Author Archive

Come Clean if You Want a Parking Placard
March 13th, 2008

Spitzer isn’t the only one who is going to have to come clean about where he’s been sleeping: New Yorkers who register their cars in North Carolina to save on insurance will find they have to chose between cheap insurance and a local parking spot if residential parking permits make it into the final congestion pricing plan.

It is no secret to New Yorkers that many cars parked on residential streets night after night are registered in other states though their owners obviously live in the city. According to a 2006 report by the State Commission of Investigation and reported by Assembly Rep Ivan Lafayette, New York City loses out on more than $275 million in revenue from uncollected fees and fines every year. In addition to the lost money from vehicle registrations and title certificates, Pennsylvania drivers alone had racked up $9,635,004.21 in unpaid parking fines by August of 2006.

(Okay, so the Spitzer bit was a cheap shot. He didn’t lie about where he was sleeping, just about who was there with him.)

By on March 13, 2008, 12:11 pm
In category: Public Finance,Transportation | 1 Comment »

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Weak Signals on DTV
February 29th, 2008

Our technology topic page writer, Joshua Breitbart, learned today that on top of the myriad stumbling blocks on the path to the digital television transition the $39.99 converter box won’t be available for another 4 months and those coupons expire in 3 months. If you’re planning to keep an analog television up and running, you better read up on the transition before February 19, 2009.

By on February 29, 2008, 8:36 pm
In category: Tech | 4 Comments »

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This Park Bench Brought to You by ...
January 29th, 2008

Amid the swirling controversy (oh wait, there’s been hardly a peep of controversy.) over Mayor Bloomberg’s recent rejuvenation of an old proposal to auction off naming rights to city parks and facilities, Gothamist reminds us today that the parks department has been selling off naming rights to Central Park benches for decades.

By on January 29, 2008, 3:53 pm
In category: Parks | Comments Off on This Park Bench Brought to You by ...

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Lumbering Indeed
January 28th, 2008

The Daily News reported this morning that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to consolidate duplicative administrative departments and cut 240 jobs in the process, promising a savings of $40 million. The numbers have news readers reaching for their calculators and clamoring for a peek at the MTA books while Gothamist readers are wondering whether 240 is really a “giant step” toward efficiency, as MTA Executive Director Elliot Sander calls the move, particularly considering that it will be five years before the agency realizes any savings, since the consolidated office set up to save money will cost as much as $235 million to set up.

The agency’s tight lips and tighter books have been a subject of contention for years, so it is no surprise that the News characterized Sanders’ “giant step” as lumbering instead.

By on January 28, 2008, 8:09 pm
In category: Transportation | Comments Off on Lumbering Indeed

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Parking Permits a Perk of the Job?
January 10th, 2008

UFT blog Edwize reprinted Randi Weingarten’s letter to Mayor Bloomberg, objecting to his plan to reduce city-issued parking permits permits. Streetsblog fairly well tears apart her assertion that “Teachers are not abusers of parking permits,” and other posts there show school employees parked on sidewalks and in school yards.

So far she’s the first city union leader to speak out publicly about the Mayor’s plan, though Streetsblog did report in December Teamster President Gary LaBarbera’s argument at a congestion hearing that parking permits are a protected form of compensation. Will Weingarten’s objections be formally echoed by other city employee unions?

Read the rest of this entry »

By on January 10, 2008, 10:56 am
In category: Gotham City,Transportation | 1 Comment »

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Thanks for Joining Us!
September 27th, 2007

We hope you enjoyed today’s chat with Furman Center directors Vicki Been and Ingrid Gould Ellen. Far more questions were submitted than we had time to answer, but we’ll follow up and try to get answers to many of your questions.

Look for a transcript next week in Measuring Up.
Some of the questions we didn’t get to?

From Elizabeth:

What can rent-stabilized tenants do to change the New York State laws regarding major capital improvements? These laws are patently unfair and discriminate against rent-stabilized tenants as a class. Tenants have no equity in these buildings and should not be forced to pay for ‘improvements’ for which landlords get a tax break and which frequently are desperately needed repairs ‘disguised’ as improvements. My tenants’ association uncovered out and out fraud in the previous owner’s MCI application for a $404,000 “roof,” etc. The onus should not be on us to discover this. Why isn’t DHCR tracking these landlords and following the money trails?

From Denise:

Given the reported increase in homelessness in the city, what are the solutions? Do you see a large need for more transitional housing, section 8 housing and low-income housing? You mentioned that HPD has targeted housing for people who make below 50k, but there seems to be a great need for the lowest income bracket.

From Nelson Alexander Smith:

It sometimes seems that most of Manhattan has been enclosed in scaffolding for two or three years now. Aside from market forces, were there any regulatory, political, or other changes that account for the extraordinary levels of reconstruction and exterior renovation?

