Posts tagged with "New York City"

Mystery: Gold cube worth $11.7 million ‘pops up’ in NYC’s Central Park—with security guards

February 7, 2022

A mysterious gold cube worth an estimated $11.7 million appeared in New York’s Central Park on Wednesday morning, February 2. accompanied by its very own security detail, reports The Sun.

The cube, which comprises about 400 pounds of pure 24-karat gold, was rolled out in front of a snowy Naumburg Bandshell at 5 a.m. (ET)—surrounded by photographers and NYPD officers.

The hollow gold block is the creation of 43-year-old German artist Niclas Castello, who has branded it the “Castello Cube.”  It’s not for sale, but is being used to promote the launch of a cryptocurrency called the Castello Coin. With gold currently priced at $1,788 per ounce, the block would probably go for $11.7 million, if it were put on the market.Castello’s team told ArtNet that the cube was made in a foundry in Aarau, Switzerland—and that it required temperatures of more than 2,000 degrees (F) to be cast.

The cube had been advertised as a once-in-a-lifetime work. Some viewers were unimpressed, however. “It’s pretty plain,” private security guard, Jamel Rabel, told The New York Times.

Another looked admitted that the “reflections are incredible and that “putting it there in the snow seems really inspired.”

Catello’s Cube stayed in the famous tourist spot for only a few hours before being shipped downtown to the exclusive Cipriani Wall Street for a private dinner.

Castello billed the block as a “socle du monde” (base of the world) sculpture. He told ArtNet that it is “a conceptual work of art in all its facets” and that he’d wanted to “create something that is beyond our world—that is intangible.”

“The cube can be seen as a sort of communiqué between an emerging 21st-century cultural ecosystem based on crypto and the ancient world where gold reigned supreme,” Viennese gallerist Lisa Kandlhofer commented to ArtNet.

The Castello Coin is being traded as $CAST at an initial price of $0.44. The artist’s team told the Times that he had privately sold enough of the coins to finance the cube project.

On February 21, the coin launch will be followed up with an NFT auction.

Research contact: @TheSun

High and mighty: A bald eagle is spotted in New York’s Central Park

February 2, 2022

Eagle-eyed bird watchers are flocking to Central Park, hoping to get a glimpse of the newest celebrity to visit Manhattan, reports the local ABC News affiliate.

A bald eagle with a six-foot wingspan was spotted on Monday, January 31, at about 7:30 a.m. on the southeast side of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park.

David Barrett of Twitter’s Manhattan Bird Alert (@BirdCentralPark) says there are now more than 400 pairs nesting in New York State. He said while eagles to fly over Central Park from time to time, this eagle–now nicknamed Rover—seems to be sticking around.

“This bald eagle—nicknamed Rover—came to Brooklyn over the last couple years and is now in Central Park. We know who it is and its history because we have a tag on it,” Barrett said. “Rover grew up in Connecticut in 2018 then moved to Brooklyn a couple of years ago and became a big favorite of birders there.”

Barrett calls the reservoir on 90th Street a kind of cafeteria as eagles like to eat smaller birds and fish.

Rover has been around for at least a couple weeks and hope is soaring that he will stay.

Research contact: @ABCNewsLive

New York developer bets on $800 million project ‘to make Queens feel like Shanghai’

November 18, 2021

Michael Lee, the chief executive of real estate developer F&T Group, moved to Flushing in the borough of Queens of New York City from Taiwan in 1982, when it was still a relatively sleepy neighborhood. He immediately got to work, building small developments, including a day-care center, his daughter, who manages the firm’s day-to-day operations, recently told The Wall Street Journal.

Flushing, which is home to one of New York City’s big three Chinatowns, already has established itself as the top U.S. destination for Asian people, said Queens Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Grech, as well as New York’s fourth-largest commercial hub.

The Tangram project will cement that status, Michael Lee told the Journal. “It will be a destination.”

A tangram is a traditional Chinese geometric puzzle and here refers to the various building elements and combinations the developer considered when creating the complex of immersive retail, residential, office, and hotel space.

The development covers a city block and includes Tangram House West, a 132-unit condominium with glass curtain walls and a minimalist design.

