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The Place for New York Policy and politics

Citizens Union

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Games Archive

Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Citizens Union
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We're excited to announce that, with the support of a new grant from the Knight Foundation, we're gearing up to develop a new round of games for GothamGazette.com. And, we hope our readers can help us make these new games thoughtful, informative and engaging.

These games will let you — the reader — make policy. What problems would you like to take on as a virtual policy-maker? The fate of the city's garbage? The right way to balance civilliberties and security in an Emergency? Developing a balanced land use plan for a neighborhood?

This time around we're planning to add a new element to the games: We will take note of the decisions you make and encourage players to offer explanations of the solutions you've proposed.


Switch It On!
September 28, 2009 — With gadgets guzzling electricity, New York faces a looming energy gap. How would you fix it? Ban air conditioning? Harness the tides? Go nuclear? Play Gotham Gazette latest game and plan our energy future.

Bump the Birds
July 07, 2009 — Candidates have until Thursday to file petitions to get on the primary ballot. Do you have what it takes to get on the ballot and stay there? Play 'Bump,' our latest game, and find out.

Fix the Budget
February 09, 2009 — Play Balance, Gotham Gazette's new game and see if you can fill New York's $4 billion budget gap. Cut, tax or spend -- as long as you make it balance.

The Budget Maze
May 19, 2008 — As politicians debate city spending for 2009, what can advocates do to fight school cuts or fund a neighborhood sports program? Our new game takes through to the budget labyrinth.

The Garbage Glut
November 13, 2007 — How would you keep New York City from drowning in its own refuse? Play Gotham Gazette's new Garbage Game -- and decide what to do with more than 3 million tons of trash a year.

NYC Preservation Game
October 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.

Budget Quiz
July 11, 2005 —

Campaign 2005 Quiz
June 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

City Laws Quiz
April 04, 2005 — The following quiz is designed not only to test your knowledge of New York City laws, but to offer a step-by-step guide to the different ways this tool lets you find information — by year, topic, keyword, and individual council member.

 

Voting Arcade
September 09, 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.

Republicans in New York City Quiz
August 23, 2004 —

Find Your Inner Republican
June 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.

Plan Your Future Park
March 18, 2004 — Our newest interactive game lets you plan your own park, making choices that communities all over the city have been facing.

Breakdown
December 08, 2003 — New Yorkers rarely think about the systems that keep the city running, until something breaks down. Now, you can take a system-by-system look at what keeps us wired, watered, and flushed: play Breakdown!, our newest interactive game, and use your knowledge to save the city from kaput.

Ground Zero Planner
July 01, 2002 — The Ground Zero Planner allows you to design the World Trade Center site the way you think it should look. You can drag icons representing different ideas for the site, like housing, parks, and a memorial, onto a map of Ground Zero.

The New York City Budget Game
May 12, 2003 — 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.

Moving Around the City -- A Quiz About Transportation in New York
June 09, 2003 — Which subway system has more riders -- New York's or Mexico City's? What mayor rode mass transit to his inauguration? And how loud are those car alarms? Test your knowledge of New York City transportation.

The Tour Guides Quiz
July 14, 2003 — This is a quiz especially for Gotham Gazette readers who want to challenge their own New York savvy. They are not the exact same questions as those offered in the professional licensing examination for tour guides, but they tap into the same vast treasure trove of New York City legends and lore.

The Judges Game
August 04, 2003 — With a steady stream of new 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 got what it takes for the Brooklyn bench.

NYC Housing Trivia Quiz
February 17, 2003 — 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?

Gotham Gazette's Summer Quiz
July 16, 2001 — Who is NOT running for public office this year: a 19 year old, a Seinfeld character, a salsa singer, or a State Senator? How many golf courses are there in New York City; how many pigeons? Who are the Vieques Four? Which is greater, New York City's annual budget or Harvard University's endowment? Is NYPD Blue filmed in New York City? How about Friends? Take Gotham Gazette's Summer Quiz and test your New York knowledge.

Gotham Gazette's New York City Quiz
March 21, 2001 — So, you think you know New York City? Which is the longest subway ride? Which is bigger, the Fresh Kill's garbage dump or the Great Wall of China? Test your knowledge in Gotham Gazette's interactive quiz.

City Hall Quiz
January 13, 2003 — What do New Yorkers hate the most - noise, traffic, or rats? Is it illegal to talk on your cell phone on the subway? What new parking holidays were added in the last year? In 2002, the City Council and the mayor passed 47 new laws that they claim will make the city a better place. Test your knowledge of what they did at City Hall with our interactive quiz.



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Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union Foundation and is made possible by support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Altman Foundation,the Fund for the City of New York and donors to Citizens Union Foundation. Please consider supporting Citizens Union Foundation's public education programs. Critical early support to Gotham Gazette was provided by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Rudy's running out of time

by Philip Lentz

There is barely seven months left in the reign of Rudy -- not enough time, it would appear, for the city's 107th mayor to complete many of the Big Projects he yearns to include in his legacy. From stadiums to airports to subways, it looks as if these accomplishments will become ribbon cuttings, or headaches, for some other mayor.

