, leading early critics to say that what the platform really propagated was white fear. After complaints about racial profiling in 2016, the company instituted diversity training for its operations staff and new protocols for posts about crime and safety. But even in 2020, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez characterized it as an outlet for privileged white people to vent criminal fantasies about their Black and brown neighbors. She tweeted, “@Nextdoor needs to publicly deal w/ their Karen problem.”

A Nextdoor spokesperson said the company enables users to report any posts that they find offensive or discriminatory, which are then reviewed by volunteer community moderators or staff members. In 2021, only 1 percent of posts were reported as hurtful or harmful; about half of these were removed.

When Ms. Chrustic posted about the attack, the first responses were mostly notes of condolence and support. People with dogs posted that they had seen the man in the same area where she was attacked — why weren’t the police arresting him? Donations poured in to offset her veterinary bills.

But gradually, other voices emerged. A vocal minority asked why Park Slope residents, mostly white, were calling for the police to take down a man who appeared to be homeless and emotionally disturbed. Others called the man a “monster,” a “predator” or a “psychopath.” As on other social media platforms, the most ardent voices made the most noise.

Martin Lofsnes, 52, a dancer and choreographer who moved out of the neighborhood in 2020, came across the conversation while trying to sell some stuff and was appalled by the vitriol directed at an impoverished man, and by what he called “this vigilante attitude.”

He urged people on the thread to put their emotions aside and consider “400 yrs of systematic racism which has prevented black people from building generational wealth through homeownership resulting in the extreme disparity we see today.” Arresting the man, he wrote, would solve none of that.

With all the affluence in Park Slope, he posted, maybe critics should raise money to help the man, not throw him to the lethal jail system, from which he would most likely emerge more dangerous, or not emerge at all.

RTWT

02 Oct 2022

Falconry in Morningside Park

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07 Aug 2022

40 People Got on the Bus to NYC, 14 Got Off When It Arrived

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The remaining 14 arrive.

NY Post:

Even border crossers are too scared of the crime-ridden Big Apple.

Mayor Adams tried to greet the latest bus load of migrants to get shipped in from Texas early Sunday — but was horrified to find the vast majority had already skipped, admitting it was likely through “fear” of the city.

“We were led to believe about 40 people should have been on that bus. Only 14 got off,” said Adams, whom The Post caught having heated words with an organizer during the alarming, unexpected 7 a.m. no-show at Midtown’s Port Authority Bus Terminal.

RTWT

27 Jan 2022

My Kind of Guy

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1956: For a bet whilst drunk, former Marine Thomas Fitzpatrick stole a small plane from New Jersey and then landed it perfectly on a narrow Manhattan street in front of the bar he had been drinking at. He had made a bet with a fellow drinker that he could leave the bar, go to New Jersey, and then get back in 15 minutes.

He did nearly the exact same thing two years later, after a bar patron refused to believe he had done the first one.

24 Jun 2021

Vote Lithuanian!

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The GOP candidate for Mayor of New York City.

07 Apr 2021

1953 Saturday Evening Post Cover

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25 Feb 2021

A Walk Through Civilization’s Ruins

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Alexander Zubatov takes a walk through the Dante’s Hell that is Bill de Blasio’s New York City and reflects on the experience of living in the ruins of a formerly great civiization.

The subway is on the next block, and there should be at least two or three more trains stopping here before the 1 a.m. post-pandemic subway curfew hits. I descend one flight of steps, turn the corner past the curled-up form at their base, take another flight down and arrive at the turnstiles by what I know no name for other than the manned “token booth,” though tokens have not existed in years, the function of dispensing their MetroCard replacements (themselves already on the way out) was ceded to machines long ago and, so far as I can tell, the individual “manning” these booths does little more than grudgingly give out occasional traveling directions. As though to prove the point, a young thug wearing an expensive jacket and sneakers rushes past me and vaults the turnstile, sagging jeans and all, and the bloated woman in the booth sits stone-faced. I flash my hands in a half-hearted “are you really gonna do nothing?” gesture. She fails to manifest so much as recognition.

