Do you love French fries, potato chips, salty pretzels…do you see where this is going, New York? If you’re a fan of salty foods (and who isn’t, really), you probably know that all that salt isn’t great for you. Now, the National Salt Reduction Initiative aims to do something about it.
New York City wants you to reduce your salt consumption, and for starters, 16 companies and restaurants have committed to help you do just that.
The initiative is voluntary, and participating companies, restaurants, and chains include Starbucks, Heinz, Au Bon Pain, Subway and Goya. They have agreed to reduce salt in their products by 25 percent over the next five years. Other restaurants and companies have been urged to join the initiative as well.
According to New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Americans get 80 percent of their salt intake from packaged foods and restaurants in the form of preservatives. Adding salt yourself only accounts for about 1 percent of salt consumption. About nine percent comes from sodium that occurs naturally in food. Health organizations recommend about 1500 to 2400 milligrams of salt per day per healthy adult.
Reducing salt intake has been shown to help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes; city officials say that as many as 23,000 New Yorkers could reduce their risks of dying from those problems.
Officials promise that the reduction will be gradual–and that New Yorkers won’t even notice the difference.
The city already has mandatory rules for posting calorie counts as well as a ban on trans fats.
The ultimate goal? To reduce American’s salt consumption by 20 percent by the year 2014.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a gun control organization partly overseen by New York’s Mayor Mike Bloomberg, is using footage from the Columbine High School shootings to get their point across. The organization counts more than 500 mayors from across the country as part of their group, which seeks to prevent the purchase and dissemination of illegally obtained guns by criminals. Their aim is to develop laws, practices, and policies that will allow Americans to own guns, but prevent criminals from possessing them illegally. Mayors who belong to the group come from a diverse range of locations , including Orlando, Florida; Portsmouth, VA; St. Paul, MN; and Vista, CA.
More than $250,000 will be spent on ads to air on cable TV stations. The ads, which feature video shot by surveillance cameras at Columbine High School, started running yesterday in states including Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts and Virginia, in order to reach the senators of those states.
The ads make the point that four of the guns used in those horrific shootings were purchased at gun shows, where background checks are not required when purchasing a firearm.
Last year, more than $1.5 million was spent by New York City on detectives who went undercover at gun shows and bought weapons. The detectives even told the sellers that they wouldn’t pass a background check.
Congress has not been able to push through laws requiring background checks for gun purchasers. A spokesman for the National Rifle Association (NRA) said that background checks at gun shows would take too long, and also hamper the rights of gun owners who purchased their weapons legally.
Love the Pedestrian Mall in New York’s Times Square? Hate it? Completely indifferent to its presence? Well, whatever your feelings, it’s here to stay—at least for the foreseeable future.
An eight-month trial called Greenlight closed 42nd to 47th Streets to traffic. The trial was undertaken to see if getting rid of the three-way intersection where Broadway meets Seventh Avenue would speed up traffic.
Some business, drivers and even pedestrians preferred the old set-up, while many people hailed the plaza and the chance to hang out, read a book, and have lunch, especially during the warmer months.
Mayor Bloomberg announced this past Thursday at a news conference that traffic in the area is down as result of the changes; in addition, he claims that traffic speed increased by approximately seven percent.
(Many people disagree, and say that the function of the plaza is merely to increase tourism to the area, and that traffic flow has not been helped at all. A number of people wander over to see the set-up out of curiosity, and neighborhood restaurants have benefited by being able to send the overflow of customers to the additional outdoor seating.)
Safety conditions also improved, Mayor Bloomberg added, and public response, overall, appears to be favorable; tourists, New Yorkers and businesses were all polled for their reaction.
Now that the plaza is moving into more permanent residency, plans to put in new paving and redesign the space are afoot.
Forget that unwieldy, old-fashioned street map–a new phone app can help you find the nearest New York City subway station just by glancing around you.
