Soapbox: Port Ambrose problems: Reso. 549 would stop it

By Anne Lazarus

A liquid natural gas facility has been proposed to be built, approximately 15 miles off the shore of Long Island. When Methane is chilled to -260 degrees, it becomes a highly-volatile, potentially explosive liquid. The port would allow two LNG (liquified natural gas) vessels (which are as long as the Empire State Building is tall) to directly connect to the region’s natural gas system. This capacity could be increased.

Port Ambrose has been presented as an importer of natural gas (Methane), but the United States is awash in natural gas and is looking for opportunities to export this fossil fuel. Prices for Methane abroad are higher than domestic prices. This facility can easily and will be used as an export facility. Liquifying and reversing to vapor form of natural gas is fossil-fuel intensive. Port Ambrose is a stimulus to the tracking industry in the Marcellus. What are the dangers and problems with Port Ambrose?

This facility is within a few miles of three international airports and densely-populated areas. It is located near highly-trafficked navigational areas, including tankers carrying chemicals and petroleum. A collision could be disastrous. Hundreds of thousands of boats and ships navigate in the area of the proposed LNG. During Hurricane Sandy wave heights were nearly 30 feet. We are expecting more intense hurricanes. Scarce resources will be spent for security.

LNG tankers, plus the operation and construction of this facility will destroy billions of fish eggs and other benthic and marine life. Avian life will also be severely affected. The fishing industry will be negatively affected. The quality and safety of fish caught in this region will also be questionable. Whale species such as Fin and Humpback, Dolphin species and other marine mammals and reptiles, such as endangered sea turtles will be exposed to the harmful effects of this LNG. Tourism and recreational use of the oceans will be curtailed.

Who owns Liberty LNG, Port Ambrose?

Liberty Natural Gas is a foreign entity. The corporation may be licensed in Delaware.  It has an office in New York City, but managed by an investment group in Canada and entirely owned by a bank in the Cayman Islands. We do not know who is behind the company.

Port Ambrose can be stopped. If either Governor Cuomo or Governor Christie of NJ veto the project, it will not be built. Resolution 549 in the NYC Council, if passed will request Gov. Cuomo to veto Port Ambrose. This resolution has been introduced by Councilman Donovan Richards and many Council members are supporting it, but more are needed. Hopefully, Resolution 549 will pass. More than 24,370 citizens submitted comments on the first phase of Port Ambrose and only 17 were in favor. Only six permanent jobs will result from the port. Go to CleanOceanAction.org for more information.

Anne Lazarus is a resident of Stuyvesant Town and an environmental activist. She is the guide for the seasonal bird watching tours organized by the Stuyvesant Cove Park Association.

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Neighborhood networking site now includes ST/PCV

An actor dressed as a town crier sings Tenant King’s praises as the company attempts to market its services to Stuyvesant Town residents. (Photo courtesy of Tenant King)

An actor dressed as a town crier sings Tenant King’s praises as the company attempts to market its services to Stuyvesant Town residents. (Photo courtesy of Tenant King)

By Sabina Mollot

A new social networking site for residents of specific neighborhoods has recently expanded its reach to include residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

Tenant King, which began including the neighborhood last September, is aimed at helping people interact with neighbors online in a way that encourages talk about local businesses and also offers a way for people to buy and sell things to neighbors through a listings section.

The contents of the site only becomes available to a visitor after he or she has provided proof of an address that coincides with the right network/neighborhood, of which currently there are just a few. Along with ST/PCV, there’s also Tribeca, Battery Park City, the Seaport, the Financial District and Long Island City. Without signing up, access to information on the site, tenantking.com, is pretty limited.

So, as the company, which was co-founded by two Long Island City residents, boasts on the site, there are “No stalkers, no marketers, no bots, no management companies, just you and your fellow tenants.” Of the two founders, one is Mihkel Noormagi, an Estonia native who’s lived in New York for the past five years. The other is Hungarian-born Patrik Misko. The two met when working at Elegran, a midtown real estate firm.

It was after moving to the neighborhood, that they came up with the idea for Tenant King, “because they saw a need,” said Meena Ziabari, a spokesperson for the company, “for a way to meet people in your neighborhood that might share interests with you.”

The most popular feature so far seems to be the listings, which was created as a locally oriented alternative to Craigslist. So far, it seems to have worked, with people using the section not only for commerce but for things like giving away furniture and starting book clubs. There’s also been a lot of debate online on issues affecting the different neighborhoods; a recent thread among Stuy Town neighbors revolved around the rudeness of a dog owner who’d left the pooch’s pee in an elevator. Another dog-related conversation started when a user offered to walk other people’s dogs for them.

“She runs in the morning and said, ‘I would love to help,’” said Ziabari.

Membership on the site is free, and while Tenant King is hoping to form partnerships with businesses in their areas of coverage and eventually be able to collect some sort of fees that way, the website and service have yet to be monetized. Meanwhile, businesses are not allowed to join as members, which is a rule aimed at discouraging self-promotion. Individual service providers, such as dog walkers and baby sitters, however, are an exception.

As of this month, Noormagi said there are close to 4,000 members of Tenant King in the participating neighborhoods, mostly in Long Island City. Around 700 members are from ST/PCV.

In other recent developments, Noormagi noted that the company has been shooting member video testimonials and has started actively looking for investors.

So far, there hasn’t been too much in the way of promotion, although actors dressed as medieval town criers did prance through the Oval on one afternoon last fall to hand out invitation codes. The effort, Ziabari recalled, delighted the kids. “They had a lot of families coming up to them, asking how they got there, by time machine?”

Responding to invitations, which can also be sent by mail upon request is one way would-be members can verify their addresses. Another way is to send a scan of an ID or debit card.

If things take off, the company hopes to eventually expand its services. “We would love to do it across the country,” Ziabari said, “but for now, this is for New York City.”

One of Ess-A-Bagel’s owners hit by car in front of shop

Ess-a-Bagel as it looked on Monday (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Ess-a-Bagel as it looked last Monday (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

One of the members of the family that owns Ess-a-Bagel was taken to the hospital last Monday after he was hit by a car on the street outside the now closed bagel shop.

The accident occurred close to 11 a.m., according to the FDNY, and the victim, Michael Wenzelberg, was taken to Mt. Sinai Beth Israel.

According to another owner, David Wilpon, Wenzelberg, who’s in his early 50s and is Wilpon’s brother-in-law, suffered a broken rib and some bruising and sprains. “But,” he added, “It could have been worse” as there was no internal bleeding.

Wilpon didn’t see the accident, but said his wife did and there is video footage. He added that Wenzelberg had been in the crosswalk at the time. It wasn’t a hit-and-run and the driver was female, though Wilpon didn’t know anything about her beyond that.

This happened as Wilpon and others were clearing things out of the shop, which closed that day. Word of the accident soon spread on the ST-PCV Tenants Association Facebook page.

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