Friday, January 31, 2014

LICH: Brooklyn Officials Refuse to Play Ball with SUNY on Super Bowl Weekend

Brooklyn elected officials on Friday rejected SUNY’s invitation to participate in its revamped search for a buyer for Long Island College Hospital (LICH), the Brooklyn Eagle reports.

One political insider told the Eagle that SUNY's request was “bizarre,” considering that the Brooklyn "officials on Wednesday had denounced SUNY’s 'last-minute, rushed' RFP-redo."

SUNY gave insider bidders (only one has been made public, Fortis Development Group) a whole weekend to put together the design, partners and financing for northwestern Brooklyn's healthcare system. (Or, they could just knock it down and build condos.)

Aside from the secret previous bidders, others cannot enter the bidding. If you are interested in LICH, however, SUNY says to send in your plan over the weekend and the secret bidders will be informed about it before their submit their new plans on Monday. Maybe they'll even partner with you, though you don't know who they are.

From the Eagle: The advocacy group Patients for LICH said: "The legality of this limited re-opening is questionable. It also belies SUNY officials' statements to their own Trustees, who have been told time and time again, in response to their questions in Trustee meetings, that the RFP process followed required state procedures and could not be re-opened.”

Considering that SUNY still hasn't certified LICH's doctors for insurance purposes even two years after buying the besieged Cobble Hill hospital, it boggles the imagination that they think some unnamed developers could put together health care for more than a quarter of a million residents over Super Bowl weekend.

Brooklyn pols refuse to participate in new SUNY bidding process for LICH [Brooklyn Eagle]

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Security in Brooklyn's Chinatown; BPL's Missing Books; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Young man was shot in the back “because two groups of young women were fighting about a hair weave." [NY Daily News]

- Where to find Super Bowl parties in Brooklyn. [Brooklyn Paper]

- Mayor de Blasio will be watching the big game from home with his family. [NY1]

- Super Bowl drugs, prostitute party-packs spur bust: 'Girls R in Town Waiting for U' [Bloomberg] Including a mom who pimped her 15-year-old daughter to make some bucks.

- Bed-Stuy's CB3 eyes slow zones. [Brooklyn Bureau]

- Book thieves stole 70,144 books from the Brooklyn Public Library in 2012. [NY Daily News]

- Extra security measures in place in Brooklyn's Chinatown ahead of Lunar New Year. [NY1]

- Pete Seeger's final night. [GregMitchellWriter]

- Thousands are mourning Colonel Meow, the Internet-famous scowling feline who landed a spot in the Guinness World Records. [NBC]

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Eat, Drink and Chat at BAM with Famous Authors

The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) kicked off its "Eat, Drink & Be Literary" series Wednesday with author, Salman Rushdie, the Brooklyn Eagle reports

The program, which stretches until May 28, is organized in partnership with the National Book Awards and will feature eight accomplished novelists.

Next appearing on Feb. 12 is Alice McDermott. 

Each event begins with a buffet dinner, including wine and dessert and accompanied by live music. Following dinner, the evening’s featured author gives a reading and discusses his/her creative process. Guests are encouraged to ask questions and have their book signed at the conclusion of the evening. 

Book your tickets quickly -- many authors have sold out. (Not the authors, the tickets . . .)

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Forest City Ratner and Makerbot: New Overlords of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership announced on Thursday that "one of the most prominent female real estate executives in America," MaryAnne Gilmartin, President and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC), and MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis, will serve as the new co-chairs of the organization’s Board of Directors.

MaryAnne and Bre together replace Alan Fishman, the organization’s Board Chair since it was founded in 2006. Robert Catell, who also served as a co-chair of the organization, retired from the position in 2012.

Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Tucker Reed said in the press release, “When the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership launched in 2006, Downtown Brooklyn looked, felt and served a very different role than today . . . Nothing reflects innovation more than Bre’s ingenious MakerBot 3D Printing Ecosystem and there’s no better example of a prominent CEO and company dedicated to innovation and to the continued success of the Downtown Brooklyn area than MaryAnne and Forest City Ratner Companies.”

MakerBot has offices in MetroTech, a development of FCRC. MetroTech is also home to the  Polytechnic School of Engineering, which celebrated its merger Thursday with NYU, and more than 40 companies employing more than 18,000 workers.

An area-wide rezoning has ushered in more than 8,200 residential units in some 60 residential towers in the past decade, with thousands more units coming online soon. The area is also home to nearly 50 cultural organizations and eleven universities and colleges attended by 60,000 students.

This growth will be stymied, however, if Downtown Brooklyn loses Long Island College Hospital (LICH), which SUNY Downstate is trying to close despite a terrific battle by local residents, businesses and officials.

“Downtown Brooklyn is the envy of downtowns across America and has helped put the borough on the map,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who has sponsored a bill seeking to shift money from the sale of LICH to areas he used to represent before he became BP of the entire borough.


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Thursday, January 30, 2014

A New Hotel on Montague Street? And More Brooklyn Briefs


- A man pleaded guilty in Brooklyn court to smuggling nearly 40,000 piranhas into New York. [CNN]

- Weiner says he contacted FBI about Grimm. [Roll Call]  PLUS: Weiner gives Grimm advice about how not to threaten reporters. [Daily News]

- Is there a plan to tear down an office building at 189 Montague St. and build a hotel in its place? [Brooklyn Eagle]

- The Heights Players premiere their production of John Patrick Shanley’s "Doubt: a Parable" this weekend. [BHB]

- Paroled drug offenders can apply for resentencing under new drug law reforms, an appellate panel in Brooklyn held Wednesday. [NY Law Journal]

- Two best friends Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio, wearing matching scarves, inaugurated the city’s Super Bowl Boulevard Wednesday night. [Politicker]

- Your skin and hair may be mostly Neanderthal. [CBS]


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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Residents Out of Home at 884 Madison Ave., Bushwick

884 Madison Ave., Brooklyn. Photo: Google Streetview

We don't know yet what happened to this building in Bushwick, but the Red Cross is helping residents who have had to vacate the premises.

