Thursday, November 25, 2010

Let's Have A Parade!

From: America's Parade
A brief history of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade:
1924 -- The first parade, legendarily initiated by request of Macy's employees, includes two blocks of marchers over a nearly six mile route.  The parade begins at 145th Street and ends, as always, at Macy's Herald Square location, with the arrival of Santa's float.  This year elephants and camels form the Central Park Zoo march the route.
1925 -- The parade is shortened and sets up at 110th Street.  The menagerie is expanded and now includes lions and tigers.
1926 -- The lions and tigers scare too many spectators and will not appear again.
1927 -- The live animals are replaced by four 'balloons' designed by Tony Sarg.  They are air-filled (rather than helium) and propped up by sticks.
1928 -- Helium balloon characters are first used in the parade.  When they arrive at Macy's they are intentionally released but soon unintentionally pop as they rise over the store.
1929 -- All ten balloons are fitted with 'safety valves' to release the helium as it expands as the balloon rises over the city.  Balloons touch down at distances of 100 miles, but because Macy's offers a $25 reward for return, some are shot down and others are fought over.  One balloon is torn in two by battling tug boats in the East River (and no reward is collected).
1932 -- After a mishap involving the attempted in-air capture of a balloon by a novice flier, balloon releases are terminated.
1933 -- One million spectators line the route and newsreel footage is shot and distributed to theaters nationwide.
1934 -- Disney characters (Mickey and Pluto plus three others) appear as balloons for the first time.
1938 -- First radio broadcast.
1942, 43, 44 -- WWII cancels the parade.
1945 -- The parade is broadcast on local television.
1947 -- Over the summer, Miracle on 34th Street is released to theaters nationwide.  It lasts through the holidays and garners its writing team and its Kris Kringle an Oscar.  Edmund Gwenn (Kringle), Maureen O'Hara, John Payne and Natalie Wood star in the film which was shot at Macy's and at the parade in 1946.
1948 -- NBC's first nationwide television broadcast of the parade.
1953 -- NBC's Today Show host Dave Garroway narrates the parade, beginning a long, if interrupted tradition.
1958 -- The Rockettes make their first parade appearance.
1960 -- NBC's first color telecast.
1962-72 -- Lorne Greene and Betty White are the television hosts of the parade.
1965 -- Underdog is the 85th balloon to appear in the parade.
1977-2000 -- Jean McFaddin is Macy's Parade Director.
1997 -- Cat in the Hat balloon accident will eventually lead to safety reforms.
2009 -- Parade route is changed to eliminate Broadway and travel instead down 7th Avenue to 34th Street where they pass by the reviewing stand at the southern facade of Macy's.  Accidents like the 1997 incident prompt the shift to the wider avenue, as well as the 2009 pedestrianization of Broadway through Times Square and Herald Square.

Monday, November 15, 2010

New York University

From: New York Magazine

These numbers are so astonishing to me, I just want to quote them outright:

"NYU now has more than 40,000 students, making it the largest private university in the country."

The city has more students in colleges and universities than Boston has people,” says Seth Pinsky, president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

(This is from an article about "NYU 2031," the University's expansion and redevelopment plans.)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

2010 Rockefeller Center Tree Facts

From: Daily News, NBC

This year's tree arrived at Rockefeller Center on Friday, November 12 from Mahopac, NY.  The 74 foot tall, 40 foot wide tree made its way down from Putnam County by truck and began preparations for its nationally televised illumination on November 30th.

The Norway Spruce (the traditional choice of tree for Rockefeller Center) came from the yard of  Peter Acton, an FDNY firefighter. Acton, who was a 9/11/2001 responder, learned of the decision on 9/11 of this year, when members of Rockefeller Center's gardening team knocked on his door.

