On the Waterfront, Business Is Bouncing Back

The cars, clothing and coffee came pouring in last year, along with beer, flat-screen televisions and patio furniture. Where’s the party?

On the waterfront, apparently. Officials of the ports of New York and New Jersey are cautiously optimistic about an economic rebound.

These items were part of a surge of cargo imports in 2010, a volume of activity that came close to the recent high-water mark of 2007 before the recession struck the busiest port on the East Coast.

Statistics released by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey showed that after a particularly dismal year in 2009, cargo container traffic — imports and exports combined — increased by 16 percent last year at ports both in New York City, including Staten Island and Red Hook, Brooklyn, and in New Jersey, including Newark, Elizabeth and Bayonne.

A look at the the cargo volume in 2010 (there were 5,292,020 loaded and empty Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units, compared with 4,561,527 in 2009, according to the Port Authority), would seem to indicate that the New York economy is returning to robust levels.

“For us, it means the individual that drives the truck now has more business, the companies that handle imported products are seeing more business, it does create a much higher level of activity,” Richard M. Larrabee, who directs the port commerce department at the Port Authority, said in an interview.

Bernard Dudley, who has been president of the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1233 in Newark since 2001, has to look only as far as the so-called hustle drivers who transport cargo on the docks in Newark to see the change. When the recession hit in 2008 and carried into 2009, these workers would hang around for hours to work. Now they are living up to their name.

“We’re doing super-great,” Mr. Dudley said.

“Maybe 80 guys had second jobs because they couldn’t make ends meet,” he said, but all that changed last year. “Now they are making their hours.”

In 2008, Mr. Dudley said, some of his members were losing their homes, and the union made arrangements to help pay their mortgages. During that time, his membership was cut drastically, to 650 from 800.

Those numbers have not yet rebounded, he said, because the shipping companies are still in discussions with the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor to add jobs.

James Devine, president of the New York Container Terminal, which operates out of Staten Island at the base of the Goethals Bridge, said he hired 15 more people last year and saw a 17 percent increase in his terminal’s business. In a year, a longshoreman’s average salary is about $120,000, Mr. Devine said.

According to a 2008 study commissioned by the New York Shipping Association, the Port of New York and New Jersey supported 270,000 jobs directly and indirectly.

The pickup in the housing market has contributed to the uptick in some imports — like housing supplies, appliances and furnishings, Joseph C. Curto, the president of the New York Shipping Association, said.

Cars, including sport utility vehicles, increased by 12.2 percent in 2010. (In 2009, thousands of imported cars were parked in lots near the port, because auto purchases had plunged.) Imports over all were up 14.9 percent, and exports increased by 9 percent, most of which were related to farm activity like grain products, Mr. Curto said.

Although the numbers did not reach the record figures of 2007, the authority did make about $225 million in revenue from leasing property to the various companies that operate the terminals, according to an official for the agency, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the revenue will not be made public until April.

But any money made, the official said, went right back into financing its operating expenses and capital expenditures (like improvements in rail service on the docks), which amount to more than double its revenue.

Port and union officials may be thrilled with the boost from 2010, but there is concern on the horizon. The instability in the Middle East, particularly in the Suez Canal, could cause trouble for cargo ships traveling through that crucial waterway.

“Basically, we’re back — and hopefully the crisis in the Middle East will be O.K.,” Mr. Dudley said. “We’re afraid, though, if it gets so unstable, we could wind up where we were in 2008.”

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Housing Authority Official Resigns After Letter Surfaces

A top city public housing official resigned Monday after using his official letterhead to write a letter to a judge on behalf of the son of a family friend who was facing child pornography charges.

The official, Earl Andrews Jr. (pdf), the vice chairman of the New York City Housing Authority, offered his resignation hours after officials at the authority learned of the letter’s existence on Monday.

“The New York City Housing Authority follows the rules of the Conflict of Interest Board which does not permit any public servant to use city letterhead for non-city purposes,” Sheila Stainback, the authority’s spokeswoman, said in a statement. “Vice Chairman Earl Andrews Jr. has tendered his resignation, effective immediately.”