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Officials in Brooklyn Are Really Getting Fed Up with SUNY, and Just Want Them To Give Up LICH Already



If nothing else, SUNY Downstate has really brought together the people of Brooklyn.

In today's installment of this sad, medically-dangerous and money-burning nightmare, official after official in Brooklyn denounced SUNY for "re-opening" (but not really re-opening) its RFP to sell Long Island College Hospital (LICH).

SUNY told the developers who originally submitted bids for the hospital in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn that they (but no one else) can "rejigger" their bids anyway they want. But the players have just a few days -- until Feb. 3 -- to redesign northwestern Brooklyn's health care system.

Because who needs more than a few days to design a health care system for more than a quarter of a million people in the fastest-growing neighborhoods in Brooklyn?

"Throughout this process, SUNY has acted in bad faith— making deals behind closed doors, violating good-government rules, and keeping the community in the dark as it seeks to rid itself of LICH,” Public Advocate Letitia James said at today's press conference outside LICH. “We’re sick and tired of it."

In full denial mode, SUNY said that allowing the previous bidders to revamp their bids would “enhance the openness, transparency, and effectiveness of the process."

- Brooklyn officials denounce SUNY’s revamp of LICH RFP [Brooklyn Eagle]
Note: scroll down to the bottom of the linked article to read Brooklyn official's suggestion for how a new RFP should be carried out.

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How's the Food On 'The Roof' of Whole Foods? And More Brooklyn Briefs

- L Magazine describes the food at The Roof of Whole Foods in Gowanus. [The L Magazine]

- Jay-Z issues statement about selling his share of basketball team. [Pitchfork]

- Water pipes have beeen cracking in the recent deep freeze. [NBC]

- Check out this Groupon deal for the Fairfield Inn in Boerum Hill. [Groupon]

- Brooklyn artist creates incredible pastels of icebergs. [This Is Colossal]

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Even Weirder in Brooklyn: SUNY to Allow RFP Bidders to Totally Change Their Offers for LICH

Photo: MK Metz
 We didn't think it could get any weirder -- but in yet another twist to SUNY Downstate's bizarre RFP (Request for Proposals) process to sell Long Island College Hospital (LICH), SUNY Downstate announced last night that everyone who participated in the original questionable, secret, real-estate oriented RFP has a couple of days to rejigger their proposals.

That's right! All you secret bidders have until Feb. 3 to totally change everything about your secret bids.

Why would SUNY do this? It could be, as SUNY says, they want to be as open and honest as possible. They have said that they will even let someone from the community look at the results this time around.

Or . . .

SUNY's chosen "winning" RFP bidder, the mega-developer Fortis which wants to build condos, tried to change their proposal after the RFP process ended.

But losing bidder Brooklyn Hospital Center, which wants to build 1,000 apartments on the property of their rival hospital LICH, pulled a hissy fit.

SUNY couldn't very well allow Fortis to change their bid after the RFP ended without allowing everyone to do so.

So it's a free for all for the chosen few developers. The secret bidders can pair with different developers or clinics, merge with shell corporations from Moracco, or join together with their original rivals to put a deal together before Feb. 3.

After all, the RFP is shut to everyone else, and they all know the players and the offers on the table. And there's no competition from anyone wanting to keep LICH operating as a hospital! It's brilliant in a totally dirty, scumbag sort of way.

The only requirement for the participating developers is that they throw in some kind of health care services somewhere near where LICH that is "consistent with the health care needs of the community," as the developer considers those needs.

 And to pay SUNY at least a quarter of a billion for the "LICH property, plant, and equipment."

LICH supporters say they "will fight until hell freezes over."

The SUNY contempt trial is February 11. 

More at Brooklyn Eagle.

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US Representative Michael Grimm Threatens to Break Reporter In Half and Throw Him Off a Balcony

US Representative Michael Grimm (Brooklyn, Staten Island) threatened to break NY1 reporter Michael Scotto in half and throw him off a balcony Tuesday night.

The altercation happened after President Obama's State of the Union address, when the NY1 reporter attempted to ask Grimm about the federal investigation into his campaign fundraising.

"You're not man enough. I'll break you in half. Like a boy," Grim threatened Scotto.

Full story and video at NY1.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Brooklyn School for Baby DJs, Free Health Clinic, and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Newly elected Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson has delayed his inaugural bash until Feb. 9 because, he says, he needs a larger space for the event. [NY Daily News]

- Brooklyn composer opens up a school for baby DJs. [Datzhott

- If you plan to ride the 2, 3 or 4 trains in Brooklyn between now and Jan. 31, better read this. [MTA]

- Golden outraged by Sept. 11 museum fee, calls it "absurd." [Brooklyn Eagle]

- Kiehl’s skin care products shop is opening at the corner of Montague and Henry in Brooklyn Heights this Friday. Free skateboard lessons! [BHB]

- If you are over 18 years old, sick, and have no health insurance, check out the Brooklyn Free Clinic. [BFC]

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Report: 19 Year Old Jumps from Building in Sunset Park, Brooklyn

4th and 34th. Photo: Google Streetview

A report came in from the Twitter account of NY Scanner that EMS was asked to rush after a 19-year-old reportedly leaped from a building, about a block from Green-Wood Cemetery in Sunset Park.

This report iss unconfirmed.

