Monday, January 26, 2015

Solitary Walk Over Brooklyn Bridge as Blizzard Begins

Photo: MK Metz
The full fury of winter storm Juno hasn't fully hit Brooklyn yet, but the wind is already driving little icy pins into the eyes of walkers braving the weather.

Here's a photo taken earlier today on the walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge as the storm gathered force.

Not a single cyclist!

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Uber Says It Will Only Hike Prices 280 Percent in NYC During Blizzard of 2015

At a press conference on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned unnamed for-hire car services that price-gouging during emergencies was illegal.

"If you have any evidence of people taking advantage of this emergency to unfairly and illegally raise the prices of their rides, call 311 and report it," de Blasio said. "The Taxi and Limousine Commission will investigate.”

Uber told AP that "surge pricing will be capped at 2.8 times the normal fare" during the storm. That's not even triple, which is what Louie the Lip charges during emergencies.

Uber is waay better than Louie the Lip!

All roads and subways are closing at 11 p.m. Monday so get on home.

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De Blasio: Food Delivery Drivers “Not Essential Emergency Personnel” During Blizzard

All roads in NYC close to non-emergency personnel at 11 p.m. Monday. Shown: Traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge at the start of the Blizzard of 2015. Photo by MK Metz

Because of the Great Blizzard of 2015, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are shutting the city and downstate NY down tonight at 11 p.m.

“Make preparations to get home ... before the worst of the storm hits,” de Blasio said. “We need cars off the road so that our equipment can do its work and keep streets passable for emergency vehicles.”

Here's where the seriousness of the situation becomes apparent: The Brooklyn Eagle reports that in response to persistent questioning by reporters, de Blasio said that food delivery drivers were “not essential emergency personnel.”

Holy sweet mother!


De Blasio issued a Winter Weather Emergency Declaration restricting travel by all except emergency personnel beginning at 11 p.m. New York City subways and buses will operate only local service beginning at 8 p.m.

Mass transit, trains and buses will be suspended and a travel ban will go into effect at 11 p.m on all local and state roads in the following 13 counties: Bronx, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Ulster, and Westchester.

Long Island Rail Road, Metro North, Staten Island Railroad service will be suspended beginning at approximately 11 p.m. until further notice. PATH service will operate on a weekend schedule beginning at 9 p.m. and be suspended at 11 p.m. until further notice.

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Last Minute Shopping List for the Blizzard of 2015

Shoppers in Gristedes. Photo: MK Metz
 If you haven't already, you should pop out Monday morning and buy a few supplies to prepare for the Great Blizzard of 2015.

The city might just grind to a halt by Tuesday, with two feet of snow, some power lines down and outdoor subway trains, the LIRR and MetroNorth out of commisssion.

De Blasio: "We are facing most likely one of the largest snow storms in the history of this city.”

It seems that Trader Joe's and Whole Foods have already been raided by entrepid New Yorkers, but not to worry. The city has enough bodegas and grocery stores to supply what you'll need to get through the next two or three days holed up in your apartment.

Here's the basic list for last minute Blizzard of 2015 shopping:

- Cash: Get enough for a few days' necessities, in twenties or smaller.

- Basics electronics: Flashlight, transistor radio, batteries.

- Food for humans and pets. It doesn't have to be fancy: soup, pasta, sandwiches, eggs or frozen meals-ready-to-eat. Fruit: apples, bananas, a bag of clementines or oranges. Carbs you can eat without cooking, like cereal (you'll need milk), bread, granola bars. Buy treats, too: cookies, chips, beer, whatever you like.

- Get some water on the off chance you lose electricity and don't feel like drinking water out of your bathtub.

- Don't forget baby formula, prescriptions, tissues, sanitary needs and toilet paper!

- If you are a home owner, you'll need salt and a shovel. 

Charge your cell phone and other electronic gear. (If circuits are busy send text messages, which will go through if any cell towers are working, even if voice doesn't. If the power is out altogether, standard landline phones, which run on the power running through the phone wires, usually work.)

NOTE: Gas stoves with a pilot light work even if the electricity goes out, but the newer gas stoves have an electric igniter and they won't work. You may be able to manually light them with a match, however.

Note: Keep dogs on leash -- they get confused in the snow and may lose their way. Wipe off their paws carefully when they get back inside.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Search On for 12-Year-Old Patrick Alford, and More Brooklyn Briefs

Patrick Alford, as he might look today. Courtesy NYPD
 NYPD is seeking the public's assistance in locating Patrick Alford who was last seen 5 years ago on January 22, 2010 at 11pm, leaving the lobby of the "Spring Creek Development" (his residence), located at 130 Vandalia Ave, within the confines of the 75th Precinct in Brooklyn. This photo shows how he might look today. More at NYPD News.

