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