From Lauren Harrison:

What is the best option for “affordable housing”in Manhattan: Rent-stabilized, Single Room Occupancies, or Co-ops? What are the benefits/negatives of these options?

Are there other questions you wish you’d had a chance to ask the Furman Center?

By on September 27, 2007, 4:11 pm
In category: Community Development,Housing,Land Use | 1 Comment »

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How They'd Collect Congestion Pricing Fees
August 29th, 2007

Streetsblog has a rendering up and a link to the city’s Request for Expression of Interest. The Streetsblog article shows the system IBM created for Stockholm, which features a rather prominent (and ominous) 7-11 kiosk–an odd bit of advertising as it is the only brand visible in IBM’s nifty interactive piece about how it all works. Read the rest of this entry »

By on August 29, 2007, 3:28 pm
In category: Gotham City,Tech,Transportation | Comments Off on How They'd Collect Congestion Pricing Fees

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Spitzer Signs Housing Bill
August 16th, 2007

Community Voices Heard is lauding Governor Spitzer’s decision to sign the shelter allowance bill yesterday. The legislation, S.4329/A.7905 will increase the shelter allowance provided to public housing authorities serving families on public assistance, adding (by CVH’s estimate) $47 million in revenue yearly to the NYC Housing Authority’s budget, helping to close a $225 million budget deficit.

Read the rest of this entry »

By on August 16, 2007, 11:54 am
In category: Albany,Housing,Public Finance,Social Services | Comments Off on Spitzer Signs Housing Bill

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Eye Opener: Rain Derails Subway Commute
August 9th, 2007

We’re trying something new with the Wonkster — for the next week, take a look at the Eye Opener category for a rundown of the morning’s news. To get the Eye Opener direct in your inbox, subcribe today.

Today’s Lead Story: Rain Derails Subway Commute

The city’s subway system was rendered useless by 3.5 inches of rain plummeting onto the city over the span of two hours yesterday morning. A tornado also touched down in South Brooklyn for the first time in the borough’s history and the sixth in the city’s. Almost every train line came to a halt at some point. In an additional failure at the MTA, the web site crashed during the emergency. The crisis and its fallout is striking in its likeness to a 2004 incident. In that case, the transportation authoritys inspector general found the MTA had neglected water drainage systems maintenance and dispersed work crews inefficiently. Officials said yesterday the whole water drainage system needs an overhaul. In contrast to yesterday’s chaos, subway systems in other cities rarely shut down due to weather. Service is expected to be normal today.

For more, see Transportation Links in the News.

New Trends Revealed by Census Bureau

While Asians have accounted for the largest growth in newcomers immigrating to the city, the number of blacks has declined significantly. Officials and experts say that they are leaving for the South, because not only is the city too expensive, the entire metro area is.

For more, see Demographics Links in the News.

In the Press Today …

Businesses Near Blast Struggle to Return to Normal, or Even Just to Reopen (NY Times)

Queens Parks Net $111 Million in Funding for Playgrounds (Daily News)

MTA Considering 3 New Metro-North Stations for the Bronx (Daily News)

Politicians Seek Say in Atlantic Yards (NY Post)

Conflicts of Interest Board’s Enforcement Tsar Sets Records (NY Sun)

NY Area Venture Capital Funding Declines but Stays Strong (Crain’s)

A Look at New York’s Steam System (WNYC)

Big Real Estate Firms Buy Up in Poor Neighborhoods (WNYC)

Today’s Report: NYC Second to Last in Big City School Breakfast Participation
Despite the significant progress that New York City public schools achieved by making school breakfast available universally to all students regardless of family income, New York has the second lowest participation rate out of 23 large American cities, according to a new study by the Food Research Action Center (FRAC). The Study credits New York with great progress, but suggests ways to improve. Read the full report.

Recent Reports: Alternatives to a Fare Hike; Phantom Constituents in the Empire State: Prison Population, Census Data, and Political Power; and more …

City Hall News …

Veteran Activist Fulani May Run for Mayor
Lawyer To Challenge Brooklyn Congressman Vito Fosella in ’08

By on August 9, 2007, 7:25 am
In category: Eye Opener,Gotham City | Comments Off on Eye Opener: Rain Derails Subway Commute

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Bailing Out and Starting to Ask Questions
August 8th, 2007

Photos of storm damage abound,
Fallen Tree
Photo from Prospect Park South,
courtesy of Flickr User tmbg37

Bay Ridge
Photo from Bay Ridge,
courtesy of Flickr User jnforte

As do the pictures of commuters lining up and looking for a way to get to work:


With the MTA website still barely loading, we’re wondering how you got to work this morning? Were you able to find the information you needed to get into the office in time to change your plans?

Let us know in the comments. Since their site is barely loading, we’ll be adding updated info from the MTA service advisories every hour or so, too.

By on August 8, 2007, 11:36 am
In category: Gotham City | 1 Comment »

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