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New York Gambles on Full-Size Casinos to Boost Cash-Strapped Communities

New York Casinos
The Proctors Theater marquee displays a celebratory message after a New York State board announced earlier on Dec. 17, 2014, that the former Alco site in Schenectady, N.Y., would be recommended for a casino Patrick Dodson—AP

The recommendations favor gaming complexes situated in struggling upstate towns

A state board has recommended the approval of three full-size, Las Vegas–style casinos in New York State.

The three gaming complexes are slated for Schenectady (near the state capital, Albany), Tyre (near the Finger Lakes) and Sullivan County Catskills (north of New York City), the New York Times reports. They will be the first of their kind in the state.

The recommendations cap a competitive campaign by 16 casino developers for the right to set up shop in New York State, many of them hoping to tap New York City for customers.

Yet the board in the end rejected all six proposals for casinos immediately kitty-corner to the Big Apple, favoring instead developers with plans to give northward communities, still mourning the loss of a teeming manufacturing sector, a heady injection of jobs and cash.

Critics of New York State’s effort to expand gambling have doubted that casinos will renew hard-up towns and cities, citing a saturated regional gaming market, as well as predicting that casinos might hurt, not help, such places by sowing crime and spooking property values.


TIME celebrities

Rapper Bobby Shmurda Has Been Arrested in New York City

Bobby Shmurda is seen at Jimmy Kimmel Live on Dec. 8, 2014, in Los Angeles RB—Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

He was picked up while outside a recording studio on Seventh Avenue

Brooklyn rapper Bobby Shmurda was arrested in New York City on Wednesday, in connection with an investigation into street violence and drug trafficking in the city’s outer borough.

Shmurda, whose real name is Ackquille Pollard, was taken into custody by investigators as he sat in his car outside Quad Recording Studios on Seventh Avenue, the New York Times reported.

The 20-year-old rapper has increasingly had run-ins with law enforcement this year, having been arrested for possession of an illegal firearm in June followed by an October arrest for possession of marijuana. Both arrests took place in Brooklyn, where the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for New York City is conducting an investigation along with the New York Police Department’s newly formed Brooklyn South Violence Reduction Task Force.

More than 12 others have been arrested as part of the investigation, and authorities said further details and charges would be unsealed in court on Thursday.



How Broken Windows Policing Puts Fewer Men in Prison

Grand Jury Declines To Indict NYPD Officer In Eric Garner Death
Police clash with protesters on the West Side Highway December 3, 2014 in New York. Protests began after a Grand Jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo. Yana Paskova—Getty Images

Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of Are Cops Racist?

In New York City, more arrests of low-level offenders led to significant drops in felonies, and a decrease in the entire correctional population

The tragic death of Eric Garner last July has fueled a growing campaign against broken windows policing. Garner was selling untaxed, loose cigarettes—a misdemeanor offense—on a commercial strip of Staten Island, NY, when a group of New York police officers tried to arrest him. He resisted, and the officers brought the 350-pound asthmatic to the ground by pulling him down by his neck. Garner went into cardiac arrest and eventually died.

Garner’s death was a grotesque tactical failure. But police critics say that it also illustrates the dangers of broken windows policing, especially for minorities. Broken windows theory holds that enforcing public order laws—such as laws against graffiti, trespassing, and illegal street vending—reduces both the fear of crime and crime itself. According to critics, however, public order policing is a racist assault on poor minority neighborhoods that criminalizes innocuous behavior. Should the critics succeed in reducing or eliminating low-level misdemeanor enforcement in New York City, they may produce a paradoxical consequence: a rise in the New York State prison population.

As the national prison census rose steadily over the last 15 years, New York State’s prison population dropped a remarkable 17% from 2000 to 2009. This drop in the incarcerated population was all the more surprising, since the average New York State prison sentence lengthened considerably during that time and the number of arrests in New York City—which is responsible for the vast majority of New York State prisoners—increased.

The rise in arrests and the lengthier felony sentences (now among the nation’s longest) should have inflated the prison population. The opposite happened, however, because the type of arrests that the New York Police Department was making had changed radically. As Michael Jacobson of the Vera Institute and James Austin of the JFA Institute document in “How New York City Reduced Mass Incarceration,” misdemeanor arrests in New York City shot up and felony arrests plummeted, thanks to the advent of broken windows policing in 1994. (Franklin Zimring reached the same conclusion in his book, The City That Became Safe.) Under then-police commissioner William Bratton, the police started paying attention to turnstile jumpers, aggressive panhandlers, public drinkers, and outdoor marijuana smokers, among other low-level public order offenders. Misdemeanor arrests more than doubled between 1990 and 2009. Yet felony arrests fell, because felony crime was falling so fast—eventually dropping an unprecedented and unmatched 80% from the early 1990s to today.

The plunging felony arrest rate meant that fewer New York City offenders were being sent upstate to prison. And even though the number of misdemeanor offenders being sent to New York’s Rikers Island jail complex increased, the Rikers Island population also dropped, because felony arrests were down so far. (A felony criminal is initially processed in a local jail before he is sentenced to state prison; a misdemeanor offender, by contrast, serves his entire time pre- and post-sentence in a jail.) In fact, the entire correctional population generated in New York City—prisoners, jail inmates, and offenders under probation and parole supervision—dropped over the last decade and a half, unlike in the rest of the country.

Broken windows policing helps explain this drop. Misdemeanor enforcement can interrupt criminal behavior before it ripens into a felony. Arresting someone for trespassing in the stairwell of a public housing project may avert a sexual assault in that same stairwell later that night. Pouring out the whiskey bottle of someone drinking in public can prevent a stabbing a few hours later. Nabbing a gang member for graffiti may foreclose a shooting. The same people, in other words, who might have been arrested for a felony absent misdemeanor enforcement, were now being picked up on low-level charges and serving brief stays in jail or just the station house.

It turns out that if you want to decrease incarceration without increasing crime, the way to do it is through more law enforcement, not less, but targeted at low-level offenders.

Not all quality of life violators are felons-in-waiting, of course. Eric Garner was certainly not one of them. And he most certainly did not deserve to die for the offense of selling loose cigarettes. Yet such activity, if allowed to fester, reinforces the perception that social control in the affected area has broken down, leading to more serious law-breaking. No one understands broken windows theory more intuitively than the law-abiding residents of poor communities, who invariably beseech their local police commanders to crack down on public order offenses. The merchants in the Staten Island neighborhood where Garner tragically died had begged the police to eradicate the drug use, public urination, and, yes, the selling of “loosies” in the pocket park where Garner hung out.

Garner died not because the police were enforcing quality of life laws but because the tactics used to subdue him, interacting with his serious health problems, backfired horribly. Those tactics and police training around them need serious reconsideration; broken windows policing does not. (According to NYPD, only 0.6% of all public order arrests in New York City in the first half of 2014 involved an officer’s use of force, which can mean simply putting hands on a subject; the Garner death is an aberration among quality of life arrests.) But if the NYPD abandons public order policing, the likely result will be more minority men in prison.

Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of Are Cops Racist?

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 Travel

9 Little Known Places to Visit in New York City (That Aren’t Tourist Traps)

New York has more to offer than Times Square and the Statue of Liberty

  • The New York Federal Reserve’s Gold Vault

    A real-life Mt. Doom, this vault is the world’s largest storehouse of treasure. You can see its 7,000 tons of gold—5 percent of all that was ever mined, even more than Ft. Knox—which is now worth $273 billion. The vault was robbed in Die Hard With a Vengeance, but you’ll never get away with it. (Manhattan) More at Atlas Obscura.

  • The Explorers Club Headquarters

    A stuffed polar bear. Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki globe. A “yeti scalp.” The spectacular Explorers Club is stuffed to the rafters with the treasures, curios, maps, and books collected by the world’s greatest adventurers. (Manhattan) More at Atlas Obscura.

  • A Panorama of the City of New York

    Constructed for the 1964 World’s Fair, and updated recently, this basketball-court sized model shows the entire, sprawling city, with tiny scale versions of every single one of the 895,000 buildings in the five boroughs. Circumnavigate it on a catwalk, and feel like an emperor! (Queens) More at Atlas Obscura.

  • Harry Houdini’s Grave

    Fans still gather at the grave of the magician, awaiting his escape from death. For years it was the site of Halloween séances. Now Houdini’s admirers leave decks of cards and tarots for him. (Queens) More at Atlas Obscura.

  • The Earth Room

    For nearly 40 years, this loft space has been filled two-feet deep with dirt, sometimes sprouting mushrooms. It’s an art installation, not poor housekeeping, and the room is a peaceful, quiet sanctuary from the city bustle below. The dirt is valued at a million dollars; the real estate is worth a lot more. (Manhattan) More at Atlas Obscura.

  • The Pratt Institute Engine Room

    With its glistening 19th century steam generators and its marble switchboard, it’s heaven for steampunks. (Manhattan) More at Atlas Obscura.

  • Mmuseumm

    Exhausted by huge museums and giant exhibitions? Then Mmuseumm is the place for you: a museum housed in a freight elevator. The quirky, tiny collection includes that shoe that was hurled at President George W. Bush in Iraq. (Manhattan) More at Atlas Obscura.

