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Issue of the Week Archive
Residency Requirements (04/17/2006) A Brooklyn principal recently lost his job because he lived in New Jersey and lied about it. Does it make sense to limit where city workers live, or is it an idea whose time has passed?
Stadiumania: Snapshots of an Obsession (04/10/2006) A look at the sports building craze in New York City -- and the battles that surrounds it.
Education, Housing, Health...And The 2007 Budget (04/03/2006) This budget season there is plenty of talk about money for police, schools, and children's services. But how do the city's budget priorities match up to the concerns of everyday New Yorkers?
New York Nights (03/27/2006) A recent murder has brought increased scrutiny to the city's bars and clubs, an industry that is already rife with conflict.
Stem Cell Research: Medical Miracle or Moral Morass? (03/20//2006) With the federal government refusing to fund stem cell research, some doctors, patient advocates and researchers want New York to support the field that they say could revolutionize medicine.
New York's Port: Beyond Dubai (03/13/2006) Whether or not the fracas over port security will continue now that the Dubai deal itself has fallen through, it has brought back attention to a once-great New York Harbor where security is only one of several issues threatening the future.
Community Board Reform (03/06/2006) Community boards are New York’s most local form of government, a place where residents can plan the future of their neighborhoods. But have they become obsolete – or can they be retooled to give citizens a real voice?
2 Fultons, 2 Futures (02/27/2006) The recent move of the Fulton Fish Market from Manhattan to the Bronx is supposed to help both the neighborhood the market left behind and its new surroundings. Remaking Hunts Point, a slide show.
Not-So-Special Elections (02/17/2006) On February 28, voters in Manhattan and Brooklyn will elect three new State Assembly members in Special Elections. No one knows about these races – and even those who do vote will find that the political bosses have done their best to rig the results.
Keeping Kids in School (02/13/2006) Every year thousands of students drop out of high school.This was a big issue during the mayoral campaign. What's being done about it now?
The 2007 New York City Budget (02/06/2006)The mayor has set out bold visions for his second term, and he has the luxury of a multibillion budget surplus. So why does his proposed new budget stress being "fiscally responsible"? Also: The Last Dance? By David I. Weprin
A Checkup for City Services (01/23/2006) New York City government could get a new way take its vital signs with the proposal of CityStat NY. And that's just one way to spot trends, gaps and overlaps in city services.
Political Agendas, 2006 (01/09/2006) The governor, the mayor, and a whole host of other public officials got back to work last week -- or at least delivered speeches. A look at the issues they are promising to tackle this year.
Waiting For Albany (01/02/2006) As the new state legislative session begins, a look at how Albanys delays in taking action have had an impact on such issues as education and health care, and what New Yorkers hope will happen this year to fix things.
Three Days In December (12/26/2005) A look at the issues that came out of the transit strike of 2005 -- but will outlast it.
Top 10 Stories of 2005 (12/20/2005) The mayoral election, transit troubles and continued delays and controversy at Ground Zero marked a year when many New Yorkers focused on news elsewhere in the world.
Eminent Domain Revisited (12/12/2005) In the past, the government took over private property to build grand public works. Today, eminent domain is being wielded for private development. Also: Eminent Domain Benefits Developers, Not the Public and Eminent Domain is a Tool, Not a Conspiracy. Stories From The Community Gazette: Columbia Expansion and Eminent Domain, The Battle Over the Iron Triangle and Life in the Atlantic Yards Footprint
Without Health Insurance (12/05/2005)What is the effect on the city of its 1.7 million residents without health insurance, and what is the best way to get them covered?
Measuring Miller's City Council (11/28/2005) The mayor ridiculed it. The press ignored it. And the public did not understand it. But over the past four years the first term-limited New York City Council has built a record for New Yorkers to consider.
New York's Grocery Gap (11/21/2005) Food is a multibillion-dollar industry in New York. So why is it so hard for many New Yorker to find a simple fresh vegetable in their neighborhoods – and what are they doing about it?
Charter Schools (11/14/2005) Mayor Bloomberg has made charter schools ? which are publicly funded and privately run -- a key part of his education plans. But how much of a difference can they make?
Campaign 2005 General Election Guide for the Last Minute Voter (11/07/2005) A step-by-step guide to New York City’s General Election. Also, The Ballot Questions: New Yorkers will get to vote on changing the state budget process, a transportation bond act, an ethics code, and how city finances are managed.
2005 City Council Races to Watch (10/24/2005) In New York, the election for most City Council seats takes place on Primary Day, but this year four districts feature tough, tight general election contests. Also: Candidate Debate District 4 | Candidate Debate District 5
The Real Issues in the 2005 Mayoral Race (10/17/2005) A look at the key issues facing New York City, where Michael Bloomberg and Fernando Ferrer agree, and how they disagree.
The Fiscal Crisis After 30 Years (10/10/2005) Two proposals on this years ballot have sparked debate over whether the city and the state are moving in the right direction financially or whether they will fall back into habits that brought New York to the brink of bankruptcy in 1975.
The NYC Preservation Game (10/03/2005) Church or skyscraper? Summer cottage or million dollar home? "Masterwork" or "world's greatest urinal?" In this interactive game about the city's historic landmarks, you decide.
Hospitals in Crisis (9/26/2005) With hospitals facing financial crisis, some think New York's health care system will run better if some struggling hospitals are closed. But others say the real effect of such closings will be to deny care to those who need it most.
Air Pollution (9/19/2005) City and state politicians have done a lot to try to make New York's air healthier. But should they do more -- and can any local action make a real difference?
Campaign 2005 Primary Day: Guide for the Last Minute Voter (9/12/2005) Guide for the Last Minute Voter
Campaign 2005: Guide for the Last Minute Voter (9/05/2005) A step-by-step guide to New York City's Primary Election
Campaign 2005: Mayoral Endorsements (9/05/2005) The Endorsement Game Candidates vie for support from organizations and politicians. But does this kind of backing really make a difference? Also - Campaign 2005 Mayoral Endorsements Grid
42nd Street (8/29/2005) Ten years after the old 42nd Street -- sleazy and scary -- started being transformed into "The New 42nd Street" -- cleaned-up, crime-free, and corporate -- all the critical questions of urban planning facing the city seem to be playing out on one famous block.
Cemeteries (8/22/2005) Conditions for the dead in New York are even more crowded than those for the living, and cemeteries are planning for the day they will be full by cultivating their value as historic resources.
Campaign 2005: Mayoral Issue Grid (8/15/2005) An issue-by-issue breakdown of what the mayoral candidates say about civil rights, crime, education, housing, and transportation.
The Mayor's Money (8/08/2005) Should the incumbent's wealth be a campaign issue, again? What has his "self-financing" done to the city's campaign finance program?
Making Medicaid Cheaper (8/01/2005) The program covers 4 million New Yorker but costs many billions. Can we cut Medicaid spending -- and still protect the health of all New Yorkers?
311'S GROWING PAINS (7/25/2005) 311 now receives a million calls a month -- as many as 911. But critics say it could be doing much more.
Being Borough President (7/18/2005) Borough presidents have little power and few official duties but that does not keep many politicians from wanting the job. A look at all five races for borough president.
Budget Quiz (7/11/2005) NYC Budget Quiz
The Freedom Tower, Again (7/04/2005) Once again, there is a new design for the Freedom Tower at the site of the World Trade Center, no longer emphasizing symbols of freedom, but offering assurances of safety and security.
Recycling (6/27/2005) Many New Yorkers don't know which of our garbage we are supposed to recycle (aerosol cans? wire hangers? shampoo bottles?) -- and city officials disagree over how much of it we can.
Fees (6/20/2005) Politicians have raised hundreds of hidden fees for city services, making it more expensive to own a car, make a phone call, visit a zoo - even to be born or die in New York.
Campaign 2005 (6/13/2005) Two new transcripts of mayoral forums (one about housing; the other, the budget), an article on the candidates for Gifford Miller's City Council seat, and a quiz that tests whether you're dedicated to civic culture ...or celebrity culture.
How Real is Real Estate (6/06/2005) New Yorkers are obsessing over the booming real estate market, and panicking over the possibility of a crash. But what does real estate really mean to New York?
Unfunded Mandates and 'Uncontrollables' (5/30/2005) He may be mayor and an expert on business, but Michael Bloomberg says he has no control over much of the city's budget. Is he right?
Nonsmoking New York? (5/23/2005) After two years, has the campaign against smoking worked? Has it gone too far? And what are they planning next?
Busting Bullies (5/16/2005) As the fight against bullying has moved into the political arena, New York has been given an 'F' for its efforts to protect kids from abuse.
Questioning The Budget (5/09/2005) "We have a reason to have a grin on our face," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg as he presented the details for his proposed new budget. Why is he smiling? Should we be smiling? How can he simultaneously boast of a $3.3 billion surplus and warn of a $4.4 billion deficit? Mark Berkey-Gerard answers these and other frequently unasked questions about the budget.
New York's Proposed Stadiums and Arenas (5/02/2005) How do New York City's proposed sports stadiums and arenas - the West Side Stadium, new Yankee Stadium, and Brooklyn Nets Arena - compare with similar venues across the country?
Neighborhood Activists' Toolkit (4/25/2005) When it comes to objecting to a proposed power plant or demanding the reopening of a local street, neighborhood activists have many techniques at their disposal, from calling their elected officials on the phone to making a Web site to keep their neighbors up to date. A look at how successful activists have used such tools, and a guide for those learning to use them.
Still Unpreserved (4/18/2005) On the 40th anniversary of the city's landmarks law, some preservationists argue that much more must be done to save historic places. A slideshow of ten threatened New York City sites.
The Politics of Parking (4/11/2005) The quest for parking in New York has spawned sitcom gags, headaches and political battles. But some planners say the problem is not too few parking spaces but too many.
Your Laws in Order (4/04/2005) What was Mayor Bloomberg's reason for vetoing the car alarm ban? Why were "rhino horns" outlawed in New York City in 2004? Which council member holds the record for the worst attendance? Find out with our new city law section, where you can search every city law passed since 2002 - by year, by topic, by keyword, you name it.
AIDS in NYC (3/28/2005) After a brief flurry of attention last month, AIDS has once again faded from the consciousness of most New Yorkers. But major issues of the epidemic remain unresolved.
The Fuss About Social Security (3/21/2005) Everyone is debating Social Security. What are the real issues and what is at stake for New Yorkers?
NYC Term Limits Revisited (3/14/2005) Three years ago, term limits created the largest transition in government in New York City history. But how much has really changed?
The DAs of New York (3/7/2005) As they prosecute crimes, district attorneys are supposed to be above politics. But to keep their jobs, the prosecutors have to win elections. This year, two city DAs, Morgenthau and Hynes, face unusually tough races.
Crime Rate (2/28/2005) New York's drop in crime enters its fifteenth year. Will the trend will continue?
Hotel Boom or bust (2/21/2005) Dozens of new hotels - some as trendy as the discos of the 1970s - are breaking ground across the city. So why do some fear there will be fewer hotel rooms available, and fewer hotel jobs?
High School, Training School (2/14/2005) At a time when high schools are raising academic standards, New York continues to offer hundreds of vocational programs. Can job training and academic rigor co-exist?
Facing Unemployment (2/07/2005) Many of the 230,000 unemployed New Yorkers surely question the official optimism about unemployment, and ask how fair and how effective are the city's policies on unemployment benefits, job training and job creation.
The 2006 New York City Budget (1/31/2005) Mayor Michael Bloomberg's fourth annual budget plays up the good news, downplays the bad, and blames the rest on Albany.
Risky Business (1/24/2005) The insurance industry of New York is itself under threat, from job losses, terrorism, auto fraud, and - depending on your point of view - its own corruption or Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's investigation of its corruption.
What IS the State of the City (1/17/2005) In Mayor Michael Bloomberg's New York, crime is low, schools are good, and apartments are affordable. Does the mayor's view match up with reality?
Challenging the UN (1/10/2005) An East Side playground is the latest battleground in the war between the United Nations and New Yorkers who would be happy to see the world body leave town.
What Can Any Mayor Really Do? (1/03/2004) 2005 is an election year in New York - and candidates are already making promises for what they will do for the city if elected. But how much can a mayor - any mayor - really do to improve the city? Also: Will Bloomberg Be Re-Elected? by Joseph Mercurio
Top 10 Stories of 2004 (12/20/2004) Top 10 Stories of 2004.
Shopping in the City (12/13/2004) Holiday shoppers no longer have to leave the city to shop at chain stores -- or their homes to shop at all.
Funding The Schools (12/06/2004) A court panel has ruled that city schools need billions, but no one is writing the check yet.
