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New York's Bike Share Is Brilliant, And Every Complaint About It Is Bogus


citi bike launch janette sadik-khan

Although New York City's new bike share system has been successful so far, it has generated a lot of complaints.

The Wall Street Journal made a splash last week with a video in which editorial board member Dorothy Rabinowitz managed to bring up just about every gripe we've heard voiced about bike share, and cyclists in general.

Let's note that cycling reduces medical costs and eases the burden on our country's health care. It takes cars off the road and carbon emissions out of the atmosphere, and reduces our dependence on foreign oil. It's fun.

Every kilometer cycled in Denmark earns the country €.23 (partly because cyclists have been shown to spend more money in local stores). That's the kind of money every American city could put to good use.

Rabinowitz — and those who share her views — are wrong to complain about the arrival of bike share in New York. Here's a look at what they're saying, and why it's bogus.

The first six complaints are all mentioned in the WSJ video.

1. Citi Bike has been sneaked under the radar, and the public was not consulted.

To those who did not attend any of the 159 public meetings at which officials discussed the program, this might seem true. According to the New York Times, the city said it also held 230 private meetings with officials, property owners, and others.

Citi Bike planners took more than 10,000 online suggestions for where to put stations, and those locations were revealed back in May 2012. The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) has even moved at least one station due to complaints.

2. No studies were undertaken before the program was implemented.

Actually, in Spring 2009, the city released a 142-page study on bike share opportunities for NYC. It addressed case studies, current conditions, demand, financing, and lots of other relevant topics.

3. The stations prevent emergency responders from accessing buildings.

The New York Post headline "Bike racks block EMS at victim's co-op" echoes this view. But Brad Aaron at Streetsblog followed up with the FDNY, whose spokesperson denied having any trouble: “We had no operational or response issues to this call. Period.”

4. The racks and bikes are ugly.

This one's harder to reject, because beauty is subjective. But remember that most Citi Bike stations are replacing parking spots, not public art works. There are lots of really ugly cars in the world that could be there instead.

5. Cyclists are a dangerous menace.

To quote Rabinowitz, "Every citizen knew — who was in any way sentient — that the most important danger in the city is not the yellow cabs...it is the cyclists."

In April 2013, 32,653 vehicles were involved in accidents in New York City. 1,278 of them were taxi cabs. 358 were bicycles.

6. Cyclists are reckless.

This is a valid but specious point. As a NYC resident (and Business Insider's car reviewer), I drive in the city. I walk, too. And I bike. I do all three recklessly at times.

So do many, many people. Drivers speed and blow through yellow lights. Pedestrians jaywalk, and step into the street when they don’t have right of way. That’s New York City.

Everyone should follow the rules, but few do — that's as true for cyclists as for other groups.

To its credit, the NYPD has stepped up its ticketing of cyclists (not without controversy). The DOT has put "Safety Managers" on the street to keep cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers where they belong.

And urban cycling has become safer. According to the city, the average risk of serious injury for riders dropped by 73% between 2000 and 2011, even as the rate of biking more than doubled.

7. Citibank's corporate logo should not be plastered all over the city.

An understandable gripe (one that's inspired the odd placement of a sculpture and was voiced at a Brooklyn town-hall covered by the New York Times).

But again, most racks are replacing cars. Cars have corporate logos on them. Try Ford, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, or Volvo, to name a few.

8. It's taking away parking.

Another complaint registered by the Times at a Brooklyn town-hall meeting, it's true, though the 330 initial stations don't take up too many of the more than 80,000 metered parking spots in New York.

In any case, it's more efficient: You can put many bikes in a parking spot that fits just one car.

9. Cyclists should be wearing helmets.

Adults are not required to wear helmets while biking in the city, and Citi Bike (open to those 16-years-old and up) does not provide them. The DOT does encourage their use, and gives out a lot of free helmets.

In a 2012 PolicyMic op-ed, Whitney Sher wrote, the fact that Citi Bike riders are unlikely to wear helmets "is alarming considering the NY Department of Transportation (DOT) found that in 97% of fatal cyclist accidents, the rider was not wearing one."

But the helmet issue is a red herring. The best way to keep cyclists safe is to prevent crashes by building bike lanes and enforcing traffic laws, not with a last resort measure to keep accidents from causing serious brain injuries.

10. Citi Bike costs too much.

In 2012, Reuters' Felix Salmon called Citi Bike expensive, especially compared to other cities' bike shares. (This month, he published a very positive review of the program.) 

Citi Bike may cost more than London's bike share, but getting a year of unlimited 45-minute rides for $95 is still a good deal, especially compared to a MetroCard ($112 per month) or a car (a lot more). There are also discounted memberships, for residents of the NYC Housing Authority and others.

