Daily photographs by HANS VON RITTERN, with humorous, artistic and social commentary on life in the big city.

Posts tagged “destruction of New York City

Photo of the day: PERSON(S) OF THE YEAR – DONNY MOSS AND THE TEAM OF JONATHAN MERES (ONE) COHEN AND MARIE FLAGEUL

Donny Moss & Hans, Jonathan Meres Cohen, Marie Flageul

Donny Moss & Hans, Jonathan Meres Cohen, Marie Flageul

Photo of the day: PERSON(S) OF THE YEAR – DONNY MOSS AND THE TEAM OF JONATHAN MERES (ONE) COHEN  AND MARIE FLAGEUL

– I have not ever had such a hard decision to come up with just one person to say they had most affected my life and the lives of the people around them. In such a tumultuous political year it has to be three people, Meres and Marie acting as one force. And by NO means choosing three people does it diminish in any way how important these three powerful people are.

DONNY MOSS:

I feel can be held responsible for almost single handedly destroying the political career of mega powerful New York councilwoman and bully Christine Quinn. She is a bully that represented every horrible thing that Mayor/dictator Bloomberg had done to destroy New York City in his 12 years in office. It is Quinn that alone saw to it that the laws were ‘changed’ so that Bloomberg could run for a third term in 2009 against the will of the people. With that, the slaughter of the middle class and it’s neighborhoods continued. This took New York City from 3 classes of citizens: lower, a strong middle and always upper class to a tapestry of investment bankers, real-estate developers, and Russian oligarchs. Then Donny’s release of a 2009 YouTube video exposing her two-faced betrayal of her own (she’s a lesbian) gay community and her horrific anti-animal rights stances exposed her to New York City. The most important and powerful was his documentary “Christine Quinn – Behind the Smile.” Most people thought Donny was nuts, an animals rights fanatic. Well that changed quickly as his persistent voice released more and more videos and more and more people began to listen.

When Gray Line was forcing the live tour guides (me) out of our jobs in favor of pre-recorded tours, because of a Quinn fake anti-noise bill, Donny sought me out to let me know of his fight against Quinn. I dismissed him as a fanatic, after all, Quinn couldn’t possibly be THAT horrible . . . she was worse. I listened to Donny and I jumped on board with Donny’s fight, the tour guides joined and my big mouth got many people to join Donny. Wonderful, wonderful loving animal rights activist groups and anyone that hated Bloomberg and wanted to save NYC joined us. We protested at everyone of her public appearances and taunted her mercilessly. Our numbers grew, as did our budget. We handed out flyers during rush hour at subway stations, bus and ferry terminals. My mother was one of his staunchest supporters, never leaving her house without Donny’s literature to hand out in the neighborhood. People began to listen and the animal rights people, the minorities, the middle class and passionate celebrities formed an army. ABQ = Anyone But Quinn! People like Cynthia Nixon, Susan Sarandon and the entertainment community brought their fame, money and passion to the public’s eye. These people already hated Quinn, but I insist that is Donny’s persistent, passionate, intelligent voice from the beginning opened everyone’s eyes. Quinn’s poll numbers began to plummet from leader of the mayoral race to 3rd or 4th place, week after week.

On November 5, 2013, Bill de Blasio won the mayoral election by a landslide, receiving over 73% of the vote and will become the first Democratic mayor of the city in nearly 20 years. Thank you Donny Moss for giving me my city back!

M+M, JONATHAN MERES (ONE) COHEN and MARIE CECILE FLAGEUL:

A forceful team, together they ARE 5 Pointz/ “the institute of higher burning“, the curators of the leading world’s graffiti and street mural art museum and mecca that was destroyed by the cruel vindictive whitewashing of the building in the middle of the night on November 19 of this year by Gerry Wolkoff. Words almost fail me to describe the incredible joy and privilege I have of being their friends. My heart is so deeply full of the pleasure they have brought to the entire world through their tireless efforts to have made 5 Pointz bigger and better year after year. I had come for years as an enthralled neighbor to support the saving of 5 Pointz. Then it then dawned on me that as a tour guide, this was the ultimate New York experience to bring my guests there as a surprise last stop. Over the years I had gained Meres’ and Marie’s trust by never betraying them or their art, by never pretending to be anyone else but someone who  passionately loved this mesmerizing art.  I thrived on the surprised looks on my tourist guest’s faces as they approached the loading dock and where overwhelmed by the fantastic colors and phantasmagorical art work. I felt like a million dollars sharing this with them.

