Wednesday, November 21, 2012
It's the day before Thanksgiving but here in New York City and just miles away in New Jersey, there is a looming feeling that thousands of people may not have a home, a dining table, or a kitchen to celebrate the holiday. Cindy Rodriguez, a reporter for WNYC, has been covering the story.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Hurricane Sandy affected millions of people on the East Coast, hitting New York and New Jersey especially hard. The storm hit home for us here at The Takeaway. Our senior producer, Jen Poyant, lives in Arverne, Queens near the Rockaways, one of the hardest hit parts of New York City.
Friday, November 09, 2012
In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the availability of gas in New York and New Jersey went down while the demand for it went up. Governor Mike Bloomberg’s rationing plan goes into effect today in New York. Christopher Knittel, a professor of energy economics at MIT, says the solution is simpler than you'd think.
Monday, November 05, 2012
In New York City and the surrounding boroughs, suburbs, and beyond, many people are still without power and fuel, including significant parts of New Jersey and Long Island. Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, explains some of the challenges still facing the city.
Friday, November 02, 2012
Even as New York gets back on its feet after the storm, tens of thousands of runners have begun descending on the city to take part in the world’s largest marathon on Sunday. Many runners say the event's economic boost — and spirit of celebration — is just what the city needs. But not everyone agrees. Alicia Feghhi is member of the Clifton Road Runners. Though she lost power in her home, she was initially still planning to run the marathon -- her first. Now she says, the race should be canceled. Mary Elizabeth Williams, staff writer for Salon is running the marathon this weekend -- also for the first time. A cancer survivor, she's trained with and raised money for other cancer patients and their families. She's saddened by the backlash against the race.
Friday, November 02, 2012
Perhaps more than any other news source, hunkered down residents of New York were turning to Twitter. The problem? A lot of it was fake. Now New York City Council Member Peter Vallone, Jr. wants the worst offender to be charged with a criminal offense.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
For the past two days, a battery-powered radio has been the only connection to the outside world for many New Yorkers. And for many of them, music, particularly classical music, offered a brief respite from the confusion outside. Jeffrey Spurgeon is the morning host of WQXR.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
The backup generator at Langone NYU Medical Center unexpectedly failed last night and hundreds of critical care patients needed to be moved fast.
The transfers were among the most dramatic moments as the superstorm Sandy's full wrath was unleashed on New York City. A resident and the mother of a patient tell their stories.
Monday, October 22, 2012
By Kate Hinds
The "energy highway" proposed by New York Governor Cuomo at this year's State of the State address now has a blueprint.
The plan, which was released at a cabinet meeting in Albany, details plans to increase energy transmission in the state.
Read the press release below. The full blueprint can be found here.
GOVERNOR CUOMO RECEIVES PLAN TO MODERNIZE THE STATE'S ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE AND SPUR BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN PRIVATE SECTOR INVESTMENT
Plan for Up to 3,200 MW in Additional Electric Generation and Transmission Will Spur $5.7 Billion Investment, Helping Ensure Clean, Reliable, Affordable Power for New York's Future
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today received the Energy Highway Task Force's Blueprint, a comprehensive plan that will add up to 3,200 megawatts (MW) of additional electric generation and transmission capacity and clean power generation through up to $5.7 billion in private investments. The 3,200 MW outlined in this blueprint would provide enough energy to power approximately 3.2 million homes.
The Energy Highway initiative, introduced in the 2012 State of the State address, is a centerpiece of the Governor's Power NY agenda, which was put in place to ensure that New York's energy grid is the most advanced in the nation and promotes increased business investment in the state.
"As we work to grow New York's economy, we need reliable, affordable, and clean power to leverage significant private sector investments, to allow businesses to grow, and to create jobs," Governor Cuomo said. "The energy highway will ensure that businesses and residential consumers across New York State have access to the affordable power they need to plan for not just today, but also for the future. An economy built to last requires a power infrastructure that gives businesses the confidence and security they need to hire new workers and plan for years to come, and this Blueprint continues to position New York State as a national leader in clean energy production and investment."
The Blueprint includes specific actions designed to add up to 3,200 MW in new generation and transmission, including plans to:
· Invest $1 billion for 1000 MW of new electric transmission capacity
· Initiate $250 million in new renewable energy projects, leveraging $425 million in private investment and creating 270 MW of new power
· Modernize and repower existing inefficient, high emission plants to create 750 MW of power, enabled by approximately $1.5 billion investment.
· Generate 1,200 MW of additional capacity through approximately $1 billion investment to help meet reliability needs to address retiring power plants across the state.