When it opens next summer, residents will have use of a 60-foot indoor heated saltwater lap pool; as well as a one-acre interior garden with 50 cherry trees and a 3,500-square-foot pavilion with lounges and meditation areas. Units will sell from $680,000 for a 484-square-foot studio to $3.39 million for a 2,300-square-foot penthouse.

Embryologist Harry Hou recently bought a two-bedroom apartment at Tangram for his elderly mother, who previously lived in an apartment complex two blocks away. Tangram will enable her to shop and dine out without leaving the campus. “And it really felt like an upgrade,” he said.

A 208-room Renaissance Hotel also is under construction, which the Lees hope will appeal to tourists from Asia and other locations who prefer to use Flushing as a home base when visiting New York City.

Offices that can be purchased rather than leased are popular in the Asian community. The project’s Tangram Tower is an 85,000-square-foot, 48-unit office condominium. It is already largely occupied by doctors, banks, and accounting and law offices.

But the development’s heart will be the mall offering mainstream versions of the options offered on the crowded streets of Flushing, where tiny shops hawk sesame buns and skewered pork intestines from windows along the sidewalk.

In line with that vision the final development will boast a 24,000-square-foot food court with a futuristic cyberpunk feel and 15 vendors selling fare ranging from Korean-style hot dogs to Japanese Ramen.

Research contact: @WSJ

Live long and prosper: Moving to the city helps seniors increase their longevity

September 3, 2021

Living longer in your senior years may be all about one thing—location, location, location. A new study finds that moving to a busy urban area can increase longevity among older adults, reports Study Finds.

While many retirees tend to leave big cities for a quieter life and warmer weather, researchers from MIT say heading to many coastal metropolises —such as,New York City, San Francisco, and Miami — actually adds an extra year to their lives.

Specifically, the study finds adults over 65 who move from a metro area in the 10th percentile (in terms of how much they enhance longevity) to an area in the 90th percentile adds 1.1 years to their lives. Currently, the average lifespan for an adult in the United States  is 83.3 years.

“There’s a substantively important causal effect of where you live as an elderly adult on mortality and life expectancy across the United States,” says Amy Finkelstein, a professor in MIT’s Department of Economics in a university release.

While a region’s “health capital”—or the local population’s tendency to be obese, smoke, or suffer from other health problems—plays a major role in health, study authors also looked at the environmental factors of metro areas. Entering the study, the team suspected that the nature of available medical care in urban areas becomes a key factor in how long older adults live. Other possible drivers include climate, pollution, crime, and traffic safety.
“We wanted to separate out the role of people’s prior experiences and behaviors—or health capital—from the role of place or environment,” Finkelstein notes.

Researchers looked at the Medicare records of 6.3 million beneficiaries from 65 to 99 years-old between 1999 and 2014. Around two million of these Americans moved from one U.S. “commuting zone” to another during the study. The rest did not move during that 15-year period.

“The idea is to take two elderly people from a given origin, say, Boston. One moves to low-mortality Minneapolis, one moves to high-mortality Houston. We then compare how long each lives after they move,” Finkelstein explains.

Although different people have different health histories, study authors say

Medicare records include detailed claims data—which enabled the team to account for 27 different illnesses and conditions. These ranged from lung cancer to diabetes to depression. In the end, researchers used the data to create a standard mortality risk model to examine how changing cities later in life leads to either a drop or rise in longevity.

The results show that many urban areas on the East and West Coasts of the United States have a positive impact on longevity for seniors who move there. Some Midwestern cities like Chicago also appear to give seniors a boost.

On the other hand, much of the deep South negatively impacts the lifespans of older adults. This includes states like Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and northern Florida. The American Southwest, including areas in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona, also scored poorly in the MIT study.

While the team estimates that “health capital” accounts for about 70% of the differences in longevity around the country, the new findings show that 15% of these differences depend on where you live.

However, Study Finds notes, while some major cities clearly push health in one direction or another, other areas around America are harder to gauge. In some cities, like Charlotte, North Carolina, researchers discovered that moving here has a positive effect on longevity, but residents still have a lower overall life expectancy. Conversely, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, people moving here have a higher overall life expectancy, but the study finds the city has a below-average effect on the longevity.