Outsourcing and New York City (11/29/2004) The word outsourcing has come to represent the loss of American jobs to foreign competition. What does it mean for New York?
Cycling In the City (11/22/2004) Riding a bike in New York has long been a hazardous activity, but lately it has also become a political - and a criminal - act.
Making High Schools Smaller (11/15/2004) New York is breaking down massive high schools into smaller ones. Will that solve the puzzle of poor student performance?
What Does It Mean to New York? (11/8/2004) What do another four years of President George W. Bush mean for a town where 75 percent of voters wanted to kick him out of office? A look at what Bush has promised to do on issues like anti-terrorism funding, taxes, education, civil rights, and community development - and how it might affect New York.
New York City Election Day: Guide for the Last Minute Voter (11/1/2004) A step-by-step guide to New York's General Election: who is running; what they say about the issues; and what to do if you have problems at the polls.
Looking Back at 100 (10/25/2004) 100 years ago this week, the New York subways opened to eager passengers. This centennial and other anniversaries this year provide a way to look at the New York of 100 years ago - and the city of today.
The Mayor's New Garbage Plan (10/18/2004) Mayor Michael Bloomberg has spent the last month announcing long term plans to handle the 50,000 tons of trash that New Yorkers produce each day. A look at what the plans do -- and what they don't do.
Voting Arcade (10/11/2004) New York's voting machines are so old that they were already out of date when the first video game, Pong, hit the market over three decades ago. Embark on a tour of New York's broken down voting system with a nostalgic journey thorough Gotham Gazette's versions of ancient video games.
Ten Ways the Next President Can Help - Or Hurt - New York City (10/4/2004) A look at ten ways the next president could help - or hurt - New York City. Then you critique the two major candidates and their ideas.
Town-Gown in the Big City (9/27/2004) New York's 85 colleges and universities are attracting some 400,000 students -- more than anywhere else in the country, and more than ever before. But, as several look to expand, some questions take on more urgency: What do they do for the communities in which they are located, and for the city as a whole?
Getting to the Airport (9/20/2004) Traveling to or from New York's airports may irk individual travelers, but the poor transportation is something more alarming to the city as a whole. A look at the problem, some recent improvements, and the continuing debates over what to do.
Guide for the Last Minute Voter (9/13/2004) A step-by-step guide to New York's Primary Election.
Three Years of Rebuilding (9/6/2004) September 11th, 2001 was one of the major themes of the Republican National Convention, and still seems to trigger raw emotion throughout the nation. But in the city, reactions are different, and much has changed. On the third anniversary, a look at the issues that New Yorkers have faced over three years of rebuilding - and those we will face in the future.
The Republicans are Coming/Here (8/23 - 8/30/2004) For the first time in history, the Republican National Convention came to New York and we experienced a spectacle the likes of which we will never see again. Gotham Gazette's coverage included:
• A dull-defying calendar of events that you help put together
• Firebreathing Bloggers - Including a delegate from Texas and a NYC protester!
• An actual living Republican Official from New York
• Fabulous games and quizzes that test your Wisdom, your World-view and your Endurance, including: Find your Inner Republican
• A Titanic timeline of the GOP in NYC, from Lincoln to Bloomberg
• Amazing Daily Summaries and Links to the Desperately Over-the-Top Coverage from Newspapers and Web Sites around the Globe and in your Town
Cleaning a Dirty City (8/16/2004) The mayor's office says New York streets are cleaner than they have ever been, as private groups and organizations, along with the Department of Sanitation, sweep, scrub and pick up trash. But despite such efforts, many visitors and residents still see New York as a dirty city.
Prescription for a Healthy City (8/09/2004) In a little noticed campaign, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has mounted more public health initiatives than any mayor in decades. But rising health care costs, hundreds of thousands of uninsured New Yorkers and a growing threat of infectious disease could undermine his efforts.
The Last Remaining Newspaper Town (8/02/2004) If most of New York's major newspapers are losing money, why are there suddenly several more added to the mix, including two free "commuter dailies"? An attempt at an answer, and a look at how newspapers affect the city, economically, politically, culturally. Also, Who Owns New York's News?
Convention Blogs (7/26/2004) Democratic delegates, a Republican volunteer, a protestor, and our own blogger of blogs cover the political conventions as they unfold.
Urban Issues: Presidential Candidates and NYC (7/26/2004) An issue-by-issue breakdown of the presidential candidates urban agendas: what they have to say about the economy, crime, mass transit, housing, and poverty.
The Albany Debacle (7/19/2004) Several members of the State Legislature recently have pled guilty to criminal charges or are being investigated. But this is nothing new. Albany has long been called the most dysfunctional legislative body in the country. A look at why, and why it won't be fixed anytime soon.
Also the campaigns for two open state seats:
The Lingering Power of Roger Green's Incumbency
(Brooklyn Assembly District 57)
Following The Velella Legacy
(Bronx Senate District 34)
For more on the 2004 state campaign, go to Eye on Albany Campaign 2004
Noise (7/12/2004) The Bloomberg administration has announced a sweeping new plan to overhaul the noise code for the first time in more than 30 years, targeting construction sites and nightclubs, but also ice cream truck jingles and even barking dogs. Does it go too far -- or not far enough?
School reforms (7/5/2004) The school year just ended posed a major challenge for Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his schools chancellor. Did they start to turn the system around? Or have their changes produced controversy and little else? The mayoral race -- and the future of New York's children -- could hinge on the answer.
Budget Limbo (6/28/2004) Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council agreed to a $47 billion budget that they said was "good news for New York City." But a closer look at the details, and what Albany's failure to pass a budget means to the city, reveal some bad news that threatens to overshadow the good.
Protest and the Republican Convention (6/21/2004) Thousands of anti-Bush demonstrators plan to take to the streets to protest this year's Republican convention in New York. Civil liberties advocates worry that First Amendment rights will get pushed out by concerns about safety in this summer of protest.
Find Your Inner Republican (6/14/2004) In our latest interactive feature, see where NYC Republicans past and present have stood on ten issues ranging from abortion to education, and where you fit in.
Republicans and NYC (6/07/2004) With Republicans holding the first convention ever in New York, attention has focused on the GOP in the city. Although New York has elected a Republican for mayor in the last three elections, Republicans in New York remain sharply outnumbered by Democrats and often neglected by an increasingly conservative national party. The Short-Lived GOP Revival In NYC and The Party's Diminishing Strength in New York
Working for the Out-of-Towners (5/31/2004) Tourists are back in New York, visiting in numbers not seen since before 9/11. And Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to expand the convention center to welcome more in the future. But does tourism really produce jobs for New Yorkers - and the kind they want and need?
Revisiting 9/11, Reworking 911 (5/24/2004) Did New York City learn any lessons from 9/11. Almost three years after the attack -- and a week after emotional hearings by the 9/11 Commission -- many complain that the major problems with the city's response to emergencies remain unresolved.
Separate and Unequal in New York (5/17/2004) Fifty years after the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawed legally enforced school segregation in the country, schools in New York City have become more segregated — and indeed are among the most segregated in the nation. But some New Yorkers now ask whether integration is what matters.
Convention Risks and Benefits (5/10/2004) The Bloomberg administration did all it could to attract New York's first Republican National Convention ever. But as New Yorkers begin to learn the details, some may be asking whether the benefits will be worth the costs and the risks. Also, Senator John Marchi recounts the proud history of New York Republicans, and former Assemblymember Ed Sullivan argues that the Republican convention is an insult to New Yorkers.
Tax Cuts: A Policy Cure All? (5/01/2004) Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council are making tax cuts the major issue of this year's budget - promising that they will bring much needed relief to New Yorkers and stimulate the economy. But will these tax cuts really benefit the city, or just the politicians who propose them?
Ground Zero as a Political Backdrop and New York and the 9/11 Commission (4/26/2004) Both the Republican National Convention and the 9/11 Commission are coming to New York in the next few months, and are likely to inspire questions about how September 11 will factor into the presidential campaign. What does Ground Zero symbolize? And how should it be used -- or not be used -- in politics?
Who Gets the Jobs? (4/19/2004) An Ikea in Red Hook, a basketball arena in downtown Brooklyn and a mall on the Upper West Side all promise the same thing -- hundreds of jobs. But do community residents really get hired? And do the projects offer career opportunities or dead-end, poorly paid positions?
The Shadow Government (4/12/2004) New York's public authorities have been called a shadowy force with enormous power. They amass massive debt, but are removed from public scrutiny and taxpayer control. After several well-publicized scandals, are they going to be reformed?
Affordable Housing in 2004 (4/5/2004) More than a year after Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his ambitious plan to bring more affordable housing to the city, the need has increased -- and so have the barriers. Joe Lamport details the causes, the consequences, and the proposed solutions.
Good Sports? (3/29/2004) Last week Mayor Michael Bloomberg pushed for a new stadium for the New York Jets and promised that money and jobs would follow. But do millionaire ballplayers and stadiums really help the city's economy - or just give fans a reason to cheer?
Pushcart Wars (3/22/2004) A new state law bans street vendors from some of New York City' s most crowded -- and lucrative -- sidewalks. A look at the debate over the law and the issues that continue to surround the city's 10,000 entrepreneurs of the avenue.
The Parks Renaissance (3/15/2004) From the Elmhurst tanks in Queens to the Fresh Kills landfill to the shores of the Bronx River, New York is in the midst of a park renaissance despite budget cutbacks and loss of staff. The revival has been spurred by citizen action and an influx of private money, as well as government initiatives.
Industries That Got Away (3/8/2004) New York City struggles to compete for new industries and to hold on to the ones it once dominated. A look at four specific industries and how the city can overcome lack of space, high costs, and aging infrastructure to reel them in.
Thinking Big Again (3/1/2004) At least in part because of the excitement created by the redevelopment of the World Trade Center, there is now more long-term urban planning and large-scale development on the table that at any time since the Lindsay administration in the 1960s created a master plan for the city.
Shooting In New York (2/23/2004) Some high-profile movies with New York City as their backdrop will be glimpsed at the Academy Awards this Sunday. But NYC is not just a cinematic backdrop, it is also the second largest movie industry town in America. A look at the efforts to catch up to number one.
The City Budget and Labor Unions (2/16/2004) When Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced last month that New York City's fiscal crisis was beginning to subside, he hailed the "heroes of this crisis" and said it was time to reward those who helped "get us through the last two years."
The Overdevelopment Debate (2/9/2004) New York's boroughs are undergoing the biggest building boom in three decades, which some (including Michael Bloomberg) say threatens the character of some neighborhoods. Also, Embracing Growth, Preserving Neighborhoods by Richard Barth.
Save The Animals (2/2/2004) Last year, some 35,000 dogs and cats were killed in New York’s five official shelters, mostly because there just wasn’t room for them. Lynda Crawford details the various programs by the city’s new animal control leadership to reach the goal of not killing any healthy adoptable animals by 2008.
The Urban Agenda(1/26/2004) The presidential campaigns are in full swing, but the issues facing cities are largely absent from the debate. Is there an urban agenda in national politics? What can and should the federal government do for New York?
School Security (1/19/2004) The mayor has launched a major new campaign to curb violence in the schools. But critics wonder whether some of his tactics, such as flooding certain schools with police, will just alienate more students.
Taxis (1/12/2004) New York City may soon have 900 new taxi cabs on its streets, making rush hours and rainy days more bearable. But critics say they come with a price - pollution, traffic, and a 25 percent fare hike.
Rebuilding in 2004 (1/05/2004) In 2004 construction of the Freedom Tower begins, the memorial competition ends, and a design for the new transportation hub will be released, making it an eventful year for rebuilding.
Green Buildings (1/05/2004) The new design for Freedom Tower at Ground Zero featuring 30 windmills high above the city is just one of many new buildings planned in New York City with energy-saving and other environmentally friendly innovations. Is this the future, or a fad?
The Top Stories of 2003 (12/22/03 - 12/29/03) The year brought fights over buildings (shuttered firehouses, designs for Ground Zero), buildings without light, skullduggery in Brooklyn courthouses, an assassination, a crash, a fare hike -- and an official drink for the schools.
Religion and Historic Preservation (12/15/03) When a recent effort to declare the Cathedral of St. John the Divine an official landmark fell apart, it was just the latest conflict between religious institutions and advocates for historic preservation. Many believe it is a choice between fixing the roof or feeding the poor. Also, from the Community Gazettes, four NYC congregations weigh their options.
Are All Systems Go? (Breakdown Game) (12/08/03) New Yorkers rarely think about the systems that keep the city running, until something breaks down. This week, we take a system-by-system look at what keeps New York City wired, watered, and flushed -- both online and in the latest edition of Gotham Gazette Magazine.
