Why are Trump & Murdoch's Fox 'News' Urging a Boycott of America's Pastime?
The Phony Patriotism of These Two Men Becomes Increasingly Obvious
After Assaulting the Institutions of our Democracy, Culminating in the January 6th Insurrection, they're Urging Americans to Boycott our National Pastime
This Must be a Putin Pleaser
As you know, Georgia passed a sweeping election reform bill on March 25, 2021. It has been characterized as designed to limit voting participation of Democrats, a party in which far more women and ethnic minorities are represented, than in the Republican party. The Governor and both bodies of the legislature in Georgia are all currently dominated by Republicans.
Biden Calls the New Georgia Laws a Return to Jim Crow
President Biden called it a return to Jim Crow. Jim Crow is the name given to state and local laws passed by white southerners following the Civil War to maintain racial segregation, and white supremacy in the south.
A Summary of Most of the Salient Points of the Law
The following is mostly a paraphrasing / summary of an April 2, 2021 report in the NYT on the law. But I left a couple of things out, and added in a small bit of commentary.
The law, in a nutshell, requires photo ID's to be used in tandem with mail and absentee ballots. This includes following the instructions to a "T" or risk having your absentee or mailed vote disqualified. Election officials are not allowed to mail out absentee or mail ballot applications to anyone unless specifically requested by the voter or an authorized designee. This past year applications were mailed in an effort to encourage people to vote / participate. Drop boxes have been limited to one for every 100,000 voters. This is a significant reduction, especially in densely populated areas. According to PBS in heavily Democratic Fulton County that means the number of drops boxes falls from 38 to 8.
Mobile voting polling stations are banned. The early voting hours have been limited on the weekends to between 9 am and 5 pm but those hours may extended to between 7 am and 7 pm, if the site complies with certain guidelines. Nobody may hand out food or water to voters standing in line within 150 feet of the polling place. This is now a misdemeanor crime. Provisional ballots, which are ballots filled out at a polling site where the voter is not currently registered, is subject to restrictions that go well beyond validating the voter is eligible to cast a vote to be counted. Polling hours can only be extended for a set period of time by a judge, if problems prevent voters from casting their ballots during the regular poll site hours. This is a common occurrence in hotly contested elections. New restrictions on tabulation of results will likely delay the reporting of them, which in the past election enabled Trump & Co to spread falsehoods about the election in the absent of concrete results. The Republican dominated General Assembly will select the Chairperson of the State Election Board. The Republican dominated legislature is empowered to remove up to four county election officials. The time period for runoff elections will be significantly shortened.
Biden says it looks like Jim Crow. I'd add to that that it also smells like Jim Crow. Murdoch's Fox says Georgia's new voting laws are not racist, but Murdoch's Fox says a lot of things that are more dishonest than true - and this is no exception.
NYC Marathon Coming Through Brooklyn
New York Road Runners 49th NYC Marathon on Sunday
October 29, 2019 / Brooklyn Neighborhoods / Brooklyn Things To Do / Brooklyn BLVD NYC.
The New York Road Runners / NYRR is hosting its 49th NYC Marathon on Sunday. The NYRR was founded in 1958 and has been organizing the NYC Marathon since 1970. The proceeds from the race go toward the programs of the runner non-profit. They report that the NYRR serves 670,000 people, of which 250,000 are youth, annually.
There are plenty of festivities this week surrounding the affair. Some are held at the NYRR Run Center [NYRR headquarters] at 320 West 57th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues in Manhattan, while others are held at the NYC Marathon Pavilion in Central Park at 67th Street and Central Park West, near the Tavern on the Green in Manhattan.
The other pre-race activities [see location addresses above] include a discussion on Tuesday about the NYC Marathon Book Club from 6 - 8 pm at the NYC Marathon Pavilion. On Wednesday there's a forum of Celebrity Charity Runners who talk about why they are running at the NYC Marathon Pavilion from 7 - 8 pm. On Thursday evening between 6 and 7 pm the NYRR presents the awards for the NYRR Hall of Fame inductees at the NYC Marathon Pavilion. On Friday at the NYRR Run Center there's an NYRR Running History Tour which runs from 10 - 11.30 am.
The pre-race festivities culminate the Saturday evening before the race, when there's an early dinner [3.30 - 8.30 pm] for the runners at the NYC Marathon Pavilion that is prepared by the chefs from Tavern on the Green. They call it the Marathon Eve Dinner. It has a sort of holiday ring to it.
NYC Marathon Times, Route & Statistics to Beat
Statistics 2018. According to the NYRR.org website, in 2018 there were 52,813 runners, from 129 countries, their average run time was 4.40 [hours.minutes] and they raised $40 million for charity. This year there are a number of primarily TV game show celebrities running to raise money for charity.
According to Wikipedia, in 2018 records for participation were broken, yet again, with 30,669 men and 22,143 women participating. The fastest runs times were approximately 2.05 [hours.minutes] for men and 2.20 [hours.minutes] for women.
