TIME Transportation

Uber Is Squeezing Taxi Owners, Too

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Getty Images

The traditional taxi industry is in the midst of a revolution due to popular ride-sharing apps

Amid the rapid rise of ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, the cost of running taxis across major U.S. cities has dropped significantly over the past year.

The prices of New York City medallions, which represent ownership of and license to operate a taxi, fell by 17% between last spring and this October due to falling demand, the New York Times reported.

Medallions prices in Chicago also dropped by 17%, while prices in Boston reportedly went down by about 20%.

City-regulated taxi companies have been struggling to keep up with mobile-based cab services like Uber and Lyft, which are generally perceived as cheaper and more convenient by customers.

Read more at the Times

TIME Bizarre

Thanksgiving Parade Balloons Gone Wild!

Thanksgiving Day Parade
A Mighty Mouse balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day in 1951 New York Daily News Archive / Getty Images

Thanksgiving Day, 1924: Macy’s debuts its annual parade to kick off the Christmas season

You’d think wild animals might cause more trouble than balloon animals.

Yet when Macy’s held its first parade 90 years ago, the animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo were hardly a handful. It was instead the balloons, in ensuing years, that would terrorize New York City.

The department store debuted its annual parade on Thanksgiving Day in 1924, when store employees dressed as clowns, knights and cowboys marched along with elephants and horse-drawn floats in what was then called the Macy’s Christmas Parade. Then, like now, it kicked off the season of Christmas shopping that begins with Black Friday. But as the event has evolved over the years, new challenges have arisen — and sometimes popped.

Giant balloons joined the parade in 1927, starting with Felix the Cat. But Felix had no way to be deflated. When the parade ended, he was simply released into the sky, where he burst. The next year, designers added a release valve to the balloons that, they hoped, would slowly leak helium while the animals drifted harmlessly out to pasture. According to TIME, “Macy’s claimed that they would float hundreds of miles away from New York before landing softly in fields or people’s yards.” The balloons came with a return address and an incentive: whoever found one could return it to Macy’s for a $100 reward.

The plan was not seamlessly executed, however. Of five balloons released after the 1928 parade, three (a tiger, a bird and an elephant) landed in Long Island, where one prompted a jealous squabble for the reward. According to the New York Times, neighbors and passing motorists who had seen the tiger balloon land rushed to grab it: “[A] tug of war ensued… The rubberized silk skin burst into dozens of fragments.”

A fourth balloon, shaped like a hummingbird, landed in the East River and split into two pieces. The fifth, a ghost, was still afloat when the Times story was published on Dec. 1; it had last been seen “moving out to sea over the Rockaways with a flock of gulls in pursuit.”

Despite the snags, Macy’s continued to send the balloons skyward after the parades until one wrapped itself around an airplane’s wing in 1932, sending the plane into a tailspin.

Balloon mishaps, including some that caused serious injuries, have remained a problem for the parade, especially in windy years, such as:

After the 1997 balloon crash, which fractured a woman’s skull and put her in a coma for nearly a month, Macy’s agreed to abide by new rules on the size of balloons and the wind speeds in which they could operate. For the 3.5 million people who line up along the parade route every Thanksgiving, it’s relatively low-risk entertainment — although still not quite as safe as it is for the 50 million people who watch from their living rooms, out of balloon’s reach.

Read More: A Brief History of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

TIME United Kingdom

Save the Children Staff Call Tony Blair’s Award ‘Morally Reprehensible’

Former British prime minister Tony Blair attends the 2nd annual Save The Children Illumination Gala at the Plaza in New York, Nov. 19, 2014.
Former British prime minister Tony Blair attends the 2nd annual Save The Children Illumination Gala at the Plaza in New York, Nov. 19, 2014. Erik Pendzich—Demotix/Corbis

The charity faces major backlash for its decision to give an award to former British prime minister

A week after the U.S. branch of Save the Children (STC) presented Tony Blair with a “global legacy award” in New York, almost 200 staff at the charity have signed an internal letter saying the award is “inappropriate and a betrayal to Save the Children’s founding principles and values.”

The letter says that U.K. management were not consulted about the award and want it to be withdrawn since it was not only “morally reprehensible, but also endangers our credibility globally.”

The American arm of STC presented Blair with the award at a gala at the Plaza Hotel in New York on Nov. 19 for his “leadership on international development”, citing his debt relief work and the Make Poverty History campaign.