“Our [hard] evidence is about the role of place,” Finkelstein says. “We know something about Charlotte, North Carolina, makes a difference, but we don’t yet know what.”

“Differences in health care across places are large and potentially important,” Finkelstein concludes. “But there are also differences in pollution, weather, [and] other aspects. … What we need to do now is get inside the black box of ‘the place’ and figure out what it is about them that matters for longevity.”

The study appears in the journal, American Economic Review.

Research contact: @StudyFinds

Why beekeeping is booming in New York: ‘A hive is a box of calm’

July 28, 2021

In April 2020, during the height of the pandemic in New York City, a delicate rescue mission took place.

Andrew Coté and three colleagues, wearing heavy-duty masks and gloves, rode an elevator, climbed two sets of stairs and struggled up a 20-feet vertical metal ladder to the roof of an empty building in Midtown Manhattan. There, they retrieved four 150-pound boxes full of hundreds of thousands of agitated bees; transported them to the street; and loaded them onto a pickup truck with others from neighboring rooftops.

The bees were then spirited away to their new home in the borough of Queens, The New York Times reports.

Indeed, although she is no longer the First Lady, Melania Trump might be proud: New Yorkers have gotten hooked on beekeeping—and their goal is to “Bee Best.”

The apiary at the Queens County Farm Museum is now a who’s who of Manhattan rescue bees. They hail from the rooftops of the InterContinental New York Barclay hotel, the Brooks Brothers flagship and the New York Institute of Technology, among other places. The apiary officially opened early last summer, which was perfect timin—since a good portion of New York’s honeybees (many of whom live atop office buildings and hotels across the city) found themselves untended and in limbo during the shutdown.

SgriAccording to the Times, since New York City legalized beekeeping in 2010, it has grown in popularity. It is a small-space activity; a hive is roughly the size of a two-drawer filing cabinet. There are now bee-focused nonprofits, public parks with pollinator gardens and jars of hyperlocal honey in abundance at green markets. The new apiary in Queens, which has basically handled overflow during the pandemic, shows how bee-crazy New Yorkers have become.

But there is also a growing concern among some scientists that honeybees, most of them imported to the city to feed this beekeeping frenzy, are a threat to New York’s native pollinators, whose dwindling populations could affect local flora and the environment at large.

When the virus slowed our lives down, encouraging us to stay in our homes, enjoy the outdoors, and focus on activities in the natural world (such as bird-watching or gardening), the zeal for urban beekeeping intensified, too. Sean Flynn, a beekeeper for over five years, took the opportunity to share his passion with his youngest daughter, Alaura, 18.

“I’ve always had this fascination with the hive mentality — it’s about the collective and the greater good,” Flynn recently told The New York Times. He put a hive in his middle daughter’s bedroom when she went off to college six years ago. He kept the windows open in his sixth-story apartment so the bees could come and go as they pleased. The neighbors never noticed.

Flynn now inspects and monitors 12 different hives in various community gardens across the city. Recently, he captured a swarm outside the Javits Center. Although he is allergic to bee stings, Mr. Flynn temporarily housed the Javits bees in his own bedroom until he could relocate them — something he has done several times before to his own detriment.

There are anywhere from 115,000 to 125,000 beekeepers nationwide, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which oversees city beekeeping, recorded 326 registered hives in 2020. While beekeepers are required to register their hives, they often don’t. Coté, the president of the New York City Beekeepers Association and a fourth-generation beekeeper, believes there are more than 600 active hives in the city.

Several establishments, like the Bushwick bakery L’imprimerie, and the New York Hilton Midtown, now have their own hives so they can make dishes and cocktails with homegrown honey, said Dan Winter, vice president of the American Beekeeping Federation and president of the Empire State Honey Producers Association. “People want to know where their honey comes from, and they like it local.”

“As far as important species go, bees are top of the list. They pollinate more than one-third of the crops that feed 90% of the world,” Winter told the Times. “Honeybees are responsible for $30 billion a year in crops.”