NYC Marathon Organized at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island
As you can imagine, organizing the 52,000 plus runners in the NYC Marathon, is an annual logistics feat. The NYRR has organized the race into four Waves. Each Wave begins at a different time. Within each Wave there are three Start Times which are color coded green, orange and blue. In addition to three different start times for each wave, there are six different Corrals, A through F, where runners gather to be released into the race during their wave and start time.
NYC Marathon Start Times 2019
The NYC Marathon begins at 8.30 am at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island. From there over 52,000 runners departed last year, and the race continues to grow in popularity. The first group to begin the race are in the wheelchair division, followed by the handcyclists. These two groups depart between 8.30 am and 8.52 am.
The next group departs at 9.10 am and it comprises the professional women competing for the title. They are followed a half hour later, at 9.40 am, by the professional men. It is at this time [9.40 am] that the first wave kicks in, with its three start times. The second wave begins at 10.10 am, the third wave begins at 10.35 am and the fourth and final wave begins at 11 am.
NYC Marathon Best Guess Viewing Times
The 16 mile mark of the 29 mile NYC Marathon is at the Queensboro Bridge. That's a bit more than halfway. If you divide the average run time of 4 hours and 40 minutes, to get 2 hours and 20 minutes, you can figure out - depending on which wave / start time your loved ones are in, roughly when they'll be at the halfway mark. And then you can add to that time if you're viewing in Manhattan, or subtract from that time if your viewing in Brooklyn, or be there at the start time if you're on Staten Island. For the Bronx adding three hours to their start time should give a good proximation of when they'll be coming through Mott Haven.
NYC Marathon Route 2019
The NYC Marathon had originally circumvented Central Park, but it quickly outgrew that locale.
Staten Island NYC Marathon Route. The route used today has been in place for a long time, possibly decades. It starts at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island, crossing the Verrazzano Bridge.
Brooklyn NYC Marathon Route. The NYC Marathon travels along 4th Avenue through most of southern Brooklyn, then taking a short turn eastward on Lafayette in Downtown Brooklyn, before resuming the northern trek along Bedford Avenue through Williamsburg into Greenpoint, where the course jumps onto Manhattan Avenue at McCarren Park.
Queens NYC Marathon Route. The next step is across the Pulaski Bridge into Long Island City Queens, where the NYC Marathon zigs west to Vernon Blvd, marches north along Vernon Blvd, and then 44th Drive and 21st Street before crossing the Queensboro Bridge.
Manhattan NYC Marathon Route. In Manhattan the NYC Marathon travels north along First Avenue.
Bronx NYC Marathon Route. The NYC Marathon route traverses the Willis Avenue Bridge into the Port Morris and then Mott Haven neighborhoods of southern Bronx. The NYC Marathon then heads west along 135th Street to 138th Street in Mott Haven and turns south heading back through Port Morris, over the Madison Avenue Bridge to Manhattan.
Manhattan NYC Marathon Route. In Manhattan the NYC Marathon travels south along 5th Avenue and into Central Park at 125th Street coming down inside the park to end at the NYC Marathon Pavilion.
Whew. I'm plum tired out just cataloguing the route, let alone running it : )
** LINK. Here's a link to the NYC Marathon route map. Enjoy.
Greta Thunberg at Climate Strike in Battery Park NYC 2019
Tens of Thousands Showed for the Climate Strike - NBC Estimated 60,000
September 20, 2019 / Downtown NYC / Manhattan Buzz NYC.
I attended the Climate Strike in Battery Park Friday late afternoon. It was a beautiful day and thousands had shown up to rally support for changing how we live in order to avert the disaster of irreparably destroying the ecosystem which supports life on the planet. Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg was there and spoke at the rally. The video below provides views of the crowd, some of their signs, a poetry performance, a musical performance and some of Greta's remarks. Stay tuned next week as the United Nations meets and Greta visits the U.N. to implore them to take action.
Only in Queens: The U.S. Open & the USTA
Intergenerational Tennis Wins: Nadal Defeats Medvedev & Andreescu Defeats Williams
In the week leading up to the U.S. Open the USTA opens its doors to the Flushing, Queens and NYC community. They host a number of tennis related events, and provide opportunities for those who visit to watch the pros practice on the courts. The week culminated in Arthur Ashe Kid Day at the end of the week and families from the NYC metro area, most notably Queens come in droves to take in the rich atmosphere of the newly renovated USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
I had the opportunity to visit this year, which was enhanced by being able to photograph and video a shirtless Rafael Nadal - who won the men's title this year, complete with ripped abs - while practicing. See video later in the story.
- CLICK - renovated USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Queens for story about the $60 millon in renovations completed in 2018 and about the 2019 U.S. Open. The report includes video of Rafael Nadal practicing in the week prior to the U.S. Open when the public is welcome to visit the USTA and watch practices for free.