A separate online petition calling for STC to revoke the award says Blair’s “legacy in Iraq overshadows his achievements in Africa”, adding that many see him “as the cause of the deaths of countless children in the Middle East.” The petition had gathered more than 97,000 signatures by Tuesday morning.

[Guardian]

TIME weather

Thanksgiving Travel Chaos Amid Winter Storms, More Than 200 Flights Canceled

Looming snowstorms and heavy rain will likely spur additional travel delays and cancellations during the beginning of the Thanksgiving weekend

More than 200 commercial flights were canceled by late Tuesday night ahead of the busiest travel day of the year for Americans, as weather forecasters predict that snowstorms and rain are likely to pound the northeast throughout Wednesday and Thursday.

Approximately half the flight cancellations came from just two airports, New York LaGuardia and Newark Liberty, according to USA Today.

On Tuesday, the New York City Office of Emergency Management issued a travel advisory that a “total of 3-5 inches of heavy, wet snow” is forecast to blanket the Big Apple Wednesday, resulting in “dangerous driving conditions throughout the day.”

The National Weather Service also issued numerous winter storm warnings for large swaths of the American northeast stretching from the Appalachia Mountains in North Carolina to the Maine coastline.

The news comes less than a week after the American Automobile Association predicted that more than 46 million Americans would travel 50 miles or more from their homes during the Thanksgiving weekend — the largest number for the holiday in the past seven years.

On a brighter note, drivers hitting the road will enjoy the lowest gasoline prices since December 2010 as global oil prices continue to slide. And that, at least, is something to be thankful for.

MONEY online shopping

Amazon Launches Competitor to Angie’s List and Yelp

Amazon is testing a home contractor recommendation service that puts the e-commerce giant in competition with sites like Yelp, Angie's List and Craigslist.

TIME Ferguson

See the Nation React to the Ferguson Decision

Citizens from L.A. to New York City staged protests following the announcement that a grand jury would not indict Officer Darren Wilson

Should Ferguson Protestors be Person of the Year? Vote below for #TIMEPOY

TIME Crime

Thousands Rally Across U.S. After Ferguson Decision

Ferguson Nationwide Protest
Marching in Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, after the Ferguson verdict on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014 Steven M. Falk—The Philadelphia Daily News/AP

Officer Darren Wilson will not be charged in the shooting death of Michael Brown

Thousands of people rallied late Monday in U.S. cities including Los Angeles and New York to passionately but peacefully protest a grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer who killed a black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri.

They led marches, waved signs and shouted chants of “hands up, don’t shoot,” the refrain that has become a rallying cry in protests over police killings across the country.

The most disruptive demonstrations were in St. Louis and Oakland, California, where protesters flooded the lanes of freeways, milling about stopped cars with their hands raised in the air.

Activists had been planning to protest even before the nighttime announcement that Officer Darren Wilson will not be charged in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

The racially charged case in Ferguson has inflamed tensions and reignited debates over police-community relations even in cities hundreds of miles from the predominantly black St. Louis suburb. For many staging protests Monday, the shooting was personal, calling to mind other galvanizing encounters with local law enforcement.

Police departments in several major cities braced for large demonstrations with the potential for the kind of violence that marred nightly protests in Ferguson after Brown’s killing. Demonstrators there vandalized police cars and buildings, hugged barricades and taunted officers with expletives Monday night while police fired smoke canisters and tear gas. Gunshots were heard on the streets and fires raged.

But police elsewhere reported that gatherings were mostly peaceful following Monday’s announcement.

As the night wore on, dozens of protesters in Oakland got around police and blocked traffic on Interstate 580. Officers in cars and on motorcycles were able to corral the protesters and cleared the highway in one area, but another group soon entered the traffic lanes a short distance away. Police didn’t immediately report any arrests.

A diverse crowd of several hundred protesters marched and chanted in St. Louis not far from the site of another police shooting, shutting down Interstate 44 for a time. A few cars got stuck in the midst of the protesters, who appeared to be leaving the vehicles alone. They chanted “hands up, don’t shoot” and “black lives matter.”

“There’s clearly a license for violence against minorities, specifically blacks,” said Mike Arnold, 38, a teacher. “It happens all the time. Something’s got to be done about it. Hopefully this will be a turning point.”

In Seattle, marching demonstrators stopped periodically to sit or lie down in city intersections, blocking traffic before moving on, as dozens of police officers watched.

Groups ranging from a few dozen to a few hundred people also gathered in Chicago, Salt Lake City, and Washington, D.C., where people held up signs and chanted “justice for Michael Brown” outside the White House.

