Non-Profit Organization Seeks To Provide East Harlem Groups With More Access To Neighborhood Recreational Spaces

East Harlem is home to more space for recreation than most neighborhoods in the borough of Manhattan. The problem as some sees it is that most of the permits to use these rec spaces have not been given to local athletic groups. Information regarding the situation is available in a recently published report that studied how the city can even the playing field for young athletes in the area.

It was revealed that approximately 44% of the land area in East Harlem is recreational space or public parks in a 44-page report on the matter that was prepared by the Aspen Institute. The institute is a non-profit organization working in conjunction with Mount Sinai Health Systems as well as other charitable organizations in the area in hopes of expanding youth sports options.

The report that 80% of the available athletic spaces in East Harlem were used by athletic groups based in other neighborhoods for the 2017-2018 winter season.

The report further detailed the situation at Thomas Jefferson Park, which contains a large area used for recreation. It was observed by the Aspen Institute that 57% of the track and field reservations for the park in November went to leagues that are not based in East Harlem.

The Department of Parks and Recreation for New York City did not provide a careful review of the report but countered the findings by saying that a full-year review of reservations at Thomas Jefferson Park would show more usage by local leagues. The reinforce their point, the department explained that the East Harlem Little League is the entity that uses the field more than any other.

Sam Biederman, a spokesman for the Parks Department said that the ballfields are available to any group in the city and that all have equal access to them.

Ranya Bautista, working with the Aspen Institute, explains that sports groups in East Harlem find it more difficult to manage the issues with bureaucracy that is necessary to reserve the athletic spaces.

The institute suggested that to remedy the problem the city could give priority to athletic groups from East Harlem when issuing permits for usage of the neighborhood recreational spaces.

The city has not yet provided a response to the suggestions made by the Aspen Institute.

Democrats Are Taking Back New York

For many it may be surprising to learn that a left leaning state like New York had any sort of Republican control, but until recently, they did. For many years there was a small breakaway group of Democrats known as Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) who helped Republicans control the Senate in New York.

Many people, especially in the state of New York, were unaware of a secret deal between the IDC and Felder’s coalition with the Republicans that dated all the way back to 2012. There are eight members of the IDC who have a power sharing agreement with the Republicans in the Senate. This power sharing deal allows them to hold leadership posts in committees as well as have financial stipends. Even though Democrats held a one-seat numerical majority in the state Senate, with this agreement Republicans were able to control the chamber.

Following the 2016 election, the people of New York were angered over the election of President Donald Trump and this anger spurred a new enthusiasm in the New York Democrats that has placed high scrutiny on the IDC. The members of IDC were quick to blame Brooklyn Democrat Simcha Felder, who they stated had created the arrangement. Progressive party members have placed the blame on the GOP controlled Senate for the prevention of single-payer health care bills and other progressive action that passed the state Assembly but never came up to vote. Critics have also point out that due to the current system, budget negotiations are done between four men, Gov. Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and IDC Leader Klien. This prevents the current Democratic Senate leader fro playing a proper role in these negotiations.

2018 is shaping up to be a much different year as the IDC is facing stiff competition in the primary where Biaggi is one of seven different Democrats who is challenging IDC members. Gov. Cuomo faces his own competition in Cynthia Nixon, a progressive education activist, and she stands a good chance as Cuomo has been accused in being complacent by not leveraging his power against the IDC and Felder. A recent meeting at a steakhouse between Cuomo, the Democratic Senate Leader Stewart-Cousins and IDC leader Klein might alter the course of events. Cuomo played peacemaker and requested Klein come back into the Democratic fold. The request was tentatively accepted with a handshake and the Democrats seem to be welcoming.

Weather the challengers or the sitting members hold their seats is yet to be known, but it looks like no matter what the future holds, Democrats are back in full control of New York. For more information on this, click here.

The New York Taxi and Limousine Commission Is Being Called Out On Their Ban Regarding Commercial Speech

The limousines, black cars, livery and taxicabs in New York may be owned by the businesses but in truth they are controlled by the Taxi and Limousine Commission. The city highly regulates all passenger transportation but the businesses are still entitled to their constitutional rights. Prior to May of 2005 pre-authorization was required by the TLC for all interior advertising in regulated vehicles. In 2004 the installation of passenger monitors was required by the TLC. The next year the ad ban for taxicabs was lifted by the TLC to enable them to offset the costs.