13. Citi Bike stations will hurt property values.

Co-op residents who believe Citi Bike Stations are hurting their property values — and have sued the city over it— might be surprised by a study by the National League of Citiesthat found that a bike share program "boosts retail exposure and home values."

12. More cyclists in New York City will bring "total carnage."

This one comes from an op-ed published in the Huffington Post, which argued, "New York roads are not built for cyclists and New York drivers don't know how to coexist with cyclists."

New York roads weren't made for driving originally, either — that change took place in the past century. A few years ago, Paris was a terrible place to bike, but it made the 2013 Copenhagenize Index of the world's most bike-friendly cities.

Mikael Colville-Andersen, CEO of Copenhagenize, told Business Insider that once Paris embraced a "whole new mentality" and started building bike lanes, its image changed. Now it's a fantastic place to travel on two wheels. New York can do the same.

13. There's no room for bikes in New York City.

There's plenty of room for bikes in New York City. At the moment, it's being used by cars.

SEE ALSO: 15 Tips For Surviving On A Bike In New York City

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A Fish And Vegetable Diet Could Add Years To Your Life


produce vegetables food csa

To stave off death by a few extra years, a vegetarian diet appears to be superior to a non-vegetarian one, according to results of a study of more than 73,000 people published today (June 3) in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The study, the largest of its kind, compared the longevity of meat eaters to that of four types of vegetarians: vegans, who eat no animal products; lacto-ovo–vegetarians, who consume dairy products and eggs; pesco-vegetarians, who eat fish but rarely meat; and semi-vegetarians, who eat meat no more than once weekly.

The winners, in terms of cheating death the longest, were the pesco-vegetarians, followed by vegans, and then the lacto-ovo-vegetarians. The vegetarian groups, on average, had a 12 percent lower risk of dying over the study period compared to meat eaters. The study participants were all members of the Seventh-Day Adventist church.

Previous studies have shown that vegetarian diets are associated with decreased risk of numerous chronic diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, circulatory disease and hypertension.

And it's been long known that Seventh-Day Adventists — with their healthy lifestyle that shuns tobacco and espouses exercise and a plant-based diet — live longer that the general population. Seventh-Day Adventists in California live, on average, four to seven years longer than other Californians, an earlier study revealed. [Extending Life: 7 Ways to Live Past 100]

Researchers have had difficulty, however, in discerning between associations, and cause-and-effect links. Is it the absence of meat, or the presence of a health-conscious attitude shared by many vegetarians, or both, that leads to healthier outcomes?

A healthy lifestyle

This newest study is unique in that it only looked at Seventh-Day Adventists, a group relatively similar in their lifestyle. The Adventist Church recommends, but does not mandate, a plant-based diet.

The researchers, led by Dr. Michael J. Orlich of Loma Linda University in California (a Seventh-Day Adventist institution), analyzed the diets of 73,308 Seventh-Day Adventists. Among the participants, 2,570 died within about six years of the initial data collection. Those most likely to have died were the meat eaters.

The pesco-vegetarians were 19 percent less likely to die over the study period than the meat eaters, and vegans were 15 percent less likely. Men benefited more than women from the vegetarian diet.

"We can be pretty confident that the vegetarian groups fared better than the non-vegetarians, but we cannot meaningfully compare the vegetarian groups to each other," Orlich told LiveScience. "The numbers are far too close to speculate. We hope to be able to do that in a few years when we have more [statistical] power" with more deaths to analyze.

The strengths of the study were that it demonstrated that vegan and other vegetarian diets are safe and that a range of vegetarian diets — from strict to somewhat lax — appears to be healthier than a diet dominated by processed foods and meats, according to Dr. Robert Baron of the University of California, San Francisco, who wrote an editorial accompanying the new findings in the journal.

The American diet

Referring to a generally unhealthy American diet, Baron wrote that limiting "sugars and sugary drinks, refined grains, and large amounts of saturated and trans fats" and eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts "trumps the more narrow goals of whether to include moderate amounts of dairy, eggs, fish, or even meat."

"I do not think that we all necessarily need to be vegans or other types of vegetarians" to be healthy, Baron told LiveScience. "But I do think that the world would ultimately be a better place without certain industrially produced foods, including beef.

A second study published today, by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that a combination of regular exercise, a Mediterranean diet, smoking avoidance, and weight maintenance was associated with a lower risk of coronary artery disease. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, and healthy fats.

"Those who adopted all four healthy behaviors had an 80 percent lower death rate [over 7.6 years], compared to participants with none of the healthy behaviors," lead author Haitham Ahmed of Johns Hopkins Hospital said in a statement.

