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A Word From Our Sponsor On Protection For Insurance Agents

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Seven Killed as S.U.V. Plunges Into the Bronx Zoo

10:27 p.m. | Updated The revised version of this post is available here.

Seven people were killed on Sunday after a Honda S.U.V. that they were in lost control and fell several dozen feet from a Bronx River Parkway overpass, coming to rest in an area of the Bronx Zoo, law enforcement officials said.

Three of the dead in the one-vehicle accident were children, said a spokesman for the Fire Department, Jim Long. All of the dead were in the Honda; the police said all the victims are from a single Bronx family.

The accident occurred around 12:30 p.m. on the southbound lanes of the parkway, just north of East 180th Street. A police spokesman said that the Honda was heading south in the passing lane when it lost control and struck the median; witnesses told the police that it appeared that a tire had blown.

Accident investigators estimated that the Honda Pilot, driven by a 45-year-old woman, was traveling at around 70 miles per hour, said a law enforcement official.  There did not appear to be any signs of skid marks prior to the moment when the car initially hit the Jersey barrier before it veered toward the guardrail on the right, the official said. But there was a clean trail of skid marks that cut straight across three southbound lanes, leading to a guardrail that separated the parkway from the earth and streets below.

The guardrail bore no scars from the Honda, for there was no impact; police investigators said the vehicle hit a curb that propelled it directly over the guardrail and into a wooded area, landing upside down.

“Sometimes you come upon events that are horrific and this is one of them,” Deputy Chief Ronald Werner, of Division 7, said at a brief news conference less than three hours after the accident.

The dead included two grandparents, an 85-year-old man and his 81-year-old wife; their two daughters, 45 and 39; and three grandchildren, ages 10, 7 and 3, the police said. An earlier account of the victims’ ages was incorrect.

An official with the Bronx Zoo said that the S.U.V. landed within the zoo’s southeast boundary. “This did happen on the southeast side of the zoo, far from any public areas, where there were no people, no animals, and no exhibits,” the person said. Much of the zoo’s 265 acres are wooded and not in use.

A similar accident occurred last year only a few feet away, on the northbound lanes of the Bronx River Parkway at East 180th Street. In that accident in June 2011, a car “flew through a chain-link fence and sailed into the air” after striking a median, according to a report about the accident in The New York Post. The car landed on East 180th Street; the driver and passenger survived.

“For the second time in a year, an accident on the Bronx River Parkway has led to a car falling off the highway to the streets below,” the Bronx borough president, Ruben Diaz, Jr., said in a statement.

“After this happened one time, I think there’s some thought that it’s freak occurrence,” said John DeSio, a spokesman for Mr. Diaz. “But it has happened again. So we’ll be speaking to the appropriate agencies and examining whether appropriate safety measures, such as higher fences and guard rails, should be taken.”

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Several Killed as Vehicle Plunges Near the Bronx Zoo

As many as seven people were believed to have been killed after a vehicle went over the Bronx River Parkway Sunday afternoon and fell to the street below, just south of the Bronx Zoo, a spokesman for the Fire Department said.

Three of the dead are children, the spokesman, Jim Long, said. All the victims are believed to be have been in the vehicle, Mr. Long said.

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Years Roll By as Famed Tavern Struggles to Reopen

It is a question that has been asked before: Whatever happened to Chumley’s?

It has been five years and three weeks since a wall collapsed and the famous bar in a 19th-century building in Greenwich Village closed for repairs.

Days turned into months, months into years. Now the owner of the building and the owner of the bar — two different players caught in an unexpectedly long-running drama of rebuilding, waiting, more rebuilding and more waiting — are saying what they have said before: It won’t be long.

The owner of the bar is Jim Miller, a firefighter who started as a part-time bartender and ended up running the establishment. He said he hoped to have the taps flowing by the end of the year.

“I’m going to shoot for the holidays,” he said. “I am pushing very hard for that. I wish I could give you a solid timeline, but I’m so gun-shy because of unforeseen obstacles. But I think we will be able to pull that off.”

The owner of the building, Margaret Streicker Porres, mentioned drinking Champagne at Chumley’s to celebrate the end of “a long and hard road.”