5 Boro Bike Ride Returns Sunday
Bike New York Organizes NYC Bike Ride & Bike Expo New York
This story includes information about the upcoming 5 Boro Bike Ride on Sunday, as well as the Bike Expo New York which precedes it on Friday & Saturday in Red Hook. As of this report, the temperatures are expected to be in the 60's and the chances of rain appear slim. But bear in mind that the forecast probability of 20% chance of rain last Friday, turned into rain on Saturday evening, so check the weather as we get closer in.
Bike New York 5 Boro Bike Ride Route
Since 1977, every first Sunday of May, Bike New York has organized and promoted the 5 Boro Bike Ride. The ride begins in lower Manhattan, sweeps northward across the Harlem River Bridge to the Bronx, circles back across the Third Avenue Bridge to Manhattan, where it begins its southward trek crossing the Queensboro Bridge into Queens, heading south to Brooklyn after a quick stop north to Astoria Park, and then comes down past the Brooklyn Navy Yards, continuing southward along the west side of Brooklyn, to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge where it crosses over to the Fort Wadsworth neighborhood in Staten Island before terminating in the St. George neighborhood at the Staten Island Ferry.
Proceeds from Non-Profit New York Bike Ride go Toward Sustainable Transportation Efforts
The now famous bike ride was capped at 32,000 riders I believe sometime in the 1990's, where it still stands today. One report noted that the 5 Boro Bike ride is one of - if not the largest - non-profit bike rides in the nation. The proceeds go to Bike New York programs which are designed to teach people about sustainable transportation, most notably bicycle riding and bike maintenance and safety. Another report noted that the NYPD had considered [don't know the outcome] charging the organization $1 million for erecting, maintaining and terminating road closures during the New York 40 mile family-friendly bike ride.
Bike New York Bicyclist Outreach in all Five NYC Boroughs
Bike New York has offices in all five NYC boroughs. In 2015 their cyclist safety and bike maintenance programs reached 15,000 New Yorkers. And they are the organizers of the Bike Expo New York being held at Pier 12 in Brooklyn on Friday and Saturday [see details in rest of this story].
Spring Has Arrived
The Trees are Blooming and Warmer Weather is on its Way
April 17, 2018 / NYC Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz NYC.
This weeks our deciduous trees have begun budding and flowering. We can see the bright pea green buds and the white tree blossoms popping out everywhere. This unique period of springtime lasts only a week or two, so enjoy the majestic beauty while it lasts.
The photo to your right shows what is a very ordinary view of a back wall of apartment windows in NYC, as it comes alive with nature's beauty. The budding trees add oxygen during the day and carbon during the night to our atmosphere. And provide shelter from the hot sun during the summer and some privacy between neighbors as well.
So enjoy these magical week(s) as nature blossoms and our deciduous trees awake from their wintry slumber.
A Short Report & Photos of the Solar Eclipse of 2017 in NYC
The Solar Eclipse was an American Communal Shared Experience
I set about to experience the solar eclipse of 2017, departing for Manhattan at about 1.30 pm which was about the time the eclipse was to begin. As I made my way to the subway, I met a woman who was heading to Hunters Point South Park to do the same. She offered me the use of her eclipse glasses, which I examined but it was far too early to really use to any great effect.
Solar Eclipse Glasses were Opaque
The eclipse glasses were opaque and I couldn't see through them looking down the street. Apparently they only work when you're looking at the sun. The glasses this woman had were sponsored by Cisco Systems through a science camp in Rochester, NY. Consumers were advised to be careful about which eclipse glasses to use, as apparently some would not filter out the harmful, eye-damaging rays of the sun. One eclipse audience member told me that the glasses were being sold online - ten for $100. I'll have more about the protective glasses a bit later as I used the glasses to take what I would call 'meaningful' photos.
There were many reports published about how one can damage their eyes by looking directly at the sun. The Washington Post noted that the damage can begin in as little as one and a half minutes, and that looking at the sun in a sequence of little peaks at a time, may not prevent you from doing real damage. It's worth noting that one can also damage their camera by pointing it directly at the sun for a long period of time. The New York Times noted that the longest the full eclipse will last, is less than three minutes, and that in many places in America it will last less than a minute.
Solar Eclipses Happen Regularly, but Not Where We can See Them
Historically, it's worth noting that the moon eclipsing the sun happens every 18 months, but most eclipses happen over the oceans which cover about two thirds of the planet earth surface. According to the New York Times, the last time America experienced a full solar eclipse was in 1918, a full 99 years ago, so few if any who are old enough to experience the eclipse this time, are likely to see it again.
The eclipse began along the west coast in Oregon at about 1.15 pm, the peak was at about 2.45 pm and the final was at about 4 pm. I'll note a few of my times as we run through the rest of this report.
Solar Eclipse NYC 2017 on the Upper East Side
Anyhow, I arrived at Lexington and 77th Street about 2 pm, about 45 minutes before the peak of the eclipse. A few folks were standing in the street looking up, so I shot a photo of the sun at that time, but it didn't look like much at the blinding rays of light blocked any real photo clarity.
I started journeying westward to Central Park which was my destination. Sheep Meadow to be exact, as I expected there to be a large crowd there - even though it was a Monday afternoon. After all, today was eclipse afternoon in NYC, a once-in-a-century / lifetime event. I wasn't disappointed.