The 12 ton giant (other reports say the tree weighs in at 18,000 pounds) will be wrapped in 30,000 LED lights on five miles of wire over the upcoming weeks.  It will then be topped by a Swarovski Star which is to be unveiled on November 18, 2010.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Educational Facts

From: The New York Times and The Daily News

Interesting tidbits of information about the City's Department of Education came forth as the Chancellor's office changes hands:

NYC public schools have a budget of $23 billion, with 135,000 employees (80,000 of whom are teachers) and over 1 million students.

(According to the Department of Education website, the city runs nearly 1,700 schools and has a slightly smaller budget of $21 billion and a slightly higher enrollment of 1.1 million students.)

These statistics make it the largest single school system in America.

(Joel Klein, the outgoing Chancellor, had a tenure of eight years, longer than any other.  He was appointed to the position by Mayor Bloomberg in 2002 after the State Legislature ceded control of the school system to the Mayor's office.)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New home for Fashion Shows

From: The New York Times
A few basic facts about Fashion Week and its new home:
New home in Damroch Park after 17 years at Bryant Park.
Runs until September 16.
Over 90 designers presenting their Spring and Summer collections during that time.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

How Many Starbucks?

Center for an Urban Future has done two excellent surveys of the City's retail landscape.  The 2008 and 2009 surveys are available on their site.
The list represents 277 national retailers who have at least two stores city-wide. Numbers are tallied counting non-kiosk outposts in all five boros (the downloadable PDF includes an incredibly detailed analysis by zip code and boro).
 In short, their results are as follows:

The top 10 in 2009:
  • Dunkin' Donuts: 429
  • Subway: 361
  • McDonald's: 258
  • Starbucks: 258
  • Duane Reade: 229
  • Baskin-Robbins: 207
  • Rite Aid: 195
  • Radio Shack: 115
  • GNC: 110
  • Sleepy's: 108 

Duane Reade's numbers may change when their acquisition by Wallgreens is finalized.   And while the takeover yielded some interesting statistics, there may be trouble brewing, as the former CEO and CFO were convicted of securities fraud on June 8, 2010.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Richest Man in NYC

From: Forbes

He's the 23rd richest man in the world.  But with a net worth of only $18 billion, Michael Bloomberg has dropped out of the Top 20.  Nevertheless, he still holds his position in the city as the richest (and Mayor, of course).  The Americans above him are Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Larry Ellison, and the heirs of Sam Walton.

Tweets from Underground


(2/23/2010)  In 2008, Times Sq-42 St (1,2,3,7,N,R,S,Q,W/A,C,E) with average weekday ridership of 189,507 ranked 1st. Historically has been.

(2/19/2010) NYC Transit annual ridership drops in 2009 for first time in six years, 2.31 billion served second highest since 1969.

Weakened economy & regional job losses led to drop; ridership down across the board by 2.7% or 63.5 million trips from 2008.  

Total 2009 subway ridership was 1.58 billion, 2nd highest since 1951, but 2.7 percent (44.2 million trips) off of 2008.

Average weekday ridership was 5.1 million in 2009, 2nd highest since 1952, but a 2.7 percent drop (139,000 trips) from 2008

Largest decrease in Manhattan, average weekday ridership down 3.6 percent. Queens down 2.5%, Bklyn 1.1%, Bronx down 0.6% . 


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

From: The Port Authority of NY & NJ

I don't know how useful these numbers are for tour guides, but they're absolutely fascinating to me.

JKF airport welcomed (in a down year) 47,322,573 passengers and crew flying during 2009.

The airport saw 414,920 flights over that time period.

Taxis were dispatched at a rate of more than 5 per minute every hour of every day of the year (2,798,833 total).

Airtrain brought nearly 4.5 million (4,499,935) passengers to the airport.

And 4,429,201 cars were parked at the massive Port Authority parking lots around the airport that year.

Up in the Air & Taxi Driver

From: The Port Authority of NY & NJ

Despite the fact that last year was the worst year for flight volume at area airports (The worst since 2004, according to the NY Times.) the numbers at Laguardia and Kennedy are impressive nonetheless.

