Thursday, May 31, 2007

Some Ticket Scalping Rules Are Changing

NEW YORK -- For decades, ticket scalping was a thing done in the shadows, but those days of ducking into alleyways and dodging police are fading fast.

New York is poised this week to become the latest in a string of states to ease or eliminate decades-old restrictions on the resale of tickets to sporting events, concerts and shows.

Under the proposed rules, the state would discard its long practice of capping prices for tickets sold on the secondary market.

Some old regulations would stay in place. Scalpers would still be banned from selling tickets within 1,500 feet of large arenas like Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium. Smaller venues would get a similar 500-foot buffer zone. Brokers who sell large numbers of tickets would still need to get a license.

But the change would, for the first time, make it entirely legal for average fans to scalp their seats on the Internet.

For better or worse, it would also allow anyone holding a hot ticket to a Mets playoff game or Broadway musical to sell them off for whatever buyers were willing to pay.

"If you have something to sell, you should be able to sell it for what it is truly worth,'' said Sean Pate, spokesman for the online ticket broker StubHub Inc., which lobbied hard for the change.

The state assembly voted for the bill Tuesday. The Senate is expected to follow suit, and Gov. Eliot Spitzer could sign the measure by Friday, when the state's old anti-scalping law expires.

New York is far from alone in its redrafting of scalping rules.

Minnesota tossed out its old anti-scalping laws this spring. The state previously allowed tickets to be resold only at face value.

A bill that would ease Missouri's ban on selling tickets to sporting events at more than face value passed the legislature and is now being considered by the governor.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Saks Fifth Avenue Shoe Department Gets Own ZIP Code: 10022-SHOE

- Saks Fifth Avenue says its new shoe department is so big and fancy it's getting its own ZIP code.

The quintessential Manhattan store is revamping its shoe department, and when it moves from the fourth floor to the eighth floor in August customers will be able to send mail to 10022-SHOE.

"We believe it's such a big move for us it deserves its own ZIP code,'' Saks spokeswoman Lesley Langsam Kennedy said Thursday. "We wanted to make it a destination.''

The retailer worked with the U.S. Postal Service on the new ZIP code -- but only the last four characters, which aren't necessary when you're mailing something, are specialized. The rest of the midtown neighborhood, which includes St. Patrick's Cathedral, shares 10022.

The new 8,500-square-foot Saks showroom at the flagship Fifth Avenue store will have more shoes, more service and more stock room capability, Langsam Kennedy said. It also will feature a VIP room for private shopping, spacious seating, refreshments and shoe repair on hand, she said.

Saks operates 54 stores in 25 states and two stores in the Middle East.

American Idol has spoken !!!!

Jordin Sparks, a teenager with a big voice and big dreams, was crowned Wednesday as the newest and youngest "American Idol.''

Sparks, 17, of Glendale, Ariz., prevailed over beatboxer Blake Lewis, 25, of Bothell, Wash., after a triumphant performance Tuesday that wowed the show's judges and the viewers who gave her the majority of the record 74 million votes cast.

"Mom, Dad, I love you,'' Sparks, the daughter of retired NFL player Phillippi Sparks, said after hugging Lewis.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Subway Hero' Blows Chance at Million

Megan Manni Reporting
NEW YORK -- Wesley Autrey, famed for jumping on the tracks of an oncoming 1 train in January to save a man who had had a seizure and fallen off the platform, fell just short of $1 million Monday.

Autrey was a guest contestant on the NBC game show "Deal or No Deal" with Howie Mandel. "Deal" features 26 cases, each with a labeled monetary value inside. The contestant chooses a case for his or her own to be opened at the end of the show.

In the meantime, the contestant must choose cases to open one by one, and whatever value is shown inside is not the value the contestant's case holds.

Autrey chose case number 7, and the game began.

At first some of the highest values were knocked out - $400,000, $300,000, $500,000. But the middle values remained, until Autrey was left with the extreme ends of the spectrum - values like $.01, $10, $25, $5,000, $10,000 and the million-dollar case.

Every few cases or so, a "banker" calls Mandel, the host, to offer the contestant a guaranteed sum to leave the show and give up the chance to win more money.

Choosing cases that turned out to hold the lower amounts would make the bank offer skyrocket, but winding up having chosen the higher amounts would reduce the bank's risk of payout, thereby reducing their monetary offer to the contestant.

The man dubbed "the subway hero" was offered $65,000, then $96,000, then $148,000, then $209,000 as he got closer to the end of the game without uncovering the million dollar marker. At each and every turn, Autrey said, "no deal.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


New Yorks Apple Store is 1 year old

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Woman Falls Through Sidewalk Grate in Midtown

A pedestrian was injured when she fell at least 10 feet through a sidewalk transformer vault Thursday in midtown Manhattan, authorities said.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Plaza Hotel Owners Develop Vegas Complex

Plaza Hotel Owners Elad Group to Develop $5 Billion Complex on Vegas Strip Using Plaza Brand

Commercial real estate development firm Elad Group, which owns New York's Plaza Hotel, said Wednesday it is developing a $5 billion multi-use complex on the Las Vegas Strip under The Plaza brand.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Cleaning Chemical Found in Tap Water in Queens

A tiny amount of a common dry cleaning chemical contaminated tap water in part of Queens but posed no known health risk to the roughly 64,000 people affected, the city Department of Environmental Protection said.

Officials said the chemical was found in water in sections of St. Albans, Cambria Heights and Hollis.

Still, the agency suggested residents use bottled water and take shorter showers if they were concerned.

