Sunday brought more bad news for New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner as his campaign manager resigned and poll numbers continue to plummet. NBC's Kristen Welker reports.
By Daniel Arkin, Staff Writer, NBC News
Anthony Weiner’s campaign manager has quit in the wake of new revelations about the New York City mayoral candidate's online communications with women, according to a spokeswoman.
The move was first reported by The New York Times late Saturday and confirmed to NBC News by Barbara Morgan, Weiner’s press contact.
Danny Kedem, 31, informed Weiner that he could no longer run day-to-day operations after the mayoral hopeful admitted Tuesday that he continued to send raunchy photos and messages to women after resigning from Congress in 2011 amid a "sexting" scandal, according to the Times report.
When contacted by NBC News, Kedem declined to comment.
Kedem’s resignation deals another blow to Weiner’s beleagured campaign, which has struggled to rebound in the polls following the candidate’s disclosures in the last week.
On Tuesday, Weiner confessed to explicit communications with six to ten women – three of them after he resigned – after a gossip website published texts and photos it said were from 2012.
Eduardo Munoz / Reuters
Former U.S. congressman from New York and current Democratic candidate for New York City Mayor Anthony Weiner stops to speak to the media outside after speaking to members of Brownsville Community Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York on July 28.
At a press conference Tuesday, Weiner – accompanied by his wife, Huma Abedin, an aide to Hillary Clinton – apologized and asked voters for a second chance.
“Some of these things happened before my resignation. Some of them happened after,” Weiner said.
“While some things that have been posted today are true and some are not, there is no question that what I did was wrong. This behavior is behind me,” he said, calling his digital indiscretions “problematic to say the least and destructive to say the most.”
On Monday, the gossip website The Dirty claimed that Weiner, allegedly using the alias “Carlos Danger,” met an unnamed 22-year-old woman on the social media website Formspring in July 2012, sent her explicit photos and had phone sex with her before the relationship “fizzled.”
Weiner, a six-term congressman who represented the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, resigned in disgrace in June 2011 after it was revealed he sent a photo of himself in his underwear to a woman via Twitter.
Danny Kadem, Anthony Weiner's campaign manager, has stepped down after the candidate's most recent publicity regarding his behavior online, according to The New York Times. TODAY's Erica Holt interviews David Gregory of NBC's "Meet the Press" about the impact this could have on Weiner's campaign.
He initially denied it was him in the photo or that he sent it, but Weiner eventually came clean, confessing that he had carried on “inappropriate” conversations through Twitter, Facebook, email and over the phone with six women over a three-year period.
And yet, less than two years after a stunning fall from grace, Weiner, 48, appeared to be in the midst of a comeback.
Two months after he announced his return to the political stage, he was near or at the top in several polls in the race to replace Michael Bloomberg, eclipsing New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who was widely considered the frontrunner.
Kedem was likely a key ingredient in Weiner's successful formula, helping to transform the long-shot candidate -- a mainstay of tabloid headlines and late-night talk show punchlines -- into a legitimate contender for New York City's top job.
Weiner has not indicated that he will drop out of the race.
Tracy Connor of NBC News contributed to this report.
New York City mayoral candidates Anthony Weiner, left, and Christine Quinn, right, with the Rev. Al Sharpton outside the public housing where they spent the night.
By Jennifer Peltz, NBCNewYork.com
For five mayoral candidates on the campaign trail, this was a night off the beaten track.
Five Democratic contenders awoke Sunday as guests in public housing apartments, where they had spent the night to get a firsthand look at mold and other problems.
Toting sleeping bags, pillows and bouquets for their hosts, the candidates — city Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, City Comptroller John Liu, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, former Comptroller Bill Thompson and former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner — arrived Saturday evening to bunk with different families at the Lincoln Houses complex.
Local advocacy groups organized the sleepover to highlight conditions in Lincoln and other complexes run by the New York City Housing Authority. Candidates said they were troubled by what they saw.
"The overall living conditions of the buildings were deplorable," Liu said in a statement Sunday, though he said he'd had a comfortable stay in his hosts' meticulously kept apartment.
NYCHA representatives declined to comment on the event. Organizers said they hoped it would inform the candidates' thinking if one of them wins the mayoralty this fall.