Vugo is a media distribution company. In 2015 they attempted a partnership with New York City rideshare companies including Lift and Uber. The software from Vugo was downloaded onto tablets the riders could view. Sixty percent of the revenue generated from the ads would be paid to the drivers. The TLC stated interior advertising would not be approved for ridesharing. Vugo had to cancel their plans for expansion. Vugo then challenged TLC under the first amendment in New York’s United States District Court. Ronnie Abrams was the judge for the Southern District of New York. She declared Vugo’s commercial rights to speech had been violated due to the ban of TLC.

Judge Abrams determined TLC was promoting the interests of the state. She additionally determined the comfort of the customers was substantial. Due to the exemption of liveries and taxis the ban was deemed under inclusive. This ban was not connected to the comfort of the customers. The judge noted there were no limits on the size or placements of the ads. The final result was TLC was prevented from discrimination pertaining to rideshare vehicles. These vehicles were given the same commercial opportunities as the taxis. For additional details please visit

The advertising rule was justified by TLC with a study conducted seven years previously. The study showed Taxi TV was annoying to 33 percent of all passengers. This was not enough evidence to support the ban imposed on speech. The rules of TLC disfavored marketing and were considered to be invalid. Numerous courts for federal appeals were urged by the Washington Legal Foundation to assess the content of restrictions regarding commercial speech restrictions. It is possible the ruling of Judge Abrams will be appealed by the TLC.

Protest Erupts in New York City After Local Man Arrested

Some New York City residents are outraged at the behavior of ICE agents, the federal government’s deportation police, because they seem to be arresting people randomly and with no reasonable cause.

On Thursday, February 9th, over 100 Bronx residents lined up outside the courthouse to stand up for a man, Aboubacar Dembele Lanier, who was brought to the United States due to no choice of his own at the age of 3. Lanier was arrested upon walking out of the courthouse by ICE agents waiting just outside its doors.

The people protesting outside The Bronx Courthouse are not just random citizens. Every protester is a public defender, knowledgeable of the subject, some of which probably have a better understanding of the immigration laws than the ICE agents who made the arrest. If the protesters were random citizens, this protest may not resonate as loudly as it is. Some of the public defenders who lined up outside the courthouse have clients who have been arrested by ICE agents, for reasons not greater than the fact that they can.

Zaquera Lanier, wife of Aboubacar, told reporters that the agents were waiting outside, with the knowledge that her husband was already inside conducting business that was not associated with any immigration process. Zaquera is a US citizen, her husband only recently signed up for deportation protection under DACA.

The Legal Aid Society, who organized the protest stated to reporters: “The presence of ICE officers in our courthouse and perception that no immigrant is safe to seek their day in court, is threatening to upend our entire legal process and the principles upon which it stands.” Could immigrants be less likely to attend their mandatory court visits if they believe they will be arrested for unrelated issues upon exiting the building? This could be the case, and it could lead to higher deportation rate(due to the fact that if you miss a court date an arrest warrant is often issued) which could be precisely the goal of ICE agents.

New York City’s Latest Restaurant Trend – Spicy Ramen

So how does a new restaurant jumping into the massive New York City restaurant scene stand out? Try to come up with something new or never before tried? Maybe take a recently successful new venture and just open a second location?

Well chef Takatoshi Nagara of the already booming Lower East Side’s Mr Taka restaurant has decided to jump in using none of the above. Sort of. What he is doing is taking a page out of the big brick and mortar playbook and taking a proven concept and niching down. Specialization is the path he has chosen for his newest New York City restaurant venture.

With the recent restaurant craze and trend in NYC for ramen noodle menus, Nagara has decided to run with it and open Karakatta, a ramen noodle restaurant built around a concept focusing on specifically spicy ramen. Opening in a quaint and cozy location south of Washington Square Park on Thompson Street a passer by will already notice a full house in the typical NYC small location, people gathered around the bar sitting at low seating tables warming themselves up with one of chef Nagara’s spicy ramen creations on a cold winter night.

The current winter menu certainly aims to please the palate with body warming ingredients offering 4 different options for the ramen bowls including butter-miso, ginger stamina, shoyu and spicy veggie curry.

