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WQXR Features

John F. Kennedy Reads the Declaration of Independence on WQXR

Monday, July 01, 2013

On July 4, 1957, senator John F. Kennedy appeared on WQXR, reading the Declaration of Independence as part of the station's observance of Independence Day.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Jeffrey Sachs on JFK's Quest for Peace

Monday, June 10, 2013

Jeffrey Sachs highlights the foreign policy triumphs of John F. Kennedy’s presidency and the crusade for world peace that he focused on in office. The last great campaign of John F. Kennedy’s life was not the battle for reelection he did not live to wage, but the struggle for a sustainable peace with the Soviet Union. To Move the World: JFK’s Quest for Peace looks at October 1962 to September 1963, when JFK used his political skills to establish more peaceful relations with the Soviet Union and to slow down the proliferation of nuclear arms.

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WNYC News

Port Authority: FAA Furloughs Could Spark NYC Airport Delays

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Due to federal budget cuts, Federal Aviation officials say furloughs are taking effect Sunday and that could mean delays for local airline travelers.

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Transportation Nation

Port Authority Board Gets an Earful from Public Over 9/11 Memorial, Community Relations

Thursday, September 20, 2012

One World Trade Center (photo by Kate Hinds)

(New York, NY -- WNYC) The day after the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey released a consultant's report lauding the agency's newfound zeal for transparency and accountability, the public showed up at the agency's monthly Board of Commissioners meeting with a very different assessment.

It was a full house.

A contingent of 9/11 family members used the public comment period to urge the Commissioners to reject a Memorandum of Understanding entered into last week between the bi-state agency and the National September 11th Memorial and  Museum. The deal, reached a day before the eleventh anniversary of the terror attacks, cleared the way for work to resume. Construction at the site had halted last year after a funding squabble.

Sally Regenhard, who lost her firefighter son on September 11th, took the Port Authority to task for not sufficiently involving the 9/11 families in the process. "Do not approve this MOU until we can have full public disclosure involving the 9/11 families as well as the community."

Richard Hughes of the Twin Towers Alliance told the panel it was being expedient with their deal with the Memorial and Museum that calls for passing ownership of the former site of the Twin Towers to the non-profit in exchange for adjacent land where the Deutsche Bank building once stood.

"You have eight acres of prime important downtown real estate -- a site that is sacred to all of us  -- and you are giving it away or swapping it, but it is really giving it away, without public debate, behind closed doors," Hughes said.

Under the agency's public comment period protocol, Commissioners don't respond directly to the public. But speaking to reporters afterwards, officials defended the deal as breaking a lengthy impasse and insuring the project stays on budget while guaranteeing the site remains a memorial.

Of particular concern to family members at the hearing were the plans to place several thousand of the unidentified remains from the attack in the museum. Boosters of that plan say it will permit work to continue on identifying the remains. The 9/11 families want the surviving families to be polled.

The full board approved the MOU over their objections -- but after the vote, Port Authority executive director Patrick Foye reminded reporters the agency had lost 84 employees in the attack. He said he understood the families' concerns about the remains. "Given the grievous loss those family members experienced that is an issue that resonates with me," Foye said.

But it isn't only how the Port has handled Ground Zero that had members of the public fuming.

Casandra Dock came with residents of of the city of Newark. She chastised the Commissioners for not holding public meetings of the board west of the Hudson in New Jersey.

"I come before this board today -- since this is the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey  -- to ask this board to have some of these board meetings over in Newark, New Jersey," Dock said.

In the board's brief public meeting it did move on some items without controversy. John F. Kennedy International Airport will host a animal handling facility that the Port Authority says will be the most comprehensive facility of its kind in the nation. The board also approved the deal with ARK Development LLC to convert a vacant building at JFK into what Foye says will be a state-of-the-art facility that will handle everything from household pets to horses.

"And this facility will provide animal daycare and kenneling services, more efficient animal transport services--a full service veterinary hospital. The facility is expected to serve approximately 70,000 wild and domestic animals a year,"Foye said.

The deal will net the agency more than $100 million dollars in rent over the next 20 years.

The Port also funded a study looking at the feasibility of taking over Atlantic City International Airport. It will also take a look at running its existing PATH train from where it currently ends -- in Newark Penn Station --  out to Newark Liberty Airport.

The latest board actions come as the agency grapples with how to fund some $44 billion dollars in upgrades it says the region's transportation infrastructure will need by 2020.

 

The World Trade Center construction on 3/8/12 (photo by Kate Hinds)
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WNYC News

Agency Probes JFK Security Breach by Man on Jet Ski

Monday, August 13, 2012

A man on a jet ski was able to breach security at Kennedy Airport over the weekend when he became stranded in a New York bay and walked undetected through two runways and into a terminal.

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Transportation Nation

12 Hours Behind the Wheel in NYC, With No Food Or Drink

Thursday, August 09, 2012

(photo by Kathleen Horan)

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.

(photo by Kathleen Horan)

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.