"They're going to have actual, lived experiences, and we're hoping they take that and use it for policy," said Afua Atta-Mensah of the Urban Justice Center, which spearheaded the event with Community Voices Heard and the National Action Network.
About 400,000 people citywide live in developments run by NYCHA, which has taken heat over a backlog of repairs, weekslong power and heat outages in some developments after Superstorm Sandy and a plan to lease land in some complexes for new apartments aimed mostly at richer residents.
The Democratic candidates have called for changes to the housing authority, and some want to replace Chairman John Rhea. Current Mayor Michael Bloomberg has defended Rhea.
NYCHA said earlier this month that it has cut the repair backlog from 423,000 work orders to less than 220,000 and aims to finish all of them by the end of the year. The agency says the leasing plan is its best hope for raising $30 million to $50 million needed for larger-scale work, such as replacing elevators and roofs.
Advocates say residents are waiting too long for the agency to deal with serious mold outbreaks, holes in walls and other significant problems, and the politician-guests emerged sounding similar notes.
"Staying overnight here is a powerful reminder that behind the thousands of backlogged repairs that NYCHA never seems to get to are families living in unacceptable conditions that bring shame to this city," de Blasio said in a statement.
Among the other Democratic, Republican and independent mayoral hopefuls is former federal housing official Adolfo Carrion Jr., a now-unaffiliated former Democrat running on the Independence Party line. His campaign said he'd been unable to attend the overnight event because of a scheduling conflict.
Chanze Eldridge, 5, of Boston, plays in the fountain at the Christian Science Center in Boston, Saturday, July 6, 2013. Temperatures reached into the 90s with high humidity in the Boston area on Saturday. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
By Sophia Rosenbaum, NBC News
The East Coast sweated through its first official heat wave of the summer over the weekend, but forecasters said to expect that sticky feeling to hang around even as temperatures dip.
“It will still be as humid, but it won’t be as hot,” said Mark Ressler, a lead meteorologist for The Weather Channel.
Heat waves, fires and floods have tormented parts of the country as millions of Americans are on alert for wild weather. NBC's Gabe Gutierrez reports.
States down the eastern seaboard have experienced temperatures in the 90s since Wednesday.
Washington, D.C., Boston, New York City and Philadelphia saw some of the hottest temperatures of the heat wave over the Fourth of July weekend, Ressler said.
The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat advisory for parts of New York and Massachusetts on Sunday, citing dangerous levels of heat and humidity. With the heat and humidity combined, it felt like temperatures reached 105 degrees in some areas.
Julie Koesterer, a mother of three from St. Louis, said it’s been hotter on her family’s weekend visit to New York City than it usually is in the Midwest. She said her family has been combating the heat by drinking lots of water and keeping their eyes peeled for the next air-conditioned stop on their trip.
“The kids are having a really hard time walking around in the heat,” Koesterer said on Sunday. “We start sweating as soon as we walk out the door and every night we shower as soon as we get back to the hotel to try to cool down.”
While the temperatures are not unusual for early July, Ressler said this was the first official heat wave for the East Coast. Heat waves are marked by three days of continuous heat with temperatures in the 90s or higher. Sunday marks Boston’s fifth day of unrelenting heat, although thunderstorms are expected to move into the area Sunday evening, forecasters said.
And for most of the affected areas, it’s not just hot during the day. Temperatures stayed above 70 degrees in urban cities all weekend, Ressler said.
In the Southeast region of the country, Ressler said temperatures were below average because of clouds and rainfall. Like the East Coast, humidity was still high.
Ressler said the cooler temperatures are unusual for the South during the summer months.
“You think about the South as being searingly hot when you get into the summer,” he said. “Going back into the middle of last week, temperatures were in the 70s, which doesn’t happen in July really at all.”
By Monday, a hot-weather reprieve is expected to drop temperatures on the East Coast a few degrees to the 80s, where they will likely stay for the rest of the week.
Ressler said the Northeast may stand to see another extended period of heat toward the middle of July.
Anthony Marshall is kissed by his wife Charlene Marshall as he arrives at criminal court with his wife and attorneys on June 21 in New York.
By Daniel Arkin, Staff Writer, NBC News
The 89-year-old son of the late philanthropist and socialite Brooke Astor was sent prison Friday afternoon, four years after he was found guilty of pilfering millions from his ailing mother.