The JAMA study on Seventh-Day Adventists does conflict with a large analysis published in 2009 based on the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Oxford) study, which found identical death rates between vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

The researchers at Loma Linda University acknowledged this in their paper, but noted that the Seventh-Day Adventists in their study ate differently than the Europeans in the 2009 study. For example, the Adventist vegans consumed nearly twice as much dietary fiber and vitamin C as the European vegans.

Orlich added that "even our non-vegetarians are relatively low meat consumers, and relatively health conscious. If we were comparing our vegetarian groups to the average American diet, we might find more striking results."

Christopher Wanjek is the author of a new novel, "Hey, Einstein!", a comical nature-versus-nurture tale about raising clones of Albert Einstein in less-than-ideal settings. His column, Bad Medicine, appears regularly on LiveScience.

SEE ALSO: THE FAST DIET: Get Thin Quick By Starving Yourself Two Days A Week

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Atheists Launching 1-800 Number For People Looking To Flee Their Faith


empty church

Individuals who are struggling to overcome drug abuse and other dependencies may turn to counselors and other resources to help them overcome their issues. And now, if you’re recovering from a severe case of religious fervor, there will soon be a hotline that can help.

Atheists and secularists are preparing to launch the “Hotline Project,” an effort that will assist those looking to leave their faith behind. Launched by Recovering From Religion, an organization that provides emotional support for the newly-non-religious, the Hotline Project is pledging to offer service to those in spiritual crisis 24-hours per day, seven days per week.

“The process of leaving religion is usually not an overnight experience, as many of you know,” the project’s website proclaims. “Recovering from Religion receives countless emails and phone calls from people seeking help on their journey away from faith.”

Considering the alienation that many feel when they leave their faith, the phone line seeks to give them another place to turn. Already, Recovering From Religion offers support groups for those living in America, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. In addition, courses and book studies are provided.

The 1-800 number simply adds to this dynamic.

“The Hotline will provide trained volunteers to answer a toll-free hotline and provide real time, caller-specific support to each person who contacts us, 24/7,” an official description reads. “We will offer national, regional, and local resources — a secular support network they can utilize.”

In order to fund the new hotline initiative, the organization is trying to raise $30,000 before June 30th.

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Sean Parker Was Fined $2.5 Million For His Extravagant Big Sur Wedding


sean parker wedding

Facebook billionaire Sean Parker spent $10 million on the Big Sur wedding of his dreams but the state of California was not entirely pleased. It fined him $2.5 million over it.

The problem was that he built a cottage, fake ruins, waterfalls, staircases and a huge dance floor in an ecologically sensitive area near iconic redwoods and a stream with endangered steelhead trout, reports AP's Jason Dearen.

Although he got permission from the owner of the property, he didn't get the required permits from The California Coastal Commission. The lands sits on a sensitive coastal area regulated by the Commission.

It's all a happy ending, though. When the Commission learned about the construction, they quickly negotiated a settlement so that Parker's wedding plans could proceed. Parker married singer-songwriter Alexandra Lenas on Saturday. (The gowns and sets were made by a designer for the "Lord of the Rings" films.)

In addition to the fee, Parker also promised to create a video or mobile app to educate folk on how to access coastal lands properly.

SEE ALSO: Inside Facebook's Fantastic Plan To Dominate Cisco's $23 Billion Market

SEE ALSO: 5 Years After Selling CNET For $1.8 Billion, Halsey Minor Is Broke

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Beautiful Chart Reveals Your Odds Of Success If You Want To Date Someone Younger


Two people on reddit have figured out how old — and how young — people are actually willing to date, and the results are fascinating. 

One user, cryo_zero, performed a study in the Sample Size subreddit asking people what ages they would and wouldn't date. Yesterday, a user called TMaster posted a visualization in the Data Is Beautiful subreddit

It's an excellent look at what range of ages people are willing to date given their own age, and gives a look into the minds of different people in the dating game at different stages in life.

Check out the charts. Basically, the vertical axis represents your age, the horizontal access represents the age of the person you want to date, and the colors represent your odds of success. Where it's green, your odds are high.

age dating

Here are some of the most interesting findings:

  • People seeking to date men seem to be more willing to accept a wider age range.
  • People get a lot less picky the older that they get. 
  • In late twenties and early thirties, people seeking women are likely to drop most previously held age concerns. 
  • People are really, really open-minded at a few points in their teens. 

See the full discussion here >

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Hipsters And Hollywood Merged At The Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic


Rosario Dawson, Camila Alves, Matthew McConaughey, Nacho Figueras and Ashley Olson polo 2013

More than 7,000 New Yorkers descended upon Liberty State Park in New Jersey for Saturday's sixth annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic.