In the 12 months of 2009 nearly 23 million (22,829,249) passengers passed through the airport on just under 354 thousand flights (353,834).

And when those passengers arrive in NYC they make their way home or to their hotels via nearly 3.25 million (3,247,619) taxis dispatched from the airport.

Nearly 1.5 million (1,467,839) cars were parked in the LGA parking lots over that year, waiting for their owners to return home.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The World Trade Center Site, After 9/11/01

From: The Port Authority's World Trade Center Pages
(I've edited this slightly)

September 12, 2001 Last survivor is rescued from the WTC site at approximately 12:30 p.m.

September 14, 2001

National Day of Prayer and Remembrance; President Bush visits Ground Zero.

September 17, 2001

New York Stock Exchange reopens.

September 23, 2001

Prayer for America service takes place at Yankee Stadium.

October 28,

An interfaith ceremony is held at the WTC site.

March 11,

Six-month anniversary of the September 11 attacks is marked with beams of light.

May 30,

The WTC recovery ends with a public Last Column Ceremony.


The 9-11 Commission is created to study the events leading up to the September 11 attacks and to provide recommendations on emergency preparedness and response. The 9-11 Commission issues its report on July 22, 2004. 

November 2002

A groundbreaking ceremony is held for 7 WTC and the Con Ed substation.


The Port Authority and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) announce the selection of Memory Foundations by Studio Daniel Libeskind as the design concept for The World Trade Center site.

September 2003

A refined WTC Site Master Plan is presented.

November 2003

The temporary WTC PATH Station opens on November 23, ahead of schedule, reconnecting lower Manhattan and New Jersey.

December 2003

Design concept for The World Trade Center site’s 1,776-foot One World Trade Center is unveiled on December 19.


Architects Michael Arad and Peter Walker present the winning design concept for The World Trade Center Memorial. Santiago Calatrava presents design concepts for The World Trade Center Transportation Hub.


Ground breaking for the One World Trade Center takes place.

December 2004

Final design of the WTC Memorial and museum is unveiled.


Design is unveiled for The World Trade Center Cultural Center by Snøhetta.


A revised design for the One World Trade Center is released with unprecedented life safety and security features.


The Port Authority Board of Commissioners authorizes the $2.221 billion World Trade Center Transportation Hub project. Architect Santiago Calatrava presents his refined design.


The Federal Transit Administration and The Port Authority announce $699 million of additional federal funding for WTC infrastructure work, and $478 million for a new World Trade Center Vehicle Security Center project.

September 2005

Construction begins on the World Trade Center Transportation Hub on September 6.


Preliminary construction work begins on The World Trade Center Memorial on March 13.


The Port Authority Board of Commissioners approves the framework proposal for a new lease agreement with World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein on April 27. Under the framework proposal, Silverstein Properties continues to build Towers 2, 3 and 4. Silverstein Properties surrenders its lease rights for the One World Trade Center and Tower 5 to The Port Authority.


Construction officially begins on the One World Trade Center on April 28.


Seven World Trade Center opens on May 23, the first building to be rebuilt in Lower Manhattan after the September 11 attacks.


The Port Authority assumes responsibility for construction of the World Trade Center Memorial.


Preliminary work begins on east/west concourse for World Trade Center Transportation Hub. Construction of The World Trade Center Memorial resumes.

September 2006

The Port Authority finalizes agreements on September 21, giving The Port Authority control of construction of the One World Trade Center and Tower 5. Architectural designs for Towers 2, 3, and 4 are unveiled.

June 2007
On June 21, the Board of Commissioners authorizes The Port Authority to enter into a long-term sub-net lease with JPMorgan Chase & Co. to develop Tower 5 as a 1.3 million-square-foot skyscraper at The World Trade Center site.


Tower 3 and 4 site turned over to Silverstein Properties.


PATH Temporary North Access Station opens.

September 2008

First Installation of Memorial Steel.

