East River Promenade Shows Off $84 Million in Improvements

If it seems like the entire East River waterfront in Lower Manhattan has been under construction for years, that's because it has been. But the East River Park's promenade is no longer a mark of shame, at least not along the Lower East Side and East Village, where the renovation of the two-mile stretch of promenade between Cherry Street an 14th Street is now just about finished. And it only took six years!


Concessions Melt Away From Manhattan Rental Market

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Brokerage Citi Habitats reassured the city's landlords last month that Manhattan's rental market had fallen back into its traditional seasonal pattern, and the firm's fourth-quarter report, released this morning, backs up the claim. Rents are up, and the vacancy rate, while higher than it was this summer, is lower than the December 2009 stats. Studios and one-bedroom apartments have seen the year's largest rent spikes, of 6.2 and 7.2 percent. But over the last month, the biggest rental income windfalls have actually come from three-bedrooms, with rents up 4 percent, mirroring a sales market trend in the popularity of larger apartments. Happy New Year, landlords!

Not so much for renters >>


Not only are prices up to a degree that will have renters crying fast-freezing tears, but concessions are way down. In December 2009, 60 percent of Citi Habitats-tracked rental transactions included some kind of concessions, such as the payment of a broker's fee or a month of free rent. This December, only 22 percent of deals included any concessions. Of course, a return to normal seasonal patterns means a slow winter rental market, so right now, renters, anything goes. Time to get apartment huntin'!

Map of New York City Police Stops - NYTimes.com

Stop, Question and Frisk in New York Neighborhoods

New York City’s police force, in its fight against crime, has increasingly used a strategy known as “stop, question and frisk,” which allows officers to stop someone based on a reasonable suspicion of crime. One expert has estimated New Yorkers are stopped at twice the national rate. The impact on crime is much debated, and critics contend disproportionate stopping of minorities is a result of racial profiling, which police officials dispute. Related Article »

Map of New York City Police Stops

By the Numbers
The number of stops has increased to nearly 600,000 in a year.
Intense Policing
Residents of some parts of the city feel the police presence much more acutely than others. Although frequency of stops is roughly commensurate with the crime rate over broad areas, the police presence in some places is disproportionate.
Who Gets Stopped
Mostly young, mostly minorities. More than 90 percent are male.

Wi-Fi Coming to New York City Subways

Good news for any New Yorker who hates interacting with others during their daily commute (read: all New Yorkers): Wi-Fi and mobile service are coming to a subway near you. Yup, now even the Mole People won’t be able to escape the outside world.

According to Bloomberg, after three years of stalled progress, Transit Wireless LLC — a conglomerate of wireless and construction companies that was awarded a contract to undergo this project with New York Transit — has finally found the money to move forward. Broadcast Australia has footed the bill, which will bring NYC up to speed with Singapore, Berlin and Tokyo — all of which currently have Wi-Fi in the tubes.

Back in 2007, Transit Wireless LLC had promised to get the job done in 10 years, now it has two years to outfit six stations near New York’s Union Square, and then four more years for the other 271 platforms. The Wi-Fi comes in the form of smoke detector-size antennas, and will afford passengers access on platforms, mezzanines and in sections of the tunnels (not the whole tunnel). Overall, the whole deal will cost $200 million dollars — which begs the question: If the city’s willing to go to the trouble to go wireless, why do I have to take a shuttle nine weekends out of 10 because they’re “doing repairs on the tracks”? But I digress…

Pretty soon, it seems, a goodly portion of NYC will be Wi-Fi ready; AT&T outfitted Times Square with free wireless two months ago and ubiquitous coffee chain Starbucks offers pro bono access as well. Just think, that whole “I was stuck in a tunnel” excuse is never going to be the same…