Category Archives: New York City

Manhattan DA opens probe into Weinstein’s hush-money settlements

NY Post

Hey, they got Al Capone for tax evasion.

As the public gets distracted by each new wave in the flood of sexual-misconduct claims against Hollywood, Washington and media titans, the Manhattan district attorney is quietly working to ensure Harvey Weinstein doesn’t escape prosecution on his watch for a second time, The Post has learned.

Cyrus Vance Jr. is hedging his bets by pursuing a potential embezzlement case tied to hush-money settlements with Weinstein’s accusers, in addition to seeking evidence of his alleged sex crimes, law-enforcement sources said.

One source described the Vance investigation as “wide-ranging and aggressive,” and said authorities had served more than two dozen subpoenas demanding documents for the probe.

Several current and former Weinstein employees have also appeared with their lawyers for voluntary interviews at the DA’s office in recent weeks, sources said.

Vance’s prosecutors asked them what they knew about the slew of sordid accusations against Weinstein, sources said.

Those allegations include claims by Lucia Evans, then a college student, that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him inside his Tribeca office in 2004, and claims by “Boardwalk Empire” actress Paz de la Huerta that Weinstein raped her on two occasionsin 2010.

The DA’s Office is also investigating whether Weinstein misappropriated money from The Weinstein Company — which fired him in October — or his former company, Miramax, to buy his accusers’ silence, sources said.

Weinstein reportedly struck settlements with around a dozen accusers over the past 20-plus years, and New York’s statute of limitations for fraud and larceny are six years and up to five, respectively.

But even if charges can’t be brought, any evidence that’s uncovered could potentially be used to bolster sex-assault charges, law-enforcement sources said.

Vance — who’s suffered defeats in several high-profile prosecutions — “wants to be really sure” of a conviction if he pursues charges against Weinstein, one source said.

“He doesn’t want another black eye,” the source added.

One payment, of $1 million, reportedly went to model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, who went to cops in 2015 after Weinstein allegedly groped her in his Tribeca office.

Despite an incriminating recording made during an NYPD sting operation, Vance declined to prosecute, and he came under fire when the secret audio was leaked to the New Yorker in October.

Weinstein has repeatedly denied “any allegations of non-consensual sex” with his accusers and a source close to Weinstein said: “They are looking at this stuff now, because they understand how weak and unreliable the rape claims are.”

A grand jury isn’t expected to start reviewing evidence until next year, sources said.

Weinstein defense lawyer Ben Brafman said Sunday: “Any financial settlements by Mr. Weinstein were fully vetted and approved by legal counsel for Mr. Weinstein and The Weinstein Company.

“There was never any intent by Mr Weinstein to violate the law and as a result, we do not believe that any criminal charges will be filed once all of the facts are carefully reviewed,” he added.


Alan Chartock’s The Capitol Connection: The Chutzpah Kid rides again

Yes, that’s right, it’s time for another chapter about the unbelievable gall of a politician riding across the plains of New York. Not unlike the red headed cowboy, Donald Trump and his brand of making stuff up, we now have our own trusty companion in the form of Andrew Cuomo who, the press reports, has decided to frontally attack other state Democrats. Like any hero of the old West, he is taking on a crowd of made up desperadoes.

Let’s see. There is his old enemy Big Bill de Blasio who, for some unfathomable reason he seems to hate with a passion that might better be channeled to his love life. Then there is the matter of mayoral control of the schools. He says he’s for it but apparently only for a year or two which is just silly. And with Cuomo, one never knows what game he’s playing. This is classic Cuomo, say one thing and do another. So who does that remind you of? YES, the red headed cowboy. Go right to the head of the class.

But it doesn’t stop there. Now he pulls the old switcheroo and tries to blame de Blasio for his troubles on the MTA. Like the old song about another politician, Cuomo simply can’t get off of that blame train. Governors are often immune to trouble because way too few people know anything about state government. It’s just too remote. Mayors, on the other hand, are held responsible for more immediate problems like failure to clear up the snow or collect the garbage. But this time Chutzpah Andrew has literally touched the third rail. People are sweating in the subways. The trains are breaking down. They are sweltering infernos and Andrew, the Chutzpah Kid, is getting blamed for the mess.

This is the way it works. Andrew basically owns the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. He gets to name the most people on that board and he has always tried to take the credit for anything good that happens on the subways. One case in point is the mule-like braying and credit claiming he did over the opening of the Second Avenue Subway. You would think that he laid every brick on the line himself. But now, the Chutzpah Kid is ringing his hands suggesting that he doesn’t have ENOUGH power. Whoever is giving out breaks might think about giving me one of them.

