Forty-nine members of warring gangs in East New York are facing murder and other charges — swept up in a crackdown by law enforcement after they used social media to taunt and intimidate each other, officials announced Wednesday.
A man with a history of violence has been arraigned on charges he retaliated against a 73-year-old birdwatcher who took a compromising photo of him by raping her in Central Park.
The wake for the 20-year-old Bronx bodega worker who was shot and killed by a police last week while fleeing an armed robbery will be held Tuesday in Washington Heights as the family of the young father pushes for an independent probe into his death.
A 20-year-old Bronx bodega worker was shot dead by police as he tried to leave the building during an armed robbery Friday morning in what police said they believe was an accident, authorities said.
Ronald Wallace III had a grin almost as wide as his size 13 sneakers. He flashes it in countless family photos that his parents thumb through in their Brooklyn apartment.
A Federal Court Judge will hear testimony Monday about how to make city polling sites more accessible for people who use wheelchairs or have vision impairments.
Relatives and friends of a 13-year-old boy who was shot and killed on Friday, held an evening candlelight vigil at the intersection of Tapscott and Blake Avenue in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn where he was gunned down.
All 51 City Council districts will have redrawn lines before the 2013 election. The changes are expected to reflect the results of the newest census data for New York City, which showed demographic shifts in population, including increases within certain minority groups.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday he is not expecting legalized street hail service for livery car passengers "for a while."
Officials said the plan will be on hold at least until the new year, with a ruling not expected before January.
The city is appealing a State Supreme Court decision blocking the city’s plan to sell 18,000 livery street hail permits as well as 2000 yellow medallions. The estimated billion dollars in revenue from the medallion sale -- as well the expanded cab service promised by the Bloomberg administration -- hangs in the balance.
The winner so far in this saga is the powerful medallion lobby, including the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade-- chief plaintiff in the lawsuit against the 5 Boro plan. This trade association has been a successful litigant against other city taxi polices, including legally nixing a mandate several years ago by the Bloomberg administration that cabs get at least 30 miles to the gallon.
The potential losers are livery customers and drivers. The city estimates more than 120,000 -150,000 illegal street hails occur a day. Many who live beyond Manhattan and rely on non-yellow cab service said they welcome more taxi regulation for these cars—including distinctive taxi markings, so they know a taxi driver is authorized to pick up passengers--as well as greater price regulation.
Krystle James, 27, of East New York, said since livery fares can be unpredictable she tries not to hail cabs on the street, instead writing down the number of a passing livery cab and calling their office. She thinks this helps her get a firm price on the cab so there’s no haggling later.
But that’s what Tariq Mohammad, 27, from Bedford-Stuyvesant loves about livery cab hails on the street. “I’ll start off really low like $10, he’ll start off higher, $20. We’ll meet in the middle, $14-$15, I’ll give him a dollar tip. $16 bucks, I save $4,” he said.
Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky said he hopes livery drivers who were planning to operate legally and buy the new permits will “hang tight” as the appeal process plays out.
“We’re going to push for the fastest possible outcome”, he promised.
Sources in the both the livery and yellow cab industry expect a compromise will eventually be struck.
Guy Palumbo with Global Transportation Network Consultants said he thinks it’s time for all sides to try and finally hash out some kind of plan soon. “At this stage the liveries and the taxis should develop a workable plan so when a decision is rendered they have a way forward," Palumbo said.
(Stephen Nessen contributed reporting.)
If you're traveling by taxi this summer, chances are your driver is hungrier than usual. Nearly half of licensed drivers in the city are Muslim—and they’re not eating because they’re observing Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting and reflection. That means thousands of cabbies are working 12-hour shifts without food, water or caffeine.
Muslims break their daily fast at sundown. One recent evening, the West 29th Street curbside in Manhattan held so many taxis that the street glowed yellow. This commercial district in Manhattan has free evening parking, a boon for drivers.
Around 8 p.m., as the day's light faded, cabbies rushed into a mosque called Masjid Ar-Rhahman. A mountain of their shoes rose in the vestibule. Soon their sung prayers emanated from a loudspeaker at the top of the mosque. Outside, vendors selling prayer books and sweet treats waited patiently for the cabbies to emerge from inside.
Driver Lansana Keita was one of the first ones out. He smiled as he ate his first food of the day, a sweet rice concoction that resembled rice pudding. "You need something soft after fasting all day, to help your metabolism to digest,” he said.
Keita said his biggest obstacle during Ramadan is keeping up his stamina during a shift that typically features mind-numbing traffic, the threat of parking tickets and the never-ending drone of the TV in his backseat. He said driving on an empty stomach while dealing with the daily guff from passengers becomes a spiritual exercise.
"When someone cusses on you, you have to let it go," he said. "When someone wants to have drama with you, you have to let it go--those are the principles of Ramadan.”
Drivers who chose not to eat in the mosque huddled on the sidewalk in small groups to consume their long-awaited meals.
"I love this: it’s called pakora, samosa and chana,” said Mohammed Tipu Sultan, a driver of 10 years, about his Bangladeshi meal. Sultan made the food disappear in a hurry, like anyone would after fasting for 16 hours.
