Entries in Manhattan (5)


New York City Successful in Smartphone Booth Venture

A mock-up of City24x7's new New York City phone booth. (City24x7/New York Department of Information of Technology and Telecommunications)(NEW YORK) – Seven months after New York City and a company called City 24 x 7 announced that the city’s phone booths were finally going to enter the 21st century, it turns out that the 25 updated booths were a hit.

The city is now setting up 250 of the high-tech telephone booths around its five boroughs. The booths, or “SmartScreen” stations, which are made in partnership with Cisco and LG, feature 32-inch multi-touch displays with apps that let you search for local restaurants or information. Just walk up to the screen and tap it. The booths will also broadcast a Wi-Fi signal.

“To me, the more exciting piece involved local communities. The overriding thing we heard, and the testing and research confirmed, was that local information was incredibly important to people. The more local our info, the more connected people felt. In turn, the more connected and in touch with the community they felt, the more embedded the network became,” Tom Touchet, CEO of City 24×7, told ABC News.

Local issues are going to be an even larger part as more booths are deployed in New York. A percentage of the ad money made from advertising on the booths will be given to speed recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy.  Touchet said the mission of the booths is to “inform, protect, and revitalize.” The booth’s screens can also display emergency and safety information.

New York City is one of the first cities to get the smart booths, and others will have them soon. The company, along with Cisco, plans to expand to more than a dozen U.S. locations, including Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, and Washington.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


The Seven Most Expensive Places to Live in the US

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- You may have suspected it all along, but the data backs it up: Manhattan is, once again, the most expensive place to live in the United States.

That's according to an index of 300 cities published by the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER), which found that the cost of living in the borough of Manhattan in New York City is 133.5 percent higher than the national average of 100, with an index score of 233.5.  Harlingen, Texas, is the least expensive city, with a cost of living 18.4 percent below the national average.

"The top 10 most expensive cities are pretty stable, they remain almost static," said Dean Frutiger, project manager for the Cost of Living Index project at C2ER.  "There's more change with the bottom."

The council has published the quarterly data for 45 years (previously, it was released by the government) and bases its information on the prices of 60 consumer goods and services in six categories: grocery items, housing, utilities, transportation, health care and miscellaneous items.

Not surprisingly, housing carries the largest weight, said Frutiger, noting that about 29 percent of our income is spent on housing.  That's the reason Washington, D.C., wound its way into the top 10 this year instead of hovering around the 11th or 12th spot.

"Housing prices have been hurt very badly by the recession.  However, D.C.'s housing has remained relatively strong because there's a built-in market in D.C.  You wouldn't believe the construction going on there relative to other cities," Frutiger said.

Here's a list of the seven cities with the highest cost of living out of 300 regions analyzed by C2ER:

1. Manhattan, New York City - Index Score: 233.5
2. Brooklyn, New York City - Index Score: 183.4
3. Honolulu - Index Score: 170.8
4. San Francisco - Index Score: 163.2
5. San Jose, California - Index Score: 156.5
6. Queens, New York City - Index Score: 151.4
7. Stamford, Connecticut - Index Score: 146.7

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Manhattan’s Million-Dollar Parking Spot

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It used to be that $1 million could buy you a healthy chunk of real estate–a mansion, maybe, or a few acres of land. But in Manhattan’s tony Greenwich Village, it will buy a parking spot.

That’s right: A garage space at 66 E.11th Street will soon be offered for a cool $1 million, perhaps intended for that discerning Ferrari driver for whom a mere six-figure parking spot just won’t do.

If you think a million dollars is way too much to spend on a measly piece of concrete to park the old set of wheels, think again. “It really is the defining luxury amenity,”  says Dolly Lenz, vice-chairman at New York real estate firm Prudential Douglas Elliman, which will sell the space. “You’d be surprised about how many people have big car collections. We wish we had more garage spots.”

And the specs are pretty sweet. The coveted parking spot is inside the apartment building, complete with curb cut, a rarity in the New York City parking landscape. The garage space boasts 15-foot ceilings, which allows for ample storage space, and the owner could even stack two cars onto ramps to create a duplex parking arrangement. In light of all that, “this is actually undervalued,” Lenz told “Normally, when you buy a garage, you are literally buying between two lines in a designated spot.”