The letter was written to a federal judge in Florida on behalf of Christopher Thornton, who was arrested in April 2010 in Lauderhill, near Fort Lauderdale.

According to the Fort Lauderdale police, one of Mr. Thornton’s computers yielded more than 80 movies with images depicting children between the ages of 4 and 12 involved in sexual activity. The police said that Mr. Thornton also produced child pornography and that he told investigators he used his position as a tutor and football coach to gain access to children, two of whom he molested for over three years, the police said in an April 2010 press release.

In his Feb. 10 letter, and written on housing authority letterhead, Mr. Andrews wrote that he had known Mr. Thornton’s parents even before their son was born. “As vice chairman of the largest public housing authority in the United States for over 10 years,” Mr. Andrews wrote, “I have seen and worked with a lot of families and young men in various positions.”

He noted that Mr. Thornton had attended “very fine schools” and was exposed to a “wholesome life,” and he asked the judge to be lenient in his sentencing.

Mr. Thornton pleaded guilty and was sentenced on March 4 to 14 years in prison.

Mr. Andrews’s resignation was reported Tuesday morning by The Wall Street Journal (paid subscription required). Mr. Andrews, a native of Queens, was appointed to the authority’s board by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani in 1998, after previously heading the city’s business services and tax departments. His position at the housing authority paid him roughly $180,000 a year. A replacement was not immediately named.

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Hanging On for Dear Life, Outside a Police Station House

It was perhaps one of the more unlikely locales for such a scene of chaos.

Just outside the Midtown North Police Precinct station early Sunday, a taxi driver injured three passengers after they had gone into the station house to resolve a dispute over whether the driver had to take them to the Bronx, the police said.

On Monday, the driver, Mohammed Azam, was arraigned in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, and prosecutors offered a more vivid description of the sequence of events, describing how two of the passengers rode on the hood of the cab before being flung to the street as the driver made a sharp turn.

A prosecutor, Gregory SanGermano, said Mr. Azam had picked up four men at 51st Street and Avenue of the Americas who wanted to go to the Bronx. After a short ride, he said, the taxi driver changed his mind.

The group went to the Midtown North station house on West 54th Street, Mr. SanGermano said, where a lieutenant told Mr. Azam that he was obliged to take the men to their destination.

A few moments later, the prosecutor said, the chaotic scene unfolded.

As a passenger went to get into the back of the taxi, Mr. Azam put the taxi in reverse, knocking that man to the ground, Mr. SanGermano said. A moment later, he said, Mr. Azam drove the cab toward two other men.

“They were hit head on and were on the hood of the car,” he said, adding that Mr. Azam drove about 30 yards with the two riding precariously on the hood before a hard turn onto Eighth Avenue sent the men flying.

One of those men, Anthony Loreto, suffered multiple skull fractures, bleeding in his brain and a broken tibia, and is in an induced coma, the prosecutor said.

A lawyer representing Mr. Azam, Joshua Benjamin, said his client was a married United States citizen who was going to medical school in the Caribbean.

“He’s chasing the American dream,” Mr. Benjamin said. “He’s a hard-working young man.”

Mr. SanGermano asked that Mr. Azam be held in $250,000 bail. The judge, ShawnDya Simpson, ordered that he be held on $100,000 bond or cash.

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14 Pit Bulls Rescued From Fiery Bronx Apartment

Firefighters responding to an apartment fire in the Bronx on Monday afternoon broke into the apartment to find 14 pit bulls that had been injured by the smoke and fire.

About 3 p.m., firefighters responded to a call from neighbors, alerting them to a fire in Apartment 6J of a rental building at 2186 Grand Concourse.

The firefighters extinguished the fire and carried the dogs to safety.

“When we broke in, the dogs were fighting, so we sprayed chemical extinguisher on them to break them up,” said a firefighter who would not give his name because he was not authorized to comment.

