NYC March For Our Lives in Manhattan
Tens of Thousands Protest the NRA & Gun Violence
The March For Our Lives protest started at 11 am on the Upper West Side of Manhattan at 72nd Street and Central Park West. Not coincidentally, this was just steps away from the Strawberry Fields Memorial in Central Park honoring musician / poet John Lennon of the Beatles, who was murdered by a lunatic with a gun.
The March For Our Lives protests were organized and led by students around the nation, with support from a wide range of people in all other age segments of the population. Frequently the Columbine shooting in Littleton, Colorado on April 20, 1999 is cited as the first of these sorts of mass shootings in schools, although a check into mass shootings in Wikipedia, shows that America has a 200 year history of mass shootings, including some of which took place in schools before Columbine.
Fox Fake News Appears to try Discrediting Protesters with False Narrative
If you watch Rupert Murdoch's Fox News you might come away with the impression that the students are trying to revoke the Second Amendment. But based on conversations with some of the marchers and in reviewing other media accounts, this seems to be another Murdoch Mouthpiece Fox Fake News narrative.
But while the students and the March For Our Lives protest wasn't about repealing the Second Amendment, some members of the left, such as Bret Stephens of the NY Times did make a call for Second Amendment repeal in two editorials - one dated October 5, 2017 and the other dated February 16, 2018. Murdoch's Fox Fake News mouthpieces torch the possibility of a national conversation by misinforming their ill-informed audience that the NY Times and Op Ed writer Bret Stephens speak for everyone. What they don't realize is that the America that gets their information outside of the Murdoch Fake News FoxHole is intelligent enough, and adult enough, to have a real conversation about gun ownership and the Second Amendment.
Is the NRA Lobby Out of Control & In Control?
From what I could gather the students seem to have identified and coalesced around tangible changes to reigning in what appears to be an out-of-control gun lobby - the NRA. The firearms industry used bump stock technology to circumvent the unlawful possession of machine guns by providing stocks. And the gun lobby as recently as a few months ago, was pushing to 'deregulate' silencers on guns. Both of these laws - regulating machine guns and silencers - began with the National Firearms Act of 1934. At that time criminal violence by mobster gangs was the order of the day. And it appears that it's just as true today as it was back then - that if you allow guns to be put guns in the hands of lunatics, then murders and criminal violence is what you get.
A mid 2017 poll by Gallup showed that 60% of Americans were in favor of making gun control laws more strict, 33% were in favor of keeping them about the same and 5% wanted to make them less strict. The trend toward favoring more gun control has been going on since 2011 [see chart]. Apparently the politicians we send to Washington do not represent the majority so much as the NRA, and sending a swamp monster to clean up the swamp, is at best delusional. President Trump after opining that more gun control would be good, backtracked, appearing to have caved to the very powerful NRA lobby in Washington.
- CLICK here to read the rest of our report about the 2nd Amendment and the March For Our Lives 2018 in Manhattan NYC.
NYC Crime Continues To Drop, Breaking Records
Mayor de Blasio & NYPD Discuss City Safety & Ongoing Improvements
February 7, 2017 / NYC Neighborhoods / NYC Government / Gotham Buzz NYC.
This just came in on the heels of our coverage of the Public Safety discussion below. Mayor de Blasio and NY Police Commissioner O'Neill spoke in the Bronx regarding ongoing efforts and results in improving safety in the city. The following are some of the crime statistics noted in their meeting taken directly out of a press release sent by them.
Chief of Crime Control Strategies Dermot Shea, NYPD: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Good afternoon, everyone. As you've heard, we have begun a strong start to 2017 in terms of overall crime reduction. Strategies that have been put in place to address repeat offenders, illegal gun possession and gangs are having the desired effect. We're building on the momentum of the last few years.
- So, some of the highlights for crime statistics from this January - overall index crime is down 0.2 percent for the month of January. When you carry it over to this morning, we are now down 2.7 percent in overall index crime in New York City.
