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The Drama Behind New York City’s Bike Share Delay (Gotham Gazette)

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THE DRAMA BEHIND NEW YORK CITY’S BIKE SHARE

NEW YORK — The firm picked by the city to run what is meant to be the nation’s largest bicycle share program has been dogged by questions about how it got a contract to run a similar system in Chicago, while its partner is being sued by a key software developer.

City officials announced last week that the much-anticipated bike share program would be delayed from its expected roll-out this summer to March 2013. Mayor Michael Bloomberg blamed the system’s software. “The software doesn’t work. Duh,” Bloomberg said on his radio show. “We’re not going to put it out until it does work.”

There may be a good reason why the software doesn’t work: It’s unfinished. According to the city official in charge of the recently launched bike share program in Chattanooga, Tenn., which uses the same platform, the software is undergoing “ongoing development.”

“There’s still work to be done — features to be added — and that’s where we are at the current time,” said Philip Pugliese, of Bike Chattanooga.

Link to full story

New York City Explores Ferries as Transit (Gotham Gazette)

by Cody Lyon, Apr 15, 2013


East-Ferry

NEW YORK — Nearly six months after Superstorm Sandy paralyzed subways and buses across the city, water transit advocates and politicians are saying it is time to expand ferry service into a robust, five-borough system that can operate in good times and after disasters.

They also see it as a means for providing affordable public transit to areas underserved by existing transit infrastructure — including, for example, the Rockaways, where the subway linking the peninsula was taken out of commission by the storm and a new ferry service was started up to connect the isolated community to Manhattan.

Yet, as policymakers look to expand ferry service, they are reminded of similar efforts over the past 20 years that have drowned in costs. Around 30 regional ferry services have come and gone, despite the investment of close to $700 million in capital investments.

Today’s ferry system is balkanized, with about half a dozen private operators carrying passengers across the Hudson and East rivers, as well as other parts of the metro area. The Staten Island Ferry, which accounts for the largest share of waterway ridership, is run by the Department of Transportation.

LINK  TO FULL STORY

UPSTART- (Business Journals)

What’s more American than coffee shops and ice cream? The freedom to have a ‘gay’ brand

Enlarge Image »Bryan Petroff (l) and Douglas Quint (r) sit outside the East Village location of their Big Gay Ice Cream shop.Bryan Petroff (l) and Douglas Quint (r) sit outside the East Village location of their Big Gay Ice Cream shop. Donny Tsang
by Cody Lyon , Upstart Business Journal contributor March 22, 2013  |  4:41pm EDT
Stroll down East 7th Street in Manhattan’s East Village, go past St. Stanislaus Catholic church, just beyond the Butter Lane cupcake shop, you’ll find Big Gay Ice Cream. And the tiny shop is often packed.Customers squeeze in against unicorn-covered walls, or wait patiently in line outside. They’re all waiting for funky frozen treats like a Bea Arthur, Salty Pimp or a Mexican Affo’gay’to. Some pose for pictures in front of the storefront window featuring a rainbow-swirly ice cream cone.The novel-yet-wildly successful ice cream venture has gotten tons of press from publications as diverse as Men’s Healthmagazine and the Huffington Post, the Food Network and The Rachel Ray ShowBig Gay Ice Cream was the brainchild of co-foundersDouglas Quint and Bryan Petroff who began it as a seasonal food truck in 2009. They opened their first brick-and-mortar location in 2011 and followed it up last year with a second storefront location in the West Village. Today, they’re introducing a soft-serve variety to their ice cream repertoire.
SEE FULL STORY AT UPSTART*

 

 

 

 

Bloomberg Plans to Mandate Green Retrofits (GlobeSt.com)

Last updated: April 23, 2009  11:32am

By Cody Lyon

NEW YORK CITY-As showcased at SL Green Realty Corp.’s Earth Day celebration Wednesday, the inset of a 17th floor roof at the REIT’s 100 Park Ave. is covered with green vegetation that looks out of place among Midtown skyscraper peaks. The “green roof” installation, one of 14 at the newly retrofitted property, catches rain water, eliminating runoff and–unlike its heat radiating concrete neighbor roofs–naturally absorbs rays from the sun, helping cool the building’s interior. Retrofits like these may become a requirement citywide if the Bloomberg administration has its way.

Contained in the proposals announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday are mandates that require older buildings to invest in necessary technology and infrastructure that would increase energy efficiency and reduce the city’s carbon footprint. New York City’s buildings are responsible for 80% of its carbon emissions. The investments could prove costly, but promise tremendous savings in power bills for thousands of properties.

LINK TO FULL STORY

Who is Ground Zero’s Ombudsman? :

Years behind deadlines, Billions over budget,calls for oversight at WTC rebuild (GlobeSt.Com)

By Cody Lyon, on August 9th, 2009

Excerpt from globeSt.com article…

NEW YORK CITY-The sidewalks surrounding the 16 acres in Downtown Manhattan known as Ground Zero are still covered by tourists, who are forced to hold cameras high above their heads in an attempt to peek over the blue-shrouded fence guarding the construction site. Eight years after the event that drew those tourists there in the first place, construction at the site has been slow to come, marred by inefficiency and public frustration, and for the last year or so, a very public dispute between politicians, a massive public agency and commercial real estate interests.

“If you get anyone involved who is part of the political process, or the construction process, you’ll get the same old tired answers,” says construction attorney Barry LePatner, author of Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets: How to Fix America’s Trillion Dollar Construction Industry. “There should be huge outrage over this, but we’re in the middle of recession which draws our attention to a zillion other problems.”

Others agree that that the volleying between the involved parties has grown confusing. “The political ping-pong game is very disconcerting to tenants and the brokerage community at large, because people are seeking clarity and specific direction in this marketplace,” says Robert D. Goodman, senior managing director at FirstService Williams.

Goodman, who worked at the World Trade Center, says he’d just left his office one minute before the events of 9/11 unfolded. He says that personal history, plus a career centering on the Downtown market, has contributed to his keen interest in what happens at the site.

LINK TO FULL STORY

 

Despite MTA Nod, Atlantic Yards Saga Still Unfolds

By Cody Lyon | New York

“delays due to litigation and a difficult economic environment required the approved changes.” The
statement adds “we have worked very hard, however, as have our colleagues in government, to
ensure that these changes would in no way impact the overall benefits of the project.”

The project, steeped in years of controversy, litigation and now a dried-up credit market, has
evolved into a scaled-down version of what was originally sold to public officials and city residents.
More evidence of a project facing challenges arrived on June 5, when despite being the recipient of
millions of city and state taxpayer-dollar subsidies, Forest City Ratner admitted the shedding of star
architect Frank Gehry. Soon after, renderings surfaced that showed less than dynamic designs for the
centerpiece arena portion of the project. On June 8, New York Times architecture critic Nicolai
Ourousoff referred to the project renderings as a “monstrosity.”

When asked about the scathing Times critique that lambasted what it called more than a “betrayal of
a particular community,” an ESDC spokesman tells GlobeSt.com that a final design and rendering of
the project has not been released. The spokesman said.

LINK TO FULL STORY

 

LINK TO ALL GLOBE-STREET.COM Stories

Written by codylyonreporter

February 10, 2014 at 3:50 am

(CNN) Can You OD on Caffeine?

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Can you OD on caffeine?

 CNN© 2013 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
By Cody Lyon, upwave.com
updated 7:06 AM EST, Tue December 3, 2013
The FDA says it's taking a fresh look at caffeinated food and plans to hone in on how energy drinks impact young people.
The FDA says it’s taking a fresh look at caffeinated food and plans to hone in on how energy drinks impact young people.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 200 to 300 milligrams of caffeine a day — about two to four cups of coffee — is safe
  • Energy drinks usually contain around 80 milligrams of caffeine in an eight-ounce can
  • Caffeine acts as a stimulant in humans and can be found in seeds, leaves and fruit of plants

Editor’s note: upwave is Turner Broadcasting’s new lifestyle brand designed to entertain the health into you! Visit upwave.com for more information and follow upwave on TwitterFacebookYouTube,Pinterest and Instagram @upwave.

(upwave) — The rumor: It’s possible to get caffeine poisoning

As he was driving down an Ohio freeway minutes after swallowing five Magnum 357 caffeine pills, Christian Brenner started to vibrate — and the cars in his rearview mirror did as well. Fortunately, Brenner pulled over and walked around in an effort to try and come down.