Matthew McConaughey and his wife, Camila Alves, mingled with fellow Hollywood celebs such as Ashley Olsen and polo star Nacho Figueras -- who was out of the match on crutches.

But who had time to fully watch the match anyhow when there was so much people watching to do?

This is how guests were greeted before entering the VIP tent during the sixth annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic on Liberty Island.

Everyone was immediately offered delicacies such as caviar and foie gras.

These umbrella-holding models later served Veuve Clicquot champagne.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Here's What Happens When A Plane Hits Wild Turbulence During Mealtime


singapore airlines turbulence mess

Chaos ensued after a Singapore Airlines jet hit intense turbulence mid-flight last week, while breakfast was being served.

The captain of flight SQ308, from Singapore to London, turned on the fasten seat belt sign and ordered the flight attendants to take their seats, passenger Alan Cross told ABC News, just moments before the plane dropped 65 feet.

The result was minor injuries for eleven passengers and one crew member, and an enormous mess.

Thanks to Alan Cross for sharing his Instagram photos of the flight with us.

That detour in the flight route is where the drop happened, Cross said on Instagram.

Coffee hit the ceiling.

As did someone's cornflakes.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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My Room At The Ritz Carlton Was So Huge It Had A Doorbell


Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain cactus garden

A well-endowed company was kind enough to invite me to speak at a conference in Arizona recently.

They put me up at the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain, which is a luxury resort built in the middle of a desert.

They gave me the key to my "room," which I soon discovered was actually a suite.

I didn't get to spend too much time in the suite, unfortunately, because the conference was great.

But I certainly enjoyed the time I did spend there!

The Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain is pretty non-descript looking from the outside.

But that's because they've gone with the native architecture and native landscaping thing. (Which is much appreciated. Golf courses look ridiculous in this environment. So would typical luxury resorts).

But let's focus on the room.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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15 Style Tips That Wall Street Interns Have To Know


men talking networking business suit

It's that time of the year.  Wall Street summer internships have begun.  

Congratulations on scoring the position.  Now it's time make sure you impress your peers and superiors with an appropriate internship wardrobe. 

Don't worry. We're here to help!

Our thanks go out to The Fine Young Gentleman, one of our very favorite men's fashion bloggers, whom we consulted for tips and suggestions.

"As an intern the whole idea is to not rock the boat. With many of the internships the whole idea is to kick ass, take names, get a job and not rock the boat. Key phrase being ‘not rock the boat,’" says the Fine Young Gentleman, "It is not that you want to blend in with all of the others, it is just that you don’t want to stick out like a three legged dog."

"I think it is pretty simple, err on the conservative side of things and realize there may be more do’s than don’ts at your company. You need to look and act professional and you need to act in a manner consistent with the firm which you are interning at." 

Know your audience.

"As an intern you are dressing for your peers, superiors and clients more than for yourself," says The Fine Young Gentleman, adding, "They want to see that you are capable of looking professional at all times."

According to The Fine Young Gentleman, the rules — both spoken and unspoken — may vary from firm to firm. 

"And even within firms different desks may have different rules, opinions and expectations. Whereas others may have minimal restrictions. It is important to learn these early on so as to not make errors."

Source: The Fine Young Gentleman

Stick to the basics.

"For suits go with solid navy and gray, perhaps a pinstripe or two, but keep it conservative. Some firms may have unspoken rules on pinstripes so observe those above you and figure out what is acceptable," says The FYG.

"So what if solids are boring, they go with any pattern shirt or tie and are simple and indiscreet enough that you can wear the same solid navy or gray suit twice a week; three if you want to push it."

The Fine Young Gentleman advises that interns avoid plaids because they will likely be "too loud for an intern."

What's more is he says to make sure your suit fits really, really well.

"Use the fit to distinguish yourself from your peers."

Source: The Fine Young Gentleman

Remember not all offices require suits.

"If you are working in a business casual office the need for suits is obviously minimal, but make sure you have at least a suit and a blazer on stand-by in case you need them for an event or client meeting," according to The Fine Young Gentleman.

Source: The Fine Young Gentleman

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Hilton Has Ruined The Whole Point Of Staying At A Luxury Hotel


Room service tray

One of the best parts of staying in a luxury hotel is sleeping in, ordering room service, and lazing in bed while drinking a mimosa and eating Eggs Benedict.

No more.

The New York Hilton Midtown, a 2,000-room hotel located in the heart of Times Square, just announced that it will end room service. Instead, it plans to implement a grab-n-go store called Herb n’ Kitchen, according to the New York Times. 

Grab-n-go? What's the point of staying in a luxury hotel if you're not going to be able to order breakfast in bed? Yes, you know you're paying an exorbitant $23 for scrambled eggs, but you don't care because you're there to pamper yourself.