“Mike Brown is an emblem (of a movement). This country is at its boiling point,” said Ethan Jury, a protester in Philadelphia, where hundreds marched downtown with a contingent of police nearby. “How many people need to die? How many black people need to die?”

In New York, the family of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man killed by a police chokehold earlier this year, joined the Rev. Al Sharpton at a speech in Harlem lamenting the grand jury’s decision. Later, several hundred people who had gathered in Manhattan’s Union Square marched peacefully to Times Square.

In Los Angeles, which was rocked by riots in 1992 after the acquittal of police officers in the videotaped beating of Rodney King, police officers were told to remain on duty until released by their supervisors. About 100 people gathered in Leimert Park, and a group of religious leaders held a small news conference demanding changes in police policies.

A group of about 200 demonstrators marched toward downtown.

The marchers shut down the northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 110 in downtown Los Angeles late Monday night, according to City News Service. People stood and lay in the northbound lanes and the center divider.

Another splinter group of about 30 people marched all the way to Beverly Hills, where they lay down in an intersection.

Chris Manor, with Utah Against Police Brutality, helped organize an event in Salt Lake City that attracted about 35 people.

“There are things that have affected us locally, but at the same time, it’s important to show solidarity with people in other cities who are facing the very same thing that we’re facing,” Manor said.

At Cleveland’s Public Square, at least a dozen protesters’ signs referenced police shootings that have shaken the community there, including Saturday’s fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who had a fake gun at a Cleveland playground when officers confronted him.

In Denver, where a civil jury last month found deputies used excessive force in the death of a homeless street preacher, clergy gathered at a church to discuss the decision, and dozens of people rallied in a downtown park with a moment of silence.

___

Associated Press writers Olga R. Rodriguez in San Francisco; Jim Salter and Alan Zagier in St. Louis; Tami Abdollah in Los Angeles; Kantele Franko in Columbus, Ohio; Sean Carlin in Philadelphia; Deepti Hajela in New York; Michelle L. Price in Salt Lake City; and Joshua Lederman in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

TIME Etiquette

‘Man Spreaders,’ There’s No Excuse for Not Closing Your Legs on the Subway

Couple sitting on urban subway
Steve Prezant—Getty Images

Brian Moylan is a writer and pop culture junkie.

All you jerks with wide stances are breaking the social contract that we need to abide by in New York City

There are lots of things that men do that are crazy, like insist on trying to impress people by regurgitating lines from Adam Sandler movies and investing scores of time in that imaginary monstrosity that is fantasy football. But there is no worse, man-centric behavior than manspreading on the subway. Seriously guys, it has got to stop.

You know what I’m talking about: the dudes who sit on the subway and expand their legs to bar anyone from sitting anywhere near them. It’s like they have an imaginary sumo wrestler sitting on the floor in front of them (or an imaginary cat, as this meme would lead us to believe). The problem has gotten so bad that the MTA, the agency in charge of New York City’s subways, is starting a campaign to curb the phenomenon. But, really, do we need subway posters next to those cute little Poetry in Motion poems and Dr. Zizmor ads to tell the bros not to do this? No, we should not. We should already be showing everyone some R-E-S-P-E-C-T, as Aretha says.

As a human male who possesses a penis, I can say that there is no possible way that your package is that big that you need to sit with your legs spread like the Grand Canyon. And if you have a package so large – as in an actual parcel – that is making you sit like this, you probably should do yourself and the world a favor and spring for a cab.

Also I know that your unit is not throwing off that much heat, even in the blistering days of the summer when the subway feels and smells like someone set the Gowanus Canal on fire. As an owner of a set, I know that testicles do not get that sweaty and even if they did, sitting as such would not create an adequate cross breeze to cool them down. If you are having such intense grundle fires, then you probably should consult a doctor and you should not be rubbing your junk all over public transportation. Or maybe just go commando.

That is the crux of the situation. The problem with leg spreaders is that they are breaking the social contract that we need to abide by survive in New York City. It is the same contract that says you stand on the right and walk on the left on an escalator and that you never shout at a celebrity when you see one on the street (this isn’t LA!). There is just not enough room for everyone in this city and, in order to accommodate everyone, we need to take up only our allotted bit of space.