- To note - with the overall index crime, January marks the tenth consecutive month of reduced index crime. That's the momentum we've been talking about. Currently, four out of five boroughs in New York City - all but Queens - are down to start the year.
- Homicides - we recorded 20 homicides in January. That's down two from 22. That 20, as the Mayor alluded to, is the lowest January that we have ever recorded going back a minimum into the 1960s.
- Shooting incidents - down 1.7 percent in January. Last January we hit the modern mark with 59 shooting incidents. We came in with 58 this January.
- Talking about momentum again - nine of the last 13 months we've had a reduction in shooting incidents. Nine of the last 13.
- Three months in a row we've had a reduction in shooting incidents in New York City. We have now, when you look at New York City as a whole, we now have 24-hour periods where we do not record a shooting incident in New York City. That kind of thinking was impossible in the not too distant past.
- This is the new normal. We want to build on it and we feel that we will build on it but there's still plenty of work to do.
- Stabbings and slashings for January - down 7.2 percent.
- Robberies - down 7.5 percent. Lowest January robbery number we've seen.
- Felony assaults in New York City - down 5.4 percent.
- Burglaries tied the lowest mark set last year.
- Transit crime - down 1.4 percent.
- And housing crime - not to be outdone - down 1.9 percent.
- Clearly, a wide breath of crime across New York City - property and violent crime, down.
But there is, I alluded to, there is still work to do - three categories we saw increases in January.
- Rape was up 8.9 percent.
- Grand larceny, specifically, credit card related skimming and forging of checks - those two drove grand larcenies. And grand larceny was up for the month of January 4.7 percent.
- And lastly, rounding out the crime totals - stolen vehicles which we have seen drop to unprecedented lows saw an increase of ten cars for January. So, that's 480 versus 470 - a two percent increase.
Commissioner O'Neill: Okay, thanks, Dermot. We'll take your questions.
Question: Do you think it's possible, really to keep driving crime down further at this point? And how could you achieve that?
O'Neill's response was yes, with some added context.
Hundreds of Thousands March in NYC
Women's March Appears to Approach 21st Century NYC Protest Record
I headed into Manhattan around noon on Saturday. The #7 subway line was packed, even more than during rush hour on a weekday morning. There were protesters wearing pussy hats, bearing protest signs and placards, and generally in pretty good cheer as they headed into Manhattan for the Women's March in NYC.
I got off the subway at Grand Central Station along with the crowds of protesters, and made my way up to the 42nd Street exit. Out on the street there was a moving mass of marchers making their way down to Fifth Avenue where they would turn north to march up to Trump Tower along Fifth Avenue at 57th Street.
I have to admit I was surprised by the massive turnout. One person told me that over 50,000 people had signed up for the event on Eventbrite. But it would become obvious to me as the day wore on that the crowd had easily exceeded that number.
The event was planned to begin at 11 am in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at Second Avenue and 47th Street. There would be a few speeches, followed by a march down Second Avenue to 42nd Street, then west to Fifth Avenue and then north up Fifth Avenue ending at Trump Tower at 57th Street. It was scheduled to end at 4 pm and waves of protesters had been choreographed to leave Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in 15 minute intervals.
I had listened to Donald Trump's Inauguration speech the day before [Friday] and there didn't seem to be anything in there that struck me as very objectionable if one didn't read anything into it. So I kind of thought the march might be a bit premature given he'd just assumed office and hadn't really done anything yet.
I asked one woman if I had missed anything in Trump's speech, that she / others found objectionable. She told me no, he hadn't said anything objectionable, but she went on to say that she didn't believe anything he said. I asked another woman why she'd come out to protest today. She told me that she wanted to stand with other women in making a statement to Trump that they weren't going to passively stand by and allow him or the Republican Party to roll back their hard fought equal rights.
There was a festive mood throughout the day. I occasionally asked policemen keeping the peace how things were going. Many smiled and said it was going well and that they hoped it would continue that way.
I'll have more on this, including some details of how the protest morphed throughout the day, as well as a photo slide show and some video, sometime in the next week.