Then there are his inexplicable attacks on Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. DiNapoli is one great politician. He is SO good that he may actually be giving politicians a good name. From day one, the Chutzpah Kid has been trying to deprecate DiNapoli. DiNapoli took a damaged Comptroller’s office and set things right. Now it is back to doing its job. That has apparently made the Chutzpah Kid even crazier. As occasionally happens, there was a jerk who did some corrupt things working in the office of the Comptroller. DiNapoli fixed it but that didn’t stop Andrew from suggesting that this was the worst thing to have ever happened. This is where the chutzpah thing really showed itself. Remember, this is the same Andrew whose best pals are now on trial for corruption schemes that would and should make any politician blush. In Andrew’s case we are not talking about some schlemiel way down in his administration. We are talking about his best friends. Who the hell is Cuomo to be casting aspersions on Tom DiNapoli, one of the most honest, decent men in politics? Not only that, Cuomo worked out a deal with the morally corrupt legislative leaders to take away some of DiNapoli’s pre-audit functions that might have stopped the Cuomo cronies from their schemes. Instead of giving DiNapoli back his powers, the Chutzpah Kid said that he would appoint people like the ones now on trial to oversee his agencies. Are you kidding?

So the Chutzpah Kid rides off into the sunset, ready for his next adventure.

Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the State University of New York, publisher of the Legislative Gazette and president and CEO of the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Readers can email him at

Reblogged from Troy Record

Amtrak maintenance backlog tops $38 billion on northeast route

Crains New York Business via California Rail News

The busiest U.S. passenger rail route needs $38 billion to stay in good working order, a 36% jump over the estimate just a year ago, according to a group that oversees the Northeast Corridor.
Though Amtrak and the regional railroads that use its tracks have pledged $3.3 billion for infrastructure over five years, that won’t go toward the backlog of projects needed to refurbish signals and power systems, replace bridges and build a new Hudson River tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey, according to a five-year capital-investment  plan released Thursday by the Northeast Corridor Commission.
All told, 820,000 daily riders—two-thirds of them commuters using New Jersey Transit, Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road—are at risk of increased service interruptions or even failure of the entire 457-mile Boston-to-Washington route. Last fiscal year, 11% of trains using the line were late or canceled.
The Gateway Project which includes a new Hudson River rail tunnel to relieve commuter rail congestion is $25 Billion of this $38 Billion backlog.

New Haven RR’s Grand Central Operations

Through the latter 1950s – maybe early 1960s the New Haven serviced some trains at Mott Haven. Specifically Merchants, State of Maine, Owl would be brought by New York Central switcher for servicing/storage at Mott Haven.

Other trains turned at Grand Central Terminal. Some via look track others had the seats flipped. The motor usually would sit at the bumper until another motor took the train east – then the motor at the bumper would go to 49th St. or onto another east bound.

Cars could be watered and the batteries could be put on charge if necessary but not much else was done in New York. They would be swept out and occasionally washed by a mechanical washer on one side.

Engines at 49th Street would be watered, steam generators would be prepared and filled with water for the outbound trip and the brakes would be tested. There was no facilities for fuel for either the FL-9’s or the electric motors and no sand available either.

See other stories like this one


Grand Central Terminal and the New York City Subway

This page is our gateway to New York City. Find out about the New York Central Railroad‘s Grand Central Terminal. Explore the fabulous New York City Subway System. Learn who Robert Moses. was and his impact on New York City. Understand New York City transit planning, West Side Freight Line (the “High Line”)and St Johns terminal. The New Haven Railroad and the Long Island Railroadreached into New York City. Did you know the Lehigh Valley Railroad even went into New York City (by ferry). Learn about the Jenney Plan to bring commuters into New York City and finally explore mysterious track 61 at Grand Central Terminal with its relationship to Presidents of the United States.

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Report: Uber, Lyft Worsening Congestion in New York City

Streetsblog NYC Feb 27, 2017

The controversy over Uber’s impact on Manhattan traffic has been settled. Uber, Lyft, and other app-based ride services are unequivocally worsening gridlock in the Manhattan core as well as northern Manhattan and the western parts of Queens and Brooklyn, according to a report released today by transportation analyst Bruce Schaller.

