NYC, in Brief

April 30, 2009 Updated: April 30, 2009
GRAND GOES GREEN: Grand Central Terminal has replaced the last incandescent light bulb in the elegant chandeliers in the terminal. GCT estimates it will save $200,000 a year in energy costs using highly efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. (Courtesy Grand Central Terminal)
GRAND GOES GREEN: Grand Central Terminal has replaced the last incandescent light bulb in the elegant chandeliers in the terminal. GCT estimates it will save $200,000 a year in energy costs using highly efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. (Courtesy Grand Central Terminal)

City Hall Considers Lifting Cap on Vending Permits

In an economy that’s seen some 200,000 New Yorkers lose their jobs, some would-be entrepreneurs are turning to street vending as an option—or at least they would like to, if they could get a permit. The problem is that with permits capped at 1979 levels, there are 13,000 people on the waiting list to get a vending permit.

Intro 324 in the City Council would change this situation by raising the number of general vending permits issued to 15,000 and the number of food vending permits issued to 25,000. Supporters of the legislation say that this would create an estimated 10,000 new jobs.

The current combined cap for general merchandise and food vending in New York City is 3200. Historically, would be vendors have dealt with the lack of a route to a legal permit by either operating illegally, or by renting the use of a permit on the black market. Supporters of the new legislation say it will go a long way towards eliminating illegal vending, simply by increasing supply to meet the demand.

Grand Central Chandelier Switches to Energy Efficient Bulbs

In a move to bolster its “green” credentials, the MTA replaced the last incandescent light bulbs in Grand Central Terminal with highly efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. The 110 bulbs were removed from a 96-year old chandelier and are last of some 4,000 bulbs that the MTA has replaced in the terminal over the past two years. The MTA estimates that the switch will save it $200,000 a year in energy costs.

As MTA Metro North Railroad president Howard Permut put it, “Nearly 4,000 incandescent bulbs in Grand Central Terminal have been replaced with bulbs that use a fraction of the electricity and last up to 10 times longer. We expect to save at least $200,000 a year as a result of this change. We celebrate the successful completion of this major green initiative."

The switch to efficient bulbs and other energy saving initiatives is part of the MTA’s bid to win LEED Silver status for Grand Central Terminal—one of the key goals in its overall plan to become more “green” and sustainable.

Ultramarathoner Attempts 512 Miles in Six Days

Pam Reed, an ultramarathon runner with multiple records to her credit is trying to rack up one more. She will attempt to run 512 miles in six days at the twelfth annual Self Transcendence Six-Day Race—stopping only once every 24-hours for a sleep period of anywhere from one to four hours.

The race is run on a one mile track in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, and runners see how many miles they rack up going round and round on the track for six days.

If Reed is able to run her goal of 512 miles she will beat her personal best and she will hold the world record.

Pam Reed is the only woman to have won the Badwater Ultramarathon (in 2002 and 2003) and in 2005 she became the first person to run 300 miles without sleeping—completing the record run in slightly less than eight hours.

Ribbon Cut at Re-Done St. John’s Playground

NATURE IS LOVE ON EARTH: A new mural was unveiled this week as part of a $4.3 million dollar renovation of St. Johns Playground in Brooklyn.  (Courtesy NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation)
NATURE IS LOVE ON EARTH: A new mural was unveiled this week as part of a $4.3 million dollar renovation of St. Johns Playground in Brooklyn. (Courtesy NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation)
City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe joined Tzipi Ben-Haim from CITYarts Inc. and council member Albert Vann and others to cut the ribbon at the newly re-done St. John Playground in Brooklyn.

The playground has been through $4.3 million dollars of upgrades, including new basketball and handball courts, lighting, landscaping, showers, and multi-purpose turf field.

St. John’s Playground has been transformed into a state-of-the-art recreational destination in central Brooklyn with over $4.3 million in improvements. Thanks to the vision of Council Member Vann, the community benefits from a new playground with a basketball and handball complex,” said Benepe.

Also on display is a beautiful mural entitled “Nature is Love on Earth”—a collaboration between Parks, CITYarts and artist Duda Penteado.

NY State Senators Attend Talks With Puerto Rico Leaders

Senator Malcolm Smith, Majority Leader of the State Senate, together with
Senators: Rev. Ruben Diaz, Martin M. Dilan, Pedro Espada Jr., and Hiram
Monserrate, will travel to Puerto Rico to complete a series of meetings
with elected officials and discuss topics of importance, not only to
Puerto Ricans and Hispanics, but for every resident of the State of New
York.

Topics on the meeting agenda will include Puerto Rico’s nursing crisis, ways to improve ties between the government of Puerto Rico and the New York State government, and the impact of Puerto Rico’s Public Law 7—which could result in the laying off of 30,000 public employees—and the effects this could have on the Puerto Rican community in New York.

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