4th of July Fireworks 2016 Manhattan
Best Viewing Places / Locations to Watch Fireworks in Manhattan NYC
July 1, 2016 / NYC Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz NYC _ D.
The Macy's 4th of July fireworks will be shown along the East River this year. They were shown along the East River in 2014 for the first time since 2008. Mayor de Blasio had lobbied the change, which now spans three years.
Weather. Highs will be in the mid 80's during the dayand in the high 60's at night. As no rain is forecast it should be a near perfect night.
The Grucci Brothers will be doing the Macy's 4th of July fireworks in NYC. They have been doing fireworks for many years and the Macy's July 4th fireworks in Manhattan for decades.
But for those looking for fireworks on 4th of July 2016, you'll have ample opportunity to view the fireworks as the pyrotechnic performance expansion is being continued this year.
Click here for a report about where to watch the 4th of July Fireworks 2016 Manhattan NYC & surrounding areas, including times and locations for the Macy's 4th of July fireworks in NYC and at Jones Beach on Long Island.
Manhattan Swimming Pools - Public Pools in NYC
June / NYC Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz NYC _ D.
Manhattan offers easy access to a wide range of recreational swimming pools. The following is our first attempt to provide you with a view of the range of public swimming pools available in the parks of Manhattan. We encourage you to make use of these facilities because they provide healthy, fun, and frequently free or inexpensive entertainment for both individuals and families with children.
Click here to view a listing of Manhattan swimming pools including UES Upper East Side, UWS Upper West Side, Midtown, East Village, West Village, SoHo and Tribeca swimming pools.
Clinton Defeats Sanders, Trump Defeats Rivals
Clinton 58% vs Sanders 42%; Trump 60% vs Kasich 24% & Cruz 15%
April 20, 2016 /NYC Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz NYC _ D.
Bernie Sanders has been campaigning in New York the past week, drawing large crowds ranging from thousands to tens of thousands, as if he were a rock star. But on Tuesday, the voters weighed in and handed Hillary Clinton a convincing victory, helping her widen her delegate lead, and likely put her on the path to the Democratic Party nomination.
Democratic Delegate Count
To win the Democratic Party nomination, a candidate needs 2383 delegates of 4763 total. Within that total there are 712 super delegates, who can align themselves / vote for whomever they want but there's pressure to vote in favor of the direction that the state voted. The remaining 4051 delegates are won via the voting process and are called pledged delegates.
According to the Associated Press estimate, following the NY State win Hillary Clinton now has 1428 pledged delegates and 469 super delegates, while Bernie Sanders has 1151 pledged delegates and 31 super delegates. There are 1472 pledged delegates remaining, so to win a majority of pledged delegates, Hillary has to win 598 or 41% of the remaining pledged delegates, while Bernie has to win 874 or 59% of them. Clinton has already received commitments from more than half of the 'super delegates'.
Given Sanders is generally still behind in the polls in some of the larger remaining states [behind 16% in Pennsylvania and behind 8% in California], that seems a tall order. While the polls were dead wrong in Michigan, they were spot on in New York. The Sanders campaign told a news outlet Tuesday evening that they will see how they do in the contests this coming week and then evaluate their chances going forward. The Democratic Convention has been scheduled from July 25 - 28, 2016 in Philadelphia.
Republican Delegate Count
Meanwhile on the Republican side there wasn't much news. Trump won handily defeating Kasich and Cruz. The Republicans have 2473 total delegates and 1237 are needed to win. According to the Associated Press estimate, following the NY State win, Trump has 845 delegates, while Cruz has 559 and Kasich has 147.
Trump needs 392 more delegates [about 40%] to go uncontested to the Republican Convention. There are 992 delegates remaining, but according to CBS only 674 delegates are available in the remaining voting contests prior to the Convention. So Trump may have to win 60% of the remaining unpledged delegates to go to the Convention uncontested. The Republican Convention is scheduled for July 18 - 21, 2016 in Cleveland.
The voting contests next week include Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland and Delaware.
