Author Archive

The Not-So-Grand Central Station
January 29th, 2008

The proposed Fulton Street Transit Center was once touted as the new Grand Central Station of Lower Manhattan. The plan called for overhauled subway tunnels under a 50 foot high glass-dome and 23,000 feet of new retail space. But now transit officials say the project is $320 over budget – with a total price tag of more than $1 billion – and so they are reassessing the plan.

Who or what – is to blame?

The MTA says rising construction costs have made the original plan too expensive.

WNYCs reporter Matt Schumerman notes that it cost the MTA $100 million more than expected to acquire properties in the area.

An editorial in the New York Post points the finger at elected officials. Had former Gov. George Pataki, Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Spitzer forced a quicker pace, the job might have been done – as planned – before the price-hikes hit home, the Post writes.

And discussion on the blog Second Avenue Sagas has questioned if the MTA had overly ambitious expectations from the beginning. If these projects were designed to be functional and somewhat visually attractive, but not cathedral-like, the MTA could save a boatload of money, wrote one reader.

By on January 29, 2008, 9:13 am
In category: Transportation | 1 Comment »

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State of the City 2008
January 17th, 2008

Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered his seventh annual State of the City address today and outlined a number of specific proposals, including:

-improving Fire Department technology and training

-taking DNA samples from every person arrested in New York City

-ending social promotion for eighth graders

-extending a $400-a-year property tax rebate and a 7 percent property tax deduction

-overhauling vocational and technical education in high schools and community colleges

-surveying 100,000 New Yorkers to determine how well they are served by the city government

-and creating a Charter Reform Commission to reform the Board of Elections.

The mayor also warned that the economy appears headed for difficult times, but the New York Times City Room blog notes that Mr. Bloomberg offered few details about the spending cuts he would propose, for the city fiscal year that starts on July 1, and he did not dwell on the economic conditions, including the weakening housing market and the subprime mortgage crisis, which have begun to hurt homeowners in every borough except, for the most part, Manhattan.

Read the full text of the speech at

By on January 17, 2008, 2:53 pm
In category: Crime & Safety,Economy,Education,Gotham City,Governing,Public Finance,Tech | Comments Off on State of the City 2008

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The Future of Starrett City
August 7th, 2007

The Daily News offers its opinion on what should be done with Starrett City, 5,800 apartments that owners want to sell off for big profits. An offer of $1.3 billion has been rejected twice by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

It’s time to start over with a fresh approach that better balances the needs of the tenants and the profit-making hopes of the owners, the Daily News writes. Open the books, reveal every subsidy, disclose who is paying what and detail the plans for every apartment. Start with what’s needed to keep it affordable, then figure out what it’s worth rather than reaching for the moon, come what may for the tenants.

And an article in City Limits predicts that it will be sold – eventually.

By on August 7, 2007, 7:25 am
In category: Housing | 5 Comments »

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The Lobby of Freedom
August 3rd, 2007

New York Magazine’s blog has new drawings of the proposed Freedom Tower lobby and entrance. “Where the old Twin Towers sealed themselves from the street, the new lobby echoes the old bustle of downtown true to the notion that Daniel Libeskind laid out before he lost control of the building’s design,” TJ Gottesdiener of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill told the magazine.

By on August 3, 2007, 8:07 am
In category: Land Use | 7 Comments »

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Film Rules Bashing
August 3rd, 2007

Today is the deadline for New Yorkers to let City Hall know how they feel about proposed rules on public filming in the city. The Mayors Office of Film, Theater, and Broadcasting is seeking to require any group of two or more people who want to use a camera in a public place for more than 30 minutes to get a city permit and $1 million in liability insurance.

The idea has been met with widespread outrage.

The Daily News calls the policy a turkey, a bomb, the bureaucratic equivalent of “Waterworld.”

Julianne Cho, an official in the agency, made Keith Olbermann’s “World’s Worst Person” segment on Countdown on MSNBC.

And a rap video from the comedy troop Olde English Guys lampooning the rules is making the rounds on the Internet: it suggests putting a hat and funny glasses on a camera and telling police that it’s a dude.

By on August 3, 2007, 6:55 am
In category: Arts | Comments Off on Film Rules Bashing

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Parking Meter News
July 31st, 2007

Streetsblog says that critics of Mayor Michael Bloombergs plan to charge drivers to enter busy parts of Manhattan are just making the same arguments as opponents of parking meters in the 1930s.

In related news, the Department of Transportation, which makes about $90 million from parking meters annually, is trying to sell 500 pounds of foreign coins that find their way into machines.

By on July 31, 2007, 6:57 am
In category: Transportation | 1 Comment »

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Rating Klein's Five
July 31st, 2007

Today, the New York Post marks Schools Chancellor Joel Kleins five years in the post by listing his achievements. Then the paper gives this mixed review:

“…there’s no denying that real gains have been made across the board. Not that there haven’t been some significant bumps in the road – many of which still remain – along the way. Even with a rise in achievement, test scores still remain far below what they should be. Still, nobody expected miracles.”