Marie fiercely defended the illegal filming on the site, but saw to it that has been included in countless films, music videos and blogs. Meres saw to it that fellow writers and artists respected the sight and oversaw all the murals that would dazzle your imagination, resulting in world wide recognition as the premier street art museum. 200,000-square-feet (19,000 m2) of dazzling imagination from all over the world. Meres’ signature light bulbs are now recognized all over the world. Did you know that if look up any travel guide, 5 Pointz is listed as the #1 thing to see in Queens? – you can thank the brilliance of Meres and Marie for that. Meres’ 5 Pointz tours via SideTours was their #1 attraction and would sell out rapidly when new dates were announced. You felt so very special taking his tour, plain and simple = it was just so fucking cool!  New York City owes them a big commission check for all the tourist money they brought to New York, Queens and especially Long Island City.

But one of the most powerful gifts they have given to so many and I have been lucky enough to receive, is their bringing together one of the most diverse group of people from across the city and the globe who otherwise never would have met and shared such passion, joy and fun. Art unites, art opens your eyes and hearts, art can even save lives. Meres and Marie united the world through the brilliance of Meres’ artful vision and Marie’s passion. To say “thank you et merci” almost doesn’t seem enough . . .


Photo of the day: ANYBODY BUT CHRISTINE QUINN!

ANYBODY BUT QUINN !

ANYBODY BUT QUINN !

Photo of the day: ANYBODY BUT QUINN! – To my country wide and international readers, this may seem like a localized issue, but it is sadly not.
I as a tour guide lost my job in 2011 at Gray Line tours, the double decker bus company soley because of councilwoman and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn. How it came to be: two men complained that the tour guides could be heard on Greenwich Avenue in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan. It is a main commercial thoroughfare with the now gone St. Vincent’s hospital across the street with their blaring sirens going all night. Bars line the street that play European soccer matches till 4am in the morning. A grade school play ground is across the street, all that noise, but we were too much. A “headset bill’ was instituted by Christine Quinn with a sound test to be done, it was never ever done. Councilwoman Gail Brewer insisted to insure the tour guides jobs, a proviso be included in the bill that the headsets be connected to a live guide, that was done. But — Twin America is the monopoly that owns both the double decker bus companies (the blue City Sights and the red Gray Line) wanted the ‘live guide’ proviso taken out. Why pay for my health insurance and salaries when you can have a recording do it for free? In the middle of the night Quinn took out the live guide proviso saying “it isn’t necessary.” You see, Twin America has always contributed heavily to her political campaign.
The guides protested at all the local TV stations with our slogan “Keep New York Live.” My dear friend and anti-Quinn champion Donny Moss joined in. At our last gasp rally to be held at noon on the steps of City Hall, no press showed up. When I called a local TV reporter friend of mine asking where the press was, I was told Quinn had told everyone the rally was canceled. The bill passed. Oddly enough, any guide that had been seen protesting try to save their jobs were not fired but simply not ‘allowed’ to come to work anymore – I was one of them.
Councilwoman Christine Quinn wants to be mayor of this city. She is the puppet of Mayor Bloomberg. During their time in office, New York City has lost many hundreds of long time established restaurants, shops, bars, schools, hospitals, parks, and memorials for the sake of greedy real estate greed to build “luxury” apartment buildings than that of any other political team in the city’s history.  We tour guides get almost daily notices of yet another hospital, restaurant or long time establishment closing due to doubling rent – yes double. Doubling rent on businesses has become the norm, leaving only the chain stores to survive.  Zoning variance – the norm, Quinn rubber stamps them, the money goes in her pocket. The hospital I was born in is gone. Also St. Vincent’s hospital that took in the only survivors of The Titanic was at the epicenter of the AIDS crisis, was first in line to respond to the 911 victims has been torn down by Quinn. But – that was not enough, St. Vincent’s church was torn down as well and the 911 Tiles For America Memorial across the street has been torn down too, to assure no memory is left of the site.   If she becomes mayor, there will no “New York” left for you to see. Quinn/Berg plan to completely surround Grand Central Station with bulging sky scrappers. The Chyrsler Building will be hardly seen anymore! None of these building plans take into consideration that our electrical grid is already stretched to the max.  Instead of protecting our shores from the rising sea level and future hurricanes, Bloomberg and Quinn build, build, build more glass boxes for instant profit, chain stores take over and screw the future. She herself changes the laws to fit her monetary gain. This is how dictatorships start.
QUINN IS GAY FOR PAY! Touting herself as the breaktrough first gay mayor of NYC – she has not voted for ONE pro-gay bill or legislation, not one. But on gay pride day – she runs to the front of the parade waving her arms in the air. GAY FOR PAY!
I have joined Donny Moss and the ‘Defeat Christine Quinn’ and ‘ABQ’ campaign. HELP SAVE NEW YORK. I will vote for New York, I will vote against corrupt Christine Quinn!
I am fighting hard for the ANYBODY BUT QUINN campaign. If you are a New Yorker, please read on to inform yourself of her devious record. . .

