Governor Cuomo's Tappan Zee Bridge to Nowhere

New Yorkers do not take kindly to rejections. It's simply not in our street lexicon so our comprehension when we are deal with one is illogical, frustrated and persistently disobedient. Just watch anyone's reaction after a cabbie says no to taking them from the Village to Astoria at 2am.

As Governor of the Don't-Tell-Me-What-To-Do state, Andrew Cuomo must embody these emotions and somehow manage Albany, all the same time. But, a recent construction controversy and an expensive federal "No" has put his attitude to the test. 

And it's all because of a bridge over the Hudson.

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Local Pols Say Federal Government is Getting in the Way of NYC's First Outdoor Film Studio *UPDATED*

chuck schumer press conference.JPG
Sam Levin
City Councilman Jimmy Van Brammer with Sen. Chuck Schumer, representatives from Kaufman Studios, and other local elected officials.
New York City is oh so very close to being a better city for film and television than Hollywood -- if the federal government would just get out of the damn way!

At least that was the message today on the corner of 36th Street in Astoria, Queens, where Sen. Chuck Schumer, flanked by relevant neighborhood politicians, called on the National Park Service to stop making it difficult for a local film company to build New York City's first-ever outdoor studio.

This project -- which would convert 36th Street between 34th and 35th avenues into a movie studio lot -- apparently could make all the difference in attracting filmmakers and production companies to New York City, instead of Los Angeles, or Toronto, or New Orleans. That means, you guessed it, lots of jobs and economic development, all on one block in Queens.

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Government Narrowly Avoids Shutdown

via Good Men Project
The government was this close to shutting down last night but managed to reach an eleventh-hour (literally) compromise before the midnight deadline. House Speaker John "Smarmy" Boehner presented the laundry list of spending cuts and revisions and got Congress' positive response just before 11 p.m. What does this mean? It means that our government is still functioning -- for now -- and it means $38.5 billion in spending cuts. More »

Unlike Teachers, Report Cards For Cops Are Off-Limits

Oh, what's that? The NYPD denied another freedom of information request? You don't say! City Limits has a piece today, pointing out that while the city seems glad to hand over teacher performance rankings (much to the teachers' union chagrin, of course), an obscure law shields cops, firefighters, paramedics, and corrections and parole officers from the same kind of public records scrutiny. Rats! [SH]

FOIL'd Again: Why Doesn't the NYPD Want You to Know Anything?


It was hard to feign much surprise last month when the New York Times slapped New York's finest with a lawsuit, accusing the department of habitually withholding information and flouting government transparency laws. In fact, as any reporter would certainly know, one of the city's toughest agencies to crack for information -- even information it's obliged, by law, to cough up -- might be New York's boys in blue.

Freedom of Information Law requests (or "FOIL requests," as they're known) are supposed to be a useful tool for the public; immigrants applying for citizenship use them to collect documentation, inmates use them to prove their innocence, reporters use them to uncover wrongdoing, and advocacy groups have used them to gather a breadth of data on subjects like political surveillance, school performance, racial profiling and homelessness.

But ask anyone who's filed a FOIL, and they'll tell you that prying loose information isn't always so simple. Especially, it seems, from the NYPD.

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In a Blizzard, Do You Know Where Your Mayor Is?

The city's dailies aren't done raking Mayor Bloomberg over the coals for last week's blizzard response. Today, the Daily News wants to know exactly who was in charge during the city's crappy snow clean-up job. Bloomberg may or may not have been vacationing in Bermuda, and several of his deputy mayors were apparently AWOL, too. Yet City Hall officials are keeping a tight lid on the details and won't say who was really manning the ship during last week's storm.More »