Lenz has even witnessed bidding wars reaching $600,000, just for a space between two lines. That’s because–like any other luxury item, from Birkin bags to rare diamonds–it’s the scarcity of available parking in New York that creates such cache.

To put it all in perspective, Lenz says she sold a double penthouse at 200 11th Avenue to Domenico Dolce (as in, Dolce & Gabbana) for $50 million, which included two garage spots. “So there is precedent for this type of situation,” she said.

As the word has spread about the city’s swishest parking spot, Lenz has received “overwhelming interest” in buying the spot, even though she can’t even discuss sales because the plans for 66 E.11th Street haven’t yet been approved by the city.

As in, dozens of inquiries? Hundreds? She would only say, “More than dozens. We’d probably get more if I could respond.”

First dibs will go to the buyer of the building’s  townhouse or penthouse; with the latter going for $38.8 million, the parking spot is just a drop in the bucket.

Lenz added:  “We’re not talking about really big numbers here, at $1 million. It will be more about getting it. I think people will bid above what the asking [price] is.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Occupy' Protesters March to Bank Offices; Generators Taken Away

Susanna Kim/ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A group of Occupy Wall Street protesters coordinated a march in mid-town Manhattan Friday, delivering 6,000 “angry letters” to five major banks.

Before the march, the group, Occupy the Board Room, invited people to submit letters online to Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase.

Friday, the group delivered printed letters to the doors of the bank headquarters.

In front of the Bank of America headquarters and a line of security guards, dozens of protesters folded the letters into paper airplanes, then voluntarily picked them up.

In front of the Morgan Stanley headquarters, protesters prepared a singing telegram with the words, “I live pay check to pay check and find it hard to pay rent. I am not writing to offend or attack. I simply want to share my struggles.”

Earlier, just as the weather in New York City has dropped to unseasonably low temperatures for the Occupy Wall Street protesters, the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) announced that it removed six generators and 13 fuel containers during a coordinated inspection Friday in Zuccotti Park.

The FDNY released a statement about the inspection in the park, known to the protesters as Liberty Square, where they have camped since Sept. 17. The occupants were “cooperative” during the 30 minute inspection, the fire department said.

“This action was taken to address the dangerous conditions posed by the presence and/or use of flammable and combustible liquids and portable generators in a public space, which is prohibited under New York City law,” the statement said.

The weather in New York City is expected to drop to the low 30s this weekend, with possible rain, wind and snow.

But the Fire Department said no one will be permitted to bring portable generators or flammable liquids into the park, and it will continue to monitor conditions at the park “to ensure public safety is maintained with regard to fire and life safety.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Anonymous' Hackers Group Threat to New York Stock Exchange

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Anonymous, the loosely-organized group of computer hackers that has taken credit for many of the world's most visible protests, threatened to "erase" the New York Stock Exchange from the Internet Monday.

The streets of downtown Manhattan have been crowded for several weeks now with members of the Occupy Wall Street movement, who say they're protesting corporate greed. Last week, an online message purportedly posted by Anonymous said the protest would spread to a hacking attack.

Wall Street shrugged off the threat this morning as the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 250 points at the open.

A threat was first made on Oct. 5, as demonstrators massed on the streets in lower Manhattan. But a YouTube message posted shortly after that said, "Anonymous wouldn't attack NYSE on a HOLIDAY -- it is debatable if Anonymous would ever even attack NYSE."

However, a YouTube video posted on Saturday, using a computer-generated voice, said, "Many people refuse to accept that Operation Invade Wall Street is a reality. I am here to clarify that factions of Anonymous are going with the operation. Other factions are opposing it."

The flat, computer generated voice concluded, "Those who are going to be part of the attack have a message to the NYSE: We have you because we don't like you. We are all anonymous. We are all one legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. NYSE, expect those of us who plan to destroy you."

Anonymous has previously taken credit for hacking attacks on Bank of America, Sony's PlayStation network and other companies. It was unclear whether the online threat intended to interfere with stock trading, or do anything to the homepage of NYSE Euronext, the parent company of the stock exchange.

Ray Pellecchia, a spokesman for NYSE Euronext, said, "We don't comment on security." Separately, a source said the exchange functioned normally throughout the trading day.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio