Taking a Break From Spring Break

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Many local college students are ditching wild spring flings in Mexico or the Caribbean this year and sticking closer to home.

Though they may not have jobs to lose, the economic downturn is still putting a damper on many students’ spring break plans.

“I don’t really have any plans to go outside the country because it’s a little bit too expensive right now,” said Nicole Roberts, 27, a graduate film student in at Columbia University.

Struggling Merchants Get Creative

Friday, March 27th, 2009

When Victor Ricardi opened the Sports Page bar in Gravesend eight years ago, he did not anticipate the collapse of the U.S. economy.

The 2003 smoking ban whittled away at his customer base. More recently, people’s tendency to shop at local liquor stores because of the recession all but eliminated his clientele.

Instead of closing permanently, Ricardi dismantled the bar’s interior and turned the storefront into a coffee and sandwich shop last fall.

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Turf War in City Parks

Friday, March 27th, 2009

On a recent cold afternoon at the Parade Grounds in Brooklyn, half of the fields were bright green and alive with the sounds of play.  The high ping of an aluminum baseball bat making contact with the ball mixed with shouting in Spanish as a nearby soccer game grew intense.

The other half was closed off, barren and gray-brown.

One of these fallow fields was supposed to have been covered in synthetic turf, like the livelier half of the Parade Grounds were.

But it hasn’t, and in all likelihood won’t be anytime soon.


Pension Woes Bode For Nurse Exodus

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Mercedes Herman, a registered nurse with nearly four decades of experience, can retire in 2010 but was planning to keep working for several more years at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan. But possible recession-driven changes to her employer-funded pension plan have her rethinking her future.

The potential retirement of Herman and hundreds like her, spurred by a desire to protect a higher pension payout, could diminish the ranks of an already overstretched workforce.

The possible exodus is an effect of the federal Pension Protection Act of 2006, which could lead to drastic cuts to the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) pension plan. This has presented some of the union’s registered nurses with a tough choice: retire now, or risk losing up to half their pension funds.

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New Vision For Webster Avenue

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Smack Mellon Bridges Artists' Styles

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

A Dream Delayed for Latino Laborers

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Our Town – Ft. Greene Style

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Parking Fight on Sunnyside Street

Thursday, March 19th, 2009