· Accelerate $1.3 billion of investment in existing transmission and distribution projects to enhance reliability, improve safety, reduce cost to customers and reduce emissions.
· Invest $250 million to develop Smart Grid technologies and create the most advanced energy management control center in the country.
· Initiate field studies of Atlantic Ocean offshore wind development potential
The interagency Energy Highway Task Force will begin swift implementation of the proposed actions. These steps will significantly reduce the time required for development of energy infrastructure and includes a first-of-its-kind solicitation of new transmission projects by the Department of Public Service.
The Blueprint reaches every corner of the state with both locally focused and statewide actions to provide system reliability and economic development benefits. In Northern New York, strategic investments in transmission system upgrades will facilitate access for renewable energy projects to electricity markets. Western New York will undergo an immediate review of the viability of repowering options for power plants that have announced retirement plans and could benefit from a new Community Support Plan in the event plants are closed. Repowering, reducing transmission congestion, and offshore wind initiatives in the downstate region will help to green the power plant fleet supplying the highest energy demand area of the State. Upgrades throughout the state will support regional job growth and economic development.
The Energy Highway Task Force created the Blueprint after reviewing 130 responses provided by 85 entities including investor-owned utilities, private developers and investors in response to its Request for Information (RFI), issued in April. Public comments submitted on the RFI responses were also considered in the development of the plan as were publicly available reports and analyses. In April, along with the issuance of the RFI, the Task Force convened two conferences—an Energy Highway Summit at which power industry leaders explored the State's energy issues and challenges, and a Conference of RFI Respondents and Interested Parties.
Governor Cuomo provided his vision for the Energy Highway in his 2012 State of the State address. He named Gil C. Quiniones, president and chief executive officer of the New York Power Authority, and Joseph Martens, commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as co-chairman of the Task Force. Joining them on the Task Force are Kenneth Adams, president, chief executive officer and commissioner of Empire State Development; Garry A. Brown, chairman of the New York State Public Service Commission; and Francis J. Murray, Jr., president and chief executive officer of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
To view the Energy Highway Blueprint, visit www.NYEnergyHighway.com.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
A Bangladeshi man was accused yesterday of attempting to blow up New York's Federal Reserve Bank. Twenty-one-year-old Quazi Mohammad Ahsan Nafis has appeared in court and been charged with trying to detonate what he thought was a van full of explosives. Bob Hennelly, a contributing editor at WNYC, explains.
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
By Kate Hinds
As New York's MTA mulls over specifics for its coming fare hike, NYU's Rudin Center is looking at what riders get for their money.
From the center's blog: "Even if the base fare is raised to $2.50, you’re still able to go about six times farther on a MetroCard than the MBTA Charlie Card, WMATA SmarTrip or any other city fare."
Unlike other systems -- DC's Metro, for example -- the New York City subway operates on a flat rate. So whether the trip is ten blocks or 31 miles (the distance of the longest ride with no change of trains), the undiscounted fare is $2.25.
Friday, September 28, 2012
A task force investigating a spike in thoroughbred deaths at the Aqueduct track last winter is calling for tighter rules and better regulation of drug use, particularly corticosteroids that can mask injuries.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
UPDATED with Chicago dooring figures below.
New York is dreaming of a world where taxis and cyclists can be friends.
And so will the taxis of today, according to Taxi and Limousine Commission Chairman David Yassky.
"We believe the stickers and video will really resonate with riders and inspire them to pause for that critical second before they open the door and exit the taxi,” said Yassky. “It’s that moment of pause that could make all the difference in the world to both a bicyclist and the taxi passenger alike.”
The message not to fling cab doors open without first checking for bicyclists will be hammered home in a video message that will play on all 13,000 Taxi TVs (assuming passengers don't turn them off first). "Take out a friend," reads the message on the video. "Take out a date. But don't take out a cyclist."
Getting doored is rightfully high on the list of fears for any urban cyclist. When a car door opens in a cyclist's immediate path it can not only injure him/her, it can fling the biker into the path of oncoming traffic. It can be common and even deadly, though few studies track dooring.
Illinois began what we believe to be the first statewide effort to track dooring last April. We've asked the Illinois DOT for the figures from that effort and will report back as soon as we get them.
UPDATE: Steve Vance of Grid Chicago got in touch with the data. He used his access to the Illinois DOT online Data Mart and found there were 344 reported doorings in Chicago last year, responsible for one in five bike crashes. It should be said that's a big spike over 2010.
