New Yorkers have a major concern right now, the growing cost of public transportation fares. There’s been some hard times for people who are barely able to pay their monthly rent and put food on the table, and in a place where using public transportation is very necessary to getting around, it adds in another cost to many families. Right now, the average cost for a metro card monthly pass is about $116, and added to the current base fare costs of buses, and toll tunnels and bridges that are increasing every two years, it’s no wonder advocacy groups are demanding changes to these costs.
The organization spearheading this transportation fare reform effort is Community Service Society of New York, led by David Jones. Jones is urging Mayor Bill de Blasio to consider changes in the city’s annual budget that could address these rising costs. What this group is looking for is an income-based fare with rates that are adjusted for lower income families and individuals, while those who can afford the regular rates continue to do so. It’s actually not a new idea as some cities like Seattle are already using a similar program for their public transportation. But while it’s been a success in some cities, the size and cost of transportation infrastructure in New York presents a real challenge to this.
According to the Community Service society, they estimate that implementing this program would account for about $194 million in annual lost revenue, but believe that there are ways the city could compensate for that. However, even bringing this program about would cost a lot, and the city’s transportation commission has been struggling to garner revenue as it is. Other areas that are being looked at right now include City Ticket, a program that allows travelers discounts for metro rides if they put over $5.50 on their tickets, a cost that might get reduced. But also factoring into this is ongoing feuds between Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo over sharing the burden of transportation costs between the city and the state.
Parking spots in New York City are understated luxuries until someone needs one. Parking in New York City has always been a challenge. Sure, there are parking garages and parking lots all over the city, but who wants to pay as much for parking as they do for a dinner for two at a popular New York eatery? The answer is no one, but people do pay exorbitant rates to drive into the city. New York’s City Council is making the parking debacle more frustrating for some commuters. The City Council just passed a bill that will set aside three hundred parking spaces on local streets, and 300 more parking spaces in city lots for car-share companies. That’s right. Companies like Car2Go and Zipcar are part of a two-year pilot program.
The car-share program is designed to motivate commuters to leave their car at home and use a car-share company. For every car-share on the street, five to ten less fuel efficient cars are off the streets, according to an article published by nydailynews.com. City officials have not announced the location of these dedicated parking spaces, but the word on the street is, Washington Heights and Astoria are definite candidates.
The car-share technology makes sense for people that need a car a short period and don’t want to go through the hassle of renting a car or using their own car. Zipcar developed a painless process that gives people the opportunity to reserve a car for one hour or for a week. All a person needs to do that is use the mobile app or the Zipcard they receive in the mail after registering online. Zipcar patrons can take the car wherever they want in the time reserved, or they can extend the time they need the car using the mobile app. When the rental is over, a Zipcar can be dropped off in a designated parking space. Renters can lock the car using the app or the Zipcard.
Car-share companies are located in New York, LA, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Denver and Providence. A car-share membership cost about $70 a year and driving rates range from $8 to $10 an hour.
Donald Trump is one of New York City’s most famous residents. But Trump is not just a resident. He’s a land and building baron. Right. Trump is a modern day rent lord that lives by the motto, “go big and never stop growing.” Trump’s New York City real estate holdings are impressive. But in usual Trump fashion, President Trump likes to embrace his assets with an assortment of complimentary adjectives and alternate facts. When Trump released 104 pages of a financial document last year, he listed income of $21 million from a Bronx golf course and two skating rinks in Central Park. Thanks to his public persona these days, several people wanted to know whether those Trumps financial claims were accurate. Most of Trump’s financial claims are unverified. He still hasn’t released his income tax returns. But according to salon.com, Trump claims he made $21 million on two lease contracts was inflated by more than half.
That information may not come as a surprise to Trump opponents. If Trump inflated his earning on a golf course and skating rink, his opponents say he inflated his claim that his assets are worth more than $11 billion. According to ProPublica, Trump likes to list gross receipts instead of net receipts. According to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Trump showed income from City leases of $20.8 million. But Trump did not list the corresponding expenses he had while operating those leases. Trump met the requirements of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, but some people looking into Trump’s financial disclosures say he did not reveal all the information needed to make an accurate assessment of his earnings.
Democrats and some Republicans are still calling for Trump to release his income tax returns. But Trump isn’t fazed by the requests. Trump has always been controversial, especially when it comes to reporting his earnings. Trump is wealthy. That fact is true. But the depth of his wealth is not as deep as he wants people to believe. On paper Trump is a billionaire, but in reality, he may only be worth hundreds of millions.
New York is a city like no other. It is one of the busiest and highly advanced cities in the world, with towering skyscrapers built using modern technology. Being a current attraction site, New York City has had the privilege of hosting some of the best events ever to be recorded in history. In 2017 however, one particular event will shake this great city to its core.
In 2017, New York City plans on opening up its state of the art subway to members of the public. Having been built more than a century ago, the Second Avenue Subway will soon become a reality. When complete, this metro is projected to span a staggering thirteen and a half kilometers from Manhattan’s East Side to the 125th street so as to cover areas like Harlem.