Jennifer Walden Weprin, the executive director of the Queens County Farm Museum, has seen renewed interest in the farm’s beekeeping courses, which started up again in the spring. The apiary’s 40 colonies, with over 2 million bees, rival the human population of the borough. The rescue bees will most likely become permanent residents now that they’re settled, but the owners of several of their former homes have expressed interest in creating new rooftop colonies.

There is a small movement afoot: Bee houses are being installed across the city. The Bee Conservancy, based in New York, created its Sponsor-a-Hive program last year in collaboration with Brooklyn Woods, a nonprofit that trains unemployed and low-income adults in woodworking and fabrication. The pine bee houses are designed with a mixture of nesting tubes for native bees to ensure a diversity of species.

“If you want local food, you really need local bees,” said Guillermo Fernandez, the founder and executive director of the Bee Conservancy. “For many bees, an area of a couple hundred feet might be their entire world, so small things can add up to a lot,” said Mr. Fernandez, who finds the chaos of the hive relaxing. “A hive is a box of calm in a frantic city,” he said. “The buzz and gentleness is quite soothing.”

Since February, Brooklyn Woods graduates have created over 350 bee houses. Christine Baerga, 31, who lives in Jamaica, Queens, has had some part in crafting most of them so far. Baerga’s life changed for the better during the pandemic, when she moved out of a homeless shelter and became a celebrated bee house artisan.

“Bees are master craftsmen and builders,” Baerga said. “They’re one of the more important creatures in the world. Without them, there is no us.”

Research contact: @nytimes

Federal officers execute sunrise search of Rudy Giuliani’s apartment and office

april 29, 2021

Federal investigators in Manhattan executed search warrants early on Wednesday, April 28, at the home and office of Rudy Giuliani—the former New York City mayor who became President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer—thereby stepping up a criminal investigation into Giuliani’s dealings in Ukraine, three people with knowledge of the investigation told The New York Times.

The investigators seized Giuliani’s electronic devices and searched his apartment on Madison Avenue and his office on Park Avenue at about 6 a.m., two of the sources said.

Executing a search warrant is an extraordinary move for prosecutors to take against a lawyer, let alone a lawyer for a former president, the Times noted. It represents a major turning point in the long-running investigation into Giuliani, who as mayor steered New York through the Sept. 11 attacks and earlier in his career led the same U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan that is now investigating him.

Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert J. Costello, called the searches unnecessary because his client had offered to answer questions from prosecutors—except those regarding his privileged communications with the former president.

“What they did today was legal thuggery,” Costello said. “Why would you do this to anyone—let alone, someone who was the associate attorney general, United States attorney, the mayor of New York City and the personal lawyer to the 45th president of the United States?”

The federal authorities have been largely focused on whether Giuliani illegally lobbied the Trump Administration in 2019 on behalf of Ukrainian officials and oligarchs; who at the same time were helping Giuliani search for dirt on Trump’s political rivals (among them, Joe Biden, who was then a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination).

The United States Attorney’s office in Manhattan and the F.B.I. had for months sought to secure a search warrant for Giuliani’s phones.

Under Mr. Trump, senior political appointees in the Justice Department repeatedly sought to block such a warrant, The New York Times reported, slowing the investigation as it was gaining momentum last year. After Merrick Garland was confirmed as President Biden’s attorney general, the Justice Department lifted its objection to the search.

While the warrants are not an explicit accusation of wrongdoing against Giuliani, the wararants show that the investigation has entered an aggressive new phase. To obtain a search warrant, investigators need to persuade a judge they have sufficient reason to believe that a crime was committed and that the search would turn up evidence of the crime.

Spokespersons for the F.B.I. and the U.S. Attorney’s office declined to comment.

Research contact: @nytimes

New Yorkers converge on Times Square to say ‘Good Riddance’ to 2020

December 31, 2020

Dozens of people lined up (at a socially approved distance) in New York City’s Times Square on Monday, December 28, to write down, and then shred, the things that they have hated most about 2020—including but not limited to the deadly global pandemic.