The ginger stamina is infused with an overdose of ginger that would fight off any winter ailment you may be feeling. All of the spicy variations can be prepared at your preference of spiciness on a low level of one to the highest level of three. Chopped chili’s and chili infused oils are added to the bowls to determine the level of heat.

In addition to the ramen bowls the menu offers a selection appetizers, soups such as miso, rice bowls and chef specials. Some sides you can expect to experience are Japanese pickles, sprouts, leeks, mushrooms and many more fresh asian vegetables.

The size of the crowds, even during late night hours is an indication that chef Nagara may have another hit with Karakatta and that “niching down” may just be the future of New York City restaurant trends. Can any of us guess what’s next?

Knicks Look To Rebound Following Porzingis Injury

Heading into the 2017-18 NBA season, many basketball experts were very optimistic about the New York Knicks and their ability to compete for a playoff spot. The team had gone through a major restructure in the prior year when they traded Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose to other teams, which would allow for younger players to take a bigger role.

While the Knicks were considered to be on the rise heading into this season, it appears that the team will have to take a big step backwards. After watching forward Kristaps Porzingis blossom into a star player this year, the team was devastated to learn that an injury he suffered is now considered to be season ending. While Porzingis should be able to play again at the start of next year, it is disappointing considering how well he was playing (

Through the first half of the season, Porzingis was averaging over 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. Despite being only 22 years old, he already looked like he could be one of the marquee stars in the NBA. While Porzingis will suffer this setback, he should still be able to recover and be a great player. However, in the meantime the Knicks will have to use this opportunity to assess other players around him.

Outside of Porzingis, one of the top players on the team was Tim Hardaway Jr. Hardaway Jr. has shown that he has the ability to score at will and can be a good defensive player as well. Enes Kanter and Courtney Lee also nicely round out the team. However, there is clearly still a lot of pieces that the team needs to be able to compete.

Even with Porzingis playing the majority of the season so far, the Knicks are once again looking like they will miss the playoffs. However, as Porzingis, Hardaway, and some other role players continue to develop, there is room for a lot of optimism. The Knicks will once again be getting a high draft pick and will likely take the most athletic player available. Furthermore, New York City continues to be alluring for free agents and the team has the payroll capacity to sign some big names and talented players over the next few years.

Fans Of Spicy Ramen Will Love The New Karakatta Restaurant In New York City

Ramen noodle dishes can be quite flavorful and fun to eat. In New York City, there are lots of ramen restaurants, and according to a recent Grub Street article, the city’s first spicy ramen-only eatery is now open for business.

Located at 230 Thompson Street near Washington Square Park, the all-new Karakatta is a small and charming restaurant that is operated by Takayuki Watanabe and Takatoshi Nagara. Mr. Nagara is the chef and Mr. Watanabe is the owner of the fittingly named Mr. Taka ramen restaurant on the Lower East Side.

Karakatta offers four basic types of ramen dishes. These include shoyu, classic-style butter-miso, spicy vegetable curry, and a ginger-infused option. Some dishes come with a choice of chicken or pork belly, and spice-levels in all of the dishes can be adjusted.

Teriyaki chicken or pork belly dinners that come with miso soup and different-colored Japanese pickles are available at Karakatta, as are appetizers such as Japanese-style fried chicken.

The different ramen bowls at Karakatta are loaded with healthy and delicious ingredients including scallions, zucchini, ground pork, bean sprouts, cabbage, and my favorite, leeks.

Karakatta sounds like a nice place to visit for a ramen meal. Being a fan of ramen, I would particularly like to try their spicy veggie curry.

Until I can get to Karakatta to try their food, I can still cook and eat the little packages of ramen noodle soup that I purchase for approximately $0.39 each. Even though they’re high in sodium, these noodles, when drained, can be a good side dish. It would be great if they made the noodles microwavable, however.

To me, the opening of Karakatta represents the sheer size of New York City and the incredible amount of diversity that is displayed in its population. A spicy ramen-themed restaurant is certainly a niche business, and according to the Grub Street article, crowds of hungry diners have been enjoying the delightful fare that this new restaurant has to offer.

The Fearless Girl of Wall Street May Be Moving to Another Part of NYC

Right now, there are two statues called The Fearless Girl and The Charging Bull near Wall Street, In the future, these two statues may no longer be there as a new report says that they can move to another part of the New York City area.

The Charging Bull has been at the beginning of Wall Street since 1989. The Fearless Girl is a bronze statue of a girl that joined the bull statue just last year.