The New York Stock Exchange And Wall Street's Future (12/01/03) The New York Stock Exchange, facing the biggest changes since the Great Depression, is fighting to keep its status as the centerpiece of American capitalism, and the engine of the New York economy.
The Eight 9/11 Memorial Designs (11/24/03) Most feature water, all feature light, and together they are evoking strong reaction. A look at details of the designs, the criticism, the process of choosing them, and what is likely to happen now.
The Capital Budget (11/17/03) When the mayor recently announced the most ambitious school construction plan in the city's history, he brought attention, at least briefly, to the oft-ignored capital budget, which funds major construction and repair projects critical to New York's future -- or at least is supposed to.
The 21st Century Office (11/10/03) New York City is falling behind in providing the high-tech services that businesses need.
Steam (11/10/03) New York City remains the world's largest supplier of what some call a great, underappreciated asset: steam.
Last Minute Voter's Guide (11/03/03) A step-by-step guide to voting in New York's Election on Tuesday, November 4. What is at stake? Who is running? What are the ballot questions? And what is a nonpartisan election?
Nannies (10/27/03) The lives of Mary Poppins or Jane Eyre or Fran Drescher have little connection to the real world of an estimated 200,000 domestic workers in New York City, where "abuse and exploitation are the norm." A thousand nannies are expected to rally this week to publicize issues that are tied up with race and class and the blurred boundaries between work and family.
The Sewer System (10/20/03) New York's sewer system began 150 years ago -- and some of the pipes have never been replaced. A look at the challenges: out-of-date equipment, harmful chemicals, constant spills, and some persistently weird beliefs about what's down there.
Co-Op City Blues (10/13/03) When it was first built over three decades ago, Co-op City kept young families from leaving the city for the suburbs and became the symbol of the promise and success of affordable housing in New York. Now, with a huge debt and maintenance problems, it has become a sign of its troubles.
Are All Systems Go? (10/06/03) While New Yorkers may fear terrorism or the next blackout, the everyday wear-and-tear on the city's infrastructure poses a constant threat to the city's well being. Will a system of rusting pipes, crumbling cables, shaky subways and rocky roads lead to an apocalyptic metropolis?
Leaving NYC (9/29/03) While some New Yorkers are leaving the city, citing bad schools, high housing costs or the daily stresses of urban life, analysts debate whether the exodus is anything alarming or unusual, and what to do about it. Also, two perspectives on why New Yorkers are leaving (The City is Too Expensive, and City Schools and Housing Are Inadequate); and the stories of four people who have left: Rondrae Hunter, Allison Wood, David Bassine, and Stefan Kochi.
Charity for the City: Public Funds for Private Needs (9/22/03) With taxes up and the economy still slumping, the city has turned to private contributions in the hopes they can fund city services from parks to police - a practice that worries critics. Also, Fundraising for Schools, by Anne Sachs; and Adopt-A-Park, by Anne Schwartz.
School Reforms of 2003: The Road to Repair (9/15/03) School opened last week with a new bureaucracy, 1,200 new "parent coordinators," teaching coaches and a new standard curriculum. Will any of this fix the system? Also, Cut Class Sizes, by Leonie Haimson.
9/11/03 (9/8/03) New Yorkers are commemorating the second anniversary of September 11 this week, with a ceremony inside Ground Zero's huge construction site. But while the city pauses to look back, plans for lower Manhattan's future are moving forward. A look at where we are, issue by issue.
Terminator 2003: Ballot-Bumping in New York Elections (9/1/03) In New York, it is not necessarily the candidate with the most votes who wins, but the one who can use New York's Byzantine election laws to kick everyone else off the ballot. A look at why you will not be seeing dozens of candidates on the primary ballot September 9.
Remaking Lincoln Center (8/25/03) Lincoln Center finds itself at a turning point. Some of its facilities are outdated and will need costly repairs. The New York Philharmonic is leaving and the New York City Opera might not be far behind. Some are asking whether the concept behind Lincoln Center is still valid - and if it ever was. Also: Lessons from Lincoln Center for the Ground Zero Cultural Center.
Blackout of 2003 (8/18/03) When the city returned to work after a blackout that put 50 million people in the dark for at least a day and cost New York City an estimated billion dollars, many New Yorkers started seeking answers to difficult questions: Why did it happen? Why did the power failure spread so far? Who and what are to blame? How can it be prevented in the future?
Firehouses (8/11/03) The fight to save six firehouses continues, even though they are now shut down. A look at the arguments pro and con, as well as stories about each of the six firehouses closed down by the city in May 2003.
The Judges Game (8/04/03) With a steady stream of revelations about scandal and political patronage in the Brooklyn judicial system, Gotham Gazette this week tries to sort it all out. Our newest interactive game lets you see if you've got what it takes for the Brooklyn bench. Also: Patronage, payoffs, complexity, and appointments vs. elections in the New York judiciary -- A System in Need of Reform... and The Courts of New York Explained, by Supreme Court Justice Emily Jane Goodman.
City Council Campaign 2003 (7/28/03) The murder of City Councilmember James E. Davis by a would-be political opponent brought worldwide attention to local races ignored even by many New Yorkers. A look at ten council races considered competitive, including the one to fill Davis's seat.
Central Park at 150 (7/21/03) New York is celebrating the 150th birthday of Central Park, although it was actually completed in 1870. But the decision of the state legislature in 1853 to set aside the land that is now Central Park laid the groundwork for the first major urban park, a masterpiece of landscape art and a social experiment that remains an object of inspiration and a subject of debate.
Testing the Tour Guides (7/14/03) There is a new licensing test for the tour guides of New York City. Justin Ferate, who created the test, explains why it was necessary. Norman Oder looks at why so many of the guides are outraged. Also, test your NYC knowledge with our interactive quiz.
Compstatmania! (7/07/03) Think of a problem facing New York City, and someone surely has already proposed solving it with a variation of "Compstat," one of the most rapidly spreading innovations in America. But how much of Compstat is magic, how much a magic act?
Stomaching Bloombergs Budget (6/30/03) Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council passed a budget that avoided cuts to zoos, trash pickups, and health clinics - and New Yorker's still aren't happy.
A Reason to Tax (6/30/03) Does the city need taxes dedicated to specific services like education, parks, and libraries?
Summer of Summonses? (6/23/03) A ticket for sitting on a milk crate? A $50 fine for feeding a pigeon? New Yorkers are asking: Is the city engaging in a ticketing blitz in order to raise much-needed revenue?
No Child Left Behind (6/17/03) Julie Kamin reports on what the federal No Child Left Behind Act means for New York's public school students.
TRANSPORTATION (6/19/03) Whose subway system has more riders, Moscow's, Tokyo's or New York City's? Which NYC bridge does not allow bicycles? Which mayor took mass transit to his first inauguration? The answers to these questions are on our Transportation Quiz, which is both online and in the Summer 2003 edition of Gotham Gazette quarterly magazine, which focuses this time on transportation and the budget. We also offer a brief history of NYC transportation; a look at whether or New York will get an adequate share of federal transportation funds; and an overview of the dozen or so transportation bills currently introduced in the City Council.
The New Newcomers (6/02/03) The mix of worry, confusion, hopefulness and excitement with which newcomers face New York City is a very old story that is constantly being retold - a half a century ago by E.B. White, next month in a new Broadway musical, and starting this week in Gotham Gazette's new Newcomers Weblogs. But newcomers seem more worried than usual - and so are some New Yorkers who see the city's health and identity as dependent on them.
NYC'S Blue Laws (5/26/03) Last Sunday, New Yorkers took part in an activity that had been banned for three centuries: they shopped at liquor stores. New York, along with many other states, is getting rid of one of its last remaining "blue laws" restricting Sunday activities, and promoting gambling in order to make money during tough times. But the fact is, there are still laws regulating people's private lives or freedom of choice and not only ones that are widely seen as outdated anachronisms.
It Happens Every Spring (5/19/03) April showers have turned to May power struggles over the city's outdoor space. A look at three New York issues that often lead to fierce disputes - dog runs, sidewalk cafes, and car-free parks - and how local communities play a key role in each of these hot button issues.
The Budget Game (5/12/03) In an effort to close the city's $3.8 billion deficit, public officials have been playing the usual budget games - laying off workers, raising taxes, and threatening to close firehouses and zoos. Now with our interactive NYC Budget Game , you can play too. You spend the money. You make the cuts. You raise and lower the taxes. Also Glenn Pasanen looks at the latest plans by the state legislature and the mayor to close the city's budget gap. And Assemblyman Scott Stringer looks at how the State Assembly and Senate defied the governor to pass their own financial plan - and how this surprising event could lead to greater reform in Albany.
Fix It (5/5/03) Since the 311 hotline began some two months ago, more than 8,000 callers have complained each day about the everyday nuisances of city life from noise to potholes to dark streets. But many common New York irritations still cannot be solved by a simple phone call. We look at a half dozen of them explore why each persists and what average citizens can or cannot do about them. And we encourage our readers to become reporters and post the concrete trouble spots in your own neighborhoods, in our new Community Gazettes.
The Fare Hike Mess (4/28/03) The bus and subway fare is about to rise for the first time in eight years, amid charges that the MTA has been deceptive about the need for a hike. Bruce Schaller offers an overview of fare hikes past and present. City Comptroller William Thompson and City Councilmember John Liu argue that the MTA has misled the public and that the fare should not be increased.
Bloomberg's UnBearable Budget (4/21/03) Closing down firehouses, shutting children's health clinics, even evicting the animals from two New York zoos – these are some of the choices that Mayor Bloomberg has made in his executive budget, and that's the best-case scenario, NOT the "doomsday" alternative if Albany aid doesn't come through. An overview of the proposed budget cuts and complaints about them. And three budget analysts offer their differing critiques.
Dissent In NYC (4/14/03) Opposition to the war in Iraq brought demonstrations to a New York City that is on edge with fears of terrorism. But, for a city that has long been a center of dissent, the protests are nothing new — and neither is the effort to restrict civil liberties.
The State Budget and NYC (4/07/03) Albany missed its deadline for reaching a state budget last week, for the 19th year in a row. Unable to depend on hoped-for state aid, Mayor Michael Bloomberg says next week he will release a proposed budget that includes another billion dollars in cuts, and 15,000 layoffs. A look at what the state budget could mean to the city, especially to education and health care.
Think Tanks (3/31/03) From the phrase "axis of evil" to the idea of "pre-emptive war," think tanks have been shaping U.S. foreign policy in Iraq and beyond. But think tanks also play a role in New York City, where the domination of the Manhattan Institute is now being undercut by a new mayor and challenged by liberal start-ups.
New York and the War (3/24/03) As the United States invasion of Iraq intensifies, New Yorkers are faced with competing concerns. In Operation Atlas and the Security of New York, Julia Vitullo-Martin details the city's vulnerability to attack, and analyzes the efforts to defend it. (Also, in An Assessment Of The Threat From Al Qaeda, terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna summarizes the debriefing he gave to the New York Police Department.) In Special Registration, Chaleampon Ritthichai focuses on one security measure that critics say has gone too far.
I Sell New York (3/17/03) During previous eras of tension and economic uncertainty, there was "Fun City," then "I Love NY." Now, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has launched a new marketing campaign to sell the product known as New York City - and he has done everything from stage pep rallies to hire the former head of the Miss Universe pageants. Will his cheerleading pay off?
The Fight Over Rent Control (3/10/03)This spring, Albany confronts one of its most contentious issues: rent control. Landlords and free market advocates think it has destroyed the city; tenants say it has preserved a vital, diverse city. With tenant advocates warning that the latest round in the fight may determine whether rent regulation lives or dies, Robin Reisig finds rent regulation weakened but still crucial to the lives of many city tenants, while Sam Roseme previews the coming confrontation in the state capital.
The Chosen (3/03/03)Last week, rebuilding officials announced that they selected Daniel Libeskind's design for Ground Zero, which creates a sunken memorial space and a slender, 1776 foot spire in the skyline. The choice marked the end of one major part of the long, fractious, sometimes inspiring and often confusing process to design the World Trade Center site. A tour through Libeskind's design, and answers to the most frequently asked questions about what's ahead.
More Than Token Changes (2/24/03) If the transit authority has its way, a quarter of all token booths will be closed within the next few months, replaced by MetroCard vending machines and high entrance/exit turnstiles. A look at the arguments for and against the plan, and how it might be a sign of future changes in the subway system.
Public Housing's Last Stand (2/17/03) In the middle of the 20th century, New York built huge projects to house low-income families. Today, the towering developments have fallen out of favor, and Mayor Bloomberg has called for other solutions to the city's housing crunch. But hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers still live in those housing projects, and, despite maintenance problems and concerns about crime, many more are seeking to get in. Michael Markowitz reports on the state of public housing in New York.