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Shots Fired in Crown Heights, Monday at Midnight

Utica at St. John's Place. Photo: Google Streetview
From the scanner: Just before midnight on Monday, calls came in to NYPD of a male Hispanic shooting a gun into the air in Crown Heights.

The man was reportedly wearing a green sweatsuit.

His reported location was St. John's Place at Utica Ave.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

In Brooklyn, We Learn to Never Open a Wriggling Bag

A worker in an auto body shop on Baltic Street in Gowanus, Brooklyn, called the cops on Monday after seeing in a dumpster a backpack and some bags -- moving. The worker was worried that a baby was inside, according to DNA.com.

If you ask why the worker did not open the bags himself and rescue the poor baby, you obviously don't come from Brooklyn.

When police peeked inside the bags, three large and probably very unhappy boa constrictors were found inside, trying to get out. One was six feet long, the others were three feet.

According to National Geographic, boas can grow up to 13 feet long and weigh more than 100 pounds. "Their jaws are lined with small, hooked teeth for grabbing and holding prey while they wrap their muscular bodies around their victim, squeezing until it suffocates."

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Some People Are Mad the Super Bowl Is In Cold NJ, and Are Praying That It Snows Hard

Photo: Erik Daniel Drost
Driving through NY's rural upstate over the weekend, we were surprised to hear commenters on a radio call in show (I know, right?) cursing at the stupidity of the Super Bowl committee for holding this year's big event in an open stadium in the North East during the coldest winter in years.

With great venom, one after another called on the Powers That Be to unleash the Blizzard of 2014, along with freezing rain and a polar Sharknado.

While weather forecasting is notoriously fickle, at least one news outlet, CBS Sports, says the initial forecast calls for temperatures between 24 - 38, with a small chance of snow and low winds.

The National Weather Service shows a similar forecast, so far. 

In short, good football weather!

If this forecast holds, so many will be disappointed.

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Fireworks Over Brooklyn, NYC, NJ on Monday, Jan.27

Those fireworks you heard and maybe saw from Brooklyn around 9 p.m. tonight were part of the Super Bowl Kickoff Spectacular at Liberty State Park, which also included a concert by Goo Goo Dolls, The Fray and Daughtry.

Despite the cold, NJ.com says the concert was sold out.

The Spectacular was produced by the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee and Macy’s.

For $40, you could stay in the Warming Lodge and drink hot chocolate while waiting for the free fireworks to start.

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Cuomo and de Blasio, BFF, Work to Get a Billion for Brooklyn Hospitals

Declaring their enduring friendship forever, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo said they are working together to secure the long-overdue $10 billion federal Medicaid Waiver funds for NYS.

One billion of this is earmarked to revamp Brooklyn hospitals.

While Cuomo said that Brooklyn has too many hospital beds, de Blasio pointed out that the emergency rooms at LICH and Interfaith are the “first point of access to health care” for a quarter of a million people.

More here and here.

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Brooklyn's Interfaith Hospital Saved Again, State Releases $7.5 Million

Photo: MK Metz
A "financial lifeline" was thrown to Interfaith Medical Center by U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Monday, when the court approved $7.5 million in funds that will keep the Bedford-Stuyvesant hospital in full operation through mid-February.

More at Brooklyn Eagle

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No Brooklyn Super Bowl Bus Stop; Citi Bikes' Designers Go Belly Up; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Brooklyn should have its own stop on the exclusive $50 "Fan Express Bus" going to the Super Bowl. [About]

- The company that designed Citi Bikes declares bankruptcy. [Queens Crap]

- Greenpoint residents could receive local toxic site map. [TRD]

- NYPD to keep close eye on Super Bowl fans. [Brooklyn Eagle]

- Chuck Schumer proposes legislation to honor Avonte Oquendo. [NY Magazine]

- Retail changes on Flatbush and Fifth within walking distance of Barclays. [Atlantic Yards Report]

- Jay Z sued for $600 million over Brooklyn Nets trademark. [BoomBox]

- Grace Church Winterfair next Saturday. [BHB]

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'Black Artstory' Events in Brooklyn Kick Off Feb. 1 in Fort Greene, Clinton Hill

Chanel Kennebrew, Hyphenated Part 2
The Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership presents Black Artstory Month, celebrating the arts contributions made by African Americans.

The series of free events kicks-off on Saturday, February 1st at 6 pm and includes art exhibitions, film screenings, storytelling, lectures, performances, and workshops throughout the entire month of February.

The events and performances coincide with Black History month and take place at the small businesses along Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene & Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

For a complete listing visit: www.myrtleavenue.org/blackartstorymonth/


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2014 Idiotarod-orama NYC


The 2014 Idiotarod Idiotarodorama NYC, the NYC parody of the famous Alaskan dogsled race (only with shopping carts, frantic desperation and funny costumes), took place again this year despite the famous Cease & Desist Demand from the folks running the actual Iditarod.

Roughly 14 to 41 shopping carts were abused or injured during the event, which pit teams pulling and pushing their heavily decorated "sleds" over piles of ice and slush from Manhattan, over the Williamsburg Bridge, to Brooklyn.

Best In Show was awarded to The Skulleaters. See full awards here.

- A great set of photos by Hilary McHone of this year's event can be found here on flickr.

- More photos at Gothamist.

Before the race, organizers of the Idiotarod  Idiotarodorama NYC said they received a letter that "threatens legal action against Idiotarod NYC for trademark infringement, even though no one in their right mind could possibly confuse the ramshackle, unsanctioned display of frivolity featuring racers with wacky costumes and ridiculously modified shopping carts running between bars in the outer boroughs of New York City with the well-known long-distance sled dog race between Anchorage and Nome. Plus the Idiotarod NYC race has been going on for 10 fucking years now, people."