This is not for a lack of trying. In the last few months, Rudy Giuliani has been pushing hard to gain deals that will brand his name into the infrastructure of the city for decades to come. But after seven years of fighting, snapping and snarling at other politicians and political institutions, the mayor no longer has the clout nor the allies to pull off one last big deal.

Governor George Pataki, weary of battling with the mayor, would just as soon wait until next year. The next mayor will probably be a Democrat, but the governor's people say Gracie Mansion's next occupant cannot help but be more cooperative than Rudy.

The City Council is run by Speaker Peter Vallone, who wants to be the next mayor. He has little incentive to endorse any deals that could hamstring his ability to run the city.

And the Legislature has always been hostile to this mayor. The Republican Senate does not trust him because of his endorsement of Democrat Mario Cuomo in 1994. And the Democratic Assembly does not like him because he is a Republican running a Democratic city.

Despite these obstacles, Giuliani pushes on.

STADIUMS

At the top of his agenda are new stadiums for the Yankees, Mets and Jets. But the mayor's announcement a few weeks ago that stadium deals were close was greeted by skepticism by the teams themselves. All the teams want some public subsidies and it is unlikely the City Council or the Legislature would agree to such expenditures in the current fiscal climate, with multi-billion dollar budget deficits looming in the near future.

The mayor's people talk about getting around the City Council, such as floating taxable bonds through the city's Industrial Development Agency, which does not require council approval. But it is hard to see how such a plan could be signed and implemented -- and withstand court challenges -- in just seven months.

For the Yankees, there is not even agreement on where a new stadium would be built. Yankee owner George Steinbrenner is said to be resigned to staying in the Bronx, as opposed to the West Side of Manhattan. But would a new stadium be a rehab of the current ballpark or built in a city park next door?

The Mets know where they would like their new stadium to go -- in the parking lot of the current Shea Stadium. But they want to see how much public money George gets from City Hall before they sign on the dotted line with Rudy.

The Jets are further along in their discussions with the mayor and the governor over a new stadium on Manhattan's West Side. But those talks have run afoul of a long-running dispute between the mayor and the governor over expanding the nearby Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

The Jets have proposed sharing a new stadium with an expanded Javits center. That would give it a public purpose and, ostensibly, a rationale for public support and public dollars.

The Javits folks -- Pataki appointees all -- are amenable and they are talking with the Jets. But what they really want to do is expand Javits northward, to 42d Street, to gain new exhibition space. Meanwhile, the mayor believes that all Javits needs is a stadium to create more convention space. Thus, an impasse. And Javits officials say they will not agree to a Jets-stadium deal until the mayor agrees to support northward expansion-something he has resolutely refused to do for six years. Until that knot is untangled, it appears the Jets will make little progress toward a new Manhattan stadium.

AIRPORTS

Giuliani is also intent on signing a privatization deal that would kick the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey out of the city's two airports. His minions are busy negotiating with BAA USA Inc., a private airport management firm. Under the proposed deal, BAA would initially be the city's airport consultant, then take over management of the airports in 2016 when the Port Authority's leases expire.

Normally, such lease arrangements require council approval. But when Vallone withdrew his support from the mayor's privatization plan, the mayor's aides said he would sign a management contract instead, which meant no council approval would be required.

And to make the contract stick, the mayor's people plan to include a "poison pill" provision requiring the city to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to BAA if some future administration tries to cancel the contract. The mayoral candidates have howled about this costly attempt to bind the next mayor, but Giuliani is intent on wounding the Port Authority any way he can before he hands over the keys to City Hall.

TRAINS

Another of the mayor's Big Ideas is a subway that would offer an easy one-seat-ride connection from Manhattan to La Guardia Airport. At his insistence, the project was included in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's new $17 billion five-year capital plan. And the mayor has set aside the city's annual contribution to the MTA -- $889 million over the next five years -- for that project and expansion of the No. 7 line to the far West Side.

But despite the mayor's enthusiasm, the La Guardia rail link is near the bottom of the priority list for the MTA. With the agency struggling to fund a commuter rail connection to Grand Central Terminal and the Second Avenue subway, there does not seem much left over for a La Guardia rail link. And the next mayor may want to use the city's MTA contribution for projects with more public support, like the Second Avenue subway.

TUNNELS

There is one major project, however, that the mayor has been able to move forward--and which is supported by his potential successors. That is a rail freight tunnel to Brooklyn. This costly project -- estimated to cost between $1.5 billion and $2.5 billion -- is years away from groundbreaking. But the mayor has taken the necessary preliminary steps to enable the next mayor to advance the proposal. He initiated a federally-funded study that provided a rationale for the tunnel--taking trucks off city streets. And he recently started an environmental impact study that could lay the groundwork for a funding request to Washington and Albany (and the City Council too).

Mayor Giuliani is sure to have much to say about his Big Projects during his remaining few months at the helm. But his ability to move them from the talking to the building stage has already eroded badly, leaving it to the next mayor to decide which ones the city winds up pursuing.

Philip Lentz is the political reporter for Crain's New York Business

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Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union Foundation and is made possible by support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Altman Foundation,the Fund for the City of New York and donors to Citizens Union Foundation. Please consider supporting Citizens Union Foundation's public education programs. Critical early support to Gotham Gazette was provided by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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