The World Trade Center History

From: The Port Authority's World Trade Center pages

World's Fair,
Flushing, NY
"World trade center" pavilion is dedicated to "world peace through trade."


Downtown Lower Manhattan Association is created by real estate developer David Rockefeller to revitalize lower Manhattan and begins to promote the idea of a "world trade and finance center" in New York City.


David Rockefeller presents a plan for a world trade center along the East River of Manhattan. The Port of New York Authority is commissioned to study the plan.  


On March 10, Port Authority issues a favorable report on the feasibility of developing a world trade center.


New York and New Jersey authorize the development of the World Trade Center.


World Trade Center location moves to West Side amidst protests by displaced business owners.


The Port Authority wins legal challenge to the development of the WTC. 


The Port Authority unveils an architectural plan for the WTC featuring the world’s tallest buildings.


Construction begins on March 21 at the WTC site with the demolition of 78 Dey Street.


Excavation work begins for the WTC.  First use of "slurry wall" method in the United States.


New York City Board of Estimates formally approves the WTC legislation.


The North Tower of the WTC exceeds the height of Empire State Building, making it the tallest building in the world. 


The first tenants move into North Tower of the WTC on December 15. 


The North Tower of the WTC is topped off at 1,368 feet on December 23.


The South Tower of the WTC is topped off at 1,362 feet on July 19.


The first tenant moves into Two World Trade Center (South Tower).


The first tenant moves into Five World Trade Center (Northeast Plaza Building).


The World Trade Center is dedicated on April 4.


U.S. Customs Service moves into Six World Trade Center.


Tightrope artist Phillippe Petit performs an unauthorized walk between the Twin Towers on April 7. 


Top of the World Observation Deck opens at Two World Trade Center (South Tower).


The Windows of the World Restaurant opens at the top of the North Tower on April 19.


The first tenant moves into Four World Trade Center (The Commodities Exchange Center).


The 360-foot antenna mast atop One World Trade Center is completed.


The Vista International Hotel, the first hotel built in Lower Manhattan since 1836, opens.


Seven World Trade Center opens.


On February 26, terrorists detonate 1,500 pounds of explosives in a van parked in the underground public parking lot of the WTC.


The WTC reopens for business on March 19, led by tenant New York Governor Mario Cuomo and his staff.  The Port Authority implements a $250 million upgrade plan focusing on life safety and security.   


The WTC is designated one of the "Seven Wonders of the Modern World" by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The WTC is visited by every U.S. president between the time of its opening and the time of its destruction at least once, as well as by many dignitaries and heads of state.


A memorial fountain is dedicated in the WTC plaza to the victims of the 1993 bombing. 


The Vista International Hotel is sold and renamed the New York Marriott World Trade Center Hotel.


On September 24, The Port Authority announces plans to seek a 99-year net lease of the complex.


The WTC reaches its highest occupancy rate. 


The WTC is net-leased on July 24 to private developer Silverstein Properties, Inc. for approximately $3.2 billion. A three-to-six month transition period commences. 

Details of the First Attack on the WTC

From: The Port Authority's World Trade Center Pages
(I've left this unedited, it's the same as written on the PANYNJ site.)


12:18 p.m.

The World Trade Center is attacked for the first time when terrorists detonate 1,500 pounds of explosives in a van parked in the underground public lot of the WTC, two levels below the southern wall of the North Tower. The attack kills six people, including a pregnant woman, injures more than a thousand, creates a five-story crater beneath the towers, and results in hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

Less than a month later, the WTC opens again for business and a yearlong, $250 million recovery plan commences

The first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center took the lives of four Port Authority employees, as well as an employee of Windows on the World and a visitor to the WTC. We remember them now, and always.
  • Robert Kirkpatrick
  • Stephen Knapp
  • William Macko
  • Monica Rodriguez Smith and her unborn child
  • Wilfredo Mercado (Windows on the World)
  • John DiGiovanni. (Visitor to the WTC)
The memorial that commemorated their lives was destroyed on September 11, 2001. During the rescue and recovery effort, Port Authority police discovered a fragment of the original memorial. It will become part of the permanent collection of the new National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

Timeline of the events of 9/11/01

(I've left this unedited, it's the same as written on the PANYNJ site.)