The letter was initially thought to be an elaborate joke or very clever sabotage scheme. But when they ddiscovered it was real, representatives of the Department of Homeland Absurdity (DHA) and IDIOT Labs, the two totally imaginary organizations running this year’s event, renamed it forthwith.


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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Apostrophes Banned On Signs in Cambridge, Grammarians Take to the Streets

Axe the grammar from street signs? Fugheddaboudit!

"Guerilla grammarians," markers in hand, have taken to the streets in Cambridge this week after the Cambridge City Council abolished punctuation from street signs.

Residents are painting the missing apostrophes back on, raising the ire of executive planners.

The secretary of state for local government has urged residents to “defend their traditional street names from town halls’ over-zealous pen pushers,” adding, "“If an apostrophe is good enough for Her Majesty’s Government, so should it be for Cambridge City Council."

Meanwhile, in Brooklyn . . .

Brooklyn-USA

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Company May Manufacture Frankenmeat in Brooklyn

Vegetarians in NYC are salivating at the news that Brooklyn may soon be the headquarters of a company that grows in-vitro meat and test-tube leather

Crain's reports that "tissue-engineering" biz Modern Meadow is in negotiations to lease space at the Brooklyn Army Terminal's BioBAT bioscience facility, where it aims to produce leather for fashion items first, and then cowless beef and pigless pork.

If the company starts with bacon there will be nothing holding them back.


Related: Why Brooklyn Is The New Mecca For Fledgling Tech Startups [Business I nsider]

Photo: This delicious photo of bacon was shot by Cookbookman17, Flickr

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Brad Lander, 'Kingmaker'; Rooftop Skateboarding; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- The New York Times discovers Councilmember Brad Lander and pronounces him "King Maker." [NY Times]

- Gov. Cuomo doesn't seem to get it about LICH. [Brooklyn Eagle]

- NY Methodist Hospital says they are seeing an increase in frostbite and other weather-related emergency room cases. [Brooklyn Bureau]

- Video: Rooftop skateboarding around Brooklyn. [Gothamist]
- Williamsburg store owners allowed to demand modest dress code. [Brooklyn Eagle]

- Slammed by food stamp cuts, NYC soup kitchens runs out of food. [Daily Kos]

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Removes Science; Daniel Radcliffe in 'Brooklyn Bridge,' and More Brooklyn Briefs



- School was open, but fewer than half of NYC school kids made it in to class on Wednesday. [Brooklyn Eagle]

- 12-year-old Brooklyn boy missing for a week found safe -- at grandma's. [Daily News]

- Brooklyn Botanic Garden removes science from its mission. [Flatbush Gardener]

- Daniel Radcliffe to star as engineer Washington Roebling in "Brooklyn Bridge," which is actually about the Brooklyn Bridge. [Varirty]

- Celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year in Brooklyn. [Brooklyn Paper]

- Video: A dog that fell into an icy pond on Long Island was rescued after it frantically pawed at a chunk of ice to stay afloat. [NBC]


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Mayor de Blasio, Not in Bermuda, Reacts Quickly to Clear Upper East Side Streets of Snow

Residents of Brooklyn and Queens played the world's saddest song on the world's smallest violin when residents of the Upper East Side of Manhattan complained after Tuesday's storm that their streets weren't cleared of snow as quickly as they would have liked.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, not in Bermuda during the city's big storm, ran over to the neighborhood on Wednesday and personally inspected the scene of the crime. He then ordered extra plows to the area and made sure the streets were clear.

“After inspecting the area and listening to concerns from residents earlier today, I determined more could have been done to serve the Upper East Side,” he said. “Our crews will remain on the streets around the clock until the roadways are clear in every neighborhood, in every borough, across New York City.”

Thanks goodness we have a Mayor who stays in the city during snowstorms to get the job done!

Photo meemed in cheezburger.com

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$1.7 million missing from murdered Menachem Stark’s bank account: Daily News

The NY Daily News reports that $1.7 million was ‘improperly’ removed from a $2 million account controlled by murdered Williamsburg slumlord Stark and business partner Israel Perlmutter.

A trustee also said in court documents that monthly operating reports ‘may have been tampered with to conceal the diversion.’

Another $200,000 of their cash is missing, and other money may have been misappropriated.

More here.

- 10 Things About Murdered Hasidic Brooklyn Slumlord Menachem Stark


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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Winter Storm Janus Dumps a Foot (or More) of Snow on Brooklyn. Now Go to School!

Cadman Plaza West, Tuesday around 6:30 p.m. Photo: MK Metz
Thanks to winter storm Janus, there's 10 - 14 inches of snow on the ground in Brooklyn.

According to the National Weather Service, Brooklyn will experience "widespread blowing snow" and a small chance of more snow after 4 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Expect a high near 14. (Wind chill values as low as -11. Gusts as high as 34 mph.)

3,000 flights were cancelled as of 2:45 a.m.

While the city hopes everyone stays off the roads, they still want kids to go to school . . . Schools Chancellor Carmen FariƱa said on Tuesday evening that city public schools will be open Wednesday.

More than 130 Con Ed customers were experiencing at least partial power outages on Vernon Ave. near Nostraand in Bed-Stuy late Tuesday. Con Edison says it expects it will be fixed by 5 a.m. Wednesday.

And yes, a truck is riding on the sidewalk near Montague Street in the photo above. It had a snow plough attachment in front.