The fat lady hasn't yet sung, but it is beginning to look like a Clinton / Trump race to the White House.
Tribeca: Crane Falls Kills One
Mayor de Blasio Responds with Increase in Oversight
February 15 , 2016 / NYC Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz NYC _ D.
On Friday February 5th at around 8 am, crane operators began lowering a very long extended steel arm [565 feet according to the Mayor's Office], to reduce its exposure to high winds. Instead of a controlled descent, the crane arm fell to the ground, killing one and injuring three others. This occurred on Worth Street between Hudson Street and Church Street in Tribeca.
The crane was located between Hudson and West Broadway and the winds were estimated to be in the neighborhood of 20 - 25 mph at the time of the crash. This is a mobile crane, and various cranes have different specifications for being secured at certain wind speeds. The last time there was a crane accident in New York City was in 2008, when there were two building crane accidents.
The crane was put in place only a week earlier, on January 30th, and a few days earlier had been inspected by the NYC Department of Buildings. The crane was authorized or designed to go to the 565 feet to which it had recently been extended. The crane was owned by Bay Crane Company and it was being operated by Galasso Trucking and Rigging.
I went down to the site on the Saturday after occurrence to take photos and while there talked to a few bystanders. You could see that the stationary crane, which was based on the street level, had toppled the length of Worth Street. The crane was put in place to install generators and air conditioning units atop the building at 60 Hudson Street which was the former Western Union Building.
It appeared that the crane just fell and in its wake crashed upon a few cars and pedestrians who fled. The one who was killed was an Upper West Sider. The area was secured in the aftermath, but Con Ed reported that their infrastructure appeared to be ok. One of the subway lines (#1) skipped a couple stops in the vicinity over the weekend and pedestrian and street traffic around Worth Street between Church and Hudson was blocked off. Overall the scene appeared relatively peaceful, although there were police tapes up and rerouted traffic as the police and the Department of Buildings conducted their investigations and follow up.
On Sunday, February 7th, the Mayor made a statement announcing several new policies. The first is with respect to mandates for the securing of mobile cranes, which is to be whenever winds are forecast to be 20 mph or above and for gusts of 30 mph or above. Secondly the Mayor said that there will be stricter guidelines for enforcing and ensuring pedestrian compliance and safety while cranes are being secured, and there may be some additional assistance / oversight from the NY City police [NYPD], NY City Fire Department [FDNY], the NY City Department of Transportation [NYCDOT], NY City Department of Buildings [NYCDOB]. Now when a crane is being secured or to be secured, the operators will be required to notify the community in advance. And lastly, a task force is being assembled to see what can be learned from this accident so that best practices may be learned and put in place so that this doesn't happen again.
NYC Snowstorm Emergency
January 22, 2016 / NYC Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz NYC _ D.
Mayor issues Travel Ban as of 2.30 pm Saturday. Asks theaters and restaurants to close as revised forecast could bring 20 - 25 inches of snow. The MTA announced that they will be shutting down above ground rail and subway and buses by 4 pm - click to NYC MTA Storm Update at - http://alert.mta.info - for details.
NYC Winter Emergency Declaration. Mayor de Blasio made a statement putting the government apparatus on notice to manage the implications of the storm.
Temperatures aren't dropping that low [20's / teens], and the estimated snowfall [about a foot] in and of itself doesn't appear to be anything we haven't handled in the past.
But the high winds [gusts of up to 50 mph] could stir up snowdrifts and some measure of trouble, particularly for pedestrians and motorists.
Oftentimes these things become much ado about nothing, but I reckon better safe than sorry.
Weekend Weather 1/22 - 1/24. The temperature highs will be around 30 on Friday & Saturday, climbing to the mid 30's on Sunday. The lows will be in the low 20's throughout the weekend. It will be clear on Friday, with a huge snowstorm expected Saturday.
The Snowstorm will start early, dropping about 6 - 9 inches by about midafternoon, and finishing the day with a few more inches. It's expected to be generally clear on Sunday. On Saturday it will be windy, with gusts of up to 50 mph.