The Avenue Subway construction project aims at offering transport services to more than two hundred thousand people every day. Presently, part of the Avenue Subway in New York City is operational. It has tried to integrate all sectors, so as to help boost the economy of New York City. On site are shops, restaurants and bank facilities all meant to make passengers have an easy time during travel.Also, the Avenue Subway is connected to the local road grid network making it easily accessible by bus. Therefore, many bus companies in New York City have formed partnerships with the subway so as to provide scheduled rides to and from this facility for travelers.
One of the things that make the Avenue Subway unique is the nature of artwork inscribed on its walls. Images outlined in these portraits include those of American icons, cultural figures, and even ordinary mosaics. It is a mega project constructed to ensure that traffic congestion is a thing of the past in New York City. Besides, the Avenue Subway will help reduce passenger traveler times since there is no traffic on train rails.
When complete, this project will inevitably transform the entire landscape of New York City. As a result, an excellent transport system will encourage economic stability in this region.
New York City’s Harlem neighborhood is the home of the famous Apollo Theater and several other well-known businesses. Just like other New York neighborhood, Harlem has gone through a series of ups and downs, over the last 20 years. But Harlem made a comeback. Old buildings are being renovated, and people of all ethnicities are moving in. The real estate business is on fire in Harlem, and because of the renewed interest, South Harlem has a new name. Realtors now called the area between 110th and 125th street, SOHA. Just like the area South of Houston Street is called SOHO, and the area north of Hudson Street is called NOHO, Harlem is now officially an acronym. Apartments in SOHO are selling for $600,000 and renting for more than $3,800 a month, according to an article published by nbcnewyork.com.
Not everyone is happy about the name change, however. Some real estate agents say the name change is disrespectful. Residents of the community also oppose the name. Residents say the name could ruin the culture of the neighborhood. Making Harlem an acronym is more of a trend than a compliment, according to some residents.
The New York City real estate business is famous for renaming areas of the city with acronyms. Real estate agents tried to rename one area of the Bronx, “The Piano District,” but that handle didn’t stick. But acronyms like BoCoCa the Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens area, and Rambo, which is the area “right around the Manhattan Bridge overpass,” and LoDel, the area below Delancey Street, are now part of New York’s real estate language.
The trend to rename certain areas in American cities is not a New York City exclusive. Other cities around the country are going through the same name changing experience. Nashville, Tennessee is one of the country’s fastest growing cities, and old downtown neighborhoods are being renamed because of the real estate boom. Parts of the city of Atlanta have new names, and California cities are notorious for having names for certain neighborhoods. Giving area in cities their own identity is a trend that is not going away.
The Waldorf Astoria is a New York City landmark that is nearly as well known as the Empire State Building or even the Statue of Liberty when it comes to New York monuments. Of course, the iconic building as it is now is really the “new” Astoria, which opened in 1931, after the original Waldorf Astoria was torn down to make way for the Empire State Building itself.
Now, under a Chinese company that purchased the property in 2015, the Waldorf will undergo a thorough renovation. The Waldorf Astoria is considered a New York City landmark, and that means that the exterior of the building, at least, is protected by law. Members of the Landmark Preservation Commission will vote to determine which portions of the interior will also be protected. Fan favorites include the marble “wheel of life” tiled in the main entrance and the lobby that displays a miniaturized Statue of Liberty atop a tower.
Tuesday was the Waldorf’s last night open before renovations begin, and many guests – regulars and newcomers alike – took the time to familiarize themselves with the location before it changes. The hotel will be closed for two to three years to complete the renovations, and, while plans haven’t been finalized, the changes are expected to be significant.
The Waldorf Astoria will continue to be a hotel, but not exclusively. The property will be remodeled so a portion of the rooms will function as private condominiums which the Chinese company will sell. While some fans have voiced concern about the landmark being held by foreign companies, most agree they’ll be happy to return when the doors open again.
Word has been spreading fast over the past few years over about the quality of school lunches that are being served to children in the United States. From local television programs to Hollywood documentaries by the likes of Michael Moore, increasing light is being shed on the unsatisfactory quality of these lunches. These public school lunches in the United States are ridiculed for being unhealthy and unappetizing. In fact, two-thirds or around 67% of students in middle school who eat school lunches on a regular basis are obese or overweight.
Taking note of these appalling numbers, the New York City Public School System has taken a step towards making public school lunches significantly more healthy. Kellogg, the giant cereal corporation, has been supplying the schools of New York City with cereal for years. However, they are now being replaced by a smaller California brand as the cereal choice for NYC public schools. Back to the Roots is a small company that focuses on producing healthier cereals that have proven to be lower in sodium and sugar while being higher in whole grain than their Kellogg counterparts.
Following a taste-test by students, the public schools of New York City decided to go with this company instead of remaining with Kellogg. Although this change only impacts a small portion of the overall lunch menu, it is a big step in the direction of providing healthier school lunches for children. New York represents the largest school system within the United States. If any precedent is to be set by a public school system, New York City would be the place to originate the idea and catalyst.