On September 11, 2,752 men, women and children fell victim to
the second terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

September 11, 2001:
"Today: Less humid. Sunshine. High 79."

Polls open in New York City for primary elections.


American Airlines Flight 11 takes off from Boston’s Logan International Airport for Los Angeles. 


New York City public schools open for the fourth day of the new school year.


United Airlines Flight 175 takes off from Boston’s Logan International Airport for Los Angeles. 


American Airlines Flight 77 takes off from Washington, DC’s Dulles International Airport for Los Angeles.


United Airlines Flight 93 departs 42 minutes late from Newark International Airport for San Francisco.


After receiving a call from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Boston control center that Flight 11 has been hijacked, the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) scrambles two military jets to the New York area from Otis Air National Guard Base, Cape Cod. 


Hijackers crash American Airlines Flight 11 into floors 94 to 98 of 1 World Trade Center, the North Tower.


The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) receives the first report of a plane crash into the North Tower. Evacuation in the North and South Towers begins.


FDNY, the New York Police Department (NYPD) and the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) are at their highest mobilization levels. Port Authority civilian staff and all on-duty WTC response staff have mobilized.  


Hijackers crash United Airlines Flight 175 into floors 78 to 84 of 2 World Trade Center, the South Tower. 


Officials begin closing New York City bridges and tunnels to all but emergency vehicles and pedestrians.  


The Federal Aviation Administration orders the first-ever nationwide ground-stop, prohibiting the take-off of flights. Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) jets establish combat air patrol over Manhattan.  


The New York Stock Exchange does not open at its scheduled time; its employees evacuate.


Hijackers crash American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon.


The Federal Aviation Administration orders all 4,546 planes in North American airspace to land at the nearest airport.

By 9:45 a.m.

Evacuations are under way at the United States Capitol, the White House, the Empire State Building, the United Nations, the Kennedy Space Center, Disney World and major sites across the United States. 


2 WTC, the South Tower, collapses in 9 seconds.

10:03 a.m.

Hijackers crash United Airlines Flight 93 in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers launch a counterattack to seize control of the aircraft. 

10:28 a.m.

1 WTC, the North Tower, collapses in 11 seconds. All 16 acres of the World Trade Center site are in ruins.  A rescue and recovery effort begins immediately at the WTC Site. 

10:30 a.m.

New York Governor George E. Pataki declares a state of emergency in New York State.

11:02 a.m.

New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani orders the evacuation of all of Lower Manhattan below Canal Street, including workers, residents, tourists, and schoolchildren.


A state of emergency is declared in Washington, DC.


Mayor Giuliani holds a press conference at the New York City Police Academy, estimating that “the number of casualties will be more than any of us can bear.”


7 World Trade Center collapses.


President George W. Bush addresses the nation, saying: “Today, our nation saw … the very worst of human nature. And we responded with the best of America—with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.”

All told, 2,975 men, women and children fell victim to the second terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the terrorist attacks in Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Wildlife in the City: Coyotes

From: NYTimes

The coyote, a one- or two-year-old female ... was in Trinity Church Cemetery at 155th St. and B'way ...when officers from the NYPD’s ESU rolled up. (A chase ensued and after an exam at the Bronx Zoo) ... the coyote was set free in the Hunter Island woodlands of Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, the city’s largest park.

But not before being named Trinity — for the cemetery, for being the third coyote to turn up in Manhattan in the past 10 years and for the vulpine female character in “The Matrix,” said the parks commissioner, Adrian Benepe.

Like the other Manhattan coyotes, spotted in 2006 and 1999, Trinity is believed to have ambled down the West Side of Manhattan from Westchester County, where coyotes roam in fair numbers.