A 2010 survey in NYC counted bike-related infractions at 11 locations found that dooring (including near-hits) is a pervasive phenomenon with 77 infractions over the two days of measurement, 19 of them on one street alone.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin enacted an anti-dooring law in 2009 that switched culpability from cyclists to motorists for dooring accidents, and added a $40 fine for striking a cyclist with a car door.
Taxis, with their frequent stops and passengers exiting from both sides, are at high risk for causing dooring incidents.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
New Yorkers are confronted with all manner of subway solicitations, from ad campaigns (like Dr. Zizmor's decades-long rainbow-fueled quest for perfect skin) to world-class musicians. But it's the daily decision to spare some change or ignore the pleas that presents the biggest ethical challenge.
WNYC's Cindy Rodriguez took to the trains to find out how many New Yorkers deal with this ethical puzzle.
Several social service providers say whether to give to panhandlers is a personal decision, and there is no right or wrong. Joel Berg, who runs the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, said it’s probably the question he gets asked the most.
“I would say definitely if it’s a supposed organization asking for money, that is illegal and that is almost always a scam,” Berg said. “But individual people asking for money, it’s really up to your conscience in each situation.”
The MTA said it frequently receives complaints about panhandling from customers. And while times are trying, the MTA notes there are other ways to help. “Poverty and hunger are vexing, stubborn problems and we urge our customers to give generously to their favorite and most trusted social service charity,” MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said in a written statement.
Follow Rodriguez on a few rides to see what the other side of the tin can is like for those who beg for a living. One man she meets earns $100 in two hours--then stops so as not to wear out his welcome. He says he begs only when his disability runs out. Another panhandler reports earning just $60 in a day and living off that.
There's a boisterous set of comments at the WNYC website already, so head on over there and listen to the radio story -- then join the conversation.
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
By Bob Hennelly
After adopting a convention platform Tuesday night with not one objection, the Democrats started Day 2 with two modifications to the platform: adding a mention of God and declaring that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Several Assembly Republicans, who are in the minority party in that house, held the first of two hearing in Albany proposed by the State Thruway Authority.
Testimony ranged from a small steel fabrication business owner, who said the additional shipping costs for the toll hike will equal one worker’s salary and benefits, to a representative from the farm lobby. The Farm Bureau’s Julie Suarez says the recent floods and drought have already put farmers in a “a very difficult economic situation.” She says under the proposal, a truck carrying produce from Buffalo to New York City “results in an average year's increase of $11,500 to that farmer’s bottom line”.
The testimony from the farmers, small business owners and trucking companies will not be heard by the Thruway Authority, however. In a letter to the Republican Assemblymembers, Thruway officials said the public comment period is over, and that three public hearings have already been held in Buffalo, Syracuse, and Newburgh, NY. That response angered Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, whose district borders the Hudson River.
“They’re out of touch, they’re a rogue agency, and they need to be reined in,” said McLaughlin. The NY Thruway authority is also in charge of the construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, an $5.2 billion infrastructure megaproject that has drawn criticism for a lack of decision-making transparency despite an extended the public comment period.
In a written response, the Executive Director of the Thruway Authority, Tom Madison, says large trucks put “thousands of times more wear and tear on the road” than cars but are currently charged just five times as much as passenger vehicles. He says the toll increase would help remedy that “inequality.” And he says the Authority has already trimmed nearly $400 million from its budget.
Governor Cuomo, who appointed Madison to his post, has not actively opposed the truck toll hike. In his most recent remarks about the tolls, the governor said he’s asked the Authority to trim waste and rectify past mismanagement. But he says it’s complicated, because if their revenues are too low, it could result in a downgrade of their bond rating.
“The bond rating has to be intact, otherwise we’ll have a different set of issues” Cuomo said in mid August.
Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, a Republican who represents portions of Schenectady and Saratoga, says Cuomo could do more to prevent the toll hike. “The governor’s the 900 pound gorilla,” Tedisco said.
Tedisco says Cuomo spoke up against a proposed $14 toll on a planned new Tappan Zee bridge. He says the governor could do the same for the truck toll proposal.
Governor Cuomo’s fellow Democrats in the Assembly are also now taking on the toll hike issue. The Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions on Wednesday afternoon called a hearing for Friday, and has invited the Thruway Authority’s Madison to testify. A spokeswoman for Committee Chair Assemblyman Jim Brennan says the proposed truck toll increases will be a key focus of the hearing, and thruway officials will be asked if there’s any way the steep toll increase can be mitigated or avoided altogether.