Introducing the Robo-Train

Friday, February 27th, 2009

The L Train runs from 8th Avenue at 14th Street in Manhattan  to Canarsie, Brooklyn, serving more a quarter million riders daily. Now, thanks to CBTC, or computer-based train control system, some L trains are driving themselves.

Officials say the change will allow trains to run closer together and more often, helping New Yorkers get around faster. Some things, though, won’t change: the trains will still have a motorman and conductor.

Citizen Crimefighter Plays "John"

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Rafael “Ralph” Moreno strides along a dingy Roosevelt Avenue sidewalk, his shiny black dress shoes more distinguished than their surroundings. A stout woman bundled in a North Face jacket thrusts a red flyer at him. “Immigration attorney!” she shouts in Spanish, loud enough to compete with the rumble of the No. 7 train above.

There was a different kind of solicitation on Roosevelt Avenue in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when prostitution and the cocaine trade were booming, according to news accounts from that time. Tired of headlines about Colombian criminals, Moreno enlisted in the fight against crime.

“To hell with this,” the Colombian immigrant remembers thinking to himself. “I’m going to clean up our name.”

He would wear sneakers as he strolled Roosevelt Avenue, to be “any guy,” he said. “Honestly, I looked like I wanted to go to bed with a prostitute.”

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Shops Closing Amid Cost Hikes

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Until last year, John Hyun used to get up at the crack of dawn and rush to Hunts Point Cooperative Market. Hyun would get fruit and vegetables, load his van and drive to his grocery store just north of Hunts Point.

What came next was the hard day of an immigrant who tries to build his way up in New York: a 12-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week marathon, day after day, spent moving sacks of potatoes and fulfilling the often unpredictable requests of old ladies.

“They’re never happy with the size of their apples,” said Hyun.

Now John Hyun, who has tiny, weathered hands, salt and pepper hair and a face that looks as it had been carved out of stone, still works 12-hour days, but he is no longer so frantically busy.

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A Bittersweet Valentine’s Day

Friday, February 13th, 2009

The recession has lovers — and city businesses — in a pinch this Valentine’s Day.

Businesses that usually count on the holiday of red hearts to bring in the green are bracing for disappointing sales while lovebirds are planning creative and cost-efficient ways to pay homage to Cupid.

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Local Phelps Fans Split on Pot Pics

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Taking a New Look at NIMBY

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

FDNY Cuts Stir New Fears In Bushwick

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

E-Gadgets Spark Youth Crime Spike

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009