Click MTA Link for Snowstorm Service Changes. Click here for details on the MTA Weekender - http://web.mta.info/weekender.html.
NYC Marathon: A Brief History
A Closer Look At The NYC Marathon Course & Runners
November 2, 2015 /NYC Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz NYC _ D.
Every year about 50,000 runners converge on New York City on the first weekend of November to run in the New York Marathon. The race begins at 8.30 am with the wheelchair division, is followed at 8.52 am by the athletes with disabilities and handcyclers. And then from 8.55 am until 11 am a horde of 50,000 runners passes the starting line on their 26 mile journey ending in Central Park.
The course has changed since the first NYC Marathon and now runs through all five boroughs, starting in Staten Island, coming up through western Brookyn, cutting through Long Island City between the Pulaski and Queensboro Bridges and then looping up along the Upper East Side before circling back around just north of the Harlem River in the Bronx and heading back south into Manhattan and terminating in Central Park.
The race lasts about eleven hours, as the official end time is 7.30 pm, but the reality is that it's mostly over by about 5 pm. The NYC Marathon began in 1970 and the first one was held entirely in Central Park by having the runners circle around the park on various roadways multiple times. And, of course, it was a much smaller group of runners.
NYC Marathon Runner Demographics by the NYT
The NYT published a report about the NYC Marathon demographics. In it they noted that about three quarters of the runners make it over the finish line, and that about 40% of the runners are now women, which is up significantly from none in the first NYC Marathon in 1970.
This year only 48% of the runners are Americans, while another 4.5% come from Canada and Mexico, France and Italy represent 14% of the runners [split about evenly], and Britain, Germany and the Netherlands are another 15% (contributing in descending order], other parts of Europe, Latin America, Japan & China, Austrailia and South Africa.
Age-wise the largest group is between 30 and 40, the 2nd largest between 40 and 50, and a good measure from the 20 to 30 and the 50 to 60 demographics. Apparently many reaching their 40th and 50th birthdays like to 'prove that they still have it'. You can find the full report on www.nytimes.com, including some fun graphs.
NYC Marathon Winners Past & Present
The last time an American won the Marathon was in 2009 [Meb Keflezighi - a 2004 Olympic silver medalist born in Eritrea], and the last American winner born in the United States was Bill Rodgers in 1979. This year Meb was the first place finisher among all Americans and he broke the record for Masters Runners.
This year the winner for men was Stanley Biwott of Kenya who ran the NYC Marathon in 2:10:34, the winner for women was Mary Keitany, also from Kenya, who ran the course in 2:24:25, making this her second win in as many years. In the Wheelchair division, Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa beat Josh George of USA by one second coming in at 1:30:54. In the women's wheelchair division, Tatyana McFadden a Russian-born American, broke the NYC Marathon course record by seven minutes. It's been quite a year for her as she also won the marathon in Boston, Chicago and London this year.
Men's & Women's Marathon Times
As you can see by the times above, the best marathoners generally make the trip in a bit more than two hours, which means they ran at a pretty good clip of almost 13 miles per hour for over two hours. And it's worth mentioning that the gap between male and female NYC Marathon runners has been closing and at present is about 15 minutes.
Organizers & Sponsors of the NYC Marathon
New York Road Runners or NYRR is the organizer of the NYC Marathon and this year Tata Consultancy Services or TCS is the premier sponsor. TCS is an Indian software and IT services company based in Mumbai [formerly Bombay].
Century Bike Ride Manhattan
September 14, 2015 / NYC Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz NYC _ D.
The Sunday forecast included a high probability of scattered thunderstorms, but fortunately for the Century bike riders the weather appeared to favor them.
The Century Bike Ride is organized by Transportation Alternatives, an environmentally-friendly group that promotes non-carbon and low carbon 'transportation alternatives' to NYC residents. This is the bike ride they sponsor and the receipts go toward their efforts to ensure the various levels of government do what they can to help promote a safe and regenerative urban transportation environment.