- Shelly Silver's arrest: 5 immediate impacts on Albany. [Gotham Gazette] 

- Brooklyn BP Adams "deeply disappointed" in MTA fare hikes. [Brooklyn Eagle]

- NYC police officials reveal that shootings are up 19% this year as 5 are slain in one day. [NY Daily News]

- Landmarked Brooklyn bathhouse Brooklyn Lyceum slated for condos. [Crain's]

- The one with the dome: Massey Knakal is hunting for a buyer for Downtown Brooklyn's iconic Dime Savings Bank building. [Brooklyn Eagle]

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pro-Palestinian Protest at NYC Council Draws Outrage

Councilman David G. Greenfield issued a condemnation of a noisy protest in the Council Chamber today by Pro-Palestine activists (shown above).

Greenfield said the activists timed their protest to occur "at exactly the same time that the Council was passing a resolution commemorating the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp where 1.1 million people were slaughtered."

Greenfield supplied this video of his response:

Pro-Palestinian supporters had submitted a petition to the NYC Council demanding that the Council cancel an upcoming all-expense-paid trip to Israel, funded by political advocacy groups. Over a dozen members of the City Council have accepted the trip, which begin February 15th, according to the International Middle East Media Center.

According to JP Updates, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in a statement, “At a time when the Council was voting on a resolution commemorating the 70thanniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, this outburst was offensive, outrageous and counter to the values of the City Council.”

The City Council members who have been identified as accepting the "hasbara" (PR) trips to Israel are Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Mark Treyger, Brad Lander, Antonio Reynoso, David Greenfield, Rafael Espinal, Darlene Mealy, Mark Levine, Helen Rosenthal, Corey Johnson, Ritchie Torres, Andrew Cohen, Donovan Richards, Eric Ulrich, and James Van Bramer.

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37-Year-Old Woman Dies After Jumping Off Verrazano Bridge

The Staten Island Advance reports that a 37-year-old woman was pronounced dead at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, after she jumped off the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge Thursday morning

 Sadly, this is the 11th fatal plunge from the bridge since 2011.

The woman drove her car to the lower level and jumped at 6:14 a.m., according to officials.

Harbor units pulled her from the waters by 7 a.m.

UPDATE: The woman has been identified as Laura Fasano of Staten Island, SI Live reports. She was an employee of about 13 years at Regional Radiology in Staten Island.

"She will be very much missed, the patients and the staff loved her," a business managersaid.

37-year-old woman's fatal leap from Verrazano-Narrows Bridge marks 11th suicide from span since 2011 [SI Live] Updated here.

Photo: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Snyder - via Wikipedia; exact source

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Al Qaeda in Brooklyn Court, Airbnb Gets Blasted, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- An al Qaeda operative appears before a judge in Brooklyn. Among other charges, he plotted to attack the LIRR. [The Daily Beast]

- City Council blasts Airbnb executives in contentious hearing. [NY Daily News]

- Renderings: The Cobble Hill Association has gotten copies of the modified plan for the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Henry Street (where the Shell gas station now stands). [CHA]

- Brooklyn and Barclays are a logistical and ethical minefield for the Democratic Convention, says Norman Order. [NYT]

- Forbes: Brooklyn Nets valued at $1.5 billion, 6th most expensive NBA team. [NetsDaily]

- More than 130,000 pages of declassified documents relating to Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) from the U.S. Air Force have been published online by man who spent 20 years filing Freedom of Info Act requests. [abc7]

- "The unemployment rate among recent IT graduates at the moment is actually twice that of theater majors." [WSJ]

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cuomo's Curious $700 Million for Central Brooklyn Healthcare

Gov. Cuomo, at a SUNY meeting.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Budget released on Wednesday includes $700 million in capital funding for health care in central and eastern Brooklyn. His outgoing budget director, told Capital NY, "I think it's pretty clear that a new hospital is required.

Curiously, officials in Brooklyn (or in the rest of the city, for that matter) haven't heard anything about this plan.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams told the Brooklyn Eagle late Wednesday, “I haven’t heard from the Governor’s office on this matter."

He added, "I appreciate Governor Cuomo’s attention to health care in Brooklyn, though I will need to examine the specific concept of building a new hospital when so many of our existing facilities need support, on top of our having just closed Long Island College Hospital (LICH).”

It's curious how a $700 million capital investment is suddenly pulled out of the hat by the governor who is still in the middle of selling a 20-building hospital in Brooklyn for about a half a billion dollars.

It's curious how no elected officials know anything about this plan.

Cuomo budgets $700 million for health care in central Brooklyn [Brooklyn Eagle]

Cuomo considering building new hospital in Brooklyn [Capital NY]

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Anchors Away: Anyone in Brooklyn Heights Know Where to Put a Monumental 19th Century Anchor?

Photo data © 2015 Google Maps
The familiar anchor that's been resting outside 76 Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights for decades needs to find a new home.

For many years the building was known as Sirius House; then it was the home of Design Within Reach. Soon, the venue will become the Friend of a Farmer restaurant, and the new owners say they would like to donate the anchor to the Brooklyn Heights community.

Problem: Where to put it?

Monumental 19th century anchor seeking suitable public spot to honor Heights shipping heritage [Brooklyn Eagle]

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