Some, such as Jenny Delgado, were.

"I'm not going to use the water. I don't feel safe yet,'' she said. "I'm going to wait a couple of days and get a little more information before I give my kids the water.''

Levels slightly above the standard for the chemical -- tetrachloroethylene, or PERC -- were first found in a sample collected during routine testing May 1 in the Hollis area, the DEP said. The chemical is used mostly in dry cleaning and auto body repair, the agency said.

Exposure to large amounts of PERC can affect the nervous system, and very long-term exposure can increase cancer risks, but the ``minute amounts'' found in the water were not expected to cause health problems, the DEP said.

The highest PERC concentrations detected in the water have been 13 parts per billion, compared to a standard of 5 parts per billion, the agency said.

"In these levels, for this amount of time, there are no known ill health effects,'' said spokeswoman Ann Canty.

The problem was limited to an area bounded by Linden and Farmer's boulevards, Hempstead and Jamaica avenues, and the Cross Island Parkway, the DEP said.

Monday, May 07, 2007

N.Y. Mets Fan Whose Back Was Broken at Ballpark Files Lawsuit

The New York Mets fan whose back was broken by an apparently drunken 300-pound man who fell on her at Shea Stadium during the team's home opener has filed a lawsuit because of her injuries.

Ellen Massey, 58, says in court papers that on April 9 she was in the second row of the right field upper deck near a "visibly intoxicated'' man who was "acting in a rowdy, boisterous and dangerous manner for a long period of time.''

Around 3:30 p.m., court papers say, the man, who has not been found or identified, "in an intoxicated condition fell upon plaintiff causing her to sustain severe personal injuries.''

Massey's lawyer, Stephen Kaufman, said Monday that the fall by the drunk, who was described as a blond 300-pounder, cracked several of the woman's vertebrae.

"He got up and left,'' apparently uninjured, Kaufman said. "We have information that one of the security people might have spoken to him and let him leave.''

Two emergency medical technicians sitting directly in front of Massey gave her first aid and comforted her until an ambulance arrived, Kaufman said.

Massey underwent surgery for spinal injuries at Jacobi Medical Center and was hospitalized there for about two weeks, Kaufman said. Doctors put rods and screws in her back and will have to operate on her again, he said.

Massey was at the game with two adult nephews when the incident occurred between the sixth and seventh innings, with the Mets behind 5-3. The home team went on the beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 11-5.

Massey, a Manhattan lawyer, named Sterling Mets L.P., owner of the baseball team; Philadelphia-based Aramark Corp., the beer vendor; the Service Employees International Union Local 177, whose members are security guards at Shea Stadium, and "John Doe,'' the unidentified man who fell on her, as defendants.

Massey's court papers say that Sterling Mets had a duty to provide reasonable safety for stadium patrons, that Aramark should not have sold alcohol to spectators who appeared to be already drunk and that the union employees should have prevented unruly behavior.

Times Square Generates More $ Than Economies of Panama, Bolivia

Times Square, the area of midtown Manhattan that's evolved over the past century from a bustling theater district to a symbol of crime and decay and now to a sanitized entertainment mecca, pumps about $55 billion a year directly into the city's economy, more than the combined economies of Bolivia and Panama, according to a new study.

Times Square's financial contribution to the city exceeds the city's budgets for public libraries and for the Departments of Parks & Recreation, Youth and Community Development, Cultural Affairs, Small Business Services and for the Aging, said the study commissioned by Times Square Alliance, a privately funded non-profit dedicated to improving the area.

In the past 15 years, the area has become a financial and media hub and a tourist destination and has positioned itself as the city's "economic engine,'' said Tim Tompkins, the alliance's president. Another $35 billion is generated indirectly, such as when a company in Times Square buys services from another business elsewhere in the city, the study said.

"This report affirms and provides evidence of what we have long suspected,'' Tompkins said. "Times Square is not just one of New York City's most popular destinations; it in essence represents its own distinct and powerful economy within the city, pumping tens of billions of dollars into the local economy. In this way, Times Square is a vital organ to New York City, a critical element in the city's financial landscape.''

The study, the first of its kind of Times Square since its most recent transformation, analyzed the economic impact of jobs, entertainment and other spending at the Crossroads of the World.

Eight of every 10 of the millions of annual city tourists visit Times Square, the study said. They and others spend billions of dollars on hotels (one of every four Manhattan hotel rooms is in Times Square), restaurants and retail stores, on Broadway shows and at other entertainment venues, the study said.

Apple Store NY Construction

The 3rd Apple Store in New York City is to be located at 401 W. 14th Street in the Meatpacking District. The new store is said to provide 32,000 square feet of floor space, significantly more than their existing Apple Store SoHo (21,577 sq feet) and Fifth Avenue (25,000 sq feet) locations.

Roger Clemens to NY

Roger Clemens returned to the New York Yankees, making a dramatic announcement to fans from the owner's box during Sunday's game against the Seattle Mariners. At the end of the seventh-inning stretch, Yankees public address announcer Bob Sheppard told fans to turn their attention to the box, where Clemens was standing with a microphone. As the video scoreboard in right-center showed Clemens, who made the announcement himself.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

It's not getting any easier to breathe in New York City.

The American Lung Association has a new report showing that air quality has deteriorated across all five boroughs in the past year. The eighth annual air pollution report said that ozone pollution or smog is highest on Staten Island, and particle pollution, otherwise known as soot, has substantially worsened on Staten Island, as well as in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

NYC Traffic Cam