NYC Housing Trivia Quiz (2/17/03)What is the most expensive city in the world — New York, Paris, or Hong Kong? And does Mayor Michael Bloomberg really want to house homeless people on a cruise ship? And how much is a one-bedroom apartment in Greenwich Village?
Not Enough Nurses (2/10/03) New York hospitals and nursing homes need nurses. With fewer people choosing the career and many leaving the profession, those nurses still on the job scramble to care for their patients. An aging population and possible government cuts in health care spending could make the situation worse � and affect the quality of medical care for everyone.
9/11 Money Troubles (2/3/03) As authorities draw closer to deciding on a final design for Ground Zero, some wonder whether there is money to make any of the lofty plans a reality. Despite federal aid, the money problems 9/11 created continue to multiply. Families of victims say the federal funds set aside to compensate them are being distributed unfairly. Downtown businesses say they have not received the help they need. Politicians fight over the rebuilding funds. Can the city untangle the confusion and get the money it needs?
The Temperature Of The City (1/27/03) In his State of the City address, Mayor Michael Bloomberg reviewed his first year in office and outlined dozens of ideas that he says will build the "next New York... Right now it's winter... I'm here to tell you spring is on its way." A look at what the mayor says he has accomplished, what he plans to do in the future, and what his critics say he hasn't done -- or shouldn't do.
Reaching New Educational Heights? (1/20/03) In a speech last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed the most sweeping changes in New York City schools in perhaps a century. But he left out many specifics. This week, Gail Robinson offers a guide to the mayor�s program, putting it in context and reporting the initial reactions to it. Fernando Ferrer stresses the key role parents must plan in education, while Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott and the City Council Education Committee offer their differing proposals for what should replace the soon-to-cease community school boards. -- Comment on the mayor's plan on our Education Message Board.
3 1 1 (1/13/03) There are eight million people in the naked city, and eight million complaints. That is how many come into the city�s 40 different hotlines every year. But this soon will change. The number is expected to double. That is because it will soon become much easier for New Yorkers to complain, with just one phone number to dial for every non-emergency -- 311. But will any of these complaints actually get addressed, much less solved? Don�t ask Fletcher Vredenburgh.
Also: Have a complaint about complaining? Go to our 311 Message Board.
Olympic City?: (1/6/03) As New York prepares to vie against international cities to play host to the 2012 Olympic Game, the plans are attracting more scrutiny. Does it really make sense to turn an old landfill on Staten Island into a showcase for equestrian events? Is NYC ready for white water canoeing? And more fundamentally -- will the games stimulate the economy and fund an array of needed projects, or will it destroy neighborhoods and leave a lasting debt?
New Year's Predictions For NYC: (12/30/02) Comedian Alan King has one sure-fire prediction for the new year: "If we are lucky, it will be 2003." More than a dozen headline makers and former headline makers try to guess New York's headlines in 2003.
The Top Stories Of 2002: (12/23/02) New Yorkers welcomed the relative calm of 2002, after the trauma of 2001, and a return to what Mayor Michael Bloomberg called “the same old stuff” -- budget deficits, service cuts and threats of a transit strike. But the year also brought major changes in education and in city government, the opportunity to play host to the Olympics and a tough new ban on smoking. This week, a review of what happened in New York City in 2002, along with a few things that did not happen.
The New Plans For Lower Manhattan: (12/16/02) Last week, the mayor outlined his vision for lower Manhattan, an ambitious plan that includes the creation of two new neighborhoods, a network of large parks and leafy boulevards and a one-seat ride to the airport. This week, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation unveils nine new plans for Ground Zero, which it vows this time around are "inspiring." The Port Authority is developing its own plan for the World Trade Center site. And the Civic Alliance, in something of a protest against the lack of public input in these other plans, is holding workshops this week to come up with their own designs. Will all these proposals fit together to form a master plan by the new official deadline -- January 31? Will the public have a real say in what gets built? Who will make the final decision about the future of lower Manhattan?
Shopping: (12/09/02) During the holiday season, city retailers try to lure shoppers who may feel queasy about racking up huge bills in these uncertain economic times. The stakes are high since the retail industry has been called one of the twin engines (along with Wall Street) of the city's economy. A look at the glorious history and uncertain future of New York shopping.
Care-less NYC: (12/02/02) Day care in New York is more expensive than college tuition at a public university. Thousands of residents are turning to the city for help and being told to wait because there is no room. Kate Stohr looks at New York's day care system - what is good, what is lacking, and what a looming strike by child care workers would mean for the city.
Politics On Parade: (11/25/02) Big Bird, Barney and (new this year) Uncle Sam and Mr. Monopoly are unlikely to hear boos when they loom over Broadway along with 16 other over-sized balloon characters in Thursday's Thanksgiving Day parade. But for politicians, such popular parades as the ones on St. Patrick's Day and Columbus Day have become fraught with peril as well as opportunity. To march or not to march? With whom? Saying what? A look at New York parades and their strange history of controversy and conflict.
You Have the Right to Remain Silent: (11/18/02) Mayor Bloomberg has launched Operation Silent Night to try to quiet blaring cars, loud restaurants and clanging machines. A City Council member will propose several measures that he thinks could bring quiet to the streets of New York. But can anything really lower the volume in the city that never sleeps -- and never seems to shut up? And tell us what you think about noise in New York City and what to do about it on our noise message board.
How They'll Plug The Holes: (11/11/02) During the campaign, no one wanted to talk about New York's biggest issue: the looming budget gaps for both the state and the city. Now that the election is over, officials are beginning to admit that the city is in the "worst fiscal crisis in the city's history" (as the City Council Speaker puts it), and trying to figure out what to do about it. How did we get into this mess? What are the possible solutions? What kinds of cuts and taxes must be approved? We offer a guide to the New York City budget. And tell us what you think about the fiscal crisis, and the possible solutions, on our budget gap message board.
Also Glenn Pasanen outlines the mayor's latest proposal to raise property taxes as high as 25 percent and looks at how the City Council will likely respond.
Guide For The Last Minute Voter: (11/4/02) Election Day is Tuesday, November 5. Gotham Gazette offers a step by step guide to find out who is on the ballot, what they are saying, how to find your polling place, and what to do if you have trouble voting. And a look at the one ballot proposal that, if approved, would alter the system of mayoral succession and the role of the public advocate, the city's number two elected official. See our Election Results later in the week to see who wins. And now that the polls have closed, tell us what you think about this year's general election on our election message board.
Free The Airwaves!: (11/4/02) This years race for governor is the most expensive nonpresidential campaign in U.S. history. Walter Cronkite argues that the money spent on political television ads is undermining American democracy.
New York and San Francisco: (10/28/02) New York and San Francisco have much in common. Much of the nation views both as liberal, decadent and somehow foreign. But now the two are competitors, vying against each other in the battle to play host to the 2012 Olympics. While we await the decision of the U.S. Olympic Committee this weekend, we compare the two cities - not just how they are marketing themselves to win the Olympics, but how the two cities confront the problems of urban areas in the 21st century. What can New York learn from 'Baghdad by the Bay' about housing, civil rights, no smoking laws, public toilets? And what can New York teach San Francisco? Tell us what you think on our message board.
Reach Out And Slap Someone: (10/21/02) Almost two-thirds of New Yorkers carry cell phones, for convenience, safety or style. But they irritate many of those same New Yorkers, and many more, including Councilmember Phil Reed, who has introduced two separate bills to limit their use. A look at the various debates over the must-have phenomenon that so many people find so annoying. And have a conversation about it on our cell phone message board.
Power To The Elderly: (10/14/02) Elderly New Yorkers are the fastest growing segment of the city's population. Most don't take golfing trips to Boca Raton. They are typically poor, female, in need of help with housing, food and prescription drugs -- and much more likely than any other age group to vote. Is New York City prepared to provide the necessary services for its growing elderly population?
Grading The Mayor's Report Card: (10/7/02) Mayor Michael Bloomberg received much praise for his first Mayor's Management Report, a so-called "public report card" for the city. Bloomberg's version is shorter, easier to read, and for the first time lets New Yorkers can find information about their neighborhood online. This week, we offer an overview of the report and how to use it.
Also Glenn Pasanen argues that the new management report is not an improvement from the past and says it shows a lack of respect for both history and the facts.
Mutant in the Middle: (9/30/02) For years, experts have charged that middle schools are the weakest link in New York City's problem-plagued school system. Less than a third of students meet standards for reading and writing, and the state has officially designated almost half the schools as needing major improvements. Now, parents, educators and politicians are demanding these schools become places that can help adolescents develop from elementary school students into young adults capable of high school work.
New York's Volunteer Army: (9/23/02) Every year, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers donate time to make the city a better place. They clean parks, mentor children, deliver food to the hungry, give tours of museums, and generally help keep the city running. But is there a limit to what volunteers can -- and should be asked -- to do?
No Shelter: (9/16/02) Facing a record number of homeless people in the city's shelters, Mayor Michael Bloomberg set out an ambitious plan to find thousands of families a home within the next year. But his short-term solutions -- such as converting a jail and airport hotels into shelters -- have re-ignited a familiar battle between City Hall and neighborhood residents, advocates for the homeless, and the courts. Some have called the homeless crisis "the most crucial test" for the new mayor.
The Culture Of 9/11: (9/9/02) This week New York City will commemorate the anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center in what has been called the "largest collective ceremony of remembrance in American history." Gotham Gazette offers a look at how the capital of media, art, and culture has been affected by, and shaped the understanding of, the events of 9/11.
A YEAR OF CHANGES
More than a dozen articles -- covering topics from civil rights to housing to land use -- explore the tangible ways New York City has changed in the last year.
Guide For The Last Minute Voter: (9/2/02) Primary Day in New York is September 10 -- next week! We offer a rundown on the races, the candidates, the issues, how and where to vote, and why this election is important.
Banning Bikes And Taxing Cell Phones: (8/26/02) Last week, the mayor welcomed the City Council back from summer vacation by issuing his first veto. Mark Berkey-Gerard looks at the two dozen that the City Council passed and the mayor has signed into law since he took office - scrapping recycling, hiking the tax on cigarettes, banning bikes on the sidewalk. There are also more than 250 bills that are not yet laws and may never be - such as retrieving Rudy's records for the public archives, and requiring parachutes in skyscrapers. Also: Long-time council watcher Lenore Chester offers tips for how to keep better track of your representative.
Packed Prisons: (8/19/02) Ten of thousands of New York City residents are locked in upstate prisons, hundreds of miles from their families or the scene of their crimes. While judges handed down the sentences, state politicians, emphasizing jail time to fight crime, are responsible for the state's large prison population. This week, a look at why New York still has some of the harshest drug laws in the country and why so many New Yorkers remain behind bars in places like Attica, Dannemora and Bedford Hills.
What's The Formula For Prosperity?: (8/12/02) The Bloomberg administration has proposed a land swap that would give up two city airports in exchange for city control of the World Trade Center site. It is the latest in the administration's ideas to attract jobs and investment, which also includes playing host to the Olympics and to the Democratic and Republican national conventions as well as building a new stadium on the West Side. A look at the pros and cons of each of these moves to restore New York's economy.
Also, the clash between two titans that kept the Port Authority from owning the airport in the first place.
NJ vs. NYC: (8/5/02) One of the two most visible examples of the interrelationship between New York City and New Jersey is the name of the owner of the World Trade Center site -- the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. This implies cooperation. But the second vivid example is the astonishing rise of the New Jersey skyline just across the Hudson (a skyline the Port Authority helped build). This says -- loudly -- competition. A look at the long and costly fight to keep companies and jobs from jumping to New Jersey -- a battle many say New York City was already losing before September 11th -- and the lessons to be learned....including, some suggest, that there is a better way.
The Next Test: (7/29/02) Mayor Bloomberg has just named a new schools chancellor, capping six months in which he also won control of the city schools, convinced the state to eliminate the central board of education, reached a contract settlement with teachers and appointed seven members of the new "educational policy panel." But will any of this make a difference? With the first day of school less than six weeks away, as Gail Robinson reports reports, the mayor and Chancellor Joel Klein must begin making dramatic changes in a system that fails hundreds of thousands of students.
Rethinking Rebuilding: (7/22/02) Last week, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation released six designs for rebuilding the World Trade Center site. The initial designs set aside space for a memorial, a downtown transportation hub, cultural and residential development, and the most controversial element - 12 million square feet of office, retail, and hotel space. On Saturday, some 5,000 people attended a high-tech town hall to respond to the plans and told officials to go back to the drawing board. After the first round of plans and reaction, an essential question has emerged: Can public voices and legal rights of private developers be reconciled to create a plan the whole city can embrace?