“The Amtrak rail corridor there is almost like a wildlife corridor,” Mr. Benepe said.

From 01/21/2010

How Expensive IS Expensive? Residential Edition

From: The Real Deal

[I'm going to paraphrase for the sake of clarity]

The characters involved make this particularly interesting.  They include:

Lily Safra.
Considered a socialite and/or a philanthropist, she is perhaps more significantly the wife of deceased banking scion Edmond Safra. His namesake bank is located further down the avenue at the corner of 546 5th Ave and 45th Street.  In 1999 Edmond died or was murdered in a fire at his Monaco home.  Dominick Dunne wrote about this incident in Vanity Fair.

Kenneth Griffin.
Griffin is the "founder of the $13 billion (Chicago-based) hedge fund Citadel Investment Group."  Despite difficult times Griffin had been actively shopping in the fall.

Ara Hovnanian.
Hovnanian is the CEO of Hovnanian Enterprises, a New Jersey-based national homebuilder and marketer,  which, at the time, had reported 13 consecutive quarterly losses during the housing downturn.

820 5th Avenue.
At the corner of 63rd Street, this building has a very tough board, and few available apartments.  After all, there's only twelve floors and with only one apartment per floor, that's not a lot of opportunity for turnover.

According to property records, on December 16,  Lily Safra sold her 12th floor unit to Griffin for $40 million and, on the same day, purchsaed the 4th floor apartment from Hovnanian for $33 million.

Hovnanian reportedly moved downtown.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tribute in Light to continue through 9/11/2011

From: Downtown Alliance

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation announced (12/21/2009) that its Board of Directors has approved funding to ensure the continuation of ... (the) Tribute in Light (memorial program).

During its meeting on Thursday, Dec. 17th, the Board committed additional funding to ensure the continuation of the Tribute in Light, an arts installation that shoots two beams of light high into the night sky to commemorate those lost during the September 11th tragedies.

Universally embraced by the public since it was launched in March, 2002, the Tribute in Light can be seen from up to 25 miles away in any direction on a clear night.

This funding will ensure Tribute in Light continues through the tenth anniversary of 9/11 when the National September 11 Museum and Memorial is scheduled to open.

Municipal Arts Society Senior Vice-President Frank Sanchis said: "With the generous support of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, MAS has been able to produce the Tribute in Light for the past eight years. The Tribute can be seen by more than thirteen million people each year; it is a poignant memorial to those who perished on September 11, 2001, as well as to those who worked so hard to get our city through that terrible trial."

The Board approved $695,000 for Tribute in Light.

New Immigrant Experience: Wages

From: The NY State Dept. of Labor

(see also: National Employment Law Project NYC Study)

Investigation in Upscale Park Slope Neighborhood in Brooklyn
Department Makes Announcement as Part of National Wage Theft Day Commemoration

“In the vibrant Park Slope neighborhood, filled with writers, activists, and growing families, we found that many of the bustling restaurants were staffed by workers who were paid grossly illegal wages,” said Commissioner M. Patricia Smith. “This investigation shows that wage theft happens not only in dimly-lit factories or grim depressed neighborhoods -- it happens everywhere. Even our very nicest neighborhoods sometimes have sweatshops on their main streets. Today, during the National Day of Action to Stop Wage Theft, we continue to work for justice for these and other underpaid workers.”

New York State's minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, and employers are required to pay overtime for weekly hours past forty at one and one-half times the employee's regular pay rate. In certain limited cases, employers are permitted to pay a lower, “tipped” rate to employees who receive tips. However, employers must pay the appropriate wage to tipped employees and may not expect them to work for tips only.

After inspecting the 25 [restaurants] in Park Slope, the Department expanded the cases to include two jointly owned restaurants in adjacent neighborhoods. In total, 207 workers were underpaid more than $910,000. Some of the worst violations were for delivery employees working 60 to seventy hours per week and paid a salary of $210.00 to 275.00 per week. At one restaurant, workers were paid as little as $2.75 per hour.