They were participating in an annual “Good Riddance Day” event hosted by The Times Square Alliance since 2007—but needed more than ever

Above, in Times Square, a New Yorker shreds his 2020 disappointments. (Photo source: Reuters)

this December, Reuters reports.

Participants are encouraged to write down the year’s unpleasant memories, to be thrown into an oversized paper shredder. Among the submissions were COVID-19 and some of the work-from-home customs compelled by the spread of the coronavirus— not least, Zoom video conferencing calls.

Others posed for pictures next to a “Move On 2020!” sign, Reuters said.

“I think of all the New Year’s Eves I’ve ever experienced, this New Year’s Eve is special,” said Jonathan Bennett, who hosted this year’s scaled-down event. “The whole world really needs this new year to come in.”

Joey Faix, a 16-year-old high-school student who stopped to watch the event, said it was a tough year. “I think it was mentally straining for everybody,” he said. “But I think everybody is optimistic for the new year.”

Research contact: @Reuters

Trump Administration plots crackdown by Feds in Democrat-managed cities nationwide

July 22, 2020

The crackdown by federal law enforcement in some American cities is about to ramp up and go national, according to interviews by The Daily Beast with “knowledgeable Trump Administration sources.”

The move is President Donald Trump’s latest effort to use Customs and Border Protection officials, as well as the Department of Homeland Security—an agency created after 9/11 to protect the country from terrorism—to intimidate and remove protesters, without the approval of local or state authorities.

What’s more, both The Daily Beast and Fox News noted, Portland and Kansas City were just the beginning.

Among the list of cities— “all run by liberal Democrats”—in which the president said on July 20 he intends to “quell protests” are New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Oakland, and Detroit.

As previewed by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows over the weekend and President Donald Trump on July 20, the Administration intends to send federal law enforcement into Democrat-run cities—whether those cities want federal police help or not. Multiple sources expected Chicago, a flashpoint of white anxiety, to be a focus, as the Chicago Tribune first reported.

Indeed, it is rumored a force of 150 DHS agents will be deployed to Chicago this coming weekend.

In Portland, Customs and Border Protection agents, kitted out in military-style camouflage uniforms and obscured insignia, detained unarmed and largely peaceful protesters in unmarked vans and used pepper spray, tear gas, and batons against them. Oregon’s governor, both of its U.S. senators, and Portland’s mayor have denounced the federal deployment as an unwanted escalation. Its attorney general has sued DHS and the U.S. Marshals Service.

“What is happening in Portland—armed occupation by federal agents—is totally unacceptable,” Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) told The Daily Beast. “Donald Trump’s unconstitutional test run in Portland cannot be the precursor to a nationwide invasion of cities across the country. Republicans and officials at DOJ and DHS need to think long and hard about whether they want to be party to this gross abuse of power.”

Wyden and his fellow Oregonian in the Senate, Democrat Jeff Merkley, on Monday introduced an amendment to the annual defense authorization to disallow the federal law-enforcement deployment. Their amendment, supported by Oregon Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici, restricts federal efforts at crowd control to the “immediate vicinity” of federal property unless requested by local authorities and bans the use of unmarked vehicles or obscured insignia.

According to The Daily Beast, “Trump’s full-on embrace of this type of election-year posturing came after a brief period earlier this summer when the president flirted with emphasizing supposed police reform and related criminal-justice matters, in his increasingly uphill fight against presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Naturally, Trump quickly grew bored with playing the role of reformer.”

These days, his campaign is sounding a different tune. “Many presidents have used the military to stop riots, so this is nothing new and in accordance with the law,” said longtime New Hampshire State Representative Al Baldasaro, the New Hampshire co-chair of Trump 2020. “Our police have taken a beating, and they don’t deserve this. I fully support what President Trump is doing,” he continued, adding that Trump should quickly send “federal help” to other cities such as “Chicago [and] Detroit.”

In Chicago, where police reactions to Black Lives Matter protests have been violent, a Fraternal Order of Police president requested Trump’s assistance. That move drew strong rebuke from local elected officials. Mayor Lori Lightfoot, often the subject of ire from the protesters, has said she doesn’t want outside federal law enforcement assistance.