When Smoke Gets In NY: (7/15/02) New York City now has the most expensive cigarettes in the country, thanks to a new tax. Supporters say it is latest in a series of attempts to get New York to kick the habit. But opponents wonder: Are cigarette taxes as addictive -- and as dangerous -- as cigarettes?
Endless Scandals?: (7/8/02) In the past few months, prosecutors indicted priests, a longtime New York state senator, a city council member, and more than half of New York City's plumbing inspectors. While the charges differ, they and a number of corporate executives all allegedly abused their authority for their own gain. Despite decades of reform movements and anti-corruption crusades, society still seems ridden with people who prey upon the weak, exploit power and try to loot the system. This week, a look at scandals, corruption and the efforts to stop them.
Talking Globally, Thinking Locally : (7/1/02) On the Fourth of July, Americans celebrate their one nation (whether or not "under God"). But throughout the year, many New York City politicians focus on many nations thousands of miles away -- where their constituents (or their constituents' ancestors) come from. The result is that New York City has its own foreign policy. Next week, in a particularly vigorous display of this fact, a City Council committee will debate four separate resolutions about the Middle East, such as whether the City Council should declare the Palestine Liberation Organization a terrorist group, or adopt an "even-handed" policy in the Middle East.
Til Death Do Us Part: (6/24/02) Like the AIDS epidemic before it, the attack on September 11 has brought renewed attention to the issue of unmarried "domestic partners." At least 22 partners of the victims of the terrorism have been denied benefits that would have been theirs if they had been legal spouses. But in a long-standing Catch 22, the gay couples, of course, had been barred from becoming legal spouses. On the 33rd anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City, which gave rise to the modern gay civil rights movement, Andy Humm looks at the debate over the rights of same-sex partners. Councilmember Christine Quinn writes that the City Council is pledged to help get domestic partners "the recognition and aid that married couples have received."
Can The Union Make Them Strong?: (6/17/02) Last week, unions scored a victory in New York City as teachers won a pay hike. But to remain a vital force, labor wants to reach beyond its base among public employees, and organize graduate students, immigrants, freelance writers - even chiropractors and fashion models. Can unions address the needs of these new workers in the 21st century workplace?
Rebuilding By Consensus Or Competing Visions?: (6/10/02) Nine months after the September 11 terrorist attacks, there is much talk of an emerging consensus about how to rebuild downtown. In "Working In Coalition," Mike Kuo, who reacted to the loss of his father by joining all five major volunteer rebuilding coalitions, sums up the recent reports by each coalition and finds their visions remarkably similar. But in "Competing Visions" Laura Wolf-Powers supplies her own analysis of the recent coalition reports, emphasizing the ways that they differ. In "Rebuilding by Consensus?" Mark Berkey-Gerard looks at the emerging differences of opinion among New Yorkers in general, and points out that many feel the basic questions -- about who makes the decisions, what should be built, and even what "rebuilding" means -- have yet to be answered.
Good To The Last Drop?: (6/3/02) Despite the recent rainfall, a long-term drought still grips the area. Glenn Scherer looks at how that, along with increased pollution, fears of terrorist attacks on reservoirs and long-term changes in the climate, could force New York to look at new ways to provide a thirsty city with the drinking water it often takes for granted.
Damage Control: (5/27/02) Last year, the government of New York handed almost $600 million to people who claimed they were injured by the city. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, citing bizarre cases and astronomical settlements, has proposed measures to cut this sharply. But others argue that lawsuits provide average people with a way of fighting back when they are wronged by their government.
Cathlic Schools: (5/20/02) Conventional wisdom holds that Catholic schools in New York City offer parents a real alternative to bad public schools, especially in poor neighborhoods. But Catholic schools, like the public ones, are in trouble -- challenged by a financial squeeze, a decline in enrollment, and difficulty in keeping good teachers. And some recent test results provoke a question: Are the educational advantages real or perceived? What lessons can be learned for education as a whole from New York's Catholic schools?
On The Chopping Block: (5/13/02) Mayor Michael Bloomberg's solution to the city's $5 billion deficit is to cut everything from schools to parks to libraries to senior centers. The City Council is calling for new taxes to ease the pain. And unions and advocates are taking to the streets to fight for their slice of the budget. In the final weeks before the final version of the budget, a look at what is at stake and how life in New York could change.
School Building: (5/6/02) Students in New York City attend classes in cafeterias, go to school at odd hours -- and sometimes dodge falling pieces of their alma mater -- because the city has not been able to build enough new classrooms. Last week, a commission recommended ways to fix the problem. But the struggle to provide ample space and safe buildings for the 1.1 million public school students of New York City always seems to get tangled in questions of money, power and politics.
Unhealthy NY: (4/29/02) One in four New Yorkers lack health insurance -- and the majority are not poor, elderly, or unemployed. Most are working adults, for whom neither employer-sponsored nor government-paid health insurance is available. Rebecca Webber looks at the problem and proposed solutions. Erica Pearson explores the ways that uninsured adults, especially immigrants, try to get treatment on their own.
Republicans: (4/22/02) Although he has only been a Republican a few months, Michael Bloomberg sure sounded like one when he presented his budget plan last week and proclaimed that the only thing worse than cuts are new taxes. Will the 108th mayor, who can hand out millions and jet off to GOP fundraisers, create a new Republican Party in New York City?
100 Days: (4/14/02) Napoleon, JFK, and even Bloomberg, it is not. But the new City Council had its first 100 days too. A look at what it has accomplished, how it has changed from the past, and what is still business as usual at City Hall.
Garbage Choices: (4/8/02) Until recently, conventional wisdom had it that: incinerators were a discredited means of garbage disposal, a source of deadly air pollution; New York City's landfill had run out of space; recycling was a sensible solution to the city's mounting garbage problem. But Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently announced that he wanted to halt the recycling of metal, glass and plastic, and that the city was thinking of building new incinerators, which are now called waste-to-energy plants. At the same time, there is talk that the Fresh Kills landfill should be reopened. Etta Sanders looks at recycling, Kate Stohr at incinerators, and Councilmember Michael McMahon from Staten Island, head of the new Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste, argues against reopening Fresh Kills.
Redistricting: (4/1/02) Welcome to redistricting season, the time when New York politicians carve the state (and city) map into weird shapes to protect incumbents, reward friends and punish enemies. "It's not our proudest moment," says one good government advocate.
Community-Based Planning: (3/18/02) Who better understands the needs and problems of a community than the people who live there? A Greenpoint resident who enjoys fishing knows that the piers are rotting. Middle-income residents of Chelsea appreciate the threat luxury development poses to the neighborhood. This is the argument for community-based planning. But New York has long resisted planning of any type, especially at the neighborhood level. A look at community-based planning, its promises and problems, and reports from Chelsea, Stuyvesant Cove, the Manhattan waterfront and Greenpoint on those communities' specific plans.
Also: The same values of diversity and democracy that are in community-based planning can and should be used in rebuilding the site of the World Trade Center, says Nancy Biberman, a member of ImagineNY.
The Dance Between Culture And Communities (Between Tinsel and Town): (3/18/02) Last year, during the week of the ACADEMY AWARDS, in a naked attempt to tap into Oscar fever, we ran nine pictures of JULIA ROBERTS.
This year, we shall be more dignified.
Our triple-feature on the relationship between cultural institutions and local communities:
1. "New York In The Movies," a photo essay
2. "When A Multiplex Moves Into The Neighborhood"
3. "Arts and Neighbors" - how do institutions like museums affect the neighborhood, and would you want one of them to move onto your block?
Six Months Later: (3/11/02) The city has made an amazing recovery in the six months since the terrorist attacks. Ground Zero will soon be cleared of rubble. Subways, schools, and businesses have reopened. And two temporary memorials will be unveiled this week. But as New York moves to the next phase of rebuilding there are many unanswered questions about what to build, who is in charge, and how it will be funded. A look at the status of recovery and rebuilding, how far we have come and where we are headed.
Also: City Councilmember Alan Gerson whose district includes Ground Zero, says area residents are still subjected 24/7 to dust, debris, and noise and are not getting proper attention from city agencies meant to protect them. And a photo essay sampling images from some of the many current museum exhibitions about 9/11.
This Property is Condemned: (3/4/02) Condemning private property and then handing it over to private businesses has become the state's way of getting things built in New York City. Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Schumer support it, both the New York Times and the New York Stock Exchange are banking on condemned property to build their new headquarters, and even the Lower East Side Tenement Museum is in the process of using the state's power of "eminent domain" to take over a neighboring building against the owners' will, with plans to gut the building's modern insides and turn it back into a tenement. But how does this activity square with the United States Constitution, which assumes that private property would be taken over for "public use"? A look at public use and private gain in New York's condemnations.
Security: (2/25/02) This past week alone, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly testified for the first time about the steps the department is taking "to restore both the sense and the reality of security in New York." The federal government took over the security screening at JFK and 14 other airports. The Journal of the American Medical Association published its study of three of the most baffling cases of anthrax infection, including the one fatality in New York. Senator Charles Schumer warned of the threat of sabotage of our vital computer systems, what he called cyberterrorism. Nearly six months after the terrorist attacks, security remains a national priority and a local one as well. But has all the beefed-up security actually made us safer? And what has been the cost, in dollars and in other ways? A look at security in New York.
Bureaucrats and Hardhats: (2/18/02) Though it is about to add oversight of construction projects in Lower Manhattan to its many other responsibilities, New York City's Department of Buildings is already hampered by cumbersome regulations, lack of manpower and a history of corruption. The department is so slow it has been waiting since 1999 for a new commissioner.
Albany Rules: (2/11/02) Why is the mayor saddled with a Board of Education he does not want? Why is there a battle every year to keep rents regulated, though the vast majority of city residents clearly want this? Why is there no more commuter tax when the city is desperate for more revenue? The answer is that City Hall often does not have final say for New York City; Albany does. This week, New Yorkers vote in four special elections for city representatives to the New York State Legislature. What can they do for us? What will they do for us? A look at some of the city issues under Albany's control.
Diallo + 3: (2/4/02) It has been three years since four plainclothes police officers shot and killed an innocent, unarmed West African immigrant named Amadou Diallo in his doorway. Julia Vitullo-Martin explores how the New York Police Department has changed since then, and what has been learned.
Garbage Happens: (1/28/02) Planners eagerly imagine nature preserves and water parks on the site of what used to be the final resting place for much New York City waste. With Fresh Kills closed, the city plans to ship most of its garbage out of state. But the plan is expensive and caught up in disputes about pollution, justice and corruption.
Contract Sports: (1/21/02) New York City has been spending more and more billions of dollars on thousands of contracts with private companies and non-profit agencies. Fans say this results in more efficiency; foes in more bungling and corruption. Seth Forman examines how contracting works in New York City. Susan Buttenwieser finds the city's delinquent payments to non-profit social service agencies is causing great grief. And Kathryn Freed, former chair of the City Council contracts committee, warns the new council to keep a close watch on contracts, or suffer the consequences.
What Can They Really Do? (1/14/02) -- The New New York City Council has only held one meeting, but the members have already made some bold promises. They want to improve education and housing. They say they will stand up to the mayor and make the city council a stronger body. And they want to balance the budget and rebuild lower Manhattan. Is any of this possible?
City on the Move?: (1/7/02) The attacks of September 11 disrupted much in New York, but transportation nearly worst of all. Since 9/11, commutes have become longer, more arduous, more crowded. But with the hardship, some argue, has come opportunity. Attitudes have changed, with people now accepting restrictions on cars and embracing mass transit.
In "Getting Back on Track" Jeffrey Zupan says that transportation is key to any rebuilding effort, and the many new (or renewed) proposals will make travel easier and better than before the terrorist attack. In "Mapping The Trends," Bruce Schaller says the end of our love affair with the car, and our new romance with the bus, will have long-term consequences for the future of New York.
New Years Predictions: (12/31/01) What do mayor elect Michael Bloomberg, the New Yorker's Elizabeth Kolbert, and Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey think the big stories of 2002 will be? In our annual predictions of the biggest stories in the new year, more than a dozen journalists, public officials, advocates, and even a few celebrated people offer their best guess at what the New Year will bring to New York.
The Other Stories Of 2001: (12/24/01) Remember Vieques? The Edison Schools controversy? Puff Daddy's trial? Rudy versus Donna? These got some of the biggest headlines . . . before 9/11. A look at the forgotten stories of the year. Also: the stories that were supposed to happen, but didn't.