By on July 31, 2007, 6:34 am
In category: Education | Comments Off on Rating Klein's Five

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Steamrolling Spitzer
July 24th, 2007

The local newspapers have plenty to say about the news that Governor Eliot Spitzer’s aides improperly used State Police to gather information on the governor’s rival, State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno.

The New York Times writes: “If Mr. Spitzer does not make sure he has cleaned up his own house, his ability to clean up the rest of Albany could be severely compromised.”

The Daily News writes: “Only in Albany, where deviancy has been defined virtually down and out of existence, can an amateurish, ill-conceived, ham-handed attempt to reveal a high public official’s abuse of the taxpayers wind up being counted as far more serious than the abuse itself.”

The New York Post wants a deeper probe into the incident, asking: “‘What did he know, and when did he know it?’ That question haunted Richard Nixon during Watergate, and now it’s an apt query concerning Eliot Spitzer and Troopergate.”

And the New York Sun uses its editorial page to praise State Attorney Andrew Cuomo for his handling of the incident. “After eight years of an attorney general who saw successful businessmen, rather than Albany politicians, as his targets, how refreshing it is to have an attorney general in the state who doesn’t shy from turning his attention to his fellow officeholders,” the Sun writes.

By on July 24, 2007, 6:45 am
In category: Albany,Electoral Politics,Transportation | 3 Comments »

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Responding to Albany's Action
July 20th, 2007

Yesterday, legislative leaders in Albany made some decisions, sort of. They agreed to form a commission to consider Mayor Bloombergs idea of charging drivers to bring their cars into Manhattan, and they approved limits on donations to state-wide candidates for office, butto a lesserextent than some had hoped.

The Daily News says that Albany busted gridlock withits decision to consider congestion pricing, but blocked real reform on campaign finance.

The New York Post calls the congestion pricing plan Albanys Definite Maybe.

And in its news coverage of the event, the New York Sun writes that both Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Eliot Spitzer, two political leaders, who are usually known for carving deep lines in the sand, resigned themselves to an outcome they had sought to avoid but couldn’t refuse.

By on July 20, 2007, 7:30 am
In category: Albany,Governing,Transportation | Comments Off on Responding to Albany's Action

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Blogging the Blast
July 20th, 2007

The New York Times’ blog City Room has a first person account of the steam pipe explosion written by Kieran Beer, the man helping the bleeding woman in the photo that has become the iconic image of the event. Beer, the editor-in-chief of Fortent Inform, a news and legal data service for financial institutions, writes: I look pretty distressed in the photo. I was, but mostly about the photo being taken. I understood the photographer was doing his job, but I really didnt want be part of the story.

City Room also has its own take on the digital coverage, noting that people used their own blogs, YouTube, and Flickr to tell their personal stories, but that many for-profit web logs were not on top of the event.

By on July 20, 2007, 7:05 am
In category: Gotham City,Tech | 1 Comment »

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Albany's Indecision: Obstruction or Salvation?
July 17th, 2007

The State Legislature failed to act on Mayor Michael Bloombergs congestion pricing plan and missed a deadline for the city to apply for as much as $500 million federal transportation funding.

The Daily News thinks that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver made a big mistake and should have said “yes” to the plan. “New York today does not have a smart, comprehensive plan to ease the traffic that is choking the city,” the paper writes.

However, the New York Sun thinks that in this case Albanys habit of standing in the way of progress may turn out to be a good thing. “In the case of congestion pricing, the general opposition in the Assembly appears to be a more legitimate political calculation,” the paper writes.

By on July 17, 2007, 7:05 am
In category: Albany,Environment,Transportation | Comments Off on Albany's Indecision: Obstruction or Salvation?

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Missing Out on Federal Funds
July 13th, 2007

The New York Times says that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is “sneezing at $500 million” in federal transportation funding and is ready to squander something vital for the city by refusing to reconvene his committee to consider Mayor Bloombergs congestion pricing plan.

The Daily News says that the Department of Homeland Security’s decision not to give New York City additional money to respond to terrorism is “enough to make you sick.”

By on July 13, 2007, 9:53 am
In category: Crime & Safety,Public Finance,Transportation | Comments Off on Missing Out on Federal Funds

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That 70s Show
July 10th, 2007

This summer, there is a lot of nostalgia for big hair, crime, blackouts, and a bankrupt city government.

Tonight, ESPN launches an 8-hour mini-series called The Bronx is Burning, an adaptation of John Mahlers book about the 1977 New York Yankees and their quest to win the first pennant in 15 years. The backdrop for the drama is a city in turmoil – “‘the Summer of Sam, an unprecedented wave of looting and arson resulting from a citywide blackout, declining municipal budgets, and bitterly negative campaigns in the race for mayor which played on residents fears, according to the show’s promotional materials.(Click here for a Gotham Gazette interview with Mahler.)