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Lots of Brooklyn Hospital News from LICH, Interfaith, Cuomo and de Blasio

De Blasio's BHA plan
There were several big Brooklyn hospital stories yesterday, including:

* Another "standstill" at LICH, meaning the SUNY contempt hearing is put off yet again;

* Mediation was ordered by the bankruptcy judge in the Interfaith Medical Center case;

* LICH and Interfaith advocates are holding joint protests, showing the powers of synergy;

* Governor Cuomo blames the whole Brooklyn hospital crisis on Obama (where were you all year, Governor?);

* Mayor de Blasio confirms his support for LICH, Interfaith and his Brooklyn Health Authority idea.

The Brooklyn Eagle has put together a summary of these events.


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First Lady Chirlane McCray Will Join Town Hall on Immigration in Brooklyn Tonight (Wednesday, Jan 22)

Chirlane McCray. Photo: Flickr via Wikipedia
The Black Institute and the Christian Cultural Center will host a town hall forum to discuss immigration policies, reform efforts, and its impact of black immigration on Wednesday, January 22, at 6:00 p.m.

Senior Pastor A.R. Bernard of CCC will host this event and New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray is the special guest for the evening.

Moderator: T.J. Holmes, award-winning journalist.

Panelists & Speakers: Bertha Lewis, President and Founder of The Black Institute; Pastor A.R. Bernard, Sr., Founder, Senior Pastor and CEO of Christian Cultural Center (CCC); Pras Michel, artist, film and music producer, formerly of The Fugees; Daniel Bernard Roumain, composer; Marcia L. Dyson, President of M&M Dyson, LLC; Joy-Ann Reid, managing editor, MSNBC.com & The Grio, Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist; Bishop Orlando Findlayter, CUSH/New Hope Christian Fellowship.

Where: The Christian Cultural Center (12020 Flatlands Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11207)

The goal of this interactive forum is to identify, empower, and educate the Black community about truly comprehensive immigration reform.


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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

'NYC Web Development Fellowship' in Downtown Brooklyn

Photo: Danja, Flickr
If you want to become a web developer and can survive for 6 months while going to school in Downtown Brooklyn, you might try out for this fellowship:

New York City is offering a NYC Web Development Fellowship, designed to train Fellows with the skills necessary to start a career in web development. Graduates from the Fellowship will be qualified to for jobs as web developers, using HTML5, Ruby, Ruby on Rails and Javascript.

Offered by the Workforce Development Corporation, a not-for-profit affiliated with the NYC Department of Small Business Services, the NYC Web Development Fellowship will support the growing number of tech companies in the city, especially in Downtown Brooklyn where the Fellowship’s campus is located.

This Fellowship will allow New Yorkers to get training from The Flatiron School at no cost – a program that normally charges students $12,000. Only 28 students will be selected for the class. Applicants must be eligible and go through a competitive screening process.

All admitted fellows must be committed to doing 150+ hours of prework and being on campus from 9:00AM to 6:00PM, Monday thru Friday, March 31, 2014 through August 29, 2014.

More information here.

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Serious Snowstorm Headed to Brooklyn / NYC on Tuesday. It's Named Janus . . .

Snow on Henry Street. Photo: MK Metz
We're looking at six to ten inches of snow in Brooklyn and the surrounding areas on Tuesday, according to NOAA and frantic weather reporters, who have named this winter storm Janus (the two-headed god who looks to both the future and the past).

Parts of Brooklyn could top ten inches, forecasters say, with western Long Island getting more than a foot.

The heaviest snow will start around noon. Temperatures will range from 10 - 21 degrees, with wind chills making it feel like 10 below zero late Tuesday night.

According to NOAA, we should have two to four inches in Brooklyn by quitting time. Three to seven inches more will fall Tuesday night. So even if you get off at 5 p.m. you're not going to want to wear your good shoes home. So bring those boots or snow-proof shoes, with thick, warm socks. (And gloves, scarf, the whole bit.) It's going to be freezing out there!

Alternate side parking suspended; all other rules including parking meters in effect.

NOAA:

IMPACTS...FALLING...BLOWING...AND DRIFTING SNOW WILL CAUSE HAZARDOUS TRAVEL AND WALKING CONDITIONS ACROSS THE AREA... POSSIBLY IMPACTING THE LATE AFTERNOON AND EVENING COMMUTE. EXTREME COLD AND LOW WIND CHILLS COULD CAUSE FROST BITE. DRESS APPROPRIATELY.

SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL...KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT...FOOD... AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.


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Way Too Many People Are Getting Arrested In This Country

Photo: Nevele Otseog
Just in time for Dr. Martin Luther King day, the statistic comes out that almost 50 percent of black men in this country have been arrested (for non-traffic offenses) by the age of 23.

Further browsing finds that almost 40 percent of white men and over 40 percent of Hispanic men have also been arrested by the age of 23.

Put any ten men in a room and four or five of them have police records.

About 18 percent of women have also been arrested by age 23.

According to Time, the U.S. has 760 prisoners per 100,000 citizens. Japan has 63 per 100,000, Germany has 90, France has 96, South Korea has 97, and "crime-ridden" Britain has 153.

Many of those arrests -- half on drug charges -- take place during adolescence, after which a large chunk of the population will have records that may prevent them from getting good jobs and rising in life.

In 2012 in Brooklyn, there were 92,527 adult (age 16 and up) arrests, according to state figures. There were also 3,065 juvenile arrests in Brooklyn. The total is 95,592. That means almost four percent of Brooklyn's population got arrested just in that one year. (Though some perps may have beeen arrested several times, their numbers are probably not all that high.)

Two more statistics: States spend more on prisons than on higher education -- and it costs five times more to imprison a student than to send him to college.


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Monday, January 20, 2014

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce's Scissura: Paid Sick Leave? How About Cutting Fines on Small Businesses

Photo: BiblioArchives, Flickr
Carlo Scissura, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, sent in a statement on the expansion of paid sick leave in NYC that left no doubt that he's not the bill's biggest fan.