What'll They Do?: (12/17/01) The new New York City Council does not take office until next month, but they have already started to do things that the old council members (some of whom had been in office since Nixon was President) could not do, or did not want to do. So who are these people? What are their agendas? Can they help a city in crisis? Mark Berkey-Gerard offers some answers.
The biggest issue the new council will face is the $1.3 billion hole in this year's budget. As Glenn Pasanen writes, neither the outgoing council nor the outgoing mayor have indicated how that hole gets filled or who will get hurt in the process.
And because New York politics is not just running for office, but running a city, Gotham Gazette introduces the newly redesigned Searchlight, a guide to the city's neighborhoods, its issues, and to the City Council itself. In our debut, the City Council speaks for themselves, with essays by four City Council members -- Gale Brewer from the Upper West Side, John Liu from Flushing, Charles Barron from East New York, and incumbent James Oddo from Staten Island
Tweed Is Dead - Patronage Is Not: (12/10/01) When most New Yorkers hear the word patronage, they think of Tammany Hall, which for a century (most notoriously under Boss Tweed) was said to hire workers for the city on the basis of their political loyalty, not their competence. Patronage is certainly not free of scandal even now, as a new report on the court system makes clear. But as Mayor-elect Michael Bloomberg has announced the first of what will eventually be some 3,000 new hires, even some advocates of good government believe that patronage has its benefits.
Awards and Alarms: (12/3/01) America loves nobody more these days than a New York City firefighter. But the cheers at sports stadiums, the free trips and the bouquets cannot erase the difficulties confronting the department, writes David Schwartz and Christopher Stewart. The problems in some ways have just gotten worse. Many firefighters ache from the loss of so many "brothers" on September 11. Leaders with expertise and decades of experience lost their lives, and a nasty rift separates the commissioner from the rank and file. Meanwhile, as Jane Latour writes, the department remains overwhelmingly white and male, with fewer blacks than it had 36 years ago.
Also: What does it take to be a NYC firefighter? Find out the requirements in 2001 -- and 1887.
Dying On The Job: (11/26/01) Last month, when scaffolding at a Union Square construction site collapsed killing five people, an already nervous city reacted with shock and questions of whom to blame. But many other construction accidents go unreported or unnoticed. New York has the highest on-the-job death rate of any state; the majority of those who die are immigrants.
Remember Education?: (11/19/01) Virtually every candidate for public office this year vowed to improve New York's schools. Though the events of September 11th have damaged the city and distracted public officials (along with everybody else), the schools still need to be improved. David Bloomfield looks at the system that was intended to turn around failing New York City public schools, and how it too has failed. Lynn Weikart looks at higher education, and wonders how much lower its budget can get.
Remember Housing?: (11/12/01) Before September 11th, one of the biggest issues in the campaign for mayor of New York City was "affordable housing." The need has not gone away, but it has changed. A look at the housing crisis, how it may be affected by the events of 9/11, and what Mayor-elect Bloomberg is likely to do about it.
Also: A look at evictions, a process in which everybody loses.
Remember Florida?: (11/5/01) Many were predicting that Election Day in New York would be "another Florida." Puja Kumar explains what actually happened. Elizabeth Daniel looks at who is to blame: the press, the poll workers, or the Board of Elections
Teachers As Cops?: (10/29/01) Several highly publicized sexual assaults in city schools last spring led to demands for safer schools. One response is a ballot question that would require school employees to report all suspect behavior to the New York Police Department, under pain of legal penalty. Tracey Middlekauff looks at whether this will protect children or make youngsters - and teachers - into criminals.
Mob, NYC: (10/29/01) Organized crime took root in New York City more than a century ago, flourished as a national enterprise during the Prohibition, and became part of the political establishment in the 1940s. For 50 years, government has been trying to root it out, and nobody more vehemently than the current mayor. How successful has he been? Michael Burger and Chris Stewart look at what has happened at the Fulton Fish Market, commercial hauling, casino cruises, the stock market, and even the site of the World Trade Center for the answer. And they look at the pros and cons of the mayor's proposal, on the ballot in November, to create a new sweeping Organized Crime Commission.
Uncharted Proposals: (10/22/01) On Election Day, voters may be confused to see five levers on the machine that have no candidate's names next to them. Instead, they will be below some dense paragraphs of prose. These are proposals that the city has made little if any effort to publicize. This week and next, Gotham Gazette offers a guide to these so-called charter revision proposals.
They Love NY: (10/15/01) In the weeks since September 11, Americans have reached out to New York, sending money, volunteers and gifts of Missouri pork and pet supplies. New Yorkers have responded with flags, patriotic songs and appreciation. But will the affection translate into the help the city so desperately needs? And how long can all these warm cuddly feelings last?
Fund City: (10/08/01) The month after the attack on the World Trade Center saw the largest outpouring of charity in history. But the many millions of dollars donated by the many millions of people throughout the nation and the world have already had some unintended consequences. There is growing concern about fraud and improper use of funds. There is a question as to who will oversee all of this money. And some say other charitable causes and nonprofits may suffer because so many have given so much to this one disaster. Also: a list of the biggest and most reputable of the 9/11 charities.
The Other Victims: (10/01/01) Since the attack on the World Trade Center, Arab Americans and Muslims have been the targets of hate crimes, harassment, and racial profiling. Reverberations are being felt in other immigrant communities as well. Sikh children, residents of Chinatown, construction workers from Mexico, corporate executives from India -- some of the city's newest citizens - are all facing new and sometimes frightening difficulties as a result of September 11.
New Election, New Priorities: (9/22/01) New York City's 2001 election, like many other things in New York, changed dramatically on September 11th. The polls closed only hours after opening, the candidates stopped campaigning, and the critical issues facing the city were supplanted by the immediate crisis. But the electoral process continues with the city's primary election day on Tuesday. Some argue that now is not the time for politics, others say that choosing the next generation of New York City leadership is more important than ever before.
A Question Of Recovery: (9/14/01) While the city is mourning the loss of human life, of our sense of security, and of a piece of our skyline, small signs of recovery are beginning to show. Most schools have reopened, businesses are cleaning the dust from their window, and many subway lines are running. "We're going to come out of this stronger than we were before," Mayor Giuliani has vowed. "Emotionally stronger, politically stronger, economically stronger." But even to the city's greatest boosters, it is painfully clear that the challenges ahead are staggering, the questions overwhelming. A first glimpse of what may lie ahead.
The Fight Against Terrorism In New York: (9/12/01) If there is any room for irony at the moment, there are two supreme examples. Two years ago, the mayor created an emergency management command center whose walls could withstand 200 miles-per-hour winds, and whose ventilation system was designed to blow out chemicals or germs in case of a germ warfare terrorist attack. The center was in the World Trade Center. It went down, along with everything else. Just weeks ago, a mayoral commission decided to put on the November ballot a proposal connected to the Office of Emergency Management. A look at the city's history of dealing with emergencies, especially terrorist attacks.
The Next Election After Florida: (9/10/01) Many New Yorkers both wary and weary of the electoral process here will tell you that the pollsters, the press, the political clubs, the lawyers, and Lord knows, the Board of Elections, are sure to muck up this week's primary and its aftermath. The question is only, how badly? A look at the electoral process in New York from beginning to end -- from the role of political consultants and the press, to the inaccurate use of polls, to low voter turnout and get-out-the-vote efforts, to lever-pulling and machine breakdowns, to counting the votes -- and whether we really are worse than Florida.
Guide for the Last Minute Voter: (9/3/01) Gotham Gazette offers a Guide For the Last Minute Voter, a step by step tour to discover who is running; what they have to say about the issues (if anything); what endorsements they have gotten; what has been happening during the campaign season (who has charged what, who has been kicked off the ballot or accused of getting kickbacks). Finally, we show you how to find your polling place, what to do if things go wrong -- and how to complain afterwards.
All Learning Is Special: (8/27/01) The school year begins next week, and among the 1.1 million returning schoolchildren will be some 150,000 identified as having what are now called "special needs." In the past, they would have been placed in "special education classes," and never seen nor heard from again (at least not by the other students). But a new Board of Education policy aims to change that, placing as many as possible into regular classrooms. Many parents are happy with the plan, but unhappy so far with the results.
Also: Michael Bloomberg argues there should be no more blue ribbon panels or task forces on education. "We already know how to fix the education problem."
New York's Secret Tax: (8/20/01) It is a secret most New Yorkers would be outraged to know, a tax that costs renters up to four times more than homeowners. And most renters do not even know they pay it.
Will There Be A Safety Net?: (8/13/01) Washington's bid to "end welfare as we know it" set a five- year limit on how long families could receive federally funded benefits. That was five years ago. Now thousands of New York City residents are receiving letters telling them their time is almost up. Though it is only four months before that December 31 deadline, many of these needy New Yorkers don't know whether they will still get aid.
On Track?: (8/06/01) When Mayor Rudy Giuliani announced last week that he was, as long promised, selling the Off Track Betting Corporation to the highest bidder, questions remained. Will he be able to consummate the deal before his term expires? Will he be able to get the required approval from Governor George Pataki and the state legislature? Does the sale of an agency that brought in $39 million for the city last year make fiscal sense? The one question that no one seemed to pose is whether the city should have been running its own bookie joint in the first place. A look at the odd track record of off-track betting.
Grappling Over Green: (7/30/01) There is nothing wrong with boys wanting to play soccer. There is nothing wrong with birds wanting to nest. But what if they want to do it in the same spot? In a city where every kind of space is at a premium, there is nothing more fiercely fought over than the city's meager parkland. Picnickers fight street musicians, conservationists fight bicyclists, drivers fight pedestrians, dog owners snap at everybody. Anne Schwartz describes some of the specific controversies throughout the city, and lays out some of the more vexing questions. For example, should public parks be used for private purposes? What about if the land is now sitting neglected and unused? Should dogs be allowed to run free? What if such a policy would attract more people to an area previously made dangerous by its isolation?
Banks in the 'Hood: (7/23/01) Over the last five years, the range of banking choices available to low-income, non-white communities has undergone a profound change. Driven by the merging of banking giants, deregulation and the rise of the Internet, the community banking market is up for grabs. Will this present opportunity or danger for neighborhoods across New York City? Mark Winston Griffith looks for the answer.
No Relief: (7/16/01) Everyone from the homeless to Henry Miller have suffered from a problem that New Yorkers have been complaining about for over a century -- the lack of public toilets. A look at why, and what it says about the city.
Towers of Muck: (7/09/01) In the next ten years enough material to fill 50 World Trade Center towers could be dredged from New York Harbor. The dredging is essential if New York's economically vital port is to thrive and grow. But, as Michael Burger reports, no one knows where to put the pollution-laced gunk.
Politicians Island: (7/02/01) Will Governors Island, just a seven-minute ferry ride from downtown Manhattan, become a new civic monument and park, drawing millions to its spectacular views and historic significance? Or will it be sold to the highest bidder and become . . . what? Only your politicians know for sure. Actually, even they don't know. Anne Schwartz sorts out what is going on, and gives us a virtual tour of the island's present (225 buildings, a golf course, a Burger King, three historic forts) and past (two centuries of military history, Reagan-Gorbachev) - then urges us to visit it in person when, for a single day next week, it is open to the public.
Space Wars: (6/25/01) Everyone is fleeing Manhattan's sky-high rents -- the largest corporations, apartment dwellers, manufacturers. But with only 309 square miles in New York City, where can they all go? A real estate battle has broken out, with each group fighting for space, sometimes the same space. The losers may be forced to abandon the city altogether, a fate that could have serious long-term consequences for New York.
Social Hares, Political Tortoises: (6/18/01) New York would seem to be at the forefront of gay rights, if you were to judge by the number of gay pride parades (one in every borough except Staten Island), and the visibility of "out" New Yorkers, whether architect Philip Johnson, playwright Edward Albee, producer Scott Rudin, gossip columnist Liz Smith, or the three out members of the City Council. But it was only last year that the New York State Legislature passed a law with the words "sexual orientation" in it, long after other states, and it is only this year that gay rights bills stalled for decades have a real chance for passage. Andy Humm looks at this pending legislation, and at the position of the candidates in the forthcoming election.
Ticket Scalping: (6/11/01) If New York is the entertainment capital of the world, why is it so hard to get good tickets to shows like The Producers, concerts like Janet Jackson's or Madonna's, and sports events? Some blame scalpers, who are people in the business of buying up tickets to sell them at a profit. Others say that it is not the scalpers but New York's anti-scalping law, which is currently up for renewal, that keeps tickets scarce and their price too high. Yael Schacher looks at the debate, and offers some solutions.