(photo by Kathleen Horan)

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."

(photo by Kathleen Horan)

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.

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The Takeaway

New Book Claims Castro Knew of JFK Assassination in Advance

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

John F. Kennedy led the nation for just shy of three years, but in that short time, a series of Cold War crises embroiled the JFK Administration into what nearly became an armed conflict with Castro’s Cuba. The heightened tensions between Castro and the Kennedy Administration led many to believe that Fidel might have played a role in JFK’s assassination. Two federal investigations dismissed this idea, but a new book by former CIA analyst Brian Lattell claims that Castro knew of Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassination plot before the shots were fired from the Texas Book Depository on November 22nd, 1963.

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Transportation Nation

LaGuardia, JFK Airports improve On-Time Departures; Newark Last

Thursday, April 12, 2012

 

(photo by Alex Goldmark)

 

Air travelers in the New York area who want to improve their chances of leaving on time might want to fly out of LaGuardia. The airport posted big gains in on-time departure statistics over last year, while JFK International Airport only improved somewhat, and Newark International landed on the bottom.

LaGuardia ranks 6th among the nation's 29 major airports in on-time departures so far this year, according to statistics released today from the U.S. Department of Transportation.  That compares to January - February 2011, when LaGuardia ranked a lowly 23rd in on-time departures.

JFK International Airport did see some improvement, but the change was not as dramatic as at LaGuardia. JFK ranked near the bottom of the list in on-time departures last year; so far this year the airport ranks 12th when compared to the nation’s 29 major airports.

Last year’s January blizzard in New York, along with record setting snowfall levels in the region last winter, may have been a factor in LaGuardia’s improved departure performance this year. But if weather were the only factor, similar gains would have likely been seen at JFK and Newark. And that was not the case.

And weather can’t account for Newark International Airport’s on-time departure record; it’s even worse than last year, despite the mild weather. The airport ranked last among the nation’s biggest airports so far this year for on-time departures. In January and February of 2011, it ranked 27th.

The data also ranks the on-time arrival rate of major airlines. Virgin America topped that list; it had the highest on-time arrival rate of the 15 airlines that file statistics with the Bureau of Transportation; while United Airlines had the lowest.

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The Takeaway

Previously Unreleased Recordings From Day of JFK Assassination

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

The complete audio recording from Air Force One on the day of John F. Kennedy's assassination has now been made available online, including 42 minutes of previously unreleased tape. It covers a phone call of condolence from newly sworn-in President Johnson to Rose Kennedy, as well as code-name heavy communications between Air Force chief of staff General Curtis LeMay, an outspoken critic of Kennedy.

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Annotations: The NEH Preservation Project

Senator John F. Kennedy on Overseas Press Club, 1957

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WNYC

Three years before he was elected President of the United States, Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy won the Pulitzer Prize in Biography for his book Profiles in Courage, which he co-wrote with his adviser and speechwriter Ted Sorensen. The day the award was announced, May 6, 1957, Senator Kennedy addressed a special Overseas Press Club event honoring the accomplishments of members of the foreign press, which was broadcast over WNYC on May 31, 1957.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

What Would JFK Do?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Chris Matthews, anchor of MSNBC's "Hardball" and NBC's "The Chris Matthews Show," and author of Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, talks about the Kennedy legacy, and today's political news - from the death of the Super Committee to the 2012 GOP race.

→ Add Your Comments, Listen, and Read a Recap at It's A Free Country

The Takeaway

New Tapes Show a Different Jackie Kennedy, and the Pressures of Being First Lady

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Newly released interview tapes with Jacqueline Kennedy show a very different side to the resilient and charming first lady who gracefully lead America through one of the nation’s greatest tragedies. The tapes, which will be made publicly available tomorrow, show Kennedy as deeply opinionated, angry, judgemental and even, as our guest says, downright "nasty." Do these tapes shed light on a dark side to Kennedy, or, do they reveal a larger story, of the stress and responsibility that comes with being America’s First Lady?

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NYPR Archives & Preservation

Berlin 1961

Friday, September 02, 2011

In this 1965 Overseas Press Club Luncheon, Hallie Burnett, novelist and publisher, describes her experience in Berlin in August, 1961. On assignment for Reader’s Digest, Burnett was charged with reporting on the conditions of the East German refugees, who were “coming over at that time at about 2,000 a night.” Amidst a quiet week, she describes the night of August 13 when the foundations for the Berlin wall were laid. She describes standing among Berliners at the Brandenburg Gate, who were so shocked they had not yet found their voices to protest.

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Transportation Nation

New Rules Protecting U.S. Airline Passengers Start Today

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Airplanes wait to take off fro JFK Airport (photo by ATIS547 via Flickr)

(New York, NY - WNYC) The U.S. Department of Transportation's latest set of "flier protection" rules go into effect today.

The department can now impose large fines on international flights that wait on the tarmac more than four hours. Airlines will also have to clearly display fees charged on everything from checking a bag to reserving a seat to buying food. And a passenger can expect higher compensation from an airline that loses his luggage or involuntarily bumps her from a flight.