From 11/19/2009

Sunday, January 24, 2010

How Expensive IS Expensive? Office Edition

From: The Real Deal via Crain's

Brazil's Banco Itau has signed a 15-year lease for 25,000 square feet on the top floor at the General Motors Building, at 767 Fifth Avenue, between 58th and 59th streets. The lease will take up approximately half a floor.

With a rate of more than $130 per square foot, the lease marks the city's most expensive deal of the year, Crain's reported. The GM tower is one of a scant few in the city that still rakes in more than $100 per square foot. Others include the Lever House at 390 Park Avenue and the Seagram Building at 375 Park Avenue.

(As well as 9 W. 57th Street, says Crain's)

NYC: Still Safest Big City in USA


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today announced that New York City remains the safest big city in America, according to data contained in the FBI’s Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report released today, which covers the first six months of this year.

The report shows that violent crime decreased by eight percent in New York City during the first half of 2009, outpacing a national decline. Property Crime fell by six percent in New York City during the first six months of the year.

Total Crime Index
for the Nation’s Largest Cities,
According to FBI Data

1st Half of 2009


Crime Index Total per 100,000


New York



Los Angeles



San Jose



San Diego



Las Vegas















San Antonio


New York City trumps Orlando, Las Vegas as most popular U.S. destination

From: USA Today

NEW YORK (AP) — The number of visitors to New York City fell last year for the first time since 2001 when terrorists struck. But tourism declines elsewhere across the U.S. made it the most popular destination in the country for the first time in almost two decades, tourism officials said Monday.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg painted the 3.9% decline — an estimated 45.3 million visitors — as a victory, saying that amid the recession the city had anticipated losing as much as 10% of tourists. The city expects to recoup most of the loss this year and remains on track to hit its longstanding goal of 50 million yearly visitors by 2012, the mayor said.

Other hot spots were hit harder, making New York America's No. 1 destination for the first time since 1990, the mayor said. For nearly two decades that title was held by either Las Vegas or Orlando.

Foreign visitors — traditionally the biggest spenders — fell to 8.6 million in 2009, a drop of almost 10% from the year before.


Still, some attractions, including the Statue of Liberty, reported jumps in visitation. And the city's leisure and hospitality industry — which provides one-tenth of the city's private sector jobs — actually grew in 2009.

Welcome to Know It All New Yorker

I'm a professional tour guide in New York City.

There's something you might have guessed about tour guides: more times than not, when we get together, the stories begin to flow. If you're not a tour guide, you probably want to steer clear of one of these situations -- they're pretty intense. Every once in a while I hear a story and am extremely skeptical -- I'm listening and I'm taking mental notes to do a fact check at home.

I pride myself on knowing the 'facts' before I start on a story. But a while back another guide asked me about the source of one of my tidbits. And I couldn't remember where I'd read it and started to wonder if I was right. Right away I went home and scoured the web and brought out a pile of books to review. I wished I had a site that I could rely on to do a fact-check. (And I still don't have confirmation that Roberta Flack and Yoko One live *next door* to each other in the Dakota...)

That's what I want this blog to be: a place for serious tour guides to find attributed facts to use at work.

If you're not a guide, that's ok, but if you're here on a regular basis, maybe you need to check out this page.

You won't find a lot of 'stories' here. Nor will you find information about museum hours or exhibits or the like. If that's what you're looking for, there are a good number of excellent sites I've linked to that are perfect for that sort of thing. They're the ones I read.

What I'm aiming for is an indexed list of useful facts and quick answers to often-asked questions. There'll be a bit of context included, but mostly it will be a direct quotation of 'just the facts' and there will always be a link (or book reference) to get you to the original material.

Feel free to make suggestions or ask questions. I look forward to hearing from you!

Jonathan Tourguide