Amoeblog

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #71: New Yorkers Unnerved, Subway Ridership Up, Woody Guthrie Inspires Installation, + more

Posted by Billyjam, March 12, 2014 10:20am | Post a Comment

As I prepare this week's report in midtown Manhattan an uneasiness still lingers in the air as news spreads of a big explosion at approx 9:30am (EST) this morning further uptown in East Harlem on 116th St and Park Ave. with details slowly trickling in: the latest being that two women are dead, seventeen injured, and 20 missing, with the cause of the explosion of the two residential buildings been a gas leak. But before that news was released people here were feeling most uneasy. Even thirteen years later, ever-anxious New Yorkers automatically slip into that nervous 9/11 mental mode when anything vaguely resembling the WTC attacks occur - especially an out of the blue explosion with heavy smoke billowing high into the Manhattan skyline and viewable even two miles away. As one witness, Samuel Paul, told CBS News in a report little earlier this morning,  "The smoke started to rise. It looked like something fell because it wasn't like a fire. It just looked like debris smoke, similar to 9/11." As of publishing this Amoeblog all the latest news reports indicate that the blast was the result of a gas leak.  Thoughts/prayers go out to those victims of this explosion that no doubt you will learn more about care of national news reports continue throughout the day.

Continue reading...

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #43: Summer Streets, Sand Castle Contest, Bike Share Update, Lincoln Center Out of Doors

Posted by Billyjam, August 7, 2013 03:45pm | Post a Comment

Welcome to the latest installment in the weekly New York State of Mind Amoeblog from the Big Apple where - following some unbearably hot and humid weather just a few weeks ago - temperatures have been most pleasant for this past week. In fact a few nights ago, when temps dropped to the (gasp) 50's, many New Yorkers were complaining that it was "too cold" (a rarity in the summertime here). But while temps may have dropped, according to a new NYU report released this week, New York City rents have been steadily climbing with the current median rent / percentage share of monthly income going just to rent clocking in at 32.5% with the current rent in New York City averaging at a little over $3,000 a month. But despite these statistics about the high cost of rent and the reputation that NYC holds as being a most expensive place to live or spend time in, it should be stressed that New York City can also simultaneously be one of the cheapest / most affordable places to be (especially in the summer) with oodles of bargains, and free stuff, and good deals to chose from. Case in point is the CitiBike program that was reviewed here in this column a month ago by guest Amoeblogger Jason Snyder not long after the program had gotten underway. Since then the affordable ($100 a year for unlimited usage) bike share program has grown in popularity and, despite the wave of protests and negative response it endured before it even started, has proven the naysayers wrong and shown itself to be a most successful project.

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #34: Weed and the City, Wheelchair Sports Camp in NYC, Park Jam, Governors Ball Fest, Tony Awards +

Posted by Billyjam, June 5, 2013 09:10am | Post a Comment


Welcome to installment number 34 in the weekly New York State of Mind Amoeblog. This past week here in NYC witnessed the first non-stop, uninterrupted week of hot weather (finally), the launch of the wonderful new CitiBike bike share program to mostly positive feedback (more on this in a future NY Amoeblog), new NYPD released statistics that the subways are safer than ever with robberies on the mass transit system (typically iPhone grab and runs by opportunist thieves) down 30% from this time last year.  And while this past week's tabloid news of Amanda Bynes getting in trouble for weed smoking and bong tossing in New York City dominated most headlines, on Monday up in the state capital of Albany the New York State Assembly passed a medical marijuana bill (for the fourth time) that would allow medical marijuana, passing with a 95-38 vote.

If this new medical marijuana bill makes it through the Senate New Yorkers with "severely debilitating or life-threatening conditions" can be legally prescribed weed by their doctors. As it stands now the difference in attitude towards weed (medical and recreational) in NYC and such California cities as Los Angeles or Oakland is like night and day and has been such since the early 90's. It is radically different here with the NYPD enforcing a zero-tolerance towards any public weed activity. It has been this way ever since the reign of Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani who initiated the "broken window" theory which meant that that small crimes like weed smoking in public (once a common non-issue thing in NYC) were now an arrestable offense. People get arrested in NYC and thrown in jail for the weekend over half a joint and many of these are young black and Latino males who fall into the net of the NYPD's controversial, often illegal 'stop-and-frisk' program whereby the cops randomly stop someone for no reason other than they fit a profile, have them empty their pockets, and arrest them for small amounts of pot.

Continue reading...