Solar Eclipse NYC Photos 2017 in Central Park
Actually most of Central Park was kind of teeming with life. My first stop was the Conservatory Water just south of the Alice in Wonderland statue along the east side of Central Park. People were milling about, sailing boats and looking upward. Not much seemed to be happening here, so I moved west to the Central Park Boathouse and Bethesda Fountain. I knew I was getting warmer as the fountain area and terrace were pretty packed. Again, folks were looking skyward so I shot a few photos without any filter and got shots that only marginally indicated the eclipse.
Down here on earth, if you weren't looking for it, you wouldn't have known there was an eclipse. And the clouds weren't helping clarify the issue either.
Click here to read the rest of our report on the Solar Eclipse 2017 in NYC with photos of eclipse in Central Park Manhattan & a park in Queens.
Saving Jamaica Bay
Local Documentary Film At The Queens World Film Festival
March 21, 2016 / Jamaica Neighborhood / NYC Environment & Health / Gotham Buzz NYC.
I attended the 6th annual Queens World Film Festival on Thursday where I had an opportunity to view a film that's been years in the making by a local filmmaker, Dan Hendrick. The film is entitled Saving Jamaica Bay and it's an hour and 16 minute documentary about the ecosystem of New York City's Jamaica Bay.
The film storyline and cinematography capture the juxtaposition and the intensifying struggle, between man and nature. The beauty of the bay is captured on film, showing us that the fair maiden is in distress. But she's being rescued, or at least fought for, by a naturalist and former manager of the National Park Service Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in tandem with a retired fireman and his son, who've taken upon themselves the mission of protecting what was shown to us to be an area of great urban abuse and refuse, but even greater beauty.
Click here to see more still photos and a review of the film entitled Saving Jamaica Bay at the Queens World Film Festival in March. The film is scheduled to be shown at other film festivals throughout the year, a few of which will be listed at the end of this report.
LaGuardia Airport - Airplane Noise
Jackson Heights, Corona & Queens Voice Concerns Regarding LGA Airplane Noise
FAA Considering Extension of LaGuardia Airport Hours & Other Changes
I attended a town hall meeting about the airplane noise coming from LaGuardia Airport at PS 69 in Jackson Heights. The town hall had been organized by NYS Senator Peralta’s office and the panel of speakers included local government officials and representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration [FAA] and the New York New Jersey Port Authority [NYNJPA].
Standing Room Only at PS 69
The auditorium was packed and there were people lined up along the walls as well as standing in the back of the auditorium. Airplane noise has emerged as a big issue for Jackson Heights due to a couple of construction projects going on at the airport – both of which will be completed at the end of November.
Cynical Audience Member's Point of View
The timing of the town hall meeting, only six weeks before the construction was to end, led one of the local pundits to cynically suggest that this was merely political theater, rather than an effort to accomplish anything substantive.
There was an earlier town hall meeting organized about two years ago by NYC City Councilmember Dromm, to tackle the problem in its early stages, and while it was happening - not after it was all over - which is what we're close to today.
But that said, these town hall meetings are not just political theater, although inevitably that is some of it, which you will see in the video. And while the immediate problem will subside, we discovered that there a number of efforts either underway or in the planning stages, in which the community has a vested stake in the outcomes.
Not Said In Meeting: Federal Register States That Consideration Is Being Given To Extending LGA's Operational Hours & Slots
In doing follow up research I found a piece on the Federal Register government website that informed me that the FAA is considering changing the operational hours and slots for LaGuardia Airport. This was not discussed at the town hall [click into story for additional detail]. We also found other things that were either scarcely touched upon or not addressed, which we included in this report.
Click here to read the rest of this report about LaGuardia Airport & Airplane Noise in NYC. The report includes video presentations, including some audience interaction, and a photo slide show and other information about FAA air traffic changes, airplane noise and what you can do about it.
NYS Medical Marijuana Law & DPA
Drug Policy Alliance Reports First Deadline For Submissions Passes
I attended a forum on medical marijuana last week. It was sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance, a non profit group, whose mission is to promote
"drug policies that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights".
During the course of this forum I found that there's a lot going on in this area - not just with regard to implementing the legalized use of marijuana for medical use - but in going signficantly beyond that milestone, to making it available to the general public by regulating it in a manner, of which the options range in similarity to: pharmaceuticals, alcohol or tobacco.
To be sure, as public perceptions and policy change, there are important concerns and issues associated with these changes that must be properly managed, or the results of these changes won't be beneficial to the community as the marijuana legalization advocates suggest - but rather could be just the opposite.
We'll have more on the Drug Policy Alliance forum held last week at ABC Carpets on Broadway.
Click here for things to do in Midtown NYC.
Sterling Equities & Related Companies Lose A Court Battle
Plans to Build Shopping Mall on Flushing Meadows Corona Park Land Reversed on Appeal, but Legal Wrangling will Continue
This report is based on an Associated Press report dated July 2, 2015 and a Queens Tribune story dated August 28, 2014.
