New York State of Mind Amoeblog #62: Low Temps, High Rents, High Hopes For New Mayor, Weed, WiFi, B-Boys, RnR Hall Of Fame

Posted by Billyjam, January 8, 2014 09:09am | Post a Comment

Greetings from NYC where, like much of the country, it has been bitterly cold lately - with temps dropping a whopping 40 degrees in a 24 hour period earlier this week and with temperatures so low that, not only did they shut down a lot of flights in and out of the three main area airports (JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark), Tuesday's
temperatures broke a 118-year-record when they dropped to 4 degrees - but with the wind factor it felt like minus 15. As someone used to Northern California's much milder and  overall seasonally more balanced weather what is so striking about NY weather is how it can go from this extreme freezing cold weather to the polar opposite of unbearably hot and humid in the summer months. 

Last month's protest outside the main New York Public Library (photo above that I snapped) addressing the subject of library cutbacks in New York City at the expense of condo developments was a recurring theme
at last week's inauguration of New York City's 109th mayor Bill de Blasio - a political leader who has presented himself as a man of the people and has clearly given hope to those poorer, struggling New Yorkers across the five boroughs.  During his inauguration ceremony last Wednesday outside City Hall many de Blasio team members and supporters of the new mayor attacked the surge of luxury condos over the past decade in New York City at the expense of increasingly fewer affordable housing complexes - all under the watch of outgoing mayor Bloomberg. Expect this to be a recurring topic during the year ahead.

As promised de Blasio opened up his new home on Sunday - the historic mayoral residency of Gracie Mansion in the Upper East Side - to 7,000 New Yorkers to take a tour of the premises that is usually off limits to casual visitors.  However, despite such actions as this, in his first week in office the new New York City mayor got upstaged by
New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo's surprising announcement about NY legalizing medical marijuana. The news came the same week that Colorado began selling weed legally. The surprise element of the announcement was because Cuomo had made a 180 degree turn in his views from just one year ago (then denouncing weed outright). In so doing New York will soon become the latest state to legalize medical marijuana. Cuomo will take executive action to allow medical facilities to dispense weed to patients with serious conditions only - meaning that it will not be anything like in California where obtaining a doctor's note allowing use of weed can be for anything as minor as stress or migraine is commonplace.

2014 is going to be a good year for an estimated 80,000 residents of Harlem who over the holidays received a nice gift - free Wi-Fi care of financier Glenn Fuhrman and his wife Amanda who donated $2 million to the City of New York to underwrite the free Wi-Fi plan that will provide free internet Wi-Fi service to those living in the area between 100th and 138th streets between Frederick Douglass Blvd. and Madison Avenue.  Over the past year Google, in partnership with the Chelsea Improvement Company, made a similar generous gesture to the residents of Chelsea by creating a free wireless Internet zone that is bordered by West 19th Street, Gansevoort Street, Eighth Avenue and the High Line Park. That area includes both  both public housing and some of the most expense real estate in the city.

Speaking of the cost of real estate in NYC - a recent housing report came as a bit of shock to many Manhattan property owning landlords who learned that for a third straight month that while rents continued to rise in Brooklyn that they continued to fall (albeit slightly) in Manhattan - the borough traditionally the most expensive to live in. This report from Douglas Elliman stated that the median rent in Brooklyn has risen to $2800 per month while that of Manhattan has slipped to $3100 with the price gap of $300 between the two boroughs at its narrowest to date.

Among the hip-hop events happening in the week ahead in the Big Apple is one of special interest to fans of hip-hop dance: The Ultimate B-boy Championship (UBC) takes place this Saturday evening, January 11th, at the Renzo Gracie Academy on West 30th Street in midtown Manhattan. There the best of the best B-boys (the top five chosen from twelve champion b-boys over the course of the past year) will battle head to head on the concrete floor for cash prize of $5K. Those top five competitors will be B-Boys Ben, Ta Ta, Flexum, Moy, and Day Day Doors open at 7:30 pm, Battle starts at 9PM sharp.

A New York City event open to the public for the first time will be this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony that takes place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on April 10th with inductees including Nirvana, Kiss, Cat Stevens,  Hall and Oates, Linda Ronstadt who got diagnosed with Parkinson's this past August and Peter Gabriel whose brand new album And I'll Scratch Yours arrived in Amoeba this week. Meanwhile the E Street Band will receive the Award for Musical Excellence while both Brian Epstein (legendary Beatles manager) and Andrew Loog Oldham (original Rolling Stones manager) will each be get the Ahmet Ertegun Award. A month after the ceremony takes place an edited down version will broadcast on HBO. Tickets for the April 10th event will go on sale later this month.

This Sunday in Brooklyn will be both a fun and a most worthy event to attend: Speak Truth To Power is a fundraiser event of "songs, words and poetry for Typhoon Haiyan Survivors in the Philippines" that will feature DJ Boo, Kuttin Kandi, DJ Esquire, Mahogany Browne, Flaco Navaja, John-Flor Sisante, Anthony Morales, Baba Israel, Akil Dasan, Sciryl, La Bruja, Taiyo Na, Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, Hydroponikz, Mahina Movement, Bless Roxwell, Anomolies (reunion show), and Jana Umipig. As well as all of these performers there will be free food. Event happens17 Meadow St. Brooklyn NYC $8 adv. $10 day of. 21+ More info / tix

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