If You Build It, Will They Come?: (6/04/01) The Brooklyn Cyclones and the Staten Island Yankees are both ready to throw out the first pitch in their glistening new stadiums in Coney Island and Staten Island a day apart later this month. And Mayor Rudy Giuliani is still talking about giving New York City's major league teams hundreds of millions of dollars to help build new ballparks of their own. A look at the debate over publicly funded stadiums.
Budget Breakdown: (5/28/01) Lost in the headlines about divorce and political endorsements is the momentous week this is for the city's budget. The Mayor and the City Council must haggle over the final details of the fourth largest budget in the country. What will be cut? What will be included? And who has the most accurate numbers? A look at what they are fighting over (complete with specific numbers) in more than a dozen issues, from arts to housing to youth services.
The Oldest Profession?: (5/21/01) Like it or not, lobbyists long have been central to the way the government of New York functions, and may become even more so, with the wholesale turnover of city government next year. As professional lobbying becomes an ever-bigger business, using ever more expensive and sophisticated tools to influence public officials, there are increasing calls in New York for greater regulation of it -- and increasing resistance to such regulation, from some surprising quarters. A look at lobbying.
Also, "Lobbying Is Not A Dirty Thing" by Councilmember Stephen J. Fiala
The City That Never Breathes: (5/14/01) During what experts are calling the worst allergy season on record, it is bracing to learn that, year-round, New York City has the worst asthma rate in the country. People all over the city, particularly poor, minority children, are spending their days in the hospital because of asthma attacks. Yet, while many organizations, including the city health department, grapple with the asthma epidemic, many activists believe that the city and state governments are making the problem worse.
Disco Despair: (5/07/01) This week, Gotham Gazette delves into the "city that never sleeps" and the problems that plague it. In Neighbors and Nightclubs, Mark Berkey-Gerard looks at the residents and rockers who are battling over who should own the night.
In Unsung Hotspots, Christopher Nicolson suggests some of the best-kept secrets for those who prefer "the road less traveled" when it comes to Manhattan nightlife.
Finally, for the hip and daring, an audio and visual tour of a few of the notable and notorious nightclubs that have made recent headlines. (Requires a speedy Internet connection and Flash.)
Anywhere But Here: (4/30/01) New Yorkers may think of themselves as worldly and adventurous, but they are quick to fight change in their own neighborhoods - any change. Their cries of "not in my backyard" make it harder to build everything from garbage facilities to schools to fancy French restaurants.
Positions of Power: (4/23/01) The debate over where to build new power plants heats up with the weather. The best-known controversy are the six new power plants going up in poor, minority neighborhoods around the city. But there is also a tale of two power plants, one on the East Side shutting down, the other in the Lower East Side expanding -- to make up for the power lost in the rich neighborhood. Critics call this the starkest possible example of environmental racism. Officials say their decisions are based on common sense.
Getting the Lead Out: (4/16/01) Nearly everyone agrees that lead poisoning is one of the most serious childhood illnesses in New York City, and one that is preventable. But the agreements end there. Lead is not just a health issue.
Where Have You Gone, Mitchell-Lama?: (4/09/01) It has been called the most successful housing program any government anywhere has ever devised. Nobody disputes the achievement of the Mitchell-Lama program, which spurred the construction of affordable housing for some 400,000 middle class New Yorkers. But the program ended two decades ago, and now, thanks to the fine print, thousands of tenants in Mitchell-Lama buildings may soon have to pay up to five times their current rent, virtually overnight, forcing many out of the apartments in which they have lived for decades. How could this be, and what does this say about the hope for affordable housing in the city?
Branching Out: (4/02/01) At the same time that the city's public libraries have become more popular and vital than ever before, they are facing some old-fashioned problems that threaten not just their successes but their very survival. During National Library Week, Norman Oder looks at this tale of high tech and low morale. See also The Library Goes Digital, which you can find on Gotham Gazette's NYC Research Desk, a new page introduced this week. Gotham Gazette's NYC Research Desk features a guide to the major research institutions in New York City, and a list of the best Web sites, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses to get your research questions answered.
School Showdown : (3/26/01) After weeks of charges, countercharges and court challenges, parents are finally voting on whether to let for-profit Edison Schools run five low-performing public schools in the city. Although the outcome will have an immediate effect on only 5,000 students, the contest has acquired all the trappings of a high stakes political campaign. Vowing it can raise achievement, Edison has promised "truckloads" of material, computers and cable television. But many parents, as well as some leading politicians, are skeptical. How did this fight become so heated? What is all the fuss? Gail Robinson reports on a key battle in the war over who should run America's schools.
Screen Play And Power Play: (3/19/01) The week leading up to Oscar night this Sunday is always full of naked pandering to movie fans. Gotham Gazette is not immune. In Screen Play, Yael Schacher looks at the odd story of the movie theaters of New York City: Ticket prices have become the highest in the nation, and there are an astonishing number of new screens. But at the same time, though prices are high, the movie theater companies are going bankrupt; and, though there are many screens, there are actually fewer and fewer films available to see on them. In Power Play, Michael Burger looks at Silvercup Studios, home of The Sopranos and Sex and the City, and its fight with power, literally - the plan to put up power plants near where the studio wants to expand.
Have Gun, Will Travel: (3/12/01) In the wake of several more traumatic school shooting sprees, attention has turned once again to teen violence, and teen gun use. But the relationship New York has to the rest of the nation on these issues is the opposite of what people might think. True, young New Yorkers are using guns at a rate that is higher than the national average, and, yes, the National Rifle Association is still planning a theme restaurant in Times Square. But New York also has among the strictest gun control laws in the nation. Gun violence is one local problem, say some advocates, that New Yorkers truly can blame on the rest of the nation -- on the lax laws in other states.
The Real Gangs of New York: (3/05/01) From Broadway musicals to crime story headlines, youth gangs have always been part of New York City life. But today's gangs are growing in size and violence. A look at youth gangs--the members, the misperceptions, and solutions--and a weird reason why it is not worse: mass transit.
Run-on Sentences: (2/26/01) There are 21,000 New Yorkers currently incarcerated under drug laws, created by former Governor Nelson Rockefeller 28 years ago, that require harsh, mandatory minimum prison sentences for even first-time offenders. Most of those imprisoned under the Rockefeller Drug Laws are non-violent; almost all are African-American or Latino. Those who think the laws need to be changed range from judges to Human Rights Watch to the Catholic Church to. now, Governor George Pataki. But will that be enough to make a difference?
In Your Face: (2/19/01) New York City has had billboards since the days of P.T. Barnum, but never before have they -- and the complaints about them-- been as big and overbearing as they are today, and not just in Times Square. The fight moves to City Hall next week and, after that, the advertisers vow, to the courts.
Cleaned Up Or Cleaned Out?: (2/12/01) New York's state Superfund program is about to go broke. When it does, the city will be left with 110 toxic waste sites on which cleanup has not even begun. Refinancing the program would be easy enough, but Governor Pataki, critics charge, has something else in mind.
Public Spaces, Private Boons: (2/05/01) Why in America do people park in a driveway and drive on a parkway? Why in New York are there more than 500 "public spaces" that are privately owned and often closed to the public? The driveway/parkway puzzle remains a mystery. But the private public spaces have an explanation. They are the result of zoning rules that are now 40 years old, which the City Planning Commission is trying to change -- though their efforts are not given much chance for success.
When Home Is Not A Haven: (1/29/01) In New York City, approximately half of all women who are murdered die at the hands of their husbands or boyfriends. Many people are trying to stop domestic violence, from judges to the police to private advocacy groups to city government, which recently passed two groundbreaking laws. But, as Tracey Middlekauff discovered, the problem is far from solved.
Boom Demands For A Bust Future?: (1/15/01) Thousands of police jammed City Hall Park last week, demanding hefty raises. The same scene, albeit more rowdy, occurred eight years ago, and Rudy Giuliani was on their side. Now Mayor Giuliani says he loves cops but the city cannot afford to give them what they want. So what about all those workers the mayor isn't quite as fond of? With municipal unions negotiating new contracts, Gail Robinson reports on what is at stake. Will the city's labor costs skyrocket just as the economy begins to dive?
And what about that economy? Herbert Berman, member of the City Council and head of its finance committee, tries to make sense of the mixed and murky signs, and comes away optimistic about the future of the city's economy.
Silicon Apple: (1/08/01) High technology companies are locking up shop, and investors are seeing their once golden dot-com stocks plunge by as much as 99 percent. But, rather than fleeing, New York City is clamoring to get on board, with dreams and plans of luring high-tech companies to the outer boroughs, in neighborhoods newly dubbed Si Hub or BronxSmart, and training people to work in the new economy. First they have to find space underground just to fit all the new wires and cables. Lynda Crawford reports.
The Issues of the Year: (12/26/00) What were the biggest stories of 2000? "Who remembers?" replied one local Congressman when we asked him. "No, don't say that," he added quickly. We remember ten. Some were big because they didn't happen.
Faith, Hope, And Charitable Choice: (12/18/00) In his victory speech, President-elect George W. Bush repeated his theme of "compassionate conservatism," said "I have faith that with God's help we as a nation will move forward as a nation", and pledged to meet "society's deepest problems one person at a time." Behind Bush's slogans is a specific plan called "charitable choice" to hand government social services over to houses of worship. But a New York City plan that uses churches to transition people from welfare-to-work is raising serious questions.
From Soho to Oh No!: (12/11/00) An old manufacturing district became Soho (South of Houston), part of the Lower East Side became the East Village, and then there was Tribeca (Triangle Below Canal), and even DUMBO (District Underneath the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). But now suddenly, there is Soco (South of Columbia University), and Esso (could this mean East of Soho?), and even neighborhoods not in danger of acquiring a cute new name -- such as Astoria, Williamsburg, Long Island City, Park Slope and Harlem -- have been sucked into the debate over gentrification. Rebecca Webber examines the arguments over whether anything should be done to protect long-term residents when their neighborhoods get fixed up, and answers the question: where do people who get pushed out go? Also: City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, a native of Astoria, argues that gentrification is not the problem, but the lack of new, affordable housing.
New York vs. New York : (12/04/00) Upstate New Yorkers are conservative Republicans who live off the spoils of the New York City economy. Downstate New Yorkers are bleeding heart Democrats who think life does not exist beyond the Hudson. The upstate-downstate debate is more than just these stereotypes. It's a divide built into the fabric of New York government that creates battles over rent control, taxes, water, prisons, and transportation. Also: Assembly member John Ravitz writes about what it is like to be a downstate Republican in the upstate world of the New York State Legislature.
Going Private : (11/27/00) Forgetting the Edsel and New Coke, many policy makers today think that anything the government can do, businesses can do better. As companies prepare to take over the city's betting operation and some of its worst schools, Gail Robinson outlines the arguments for and against privatization, and considers where it might go next. Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer criticizes the city's current approach, and calls for a more balanced policy.
The Newly Enabled?: (11/20/00) Ten years ago, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act, considered a landmark civil rights law for the 54 million Americans who are disabled -- 1.7 million of them in the city. Some say the law has gone too far, some not far enough. Lynda Crawford chronicles its effect in New York, a decade's worth of newly-cut curbs, kneeling buses, continued underemployment, lawsuits, ridicule, extravagant expense, tangible advances, and a revived fight over public toilets.
School Boards : (11/13/00) If you're seeking confusing ballots, narrow margins of victory, and hand-counted votes,look no further than the contests for New York City's 32 community school boards. It takes weeks to get the results, and many befuddled voters don't understand how to mark their ballots.
Getting Out the Vote: (11/06/00) Nobody knows for sure why fewer and fewer people in New York, and in America as a whole, are bothering to vote. What is clear, though, is that, especially in close races, the candidates most important task is not to convert the undecided, but get the already-committed to the polls. Thus the frantic and unprecedented efforts this year to "get out the vote." Bradley Siciliano and Jessica Green look at those efforts, and at who votes and who doesn't, why and why not, and what can be done about it.
Ballot Box Blues: (10/30/00) Voting registration forms that seem to vanish. Cranky voting machines. Candidates unable to get on the ballot. Voting in New York can discourage even the most tenacious citizen. Kevin Strouse and Peter Mickulas look at why exercising your right to vote here is so difficult.
Power To The Professionals: (10/23/00) Have the professionals taken over politics? Are average citizens being shut out? Gail Robinson gives the rundown on "special interests." Phil Lentz explains the rise of political consultants, and surveys the scene in New York. Political consultant Hank Sheinkopf answers the critics who see people like him as a sign of the downfall of democracy; it is just the opposite, he argues.