He might go for it, however, if the Mayor will cut some slack for small businesses, such as easing regulations and fines.

He said:

"We applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for addressing the needs of all workers in New York City.

"However, this is the first step in a larger discussion about the needs of small businesses and their employees. While we work to address the imbalances of workers, we must ensure that the needs of small businesses - the engine of job growth throughout the five boroughs - are taken into account and addressed.

"Importantly, we look forward to reviewing the bill and working with Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito on the easing of other regulations and aggressive fines that have burdened small businesses for years. This is an opportunity for all Chambers of Commerce to come together and discuss the rights of workers and how to balance that with the needs of small business owners."


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NY Methodist Hospital's Final Approval Hearing Tentatively Set for February 11

Rendering: NY Methodist
While many hospitals in Brooklyn are threatened with closure, New York Methodist Hospital in Park Slope aims to get bigger . . . much bigger. 

Brooklyn Community Board 6 has been given a tentative date of February 11 for the public hearing at the Board of Standards and Appeals regarding Methodist's zoning variance application.

Craig Hammerman, District Manager of CB6, says they will confirm the date when it is finalized.

On January 8, the CB6 board approved (with some stipulations) the project, the Center for Community Health at 505-525 6th Street.

Methodist has made changes to various sections and has added setbacks, but many neighbors are still unhappy with the plan.

Opponants say the proposed building, which will take up almost an entire block, is too big for the historic Brownstone neighborhood and will bring too much traffic.

The hospital says it has to build the facility because of market changes and the new focus on primary care.

CB6 also informs us that investigative boring is scheduled to take place in the vicinity of the hospital over the next couple weeks.

CB6 resolution here.


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McBrooklyn Is Back, Tanned and Ready

This is where McBrooklyn was all week -- surrounded by birds, fish and surfers.

But how much of that easy living can you take?

Enough of all that sun, sand and fish shacks -- thank goodness, we're back in Brooklyn!

Photo: MK Metz

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

McBrooklyn Is On the Road

McBrooklyn is headed down south. We'll post again when we have an Internet connection.

Take care!

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Brooklyn Hospital Wants LICH Real Estate Bonanza, Too

Crain's reported that Brooklyn Hospital Center has decided, long after SUNY's RFP process has closed, that it wants Long Island College Hospital's real estate riches, too!

The deal it has put together looks quite similar to the one SUNY put on hold in December after SUNY's Board of Trustees decided to table the sale until Mayor de Blasio and the community could weigh in.

The Brooklyn Eagle brings up the point that the SUNY board said clearly it would not reissue the RFP.

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It's Not Going To Be Freezing for the No Pants Subway Ride on Sunday

Photo: jcmedina, Flickr
 Those crazy kids who plan to bare their all during the No Pants Subway Ride 2014 this Sunday won't literally freeze their buns off.

According to the Weather Chanel, temps in NYC on Sunday will be solidly into the 40s, which will feel like Miami after this week's deep freeze.

So take em off, naive out-of-towners. And travel in packs.


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Trash Saves Woman's Life; Slumlord's Murder a Pro Hit? And More Brooklyn Briefs

- Where dead bodies are now prepared for burial, you may soon be visiting your doctor.  [Brooklyn Eagle]

- Uncollected trash saves Brooklyn woman's life. [NY Magazine]

- Is that a Manhattan courthouse on the Brooklyn DA's website? [Metro]

- Methodist expansion inches ahead in Park Slope. [Brooklyn Paper]

- Was Hasidic slumlord's murder a professional hit? [Failed Messiah

- Judge says no to waste facility at Brooklyn park. [Brooklyn Eagle]

- Brooklyn Children's Museum wants to build a $3.6 million parking lot. [DNAinfo]

- News outlets parrot press release about a barber shop at Barclays, but no one reports about delays in a deal ten times bigger. [Atlantic Yards Report]

- Gov. Cuomo gives his State of the State address today. What NY governor, in his State of the State, said, "Now the times of plenty, the days of wine and roses are over." [City & State]

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Suspect In Brooklyn Slumlord Menachem Stark’s Murder: His Partner?

In the continuing bizarre story of the kidnapping and murder of Williamsburg slumlord Menachem Stark, now comes word that his business partner, Israel Perlmutter, is a possible suspect because "police are convinced he has been lying to them about Stark and trying to use a Russian businessman as a scapegoat," the NY Daily News reports.

Detectives told the News they believed Stark was squashed to death.

A reward for information was hiked to $25,000, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

_____________
Previous:
10 Things About Murdered Hasidic Brooklyn Slumlord Menachem Stark

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Photo: Polar Vortex Hits U.S.; Chicago = 'ChiBeria'


A photo from Google Earth showing conditions in Chicago, from the Polar Vortex extending into the U.S. from the Arctic. Chicago has been transformed into "ChiBeria."

The Polar Vortex is extending into Brooklyn tonight. While temperatures are plunging, an ice storm is not in the forecast.

#PolarVortex

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On Year's Coldest Night, 1,200+ in Brooklyn Without Power

Photo: Con Ed
Power outages all over Brooklyn have knocked out electricity to more than 1,200 Con Edison customers.

Several hundred more customers have lost power in Queens, as well as a couple of dozen in other boroughs.

Unfortunately, this has happened on the coldest night in decades. Temperatures are falling into the single digits, and the Office of Emergency Management is warning residents to stay inside.

The NYC Dept of Health says if your home lacks heat, get to a warm, safe place immediately. Report loss of heat or hot water to 311.

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Monday, January 6, 2014

NYC Warns of Dangerous, Freezing Temperatures on Tuesday. Stay Inside!