In 2011, New Yorkers working on the campaign to educate the public about Christine Quinn’s record had a busy year, with more than 20 protests at her public appearances and 2013 campaign fundraisers. Before the 2009 City Council election, many people in her district told us they were planning to vote for Quinn. Once they looked at her record, however, many were just as dismayed as we were. These voters who paid closer attention are part of the reason Quinn struggled to win re-election in her own district. We believe that our campaign made a difference, and we intend to have a more profound impact in the 2013 election for Mayor. In the meantime, Quinn continues to give people new reasons to join the movement against her:

Human Rights

On December 2, the Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center released its 2011 NYC Council report card, which grades Council members on their “record in promoting the human rights of New Yorkers” during the previous 12 months. Christine Quinn received a D+, the second to lowest score. To quote the report: “Both the political power of the Speaker and the reticence of the Council Members to challenge it are inhibiting the advancement of human rights in New York City. The power of the Speaker has delayed hearings, stalled votes and restricted the passage of legislation.”

Example: As Michael Powell wrote in the October 10, 2011 New York Times, “A year ago [City Council] members tried to push through a living wage in the Bronx and to mandate a few sick days for workers. [Christine Quinn] ensured each effort ended up baled, tied and set by the BQE for early sanitation pickup.”

Abuse of City Funds

The Speaker position concentrates an extraordinary amount of power in the hands on one person. As Speaker for the past five years, Quinn has abused that power to advance her political career at the expense of the democratic process and the public she alleges to serve.

Among the most powerful weapons in Quinn’s arsenal are the discretionary funds—tens of millions of dollars that Quinn doles out to reward campaign donors and loyal Council members and withholds from Council members who challenge her agenda. As Jason Farago wrote in a December 15 editorial in The Guardian, “Quinn is not only the most powerful legislator in the city; she’s pretty much the only legislator in the city, and from her perch she has nearly unilateral control over lawmaking. She decides what comes to the floor… and her caucus votes for it, or she makes them pay.”

Example: In March, Quinn strong-armed Council members to vote to rename the Queensboro Bridge in honor of former Mayor Ed Koch. Months later, in December, Koch endorsed Quinn for Mayor—two years before the election. A poll found that a majority of voters (64 percent) opposed renaming the bridge after Koch, and Council member Peter Vallone Jr., of Astoria, spoke out against it. Quinn responded by cutting Vallone’s discretionary funds by $600,000.

To put this political stunt in historical context, the Triboro Bridge wasn’t renamed after Robert F. Kennedy until 40 years after his assassination.

Term Limits

On October 4, Clyde Haberman of The New York Times observed in a piece entitled “Like Putin, Like Bloomberg” that Russia’s Prime Minister “was more scrupulous about observing the niceties of term limits than were New York’s political leaders: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his Medvedev equivalent, Christine C. Quinn….” With the help of “complaisant council members,” Haberman wrote, Bloomberg and Quinn “simply changed the law to reward themselves with third terms.”

After the 2008 slush fund fiasco destroyed her chances of becoming Mayor in 2009, Quinn needed four more years to improve her image. But her role in overturning term limits has only further damaged her reputation.

Real Estate Ties

As Kate Taylor reported in the January 5 New York Times, Quinn has already raised more than $4.9 million in campaign contributions. The vast majority of donors who have made the maximum legal contribution of $4,950 to Quinn’s campaign are real estate executives, as are many of the campaign bundlers who have raised more than $20,000. In return, Quinn advocates tirelessly for real estate developers at the expense of her constituents. As WestView readers know, Bill Rudin is planning to build 450 luxury condos on the site of St. Vincent’s Hospital, in Quinn’s district. True to form, Quinn has publicly stated on several occasions that the Lower West Side needs a full service hospital while helping pave the way for Rudin to erect his condos. As of July 2011, seven members of the Rudin family had contributed a total of more than $30,000 to Quinn’s campaign, which may help explain why Quinn not only refused to advocate for tapping into millions of dollars in available reserve funds that might have helped save St. Vincent’s, but also refused to support a community effort to keep the St. Vincent’s site zoned for community use.