I turn away, pay my fare, and go through. I think of the politicians who’ve betrayed us, who’ve shamelessly lied to us and told us that punishing fare evasion penalizes poverty, as if it’s the poverty of put-upon unfortunates rather than the apathy of an entire society that has led to a whopping 13.6 percent of subway riders not bothering to pay their fair share, costing the MTA nearly $40 million a year even as it faces a near-unprecedented budget crisis and contemplates fare increases that only we paying customers will have to shoulder.

This is what this entire city, this nation, has become: a shrinking reserve of law-abiding citizens shouldering every burden for a growing mass of fat, lazy leeches, slugs, thugs, gangbangers, rule-breakers, whiners, and perpetual ne’er-do-wells comically beatified by walled-off, gated-away elites who never set foot in the subway and spin out contemporary fantasias on Rousseau’s theme of the “noble savage,” virtuous “oppressed,” “marginalized” and “vulnerable” victims heroically bearing their daily yoke while living in fear of the mythical, perpetual great white crackdown. This is our modern-day version of Joseph Goebbels’ “big lie”—an audacious, supremely ironic, 180-degree reversal of reality that only a well-off, sheltered, would-be white savior could possibly believe, blinded by opaque layers of ideology and inexperience borne of never having walked warily alone through a sketchy urban neighborhood at night.

A moment’s reflection—bolstered, if need be, by reams of statistical data that would only prove the obvious—would reveal that we are the ones living in fear, of course. The chances that an unarmed civilian, regardless of his race, will be brutalized, much less killed, by police is vanishingly low (particularly if he avoids doing the kinds of things that tend to garner police attention) when weighed against the chances that that same blameless civilian passing through the same urban neighborhood will be the victim of a crime.

The biggest duh-story of the past several years that somehow remains less than perfectly apparent to many muddle-headed blatherers today is that the far greater danger all of us face is from criminals, not from cops. But because that simple truism would tend to reverse the racial polarity of the media’s favored narrative, this is not a question facts and science can be brought into the picture to address. To do so would dispel the hysterical conspiracy theories on the Left—“systemic,” “institutional” and/or “structural” racism, “white supremacy” and so forth—that are the equivalent of Trump’s election fraud and his supporters’ Q-Anon conspiracies on the Right.

RTWT

20 Dec 2020

The Revolution Arrives at Dalton

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The New York Post reports that Dalton may be about to go Woke and therefore go broke.

One of NYC’s poshest private schools is in an uproar over an anti-racist manifesto signed by dozens of faculty members with a sweeping list of demands.

The Dalton School — which boasts stars Anderson Cooper, Christian Slater and Claire Danes as alumni — is wrestling with eight pages of “proposals” to overhaul the staffing, curriculum and treatment of black students.

Yearly tuition for grades K-12 at the Upper East Side institution is $54,180 a year.

The proposals — first reported this week by The Naked Dollar blog — grew out of the George Floyd police-brutality protests and long-simmering student complaints of racism at the prestigious school.

But some parents say the backlash has become oppressive.

“My ancestors experienced white supremacy by being slaughtered,” a Jewish parent told The Post. “The idea that being white automatically means you are privileged or a white supremacist is ridiculous. My child comes from people who had to fight for everything they got.

“It’s just about skin color now.”

Those who disagree remain silent, the insider said. “Parents are terrified to speak up for fear of retribution. Parents are acting like spineless wimps.”

One Dalton father, who said he’s removed his children from the school as a result of the manifesto, said Dalton “has totally failed in its mission to uplift the very people it professes to help.

“It’s completely absurd and a total step backwards,” the father, who did not want to be identified, told the Post.

“This supposed anti-racist agenda is asking everyone to look at black kids and treat them differently because of the color of their skin,” he said. “The school is more focused on virtue-signaling this nonsense than it is in actually helping students of color. More parents are going to be pulling their kids out.”

The wide-ranging faculty demands include:

    Hiring 12 full-time diversity officers, and multiple psychologists to support students “coping with race-based traumatic stress.”
    Assigning a staffer dedicated to black students who have “complaints or face disciplinary action,” and a full-time advocate to help black kids “navigate a predominantly white institution.”
    Paying the student debt of black staffers upon hiring them.
    Requiring courses that focus on “Black liberation” and “challenges to white supremacy.”
    Compensating any student of color who appears in Dalton promotional material.
    Abolishing high-level academic courses by 2023 if the performance of black students is not on par with non-blacks.
    Requiring “anti-racism” statements from all staffers.
    Overhauling the entire curriculum, reading lists and student plays to reflect diversity and social justice themes.
    Divesting from companies that “criminalize or dehumanize” black people, including private prisons and tech firms that manufacture police equipment or weapons.
    Donating 50 percent of all fundraising dollars to NYC public schools if Dalton is not representative of the city in terms of gender, race, socioeconomic background, and immigration status by 2025.