Wayfinder NYC gives walking directions to subway and PATH stations that are calculated by GPS. The directions are superimposed over the phone’s camera.
The program won big last night (Thursday, Feb. 4) for having the best new use of city data online.
Wayfinder, which works on Android mobile phones, was designed in response to the city’s “NYC BigApps” competition, which gave programmers 170 sets of city data and the mandate to find new ways to use them online. Data provided included everything from restaurant inspection results to taxi info to library catalogues and traffic updates.
Mayor Mike Bloomberg presented the awards last night to Victor Sima and Steven Lao at the IAC building in Chelsea. More than 110 applications were submitted in this inaugural competition.
The point of the challenge? To give a nod to New York’s high-tech and media industries–and also to give New Yorkers much-needed improved services in certain areas. It was also designed to make New York City government more accessible to New Yorkers. The competition was part of Mayor Bloomberg’s initiative to make city government more transparent to the public.
Mayor Bloomberg, of course, made his sizeable fortune in information technology himself, so although the designers won about $7500 in prizes, who knows what’s next?
New York, you have excellent taste.
Whether you’re here for work, play, or something in between, a study released Monday confirms what the rest of us might have modestly predicated: New York is the most popular tourist destination in the country.
Although tourism was actually down slightly (45.2 million visitors last year as opposed to 47 million in 2008), the city has in fact overtaken Orlando, Florida (read: Disney World) as the most popular tourist spot in the USA. We always knew the mayhem could beat the Mouse.
The city was the top spot for visitors from overseas as well: 8.6 million international tourists stopped by, more than twice the number that visited Los Angeles. (Movie stars have nothing on Abercrombie and Fitch.)
New York took the top honors for the first time since 1990; unusual in a time of economic downturn. Mayor Bloomberg also stated that employment levels rose in the leisure and hospitality areas, even passing the pre-recession levels.
Interestingly, predictions for tourism in 2009 in New York were fairly grim, planning for a 10 percent decrease. A combination of strong promotions, perhaps coupled with the city still being a good value for foreign visitors, most probably led to the high turnout. In addition, Americans are taking the opposite approach from those foreign visitors–staying closer to home and not traveling overseas as much.
An increase in tourists is expected for next year, with a potential 46.7 million visitors alighting in our fair city.
New York is aiming to receive 50 million visitors a year by 2012.
New Yorkers, tourists to this fair city, and hawkers of New York-themed merchandise now have another reason to gloat: New York is not simply the coolest big city in the country, but now it’s also the safest.
Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announced yesterday that New York is the safest large city in the U.S. Their findings are based on the Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, released yesterday by the FBI. The report covers the first six months of 2009, and shows that the violent crime in New York fell by eight percent, a larger decline than the national average. In addition, property crime fell by six percent during the first six months of the year.
The news is not only encouraging, but somewhat surprising, considering the state of the economy and the almost-always rise in crime that occurs in a downturn.
Other safe cities out of the 25 largest cities in the country included in the index? Several in California made the list: Los Angeles (really?); San Jose, and San Diego, as well as Los Vegas, Dallas, Houston, and others.
Out of 253 cities in the United States with populations of more than 100,000 people, New York’s crime rate ranks it 241st-but when you consider that the city falls between Amherst, New York and Sunnyvale, California, that doesn’t seem so terrible.
Go forth into the Big Apple and celebrate!
The Upper East Side of Manhattan may have wealthy residents, posh stores, elegant restaurants, and a kind of “Gossip Girl” elitism and glamour–but it also has among the highest levels of air pollution in the city.
The first comprehensive study of street-level air quality was released yesterday by the City’s Department of Health. It showed, surprisingly, that New York’s Upper East Side and the Bronx have the highest levels of air pollution in the city.
The highest levels of pollution are found in areas that have heavy car and truck traffic and a high concentration of buildings with oil heat.