Anthony Marshall will serve a one- to three-year term in a New York-based penitentiary.
Marshall was convicted in October 2009 after he allegedly siphoned off millions of dollars from the estate of his dementia-stricken mother, who once lorded over New York City's social aristocracy. At the time of her death in 2007, at age 105, Astor was reportedly living in squalor while Marshall treated himself to her fortune.
Marshall's lawyers have said that the prison sentence could kill the weak and frail heir. They stalled their client's time behind bars by repeatedly appealing the conviction and managed to secure a last-minute delay Monday.
Superior Court Judge A. Kirke Bartley ruled Thursday, however, that the grounds for the appeal — a claim that one of the jurors was intimidated by other jurors to vote guilty — did not warrant a new trial for Marshall, according to The Associated Press.
Marshall's lawyers have said that their client is the oldest person ever hauled off to New York prison for a non-violent crime, according to Reuters.
Francis Morrissey, Jr., Marshall’s co-defendant, began his prison sentence Thursday. Morrissey, 72, was convicted in 2009 of forging Astor’s signature on a revision to her will, among other offenses, according to the AP.
Astor for decades was one of the reigning queens of New York City’s elite. She was a benefactor of major charities and cultural institutions across the city, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the New York Public Library. She had been married to Vincent Astor – a descendant of one of the country’s first multimillionaires, John Jacob Astor – and together they controlled one of the prized fortunes in the Big Apple.
Marshall was Astor's only child, the product of her first marriage. He served as a U.S. Marine before reportedly trotting the globe as a C.I.A. intelligence officer and ambassador. He later worked as a theater producer, mounting a series of high-profile productions, including a 2003 revival of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey into Night."
In revisions to Astor’s will reportedly made in the years before her death, Marshall was awarded tens of millions of dollars and top-shelf real estate. Marshall is accused of helping himself to his mother’s chief assets while she suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. His lawyers say that Astor amended her will on her own volition, according to the AP.
Marshall was convicted of 14 counts in 2009, including grand larceny and conspiracy to defraud his mother.
We got to see a vivid reminder this week that New York City never stays the same with an extraordinary color film that surfaced thanks to the Romano Archives. The crowning moment of the film is the at-the-time-brand-new Rockefeller Center rising up from Midtown Manhattan. As depicted in the film, the outdoor plaza is still pretty much the way it is today, but then up to the roof - the Top of the Rock is where things are different. The view has noticeably changed and so has the air quality. And because it's still a spectacular place to view the city, we found it's a good place to see how things have changed since 1939 to 2013.
The film is a tour of New York City during the summer of 1939, just months before World War II broke out and changed everything, the summer Lou Gehrig gave his farewell address and the year The Wizard of Oz premiered.
In this film, shot by a French tourist, we get a glimpse of what things cost back then. We go uptown to Harlem and then back downtown to Chinatown. It's a visual feast for history buffs, from those dreadnought city cabs, to buses with spiral staircases. There are men and women in the film wearing their hats at rakish angles, we see elevated tracks since shut down, windows open on subway car (pre-air-conditioning), and when public fountains were an acceptable way to cool down.
Watch the full film from the Romano Archives after the jump.
Watch an extraordinary color film showing a tour of New York City in the summer of 1939, courtesy of the Romano Archives. No audio.
Heavy traffic was reported in southwestern Connecticut on Monday morning after thousands of New York City-bound workers from the suburbs took to the roads because a train crash last week wrecked a section of commuter-rail track.
But fears that roads in the area could turn into one giant “parking lot” -- with the addition of some 30,000 commuters who normally take the Metro-North commuter rail line -- did not appear to have been realized.
The train crash -- just outside Bridgeport on Friday -- injured 72 people. Nine people remained hospitalized on Sunday, with one critical, according to the AP. A 2,000-foot stretch of track was damaged and repair crews are expected to have to work around-the-clock for several days.
Officials toured the scene of a two-train collision in Connecticut that injured dozens of people and halted rail traffic from New York to Boston on Friday. NBC's Michelle Franzen reports.