Animal Welfare

In its 2009 City Council scorecard, the NY League of Humane Voters concluded that the “biggest obstacle to more humane laws in NYC is the inexplicable opposition to animal welfare legislation by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn,” who has “attacked virtually every effort in the Council to make life better for animals, despite claiming in letters to concerned citizens that she cares about animal welfare and even ‘supports animal rights.’”

Not only has Quinn killed every substantive animal protection bill introduced into the Council, but she has also fast-tracked several meaningless bills that make her look like she’s helping animals when, in reality, she’s only helping herself politically.

Example: A majority of New Yorkers support a ban on horse-drawn carriages. Quinn does not, and she has killed legislative efforts to take the carriage horses off the streets. But in an effort to make herself look as though she cares about the welfare of the horses, Quinn fast-tracked a bill in 2010 that was filled with fake reforms such as banning carriages operators from working below 34th Street, where they don’t work anyway, or between the hours of 3:00 and 7:00 a.m., when no customers are out. The purpose of the bill was to grant carriage operators a rate hike, but Quinn only touted the fake reforms in the press, giving the impression that she’s an advocate for animals when she has been just the opposite. In 2011, at least seven carriage horses collapsed, tripped, spooked and died in midtown.

In January 2011, Quinn fast-tracked another bill that makes it illegal for New Yorkers to chain their dogs outside for more than three hours. Quinn admitted that the bill is unenforceable, but she held a press conference promoting this meaningless bill, again giving New Yorkers the impression that she cares about animal welfare.

In September 2011, Quinn fast-tracked another bill that erased a law requiring a city-funded animal shelter in every borough. She did this as a favor to Bloomberg so the City could dodge a lawsuit demanding that it fulfill this obligation. (Shelters are desperately needed in The Bronx and Queens.) Rather than being honest about the purpose of the bill, Quinn added language to it mandating increased resources for existing shelters, thereby making a step backward for animals look like a step forward.

Quinn’s Campaign

How much of Quinn’s campaign is being funded by NYC taxpayers? In the last election, it was a fair amount. In an article in the August 20, 2009 Village Voice, Elizabeth Dwoskin reported that 31 of Quinn’s “more than 90 volunteers” were in fact paid staffers, though Quinn’s spokesperson claimed they were doing the work on their own time.

Quinn has a vast amount of taxpayer-funded city resources at her disposal for her campaign, including a chauffeured SUV. She has the support of Mayor Bloomberg, his paid consultant Ed Koch, the Democratic Establishment and the LGBT community. She has a bully pulpit as Speaker and has the Mayor inviting her to speak at high profile events. But perhaps that’s not a bad thing, because the more potential supporters are exposed to her, the more chances they have to see how much there is about her candidacy not to like.

On our side, we have the truth about Quinn’s record; a public that is becoming more informed about her; several other viable candidates for Mayor; and the will to fight to restore ethics, fairness, democracy and humanity to NYC government.

My 87 year old mother canvases our local street handing out fliers to anyone that will listen – so do I.

See you in the streets.

http://votequinnout.com/

https://www.facebook.com/DefeatChristineQuinn

For more information, see Donny Moss’ documentary “Christine Quinn: Behind the Smile” on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uhR3-8xK6s


Link

Photo of the day: WHY I MARCHED WITH PRIDE AGAINST NYC COUNCILWOMAN CHRISTINE QUINN

HANS MARCHING IN PRIDE AGAINST QUINN

Photo of the day: WHY I MARCHED WITH PRIDE AGAINST NYC COUNCILWOMAN CHRISTINE QUINN

I lost my Gray Line tour guide job of seven years because of her bullying through a ‘headset bill‘ in New York City.  It all started two years ago when two older residents on Greenwich Avenue complained  about guides on open mic and insist we be rerouted. We tried all diff routes, but Greenwich is largest, best flow and connection to the rest of the routes and bus stops.
These complainers had the sirens of St. Vincent’s Hospital, a school yard with screaming grade school kids and the bars showing European soccer matches to boisterous patrons till 4am – if u do not like the noise – move to a better location, you knew what u where getting into when u moved in. So a headset law was suggested.

No one seemed to hear ’noise’ but them. Guards were placed at the corner to see if we were off mic. A noise “study” was supposed to have been done and magically was never needed.