A "polar vortex" is pushing into New York City. Graphic courtesy of NOAA
The New York City Office of Emergency Management issued the following notification Monday night:

As temperatures are expected to drop well below freezing tonight & tomorrow, NYC OEM reminds all New Yorkers that prolonged exposure to extreme cold weather can be deadly.

The NWS is forecasting bitterly cold wind chills tonight, with overnight low temperatures between 5-8 degrees & wind chills of -15 degrees. Cold temperatures will continue on Tuesday with a high of 10 degrees & wind chills near -10 degrees. Overnight temperatures on Tuesday night will near 5 degrees with wind chills of -10 degrees. Temperatures will remain below freezing until Thurs, 1/9.

Vulnerable populations, such as seniors & infants, are most at risk during extreme weather events. Check on friends, family and neighbors if you think they need help getting to a warm place. The NYC DOHMH encourages everyone to stay indoors as much as possible during this time period, & if your home lacks heat, get to a warm, safe place immediately. Report loss of heat or hot water to 311.

Temperature Freefall

A "Polar Vortex" is pushing down from the Arctic, and temperatures are dropping 40 - 50 degrees from Monday's high of around 50.

The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Advisory and Hazardous Weather Outlook for the New York City area until 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

The cold is is expected to "wreak havoc" on airlines and is affecting Amtrak and some subway lines.

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Whole Foods; Murders; and More Brooklyn Briefs

- Tale of Two Police Departments: Brooklyn has the most unsolved murders, but gets fewer resources because Manhattan is "where the money is." [NY Daily News]

- Why Whole Goods in Gowanus will be a big success -- but why the Park Slope Food Co-op is better. [WYDNKBYANM]

- Mayor de Blasio staged interviews with citizens who waited for hours in the icy rain on Sunday to see the Mayor's mansion. [Politicker]

- Did you see camels in Brooklyn on Sunday? [Gothamist]

- “We’re in a crisis mode." Brooklyn facing tightest commercial market since WWII. [TRD]

- Tiger Mom says some cultural groups are superior, including Chinese and Mormons. [NY Post]

- Wife of pilot who landed on Bronx highway appears upset . . . about why two other women, not her, were on the plane. [Gothamist]

- NSA spies on members of Congress, too. [Gizmoto]

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hundreds Without Power in Brooklyn Late Sunday: Smoking Manholes, Transformer 'Major Explosion' in Manhattan

Con Ed
 Reports of blown or smoking manholes are coming in to NYC emergency dispatchers from all around the city, and Con Ed reports that roughly 400 Brooklyn customers (that is likely more than 1,000 people) were without power as of 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The power outages are scattered all over Brooklyn, with 28 in Bay Ridge, 23 in Bath Beach, 25 near Kensington, 46 in Park Slope, 25 in Clinton Hill and many more. A smaller number were without power in Queens and Manhattan.

FDNY dispatchers received multiple reports Sunday late afternoon about exploding manholes, especially throughout Manhattan. 

A "major explosion" of a transformer was reported on the service road under the FDR Drive in Manhattan at 5:16 p.m. (It will affect the power at 7 Peter Cooper.) Con Ed is trying to get a crew together.

UPDATE: Emergency services asked Con Edison at 5:30 p.m. is anyone in effected area in on advanced life support.

UPDATE: Car needs to be removed from atop "active arcing" manhole in Manhattan.  UPDATE: Manhole steaming in front of 402 E. 83 St in Manhattan. Partial power outages from 402 - 428 E. 83rd. UPDATE: McDougal Street Manhole smoking at 6:05 p.m. UPDATE: Clyde Street in Queens, near 67 Street, report of a manhole fire at 6:12 p.m. UPDATE: Dispatch seems to be getting "smoking manhole," "manhole fire," or "arcing manhole" calls every 20 minutes. Too numerous to list.

Storm Center map.

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Scanner: Cops Look for Robber on Poplar Street in Brooklyn Heights Sunday Afternoon

From the scanner: NYPD was dispatched at roughly 4:28 p.m. on Sunday to Poplar Street in Brooklyn Heights following complaints of robbery(s) by a light-skinned male Hispanic in his 20s, wearing a black hoodie.

Police are searching from Poplar to Cadman Plaza West. No further.


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10 Things About Murdered Hasidic Brooklyn Slumlord Menachem Stark

Brooklyn slumlord Menachem “Max” Stark was kidnapped and thrown into a Dodge Caravan in Williamsburg late on Jan. 2.  His body was found -- suffocated and burned -- in a dumpster on Long Island the next day. (Photos of the funeral here. [JP Updates]) (Blurry video of his kidnapping here.)

The more that comes out, the more bizarre Stark's life and business dealings appear. Here are 10 things known so far:

- Stark owed tens of millions of dollars in defaulted real estate loans and owned "vermin-infested drug dens and slums, along with several tonier buildings in Williamsburg."  [Failed Messiah]

- He owed tens of thousands of dollars in penalties for 148 Department of Buildings violations on his 17 properties. [NY Post]

- Israel Perlmutter and Stark, principals of South Side House, LLC, were debtors in a Chapter 11 case worth $29 million.[Leagle] UPDATE: Make that $51 million. [TRD]

- Just hours before he was kidnapped, Stark had borrowed a half-million dollars from a business associate. [NY Post]

- He had a sealed arrest for "forcible touching” of a young girl. [NY Post]

- Typical review of his real estate company on Yelp: "Menachem Stark (aka Max Stark) and Israel Perlmutter (aka Sam Perl) are criminals and should not be trusted with your time or money."