Connecticut Metro- North Rail Commuter Council, which was set up by the Connecticut state legislature, said in a message on Twitter that traffic was “not bad.” “Buses from stations shuttling half full but slow. Carmagedon avoided?” it tweeted.
And Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia told the Connecticut Post that traffic was calm around the city Monday morning. On Sunday night, a reverse 911 call was made to city residents asking for them to carpool.
"It is better than I thought it would be. People are heeding my advice and the governor's message to either work from home or carpool to work,” Moccia said.
Sandra Dria, of Waterbury, told the paper that her journey down Route 8 was just like "a normal day.”
However heavy congestion was reported along Interstate 95 and the Merritt Parkway, NBCConnecticut.com said Monday morning.
Jennifer Pascucci and Lisa Zarny, of Orange, who work in food service at Stamford Hospital, told the Post they tried to drive to work, but found the Merritt Parkway was choked at Exit 49, so they parked the car and planned to catch a bus-train. "We can't exactly work at home,'' Zarny said.
Gary Maddin, of Milford, Conn., told The Associated Press that it took him an hour to make what is normally a 20-minute drive from his home to the Bridgeport train station. From there, he planned to board a shuttle bus to Stamford where he could catch a train to Grand Central Station in New York.
"It's a lot," he said. "It's a nightmare just to get into the city today."
A spokeswoman for Connecticut State Police, citing Lt. J. Paul Vance, said just after 9 a.m. Monday that traffic on the relevant stretch of I-95 was “light,” as people appeared to have made other arrangements or avoided the area.
On Sunday, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy warned that he expected the commute to be "extremely challenging."
At a news conference in Hartford Sunday, Malloy said that "residents should plan for a week's worth of disruptions."
Connecticut Governor Malloy holds a press conference after two Metro North trains collided injuring 60, 5 critically.
He said that if all 30,000 affected commuters took to the highways to get to work, "we would literally have a parking lot," according to the Associated Press. And if a substantial number of affected consumers hit the roads, traffic would be "greatly slowed."
"If you are going to New York and you get to New York or you're transporting yourself to New York you may decide that perhaps you should stay there for the duration of this disturbance," Malloy added.
About 700 people were on board the trains Friday evening when one heading east from New York City's Grand Central Terminal to New Haven derailed just outside Bridgeport. It was hit by a train heading west from New Haven. Both trains were traveling at about 70 mph.
A derailed Metro-North rail car is hoisted back on to the tracks in Bridgeport. Conn. on Sunday, May 19, 2013. President Howard Permut said Sunday.
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Commuters are bracing for a difficult trip around southwest Connecticut and to New York City beginning Monday as workers repair the Metro-North commuter rail line crippled by a derailment and crash.
Crews will spend days rebuilding 2,000 feet of track, overhead wires and signals following the collision between two trains Friday evening that injured 72 people, Metro-North President Howard Permut said Sunday. Nine remained hospitalized.
"This amounts to the wholesale reconstruction of a two-track electrified railroad," he said.
Several days of around-the-clock work will be required, including inspections and testing of the newly rebuilt system, Permut said. The damaged rail cars were removed from the tracks on Sunday, the first step toward making the repairs.
Service disruptions on the New Haven line between South Norwalk and New Haven are expected to continue "well into the coming week," Permut said.
Amtrak service between New York and New Haven also was suspended, and there was no estimate on service restoration. Limited service was available between New Haven and Boston.
Jim Cameron, chairman of a commuter group, the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council, said he's asked officials in numerous towns to suspend parking rules to accommodate what could be tens of thousands of motorists driving to unaffected train stations. Twelve stations are on the route that's been shut down.
The state Department of Transportation was expected to provide details Sunday on bus service between stations on Monday. Cameron said he doubts many commuters will use three modes of transportation to get to work: driving their cars to catch a bus to get to a train station for the final leg.
Commuters will more likely rely on their cars, leading to massive traffic problems on highways that are already clogged on normal days, Cameron said. He suggested that local and regional officials post highway signs directing motorists to available parking so motorists "don't get off the highway and drive in circles looking for where to dump their cars."
About 700 people were on board the trains Friday evening when one heading east from New York City's Grand Central Terminal to New Haven derailed just outside Bridgeport. It was hit by a train heading west from New Haven.