Washington Heights and midtown Manhattan also fared poorly in the survey, while the South Shore of Staten Island and Little Neck and Bayside n Queens were found to have the cleanest air. One hundred and fifty mounted sensors tracked pollutants like sulfur dioxide and elemental carbon as well as the airborne pollutants given off by oil heat. No. 4 and No. 6 oil are particularly bad.
The pollutants contribute to asthma, irritate lungs, and can even lead to heart attacks.
Ironically, New York’s Mayor Mike Bloomberg lives on the Upper East Side—and he’s a staunch advocate of clean air policies. (When the survey was released, he was—wait for it–in Copenhagen at the Clean Air/Global Warming Conference.)
No word yet on whether Blair and Serena are moving.
Tired of paying $2.25 for bus fare? We certainly are. But if New York’s Mayor Mike Bloomberg has his way, transit riders on crosstown buses will get a break–the mayor has proposed that all crosstown buses be free.
The plan makes sense: It would both encourage ridership (fewer cars; good for the environment) and ease people’s financial burden (good for people’s wallets and psyches.) Bloomberg explained that by drivers not having to collect fares, they would be able to load and unload passengers much more quickly. Many crosstown bus riders are already using the subway, so not much revenue would be lost. (Crosstown buses are also arguably among the slowest in the city.)
Any lost revenue, Bloomberg argued, would be made up by faster travel times, which would allow fewer buses on those routes.
Bloomberg has proposed a number of transportation-related incentives in recent weeks as part of his re-election campaign, but the MTA, oddly enough, is not subject to much control by the mayor (he controls 4 of the 14 votes on the board.) The proposed incentives have included reopening several Long Island railroad stations in Queens and extending the V line from the lower east side into Brooklyn.
Whether the mayor actually has the power to put any of these initiatives into effect remains to be seen–but using the word “free” to lure voters in an election year is often a good ploy.
Making New York City more livable for its aging population is one of the goals put forward today by Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Speaker Christine Quinn, and The New York Academy of Medicine.
Fifty-nine initiatives were unveiled to make the city more senior-friendly as part of its goal to become a World Health Organization Age-Friendly City.
The blueprint focuses on four areas: housing; health and social services; community and civic participation; and public spaces and transportation. (Some might say that if even one area were covered even moderately successfully, it would be an improvement for this segment of the city’s population.)
With many older New Yorkers choosing to stay in the city rather than retire elsewhere, these measures are crucially needed. More than 1.3 million older New Yorkers call the city home; this number is expected to increase by as much as 50 percent by the year 2030.
The new services include everything from assigning artists to senior centers to offer free art programs to making available free bus transportation to supermarkets so seniors can have access to healthier food.
What else is being proposed? Offering discounts to seniors on gym memberships; hosting a citywide summit on palliative care this fall; and establishing a more intergenerational volunteering effort by partnering with schools and nonprofit organizations.
A Liberty Helicopter Sightseeing Tours helicopter and a small plane that took off from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey collided midair above the Hudson River on August 8, killing nine with no survivors. All bodies and wreckage have since been recovered from the river. The passengers taking a tour of New York City on the helicopter were five Italian tourists.
The accident occurred in a busy corridor over the Hudson in which pilots are free to decide their route, as long as they stay under 1,000 feet and don’t get too close to skyscrapers. Despite the tragic accident, tourists have remained unfazed and took to the skies for tours the very next day after the accident. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has even encouraged helicopter tours to continue, and that “there’s no reason why having helicopter tours shouldn’t be safe … I certainly don’t think that we should ban them.” A city councilwoman is pressing to ban tourist helicopter rides over Manhattan.
Taking in a birds-eye view from a helicopter is an increasingly popular tourism attraction in New York City and a thriving business despite the risk and high cost. Liberty Helicopter Tours offers a Lady Liberty tour costing $135 for 6 to 8 minutes, Big Apple tour of Manhattan landmarks for $165, a 16 to 20 minute tour of all five boroughs for $230, and a romantic private ride around Manhattan at night for $1,010.