9:01 AM, Jul 11, 2014 • By ELI LEHRER
As anyone who has visited New York City knows, getting a taxicab in the city can prove very, very difficult. And finding a driver that speaks English, has working air conditioning, will let a visitor pay by credit card, and knows directions to major landmarks can be even harder. That’s why it’s utterly bizarre that the city is trying to stop drivers from offering taxi-like rides in the city for free.
The underlying cause of the cab shortage, of course, is the city’s antiquated system of taxi medallions that limits a city of 8.4 million people and few parking spaces to about 13,000 cabs—about 4,000 fewer than existed in in 1937 when the city had a million fewer residents.
To their credit, the city’s elected leaders have moved to remedy that situation by slightly increasing the supply of medallions, creating new, green-colored taxis to serve outlying areas, and letting Uber, a trendy company best known for its high-end “black car service,” operate. (Albeit with constant bureaucratic meddling.)
But the city’s bureaucratic mandarins don’t seem to want to allow their subjects too many new options. Exhibit A is their treatment of a newcomer to the market, the San Francisco-based company called Lyft, which puts giant pink mustaches on the front of its cars and encourages drivers and fares to fist-bump. The company, scheduled to debut in taxi starved Brooklyn and Queens on July 12, was planning to offer its services for free to build market share during its first two weeks in operation.
The city’s response: If drivers so much as dare to give people free rides, they’ll face $2,000 fines and might have their cars impounded if they, say, fail a spot engine emissions check. Given that Lyft, and its competitors (Uber’s UberX service and Sidecar) largely rely on people driving their personal cars, this is a draconian penalty to say the least. Indeed, there really doesn’t seem to be a limiting principle that would stop the city from applying the same logic to people who give rides to friends. After all, they’re competing with taxis too.
The city does, of course, have some legitimate interest in overseeing the safety of companies that offer rides for money. But, given that Lyft, Uber, Sidecar, and some smaller players have all already compiled better-than-taxis safety records in dozens of markets where they already operate, it’s difficult to figure out why the process should be complicated or involved. In the end, if a private company wants to offer the city’s resident something for free, the bureaucrats really need to think about getting out of the way.
11:48 AM, Jun 10, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The new documentary "Alise vs. the Mayor," produced by the Blaze, concludes with its final episode. Shot against the backdrop of New York City mayor Bill de Blasio's fight against providing rent-free public school space to charter schools, the film follows young Alise, a Harlem Success Academy scholar. In the final episode, we see the fallout from de Blasio's standoff against a fellow Democrat, New York governor Andrew Cuomo, and how this affects Alise.
Watch the episode below:
11:01 AM, Jun 4, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
New York City has become a central battlefield in the fight over school choice and education reform since Bill de Blasio, an ally of the teachers unions and opponent of charter schools, became mayor in January. De Blasio decided early on in his administration to force out charter schools like Harlem Success Academy (founded by de Blasio's longtime political opponent Eva Moskowitz) from open space in public school buildings. The negative response was overwhelming, with even New York's Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo coming out forcefully against de Blasio's anti-charter schools move.
Marching for and against Israel.Jun 2, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 36 • By KATE HAVARD
On a cold wet day in April, a small crowd of protesters stood outside the United Jewish Appeal-Federation headquar-ters in New York to oppose the inclusion of anti-Israel groups in the Celebrate Israel parade. This year is the 50th anniversary of the parade, one of the most prominent displays of American support for Israel.
One reaction to anti-Israel protesters yesterday at Zabar's.5:50 PM, Apr 23, 2014 • By KATE HAVARD
Yesterday, on the last day of Passover, protesters surrounded the doors of Zabar’s—the iconic Upper West Side grocer famous for its knishes and lox—to demand the store stop selling the carbonated beverage maker SodaStream. The roughly 40 protesters, carrying guitars and signs decrying “Apartheid Soda,” represented a coalition of volunteers from Adalah-NY (meaning “justice” in Arabic), Jewish Voice for Peace, and m
Romney still wrong about Russia, says Obama.11:56 AM, Mar 25, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Speaking at a brief news conference in the Hague, President Obama said he's more worried about a nuke being detonated in Manhattan than he is about Russia:
"With respect to Mr. Romney's assertion that Russia is our number one geopolitical foe, the truth of the matter is that America has a whole lot of challenges," said the president.
"Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neigbors, not out of strength, but out weakness.
4:29 PM, Mar 11, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The White House pool reporter says that President Obama has gone shopping at Gap in New York City:
12:26 PM, Dec 24, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The daughter of incoming New York City mayor Bill de Blasio opens up in a YouTube video about her drug use, alcoholism, and depression:
2:36 PM, Oct 30, 2013 • By EVAN SPARKS
This is why we can’t have nice things, New Yorkers might have muttered when they heard the news: Bill de Blasio, a shoo-in to be elected mayor next month, supports a plan to gut one of New York City’s most successful policy innovations of the past three decades.
Lou Reed went down and found a song that will survive.1:03 PM, Oct 28, 2013 • By LEE SMITH
Lou Reed died yesterday in Amagansett, N.Y., thus ending his life on the same island, Long Island, where it began more than 71 years ago in Kings County, better known as Brooklyn.
Aug 26, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 47 • By TERRY EASTLAND
Since the early 1990s the New York Police Department has used a crime-prevention strategy that it calls “stop, question, and frisk.” Accordingly, officers stop and question a person based on reasonable suspicion and sometimes pat down the clothing of the individual to ensure that he is not armed. The department credits the strategy in large part for the huge declines in murder and major crimes over two decades in what is now the nation’s safest big city. But the liberal opposition to stop-question-and-frisk has been fighting back, and last week federal district judge Shira A.