The new ride services, known as transportation network companies, or TNC’s, last year caused a net increase of 600 million vehicle miles traveled in the five boroughs — a 3 to 4 percent jump in citywide traffic, Schaller found. This trend marks a troubling inflection point — for the first time in many years, car-based services, not transit, account for most growth in travel.

Why have 2,500 New York subway cars been dumped in the sea?

At first sight it looks like a waste of money, a major act of pollution and a criminal act – but these New York subway cars being dumped into the sea are actually helping the environment. These truly remarkable photos detail just a small number of over 2,500 old subway cars from the Big Apple that have been used to create artificial underwater reefs on America’s Atlantic coast. Photographer Stephen Mallon of the Front Room Gallery snapped the images over a period of three years, and the photos are now are being shown in an exhibition in New York.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) of New York has been running this project for over 10 years, and ensures that on being decommissioned, the cars are cleaned, and every part which can be removed (seats, straps, windows, doors, wheels) are either recycled or sold. They are then loaded onto barges and dumped into sea to form artificial reefs. Click read more for some truly fantastic photographs…


An estimated 95 per-cent of the seabed off the US eastern seaboard is bare sand, a relatively inhospitable home for fish and crustaceans. But reefs provide protection from predators and so are attractive to fish, which inturns help build an eco-system with mussels, shrimps and crabs and eventually marlin and dolphins. And in addition to the envoronmental benefits, US corals are estimated to boost the economy by $200 million (£131 million) per year. The depositing of man-made structures to become artifical reefs is not uncommon, with tanks, armoured personnel carriers, oil rigs and even an aircraft carrier, the USS Oriskany being used.


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Water Valve Problem Sends Geyser Shooting From Second Avenue

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A massive geyser erupted on the Upper East Side Thursday due to a problem with a valve.

As CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported, water shot into the area for several minutes on Second Avenue at 84th Street, in the Second Avenue Subway construction area.

Investigators said a fitting on a replacement main failed.

The water in the area was shut off so crews could make the necessary repairs.

Baby, Baby, Where Did Our Second Avenue Subway Money Go?

But Tom Wright, the head of the Regional Plan Association, said a tunneling delay is as good as a tunnel deferred. “To take a full billion out of that is not a cut — it’s a gut,” he said. He added that by pushing the project back, the MTA would end up paying more in the long run. “What we’ve seen with other projects, when they delay,” he said, “it’s not just that they take much longer, but the costs end up escalating enormously.”

Read the full article in WYNC.

When Robert J. Rodriguez learned on Wednesday that construction to bring the Second Avenue subway to his East Harlem neighborhood would be delayed until at least 2020, the New York State assemblyman was furious. The more affluent Upper East Side is expected to get three stations on the new line next year, while his district waits endlessly for its turn.

“For them not to bring this to an area that clearly demonstrates an economic need — as well as a transportation need to move people into other parts of Manhattan more efficiently — it is outrageous and screams of inequality,” Mr. Rodriguez said on Thursday.

Union slams de Blasio’s transit funding policies in ‘bad old days’ ad

The TWU is warning Mayor de Blasio to fund the MTA or risk taking the subway back to the “bad old days.”

In an ad to run in the Daily News and other publications Monday, the Transport Workers Union Local 100 depicts de Blasio riding a relic of old New York — a tagged-up train — with the caption, “Where are you taking us?”

“Mayor de Blasio risks taking us back to the bad old days of the 1970s and 1980s, when graffiti-covered subway trains regularly broke down and rickety buses sputtered from stop to stop,” the ad says.

The TWU, Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Gov. Cuomo have been pressuring the mayor to kick in $3.2 billion to the transit authority’s $30 billion repair and upgrade program.


Cuomo has promised to put $8.3 billion into the capital plan that pays for upgrades to the aging transit system and megaprojects like the Second Avenue subway.

But de Blasio has fought back against putting more money into the state-controlled agency, saying the city already increased funding to $657 million and city residents shoulder the burden of running the transit system through taxes and fares.

De Blasio has said he’s wary of giving more money to the MTA when $270 million for transit has been siphoned out for the state budget. He also wants a greater say in how the money is spent to ensure it goes to city projects.

“Instead of recruiting surrogates to make false attacks, the state must do its job and work with the city on a fair and responsible framework to move forward,” de Blasio spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick said.

The TWU ad warns that crowded rides on a crumbling system will not get better without a fully funded capital plan, while new subway trains and the Second Avenue subway are at risk.

This is the TWU’s second ad against the mayor on transit funding.