“I think everyone’s looking to see the end in sight,” she said, “and I hope with the summer months, we will complete all exterior work and be in a position to allow Chumley’s to do the interior fit-out that they are so keenly interested in doing.” By that, she meant completing the kitchen and the plumbing and bringing back the bar, the tables and the photographs that were on the walls, all of which were lovingly packed up and put in storage in 2008.

For now, though, the construction barriers remain in place, and work remains to be done. Mr. Miller said he and Ms. Streicker Porres are relying on the same architect, engineers and general contractor “in an effort not to hit any more bumps.”

“It’s just been a nightmare, one delay after the other after the other,” Mr. Miller said. “Permits and submissions. Everything had to be filed with the Buildings Department. Our design for the plumbing and the electric and the gas, all that stuff has been filed and is ready to go. It’s a matter of the building getting to a point where it’s ready to let us come in and do our end.”

Ms. Streicker Porres said the facade, hidden behind plywood paneling, would be finished. “We’ve been holding off on the lower level of the facade so people could bring in construction materials,” she said. “We decided it’s time to finish out the exterior.”

Chumley’s, a speakeasy during the Depression, had a reputation as a literary hangout for John Steinbeck, E.E. Cummings and Norman Mailer. It was also a favorite for generations of New York University students, and remains a destination for tourists with maps and guidebooks who puzzle at why they cannot walk in and order a beer.

“I think that if the stars align and if everything goes as planned, there should be no more obstacles,” Mr. Miller said. “But I don’t want to tempt fate.”

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Murdoch’s Denials of Political Favors Hard to Swallow in New York

Former Mayor Edward I. Koch said he was in his West Village apartment early one morning in 1977 when the phone rang and the man on the other end of the line said, “Good morning, Congressman. It’s Rupert.”

“I say to myself: ‘Rupert? That’s not a Jewish name. Who could be calling me named Rupert?’ ”

Then, Mr. Koch said, he recognized an Australian accent. It was Rupert Murdoch, the new owner of The New York Post.

“ ‘I don’t know if it will help, but we are endorsing you on the front page of The New York Post,’ ” Mr. Koch recalls Mr. Murdoch telling him.

“I said, ‘Rupert, you have just elected me.’ ”

Mr. Murdoch’s relationships with British politicians from Margaret Thatcher to David Cameron were dissected this week during his two days of testimony before a judicial inquiry in London looking into the phone hacking scandal that has shaken the media mogul’s $60 billion News Corporation. Throughout his testimony, Mr. Murdoch adamantly denied ever using his considerable political influence to win favor for his business interests.

So what about Mr. Murdoch’s relationships with politicians here in New York City,  where he bought The New York Post in 1976, founded the Fox News Channel in 1996 and purchased The Wall Street Journal in 2007?

Without question, Mr. Koch said in an interview on Thursday, Mr. Murdoch’s decision to use The New York Post to throw its support behind his candidacy helped him defeat Mario Cuomo in the 1977 Democratic mayoral primary, the runoff and then in the general election.

“That made the difference between winning and losing, and I am very grateful,” Mr. Koch said about the endorsement.

What did Rupert want in return? “He never, ever in the course of the 12 years that I was there asked me for a single thing, except one small thing,” Mr. Koch recalled.

Mr. Koch said he remembered getting a request from a representative of The New York Post to temporarily lift the ban on trucks using the West Side and East Side Highways so The Post could get its newspapers out more quickly during a newspaper strike. “I said, sure,” Mr. Koch said.

But things were different with Rudolph W. Giuliani’s administration.

In 1989, Mr. Murdoch’s New York Post endorsed Mr. Giuliani over David N. Dinkins, who became the city’s first African-American mayor. Mr. Giuliani’s campaign manager, as it turns out, was Roger E. Ailes, who would go on to start and run Fox News.

In 1993, Mr. Giuliani defeated Mr. Dinkins’s bid for a second term, becoming mayor in 1994. Two years later, Mr. Ailes was the founding chief executive officer of Fox News, a subsidiary of Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation.

Mr. Murdoch said in London that he did not use his political ties for his business interests, but he and his executives did turn to Mayor Giuliani for help after the Time Warner Cable New York City Group rejected their request for Fox News to have a channel, according to court records and news accounts at the time.

