A Few Reasons Why Overhyping Hurricane Sandy Is Probably a Good Thing

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The current situation in New York: The subways are closed; upon the Hozziner's request, Zone A has been forced to evacuate; Broadway shows have been cancelled; Bloomberg, Christie, and Cuomo are hosting storm watch conferences; my door keeps slamming by itself, even while locked; and the quieter-than-ever city is no longer open for business. But, on the Internet, a hurricane in the age of social media is like one big collective party, except with the dangling possibility of disaster. And, since a year ago is not that long ago in our cyber-minds, numerous comparisons have been made between Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Irene.

Remember Irene? That $15 billion cyclone that made landfall just before Labor Day weekend last year? New York was up in arms then, too -- it was the first time in history that the entire mass transit system of New York was completely shut down (the second being now) and the Internet was freaking out then, too. I have a few vague memories from that weekend: near-riot lines at the Key Food on Avenue A, a viewing party of Apocalypse Now in the darkness, a trip outside onto the streets of New York in the eye of the storm and an oddity in the city -- absolute, 100 percent silence.

But, for Manhattanites, the storm was underwhelming. All this hype for what? A ton of rain and mediocre winds? Evacuation seemed silly once the storm was done and headlines that popped up the following days all blamed one thing: overhyping an event. With that in our minds, it's only natural that we'd remind ourselves that, since Irene wasn't that bad, Sandy won't be that bad. And that's really silly. Here's why:


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City Council Members Slam NYPD's Traffic Accident Policy, Call for Investigative Taskforce

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Some months after the City Council grilled the New York Police Department's policy on of traffic crashes -- and ongoing criticism of its handling of the Mathieu Lefevre case -- several members want to establish a taskforce to investigate the Department's accident policy, which has long come under fire as anti-pedestrian and anti-cyclist.

Council Members David Greenfield, Letitia James, Brad Lander, Stephen Levin, Peter Vallone, and James Vacca announced this morning that they want to create a 15-member group charged with analyzing the NYPD's definition of "serious injury," as officers do not investigate accidents unless they think the hurt party is dead or likely to die. Lander, Levin, and Council Member Jessica Lapin have also proposed a law that would require the NYPD to publish crash info online. Members Melissa Mark-Viverito, Dan Garodnick, and Robert Jackson also back the package of proposals.

Transportation Alternatives, which advocates for pedestrians and cyclists, has long called for this legislation and been especially vocal in its criticism of the NYPD since the Lefevre incident.

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How To Stay Safe in New York City: Tips for Women

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Yesterday, the Voice reported that a tourist was raped in her Bronx hotel room.

Cops say the perp talked to the victim on train departing from East 14th Street and Union Square. Around 4 a.m., after she had returned to her East Tremont hotel, the alleged assailant knocked on her door. When she opened it, he forced the door open and attacked her.

Obviously, this is awful and heinous, and we feel for the victim and hope she's OK. It's also scary as shit: if you're a woman, some stranger has probably tried to chat you up on the subway, so it's worrisome to think that that guy could be an attacker.

That said, we've assembled some safety tips for women in New York City.

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Bronx Rapist on The Lam, Attacked Tourist in East Tremont Hotel Room

A tourist was raped in her Bronx hotel room on Wednesday -- and cops say the man in this video is the perp.

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Deadly Delancey: What To Expect With The Street Safety Plan

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In January, 12-year-old Dashane Santana was struck and killed by a car as she crossed Delancey, at Clinton Street.

Santana was not the first pedestrian to perish on the busy road: Other walkers and many cyclists have died on Delancey. At the intersection of Delancey and Essex, for example, Transportation Alternatives tabulated 119 motor vehicle crashes with pedestrians and bicyclists between 1998 and 2008. And the New York Daily News , using Department of Transportation stats, noted in August that between 1998 and 2010, there were 523 motor vehicle accidents; 134 involved bicyclists and pedestrians, three resulting in death. The crossing yielded an additional 258 injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents.

In response to these dangers, the Department of Transportation and electeds such as Sen. Daniel Squadron; Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver; Councilmember Margaret Chin; Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez; Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer; Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh; and Councilmember Rosie Mendez teamed up to figure out how to make Delancey less deadly.

What did they come up with?

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Sen. Chuck Schumer Wants to Stop TSA's Inappropriate Behavior

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You know how annoying it is when you have to take off your shoes and your belt at the airport and then security touches you, and you just feel kind of uncomfortable? Well, Sen. Chuck Schumer feels your pain, and he hopes to make it a lot easier for passengers to complain.

With a new legislation proposal, Schumer is responding to some incidents that were actually a bit more serious than an uncomfortable touch. In December, three elderly women came forward with claims that they were strip-searched by Transportation Security Administration officers at JFK airport -- and recent reports allege that TSA officials have inappropriately harassed women passing through security.

Let's take Lenore Zimmerman, for example. She's a tiny, 85-year-old Long Island grandmother who says she was brought into a private room and forced to take off her clothes on her way to a flight to Fort Lauderdale.

Or Ruth Sherman, 88, who said that TSA agents made her strip so they could inspect her colostomy bag.

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Street Kids: Groups Want to Make NYC Roads Child Safe

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Remember, back in the day, when you used to go outside and scamper around the streets of New York with all the other rosy-cheeked neighborhood kids, playing stickball and tag and hopscotch as the summer sun sank gently into the horizon?

No? Well, not to worry, Runnin' Scared doesn't either -- and we can't really imagine New York being the kind of place where youngins would want to play outside, considering that NYC traffic puts speed over pedestrian safety. (It's even worse if you're a child from a lower-income household: Studies show that vehicle crashes disproportionately affect youth from poor areas.)

But a coalition of New Yorkers wants to change this.

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