Dalton officials said the document is just “a set of thought-starters created last summer by a group of faculty and staff responding to Dalton’s commitment to becoming an anti-racist institution.

“The school does not support all the language or actions it contains.” it added.

“Dalton’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism is grounded in our deep appreciation for the dignity of all community members, an understanding of differing life backgrounds, empathy for one another, and the ability to engage and listen with respect across differences,” the school said in a statement to The Post.

But Naked Dollar blogger Scott Johnston, who first revealed the manifesto Thursday, said of the demands: “Dalton’s teachers are refusing to come back until they are met.”

The Dalton spokesman rebutted, “We’re expecting all teachers to return after winter break.”

Johnston — the author of “Campusland,” a humorous novel about the “woke” college climate — said the “meltdown” at Dalton reflects the angst and self-imposed guilt of elite private schools across the country. …

the Dalton parent who spoke to The Post predicted that 30 to 40 percent of parents of kids in the Class of 2025 will pull them out of the school and transfer them as a result of the manifesto.

Making the situation more tense, some Dalton parents are fuming over the school’s resistance to reopening classrooms since the COVID-19 outbreak, remaining fully remote while other private and public schools have resumed some or all in-person instruction.

RTWT

19 Dec 2020

Waldorf Astoria Clock Restored

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HODINKEE reports on the restoration of a famous New York landmark.

Hub of high society as well as industry and political power, the Waldorf-Astoria had as its centerpiece – both at the original location and at the new tower – a magnificent clock, originally created by the Goldsmiths’ And Silversmiths’ Company Of London for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition, better known as the Chicago World’s Fair.

The clock was purchased by John Jacob Astor IV for the original location of the Waldorf-Astoria, and after the demolition, it was one of the few surviving fixtures to find a new home on Park Avenue, where it shone like a golden beacon in the lobby – a landmark and the site of countless rendez-vous – for over 80 years. In 2017, the Waldorf closed for extensive renovations, and the clock, for the first time, was disassembled and moved to a studio in upstate New York for a thorough, and as it turned out, long-overdue restoration. The spectacularly restored clock is now on view at the New York Historical Society and will be returned to the Waldorf when renovations are completed.

Just getting the clock out of the Waldorf lobby and to the restoration workshop was logistically complicated. The clock is nine feet tall and weighs about 4,000 pounds. It’s constructed in four basic sections – the base, the middle, the clock section with four clock faces, and an upper section topped with a model of the Statue Of Liberty. (Lady Liberty was not part of the original design; she was a gift to Astor from the French government and added in 1902.) The disassembled clock was trucked upstate to Stair Restorations, where the actual restoration work took place.

One of the biggest challenges facing the restoration team was a lack of information from the original makers. The Goldsmiths’ Company was unable to locate any records in its archives. This meant that the restoration team at Stair, under the direction of head restorer Nigel Thomas (a 25-year veteran), had only written accounts and a few grainy photographs with which to evaluate the original state of the clock, and the changes it had undergone over the decades.

Original elements are missing – most notably a circle of animated figures which once marched around the top of the octagonal middle section. The figures were misplaced when the clock was moved to the Park Avenue Waldorf-Astoria and have never been found. The base of the clock has also changed over the years. There are actually three bases, one inside the other. “The ‘third-generation base’ is a sort of banquette,” Thomas told HODINKEE, “and we found two more [earlier] bases inside it,” – including the original marble base.

Alarmingly, the clock had also become structurally unsound. Thomas says that at some point – possibly during the installation of the magnetically driven gongs (the clock strikes the Chimes Of Westminster), which replaced the original mechanical striking system – part of the supporting frame had been cut out, allowing the clock to gradually settle into a tilted position.