In an interview on Thursday, Richard Aurelio, then the president of Time Warner Cable New York City Group, said there were only 80 channels in the city when the Fox News 24-hour channel began in the fall of 1996 and wanted access to Time Warner’s 1.1 million New York City cable customers.

Mr. Aurelio, a former deputy mayor for John Lindsay, said he told Fox News that he would not have a channel to give them until more channels became available when they went digital.

Fox News did not want to wait. My colleague Clifford Levy reported in 1996 that Mr. Ailes contacted Mr. Giuliani to try to persuade Time Warner to change its position.

Then, on Oct. 1, 1996, at a launch party for the new Fox News Channel, Mr. Murdoch himself expressed concern about the situation to some of New York’s leading politicians who attended, including Mr. Giuliani, Gov. George E. Pataki and Dennis C. Vacco, the state attorney general.

“He complained to them at the party that I was the big bottleneck, and that I refused to carry Fox News,” Mr. Aurelio said. “They tried to put pressure on me. I said, ‘I can’t help you right now.’ ”

Mr. Aurelio also got a call from Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato. “Both Pataki and D’Amato were pretty pleasant about it,” he said. “They didn’t twist any arms. They were unhappy. But, it seemed to me, in their case, they were doing it because they were asked to do it by Murdoch.”

Mr. Aurelio said Mr. Giuliani and his staff took a different approach. “He summoned us down to City Hall, and had one of his advisers try to browbeat me.”

Then, the Giuliani administration decided to help Fox News by turning over one of the city’s five municipal channels, as Mr. Levy reported.

“This was illegal,” Mr. Aurelio said. “We got an injunction and the court agreed.”

To “Time Warner executives,” Mr. Levy reported, “the contacts demonstrate that Mr. Murdoch, a prominent conservative who also owns The New York Post, wields excessive influence over the mayor.”

Mr. Giuliani was unavailable to comment on Friday, according to an aide. A spokeswoman for Mr. Ailes did not immediately respond to a request to speak to him.

There are other examples of a cozy relationship between the News Corporation and the Giuliani administration, as the investigative reporter Wayne Barrett described in The Daily Beast last year.

In 1996, Mr. Giuliani and his aides fiercely defended their conversations with the News Corporation. They emphasized that their interest was in protecting local jobs.

Protecting jobs prompts elected officials to do a lot on behalf of business owners, even when they don’t benefit from Mr. Murdoch’s media empire. Mr. Murdoch did not endorse former Gov. Mario M. Cuomo during the 1977 mayoral race and urged Mayor Koch to run for governor against him in the 1980s. But Mr. Cuomo recalled in an interview on Friday that he helped Mr. Murdoch on multiple occasions, including winning a waiver from the Federal Communications Commission so that Mr. Murdoch could run The New York Post.

“The paper beat me to a pulp, but my feeling was that 800 jobs or so were on the line,” he said.

Finally, after Mr. Aurelio retired in July 1997, Mr. Murdoch got the channel for Fox News on Time Warner’s cable system in New York City.

At the same time, another New York City media mogul got a channel on Time Warner for his cable programming. The Giuliani administration was looking to help him, as well.

That mogul’s name was Michael R. Bloomberg.

What did Mr. Murdoch have to say about Mr. Bloomberg during his testimony in London this week?

In response to a question about the perception that he trades political support for favors, Mr. Murdoch cited Mr. Bloomberg as proof that was not the case.

“I think it’s a myth,” he said about political influence. “And everything I do every day, I think, proves it to be such. Have a look at — well, it’s not relevant, but how I treat Mayor Bloomberg in New York. Sends him crazy. But we support him every time he runs for re-election.”

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Councilman’s Spokesman Is Let Go After Past Prison Time Is Revealed

After The New York Post revealed that the spokesman for Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez had spent time in prison for attacking an Army recruitment center in the Bronx, Mr. Rodriguez released the spokesman from his staff on Friday.

Mr. Rodriguez, a Democrat who represents Upper Manhattan, said he learned of the criminal history of the spokesman, David Segal, on Thursday. The two men had worked together for more than a year.

“Yesterday, I got a call from the central office and The Post asking for a reaction,” Mr. Rodriguez said on Friday, referring to the City Council’s office.