The Fearless Girl was only supposed to be there temporarily, but the statue attracted many tourists so the city decided that it should stay. The city is also deciding now that it may move the statues to a more permanent place in. another part of the city. This is according to a report in the magazine called Adweek.

In the report, Adweek talked to unidentified sources who believe that the pair of statues could be going to a location that is more friendly to pedestrians than the current location on Broadway near Wall Street.

Natalie Grybanskas, a spokeswoman for Mayor r Bill De Blasio, said that city officials have been discussing various ways that the statue could stay permanently in NYC. She feels that people are attracted to the Fearless Girl because of its message. Visitors and New Yorkers are very enthusiastic about the statue and city officials want it to become part of New York life.

An asset management company called State Street Advisors had put the statue in March of 2017. The statue expresses this company’s desire to have more women on the boards of companies.

Critics feel that this company is being hypocritical because this company has only 5 women on a leadership council that has 28 people. Last September, this firm had settled a class action discrimination suit for $28 million from about 300 female employees.

The current permit for the girl statue will be running out at the end of February. This is why they need to find a permanent location for the Fearless Girl

United Airlines Refuses to Board a New Yorker’s Peacock

Passengers are really beginning to test the limits of what is allowed in terms of pets aboard flights. Recently, a photographer from New York City attempted to board a United Airlines plane with her pet peacock, claiming it as her emotional support animal. The airline denied the bird passage on the flight.

The pet’s owner, Ventiko, is a performance artist who hails from the Big Apple. This raises the question of whether she was performing a stunt rather than earnestly attempting to use the peacock as an emotional support animal.

Many reports quickly revealed that the New Yorker apparently operates an Instagram account on behalf of the bird known as Dexter, casting even more doubt on the artist’s sincerity.

From the peacock’s Instagram account, one can quickly find their way to Ventiko’s website, making it even more likely that part of her motivation behind owning the animal and trying to fly with it is related to her artwork.

Fellow passengers and employees alike were clearly aghast at the sight of Dexter, his size, and his beautiful feathers during the extended period of time he spent at Newark Liberty International Airport just outside of New York City.

Dexter’s Instagram account noted that he and Ventiko spent approximately six hours at Newark attempting to board the flight. Despite having purchased a second ticket for the peacock, he was never ultimately permitted to board a flight on account of his size. According to the Instagram account, the pair then began a cross-country drive to their destination of Los Angeles.

In recent years, more and more travelers have applied for and received permission to have their pets fly with them for free on account of having them designated as emotional support animals. Unlike a animals that are obviously necessary to assist people with certain physical disabilities, emotional support animals often appear to be regular pets with which people want to fly without having to pay any fees.

This method of flying with animals seems to be getting abused quite a bit lately. A feature story in The New Yorker covered this topic at great length several years ago.

It is not immediately clear whether Dexter has made it by car to Los Angeles, or if Ventiko has benefitted from the associated fame related to the incident at Newark.

Companies Are Starting to Stop Using Stocks As Compensation

Why are many corporations are suddenly not providing stock options for their employees? Jremy Goldstein believes that there are three reasons that employees have had their stock options taken away.


One of the reasons for the removal of stock is that the value of a stock can drop significantly and the firm can end up being charged fees for a stock that is not really worth very much. It is called option overhang and it is not something that firms like.


Another reason that this method of compensation can be risky. An option is great when the economy is doing well, but it can easily lose value if the economic hits a downturn. An option can seem as risky as playing blackjack in a casino.


A firm’s accounting department are not fans of stock options. The accountants have to keep track of the fees that they pay for options and they may find the costs of a stock option are more than it is actual worth. By eliminating the stock option, they might actually be able to pay their staff more since that money is no longer going to pay stock option fees. Learn more:


Who is Jeremy Goldsten? He is the partner of a boutique called Jeremy L. Goldstein & Associates LLC. It specializes in corporate financial issues. If a person or a corporation needs aboud advise about compensation committees, Chief Operating Officers, executive compensation and the governance of a corporation, this firm would be a good place to go. Before starting this firm, he was working as a partner at the legal firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz,


Goldstein has played an important part in transactions that have involved major corporations like Chevron, Verizon, AT&T, Duke Energy, Bank One and Merck. He is the board member of an important journal and a non-government organization called Fountain House.