In August of 2014, New York State Supreme Court Judge Manuel Mendez decided in favor of Related Companies / Sterling Equities by throwing out a lawsuit filed by the City Club of New York and NYS Senator Tony Avella.
The plaintiffs alleged that billionaire Stephen Ross's Related Companies, the real estate developers of Hunters Point South and the Hudson Yards, and the Sterling Equities which was co-founded by the NY Mets owners, mega-millionaires Saul B. Katz and Fred Wilpon, had not gone through the NYS legislature for the approval of the transfer of the parkland as required by law.
The lawsuit, filed in February 2014, alleged that the transfer of 47 acres of Flushing Meadows Corona Park land that currently represents the western part of the Mets parking lot, was done without following the procedure for a proper public review [see photo above right]. The City had proposed transferring the 47 acres to Related Companies / Sterling Equities who had planned to build a 1.4 million square foot shopping mall next to Citifield.
The NY City Council and the billionaire former Mayor Bloomberg approved the project in October 2013, but the proposal never went to Albany for a vote. According to the Queens Tribune report one of the plaintiffs said that the Judge Manuel Mendez's ruling goes against the Public Trust Doctrine, ignores longstanding case law history, and bestows too much power that was formerly the purview of the Board of Estimate in one person: the NYC Mayor.
On Thursday, July 2nd, 2015, the four-judge Appellate Court overturned Judge Mendez's decision and ruled that the Willets West Mall Project was illegal because the land is a part of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, in spite of its current paved over status as a parking lot [see 2009 photo above].
And because it is a part of the public parkland of the people, it may not be turned over to the real estate developers without approval of the NY State Legislature. The judges rejected the ruling in favor of the mall development made by Judge Manuel Mendez, wherein Mendez sided with the wealthy real estate developers who argued that the 54 year old, 1961 law authorizing the construction of Shea Stadium, also included a mall.
The photo above shows the Citifield parking lot in 2009, as it was being paved over following the demolition of Shea Stadium which was authorized in 1961. The new Citifield stadium built to replace Shea, is smaller.
According to the Associated Press report, a spokesman for the real estate developers said that they would appeal the decision.
Affordable Care Act Review
Obamacare Check Up One Year Out
October 20, 2014 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Healthcare / Gotham Buzz. I rarely leave Manhattan for a story, but last week I had an opportunity to attend an NPR forum on the Affordable Care Act at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. The program was designed to look back on the promise, disappointment and possibilities of Obamacare one year since the program was rolled out.
Brian Lehrer of NPR was the moderator of the forum which included a panel of experts representing different groups involved in the administration of the Affordable Care Act. There were representatives from a local hospital, an insurance group, a journalist who's been tracking the Affordable Care Act for NPR, a documentary filmmaker and the Director for State Health Policy from Rutgers University.
I arrived by train from Penn Station. The train ride took less than twenty minutes and the walk to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center took less than ten minutes. I had never been to the NJPAC and was impressed by its sparkling beauty on both the inside and out. Its a modern glass and steel structure and the windows provided views of the New York City skyline in the distance. But I digress.
Click here for our full story about the Affordable Care Act NYC. This includes delving a bit into doctor participation, patient behavior, costs, breadth and depth of coverage, where the program is meeting / not meeting its objectives and an outlook of the future.
People's Climate March Photos
Over 300,000 People March / Interesting Signage / Creative Costumes / Jazzy Music / Important Message / By The People & For The People / We Are One World / We Are One People / We Must Learn To Live In Harmony With Each Other & With Our Ecosystem
September 22, 2014 / Midtown Neighborhood / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.
I came up the subway stairs at Times Square Sunday, September 21, 2014 shortly before 1 pm. I had hoped to cover the People's Climate March story beginning at 11.30 am at Columbus Circle which was when the parade was to start; but I was detained and rushed to cover what I had thought might be the END of the parade. Boy, was I wrong. I ran head on into the BEGINNING of the parade, although I had missed the very front of it.
It truly was a People's Parade as there were few government officials were in attendance. According to one report I read after the parade, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon joined the head of the parade around 12.45 pm, which wasabout the time I had arrived, so I missed them.
There were also a few NY City Council Members who marched, versus an NYT report that indicated a third or more planned to march. I recognized three of about five NY City Councilmembers that were there: NY City Council Speaker Viverito, UWS CCM Rosenthal and Astoria Queens CCM Costa Constantinides.
Green Companies Missed Big Marketing Opportunity To Reach Their Passionate Audience
Click here later today to read our full report of the People's Climate March including hundreds of photos, and a number of parade marchers' views of what's really going on, as well as what can practically be done by regular folks about it.
Click here to read our report and view photos of the UN organized People's Climate March in NYC. Story and photos by Michael Wood.
Affordable Care Act Insurance Deadline
Deadline To Complete Enrollment Extended To February 28th
But February 15th Is Final Day To Begin NYS Insurance Enrollment
New Enrollments For ACA Health Insurance Ends February 15, 2015. Those who have begun the enrollment process by February 15th will have until February 28th to complete them. The deadline is February 15th to begin an enrollment. We received reports that many folks were having difficulty in getting through to a telephone operator, so it looks like there was a spike in demand near the deadline, which also happened in 2014.
On Saturday, NY State of Health extended the enrollment deadline by two weeks to enable those who do not complete their enrollments by Sunday, February 15th. Hence, enrollees now have until February 28th to complete enrollments in the New York State health insurance plans associated with the Affordable Care Act. It's worth mentioning that the NY State Of Health does not have operators available on Sunday and that they are only available Saturday from 9 am - 1 pm.
Enrollment On Target With Government Incentives. According to recent national news services, there were already 9.5 million enrollees in the Affordable Care Act plan as of a few weeks ago [mid / late January 2015]. The total enrollment target nationally for this year is 10.5 million. Last year the New York State of Health - which runs the NYS Affordable Care Act enrollments - signed up nearly 371,000 people. There were reports in January 2015 that the number of NY State of Health enrollees has grown this year. We also understand that the folks who enrolled last year and are currently participants in a plan will be automatically renewed in their Affordable Care Act Health insurance, so they are not required to update their enrollment with the state. But that said, they must renew their status with their health insurance provider around the time of the anniversary of their enrollment.
One news site recommended that folks already enrolled in the plan ought to review and update their enrollment to make sure they want to stay with their present insurer, and that they fully understand the tax consequences of their healthcare choices.
Tax Penalties 2015. One report noted that the majority of Affordable Care Act enrollees get some measure of monetary incentive to enroll in the plan. In 2014 the tax penalty for not having health insurance was $95 per adult or 1% of household income. In 2015 the penalty rises to $325 per adult or 2% of income.
Click here to view the New York State of Health website.
Obamacare Comes To NYC, NYS & America
NYC Prepares For The Affordable Healthcare Act
Update - Over 197,000 New Yorkers Have Completed Applications of which over 48,000 have already selected and enrolled in a plan. Over 142,000 people were helped by the New York State of Health which runs the health plan marketplace for New York State. Note that open enrollment for the tax year 2014 ends on March 31, 2014.
November 7, 2013 / Gotham Buzz NYC.
I just returned from the United Civic Community Association [UCCA] sponsored forum on Obamacare at the Museum of the Moving Image. The forum did a nice job of providing what appeared to be a good summary look into what the federal government’s Affordable Healthcare Act [also known as Obamacare] is really all about.
The forum was moderated by Rose Marie Poveromo, President of the United Community Civic Association of Astoria and included a panel of experts. The panel included U.S. Congressman Joseph Crowley, Rebecca Jackson, a NY State of Health Project Coordinator, Caryn Schwab Executive Director of Mount Sinai Queens, Judy Trilivas Chief Operating Officer of Mount Sinai Queens and Minna Elias Congresswoman Maloney’s Chief of Staff. They are shown seated from left to right in the photo above, at the UCCA hosted Obamacare Forum at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria.
Click here to read more about Obamacare comes to America NYC NYS.
Cyclists Rights In Manhattan NYC
Knowing Your Rights & Responsibilities As An NYC Cyclist
November 7, 2013 / NYC Cylists Rights In Manhattan / Gotham Buzz NYC. By Philip Papas. The introduction to the Cyclists' Rights Forum was given by Christina Vassallo, Executive Director, Flux Factory. She told us that the event came about after she and a friend were stopped for cycling violations, which they thought were not illegal, or had erroneously been applied as violation points to their motor vehicle driver’s license. As a result she saw the need for a forum to clarify laws, rights and proper procedures for cyclists to follow.
Click here to read our full report about NYC Bike Laws / NYC Biking Rules Forum in Queens at the Flux Factory across from Midtown Manhattan in LIC.
|F Scott Fitzgerald Great Gatsby Pile of Aches 1939 Worlds Fair|
Battle for the Heart of a Park ... and the Soul of a Borough
The NYC World's Fair: 1939 - 1940 in Flushing Queens
PART ONE - Out of the Ashes Rises the Phoenix
Over the past six months we've been watching with interest as events have been unfolding regarding the building of a 25,000 seat soccer stadium right in the heart of Flushing Meadows Corona Park. There are also a number of other proposals working their way through the political process / local government, which calls for the cessation of public lands to build private enterprises on various sections of Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Currently four separate proposals are in process for planned developments in Flushing Meadow Corona Park. They include: 1) a chain store shopping mall / complex in the southwest corner of the Citifield parking lot [pink], 2) a housing / condominium / hotel complex on the lands the city acquired in its use of eminent domain to develop Willets Point [blue], 3) the expansion of the USTA facilities in the northwest section of the USTA franchise in the park [orange] and 4) the erection of a thirteen plus acre stadium / sports complex in the middle of Flushing Meadows Corona Park [yellowish green].