The Daily News has produced a Web site by the same name, featuring photos, profiles of each of the candidates for mayor, and articles from its archives, including the story with the famous headline Ford to New York: Drop Dead.

And today, the New York Post features the article “The Brink of Bankruptcy”, the second in a five-part series marking the 30th anniversary of New York City’s summer of 1977. The first article entitled “How I Helped Put the Juice Back in the Big Apple” is written by former Mayor Ed Koch

By on July 10, 2007, 11:46 am
In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on That 70s Show

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In Praise of Smaller Schools
July 6th, 2007

The New York Times praises the Bloomberg administration for “making impressive strides toward the goal of replacing large and often dysfunctional factory-style high schools with smaller schools where children have closer contact with faculty members.

For more on the city’s effort to reduce the size of high schools – and the challenges of implementing the policy – see these Gotham Gazette articles from the archives:
Keeping Kids in School (2006)
High School Students (2005)
The School Admissions Scramble (2005)
Making Schools Smaller (2004)

By on July 6, 2007, 7:40 am
In category: Education | 1 Comment »

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High-Flyin' Joe Vs. Low-Lyin' Shelly
July 6th, 2007

The Daily News editorial page gives its views on Albanys two top legislators today – and neitherman fares well.

On Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, the paper writes: “He wants to act like a jerk, live like a king – and not be held accountable for any of it.”

On Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, The News writes: “Silver cannot dodge responsibility for the Legislature’s failure to do much of anything before it went home for the summer.”

By on July 6, 2007, 7:22 am
In category: Albany | Comments Off on High-Flyin' Joe Vs. Low-Lyin' Shelly

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July 3rd, 2007

Governor Eliot Spitzer has authorized an investigation into Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno’s use of state helicopters for trips that coincided with Republican fund-raisers.

Daily News columnist Bill Hammond believes that Bruno has some explaining to do. “Bruno – who is the biggest obstacle to campaign finance reform in Albany – is asking us to believe that his helicopter trips were primarily for public business, when the only available records suggest otherwise,” Hammond writes.

But the New York Post thinks that Governor Spitzer’s “prosecutorial bullying has surfaced so often lately – in such over-the-top fashion – it makes you wonder if Spitzer has the temperament to be an effective governor.”

By on July 3, 2007, 7:50 am
In category: Albany,Transportation | Comments Off on Helicoptergate

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Let New Yorkers Blow Things Up!
July 3rd, 2007

This Fourth of July the New York Sun argues for the legalization of fireworks. The opinion page cites statistics demonstrating that firecrackers are safer than kitchen ovens and quotes Founding Fathers who believed that the holiday should be celebrated with “bonfires and illuminations from one end of the continent to the other, from this day forward ever more.”

“The signers of the Declaration of Independence took a great risk in affixing their names to that parchment,” the Sun writes. “There’s absolutely no reason for Albany to spoil our national holiday by preventing New Yorkers from taking their own risks to celebrate that achievement.”

By on July 3, 2007, 7:31 am
In category: Albany,Crime & Safety | Comments Off on Let New Yorkers Blow Things Up!

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Race, Schools, and NYC
June 29th, 2007

The New York Times calls the Supreme Court ruling that public school systems cannot seek to achieve integration by selecting students based on race “a sad day for the court and for the ideal of racial equality.”

The New York Post praises the ruling and urges Schools Chancellor Joel Klein to “unilaterally lift the racial quota system” in New York City.

And the New York Sun, which alsosupports the ruling, hopes that now school vouchers can provide “choice and free-market competition that will give these students the key to a better education and a brighter future.”

By on June 29, 2007, 7:41 am
In category: Education | 1 Comment »

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Whitman's Testimony "An Insult to Truth"
June 26th, 2007

The Daily News calls former EPA chief Christine Todd’s testimony that she properly informed New Yorkers about the health hazards generated by the collapse of the World Trade Center a fable and an insult to truth.

The New York Post hopes the Supreme Court gives the city permission to get rid of race as a factor in school admissions. “Desegregating schools may be a worthy goal, but no child – white or minority – should be denied entry based on race,” the Post writes. “It’s time to scrap this ugly practice.”

Newsday hope the “cool-off period” in Albany will help Governor Eliot Spitzer and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno realize that the “time for finger-pointing has passed.”

By on June 26, 2007, 7:30 am
In category: Albany,Education,Environment | Comments Off on Whitman's Testimony "An Insult to Truth"

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The Other NYC Mayor Running for President
June 22nd, 2007

A supporter of U.S. Republican presidential hopeful and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani attends a meeting of Cuban-Americans supporters at a restaurant, whilst Giuliani is campaigning, in Hialeah, Florida. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

By on June 22, 2007, 7:28 am
In category: Gotham City | Comments Off on The Other NYC Mayor Running for President

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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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