Today, he swears off caffeine, even coffee — the mental aftereffect of what he says was straight-up caffeine poisoning.

upwave: Is coffee bad for you?

The verdict: Yes, you can OD on caffeine. The trick is to know your body, pay attention to what else you’ve ingested and do your homework on energy drinks

Caffeine acts as a stimulant in humans. It can be found in the seeds, leaves and fruit of plants like coffee or kola nuts.

“Safe doses of caffeine are usually quoted at around 200 to 300 milligrams, or two to four cups of coffee per day,” says Dr. David Seres, associate professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University.

LINK TO FULL STORY

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A Grand Experiment

(Specialty Retail Report-New York)

GeneralKiosksView-copyThe kiosks at the Graybar Passage in New York’s Grand Central station have one strong advantage: high traffic. These high-end retailers offer a slice of New York to locals and tourists alike.

Jones Lang LaSalle assistant manager Laura Blaustein oversees retail operations at Grand Central Station’s Graybar Passage. She took Specialty Retail Report on a tour of retail kiosks in the busy commuter saturated corridor. Located on the northeastern section of the 100-year-old train station, the path tunnels from the main terminal over to Lexington Ave. Blaustein calls this section of the terminal’s retail stock an incubator for local small, independent businesses. Merchants rotate at the kiosks, usually for three or four-month intervals. Blaustein said the Grand Central retail realtors can use their expertise to help nurture the merchants for the time they are here. “A lot of these merchants would like to stay here for longer periods, but, we like to mix it up for the commuting customers,” she said. The kiosks have been operating in the corridor for seven years now. Each of the merchants offers a sampling of distinctly New York crafts, colors and flavors.

LINK TO FULL STORY

Written by codylyonreporter

November 28, 2013 at 2:04 am

Auto Finance News; CFPB and The Dealers

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For the past couple years, dealers have been standing on the sidelines watching lenders and regulators go to head to head on fair lending issues. Since late last year, though, dealers ― who are officially exempt fromConsumer Financial Protection Bureau oversight ― have slowly been drawn into the match, and now they’re now gearing up for the latest bout.

At the recent National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans, conversations about compliance overheard in elevators, along sidewalks, and even at a French Quarter oyster bar overshadowed stories of vibrant dealer performance, as players in the market discussed how to be best prepared when the CFPB (www.consumerfinance.gov) comes knocking. In a lively speech, NADA’s incoming Chairman Forest McConnell III told members that the Washington, D.C.-based organization is working through the tough regulatory and legislative changes. In an effort to appease government concerns, NADA (www.nada.org) unveiled details of its new Fair Credit Compliance Policy and Program.

The move comes on the heels of a Fitch Ratings (www.fitchratings.com) report last month that says compliance requirements will likely raise regulatory costs for lenders in 2014 and could lead to the elimination of dealer markups altogether. NADA’s new compliance program template seeks to avoid such a move.

“As CFPB has stated, there are many ways to solve this problem, and we’ve found one,” NADA Senior Director of Legislative Affairs Bailey Wood told Auto Finance News.” We have found a way to take care of any disparate impact discrimination by having an explained reason other than race as to why an auto loan was discounted.”

LINK TO FULL STORY

AFN Blog-The Subprime- Seesaw

Increasingly relaxed credit underwriting standards in the subprime auto world are helping lift auto sales across the country, according to a report today from Bloomberg News.

Bloomberg checks in on Houston auto dealer Alan Helfman, who tells the story of a customer who drove away with a new Dodge Dart-despite a credit score south of 500.

Link to full blog post at AFN

Written by codylyonreporter

November 19, 2013 at 1:53 am

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Keeping the MTA Running (Gotham Gazette)


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trains-collage-new-reduced

By Cody Lyon

NEW YORK — Subway trains arrive at stations late at night too crowded to board. A train that usually travels express often runs local after a certain hour, and some routes have been remapped entirely thanks to Superstorm Sandy repairs or other long-term upkeep. Scores of the city’s bridges and highway overpasses are considered structurally deficient and fixes have been progressing at a snail’s pace. When construction happens, cars sit on highways for upwards of an hour, waiting to get from point A to B.