Dan Solomon, a trauma surgeon who lives in Westport and was headed to work at Yale-New Haven Hospital in New Haven, was on the train that derailed. He said he treated several injured passengers, including a woman with severely broken ankles.
He said he was in a front car that was not as badly affected as cars in the rear of the train.
"I hardly lost my iced tea," Solomon said in an interview.
He said walls were torn off both trains and he quickly checked injured passengers to separate the most badly injured from others.
"When the EMS arrived, I was covered in everyone's blood," he said.
Investigators are looking at a broken section of rail to see if it is connected to the derailment and collision.
NTSB investigators arrived Saturday and are expected to be on site for seven to 10 days. They will look at the brakes and performance of the trains, the condition of the tracks, crew performance and train signal information, among other things.
The MTA operates the Metro-North Railroad, the second-largest commuter railroad in the nation. The Metro-North main lines — the Hudson, Harlem, and New Haven — run northward from New York City's Grand Central Terminal into suburban New York and Connecticut.
The last significant train collision involving Metro-North occurred in 1988 when a train engineer was killed in Mount Vernon, N.Y., when one train empty of passengers rear-ended another, railroad officials said.
The aircraft part has been identified as a piece from a 767 wing, officials said Monday. NBC 4 New York, which first reported the finding in an alley near ground zero last week, has also learned the answer to the mystery of a rope that was found intertwined in the part — according to a law enforcement official, a detective who responded to the original call about the part last week tried to move it with a rope.
Authorities on Friday had said the rope might have indicated the part was lowered into the alley, but have since interviewed everyone who had contact with the part last week and have now answered that question. The official tells NBC 4 New York that the detective found the rope nearby and was trying to move the part to find a serial number or other identifying mark.
The NYPD also said Monday that a Boeing technician has confirmed that the 5-foot part is a trailing edge flap actuation support structure.
"It is believed to be from one of the two aircraft destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001, but it could not be determined which one," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.
On Sept. 11, American Airlines flight 11 hit the north tower at 8:46 a.m., and United flight 175 hit the south tower at 9:03 a.m. A FEMA graphic below shows that all the other plane parts in the immediate area were from flight 175.
Police and officials from the city medical examiner's office were on scene Monday preparing to sift the soil under the part for lost human remains. Officials said the part will be removed later in the week when that process is complete.
The part was found wedged between two buildings in a very narrow alley only about 18 inches wide between the rear of 50 Murray St. and back of 51 Park Place, the site where a mosque and community center has been proposed three blocks from ground zero.
The part bears a "Boeing" stamp, followed by a series of numbers.
The NYPD said the landing gear was found after surveyors hired by the property owner inspecting the rear of 51 Park Place called police on Wednesday.
Most of the rubble from the 9/11 attack was cleared from the 16-acre site by the spring of 2002. Other debris, including human remains, has been found scattered outside the site, including on a rooftop and in a manhole, in years since.
Corrosion and oxidation are being repaired in the signal relay room the South Ferry subway station in lower Manhattan, devastated by flooding in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. The station is being repaired with damage done to all components of the infrastructure, especially the electrical system.
By Carlo Dellaverson, Digital Producer, NBC News
When the gleaming South Ferry subway terminal in Lower Manhattan opened in 2009, it came with a vast concourse filled with public art installations of wrought iron and smoked glass, polished white walls—and a hefty $500 million price tag.
The cost of rehabilitating it from the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy? At least $600 million—though a full assessment of the damage hasn’t even been done yet.
“It’s a complete gut job,” said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz. “Every component of the station needs to be replaced.”
As communities rebuild and residents return to their homes, dozens of workers at the South Ferry station are taking the very first steps toward getting the station back online, starting with scrubbing mold from virtually every surface. Before the storm, 30,000 people passed through South Ferry each day, shuttling between Staten Island and Manhattan and around the labyrinthine streets of New York’s financial district.
Craig Ruttle / AP file (top), Cr
Joseph Leader (top) of the MTA shines a flashlight on standing water inside the South Ferry 1 train station in lower Manhattan on Oct. 31, in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Six months later, Leader (bottom) descends the stairs toward the track in the same station.