The four clocks show the time in four different cities: New York, Madrid, Paris, and Greenwich, England. Each dial also has a small inscription advertising Elgin watches – a mysterious element, as Elgin was one of America’s biggest watch and clock makers; not a name you’d expect on the dials of an English-made clock. The likeliest explanation is that the original mechanical movement was at some point replaced by an electric one, though when this was done is unclear. An issue of the Bulletin Of The National Association Of Watch And Clock Collectors from 1960 mentions the replacement of the mechanical movement with an electric one from Elgin; perhaps the inscriptions were added at the same time.

In Thomas’ words, the clock has “led a hard life,” and most of its exposed surfaces were very much the worse for wear. Decades of cleaning, pollution, and constant running had left most of the exposed surfaces of the clock in need of repair and refinishing. Many of the decorative elements, including Lady Liberty, are in ormolu, a type of gilded bronze. The original process used a poisonous mercury amalgam, and gilders often died before the age of 40 from mercury poisoning. The ormolu work on the clock had to be cleaned and replated, and the panels in the tall octagonal section had their plating removed (the base material is pressed copper) and replaced. The goal was not to return the clock to “as new” condition but rather to preserve the patina it had acquired while ensuring continuity in finishing and structural integrity. …

With the layers of grime accumulated over the decades cleaned off, and the finish restored on all exterior surfaces, the remarkable visual richness of the clock can be seen, as well as the interplay of different finishes and surfaces. The figure of Lady Liberty gleams as if lit by the rising sun. …

At each corner of the upper section holding the clock’s dials, there are small pegs which once held additional figurines (visible in the photograph from 1893) which, in keeping with the conservator’s approach, the restoration team did not attempt to reproduce or replace.

Silver plating has been restored on the high relief images on the lower octagonal section, where one can find portrayals of Queen Victoria, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and Grover Cleveland. Below each bust are panels showing scenes of swimming, running, yachting, cycling, baseball, trotting, and horse jumping, as well as a scene of the Brooklyn Bridge, which had opened in 1883 – just ten years before the clock was delivered to the World’s Fair. …

The clock can be seen at the New York Historical Society and will take its place once again as the centerpiece of the Waldorf-Astoria’s lobby when the tower – which will have 375 hotel rooms, as well as 375 condominium residences – re-opens in late 2022.

RTWT

16 Dec 2020

21 Club Closing Next March

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Growing up in a working class provincial small town, I lusted after sophistication, the high end Outside World, and the perqs and privileges of adulthood.

The post-WWII collapse of the Anthracite Mining industry devastated the economy of my native region of Pennsylvania, and my father was forced to buy a membership in the Steamfitters Union and work far from home on construction projects, where work existed, paying 10% of his paycheck for a “Syracuse book,” i.e, permission to work in a different union local’s territory. He typically worked all week in Westchester County, NY and came home for weekends.

During high school, I joined him, and worked construction as a plumber’s helper. Outside work, I had in 9th Grade already adopted the habit of wearing a suit and tie every day. Part of it was simply an expression of my eagerness to be treated as an adult, but it was mostly to separate myself from the ordinary society of lunkheads and idiots my own age and to part company with my earlier reputation as a tough guy and street fighter. I was sick and tired of an endless series of strange kids showing up to challenge me to a fight in order to take over my reputation as top fighter, and one ridiculously dangerous incident woke me up and persuaded me that, sooner or later, somebody would get really hurt, that my current identity and life-style would get me arrested and sent to jail. I decided to make a clean break with all that and to devote my time instead to a reading program of self education.

You might think that a teenage kid going around in a suit-and-tie every day in a tough coal town would get a lot of crap, but my reputation, and in extremis, my ability to both take and to throw a punch were still there, and I only very rarely had any problems.

Apart from my personal reading program, I took advantage of access to NYC in summertime with cash from working in my pocket to make myself familiar with the big bright adult world. I attended jazz concerts at NYC clubs. I ate haute cuisine dinners, and drank French wine, at famous restaurants. I even stayed occasionally, with no actual necessity, overnight in grand hotels. Since I wore glasses and was wearing a suit and tie, my being an adult of drinking age was simply universally accepted, even when I was in early high school.

I did this kind of thing often enough that in a number of prominent NYC venues, the Oyster Bar, Toots Shor’s, and 21, I was recognized by bartenders and presented upon entry with my personal drink.