The city’s mass transit is groaning under the weight of age and use. A labyrinth of governmental agencies that govern and fund construction, operating costs and daily repairs all share the same problem: they are either broke, in debt and set to sink further, and not one of them has figured out how they will get necessary funding.

Yet if the city and state fail to maintain or expand mass transit, there is a possibility that the entire mess of it all could choke on its own congestion.

Figuring out where new transit money might come from is perhaps one of the biggest challenges facing policymakers — and the next mayor — in the years ahead. Transit advocates say there are workable solutions, from levying “impact fees” on new development to a “toll swap” proposed by “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz.

Link to full story

Written by codylyonreporter

October 18, 2013 at 12:42 am

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(Huffington Post)-(Upwave- Health and Wellness Pieces)

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Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost’s signature lineup of contributors
Cody Lyon

What Stories Do Those Subway Benches Hold?

There’s a special place in Hell that’s the spitting image of New York City subway platforms on hot and humid summer nights. After hours, when MTA’s capital construction efforts translate into fewer trains, the wet air, acrid stench are relieved only by napkins or towels, used to wipe sweat. In New York City, anything can happen and the misery of heat has been known to contribute to all manner of misbehavior-or not.

Complete strangers on a wooden bench waiting for uptown trains. One, a graying thin gentleman with porcelain skin, beige khakis, a blue button down, a reusable shopping bag filled with books in his lap. His right hand holds a cane; The other, a lady with short salt & pepper hair, solid black pants, V-neck T shirt, a firm and full body, she’s wearing black modern glasses and sensible flats.’

LINK TO FULL STORY AT HUFFINGTON POST

Early One Night in Harlem

On the last Sunday in February at around 8 p.m., Jon Jensen, who teaches English at Kingborough College in Brooklyn, was walking north on Frederick Douglas Boulevard near 135th Street in Harlem.

In one hand, he held a leash, to which was attached his fluffy white Pomeranian dog, Bumpy. In the other hand, he had out his iPhone 5. As he was checking a text, a woman bumped into him, and he dropped the phone onto the sidewalk. The woman made a grab for the phone, took it and then began to calmly walk away up the avenue.

Jensen described the woman as mid-30s, wearing jeans, a gray jacket and tennis shoes. Jensen said he was dressed similarly, wearing jeans, a green jacket and tennis shoes.

LINK TO FULL STORY AT HUFFINGTON POST

Only in NYC: How Four Old Friends Opened a Gay Bar

Posted: 09/08/2013 5:57 pm
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2013-09-08-Pablo Raimondi painting the sign for he and his friend's Atlas Social Club-pABLOPAINTING.jpgCo-owner Pablo Raimondi paints the sign at the new bar that he and three old friends are opening
Late one warm August afternoon, the food, drink and people carnival that is the stretch of Ninth Avenue running down the center of Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen is up and running. Clinking plates and glasses join random chatter up and down the main drag.

One storefront space sits quiet, or so it appears. Behind a brown fabric curtain in the window, drills drill, hammers hit nails and four old friends, now business partners, put finishing touches on a new gay bar they’re saying is more downtown than up.

Atlas Social Club is set to open in mid-September. It’s gotten plenty of headlines due in part to co-owner Benjamin Maisani’s relationship with the CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. There’s also another unique New York story, rooted in a four way friendship, inspired by a city’s innate ability to drive and fulfill entrepreneurial spirits.

Some might say New York is the only city in the world where four friends, all from different points on earth, (Maisani is from France, Pablo Raimondi, Argentina, Asi Mazar, Israel and Josh Wood is from Illinois) might randomly meet, become close friends, and well over a decade later, form an ambitious business partnership based in a tough as nails business — nightlife.

LINK TO FULL STORY

Does It Really Take A Village To Raise A Child?
Does it really take a village to raise a healthy child, instead of one or two loving caregivers? If so, why? And, more importantly, what are parents supposed to do with that information?

Does Absence Make The Heart Grow Fonder?
connect:Does Absence Make The Heart Grow Fonder? by CODY LYON
Or does distance drive a wedge between us and our loved ones? Experts say the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Am I More Productive When I Multitask?
Am I more Productive When I Multitask?
Phones are ringing off the hook, your desk looks like a fire hazard and your computer screen just let you know you’ve got new mail. Out of nowhere comes your boss to ask you about that Excel document he’d wanted you to compile. Suddenly you’re gripped by fear as you recall the question from that sweet-talking human-resources person in the days before you landed this new job: “How are your multitasking skills?”