Now, the stillness of the station is unsettling. The 90-foot platform sits empty, with strings of construction bulbs lighting two tracks and tunnel walls still covered with debris and dirt from the storm. Drywall and tiles have been ripped up by construction workers to expose the film of mold that quickly built up in the dark, humid space after the storm hit six months ago. The air is thick and pungent.
But the greatest damage inflicted from Sandy is not visible. The salty ocean water that flooded the station eighty feet below street level corroded nearly every piece of equipment in the space, adding considerably to the cost of recovery.
Over 700 relay components – devices critical to the signaling systems of trains – were destroyed. A separate room of signaling equipment at the end of the platform flooded to the ceiling and is now a “complete loss,” said Joseph Leader, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s chief maintenance officer, who is overseeing the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the station.
Leader was actually the first person to see the damage from Sandy’s storm surge. On the morning after the storm passed late last October, Leader entered the station and saw “just a trickle” of water coming down the stairs, he said.
“I thought our barriers held and that we were doing good,” he said, referring to the makeshift barricades –sandbags and plywood -- the MTA constructed at the street-level entrances of certain exposed stations.
But as Leader ventured further, he realized the surge had breached the main station entrance. “Water was coming up the steps at me from the platform level, lapping at my feet,” he said. The entire subway "tube" was filled to the brim; 14 million gallons of seawater had to be pumped out before officials could even get a look at the destruction.
South Ferry was designed to be the last stop on a busy line that follows Broadway as it snakes through Manhattan as well as a connector to another main subway artery and the Staten Island Ferry. The original station, which opened in 1905, was much maligned for a layout quirk that only allowed five of ten subway cars to open at the platform; inattentive straphangers who neglected to move to one of the cars with open doors were forced to take the “loop” back uptown one stop to exit.
While the new South Ferry station addressed many of the engineering problems that existed at the old station, the possibility that a 14-foot storm surge could take it offline in the span of a few hours was not accounted for.
Craig Ruttle / Craig Ruttle for NBC News
The subway map, with mold spreading up from the bottom, can be seen on the platform after being under water at the damaged South Ferry subway station in lower Manhattan. The station is being repaired with damage done to all components of the infrastructure, especially the electrical system.
The MTA says it is now “considering all options” that would mitigate the effects of a similar or even lesser surge as it rebuilds South Ferry, along with other vulnerable parts of its city-wide network (Sandy also wiped out an entire above-ground section of a subway line in the Rockaway section of Queens that is yet to be reopened).
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo laid some of these ideas out in his State of the State speech earlier this year, calling for subway stations to adopt “closing vents…roll down doors… inflatable bladders,” and repeating his refrain that “there is a 100 year flood every two years now” as reason to invest in infrastructure improvements.
One of the options under consideration involves letting subway tunnels and stations flood in a storm – but only after workers have removed valuable pieces of equipment and taken them to higher ground. This use of “modular infrastructure" allows critical gear to be packed up like suitcases and brought to higher ground so it can be “plugged right back in” after the pumps have removed the water from tunnels and stations, Leader said.
“Can you stop every ounce of water that comes into the system? Theoretically yes,” Leader said. “But is it feasible? Probably not.”
Footing the bill, at least in part, will be the feds. The MTA has received $1.2 billion to date in federal funding as part of the $51 billion Sandy relief bill signed by President Obama in January. It is asking for billions more (the total hit to New York’s transit system from Sandy is estimated to be $5 billion). The MTA plans a bifurcated approach to how that money is spent: partially for repairs to damaged infrastructure in places like South Ferry, and partially toward making long-term improvements that would harden and protect the system in future storms.
“As we work to bring our system back to normal, we must also make the necessary investments to protect this 108-year old system from future storms. We must rebuild smarter. The South Ferry subway station is a perfect example,” said MTA Chief Executive Thomas Prendergast.
Nicole Gelinas, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute who specializes in urban economics and infrastructure, cautions that federal money is “apt to disappear quickly in cost overruns” and that the MTA should carefully examine precisely how it can apply the aid to projects that will keep the system from suffering catastrophic damage in the next storm, and not on “complex and untested mitigation efforts” that may not work.
Craig Ruttle for NBC News
Joseph Leader of MTA holds an example of cable damaged by sea water in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, typical of damage found at South Ferry subway station.