This kind of thing can backfire. I was just beginning to explore the world of cocktails and was commonly ordering new ones I’d read of by name for the first time. Upon visiting the Oyster Bar, the world’s most convenient watering hole for persons waiting for the next train, I ventured upon my first Pink Gin, made, you must understand, entirely of straight gin with a dash of Angostura bitters. Pink Gins are not a teenage kid’s drink by any means. By comparison, a Dry Martini is like a Shirley Temple. Nonetheless, I gamely choked it down, tipped the elderly Chinese barman and left. Well, he remembered me, and the next time I stopped in, a large Pink Gin was in front of me in the proverbial NY minute. Every time I came in, I got a big greeting, a wide smile, and a great big straight up Pink Gin double. I was flattered by the recognition and I simply didn’t have the heart to disappoint him by changing my drink. Over time, I got enough practice choking them down that I gradually acquired the taste.

All this reminiscing has been inspired by the very sad news that 21 is going to be closing down early next year. Like the long gone Toots Shor’s, 21 has always been one of all mankind’s little homes away from home, a Clean, Well-Lighted Place, where a warm welcome, a good meal, and a perfect Martini await.

As a teenage kid, I found 21 pretty darn expensive, but the management’s knowing my name, the hearty greeting, and the general atmosphere struck me as actually worth the price of admission. At 21, you were a member of the family. I really don’t know anywhere that made a better hamburger or mixed a better drink. NYC will just not be the same NYC without 21. What a sad, sad time we’ve lived to see!

Michael Kaplan, in the Post, writes:

With high-priced imbibing currently on hold at ‘21,’ (the current owners) have done the sensible thing.

“We’re suspending our lunch this year,” said the author. Then his voice turned hopeful as he echoed a Christmas wish of many a New Yorker: “Maybe ‘21’ will reopen in 2021 and we’ll be there next Christmas.”

09 Sep 2020

VDH Describes Sadly the Suicide of the American Urban Elite

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cole_thomas_the_course_of_e
Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire: Destruction, 1833-1836, New York Historical Society.

Victor Davis Hanson:

No city gets a pass from history, not Athens, not Rome, not Alexandria—not Detroit, Baltimore, or Chicago.

After all, there is no rule that just because Bill Gates and Amazon headquartered in Seattle that its mayor, city council, and state governor will not abandon its signature downtown. What once made Portland great can be undone in a few weeks.

Wall Street may run the world, but it certainly does not run the New York City government. Electronic capital really does still have human legs and when the proverbial suited investor thinks he will be infected, short of toilet paper, or assaulted on the street, he leaves, taking his laptop with him. Bill de Blasio is left to govern, like a horned and bearded Visigoth, over an increasing shell of former grandeur.

To venture into San Francisco is to return in a time machine to 1855, a boomtown based on silicon chips, not gold dust, but one likewise lawless, fetid, and safe only for those with private security guards. To the casual visitor, it appears a lunatic place now recalibrated for the homeless, the looter, the assaulter—and the very rich. Crimes like public defecation and drug use, or shattering the windows of a parked car window to steal its contents are not crimes unless the targets are the well-connected.

The story of all Dark Ages is that when civilizations finally prefer suicide, they do it easily, and the remnants flock to the countryside to preserve what they can—allowing the cities to go on with their ritual self-destruction.

So it has begun to seem this endless summer.

RTWT

03 Sep 2020

I Want in on The Pool

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1010 Wins Radio:

A bar on Long Island is in hot water after it reportedly took bets on shooting deaths in New York City and Chicago.

The Cliffton on East Main Street in Patchogue created a gambling pool on which city would see the most shooting deaths over the Labor Day holiday weekend, with the winner offered a cash prize. …

“Let the shooting sprees begin!” the bar reportedly posted to Instagram last week along with a photo of a Super Bowl-style betting box.

Officials have since expressed outrage over the gambling pool.

Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said, “These reports are repugnant and those responsible for this gambling pool should be ashamed.”

The betting box was also condemned by a spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, who called it “unfathomable,” as well as Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri.

The State Liquor Authority said it was “not only sickening, but also appears illegal under the Alcoholic Beverage Control law,” under which gambling at businesses with liquor licenses is prohibited.

Suffolk Police are investigating, according to a spokesperson.

RTWT

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