Entries in new york (35)


Norwegian Cruise Line's Breakaway Inspired by New York Home Port

Norwegian Cruise Line(NEW YORK) -- The cruise industry's been in the news a lot recently, but not for good reasons. Carnival Cruise Line in particular has had more than its fair share of bad press, starting with the stranding at sea of passengers for five days on the Carnival Triumph and continuing until this week when two passengers on the Carnival Sunshine in Australia went missing.

But finally, some good news for cruise enthusiasts: Wednesday's christening of Norwegian Cruise Line's Breakaway marked the entry of the newest mega ship to the industry. It's also good news for its home port of New York City: Breakaway is the largest ship ever to call the Big Apple home.

Mega ships are often called floating cities, and this floating city has taken much of its inspiration from what some call the world's greatest city. Being on Breakaway is a little like being in a fantasized version of the Big Apple itself, if the Big Apple could possibly be contained on a 4,000 passenger pleasure cruise the length of three and a half football fields.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Samsung Galaxy S4 to Be Announced on March 14 in New York

Samsung(NEW YORK) -- The rumors were true: Samsung will unveil its next flagship Android smartphone -- the Galaxy S4 or Galaxy S IVa -- on March 14 at a press conference in New York City. The company sent out invitations to members of the press Monday and Samsung mobile division chief JK Shin told Edaily, a Korean website, that it would be showing off the phone.

"We introduced the Galaxy S III in London last year, and this time we changed the venue (to New York) ... as we were bombarded with requests from U.S. mobile carriers to unveil the Galaxy S IV in the country," Shin said.

The new phone is expected to have a higher-resolution screen, an improved camera and a quad-core processor. It is also expected that Samsung will focus on new software features that will set it apart from the other Android phones and the Apple iPhone.

Samsung has become the most popular Android phone maker. In January, Samsung reported that it had sold over 40 million Galaxy S 3 phones since their launch in May 2012. The company has taken shots at Apple in its commercials, aiming to portray Samsung as the cooler brand.

This week at Mobile World Congress, a large mobile tradeshow in Barcelona, Samsung released a new Galaxy Note. The Galaxy Note 8.0 comes with a digital pen and new software features that Samsung says it hopes will differentiate it from Apple's similarly sized iPad Mini.

ABC News will be reporting live from the March 14 event in New York City.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


NY Man Posts Resume on Candy Bar, Lands Job

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For any job searcher, there is nothing quite as sweet as landing a job in a tough economy. For one specific job seeker, Nick Begley, of New York, the sweetness was in how he landed the job.

Begley, 32, used the label of a candy bar to sell himself to potential employers, crafting his resume onto a “Resume Bar.”

Using the tagline, “Credentials that will satisfy any organization’s appetite,” Begley sold himself on the bar as an “experienced marketing professional” with a serving size of “1 career.”  Instead of calories, the bar listed his education level (MBA) and instead of vitamin counts, the bar’s label touted Begley’s 110% work ethic, 100% communication and 100% versatility, among others.

Begley created 12 of the bars after he completed his MBA at the University of Central Florida in 2009 and was searching for jobs in New York.  His unique take on the job search got a second life this week when his friend, Eli Langer, posted a photo of the bar on Reddit, where it has received more than 3,000 comments.

“People are either going to love or hate it,” Begley told ABC News on Friday.  “My focus was to find an organization that would embrace it because if they weren’t open to that kind of out-of-the-box thinking, that wouldn’t be a company that I would fit in well with anyways.”

Begley had already found an organization, the Orlando Magic basketball franchise, that embraced his creativity while in graduate school.  The team hired him for a summer internship after receiving a “Resume Bar,” which gave Begley all the confidence he needed to try it again.

The sweet approach worked a second time as Begley landed a marketing job less than two months after graduating from UCF with LeagueApps in 2009, a platform that connects adult recreational athletes.

