The Ghost of Anthony Weiner's Rent-Stabilized Past (UPDATED)

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"Why No Tenant Should Vote for Anthony Weiner," read the headline in May's issue of Metropolitan Council on Housing. The op-ed, written by tenant advocate Michael McKee of the Tenants PAC, highlights a 1994 flip-flop by the then-councilman on rent stabilization--a term that has slowly evaporated from Big Apple real estate talk in the modern age. The vote cast by Weiner had angered the tenant community at the time and, now that he's running for City Hall, has only fostered more backlash. And, in a display of how utterly dismal the New York City housing market truly is, it's one of the first times the issue that should be a top priority has made an appearance in this election cycle.

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NYC Versus Montreal: Another Urban Cultural Breakdown

MONTREAL -- This past summer, I took a quick, leisurely trip to the capital of our country for both historical and introspective reasons. D.C. was a far cry from New York; its citizens did not curse at one another, and no one dared to jaywalk. The city was arranged in neatly kept lines with neatly kept traffic and neatly kept people. All of these differences were epitomized in a piece you can find here.

Riding off of that compare-and-contrast mind-set, I spent the past five days up north with our Canadian brethren in the good ol' city of Montreal. So returning to New York, I have decided to once again do another urban culture breakdown, a la D.C. However, this one is a bit more international, and, on a side note for those predicting a relatively warm winter, it's already snowing in Montreal.

Now, the Quebec stronghold is similar to New York in a few aspects. The price of food and a night out on the town borders on the line between tolerable and pretty expensive. Also, to maintain a healthy smoking habit is a hefty burden in both cities (unfortunately, New Yorkers are blessed with packs that do not bare the "SMOKING KILLS" ads). Rent is a bit cheaper in Montreal -- a friend of mine had a beautiful two-bedroom apartment and only paid $800 a month -- but most people know by now that everywhere is cheaper than New York in that area of business.

All that aside, Montreal denizens do things drastically different than us. Here's a few things I picked up over my stay there:

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Brooklyn is No Longer the "Budget-Savvy" Alternative to Manhattan

The second-most expensive hype in all of the U.S.A.
A few months back, we here at the Voice reported that Manhattan's rent was at its highest rate ever, clocking in somewhere around $3,418 a month, on average. Awed by this, I delved into the conundrum that is the Manhattan real estate: if you have to pay an arm and a liver to live on this island, why would you? 

Naturally, the answer is in the name: it's Manhattan, stupid. With its metropolitan charm and the prestige that comes with the phrase, "I live in Manhattan," the conundrum becomes a race to acquire that conversational living title rather than the thought that, wow, the rent is definitely too damn high.

With that in mind, it's no surprise that Manhattan tops the list of the most expensive places to live in America. As an option, I mentioned that you could venture out into the outer boroughs: Queens still offers lower prices in up-and-coming hot spots, like Astoria and Long Island City, and there's always Brooklyn. Turns out I have to bite my tongue a bit.

Yesterday, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that Brooklyn is coming in at number two on that godforsaken list. The study was put together by the Council for Community and Economic Research in Washington; in it, Brooklyn received a score of 183.4 out of 300 and Manhattan scored 233.5. Sorry, but the idea that neighborhoods like Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Bushwick, Fort Greene and a handful of others provide you with a lower hit on your wallet is as old as Madonna. 

In other words, Brooklyn has been Manhattan-ized.
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Hey, You Can't Attack the Garbage Man in NYC Anymore!

To anyone who has lashed out against the workers who slave night and day to pick up New York's trash, beware! 

On Friday, Governor Cuomo signed a bill into law that would make it a felony to assault sanitation workers because, before that, we guess you could just beat the crap out of them and it'd be cool (?). With the new legal protection, the sanitation worker stands on equal ground with our city's police officers, EMTs, fire fighters and those who wave down traffic.

According to the bill's sponsors, the law came after incidents where sanitation worker were being attacked (for whatever the reason) by those stressed out from the day. "Here, take my garbage... and this knuckle sandwich!" And it's about damn time we started protecting those heroes. Here's a few facts to back that up.
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N.Y.C. Vs. D.C.: An Urban Culture Breakdown

WASHINGTON D.C. - Every year, during the hot, humid, heat waves of summer, my father and I plan a historical trip of some sort to escape the hustle and bustle of New York for a few days and surround ourselves with nothing but some good ol' Founding Father lovin'. 

Last June, we traveled to Gettysburg and Antietam to check up on the once bloody Civil War sites. After endless amounts of shirts that said "Don't Tread on Me," faux Confederate flags and that fine line between insanity and historical re-enactment, we left the small towns full of antebellum nostalgia and headed back to Yankee Town.

This time around, we headed down to Washington D.C. for three days vacationing in our nation's capital. As homegrown New Yorkers, it was only natural that we stressed the fact to people where we're from, whether it was in a hotel lobby or in the back of a cab. While we explored the federal metropolis, our city instincts began to notice inherent differences between D.C. and N.Y.C. Streets, museums and general infrastructure aide, the urban cultures of both have striking characteristics that defines what it means to be from New York... and from D.C., we guess. 

And there's more than enough to scrap them all together into this blog post. Here's a few snippets from this tale of two cities:

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Bloomberg Did Not Particularly Like His Nanny Clothes in Ad


Who knew an overdose on calories could piss so many people off?

After Mayor Bloomberg announced his soda ban this past week, the blogosphere and Tweet-world exploded with arguments over whether or not this was a legal move against obesity. And the tensions were high: fellow Voice writer James King vented his frustration against the "nanny state" move and wrote, "Mike Bloomberg says his Big Gulp ban doesn't take away the rights of anyone - which is bullshit."

This bubbly opposition culminated in a full-page ad taken out in yesterday's New York Times, paid for by The Center for Consumer Freedom, an activist business group that is funded by restaurants, food companies and individual consumers, according to their website. The page depicts Bloomberg as a Photoshop-ed Nanny, in the vein of Mrs. Doubtfire, hovering over New York City with the declaration of "New Yorkers Need a Mayor, Not a Nanny."

But the Hozziner was more upset about the clothing choice of the ad then its actual political content.

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The (Manhattan) Rent is (Seriously) Too Damn High

Ah, the Manhattan real estate market. That one barrier holding you back from the Big Apple's charm while simultaneously making you go absolutely insane. This collection of brokerages and hidden fees turns this anxiety-driven urban playground into a rental nightmare, forcing inhabitants to search for their humble abode on the other side of the East River. And with good riddance.

Over this past weekend, the NYTimes reported that, according to numbers from the brokerage firm CitiHabitats, Manhattan is costing more than it ever has, passing the 2007 housing bubble threshold. To stay in an apartment on this lonely island, a person has to dish out, on average, $3,418 a month. If we do the math, that is $41,016 a year; or, in other words, run... as fast as you can.

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Annoying, Endearing Local Commercials Up For Annoying, Endearing IFC Awards

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IFC, the channel of Portlandia if that says anything, is sponsoring the LoCo Awards & Sweepstakes, a celebration (which is actually just a huge promo for one of their new shows) of those zany, cheaply made local commercials that we all love to hate so much. Although you can still nominate commercials, the New York Daily News points out that the city's most legendary -- including multiple Crazy Eddie spots -- are already up for consideration. We've analyzed some after the jump.

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Goose Assassin Hired by New York City Department of Sanitation

When federal agents slaughtered more than 250 geese in Prospect Park midway through the summer last year, boxing them up and tossing them into a gas chamber under the cover of darkness, we hoped the worst was over. But according to a new report in the Brooklyn Paper, the city is going after the birds once again... this time with a goose assassin. (The worst part of that last sentence: we're not even joking.)

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New York City Government Will Not Take a Wussy Snow Day!

Just in case you were wondering. Our mayor has tweeted it, and it must be so. Also, stay off the roads until 6 p.m.

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