The Press and the Process: (10/17/00) While more publications and stations and sites cover the campaigns than ever before, and make more and more money from them, New Yorkers, as all Americans, are finding it increasingly difficult to find out any solid information about the issues. Is that why both the number of people who seek out campaign news, and the number of people who vote, are at record lows?
The Ad's The Issue: (10/10/00) Though they have been on television for half a century, political ads have never cost so much, nor become so central to the campaigns -- as strategy, as substitute for debate, and as subject of debate. Gail Robinson looks at how much they are responsible for the ills of the electoral process, and why little is being done about them.
Borrowing Like There's No Tomorrow: (10/03/00) Though it is already deep in debt, the city has plans to borrow more money than it has in the past 25 years. On Election Day, New York voters will decide if they want to improve transportation with a $3.8 billion bond act that, if passed, would increase the state debt to more than $40 billion. Jerome Chou puts the debt in context, looks at what it means for the future of the region, and explains why some say it's time to cut up New York's "credit cards."
New York's Pet Policies : (9/25/00) Beginning in November, the city will require that all animals in city shelters and pet stores be sterilized. Animal-rights groups support this measure. But they criticize New York's policies toward animals for being less innovative and humane than those of many other cities. New York, they charge, puts too much emphasis on putting animals to death, and not enough on finding other ways to control the animal population.
Garment Industry: (9/18/00) For more than a century and a half, the garment trade allowed newly arriving immigrants to make a living, and helped maintain New York's national dominance in manufacturing. But New York's garment industry, like all manufacturing in the city, seems to be dying. Kevin Strouse explains why it's happening, what's being done about it, why we should care.
Judges: (9/11/00) Mark Berkey-Gerard looks at the system of choosing judges, a chaotic mix of elections and appointments, and explains why even lowly court seats have become political battlegrounds. And Supreme Court Justice Emily Goodman gives an insider's guide to the labyrinth of the New York City courts.
School Funding: (9/04/00) Peggy Farber looks at the lawsuit, the politics, the policy and the situation in New York City, where 31 high schools have no science labs; where thousands of children attend classes in buildings surrounded by scaffolding, and have no gyms nor playgrounds; where Jesse Robinson, a young teacher in the Bronx, looks enviously at a former colleague, Amy Jones, lured away this year to a suburban school that spends more than twice as much on each student.
Getting an Apartment: Broker with Brokers: (8/28/00) During this, the peak season for apartment hunting, people naturally look for someone to blame for the high prices, the hassle, the horror stories. And, fairly or not, more and more seem to have found someone -- the nearly 44,000 licensed real estate brokers and salesmen in the city.
The State of Executions: (8/21/00) More than 600 people have been executed in America over the past three decades. But the last execution in New York was in 1963. But, thanks to New York's five-year-old "model" death penalty law, there are now five people on Death Row, and New York may soon start looking like other states.
Brownfields: (8/14/00) Brownfields are generally defined as derelict urban properties -- most often vacant industrial sites located in low-income and minority areas like Hunts Point -- which have not been redeveloped, in part, because of real or perceived environmental contamination. What is holding things up? It is, in part, the debate over two questions: How clean is clean enough? And who will pay for it?
The New Ethnic Politics: (8/07/00) Bronx Democratic Party boss Roberto Ramirez abandons a long-time (white) ally in favor of a (black) challenger, and New York City's Kremlinologists rush to figure out why. Philip Lentz sees it as a wily move by a crafty politician with his eye on the next mayoral race, Andrew White explains it as the first sign of a new political era.
Energy: (7/31/00) Empire State politicos speak darkly of a new "energy crisis" in general and a scandalous under-supply of electricity in particular. Julia Hood summarizes some of the recent goings-on and talks both to doomsayers and optimists. Conn Nugent rides to the rescue of poor Con Ed and argues that energy crises confer competitive advantages on the local economy.
Techs and the City: The Digital Divide: (7/24/00) It's the digital divide, the phrase used for the growing gap between people with access to new technology and those who feel left behind. Meg Murphy looks at the problem which some critics label a false crisis, while Melissa McNamara looks at the city government's own digital divide: while most city employees have no access to the Internet, the City offers its citizens some cool sites.
Traffic's Toll on the City: (7/17/00) A million cars will soon push their way into Manhattan every day, carrying the commuters, traders, and tourists who stoke the City's economic fires. By some estimates, all those cars also cost the City nearly $30 billion a year in lost time, traffic accidents, pollution, noise, road damage, and extra police work. The City's response to traffic congestion has been as slow as the rush-hour commute.
Surveillance: (7/10/00) In the future, everyone will have at least fifteen minutes on videotape. Surveillance cameras are everywhere in New York, and increasingly they're monitoring public space: parks, subways, and sidewalks. Who's keeping an eye on how these cameras are used?
Waterfront: (7/03/00) New Yorkers in all five boroughs are planning to reclaim the waterfront, with an astonishing 150 or so parks and restoration projects planned for the water's edge. Anne Schwartz highlights some of the most intriguing of these projects, as well as the serious issues that some of them raise.
Raising The Minimum Wage: (6/27/00) Jerome Chou weighs the costs and benefits of raising the minimum wage, and Meg Murphy visits a McDonalds in Flushing (one that's been in the news lately) to talk to a minimum wage warrior.
The State of Gay Rights in New York: (6/19/00) The world looks to New York as ground zero for gay rights, the place where the modern movement began 31 years ago this week, with the Stonewall Rebellion. But advocates charge that City and State actually lag behind much of the nation in legal protections and political support.
The Lazio Effect: (6/12/00) The Republican Party has embraced Rick Lazio as the conservative candidate Mayor Giuliani could never be. But don't be surprised if the Senate contest is a race for the middle ground.
The Uninsured: (6/05/00) About 1.8 million New Yorkers are uninsured, and health care advocates say the Mayor himself has made it more difficult for poor and working class New Yorkers to get the benefits they're already entitled to. Will the New Rudy's brush with mortality result in any real changes in New York's health care system?
Our Changing/Shrinking Electorate: (5/22/00) The population of residents is different from the population of eligible voters (citizens 18 and older), which is different from the population of people who actually vote. So who votes and who doesn't?
NYC Sports: (5/15/00) A look at the woeful state of sports in the city's schools.
NYC 2000: (5/08/00) Y2K before the craze. A look back at Koch's Commission on the Year 2000, its predictions, proposals, and accuracy.
Port Authority: (5/01/00) The battle between NY and NJ continues. Forecast? More political deadlock.
Independent Parties: (4/24/00) In New York, there's life beyond donkeys and elephants. Goth Gaz examines the unique arrangement of third parties in New York.
NYC 2012: (4/17/00) New York's bid for 2012 Olympics: brilliant or boneheaded?
Solid Waste: (4/10/00) A look at the City's garbage options in a Post Fresh Kills world.
Child Care: (4/03/00) Think welfare is complicated? Try figuring out how to get City-sponsored child care in this town.
Campaign Finance: (3/27/00) New York City's recently revised campaign finance laws, coupled with the newly-imposed term limits, are changing the face of NYC politics.
Summer School: (3/20/00) It's touted by Interim Chancellor Levy as largest summer school effort ever, but will it work?
Census2000: (3/13/00) The Census is coming! The Census is coming! The lowdown on who was and wasn't counted in 1990, and what the State and City stand to lose if the count misses again.
Capital Plan: (3/6/00) The Mayor's proposed Financial Plan for 2000-2004 has riled critics who say that Hizzoner can't shake his case of stadium-itis.
Civilian Complaint Review Board: (2/28/00) In the wake of the Louima and Diallo trials, an examination of the CCRB reveals major institutional flaws.
City Council, 2001 (2/21/00): A look at the effects of term limits on the 2001 City Council election. Though originally enacted to end the "career politician," term limits may spawn a new, more creative version of its reviled progenitor.
Superstores (2/14/00): Despite earlier objections from the City Council, superstores -- Old Navy, Home Depot, Costco -- are springing up all over the City. Now Costco is proposing a new store on 55th and 10th, which has met with vociferous objections from the community.
Privatization of Parks (2/7/00): Why Central Park is the envy of all parks nationwide, and other mysteries of how parks are funded and operated.
MTA Budget (1/31/00): An in depth look at the status of the MTA budget and the future of a Second Ave. Subway.
Sector Based Economies (1/24/00): A new lens for economic analysis? Center for an Urban Future says we need fewer tax abatements, and more proactive long-term planning and development of the economy's various sectors.
Kensico Reservoir (1/17/00): Why is this one little reservoir is causing such a ruckus? Because it provides drinking water to 9 million New Yorkers daily. Players include: City Council, Governor, EPA, DOT, and City Comptroller Alan Hevesi.
School Vouchers (01/10/00): The Mayor and The Chancellor of Ed faced off over vouchers. Politics aside, will school choice really help alleviate the problem of failing schools?
Zoning Reform (12/20/99): A look at some of Planning Commissioner Joseph Rose's proposed changes to the incomprehensible Zoning Regulation. Planning guru Norman Marcus weighs in.
Public Housing (12/13/99): Many say that the largest housing authority in the country is doing a poor job: there is a dearth of low-income housing, and that which exists is in a woeful state of repair. NYCHA says complaints should be registered with the feds, who supply 70% of its funding. Housing reporter Amanda Bell looks at one NYCHA policy, the Working Families Preference.
Scoppetta's Reforms (12/06/99): An evaluation of the Administration for Childrens' Services, since its inception in 1996. Goth Gaz reportress Peggy Farber says results are mixed, but the spirit of change is encouraging. Judge Bruce Kaplan reports on the gaping holes in the foster care system.
Sports and Public Finance (11/22/99): With a new stadium in the pipeline on Staten Island, sports teams and stadiums are again being touted as an economic boon to the hometown: more jobs, more consumption, more tax dollars. Sports finance experts say it's sham; cities pay dearly for their beloved teams. Jets fan John Crotty wants you to buy the jets.
Poverty in NYC (11/15/99): In the Golden Age of dot coms, venture capitalism and an ever-growing stock market, why do one-quarter of NYC children live below the poverty line. Advocates say the situation is going from bad to worse, while others claim there's nothing to worry about. Goth Gaz reporter Emanuel Tobier tries to ascertain what the figures really mean.
Workfare for Homeless (11/08/99): Giuliani's proposal to make the homeless work for shelter has been condemned as heartless and cruel. Patrick Markee of the Coalition for the Homeless says the proposal is Dickensian, but federal workfare law says it's necessary.
Air Quality (11/01/99): The City itself is dirty, but the air quality is even worse. Rich Kassel of the Natural Resources Defense Council says NYC's dirty air will only get worse if we continue to purchase and use diesel buses. Omar Freilla of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance says environmental hazards, such as bus terminals, are disproportionally sited in minority neighborhoods.
Tax Breaks (10/25/99): The City paying megabucks to big corporations to stay in Manhattan; is it economic development or corporate welfare? Elizabeth Lynam of the Citizens Budget Commission says tax abatements are corporate giveaways.
Freight (10/18/99): Scintillating? No. Paramount to the future of the commerce, the delivery of goods and services in New York City? Yes. Senior Fellow at INFORM, Inc. Roberta Weisbrod discusses the causes of the problem of freight transportation, and some of their solutions. Jos³ Holguin-V³ras, Professor at the Institute for Transportation Systems at the City College of New York highlights the institutional challenges of incorporating freight transport into regional planning.
Hudson River Park (10/11/99): The to-be-continued story of green vs. greener: why environmentalists and park enthusiasts can't agree on a plan for the Hudson River Park. Michael Rivlin explains the sources of contention in the Hudson River Park Coalition, while Coalition leader Albert K. Butzel asserts the need for a world-class park.
School Principals (10/04/99): Goth Gaz reporter Jessica Wolff explains why NYC principals are leaving the City in droves, and what the standoff with the principals' union, Council of Supervisors and Administrators, means for public education in the City.
Police/Community Relations (09/26/99): Covers Citizens Union Foundation panel on same, with comments from borough president C. Virginia Fields; Chairman of the Mayor's Commission to Combat Police Corruption, Richard J. Davis; and John Jay College of Criminal Justice professor Eli B. Silverman.
Second Avenue Subway (09/20/99): The MTA five year capital plan and the future of public transportation in NYC. Regional Plan Association guru Al Appleton says we need a Second Avenue Subway, NYU Prof. Dick Netzer says a trolley will do nicely.
Air Rights (09/12/99): The Trump Tower and the Eight Avenue Subdistrict or how huge buildings are erected in the City. Everything from zoning commish Joseph Rose to Walter Cronkite. Former General Counsel of the New York City Planning Commission Norman Marcus explains transferable development rights from a planner's perspective: why TDRs exist in NYC and why we need them.