Family Dinner: How Do I Get My Kids To Enjoy The Ritual?
Family Dinner: How Do I Get My Kids To Enjoy The Ritual?
Child-development experts say that although TV, playtime and tight work or after-school schedules sometimes get in the way, sticking to a regular sit-down dinner routine holds more value for families than just nutrition. The time that a family spends together at the table has been shown to reduce all sorts of problems for kids in school — and even later in life. But how to get the kids to actually sit down at the table for an hour — let alone enjoy it?

Does Vegging Out On TV Recharge Me?
thrive:Does Vegging Out On TV Recharge Me?
It’s been a busy week, and now you’re curled up on the couch alone — just you and your big bowl of reduced-fat kettle corn — watching your seventh episode of The Golden Girls in a row. Four hours later, do you say to yourself, “I feel great!”, or “I wish I’d gone out with my friends instead”? Did the magic of television recharge your batteries, or did it enervate you? The answer might depend on your personality type.

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New York gets Schooled (The Real Deal) Small Banks at Risk/ Trouble with TALF (GlobeSt.com)

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New York Developers Incorporating Schools- From THE REAL DEAL

October 01, 2012
By Cody Lyon

In densely populated New York City, crowded neighborhood schools and a shortage of development sites are two sides of the same coin. So it’s not surprising that an increasing number of private developers are incorporating schools into their projects. And in many cases, they receive direct financial benefits to do so — from tax breaks to permission to construct larger buildings. There are also intangible benefits for developers and for the city, like winning support for projects from community opponents.

LINK TO FULL STORY

Small Banks at Greater Risk from CRE mortgages

  • CODY LYON…globeSt.com (ALM)
This past September, it was becoming increasingly clear that smaller banks would suffer greater hardship as more commercial real estate mortgages started coming home to roost…by Cody Lyon
NEW YORK CITY-Commercial mortgage defaults, which are projected to reach unprecedented levels in 2011, pose an even greater risk for smaller, regional lenders than the nations more high-profile large banks. So says Dr. Sam Chandan, president of Real Estate Econometrics.”If you look across the banking system, commercial mortgage loans represent about 14% of banks net loans and leases,” Chandan tells GlobeSt.com. However, he says, banks that have assets of $10 billion or more typically see a less than 10% exposure rate to commercial real estate. On the other hand,.

Trouble with TALF and the CMBS extension?

By Cody Lyon, on May 6th, 2009

EXCERPT from globeSt.com story

…Pleas for increased liquidity have been coming in loud and clear from the commercial real estate community for several months now as banks, hard hit by the economic downturn, have virtually frozen lending. According to the Fed’s Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey for April, 66% of domestic banks reported tightening commercial real estate lending standards in the first calendar quarter.

Dimming hopes of future relaxing of standards is a growing lack of faith by banks in the quality of commercial mortgage quality. Standard & Poor’s recently placed $100 billion of CMBS issued from 2004 to 2008 on negative watch. Fitch Ratings followed suit with $18 billion of CMBS issued between 2006 and 2008. “We have numbers showing that more than 90% of domestic banks think the commercial mortgage quality is going to deteriorate, with 26% of those saying it’s going to deteriorate substantially,” says Chandan.

Raising the cash flow alarm volume higher, the RER says that over the next few years, the commercial real estate industry faces a liquidity crisis of mammoth proportions. Of the $6.7 trillion of assets compromising the greater commercial real estate market, around $3.5 trillion is debt. Around $10.7 billion worth of CMBS loans are currently delinquent or have defaulted, according to data from the Commercial Mortgage Securities Assoc.

The RER says that because most real estate mortgages have maturities between five and 10 years, the average annual amount of maturing loans beginning in 2009 is most likely somewhere between $300 billion and $600 billion. Put another way, the maturing debt that the real estate sector will see between 2010 and 2012 will total around $1.4 trillion.

LINK TO FULL STORY

Written by codylyonreporter

November 6, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

From SeeClickFix to Citizinvestor, Five Years of Internet-Enabled Urbanism-(Tech President,com)/Link to published letters at New York Times

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Written by codylyonreporter

November 6, 2012 at 5:47 pm