Driver Yehya Abdeen was on his way to get his first caffeine fix at a local cafe before resuming his night shift. He said a purpose of Ramadan is to teach patience—a trait city cabbies aren't always known for.
"I try to be nice all the time, but we try to be more nice during Ramadan," he said, before joking, "But it’s hard when you don't take your coffee, you know?"
During Ramadan, Muslims are required to pray more than the usual five times a day. So you may see drivers stopping to kneel in the direction of Mecca on squares of cardboard or small rugs in the back of bodegas and restaurants.
Or at JFK airport. At the airport's taxi lot, hundreds of drivers were lined up awaiting a fare to Manhattan. About two dozen drivers made use of a makeshift prayer area, bowing and kneeling next to a pair of public restrooms.
Tely Diallo, a tall driver in a gingham shirt, was about to jump into his cab again. He paused to complain that it’s hard to make enough money when you're pulling over to pray an extra two hours a day.
"You can't really do what you've got to do," he said. "You can't pray on time. I was supposed to be praying a long time ago but I couldn’t because you're always in a rush, you want to get the lease money."
Cabbie Mohammed Waheed said it helps that so many other drivers are fasting with him during the holy month. "The fifteen of my friends who are cab drivers—they all fast," he said.
Muslims, including many New York taxi drivers, will be observing Ramadan this year until the weekend of August 18, when the fasting ends and the completion of a month of self-control is celebrated.
The short life of a young boy killed by a stray bullet at a basketball tournament in the Bronx was remembered Wednesday night in Harlem.
Coney Island’s zip line ride was supposed to debut in the beginning of July. What’s been holding it up? Well, according to Patrick Ingram, owner of a Michigan-based zip line company, Category 5 Productions, it’s the city’s stringent requirements.
Con Ed workers and the managers who had been asked to step in for some of the 8,000 employees locked out since July 1 said on Thursday that they were relieved to return to their normal day jobs after the union and the utility ended the labor conflict.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York City utility Consolidated Edison and its union are agreeing to end a lockout and labor conflict.
It's still common to see piles of phone books delivered to apartment buildings around the city. But many of these yellow pages lay neglected outside front doors as people use the internet far more frequently to find phone numbers.
Sunbathers sprawling out poolside and swimmers finding relief from the unrelenting city swelter at McCarren Park Pool on a recent afternoon. It wasn't much different at Astoria Pool, the city's largest. But the heightened security at McCarren was a subtle reminder of the violent incidents this summer that have marred its reopening.
Consolidated Edison is defending the way it has handled the lock out of its 8,500 workers to a state regulator, as union workers from across the city rallied outside Con Ed’s headquarters.
As Consolidated Edison labor talks continue, the union that represents the utility’s locked out workers is asking a state agency to investigate the impact the lock out is having on services.
The price of taking a cab will be going up in the fall.
New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission voted Thursday to approve a fare hike that would increase the cost of a ride by 17 percent.
The TLC estimates that the average fare of $10.44 would rise to $12.21 after the increase is expected to go into effect in September. The plan increases the mileage and waiting charges, but not the base fare of $2.50.
The flat fee between Manhattan and Kennedy Airport would jump from $45 to $52 and the surcharge to/or from Newark Liberty International Airport would also rise from $15 to $17.50.
Commissioner David Yassky said even though New Yorkers will be paying more, they also realize it’s the right time. “Most passengers that I talked to understand that after six years it’s only reasonable to increase the taxi fare,” Yassky commented.
Six commissioners, including Yassky, voted to approve the hike, two voted no, and one abstained.
Cabbies attending the meeting cheered as they learned the measure they fought hard for was passed.
They were also were pleased by several other aspects of the proposal, including replacing the 5 percent-per-swipe credit card fees with a flat $10.00 fee per shift charge and establishing a driver heath fund.
There had been much angling behind the scenes by large taxi fleet owners who said they also deserved an increase in leasing rates because their costs were also rising. Borough Commissioners from Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn appeared to agree with them when they spoke and voted against the plan. Staten Island Commissioner Elias Arout described giving drivers a raise and not the garages “lopsided.”
Michael Woloz, a spokesman with the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, no stranger to litigating with the city, said they’re reviewing their options. “Time and time again when the TLC has passed unlawful rules we have fought them and the courts have affirmed our position,” Woloz said.
But Bhairavi Desai, head of the drivers group Taxi Workers Alliance, said not having to share the increase with rich medallion owners was a triumph. “We just defeated the 1 percent. We don’t have their money, their lobbyists, or their P.R. people,” a tearful Desai said. ”Today is evidence that working people can still win in this society.”
The commission said going forward, it would consider lease and fare increases every odd numbered year so that neither side of the industry had to wait so long to for an increase again.
Fares last went up in 2006 when waiting time charges increased. The last time overall cab fees rose was 8 years ago, when a 26 percent increase passed.
The price of taking a cab will be going up in the fall. The Taxi and Limousine Commission voted on Thursday to approve a fare hike that would increase the cost of a ride by 17 percent.