The graphic above was provided by one of the community groups opposed to the Flushing Meadow Corona Park developments. It's worth noting that most of the colored areas already have pavement or structures covering the land. The exception is that of the proposed Stadium & Concert venue [yellowish green], which would be a completely new development, replacing water vessels which were created for the Worlds Fair. See the map in the header of this series [top of page] where the dark red square represents the approximate acreage and location of the proposed stadium / concert venue.
Queens Buzz has put together a series of reports, which we will run in the coming days about the proposed developments in Flushing Meadow Corona Park. This report starts with a bit of the history of the park, which began around the turn of the last century when Flushing Meadows Corona Park was just an ashpile.
The focus of this report is the 1939 NYC World's Fair which was held in Flushing Meadow Park as it was then called.
Battle for the Heart of a Park ... and the Soul of a Borough
PART II - NYC Stadiums: Battle of the Titans
The NYC World's Fair: 1964 - 1965 in Flushing Queens
Click here for Part I of our report series on Developments in Flushing Meadows Corona Park where we journeyed back to the Corona Ash Dump, immortalized in the Great Gatsby, and later transformed into a World's Fair utopia by Robert Moses, Fiorello LaGuardia and the 1939 World's Fair committee.
The 1939 World's Fair attracted over 40 million people, but lost over $100 million, as it opened the year Nazi Germany beganinvading its European neighbors, and while Japan was busy invading China. Nonetheless, in spite of a financial failure for the 1939 World's Fair bondholders, the fair had enabled NYC and Robert Moses to complete phase one of his vision to transform the Corona Ash Dump into NYC's premier city park, and build a whole new network of highways around it.
Ebbets Field in Brooklyn & The Brooklyn Dodgers
We resume our story, after WWII, as a young lawyer in Brooklyn began working for the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Dodgers played at Ebbets Field just east of Prospect Park in what is the now Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. The year is 1943 as a 40 year-old lawyer, Walter O'Malley, leaves the Brooklyn Trust Company where he had oversight responsibilities for troubled companies, including the Brooklyn Dodgers.
You can click here to read Part II of our report on proposed developments in Flushing Meadows Corona Park entitled NYC Stadiums: Battle of the Titans.
Or click this link in the meantime to view Part I of our report series entitled - Out of the Ashes Rises the Phoenix - about the beginnings of Flushing Meadows Corona Park and the 1939 World's Fair.
32,000 Bikers Pass Thru Queens: 5 Boro Bike Tour
This Sunday some 32,000 bicyclists rode through Astoria and LIC on their way to completing a 40 mile bike ride through all five boroughs of NYC. Photographer Abdel Berrera caught up with them at the Astoria Park rest station where many took a moment to catch their breath.
Many of the cyclists come from other countries and other states. The bikers see this as a nice way to see all of New York City, not just Manhattan.
There are two 5 Boro Bike Tour rest stops: the first in Astoria Park and the second at the Con Ed rest station along the East River. Many took some time out to make adjustments to their bikes, gear and selves; and consumed a bit of food before resuming the relaxing trip and heading on to Brooklyn and Staten Island.
Click here to see a slide show of the 5 Boro Bike Ride NYC - bike rides & bike tours NYC.
Century Bike Riders Come Through Queens
TA Queens Volunteers Work Astoria Park Rest Stop
On Sunday it was in the 70’s and low 80’s, sunny & dry. The day couldn’t have been much better for a one hundred mile bike ride through all five NYC boroughs. And so it was as I headed down to the Century Bike Ride Queens rest stop in Astoria Park.
The Century Bike Ride was started by Transportation Alternatives in 1990, long before there were any real bike lanes in NYC. The first ride attracted about 200 riders, while the ride in 2012 attracted over 6,000 riders. Since that first ride, literally hundreds of miles of bike lanes have been mapped out in NYC; and the city plans to expand NYC bike lanes by about 50 more miles in 2013 - ten of which will be laid out in Queens. This expanding network of bike lanes is due in part to the work of volunteers of the non-profit organization Transportation Alternatives.
Click here to learn more about Transportation Alternatives Queens and the Century Bike Ride NYC passing throught Queens in 2012.
East River Water Quality
LIC Kayakers Call For DEP Water Quality Investigation on the East River Affecting Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx & Manhattan
September 17, 2012 / East River Water Quality & Health Issues NYC / Gotham Buzz NYC.
I stopped by Hallets Cove to visit the LIC Boathouse kayakers to see how the season had gone.
I spoke with Victoria Olson, the LIC Boathouse Chairperson, and Ted Gruber, Chairman Emeritus about the LIC Boathouse East River kayaking season. As you can see in the photo, they were plenty busy having averaged about 200 people each summer weekend, over about a four to five hour afternoon period, during which they host free kyaking along the East River waterfront off Hallets Cove in LIC / Astoria in Queens.
As it turns out, the LIC Boathouse has identified a possible water quality issue, which it believes needs public awareness and support, in order for the Department of Environmental Protection [DEP] to take the appropriate action required to investigate and remedy what appears to be either an ongoing and possibly growing pollution problem.