  • The John M. Mossman Lock Collection

    A gorgeous display of more than 300 antique bank locks, each more ornate, more complex, and more fiendish than the last. (Manhattan) More at Atlas Obscura.

  • Marilyn Monroe’s Grate, and the Ghostbusters Firehouse

    New York is jammed with real-life movie locations, but these are two of the most iconic. Hook and Ladder 8 was the Ghostbusters firehouse. The most famous subway grate in the world is at the corner of Lexington and 52nd. It’s where, during The Seven Year Itch, a passing 6 subway train blew up Marilyn Monroe’s dress. (Manhattan) More on the firehouse and the subway grate in Atlas Obscura.

    This article was written by David Plotz for Atlas Obscura.

TIME Crime

This Time-Lapse Shows the Massive Turnout for New York’s March Against Police Violence

25,000 people were estimated to attend the march on Saturday

Thousands of people took to the streets of New York City on Saturday to demonstrate against police violence in the wake of several deadly confrontations this year between officers and unarmed black citizens. This time-lapse video, made at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and 29th Street in Manhattan, shows demonstrators marching over a 90-minute period. Authorities estimated that more than 25,000 people marched in New York on Saturday, police told the New York Times, while thousands more held a similar protest in Washington, D.C.

TIME christmas

The Ho Ho Horror: Santacon 2014 Hits New York City

People dressed as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus celebrate in Times Square as they gather for the annual Santacon festivities on Dec. 13, 2014 in New York.
People dressed as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus celebrate in Times Square as they gather for the annual Santacon festivities on Dec. 13, 2014 in New York. Don Emmert—AFP/Getty Images

Organizers had promised to tone down the annual booze-soaked event this year

Undaunted by the popular backlash against the notoriously rowdy annual gathering, Santacon returned to the streets of New York this year, with thousands donning Santa suits on Saturday for the annual booze-and-Christmas-cheer-fueled bar crawl.

In addition to being just a massive party, Santacon raises money for charity and acts as a critique, organizers say, of the commercialization of Christmas.

The event went off this year despite backlash from some in the Big Apple who have become increasingly irritated in recent years by the drunken carousing Santacon tends to inspire, not to mention the fighting and vomiting.

Organizers reportedly worked with police this year in an effort to civilize and tone down the event, and even hired a noted civil rights lawyer to help improve relations with the city’s citizens.

After staging the core Santacon gathering in Times Square, the Santas strolled to bars in the area around midtown Manhattan, for more charity money raising and Christmas commercialization critiquing. Oh and drinking. That too.

Read more at Gothamist

TIME Crime

New York Cop Says He Didn’t Put Eric Garner in a Chokehold

Police Chokehold Death
Protesters rallying against a grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner gather in Columbus Circle, Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, in New York. Jason DeCrow—AP

NYPD officer says it was a takedown technique learned in police academy

The New York Police Department officer whose aggressive arrest of Staten Island resident Eric Garner led to his death has denied using an illegal chokehold to subdue him.

It was a take-down move, Officer Daniel Pantaleo has told NYPD investigators, and not a chokehold.

Pantaleo, whom a grand jury declined to indict in Garner’s death, has told NYPD internal affairs investigators that he used a takedown techniqueon Garner that he was taught in police academy.

(MORE: Here’s What a Chokehold Actually Is)

“He said he never exerted any pressure on the windpipe and never intended to injure Mr. Garner,” Stuart London, Pantaleo’s attorney, told CNN.

The video of Pantaleo taking down Garner as he tried to arrest the Staten Island man for illegally selling loose cigarettes led to protests and nationwide debates over police conduct and use of force. While a grand jury chose not to indict Pantaleo, he’s still subject to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice as well as an internal NYPD probe.

Since the grand jury decision, Garner’s last words of “I can’t breathe” have been widely used in demonstrations nationwide and in several other countries by protesters against police brutality.

[New York Post]

TIME New York City

Hipsterless Brooklyn: Vintage Photos From a Vanished World

Decades before Brooklyn became synonymous with hipsters, hip-hop and locavores, photographer Ed Clark caught the spirit of the place

Brooklyn is big. If it were its own city, and not part of Gotham, its 2.5 million residents would make up the fourth largest metropolis in the United States. Brooklyn covers almost a hundred square miles of intensely varied terrain, from the beaches of Coney Island and Sea Gate to the brownstones of Park Slope and the thronging sidewalks of Williamsburg—a neighborhood filled with stoop-shouldered young men who, evidently, can afford fedoras but have difficulty finding socks, or pants that fit.