The thing about the subway is that the seats and benches are divided to tell you just how much room you have. That little indent should not only fit your butt, but also your legs. If they are spread past that indentation, your stance is wider than Larry Craig’s in an airport restroom. If you’re on a car with those blue benches, which are meant to fit precisely six people and there are not six people on the bench, you are also spread too wide. Everyone paid $2.50 and they get only one seat. The same goes for backpacks on the seat, setting your bicycle or stroller in front of a whole row of benches, or passing out on an entire row on the F train on the way home from an East Village bar at 2 a.m. Sure, if the train is a little bit empty, you can be at ease, soldier, but never to the degree that it would intimidate someone else who might want to sit next to you in the event the train gets more crowded.

This is the most visual manifestation of patriarchal privilege and that is why it is especially angering. It says to everyone, “I find this comfortable and I am a man so my comfort comes before all else in this entire universe and especially you.” That’s why people hate this. It’s because men are saying that they don’t care about anyone else, and that is awful. They think that it is somehow manly, by claiming their territory. That is not manly. A real man is courteous and thinks of others and only takes as much as he is allowed. That’s what we need to tell our sons.

Whenever I see a leg spreader, I intentionally sit right next to him and spar for my bit of room. I want to let him know that it is not okay to stake claims to things that don’t belong to him in the first place. It’s like picking the tulips that grow in Central Park and putting them in a vase on your table.

Contrary to our reputation for being easy to anger, New Yorkers get by only by being nice to our fellow man. It’s the only way that we can survive crammed onto this tiny island at the center of the universe. The only place where this doesn’t happen is with men on the subway trying to prove something to the rest of the world (also in line at Trader Joe’s).

All you jerks with wide stances need to get over it. You are not losing anything by sitting with your legs together. It’s not that much worse. If you don’t like it, you can buy a bike and just ride everywhere. And if you really don’t like it, then you can move. Or better yet, you can stand. There are some of us who would also like a seat and we know how to use it.

Brian Moylan is a writer and pop culture junkie who lives in New York. His work has appeared in Gawker, VICE, New York magazine, and a few other safe-for-work publications.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME ebola

Woman’s Remains in New York Test Negative for Ebola

Nurses from the New York State Nurses Association protest for improved Ebola safeguards, part of a national day of action, in New York
Nurses from the New York State Nurses Association protest for improved Ebola safeguards, part of a national day of action, in New York City November 12, 2014. © Mike Segar—Reuters

She had arrived from Guinea about three weeks earlier

The remains of a woman in New York who died while under observation for potential Ebola exposure have tested negative for the virus, health officials said Wednesday.

The woman arrived from Guinea, one of the three nations hit hardest in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, nearly three weeks ago and was being monitored out of “an abundance of caution” because her trip fell within the virus’ 21-day incubation period, the New York Times reports. She had shown no symptoms for the disease.

She was one of some 300 people being monitored by New York City as a potential case. The city’s sole diagnosed case to date, Dr. Craig Spencer, was successfully treated and released.

[NYT]

TIME weather

The Great Blizzard of 1947: Photos of New York, Buried in White

Recalling the historic blizzard of 1947 with photos that ran in LIFE, and many other pictures that were never published in the magazine

Something about snowstorms brings out the kid in most of us. Memories of those blessed, almost always unexpected reprieves from the drudgery of school — “Snow day!” — undoubtedly plays a part in the collective excitement, and whether it’s in a vast metropolis or a remote, small town, the prospect of a blizzard elicits something nearly primal in those in the storm’s path.

There’s concern, for sure — about our families, our neighbors, our power and heat, our ability to get out and about once the snow stops falling. But for a good number of us, there’s something more: something like pure, primal excitement.

In December 1947, a huge, historic storm dumped record levels of snow on the northeastern United States. In New York City, where the snow fell quietly, and steadily, for hours and hours, several LIFE photographers stepped out of the magazine’s offices, cameras in hand, and recorded the scene. Here, we remember the Great Blizzard of 1947 with some photos that ran in LIFE, and many others that were never published in the magazine.

As LIFE put it to its readers in its Jan. 5, 1948, issue:

At 3:20 in the morning it began to snow in New York City. By the time most New Yorkers were going to work the blanket lay three inches deep. But the city, used to ignoring all natural phenomena and reassured by a weather forecast of “occasional flurries,” went about its business. But as the day wore on this characteristic blasé attitude vanished. The air grew filled with snowflakes so huge and thick it was almost impossible to see across the street. They fell without letup — all morning, all afternoon and into the night.

Long after night fall the illuminated news sign of the New York Times flashed an announcement to little groups of people huddled in Times Square that the snowfall, which totaled an amazing 25.8 inches in less than 24 hours, had beaten the record of the city’s historic blizzard of 1880. A faint, muffled shout of triumph went up from the victims.

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