“Otherwise, this ‘free money’ from the feds doesn’t end up being free at all, and taxpayers end up on the hook,” Gelinas said.
The MTA recently reopened the old South Ferry station, which was entombed next to the new terminal after its grand opening four years ago – the first time the authority has ever brought a decommissioned station back into use, Leader said. Engineers knocked down a wall between the two stations to allow passengers to get to the old platform area through the new entrance. It’s a way to reestablish subway service to the area, however imperfect. “We’re building a new station within a new station,” Joe Leader said. “It’s going to take a while.”
Until that monumental task is completed, commuters in Lower Manhattan will need to reacquaint themselves with a once-familiar phrase thought to be relegated to history:
“You must be in the first five cars to exit at South Ferry.”
MTA Video Release: Hurricane Sandy - South Ferry and Whitehall St Station Damage.
Defense lawyers announced Monday that all six defendants, including embattled state Sen. Malcolm Smith, are expected to plead not guilty at Tuesday’s arraignment.
Smith is accused of conspiring with New York City Councilman Daniel Halloran, a Republican, to bribe county Republican leaders for a place on the GOP mayoral ticket. The indictment alleges that two top Republican operatives, Joseph Savino and Vincent Tabone, accepted tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for supporting Smith's political bid, NBCNewYork.com reported.
Smith never formally launched a campaign to replace outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. According to NBCNewYork.com, Smith, a Democrat, would have required authorization from three of the city’s five GOP county chairmen to run as a Republican candidate.
Halloran stands accused of agreeing to siphon off City Council funds to a private company in exchange for additional bribes.
“That’s politics, it’s all about how much,” Halloran is quoted as saying in the indictment, according to The Associated Press. “Not about whether or will, it’s about how much, and that’s our politicians in New York, they’re all like that.”
Reuters / Mike Segar
New York State Senator Malcolm Smith makes his way through a crush of media to a waiting car after appearing in United States Court in White Plains, New York on April 2.
Smith, Halloran, Savino and Tabone were arrested by the FBI on April 2, following an extensive federal probe.
The corruption investigation also concerns Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin and Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret, who are accused of accepting funds and property to sign off on a prospective real estate project. That charge is unrelated to Smith’s and Halloran’s alleged bribery plot.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who announced the complaint against the officials three weeks ago, announced Monday that he has met with the FBI to “discuss expanding our corruption efforts."
“It seems that a culture of corruption has developed and grown, just like barnacles on a boat bottom,” Bharara said. “And just as with barnacles on a boat bottom, when a growth is permitted to spread and grow unchecked, it unsurprisingly takes an unrelenting, collective effort to clean up.”
A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday found that 48 percent of New Yorkers view corruption as a “very serious” issue – the highest share since the poll began posing the question in 2003, according to The Associated Press.
Visitors to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum must now pay a $2 service fee to reserve passes online or by phone.
The fee went into effect last month, although there is no charge for admission to the memorial on the World Trade Center site. There's also no charge for same-day passes distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Family members of some 9/11 victims say the fee violates the memorial's mission.
"They're making money off the people that died. It's disgusting," Jim Riches, a retired FDNY deputy chief who lost his firefighter son, told the New York Post.
Memorial President Joe Daniels issued a statement Sunday saying that, "like other similar institutions, in order to help support the operational needs of the 9/11 Memorial we have implemented a service fee, solely for advance reservations."
The memorial's website says the reservation system is temporary until certain construction projects are finished. Tax-funded grants have paid for about $300 million worth of construction, and more than $400 million came from private donations.
The memorial opened in 2011, attracting about 7 million visitors so far to its two reflecting pools with waterfalls that outline the footprints of the fallen towers.
Caitlin Leavey, who lost her father in the September 11th attacks, speaks out on how she found a way to cope and help other victims of terrorism. WNBC's Erika Tarantal reports.
The foundation that runs the memorial estimates that once the project is complete, the memorial and museum will together cost $60 million a year to operate.
The museum is still under construction after an interruption involving a funding fight between the foundation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the 16-acre trade center site. Officials have said that the failure to open the museum on time has thrown off the foundation's financial planning.
Visitors to the exhibit space will see portraits of the nearly 3,000 9/11 victims, hear oral histories and view artifacts such as a staircase World Trade Center workers used to escape.