New York's airports, in particular, played a dubious role as a catalyst to the crack-down on long delays before take-off. In 2007, 154 flights were stuck on a runway at JFK Airport for more than three hours. Two-thirds of all long waits in the country happened at one of the metropolitan area's three major airports.

Then, in 2010, the U.S. DOT began fining domestic airlines for those delays and the numbers plummeted. Now the department will do the same for international flights.

Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition, applauded the change. He also agreed with airlines being forced to clearly display all their charges to online ticket buyers. His is one of several consumer groups that say buying a ticket online means digging deep into an airline's website to understand what fees it charges.

"They've had their fees buried on screen four, five and six, or just before you get ready to take your credit card out," Mitchell said.

Steve Lott, a spokesman for the Air Transport Association (an airline trade association), said airlines strive to communicate clearly with passengers. "Airlines already have made many service improvements and many of the regulations going into affect formalize procedures already in place," Lott said.

In January, airlines will face even more rules, including notifying passengers at the boarding gate if their flight is delayed or cancelled.

To listen to this story, go to Marketplace.

 

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WNYC News

Turtles Invade JFK Runway, Delay Flights

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

About 150 turtles crawled onto the tarmac at Kennedy Airport Wednesday morning in search of beaches on which to lay their eggs causing dozens of flights to be delayed.

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WNYC News

As Travelers Trickle Into New York, A Glimpse at Life in Japan

Friday, March 18, 2011

WNYC

Travelers from Japan trickled into New York City airports this week in the wake of the devastating earthquake, tsunami and worsening conditions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. At JFK Airport, each arrived with a story.

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The Takeaway

'Then Everything Changed': Big Moments in American History

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Historians usually stick to facts, but sometimes it’s fun to play the "what if" game with history. What if president-elect John F. Kennedy had been assassinated in December 1960? What if Robert Kennedy had lived through Sirhan Sirhan's attempt on his life and became president in 1968? What if Gerald Ford had corrected a misstep in the 1976 presidential debate with Jimmy Carter and won a second term?

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Transportation Nation

Planners Say NY's Economy Will Strangle If Airports Don't Expand

Thursday, January 27, 2011

(New York - Jim O'Grady, WNYC) Managing air traffic at New York's major airports is like coaxing three large men through a skinny door: the squeeze is tight and there's no room to grow. That's why the Regional Plan Association issued a report on Thursday calling for a major expansion of Kennedy and Newark airports. The only way out, they say, is to build.

Planners kibbitz at a conference about airport expansion in New York

New York's three major airports, which already lead the nation in congestion and delays, can expect an increase of almost 50 million yearly passengers by the 2030s. The Association says the way to handle all those people is to build new runways to handle more flights.

LaGuardia has no room to expand. So RPA is proposing to add a runway to Newark-Liberty by demolishing and rebuilding a terminal and moving two cargo areas. It also recommends adding a runway to JFK by filling in part of Jamaica Bay. Total estimated price tag: $15 billion.

Taking advantage of the new runways depends on installing a new flight control system that replaces radar with GPS, allowing planes to follow more efficient flight patterns while flying closer to each other. The Federal Aviation Administration is in the early phase of a 20-year, $22 billion roll-out of the technology, called NextGen, which will need to prove itself in field conditions.

RPA considered other options, such as shifting some of the burden to local airports like Stewart in Newburgh and MacArthur in Long Island, along with improving rail connections to the airports and between cities. The report says those improvements would bring gains but not nearly enough.

Area airports currently move 236 flights per hour during peak hours. In 20 years, given increased demand, they will need to add 78 additional peak hour flights. RPA concluded that only more runways and a drastically improved flight control system will add enough flights to approach that number.

But airport expansions, besides being costly, bring more noise to local neighborhoods and carry environmental costs. On the other hand, expansion advocates say, doing nothing will slowly overwhelm area airports and, by 2030, cost the regional economy as many as 125,000 jobs, $6 billion in wages and $16 billion in sales each year.

At a conference on Thursday that brought together business and political leaders to absorb and discuss RPA's findings, a group of planners chatted during a break about the political battles that surely lay ahead. Then grew quiet until one of them said: "Are you ready? Strap in."

Listen to Jim O'Grady discuss this story on WNYC's Financial 411:

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

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WNYC News

Expanding Area Airports Is a Must to Answer Demand, Say Planners

Thursday, January 27, 2011

WNYC

Two of New York's major airports will need major expansions to handle the expected increase of 50 million passengers annually by the 2030s, according to a report issued by the Regional Plan Association Thursday.

 

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The Takeaway

John F. Kennedy Inaugural Address Remembered

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fifty years ago today, the 35th president of the United States John F. Kennedy uttered the following words at his inaugural address: 

"The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it — and the glow from that fire can truly light the world. And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

Why did JFK’s words strike a cord with so many? And how did his inauguration foreshadow what was ahead for the young president’s time in office?

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