There’s cobblestoned Dumbo; the mean streets of East New York; the mansions of Brooklyn Heights; the tree-lined avenues (and, miracle of miracles, driveways) of Ditmas Park; the glories of Prospect Park; the soaring container cranes of Red Hook; the unnameable, party-colored, aromatic ooze of the Gowanus Canal.

The borough boasts countless ethnicities, creeds and religions. It’s somehow wildly bustling and unselfconsciously low-key at the same time. It has given the world memorable phrases (fuhgeddaboudit) and immortal delicacies (the egg cream—with no egg and no cream).

[More: A tribute to the Brooklyn Bridge at 130]

But somehow, recently, Brooklyn has maybe gotten a little too big—or, rather, it’s started to believe the hype about itself, which is another way of saying that it’s not quite as hip as some of its residents, new and old, like to think it is.

Not long ago, GQ pronounced Brooklyn the coolest city in America—a verdict that elicited eye rolls everywhere, not least in Brooklyn itself. Meanwhile, Vogue (yes, that Vogue) tried to explain “why New Yorkers are flocking to the borough”—evidently forgetting that Brooklynites are already, and have always been, New Yorkers.

“Models, writers, actors, and artists have been flocking to 
New York’s Left Bank for its destination restaurants, bustling farmers’ markets, Parisian-style parks, and passionate dedication to l’art de vie,” panted the vogue.com post.Welcome to the new bohemian chic.”

And yet, despite the growing number of creatures swarming Kings County in hopes of hunting down, hog-tying and sucking every last ounce of life from that “new bohemian chic,” Brooklyn remains full of genuinely creative people, great restaurants, fascinating history, eclectic music, art, parks and architecture—in short, the sort of stuff you’d expect from a world-class city. Even one besieged by “New Yorkers.”

Here, LIFE.com offers photos of Brooklyn, made by LIFE’s Ed Clark right after World War II, that all these years later reveal something that’s long been elemental to the borough’s enduring appeal: namely, a free-wheeling and, above all, an unpretentious self-confidence.

And if that ain’t the key to l’art de vie, what is?

[More: See the gallery, “Lower Manhattan: Where New York Was Born”]

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

TIME Food & Drink

Meet ‘Nutellasagna,’ the Over-the-Top Dessert Lasagna You Have Been Waiting For

Robicelli's nutella lasgna
Courtesy of Robicelli's

Robicelli’s has decided to give New York City the holiday gift of gluttony

Lasagna is a tough dish to improve upon, but a Brooklyn bakery recently decided to take it in an entirely new direction: dessert.

Robicelli’s in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, is selling what they’ve dubbed the “Nutellasagna.” We’ll give you a second to let your dreams run wild.

So what exactly is the Nutellasagna? According to Gothamist, creator Allison Robicelli describes it as “layers of buttery lasagna noodles, cannoli custard, copious amounts of Nutella, crushed roasted hazelnuts and chopped chocolate, with some marshmallows on top for additional sweetness.”

Not surprisingly, the idea was birthed during a summer promotion where the bakery purposefully attempted to make some of the most ridiculous desserts they could think of. What was probably a bit more unexpected was how popular the Nutellasagna became: it sold out quickly and sparked continued interest.

Thus, Robicelli’s has decided to give New York City the holiday gift of gluttony. Over Christmas week, they’re once again offering the Nutellasagna by the half tray or the full tray. The $65 half tray claims to serve between 10 – 15 people, but don’t let that discourage you from having a go on your own.

The bakery offers delivery to most of the New York City area. For everyone else, grab your baking pans. You have some experimenting to do.

This article originally appeared on Food & Wine.

More from Food & Wine:


See Haunting Photos of NYPD Surveillance Helicopters Above the Eric Garner Protests

Police presence is evident in the air, as well as on the ground

On Thursday, photographer Kevin Kunstadt joined the New York City protests against the grand jury decision not to charge a white NYPD officer in the death of Eric Garner.

While most photographers focused their lenses on the protesters themselves, Kunstadt turned his towards the sky. He used his experience photographing airplane trails, using 20-30 second exposures, to capture the abundance of police and news helicopters above the protests — illuminating the constant surveillance.

“There was a sense of almost joyous rebellion,” Kunstadt tells TIME, “and irreverence for authority, police, and the status quo. I didn’t feel the same sadness as last week’s protests [for Michael Brown], but it was still quite emotional and beautiful to see everyone coming together.”

Protests against the police killings of Eric Garner in Staten Island, NY and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. continue throughout the country. Kunstadt understands that the act of protesting often requires a police presence, but he finds “something especially ominous” about the aerial surveillance.

“Nevertheless,” he says, “there is an inherent power in turning the gaze of the surveiller back on them, enacting surveillance of the surveillance.”

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