A hotel shouldn't call itself a "luxury hotel" if guests can't order room service and are forced to eat from a Herb n' Kitchen. (Although the New York Hilton Midtown doesn't label itself a "luxury hotel," with rates of over $220 per night, it isn't exactly a budget hotel either.)

This is the second Hilton hotel to eliminate room service—the Hilton Hawaiian Village eliminated room service back in October, and it seems to point to a growing trend of luxury hotels cutting services.

"We’ve already seen new hotels skipping room service in favor of more express options," Anne Banas, the Executive Editor at Smarter Travel, said.

Several high-end hotels have already cut or scaled back room service: the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan cut back its 24-hour room service a few years ago (room service now shuts down at 11pm) and Public, a Chicago hotel by Ian Schrager, delivers food to guests in brown paper bags that are left outside hotel rooms, according to Crain's.

It's easy to understand why hotels would want to cut room service. The New York Hilton Midtown's move will cut 55 jobs and probably save the Hilton thousands of dollars, according to Crain's.

John Fox, senior vice president of PKF Consulting, told Crains that room service is a big money loser for hotels.

"I don't think anyone makes a profit on room service because of its labor costs," Fox said, adding, "I'm sure all the big hotels will be looking at what Hilton is doing."

Cutting room service is only another example of luxury hotels cutting costs under the guise of accommodating clients. Take, for example, hotels asking guests to re-use their towels to save water. Yes I want to save the environment, but when I'm paying hundreds of dollars for a luxury hotel room, I also want to wrap myself in a clean, plush towel after I get out of the shower—and not feel guilty about it.

Clients who dole out the money to stay in a luxury hotel want to be pampered. They want to be able to order room service and not have to leave their room to pick up food.

The bottom line is that a luxury hotel should make sure that it offers luxury services. Getting the definition right here is important.

Here's a message to hotels that are cutting room service: Suck it up and pay the labor costs for room service, or don't call yourself a "luxury hotel."

SEE ALSO: The 20 Most Expensive Hotels In New York City >

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The Most Scandalous Gowns At The Star-Studded CFDA Fashion Awards


Karlie Kloss cfda 2013Supermodels, socialites, actresses, style mavens and fashion designers all gathered Monday night to celebrate the 2013 Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Awards in New York City.

Karlie Kloss, Sofia Vergara, Nicole Richie, Miranda Kerr and dozens of other fashionable folk all walked the red carpet.

Some wore especially scandalous gowns, while others kept it uncharacteristically covered.

The event, hosted by Bravo's Andy Cohen, honors outstanding achievement in fashion design.

RISQUÉ: Victoria's Secret model Adriana Lima showed off her long, lean legs in a sheer dress by Givenchy, designed by the evening's International Award recipient, Riccardo Tisci.

COVERED: "Scandal" actress Kerry Washington was anything but in this conservative yellow gown by Jason Wu.

RISQUÉ: Nicole Richie was taped in place in her metallic slip dress from Marc Jacobs's fall 2013 collection.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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MOVE OVER, CRONUTS: 'Doissants' Have Arrived At Bakeries Everywhere


Pillsbury crescent doughnut

The "cronut" frenzy has hit an all time high.

The half-doughnut, half-croissant delicacy from Dominique Ansel's bakery in SoHo has now appeared on ABC's The Chew, the TODAY show, and even on Craigslist by opportunistic scalpers.

So it was only a matter of time before cronut knock-offs began to appear on the market.

The term "cronut" has already been trademarked by Ansel, but that hasn't slowed the spread of copycat "doissants" around the country.

New York Magazine's food blog Grubstreet has a good rundown of cronut wannabes, including a treat from DC's Chocolate Crust made with with hazelnut cream and pistachio topping, and a bargain $2 doissant from Circle City Sweets in Indianapolis

There's also a "Doughsánt" from Oakmont Bakery Pennsylvania, and Atlanta's The Cake Hag's own cronut-inspired hybrid.

The head chef at LA's Cooks County says she is still trying to master the art of the pastry  no surprise, given it took Ansel 10 tries to come up with his secret recipe.

Even big-name baking brand Pillsbury has gotten in on the action: The company released its own DIY version, aptly named "Crescent Doughnuts," using Pillsbury crescent dinner rolls.

With National Doughnut Day this Friday, bakers across the country are likely scrambling to create their own versions of the cronut in time to cash in on the craze.

Sorry Dominique Ansel — it was only a matter of time.

SEE ALSO: The 25 Best Restaurants On The Planet

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NYC Penthouse With A 'Sky Garage' Will Hit The Market For $23 Million


serhant pic final

The last remaining sponsor unit at 200 11th Avenue in West Chelsea, which was listed last year for $12.9 million, is slated to make its return to the market in September with a mammoth price tag of up to $23 million, The Real Deal has learned.

Between now and September, the 3,248-square-foot penthouse condominium, famed for its en suite sky car garage, which allows the owner to park their car at the entry level to their penthouse residence, will undergo a major makeover spearheaded by Dutch architecture firm MVRDV.

When it comes online, the unit, known as Penthouse 1, will be marketed by Ryan Serhant of Nest Seekers International, according to marketing materials sent to The Real Deal by a spokesperson for the firm.

MVRDV — known for designing offbeat projects such as the Balancing Barn, a seesaw-like cantilevered holiday home in England — will add a “sky vault” centerpiece to the three-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom apartment, a Nest Seekers spokesperson said. The spokesperson would not disclose further details about the “sky vault,” saying only that it would be constructed at MVRDV’s headquarters in Rotterdam and then transported to the city for installation in the apartment.

Leonard Steinberg and Herve Senequier of Douglas Elliman last listed the terraced penthouse last year for $12.9 million, according to StreetEasy. While the property appears to have changed hands twice since 2007 — for $7.6 million in 2009 and $11 million in 2012 — those transactions were sponsorship partner buyouts as opposed to purchases by end users, Steinberg confirmed. The unit is now owned entirely by developer Young Woo & Associates, records indicate.

“One partner bought the other partner’s stake,” Steinberg said.

The building, at the corner of West 24th Street, was designed by Selldorf Architects and developed by Young Woo; it launched sales in 2007. Designer Domenico Dolce of Dolce & Gabbana bought two penthouse units at the property for a combined $29 million in 2009, it was previously reported. He paid $4,672 per square foot for one of those units.

If the “sky vault” penthouse sells for its new asking price of $7,000 per square foot, it would set a record for West Chelsea.

Serhant declined to comment on the property’s hefty price tag and Steinberg said he had “no idea” what kind of sales price the apartment could command. The record price per square foot ever paid for an apartment in New York City was the more than $13,000 a square foot, or $88 million, paid for an apartment owned by banking magnate Sanford Weill at 15 Central Park West in 2011.

More from The Real Deal:

1. Sex does sell in real estate: Study
2. Witkoff to spend $300M on Toy Center building conversion 
3. Hell’s Kitchen rental buildings sell for eye-popping $880 per buildable foot 

SEE ALSO: Park Your Supercar In The Living Room At This Crazy New Singapore Highrise

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Upper East Side Parents Sue Over A 'Discriminatory' Gifted Program



NEW YORK CITY — Offers of coveted gifted and talented spots have been put on hold after a lawsuit challenging the Department of Education's methodology was filed.

It's the latest glitch in this year's admissions process.

Applications have already been delayed twice after multiple scoring errors by testing giant Pearson.

Now offers are on hold until at least June 7, when the four parents who filed a lawsuit against the DOE, are due back in Manhattan Supreme Court for arguments.

The parents — two of whom had children with perfect scores — claimed that the admissions process was flawed in the way it calculated student eligibility and in giving priority to siblings of current students, a practice designed to keep families together.

After siblings are placed, the rest of those who qualify are entered into a lottery.

Though the DOE initially announced it would discontinue the sibling practice this year and also said it would use composite scores for placement— meaning students with perfect scores would get slots first, followed by those with one error and so on — the department later reversed course.

The parents' lawsuit alleges that the education department bowed to political pressure when going back on the promised reforms.

"It's discriminatory against people who only have one child or parents who have a gifted child and a not gifted child," said Stewart Karlin, the lawyer for the parents. "That's not the way Bronx Science or Stuyvesant High School do it."

With more than 2,560 kids qualifying for the 99th percentile, competition is fierce for the roughly 300 seats in the five elite citywide G&T programs — where a score in the 97th percentile or above is needed. 

Under the DOE's policy, however, a sibling who scores in the 97th percentile has priority over another student who scores in the 99th percentile.

This outraged many parents of high-scoring children since it could mean a difference of 20 errors, they said.

"The low admission standard under the current percentile ranking system has not served children's best interests," a parent, who started a petition against the sibling rule, wrote to the judge hearing the case in support of the lawsuit.

This parent's son scored in the 99th percentile but didn’t win the lottery.

"At the beginning of kindergarten, he was able to read chapter books and add and subtract numbers," she wrote. "However, he had to sit through classes going over 'ABC' and counting from 1 to 5 with other children. As a result, he has lost interest in school."

Gennady Z., a parent of a 5-year-old who scored in the 99th percentile, was disheartened when he heard during the tours of NEST+m and the Brooklyn School of Inquiry that 20 percent of seats would go to siblings.

"It's frustrating knowing that the probability is roughly around 4 percent," said the Gravesend resident, who was not part of the lawsuit but applauded it.

James Vignone, a parent of a 4-year-old girl — an only child who scored in the 99th percentile — is not part of the lawsuit but also supported its arguments.

"You get a 99 anywhere else, and they roll out the red carpet," said Vignone, 35, an Upper East Sider who works in finance. "There's something fundamentally wrong here. My wife and I figured that by the time preschool wrapped up we'd know where we'd be sending our daughter to school."

His apartment's lease is up in July, and he's not sure whether he'll keep his family in New York.

"I'm seriously considering leaving because of the uncertainty and the way they handled this," regarding reversing course with the composite scores and sibling priority, he said.

"I realize it's one exam, and I'm not saying my daughter is a genius or the next Einstein," Vignone said. " But I don't feel like in a gen education program [her abilities] are going to be recognized or fostered."

The judge gave the DOE the go-ahead to begin matching students to programs even though letters can't be sent out.

"DOE has a mathematically sound and even-handed system for assessing gifted and talented students, and we will continue to assert that the claims raised lack merit," Carolyn Kruk, of the city's Law Department, said in a statement.

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31 Crazy Fast Food Menu Items You Can Only Get In Japan


ebiMcDonald's recently made headlines for the Japanese Mega-Potato.

The Mega-Potato (say that out loud, it sounds awesome, "MEGA-POTATO!") is a huge container of fries that also holds the distinction as the highest-calorie McDonald's menu item ever. 

McDonald's isn't the only chain working to make more interesting fast food  at least to Wesern taste buds in Japan.

We tracked down some of the most bizarre menu items Japanese fast food chains have on offer. 

Kim Bhasin contributed to this story. 

Wendy's Foie Gras Burger

This $16 burger consists of a classic Wendy's beef patty loaded up with all the regular fixings plus a healthy dose of fatty duck liver. 

McDonald's Mega McMuffin

The Mega McMuffin consists of two breakfast sausage patties, cheese, egg, bacon, and ketchup all between a classic McDonald's English muffin.

McDonald's Mega Potato

The Mega-Potato holds the honor of being the highest-calorie McDonald's menu item of all time. Its nearly a pound of the brand's french fries. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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8 Foods That Are Cheaper To Grow Than To Buy


vegetables tomatoes beans Once upon a time, vegetable gardens were all but ubiquitous.

Whether they tended a small container garden in the city or a backyard plot in the country, many -- if not most -- families had at least a few food-producing plants.

In World War II, "Victory Gardens," maintained by ordinary families, contributed to the war effort by growing 40 percent of the country's produce.

Since then, community gardens, city farms, and even green roofs have been part of the fabric of America's food production.

But for all that, the idea that every family should have at least a small garden has faded. It's not hard to see why: In many ways, America has become a produce wonderland.

Whether the month is January or June, whether the place is San Francisco or St. Louis, most of us are rarely more than a short drive away from a reasonably ripe tomato, a crispy head of lettuce and a fairly fresh onion.

Click here to see the foods > 

And, given our economies of scale, this embarrassment of riches isn't all that expensive; even out-of-season, a red bell pepper rarely runs more than a few dollars, and a red (well, pinkish) tomato doesn't cost much more than a can of Coke.

Or, to put it another way, when Grandma can easily afford to buy beans and fresh basil at the local grocery store, she doesn't really need to grow her own anymore.

But while fresh fruits and veggies are easy to find, high quality ones, grown with minimal pesticides and maximum taste, are rarer -- and a whole lot more expensive. And while modern cultivation and transportation has made fresh veggies available to almost everyone, the cost has been huge.

Whether the issue is e Coli contamination, a lack of nutrition, an excess of pesticides, or the environmental impact of monocultures, it's clear that even a $1 tomato can carry a huge price tag.

With that in mind, you might want to consider taking a cue from Gram and growing a couple of plants this summer. Chances are that your produce will be tastier and healthier than the stuff you buy in the store -- and it might even be less expensive.

While some vegetables, particularly potatoes, carrots, celery, asparagus and wheat, are not cost-effective, many fruits and vegetables pay for themselves, particularly after you cover the initial startup costs of constructing a garden bed or window box.

With that in mind, here are nine of the best -- and most profitable -- vegetables that you can produce in your backyard (or on your fire escape!).

Leafy Greens

Sure, you can buy lettuce in any grocery store, but if you want something a little more exotic than iceberg lettuce -- aka "the astroturf of greens" -- you're likely to pay quite a bit more.

Not surprisingly, premium greens, like cilantro, chard and arugula, are among the most profitable things you can grow: according to some estimates, they can save you up to $20 per square foot!


If you like tomatoes, you're in luck -- they're incredibly profitable. The small and medium-sized varieties, which mature quickly and grow in considerable profusion, can save an estimated $16.50 for every square foot you plant. Best of all, their flavor will leave your grocery store's sickly offerings in the dust.


When it comes to saving money and making a big impact on your cooking, it's hard to beat herbs. Depending on the plant, they can save you up to $18 per square foot -- while supercharging the flavor of your cooking.

As an added bonus, many popular herbs, including sage, rosemary, thyme, and mint, are perennials, which means that your initial planting cost will pay you back with a rich harvest every year.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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A Michigan Couple Is Fighting To Keep Their Beloved Pet Deer


michigan domesticated deer WNEM

A Michigan couple is fighting to keep their pet deer.

According to local news station WNEM's Erik Horn, whose story is now going viral, the family adopted the deer five years ago after her mother was killed by a car.

The anonymous Genesee County couple decided to take the baby fawn into their home, and nursed her back to health with goat's milk, according to The Daily Mail.

After two weeks, the fawn was healthy again. But instead of releasing her back into the wild, the couple kept her and named her Lilly.

Lilly has been a part of the family ever since, sleeping on a futon, playing in the backyard, and napping with the couple's three cats and two dogs.

The neighbors have reportedly never had a problem with Lilly. But recently, a neighbor's guest saw the doe in the backyard, and reported her to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), who are now threatening to take Lilly away since it is illegal in Michigan to raise a fawn as a pet.

The DNR says Lilly can be rehabilitated back into the wild, or put down for good, according to WNEM. For a domesticated deer who has only known life in a human home, neither is a great option.

The couple has hired an attorney to help them either try to keep Lilly or give her to a local petting zoo where they can still visit her.

"She’s going to be heartbroken," one of Lilly's owners told MailOnline. "We’re all she’s ever known."

You can see the local news report here:


SEE ALSO: 10 Real Estate Listings That Got Photobombed By Dogs

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Here's What 9,000-Year-Old Beers Taste Like


Sam Calagione cheers to science

Ever wonder what the first beers tasted like?

We got a chance to taste some re-created ancient brews at The Bell House thanks to the World Science Festival. The event "Cheers to science! A drinkable feast of beer, biotechnology, and archaeology" was held Thursday, May 30.

Sam Calagione, brewmaster of Dogfish Head brewery teamed up with Dr. Patrick E. McGovern, the Scientific Director of the Bio-molecular Archaeology Laboratory for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia. 

They recreate ancient beers based on molecular analysis of containers found at archaeological sites. By studying the chemicals in ancient pitchers, they can determine what went into brewing the fermented ales.

They also supplied cheeses matched with the ancient beers, from Murray's Cheese Shop, another Brooklyn staple.

The event was held at the Bell House, a great venue in Goawnus Brooklyn.

Dogfishhead's brewmaster Sam Calagione and biomolecular archaeologist Patrick McGovern took the stage together.

Everyone was given four cheeses to taste with the beers, which were brought out one at a time.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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10 Pictures Of Fashion Models Eating Backstage


What models eat

Despite their seemingly perfect exteriors, fashion models are — gasp!— human beings who have to eat just like the rest of us.

Sometimes, they even eat backstage before stomping down the runway.

Their choices are not always diet-conscious, but these models even manage to make snacking look good.

A model for Dennis Basso chows down on fruit at New York Fashion Week.

Source: Reuters

A redheaded model enjoys an apple as her hair is styled backstage at Antonio Perna's Madrid show.

Source: Reuters

Male models eat, too! This D&G looker enjoyed a hearty salad during Milan's Fashion Week.

Source: Reuters

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Someone Just Gave Me An Alternative Hypothesis For Why The Ritz Carlton Kept My Drains Closed In Arizona...



Earlier, I described how the staff at a Ritz Carlton in the Arizona desert closed the drains in the sink in my room whenever they tidied up the place.

I assumed that this was some uber-fancy-customer-service thing: Close the drains so the guest doesn't have to.

But a reader named Cliff Kinney from Phoenix wrote to me with an alternative hypothesis:

I just wanted to give you a heads up on the most likely reason that the drain was closed, and that's to stop scorpions from entering your room through the drain as that's a popular way for them to enter buildings.


The web site of an Arizona pest control company supports this hypothesis:

4. Do NOT walk around the home during the nighttime hours with BAREFEET! Check all shoes, folded towels, dresser drawers, closets on a periodic basis for scorpions. Check molding around all in door piping and repair if any holes are present. Keep all drains (tub, shower, sinks, etc) closed or sealed when not in use as scorpions have been known to come up through the drains on rare occasions.

So maybe that's what the Ritz Carlton was up to.

You can see the rest of my Ritz Carlton bathroom and suite here >

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