Apparently April Fool’s Day is Judgment Day for congestion fees here in New York City. It is the day, following Mr. de Blasio on WNYC, when wisdom will be brought to bear and traffic congestion will be made a thing of the past.
Unfortunately, while congestion fees may help the cash-strapped MTA, the practice will do nothing for congestion… and we all know it!
The reason: Traffic congestion was not caused by a cash shortage in the MTA. Congestion is an above-ground problem, and no amount of MTA money, and no amount of on-time public service will get at its causes. The first cause was the deliberate increase years ago in the number of yellow cabs. The second cause is the number and sizes of Uber and Lyft vehicles that found their way onto our streets — 100,000 if current figures are correct. And finally, though not causal, the introduction of bike lanes has squeezed cars, cabs, vans, trucks, limos and buses into an already crowded center-of-the-road.
Sydney Ireland speaks at the National Organization for Women convention in 2015. (Photos courtesy of Gary Ireland)
By Sabina Mollot
Since the age of four, Sydney Ireland knew that she wanted to be a Boy Scout. It didn’t matter that she wasn’t a boy. Her older brother Bryan was a Scout — later an Eagle Scout — and she wanted to be doing the things he was doing, from earning merit badges to ice climbing in Lake Placid.
Now 15, Sydney has been active in the Boy Scouts — albeit unofficially — for over a decade, and has been along with her family, pushing for the national organization to formally accept and recognize the contributions made by female members like herself. She first reached out to the organization via an op-ed in this newspaper. She’s since done a handful of interviews on the subject and recently even got the backing of NOW.
Madeleine Noveck, at home with some of the cookies she’s sold, her business card and her teddy bear (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
This budding saleswoman is one tough cookie!
An eight-year-old from Stuyvesant Town, who last year had the third highest cookie sales in the entire city, has done it again, also becoming the top seller of Girl Scout cookies in Manhattan. And this time, she’s beaten her previous record of 1,403 boxes of cookies with 1,728 boxes. However, that amount doesn’t even include the amount of cookies she sold after an official sale period of December 12-January 19, on her own as well as at a recent booth sale with her troop in front of the Stuy Town Associated supermarket.
At a recent conversation at her family’s apartment, Madeleine Noveck, better known as Maddie, discussed her success and the fun she’s had going door to door for what is actually America’s second best-selling cookie. (Girl Scout cookies are just behind Oreos.)
This year, Noveck’s efforts won her an iPad Air – although for her it’s just another one to throw on the pile. She also won an iPad mini two years ago and another iPad last year that she gave to her brother. But even without the prizes, for Noveck, selling cookies is the best part of being a Girl Scout and it’s why she joined. That was in kindergarten, and she didn’t start selling right away, but when she did it was with a passion. Two years ago, she succeeded in selling over 1,000 cookies, which, this year, was accomplished by only 18 girls in New York City.
Madeleine Noveck at home with a few boxes of cookies
By Sabina Mollot
Meet the savviest businessperson in Stuyvesant Town.
At the ripe old age of seven, Madeleine Noveck, a second year Girl Scout, has secured the title of the third highest seller of Girl Scout cookies in the entire city.
Last year, Noveck was also no slouch — selling over 1,000 boxes of the traditional American treat —but this year, she topped her own results, selling 1,403.
According to her mother, Rebecca Carroll, going on the selling spree was purely Noveck’s decision, though Carroll would accompany her when she went from building to building in Stuy Town, knocking on neighbors’ doors.
“She came up with the 30-second elevator speech,” said Carroll, adding that her daughter did actually use it in the elevator, chatting up residents she knew and didn’t know. Though not everyone bought a box of the $4 cookies, Noveck said she found the experience of selling fun.
“Everyone was nice,” she said. “Some of them didn’t have much money, but they were still nice about it.”
She and Carroll also ended up getting to know their neighbors better through the experience, even meeting a woman who said she was the oldest resident in the complex at 105 years old. Noveck also knocked on the door of a resident about to celebrate a birthday, and she and her mother got invited in for cake. “It’s been a great experience,” said Carroll, “a community building experience.”
As for the customers who did buy, the most popular cookie choices were Thin Mints — also Noveck’s favorite — and the caramel-flavored Samoas. People who didn’t want any cookies still bought some, since there was an option to have their purchases shipped overseas to U.S. troops. And Noveck also did some selling at her school, around 100 boxes, to teachers.
The selling did get tiring at times, though. After hitting the 800 mark, Noveck found herself tempted to call it quits for the evening, since she was thirsty.
“I said ‘mom, I’m thirsty,’” said Noveck, “and she said, ‘If we go downstairs to get water, we won’t be able to sell anymore tonight,’ so I said, ‘I wanna sell.’”
Of course, it helped that there were some great prizes at stake. Girls who sold over 1,000 boxes of cookies got an iPad Mini, which Noveck won last year. This year, she said she’s going to give her iPad to her brother Stephen.
As for the money generated by the sales, it goes to Girl Scouts programming like trips, as well as support for the St. Francis Xavier Homeless Shelter.
Unlike Noveck, who’s a student at P.S. 110, the top two sellers in the city were middle schoolers.
The top seller, Najah Lorde, sold 2,833 while the second top seller, Olivia Cranshaw, sold 2,141, the Daily News reported in March.
Girl Scout cookies, for which there’s always been a demand, are sold throughout the winter season by the organization’s young members. Recently, Girl Scouts also began selling through food trucks and in this month, it was announced that there would be a pop-up cookie shop in the Flatiron District. The shop, which opened on March 17, will remain open for business through May 8, Tuesdays through Thursdays at 43 West 23rd Street (between Fifth and Sixth Avenues).
However, Carroll, who works in marketing, said she didn’t think the new shop would cut into the girls’ sales. Because, she explained, “There’s a huge demand. Everyone smiles when you say Girl Scout cookies.”
Though the selling was hard work, Noveck said “yeah,” when asked if she thought she could work in sales when she grows up. In fact, when she joined Girl Scouts it was with the idea that she could sell cookies competitively. “I think I want to do it again,” she said.