“We don’t need federal agents without any insignia taking people off the streets and holding them, I think, unlawfully. That’s not what we need,” Lightfoot said Monday. 

Research contact: @thedailybeast

The new normal: Why your pet has been acting up

May 20, 2020

If the faces around you have become way too familiar over the past few months of “sheltering in place,” have some empathy for your pets.

“Animals do really like to have routines,” says Jamie Richardson, DVM, chief of staff for Small Door Veterinary in New York City. “With this change, with our day-to-day anxieties, all that translates down to our pets.”

That’s why your dog or cat may be behaving unusually, such as barking or meowing more often than normal, over-grooming, or urinating in inappropriate places (known as displacement behaviors or displacement activities), she recently told Better Homes & Gardens.

So, what can you do when your dog begins eating couch cushions, or your cat is tearing up the carpet? “Try to keep them as much on a normal schedule as possible,” Richardson says. That means feed them when you usually do, go on daily walks like normal, but try not to add in anything out of the norm

. “I tell people that they need to spend time away from their pets,” Richardson adds. “Don’t make every walk about going out with your dog. Make sure you leave the house sometimes without your pet.”

If you’re working from home, try designating work times where you’re completely separated from your animal. “My husband actually shuts himself in the office and doesn’t let the pets in there, so it’s almost like he has left for work,” Richardson says. (She owns a Labrador named Ralph and a Chihuahua named Freddie). “So at 6 p.m., he just opens the door. They get excited like he just came home from work.

“And, although a schedule is important, try to vary your routine each day,” she recommends to Better Homes & Gardens. “For example, if your pet has separation anxiety, consider showering at a different time so they don’t know when you’ll be gone and “go crazy,” Richardson says.

Additionally, be sure to give your pet as much love and attention as possible. “Set aside time each day specifically for your pet, whether it’s physical or mental exercise,” Richardson says. This could be anything, including playing with them in your house or backyard or even teaching them a new trick.”

Richardson told the magazine that she also likes toys that double as brain games. For pups, she recommends a puzzle bowl, ($8.60, Chewy.com). Cats, on the other hand, love Doc. & Phoebe’s Cat Co.’s indoor hunting feeder (19.99, Chewy.com), she says.

Of course, it’s also important to take care of yourself. “Try to look after your own mental health, too,” Richardson adds. “Dogs and cats have intuitive behavior. They know when we are stressed. They know when we are upset. They know something is wrong. That can cause them anxiety, too.”

Research contact: @BHG

New York City to hire 1,000 health workers in May to track coronavirus cases

April 27, 2020

New York City—currently, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic—plans to hire 1,000 workers, who will be charged with creating a database of people who come in contact with those who have tested positive for the virus, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at his briefing on Monday, April 27, according to a report by CNBC.

“We are hiring. We are looking for talented, experienced health workers,” de Blasio said. “If you have experience in the health care field, if you’re ready to lend your talents to this fight, we need you and we need you right away. We are hiring immediately and we’ll be hiring throughout the month of May.”

Specifically, the city’s contact tracers—whom de Blasio described as “disease detectives”—will interview and identify people who came into contact with those who tested positive for COVID-19, de Blasio explained. The tracers also will provide support to New Yorkers who need to be isolated, de Blasio said.

Capacity to test broadly throughout the population and to trace contacts with those who test positive for COVID-19 are crucial elements in the state and city’s plans to lift restrictions and reopen after the lockdown, de Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have previously said.

De Blasio said the city is building “A contact tracing network in this city like it’s never been seen before on a vast scale. Every time someone tests positive, immediately we can swing into action, figure out who were their close contacts, and get those people tested to isolate anyone who needs isolation.”

The city is looking for people with a background in health care, de Blasio said, urging people to apply through the Fund for Public Health. De blasio said the new tracers will partner with the city’s health care personnel, as well as with staff from various city agencies who are being trained for the job.

“This is really the key,” de Blasio said. “Finally getting testing on a large scale, tracing people, isolating everyone who needs it. Doing that is the path forward.”

Research contact: @CNBC