In 2005, at the height of the Iraq war, Mr. Segal, then 19, was arrested after antiwar activists tried to set fire to an Army recruitment center in the Parkchester section of the Bronx.

According to The New York Times:

The police arrested a 19-year-old Manhattan College junior who they said threw a burning rag into an Army recruiting station that was closed for the night in the Parkchester section of the Bronx, and jammed the door locks with powerful glue. He was caught carrying a handwritten note declaring that a “wave of violence” would occur throughout the Northeast […] aimed at the “military industrial complex” in response to American military actions, the police said.

He was wearing rubber gloves, according to the complaint filed in the case, and carrying a backpack with glue and maps locating the recruiting station. He was charged with destroying government property and released on Feb. 1 after posting $15,000 in cash bail.

Mr. Segal was convicted and spent six months in federal prison and four months under house arrest, and he had to pay over $4,100 in fines, according to The Post.

Mr. Rodriguez, who has a history of street-level activism and was arrested in November at Zuccotti Park during the Occupy Wall Street protests, said in a statement Friday that he and Mr. Segal had “arrived at a mutual understanding that he would no longer work in this office.”

Mr. Segal told Politicker that although his political views on the Iraq War were the same today, his approach to activism had evolved. “I’ve found other ways that I think I can give back to society and advocate for working and middle class people,” he said.

Mr. Rodriguez said that background checks for City Council employees, like Mr. Segal, were the responsibility of the human resource department at City Hall.

“I as a council member don’t run a background check for anyone who applies for a job,” he said. “It is the central office that has to run a background check.”

The City Council press office did not respond to a request for comment on Mr. Segal’s background check.

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A Word From Our Sponsor On The Coverage Available For Worker’s Compensation

There are many manufacturing industries where the proper worker’s compensation is needed to protect both employees and employers, such as bottlers, breweries, and food products. The number of your customers that have these businesses may benefit from Worker’s Compensation for Manufacturing Risks. You may offer many of them the same coverage that is required to stay in business.
There are common mishaps that occur with any business that requires some sort of labor to be completed. With manufacturing businesses there are specific risks that they have to protect against to keep everyone safe, but that doesn’t make it fool proof. You can help your clients get the insurance they need so if an injury does occur they won’t be left to pay the bill on their own. With Worker’s Compensation for Manufacturing Risks your customers won’t have to worry constantly about making up the difference when someone gets hurt.
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Sex Abuse Charges Dropped Against School Aide

Charges were dropped Thursday night against a public school aide accused of molesting an 8-year-old girl, just hours after his arrest was announced, his lawyer told reporters. The aide, Hany Abdalla of Public School 84 on the Upper West Side, had been charged with sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

His lawyer, Virginia LoPreto, told The Daily News that the accuser’s account was contradicted by teachers and other students in the second-grade class and that “there were serious questions about the validity of the allegations.” Officials at the Manhattan district attorney’s office were unable to immediately confirm the dropping of the charges.

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A Humble Letter

Dear Diary:

Metropolitan Diary

Reader Tales From the City

I started a long teaching career at Grover Cleveland High School in Queens, more than a little awed by the fact it was bigger than my hometown. At that time, the federal government made money available for field trips and, upon discovering none of my 9th or 10th graders had ever been on a field trip or even traveled much in the city, I set about planning to take them to what I considered its most beautiful place, the Cloisters.

I made a recon visit, gathering info with which to pepper my lessons over the next couple of months, devising a treasure hunt of objects that would give them a good overall sense of the place. I was confident my students were very well prepared to appreciate and learn from what they saw.

I showed my students the legal contract I had to sign, testifying to my responsibility for any harm they did on the premises.

Following our visit, during which my students were exceptionally well behaved, I asked them to write thank-you notes to our chaperones.

Janie’s letter to a chaperone made me forever humble about a teacher’s ability to anticipate students’ needs, to figure out what they need to know:

“Dear Ms. Craig, Thank you for going with us to the Cloisters. I’m sorry so many things were broken.”


Please take a moment to read our new submissions guidelines and about our desire for new kinds of storytelling. Your suggestions and submissions are welcome via e-mail: diary@nytimes.com or telephone: (212) 556-1333. Follow @NYTMetro on Twitter using the hashtag #MetDiary. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

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