Thursday, January 30, 2014

Flood Insurance Bill clears Senate but House is a tougher sell

Flooding is common in the Midland Beach bowl even during non-hurrciane events. This street was impassable by pedestrians after the snow that fell in Feburary melted.Flood Insurance Bill Clears Senate - WNYC

The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to delay planned increases in flood insurance rates that many homeowners along the coasts of New Jersey and New York have said would price them out of their homes.
The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act passed the Senate 67 to 32, but it faces substantial opposition from the the House of Representatives and the White House.

The rate increases were part of reforms passed in 2012 when Congress worried about the financial stability of the National Flood Insurance Program, a system that is run through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and insures 5.5 million homeowners. FEMA says roughly 20 percent of policyholders pay below-market rates that do not reflect their true risk of flooding. They either have seen their premiums go up already or will face hikes soon unless the law is rolled back.

The Senate bill would:

  • impose a moratorium on rate increase on certain categories of properties until FEMA finishes an affordability study;
  • permit the rate increases to go into effect after four years, even if the affordability study is not completed by then;
  • and create an ombudsman within FEMA to help policyholders with disputes about their flood risk.

Menendez's bill would not affect second homes or properties that have seen repetitive flooding. Rates for those policies would go up according to the 2012 legislation.

EDITORS: Matthew Schuerman

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Rat Information Portal Map Reveals How Many Rats Live With or Near You

Rat Information Map Shows How Many Rats L...:

Everything we always wanted to know? Rat Information Portal Map Re veals How Many Rats Live in Your Nabe | The New York Observer And ...

Friday, January 24, 2014

Carmelo Anthony scores 62 points and breaks record

Carmelo Anthony scored a franchise record of 62 points
 for the Knicks against the Charlotte Bobcats Friday night
 at Madison Square Garden

Monday, January 20, 2014

Shepherding the Coney Island Polar Bear Club

Shepherding the Coney Island Polar Bear Club -
By LIZ ROBBINS JAN. 17, 2014

"After three decades, Dennis Thomas’s winter Sundays are no longer shocking. They are just cold. From November to April, Mr. Thomas, 59, charges into the Atlantic Ocean, along with other members of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club; he has been the group’s president for five years. This year, the club’s premier event on New Year’s Day drew 2,000 swimmers and 6,000 spectators and raised $65,000 for children with serious illnesses. On any given Sunday, 80 to 100 members show up at the New York Aquarium for the frosty frolic — neoprene bootees allowed. The lowest water temperature recorded for a swim was 32 degrees one February. Mr. Thomas, the director of global branding for the technology company SAP, lives alone in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He suspects that his 25-year-old daughter thinks he is crazy."

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Manhattan and Brooklyn are much poorer than you think. So how can anyone afford to live there?

Williamsburg CondoNew York City census data: Manhattan and Brooklyn are much poorer than you think.

Measured by median income, Manhattan and (especially) Brooklyn are much poorer than you think. Manhattan’s median annual household income is $66,739, while Brooklyn’s is a mere $44,850. Its less fashionable neighbor, Queens, outearns Brooklyn at $54,373 per year. New York City’s most suburban borough, Staten Island, is also its richest, with a median household income of $70,295, while the suburban counties surrounding New York are all richer than any of the boroughs.

Meanwhile, the cost of living is astronomical in Manhattan, where the median monthly rent is $3,100; it’s $2,800 in the gentrifying northwestern quadrant of Brooklyn. So how can so many relatively low-income people still live in these areas?

The answer has to do with the peculiarities of New York’s housing stock, demographics, and history. Here are the main seven factors.

Coney Island's New York Aquarium breaks ground on new $157M shark exhibit

A rendering of the 'Ocean Wonders: Sharks!' exhibit at the New York Aquarium. It's scheduled to open in 2016.
A rendering of the 'Ocean Wonders: Sharks!' exhibit
at the New York Aquarium. It's scheduled to open in 2016.

Coney Island's New York Aquarium breaks ground on new $157M shark exhibit on Friday  - NY Daily News

Coney Island is set for a shark attack.
After years of planning, New York Aquarium is finally set to break ground on a jaw-dropping new shark exhibit Friday.
The massive 57,000-square-foot "Ocean Wonders: Sharks!" exhibit will feature a coral reef tunnel that will give guests a 360-degree-view of the new plethora of ocean life when it officially opens to the public in 2016.
The New York Aquarium will be home to even more sand tiger sharks once the brand new shark exhibit opens.
“You will be surrounded on all sides by not only sharks, but by schools of bright colored bony fish and the sort of beauty of the tropics that we all associate with diving,” said Jon Forrest Dohlin, aquarium director and vice president of the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs the aquarium.
The $157-million exhibit will feature more than 100 species of marine animals, both local and from around the world, including sharks, rays, sea turtles, thousands of schooling fish and other crustaceans.
More than 45 sharks, including sand tigers, nurse sharks, blackttip reef sharks and bamboo sharks will swim around inside the three main 500,000-gallon tanks.
“It’s going to be a tremendous expansion of our collection,” said Dohlin. "I think people will be amazed, exhilarated and inspired.”
The three-story facility will also boast a roof-deck overlooking the ocean, classroom space and a cafe.
Officials were supposed to break ground on the exhibit a year ago, but Hurricane Sandy devastated the aging aquarium and delayed the project, which has been in the works for several years

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

De Blasio's French Lessons by Nicole Gelinas

De Blasio's French Lessons by Nicole Gelinas - City Journal
Gotham’s new mayor sounds like Fran├žois Hollande, and he risks similar results.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Sledding, Hot Cocoa, Snowball Fights & More At Prospect Park's Snow Day On Saturday | Kensington BK

Sledding in Prospect ParkFrom Kensington BK
Sledding, Hot Cocoa, Snowball Fights & More At Prospect Park's Snow Day On Saturday | Kensington BK

If you haven’t already, it’s time to dig those sleds out! NYC Parks has announced that Saturday, January 4, is an official Snow Day.

Kids (and kids at heart) are invited out to Prospect Park for “supervised safe sledding (there will be sleds available at each snow day site), snowman building contests, best snow angel contests, friendly snowball fights, music, and complimentary hot chocolate.”

The fun takes place from 11am to 3pm near the Tennis House (enter at 9th Street and head toward the Long Meadow). For more information, including other Snow Day locations around the city, visit the NYC Parks website.

Polar Bear Club takes annual icy plunge at Coney Island

The swim serves as a frigid way to ring in the new year.NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiPolar Bear Club takes annual icy plunge at Coney Island - NY Daily News

Around 2,500 intrepid swimmers took a dip in the 41-degree ocean at Coney Island Wednesday as part of the annual Polar Bear Club dip