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New York’s infrastructure advantage is coming back



subway new york

After decades of neglecting our transit system, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is getting on track to unclog the arteries of the New York metro area. It will do so on a timeline accelerated by innovation and ingenuity. It must be understood, though, as a part of a sweeping resurgence of the region carried out by Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the last seven years.

This resurgence is not well understood, and indeed the governor has been blamed for the MTA’s problems, so it is worth taking stock. We cannot shape our economic future unless we understand where we are, how we got here, and where we must go next.

This transformation of New York City is happening within a broader restructuring of the state’s infrastructure. A decade ago, economic growth in the city and state was straitjacketed by a lack of world-class infrastructure, if not trapped in a downward spiral. The circulation of our trains, planes and automobiles suffered, as did our ships, energy, and communications. The cost of doing business in New York was simply too high for global companies.

Much has changed, driven by New Yorkers and their mettle. Cuomo first removed the albatross of earmarks, an inefficient and political means of funding projects. Next, power over infrastructure was devolved to the regions and localities through merit-based competitions for state resources, via regional councils. Infrastructure investments became more targeted and more integrated into regional growth strategies. Infrastructure investments drove commercial transactions and, in turn, economic growth and social cohesion.
The next step was unclogging our transportation arteries. Some think of these as the Robert Moses system. Sclerosis gave way to the reinvigoration of the greater metro region. Here, with the replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge, the spine of the region is opening up, neighborhood by neighborhood, through the Hudson Valley. The Goethals Bridge project further reconnects the region.

Work at LaGuardia Airport will make it a proper commercial gateway into the premier global city and broader state. It is being done through the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, created decades ago to grow the core of the region’s economy. Like the MTA, it is a public corporation with the powers, nimbleness and entrepreneurship of private enterprise when wielded correctly. However, over time, it had been relegated to maintaining assets rather than to growing them. All this has changed with Goethals and LaGuardia, and soon with John F. Kennedy Airport’s transformation.

All of this is bigger than politics. This is about the region, with New York City at the epicenter. Our train and subway systems are in a state of emergency. Cuomo is stepping in to fix the MTA to rebuild wealth and broaden affluence, as New Yorkers have demanded. Central to the task is returning a sprawling, fractured system which balkanizes communities into a cohesive metropolitan region. We must again repurpose the MTA.

New York state is a laboratory of innovation, specifically of infrastructure-driven economic growth. With its mega city, small and medium-sized cities and rural communities, we are a microcosm of the country. Where New York goes, so will the country follow if we sustain our success, feed our ambitions and persevere. The metropolitan region, and broader state economy, is entering into a new heyday. We must, though, continue to accelerate this democratization of affluence, the essence of the Empire State and New York City.

Michael Likosky is head of infrastructure at 32 Advisors, a Manhattan-based consultancy, and has authored five books on the topic.


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9-year-old genius to graduate university




Laurent Simons

(CNN) – A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of 9.

Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.

Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.

He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.

His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.

“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.

Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.

While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.

But Lydia has her own theory.

“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.

The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.

“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, in a statement.

“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”

Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.

“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”

Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”

His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.

“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.

“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”

While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.

“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”

Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.

However, unlike most 9-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.

In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.

Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.

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New award to honor arts and activism named after Lena Horne




Lena Horne

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Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem




Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem

Two gangbangers aimed their BMW like a missile at a father and his 8-year-old son on a Harlem sidewalk in a horrifying incident captured by video distributed by police Thursday.

The BMW — driven by a man police believe is a member of the Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang — was zeroed in on the father, a rival gang member, said cops.

Around 3:45 p.m. Nov. 6, the boy and his father were walking on W. 112th St. by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. when the BMW jumped the sidewalk and slammed into them both, said cops.

Father and son were both knocked through a gate.

The BMW driver then backed up — and its driver and passenger, also believed to be a gang member, jumped out of the car and ran toward the father and the son.

One of the attackers slashed the father, identified by sources as 32-year-old Brian McIntosh, who’s served prison time for robbery and bail jumping.

McIntosh and his son went to Harlem Hospital. Miraculously, the boy escaped serious harm.

McIntosh was so adamant about refusing to help police catch his attackers that the young boy’s mother had to file a police report alleging he was the victim of a crime, police sources said.

Cops released video of the attack, and ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.


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