With millions of children across the United States relying upon school lunches, it is the responsibility of the school systems to provide students with meals that are nutritious and healthy. When instead the meals are high in saturated fats and sugars, this is adding yet another problem to the growing obesity issue in the United States. This recent move by New York City is a great push towards introducing a healthier alternative to the current types of meals served in school.
Kellogg has been in the cereal making business for decades. Breakfast cereals have always been a mainstay in the American diet, even though they are heavily laced with sugar. Kids and parents buy Kellogg, General Mills, and Post products because they are quick alternatives to fixing a healthy meal in the morning. Even the New York public school system provided Kellogg and other conventional cereals on their free lunch menu, but New York has finally been struck with the less sugar, less sodium bug. Kellogg products are being replaced by Back to the Roots products, according to an article published by the New York Times.
Back to the Roots is an Oakland-based cereal maker that offers low sugar, low sodium, and a higher concentration of whole grains in their products. The company has been trying to get New York City public schools on their customer list for more than a year. When Kellogg discontinued two Kashi products from the public school menu, the school system decided to replace them with Back to the Roots cereal. The reason was obvious. Back to the Roots cereals contain organic ingredients, and they have more nutritional value. More than 245,000 students in New York public schools now have a choice. There are two Back to the Roots nutritional cereals on the menu along with cereals from Post, Kellogg, and General Mills.
The difference between one Back to the Roots cereal called Cinnamon Clusters and Kellogg Frosted Mini-Wheats is eye-opening. Cinnamon Clusters have half the sugar and four-fifths as many calories. It is certified organic and has no preservatives or added vitamins. The public school system in New York is under pressure to reduce costs as well as add natural products to the menu and Back to the Roots products help achieve that goal.
Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act seven years ago. The New York City school system switch to Back to the Roots is the first significant change in the school meal program since then. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids law updated nutritional guidelines that school districts must meet in order to qualify for federal subsidies. Schools are also required to ban candy, soda, and other junk food from their menus.
New York City would not be the same city without the hotels that have stood tall through the decades. New York hotels are not just places to rent a room for a night. They are majestic, thriving cities within the city. They offer visitors, and the people living in New York, entertainment, fine dining, and memories of times past. One of the grand hotels that is synonymous with the city is closing for renovations after 86 years of service. The Waldorf Astoria has hosted kings, queens, foreign dignitaries, movie stars, and presidents for more than eight decades. But for the next three years, the Waldorf is out of service. No one will be able to book a room at the Waldorf. The hotel closed the doors on February 28, 2017, for a major facelift and room update. Many of the rooms will be apartments when the hotel opens again, according to an article published by cnn.com.
The Waldorf got new owners in 2014, and that group plans to turn most of the 1,400 rooms into upscale apartments. Frank Sinatra, Cole Porter, and the Duke of Windsor are just some of the people that lived at the Waldorf through the years. The hotel has always been an exclusive address. Ronald Reagan visited on several occasions. American presidents stayed in the presidential suite, and Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., and other celebrities were headliners at the Waldorf Astoria’s Empire Club.
Usually, a hotel closing is not big news. Hotels close all the time for renovations, but the Waldorf Astoria is more than a hotel. The hotel is a functioning organ in the body of New York City. Waldorf lovers know what charm, sophistication, and excellence service really means. Anyone who has been a part of the hotel knows what functioning grandeur looks like.
The owners say the Waldorf will be a grander version of itself when it opens again. The China Ambang Insurance Group bought the hotel for $1.95 billion, and they are sinking millions more into the renovation project. It’s not every day an icon of New York closes, but the good news is the Waldorf closing is temporary.
Donald Trump is an icon in New York City. He lives in his gold building and overlooks his massive real estate empire. But now that he’s president, his presence in the city is not that appealing to visitors from other countries. In fact, his presence is not that appealing to people in this country. For the first time since 2010, New York City officials expect a drop in the number of people visiting from other countries. Trump’s rhetoric is scary, and his nationalistic attitude does not conform to the principles that the United States. America has always been a haven for immigrants around the world. Foreign visitors help fuel New York City’s economy, so less foreign visitors means less revenue, according to an article posted by the New York Times.
New York City’s tourism marketing agency will announce the new foreign visitor forecast soon, and according to city officials, the agency believes there will be 300,000 less foreign visitors spending money in New York City this year. There were 12.7 million foreign visitors in New York in 2016. The expected change in visitors will cost city businesses more than $600 million in lost sales. That number does not include the number of Americans who plan to stay away from the city because of Trump.
The issue is, Trump has changed the perception of America’s hospitality. New York is one of the pillars of that hospitality. Europeans start coming to the city in April, but this year Europeans are going elsewhere because they feel a sense of alienation from Trump. And most Americans feel it too.
New York is not the only city that will lose revenue thanks to Trump. The number of foreign visitors who do have visas and legitimate passports may fall by more than 6.8 million over the next two years, according to Tourism Economics. The president of Tourism Economics said his company is an international corporation that predicts travel trends in several American cities. Thousands of foreign travel plans don’t include American cities this year or next year. Online searches for hotels and airline tickets dropped sharply after the election and they continue to drop.