- Stark, father of eight children, allegedly gave "generously" to Hasidic Jewish charities. [Failed Messiah]

- Stark had so many enemies that investigators say they almost don’t know where to start looking. [NY Post]

- PIX11 speculates NYPD will investigate Satmar and Lubavitch Jews in the murder.

- Stark was buried in Kiryas Joel on Saturday – meaning a full autopsy may not have been done. [Failed Messiah]

UPDATE: Police are looking at Stark's business partner as a possible suspect.

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Friday, January 3, 2014

NYC Property Owners Have to Clear the Snow from Their Sidewalks Today

That includes some park paths, too. Photo: MK Metz
Attention property owners in New York City: You have to clear a path for pedestrians after the snow stops this morning.

For property owners who may not be familiar with this concept, here are the rules:

* If snowfall ends between 7 AM and 5 PM, you must clear sidewalks within 4 hours.
* If snowfall ends between 5 PM and 7 AM, you have to clear sidewalks before 11 AM.

If someone doesn't clear their sidewalk of ice or snow after the proper interval (it always seems to be the same negligent owners, snow after snow), people can make a complaint here or by calling 3-1-1.

But show a little flexibility . . . If the wind is gusting at 30 mph it will be very difficult to keep the sidewalk clear.

For clearing park paths (we assume this means major paths) or streets next to parks, file a request here. But bear in mind that Prospect Park paths don't necessarily get the same treatment as Central Park . . .

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BP Markowitz Approves Domino; Dying Lynne Stewart Released; and More Brooklyn Briefs


- BP Markowitz approved the Domino project before leaving office. [Brownstoner]

- This could happen to LICH: The former St. John's hospital in Queens has been acquired by an Asian developer who plans to convert the property into apartments. [Crain's NY]

- Dying Brooklyn lawyer Lynne Stewart, imprisoned for terrorist involvement, is finally released. [Brooklyn Eagle]

- Brooklyn architect visiting his mother's grave pinned and seriously injured by falling 300-pound headstone. [DNAinfo]

- No word on a replacement for Mayor de Blasio's Transition press officer Lis Smith, Eliot Spitzer 's new girlfriend. [Capital NY]

- Forum on gas drilling and NYC water safety, in Park Slope. [Brooklynian]

- Queens mom says school bus driver brought kids back to the bus stop and dumped them there after he couldn't find their school. [NY1]

- The U.S. government is mad at the NY Times for suggesting the government broke the law when it illegally spied on the public. [Politico]


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Scanner: 'Hazardous Condition' in Downtown Brooklyn

From the scanner: At approximately 4:10 a.m. Friday morning, a "hazardous condition" was called in regarding 161 Livingston Street near Boerum Place in Downtown Brooklyn.

FDNY and Hazmat were dispatched to the scene. No further details known.

161 Livingston Street is the site of the New Apollo Diner.


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Power Out for Dozens of Bay Ridge Customers During Storm Hercules UPDATED

Cold night for a power outage!

Electric power for 38 Con Edison customers in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (the number of actual people affected is likely around 100) was disrupted during winter storm Hercules late Thursday or early Friday morning.

The main outage location is 73rd Street near 3rd Avenue.

Con Ed says they hope to restore power by 10 a.m. Friday.

In the Bronx, 62 customers are without power.

UPDATE 4:20 a.m.: It's fixed!

Photo: Con Ed, flickr

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Cadman Plaza West, Brooklyn, Covered in Snow

                                                    Photo: MK Metz
Despite making several passes, snow plows couldn't work fast enough to keep Cadman Plaza West in Brooklyn Heights/ Downtown Brooklyn, a primary snow removal street, clear of snow Thursday night.

National Weather Service spotters reported 3 inches of snow in Brooklyn around 11:30 p.m.

To see when your street was plowed, visit PlowNYC.

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Mayor de Blasio Preps for His First Big Snowstorm, and It's a Doozy

Mayor Bill de Blasio met with his city commissioners on Thursday to discuss winter storm Hercules, the first snow storm of 2014. Photo: NYC

Winter storm Hercules is shaping up to be quite a storm. The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has issued a Hazardous Travel Advisory from 6 p.m. Thursday through 1 p.m. Friday for snow and low temperatures. Gov. Cuomo has declared a state of emergency statewide.

People are strongly advised to stay off the roads. (The Long Island Expressway in Nassau and Suffolk Counties closes at midnight.) There will be no express MTA subway service after 5:45 p.m. today. See for details.

The city has not yet advised parents on whether there is school on Friday or not, which must be very inconvenient for people trying to make plans. An announcement will be made Friday morning. (If you have to drive or if your child takes the bus, please try to take the subway instead, if it's running.)

Airports are still open but hundreds of flights have been canceled. Airport personnel are preparing cots, blankets and other essentials to be used if necessary. Check with your carrier before traveling to the airport.

According to the National Weather Service:

Winter Storm Warning now in effect until 1 pm Friday.

Locations: New York City, Northeast New Jersey and Southern Westchester County.
Hazard types: snow and blowing snow.
Accumulations: snow accumulation of 5 to 9 inches.
Winds: north 15 to 25 mph with occasional gusts up to 35 mph.
Wind chills, zero to 10 below zero late tonight and Friday.
Visibilities: one quarter mile or less at times.
Temperatures: falling through the 20s tonight and into the teens late tonight into Friday.
Timing: occasional light snow, becoming a steady wind driven heavy snowfall tonight into Friday morning.
Impacts: heavy snowfall, and blowing and drifting of powdery snow tonight into Friday will create dangerous travel conditions and could impact Snow Plowing operations. Wind chills below zero could lead to frostbite or hypothermia for anyone exposed to the cold.

NOAA adds:
Significant amounts of snow are forecast that will make travel dangerous. Only travel in an emergency. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.

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