Click here to read more about free kayaking along the East River in Queens and the ongoing / emerging sewage / bacteria / water quality problem along the East River in Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Manhattan.
Remediation Of Newtown Creek Begins In Queens & Brooklyn
After 150 Years Of Environmental Destruction, Remediation Of Newtown Creek Begins
January 21, 2012 / Queens & Brooklyn / Green NYC Environment / Gotham Buzz NYC.
Every good process begins with information gathering, so that the decision makers have all of the relevant information they need to make sound decisions. After the information gathering / research is done, and the decisions are made, then the actual execution of the [clean up] process begins.
And so it was that on October 27, 2011, I visited the Newtown Creek Superfund Public Meeting – Queens at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City. There were more than ten representatives, largely from various departments within the EPA, on hand to answer questions and provide information to the public about how the federal government process to clean up Newtown Creek.
Click here to learn more about the history and EPA clean up of Newtown Creek in Brooklyn Queens. The creek helps shape some of the border between Queens and Brooklyn.
Real Estate In Flushing - Willets Point
April 14, 2011 / Flushing Neighborhood / Queens Buzz / Gotham Buzz NYC.
This winter I attended the State of the Borough Address given by Queens Borough president Helen Marshall and a month later I attended a speech given by NYC deputy mayor of economic development, Robert K. Steel. This report captures their brief comments about Willets Point condominium and retail development project, as well as a considerable amount of research I did following those two presentations.
In the following report we provide you with a history of the effort to transform the Willets Point area and an outline of the proposed plans and including a detailing of some of the issues associated with the proposed development. A graphical depiction of the Willets Point development is shown above.
Click here to read more about Sterling Equities, Saul Katz & Fred Wilpon, Stephen Ross, Related Companies, Mayor Bloomberg use eminent domain on Willets Point real estate development project - controversy in Flushing Queens.
NYC Solar Panels & Energy In NYS
LICBDC Seminar - Solar Energy Tax Incentives 2011
I just returned from a seminar detailing government incentives for installing solar on residential and commercial buildings in 2011. Based on what was presented in the seminar, anyone contemplating this sort of investment, might want to think about doing it in 2011.
The federal, state and city government are all offering tax incentives which add up to significant savings and shorten the payback period over which a building owner could recoup their investment in a solar energy system. Solar is a hedge against increases in oil prices, and demand for such systems is likely to grow. Given the tax incentives it’s possible, that as we approach the end of the year, companies selling solar energy systems might become quite busy. The photo to your left shows a roof top solar energy system.
Click here to read our report about the NYC tax incentives for solar energy in NYS in 2011.
American Meat - Unfinished Film
Documentary About Current State Of Food & Farming
I managed to obtain an invitation to a screening of American Meat, which is an unfinished documentary film, at Cafe Marlene in Sunnyside. The screening was sponsored by Queens Harvest Co-op, which is an organization working to build an organic food cooperative in Queens.
The film is a rather eye opening look into how the economics of food / meat production in this country have taken us down an unsustainable path. A path which not only has significant health implications, but possibly even more dire consequences. The film provides an intelligent, behind-the-scenes look at how economics have been driving: 1) food production methods, 2) the composition of what's in the meat being sold at the grocery store, and 3) what we're feeding our children and ourselves.
The film was envisioned and began production in the spring of 2007 and the producers are hoping to finish it in 2011. Click here to view our preview of the unfinished documentary film entitled American Meat independent film at Cafe Marlene in Sunnyside and hosted by Queens Harvest Co-op. NYC Health Issues & Food Quality in NYS & America.
Elmhurst Hospital - Jackson Heights
Queens Hospitals – Public Hospitals In Queens NYC
April 19, 2010 / Queens Borough NYC / NYC Healthcare / Gotham Buzz.
I arranged to conduct an interview and take a tour of the Elmhurst Hospital in Queens. The hospital’s Associate Executive Director of External Affairs, Dario Centorcelli made time in his schedule to accommodate my visit. I arrived mid morning and we immediately struck up a lively dialogue about Elmhurst and Queens hospitals which would last past lunchtime. During that time I found Dario had a near encyclopedic mind about the hospitals in Queens.
In the photo to your left you see surgery being performed at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.
Click here to read the rest of the story including numerous photos of Elmhurst Hospital in Queens - Hospitals in NYC.
Organic Food & Organic Food Stores In NYC
All Natural Foods - Buying Organic Foods In NYC
NYC Neighborhoods / Shopping NYC / Gotham Buzz NYC.
I’ve been doing research on local organic / all natural food for some time. I recently had the opportunity to interview an "organic insider", Metin Mangut who is one of the managing partners of a local supermarket which is an organic / all natural food store in Long Island City. Metin shared with me some of his insights into the changing landscape of organic, all natural and conventional foods.
In this report we'll delve into some of the issues and purchase strategies for buying from organic food stores / organic foods in NYC and pretty much anywhere.
NYC Healthcare, Ecology, Parks & Sports - NYC
NYC Healthcare & Environment - New York City Parks & Sports Related Info
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