Begley, who also once had his resume delivered along with a pizza, says his brother, Jeremy, designed the label for him and he had it printed at Kinko’s.  He put the label atop a standard Nestle Crunch bar, making his resume not-so-ordinary for less than $2.50 per bar, he estimates.

“Of course,” Begley said when asked if it was worth it.  “It was creative and put me ahead [with potential employers] as far as understanding that I was willing to go the extra mile.”

Begley now works for a Toronto-based e-commerce entertainment company, a job he found the old-fashioned way.

“I was recruited by someone I used to work with,” he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


NY Couple Says Allstate Short-Changed Them, Put Home in Ad

PRNewsFoto/Allstate Insurance Co.(NEW YORK) -- A Staten Island, N.Y., couple said their insurance company short-changed them after Superstorm Sandy destroyed their home, and then used their house in a commercial.

In October, Sheila Traina, 64, and her husband, Dominic, 66, had evacuated their home in New Dorp Beach in response to warnings from local authorities about the storm.

Traina said a neighbor who had stayed behind called and told them the wind had knocked the roof off their two-story home but their insurer, Allstate, said the damage to their home was due to flooding.

"He said the house came down before the storm, came down and water finished it off," Traina said of her neighbor.

Allstate told her it was storm surge that caused the damage, she said.

The insurance company offered the Trainas, who did not have flood insurance, about $10,000 for the damages.  They say the amount is well short of the $280,000 for which their home and its contents were insured.

"We have a witness," Traina said.  "If you witnessed a murder, somebody would get convicted I would think."

The storm's winds also knocked down a 30-foot tall tree across the street, Traina said.

She said she has refused to accept the $10,000 and is planning to hire an attorney to fight for a settlement that matches the value of her home.

In the meantime, the Trainas are staying in a family member's home that is three miles away.  Her husband is retired but they have income from his late mother's home, which they are renting.

Traina, an administrative secretary, said she had hoped to retire next year, but her plans are on hold until they can rebuild their home.

A spokeswoman from Allstate said the company is "committed to resolving the matter in accordance with the policy they purchased from our company."

"Allstate is always focused on ensuring our customers are completely satisfied," the spokeswoman said.  "In major disasters such as Sandy, we are often the first on the scene providing financial and emotional support."

The Trainas said they previously had flood insurance, provided by the U.S. government's National Flood Insurance Program, but their payments were more than the reimbursement amounts they received for previous incidents.

Traditional private homeowners policies, such as those of Allstate, do not cover flood losses, the company said.

"We encourage our customers to consider flood insurance to protect themselves in ways that would not be covered under a homeowner's policy," Allstate said.

What the Trainas said upset them further was that an image of their damaged home was used in a commercial for Allstate.

After their Thanksgiving dinner, Traina said her husband and grandchildren were watching a football game when her grandchildren said they saw their home in a television advertisement.

"It was just a picture of our chair and our kitchen window but it was noticeable what they were showing," she said.  "It was not a happy Thanksgiving after that."

Allstate said the advertisement "showed general images of the destruction caused by Sandy including a partial image of the Trainas' home."

"It does not reference them as customers or in any way imply they are satisfied with the status of their claim.  We regret any concern this advertisement may have caused the Trainas and images of their home will not be included in Allstate's advertising," the company said.

Allstate said it has made almost $1.1 billion in claim payments and continues to work with local Allstate agencies and The Allstate Foundation's support of non-profit organizations.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Superstorm Sandy Relief: Anheuser-Busch Turns Beer Into Water

ABC News (NEW YORK) -- They’re not turning water into wine but it’s almost as miraculous.

They are turning beer into water.

About 44 thousand cases of water instead of brew are heading to the New York/New Jersey area free of charge.

“Personally, for me it does mean a little bit more because I do have family affected by it,” said Anheuser-Busch Plant Manager Scott Vail, who is originally from New Jersey.

It sounds novel, but Anheuser-Busch has been converting beer lines to water lines for disaster relief dating back to the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.

Since 1988, the company has donated 71 million cans of water.

“(It) makes us feel great, a lot of people don’t have opportunities to help, so we look at this actually as an opportunity to help,” said Anheuser-Busch employee Sam McElveen.

Anheuser-Busch is not the only company stepping out their box to help in Sandy relief efforts.

Victoria’s Secret known for sexy ladies wear generated attention for loaning their generators to the National Guard during the storm.

Hess is delivering their gasoline to rival gas stations in need.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Jobless Man, 52, Occupies Street Corner in Employment Quest

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- On a busy street corner in New York stands a balding, 52-year-old man. He holds a sign: 'HIRE ME.' So far, nobody has—and he's been doing this every weekday for a month.

But Vincent Giordano is no quitter. "I'm determined not to end up in a homeless shelter," he says.

Nicely dressed in a suit and tie, Giordano hands copies of his resume to anyone who'll take one. "Sometimes," says the one-time legal assistant, "you have to sink low to rise to the top again."

His sign lists his phone number (917-478-7435), his email address (, and the kind of work he's looking for: legal assistant, office services and copy operator.

The support from the public, he says, has been fantastic. "It's amazing how supportive people are. People say, 'Wow, how admirable; you've got chutzpah; you've got balls,' pardon the expression." People give him their business card or say they'll take his resume to their boss.

On a good day recently, he handed out 50 resumes, which, he says, netted him five interviews--"but no cigar" yet.

He says he got the idea to direct-market himself after seeing an ABC News story about a man who found a job this same way. "Monkey-see, monkey-do," says Giordano.

The other man, who had a degree in finance, stood around in front of the W.R. Grace building in New York for 30 days, Giordano says. "Eventually, the people in the building got tired of seeing him, and they brought him up to the office. The rest is history. He's my inspiration."

For older people out of work, job prospects are bleak. The rate of unemployment for workers 55 and up is 6.5 percent. That's lower than the national average; but once an older worker loses his job, it takes far longer to find a new one. In 2011, more than half of all unemployed older workers spent at least 27 weeks looking for work.

Until two years ago, Giordano worked for a big law firm, making copies of documents and providing litigation support. Then he was laid off. How come? "The economy," he shrugs. "They wanted to get younger people in. They let the older people go."

For a while he drove a school bus. "But that routine was not for me. Don't get me wrong—I love the out of doors—but school bus drivers get zero respect out on the road."

He's tried going to employment agencies, he says, and has registered with dozens. But none has found him a job. "They all say they have nothing for you," he says, even though he knows—by cross-checking listings on Craigslist—that they do.

"Where I'm standing on the street right now, I'm right around the corner from one of those agencies. They have a job that fits my skill set. I've called them on numerous occasions, and they always say the person who handles that is on vacation." His age, he thinks, may be one reason he's getting the run-around.

The best corners for prospecting are the busiest, he says. He handed out his 50 resumes, for example, at 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Now he's ready to branch out. "People tell me I should circulate myself," he says. "I'm thinking about doing Wall Street next, or maybe the courts in Brooklyn."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Top Six States Facing Major Financial Stress

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A new report by the State Budget Crisis Task Force paints a chilling picture of what's ahead for U.S. states, even long after the 2008 recession officially ended.

The pessimistic analysis identifies major threats to fiscal sustainability, including out-of-control Medicaid spending; reductions in federal state-aid; underfunded state retirement plans; an eroding tax base; and laws that allow states to use gimmicks to hide their fiscal troubles.

The co-chairs of the Task Force -- former Fed chairman Paul Volker and former New York State Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch -- say state governments are coping with the "unprecedented challenges" in their attempt to keep providing "established levels of service with uncertain and constrained resources."  States' ability to continue to meet their obligations to their own employees, to their creditors and to their citizens, say the chairmen, "is threatened."

The report's recommendations include the following:

  • Reduce budget gimmickry.  States should, for example, replace cash-based budgeting with modified accrual budgets, so that legislators and the public can see how revenues earned in any given fiscal year relate to obligations incurred in the same year.
  • Enact forecasts and plans that extend at least four years into the future; encourage independent review of these forecasts.
  • Strengthen state 'rainy-day' funds.  Examples of successful funds, such as those created by Texas and Virginia, should be copied by other states.
  • State pension systems need to account more clearly for the risks they assume and for the potential shortfalls they face.  States should create mechanisms to ensure that required contributions are paid.
  • The federal government should shore up states' eroding tax bases by making it easier for states to collect taxes on goods and services sold over the Internet.

The report examines in particular the health of six states -- California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Virginia -- because, say its authors, these account for more than a third of the nation's population and almost 40 cents out of every dollar spent by state and local government.

Here's a sampling of the challenges facing these six states, which the report says face major threats to their ability to provide basic services:

1. Illinois -- Medicaid Spending
Medicaid, says the report, is the single biggest spending category in most states' budgets and is growing faster than both the economy and state tax revenues.  If trends of the past decade continue, the gap between Medicaid spending and state tax revenue growth will increase by at least $22 billion annually within five years.  Illinois, by the end of the current year, will face accumulated unpaid Medicaid bills estimated to total $1.9 billion.

2. New York -- Reduced Federal Aid to States
When the federal government gets around to taking significant steps to reduce its budget deficit, predicts the report, "such action could wreak havoc on the states."  Even a 10 percent cut in federal aid would cost states a collective $60 billion, the equivalent of eliminating all states' spending on libraries, parks and recreation.  Such a cut would cost New York and California more than $6 billion each, but New York's cut per capita ($316.5) would be highest of any of the six states.

3. California -- Underfunded Retirement
Under current actuarial assumptions, says the report, state and local government pension funds are underfunded by approximately $1 trillion.  Despite that shortfall, California and other states have continued to sweeten pension benefits, some retroactively, on the basis of assumptions that in hindsight were too optimistic.  California's unfunded liability, based on the current market value of its fund's assets, is greatest of the six states: $135.8 billion.  Illinois is next, at $92.5 billion.

4. Texas -- Eroding Tax Base
The report calls states' sales tax revenues "volatile and eroding."  Reasons include a nationwide shift in consumer spending away from goods toward more lightly-taxed services.  An increase in cars' fuel efficiency has reduced revenue from fuel taxes.  Texas' situation is complicated by the fact that it has no income tax, and so relies "far more heavily" on the sales taxes than do most states.  Sales taxes, says the report, have been diminishing relative to the economy.  "A 1 percent change in personal income now produces only about an estimated 0.7-0.8 percent increase in sales tax revenue," the report says.

5. Virginia -- Local Government Fiscal Stress
"Fiscal stress rolls downhill," says the report.  Suffering states have tried to pass their troubles down to cities, towns and counties -- for example, by cutting aid to primary and secondary education.  Such moves, however, result in no net reduction of a state's fiscal stress: The pea is just hidden under a different walnut-shell.  While laws in some states prevent local governments from raising property tax rates to offset those housing-bust declines in value, Virginia's towns and cities can raise taxes all they want, and some are doing so.  What good is achieved?  Says the report: "This kind of compensating mechanism only turns potential stress for local governments into actual stress for property owners."

6. New Jersey -- Laws and Practices That Hinder Fiscal Stability

Short-term budget gimmicks, says the report, only serve to destabilize a state's long-term finances.  One of the most notorious gimmicks, it says, is capitalizing future revenues to produce a balance in a current year, borrowing cash "not just from the year ahead but from many years into the future."  An obvious way to end the practice is to put in place "a multi-year financial and capital plan linked to the annual budgeting process."  Multi-year planning has been practiced successfully by many states, says the report, but New Jersey isn't one of them: the state has no such plan in place.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Apartment for Rent: Live Like President Obama!

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Searching for an apartment and harboring dreams of becoming president one day? A two-bedroom pre-war apartment on Manhattan's far Upper West Side may be the place for you.

The Harlem apartment once occupied by a young Barack Obama is on the rental market once again, though the asking price has increased from $360 in the early 1980s to today’s $2,400 a month.

According to broker Zak Kneider with New York real estate firm CitiHabitats, the apartment is a third-floor walk-up with exposed brick, large windows, and charming details.

“Live Like the President!!!” the online posting for the apartment reads. “Barack Obama’s former apartment is now on the market for rent. Be a part of history and live where the President lived while he attended Columbia University. Who knows, you just might end up in the White House one day.”

The apartment is the exact one where Obama lived while he was attending Columbia in the 1980s, Kneider said, noting that because of that connection, the real estate office and tenant have been “inundated” with more than 50 inquiries about the property since it was posted on Wednesday.

“I think it’ll go very quickly actually,” Kneider said. “The amount of calls is just amazing.”

The apartment will be ready for an August move-in, Kneider said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Lawmaker Proposes Keeping Families Together In-Flight

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A New York congressman and member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has introduced legislation to help keep families seated together on commercial flights.

The Families Flying Together Act of 2012 would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to direct each carrier to “establish a policy to ensure, to the extent practicable, that a family that purchases tickets for a flight with that air carrier is seated together during that flight; and (2) make the policy... available to the public on an appropriate Internet Web site of the air carrier.”

Two airlines – Allegiant Air and Spirit Airways – charge for advance seat assignments, which means families who want to guarantee they’re going to be seated together will have to pay extra.  And while other airlines might not charge for an advance seat assignment, they might charge more for window or aisle seats, making it difficult to find seats together for free.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s legislation would help to ensure that children are not separated from their families and seated alone on flights.

“Air travel is complicated and expensive enough for families without adding new stresses,” Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a news release.  “Families should not be stuck paying hidden fees, or buying ‘premium’ seats, simply because they wish to be seated together on crowded flights.  It is positively absurd to expect a 2 or 3-year-old to sit unattended, next to strangers, on an airplane.  It is up to air carriers to make their seating policies clear and easily accessible to the public.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Huguette Clark: Reclusive Heiress' Gifts To Doctors, Nurses Question In Estate Battle

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The generous gifts Huguette Clark lavished upon her doctors and nurses are being questioned in a high-powered battle playing out in a New York courtroom over the late copper heiress' estate.

Ethel Griffin, a court-appointed official, is trying to reclaim $37 million in gifts the reclusive heiress gave to her doctors and nurses over the course of the two decades she lived in New York City hospitals. Clark's estate is said to total around $400 million.

Griffin alleges Clark's mental state could have led her to have been easily manipulated into giving grand gifts to her medical team.

She has also asked the court to investigate whether the hospital where Clark lived for two decades should return a $6 million Edouard Manet painting and whether a Washington art museum should return a $250,000 gift.

Clark's longtime attorney, Wallace Bock, wrote in an affidavit in 2010 before the heiress' death that his client "has always been a strong-willed individual with firm convictions about how her life should be led and who should be privy to her affairs."

Bock said the two nieces and a nephew named in the petition are "very distant relatives of Ms. Clark, who have only recently appeared on the scene."

Clark's last will was believed to have been signed in April 2005, bequeathing most of her fortune to charity. Her private nurse was allocated at least $30 million. However, a will apparently signed just weeks before mandated Clark's estate be left to her 20 great-nieces and great-nephews, who are now fighting a legal battle for the fortune of an aunt they likely never met.

Though Clark had a 42-room apartment on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue and sprawling estates in California and Connecticut, she lived quietly for decades in a hospital room, most recently at Beth Israel Medical Center, dying two weeks shy of her 105th birthday.

"Ms. Clark has explicitly instructed me on many occasions that she does not want visitors and does not want anyone -- including her relatives -- to know where she resides," Bock wrote in a 2010 filing, adding "Ms. Clark has been a very private person for as long as I have known her. She has often expressed to me her desire to maintain her privacy."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio