Seth, a Manhattan lawyer who started hosting short-term rentals of his Upper East Studio during a period when he was out of work, says he’ll probably quit as soon as his lease is up. “The subpoena is scary,” he says, fearing hell have to hire a lawyer and pay a big fine. On Wednesday, Airbnb filed a motion in New York State Supreme Court challenging the subpoena. Airbnbs petition contends that Schneiderman’s request is a “fishing” expedition because there’s no proof of any wrongdoing. It also makes the dubious claim that requiring the company to produce what amounts to a gigantic Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with “millions of cells” is onerous because it would “take a significant amount of dedicated employee time.”Oscar Chase, a civil litigation expert and professor at NYU law school, says the request for the spreadsheet seems reasonable and that the attorney general is acting well within his subpoena powers. “A fishing expedition is not unlawful where there is good reason to believe that fish will be found,” says Chase. By renting their couch, Lauren and Rob aren’t breaking the law, which requires that hosts be home while their paid guests are sleeping there. But Schneidermans actions could mean that they will soon have to pay New York hotel taxes every night they have a guest. (The attorney generals office told Airbnb that the subpoena relates specifically to tax issues.) That would reduce Lauren and Rob’s nightly income by about $12 a nightor they’d have to make their guests pay taxes, which would reduce demand for their couch. I wonder if my great-grandparents would have continued to take in newcomers from the old country if it meant theyd be forced to pay taxes on a nightly basis. Seth, who started hosting short-term rentals of his apartment when he was out of work, says he’ll probably quit as soon as his lease is up. The subpoena is scary. Seth has more to fear from the attorney general because when he rents out his studio he sleeps elsewhere, which is against the law. Which raises the question: Why does anyone care where Seth sleeps? The law against turning your apartment into a hotel room is an outgrowth of New York City’s ridiculous rent regulations, which have created a multitude of unintended consequences that favor longtime residents at the expense of newcomers.Ever see a listing for a cheap rent stabilized apartments on Craigslist? When online listing sites like Airbnb were created, landlords discovered they could earn much more money operating their rent-regulated apartments as short-term hotels.
In many ways, it can be read as a follow-up to Kathleen Norris 1995 anthology Leaving New York: Writers Look Back, which reprinted, along with work by Frank Conroy, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Mona Simpson, the original Didion piece, although that book took a more historical overview. Both collections get at the sense of hope (or ambition) with which New York seduces us, as well as how living in the city can turn, leaving us with wistfulness and regret. I am, I should admit, very susceptible to such a message; as a native New Yorker, I know firsthand the highs and lows of living in the city; I left, also, in my late 20s, although to this day, I continue to feel its pull. And yet, Im no longer very young, which is why, perhaps, I relate most viscerally to the writers in Goodbye to All That I have mentioned, to their experience and their years. When Edelman tells us, I felt certain Id cycle back some day: it didnt seem possible for me to ever break free of New Yorks gravitational pull. But married life developed its own momentum, I know exactly what she means. I, too, came to California for a couple of years at most a couple of years that have now lasted longer than two decades. And when Ann Hood describes, in her magnificent Manhattan, Always Out of Reach, the experience of losing her 5-year-old daughter Grace to a virulent form of strep, she exposes the key lie we tell ourselves about iconic places: that they will save us, protect us, in some way, from ourselves. New York didnt matter, Hood writes of the aftermath of Graces dying. Nothing mattered….
The city was pummeled by Hurricane Sandy a year ago, leading to insured losses of about $25 billion in the U.S. according to Munich Re estimates. President Barack Obama cited the storm in his State of the Union address this year as a sign of the urgent need to address climate change. Changes will occur in the tropics sooner because they have a less variable climate, so even a small change in average temperature can take an area outside historical norms, according to the study. That may harm biodiversity in lower latitudes because tropical plants and animals are suited only to smaller variations in the climate, the researchers wrote. Finish Line Conservation practitioners take heed: the climate-change race is not only on, it is fixed, with the extinction finish line looming closest for the tropics, Eric Post , a professor of biology at Pennsylvania State University, wrote in an accompanying article in Nature. The study used as a baseline the average annual temperatures in cities around the world for each year from 1860 through 2005. While some years in the next few decades are predicted to exceed the highest of those averages, later years will return to levels within the historical average. Climate departure is the point when temperatures go outside that band and all subsequent years will exceed the range. That will occur in Mexico City in 2031, Mumbai in 2034, Baghdad , Cairo and Nairobi in 2036, Tokyo in 2041, Rome in 2044, Bangkok in 2046, and Rio de Janeiro in 2050. The Indonesian city of Manokwari is expected to get there first, in 2020. The results highlight the challenge faced by United Nations envoys who are trying to negotiate by 2015 a binding treaty to combat climate change that would take effect from 2020. Warming Planet World leaders have agreed to contain temperature rises since industrialization to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and the UN last month said the planet has already warmed by an average 0.85 degree since 1880. The World Bank last year said the planet is on track to warm 4 degrees by 2100.
New York police arrest relative in Baby Hope case
A neighbor of the Romneys had sought to block the project on the grounds that the couples property in La Jolla was too small to justify a house of that size under regulations determining the ratio between lot and house sizes, according to documents before the commission. The Coastal Commission voted 7 to 4 at a meeting in San Diego to deny the appeal and allow the project to go forward, said panel spokeswoman Sarah Christie. The couples current house in La Jolla is 3,100 square feet, panel spokeswoman Sarah Christie said. The planned home would approach three times the size of the existing home. Reuters Males tend to play down distracted-driving dangers: Do you think its all right to text and drive because youre a great driver? If so, chances are youre a guy. A study published in the International Journal of Sustainable Strategic Management found that four out of five college students texted while driving, and that males were more likely to downplay the dangers of distracted driving, because they believed they were skilled drivers. While male respondents widely agree that texting while driving is dangerous they also believe that they are better at texting while driving than other drivers, the study said Garold Lantz and Sandra Loeb. The authors, who are both marketing professors at Kings College, in Wilkes Barre, Pa., surveyed 120 male and female students on their texting habits, as well as their views of the practice. Los Angeles Times
New York biker bash and attack on SUV a polarizing event
“We’re family people. We’re working people. We just look for the good in what we do, as far as riding motorcycles.” Lao’s online profile on stuntlife.com describes him as a “stunter” whose best stunt is “wen i turn on my bike…” His interests are: “RRRAAAOOOooWWW!!!” To hear him tell it, police were out in such force to prevent this year’s Hollywood’s Block Party that the event never got off the ground. Instead, Lao said, smaller packs of riders spread out across the city, with the goal to reach Times Square as the rally had done in previous years. Lao said he was not among the riders, because he was deterred by the police presence. The fact that the event turned ugly shouldn’t come as a surprise, said Steve Cook, an expert on motorcycle gangs at the Heartland Law Enforcement Training Institute. The organization, in Independence, Mo., trains law enforcement in how to deal with motorcycle gangs. Cook compared rides such as Hollywood’s Block Party to mobile flash-mobs, with groups of riders on powerful motorbikes performing wheelies and other stunts as they weave through traffic. “They’ll try to close down a major interstate so they can perform this stuff, and the bottom line is that it’s extremely dangerous,” Cook said. “These guys are obviously looking for attention, and there are times and places for things like this, but in the middle of any public roadway is just not the place.” Participants in the New York event who have spoken out deny wrongdoing. Two of the motorcyclists who are not among those charged, Louis Castaldo and Michael Anthony, told the New Jersey TV station PIX11 that Lien was the aggressor and started the problem by hitting a biker as he tried to plow through the pack when it was moving onto the West Side Highway from West 57th Street. That prompted the bikers to follow Lien, Castaldo and Anthony said, and when Lien did not stop, the situation escalated. “In my opinion he made the situation worse by not stopping, by choosing to flee the initial scene,” Anthony said.