NYC councilwoman Gail Brewer tried to help us and insisted a proviso be put in the bill the headsets be connected to a live guide. ALL tour guides rallied, spoke on TV and radio and press to “Keep New York Live”. Greg Mocker/WPIX11 befriended me and joined our cause. Rumor was that Twin America, the monopoly that owns blue City Sights and red Gray Line double decker buses was trying to get the ’live guide’ proviso thrown out. No tour guides = no high licensed salaries, no health insurance. BINGO! The proviso was erased in the middle of the night by Quinn, because Quinn is in the pocket of Twin America and they padded her coffers for her mayoral run. She simply claimed the proviso was ‘not needed’.

We held one big last ditch effort rally on the steps of city hall at noon time. 12:30….no press, no one. I called TV transit reporter Greg Mocker “Where are you?!!” ‘It’s canceled, isn’t it?’ Quinn had called the press and told them it was canceled. The bill passed with live tour guides eliminated. Councilwoman Brewer cowered under Quinn and was a bit of a wimp, she needed funding for her district. Next came the slaughter of the guides. We had a sign up book, you would sign the days you wanted to work for the next few weeks. Allllll of a sudden, any guide who was seen at NBC, ABC, WPIX11, CBS News, etc was not ‘allowed’ to sign up with no reason given. I was one of their top tour guides. I never had one complaint. I was requested world wide, did all their celebrity tours (Liza Minnelli, Heidi Klum, Cyndi Lauper, etc.) yet I was no longer allowed to sign the book. A fellow tour guide overheard my boss Eva Lee tell the dispatcher “these people are effectively no longer here.” With pressure mounting by the guides, Gray Line said we could re-apply for our jobs, but not at $17.75 an hour with insurance, but with $12.75 and hour, no insurance. We applied. “If a position arises we will contact you” we were told with the iciest of cold faces. Meanwhile through the tour guide grape vine we heard they were begging and pleading other less experienced guides to please come in.

Senior guides were offered insulting low buyouts. Gray Line wanted no one left with a memory of what it used to be like. Guides who had worked there 18 years!!, spoke 5 languages!, were now gone. They wanted no one to question the ‘new authority.’ No rebels, just quiet frightened to death zombie guides. Then they realized no one was watching the tourists on top, so they hired illiterate ‘watchers’ to sit on top and make sure guests didn’t stand up. Pay was about $7-11 per hour. The recorded tour tapes didn’t and don’t work well (at first they didn’t at all!) so now they are hiring guides who are given the answers to the Tour Guides License test, so any idiot can pass the test. Watch them, the buses pass by and the guide is saying nothing, or babbling utter incoherent nonsense. And so here we are. New York tourists are greeted by these “ambassadors to the city” – it’s a joke. The headset law was bullied thru by Quinn, the required noise study was NEVER done and hundreds of guides my age (57 and older) don’t find it easy at all to find work in this city at our age or at other companies. It is almost impossible. You have to be minimally bilingual (I am/German) or be the darling of one of the smaller companies. Smaller companies don’t have the work, salaries and clients. So many guides went bankrupt, moved, sold their things, took several other low paying jobs = slaughtered by that greedy dictator!

There are many other reasons I will cut my hand off before I vote for Christine Quinn. Zoning variances have become the norm in New York and we are becoming a city of soul-less glass boxes since she is in the deep pockets of the real estate Rudin family. Councilmembers are afraid of her. Vote against her – your funding is cut. She over turned term limits in the middle of the night as well so that elitist  mayor Bloomberg could buy a third term. NYC had voted TWICE for a two term limit. How is this a free country?

She is “gay for pay” – on gay pride day she runs to the front of the parade, but has not voted for one pro gay health, housing or community bill – NOT ONE. Her ultimate sinful act was to tear down St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village as well as the ‘Tiles For America’ memorial across the street. Built in 1849, St. Vincent’s took in the only survivors of the Titanic, was at the epicenter the AIDS crisis, and 9/11. The Rudin real estate family wanted condos there. Quinn saw to it, and while at it, tore down the adjoining church as well.  She is the most dangerous thing that has happened and could happened to New York City. We rebuilt after 9/11 and hurricane Sandy – we cannot tear down the glass boxes that are rising at an alarming rate where the mom and pops used to be. We have lost more long time establishments under the Bloomberg/Quinn administration than in the entire history of New York City. Affordable housing tenants are squeezed out, the middle class is ceasing to exist.  VOTE this election,

VOTE FOR “ANYBODY BUT QUINN!”

WATCH THIS! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXoANkQh93I

http://votequinnout.com/