The Century Bike Ride offers four biking alternatives that individuals and / or groups can pursue on their own during the most-of-the-day event. The first start time was at 5.30 am in Central Park [Manhattan] and at 6 am for a Prospect Park [Brooklyn] start and the last rest stops at the two parks closed at 6 pm.
The four bike routes included a 35 mile, 55 mile, 75 mile and 100 mile [hence the name century] loop.The 35 mile loop is called the East River Ride, which runs along the East River primarily in Brooklyn and Queens. The ride started at 7.30 am and was expected to last between 3.5 and 7.5 hours. The 55 mile loop is called the Waterfront Ride which includes the East River loop, but also the Verrazzanno Bridge, Coney Island and part of the Brooklyn Greenway. This ride started at 7 am / 7.30 am and was expected to take about 3.5 to 8.5 hours. The 75 mile loop is called the Rockaways Ride and it excludes the north / south run along the East River in Brooklyn / Queens in exchange for a haul out to the Fort Tilden Beach in the Rockaways then north through a number of Queens Greenways [parks] before turning westward back toward Manhattan. The Century Bike Ride, the 100 miler, starts at 6 am / 6.30 am and is expected to take between six and twelve hours.
The Century Bike Ride started in 1989 and is celebrating its 26th year.
Greek Independence Day Parade NYC
Greeks Celebrate Independence From Ottoman Empire
March 31, 2015 /NYC Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz NYC _ D.
In 1821 a Greek Bishop tore down the flag of the reigning Ottomans and erected the Greek flag atop his church. This action and this moment is considered by many historians to be the official beginning of the Greek fight for independence from the Ottoman Turks. The Ottomans had ruled Greece for about four centuries.
Fast forward to the 21st century in New York City and the Greeks are on the march once again. The Evzones Presidential Guard marched near the front of the parade. They were preceded by a cadre of government officials including the Governor (who I missed) and the Mayor, as well as government officials from the Greek neighborhood of Astoria in Queens.
The parade was organized by the Federation of Hellenic Societies which is an inclusive group of a good number of different Greek cultural and civic groups in the tri-state area. The photo above right shows a group from the University of Thessaloniki in Greece marching along the east side of Central Park on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
It was a beautiful day as I made my way toward Central Park ... more to come later including a photo slide show.
MTA: Subway Fare Increases March 22
February 13, 2015 / NYC Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz NYC _ D.
The Board approved increasing the base fare for the subway, bus, and MTA Staten Island Railway by 25 cents to $2.75, while also more than doubling the bonus amount added to MetroCard® purchases of at least one round-trip.
The combination of the increased fare and the increased bonus creates an effective fare increase of 4.1%, or 10 cents, for the Bonus MetroCard, which is used for 43% of trips. The 30-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard, which is used for 29% of trips, will increase 4% to $116.50. The 7-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard, which is used for 21% of trips, will increase 3.3% to $31. The remaining 7% of trips are made using non-bonus MetroCards, cash on buses or Single Ride Tickets, which are largely purchased near major tourist destinations.
Vision Zero Appears To Be Helping
Mayor de Blasio's Effort to Reduce Traffic Fatalities Appears To Have Some Success
December 22, 2014 /NYC Neighborhoods / Gotham Buzz NYC _ D.
As of October 1, 2014 there were somewhere between 86 and 97 pedestrians killed by motorists in NYC, and 17 cyclists. In all of 2013 there were 177 pedestrians killed by motorists and 12 cyclists.
If the monthly average of deaths continues through to year end, then some progress will have been made in reducing motorist fatalities in NYC.
Communities have banded together to begin addressing the issue of traffic fatalities on New York City streets. Solutions included reducing the speed limit to 25 mph, continuing the effort to provide separate lanes for cyclists, and rearranging traffic patterns in order to protect pedestrians from death and motorists from ending up in jail.
To be sure, much more needs to be done to make our streets safe, but there was some small measure of encouragement in the 9 month fatality scorecard.
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