He and other firefighters, and an official from the nonprofit group Animal Care and Control of New York City, carried all 14 pit bulls, including several palm-sized puppies, out to a rescue vehicle. Several dogs had cuts, and some seemed emaciated. Several were given oxygen masks by firefighters on the street.

Perhaps affected by the smoke, the dogs seemed limp and sleepy, and certainly not combative. They were taken to a medical center for treatment.

It was unclear if the animals’ condition warranted criminal charges. Richard Gentles, a spokesman for Animal Care and Control, said the group had not yet decided what action to take, since officials had yet to reach the owner or fully evaluate the dogs’ medical condition.

By late afternoon, firefighters said they had still not contacted the dogs’ owner. Several neighbors said they believed that he was breeding dogs to sell them.

“I called the A.S.P.C.A. and 311 and nobody did nothing,” said Humberto Portuondo, 50, a truck driver who lives underneath Apartment 6J and whose own apartment was partly flooded by water dripping through the ceiling. “I could hear them day and night, fighting and barking and running around. The smell is very strong.”

Another neighbor, Adonis Rodriguez, 18, said the dog owner treated the animals well, and got along with most neighbors.

“He was breeding them, not fighting them,” he said, standing on the sixth floor, next to the burned-out apartment.

But Rolando Arencieba, 25, a pit bull owner who lives two blocks away, disagreed.

“I saw them giving the dogs oxygen,” he said. “You could see their spines and ribs — they had no stomachs.”

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Laminate Wood Flooring – Kitchen Fitters and Installations

Carpet stains easily and wears out at the end of its life, and carpet cleaning also requires a while. When it comes to get rid of the carpet and replace it with something new, homeowners may choose for wood flooring or Tile Flooring. Wood flooring or tile flooring is timeless and versatile. Traditionally the use of wood or tiles was restricted to just one or two rooms of the house. But now the home owners have become more creative in adding value and beauty to every room of their house. Home owners are now available with so many options to put out some elegant floor cover to any room of their house.

Wood Flooring

One of the best options to replace a carpet is wood flooring. It is durable and brings into your home a feeling of warmth and comfort. Many home owners prefer to use wood flooring due to its natural beauty and value it can add to their property as well. Before you go for installing hard wood flooring to your rooms just keep in mind the room conditions and the amount of traffic they will receive. Variety of different wooden materials is available according to different conditions of different rooms such as Celebrate Cork flooring or Beautiful bamboo flooring are best for bathrooms and basements, and Livable Laminate flooring is ideal for high traffic areas of home. But before you go installing a hardwood floor make sure that the surface is appropriate for the location.

Tile Flooring

Cleaning a ceramic tile floor is much easier than any other option. Tiles are comparatively easier to handle and more suitable if they need to be fitted into an awkward space. There is an enormous variety of available, in the range of materials suitable to cover walls, floors or ceilings in any room in the house. Tiles offer a wide variety of color, texture, pattern and style and, by having the material in small pieces, it is easy to mix and match different colors and designs for some truly individual effects. There are many diverse tiles are available to the home owners Such as Mosaic, Brick/Stone, Mirror, Mineral Fiber and Cork. Every type of tiles has some unique features like Mosaic can be fitted into curved surfaces and irregular-shaped areas with ease. Stone tiles are very durable in nature and Cork provides a warm surface, helps deaden noise and provides an attractive finish.

These flooring options are very cost effective and durable too. So its time to decide that which option would be best for you because it is going to be with you, most likely for the rest of your life. You can hire an online plumbing service provider such as mbfi.co.uk. Their expert personnel will install the flooring materials according to the conditions and traffics of your rooms at easily affordable rates.

I offer Tile Flooring and Wood Flooring services to help home owners. I have five year experience in this field.

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Data Centers – Respite for Large Volume Data Storage

Thanks to the globalization of internet services, the world has become a much more convenient place to live. Today, we can find information about almost everything under the sun and beyond at the clicks of a mouse. It is undeniable that virtualization has helped us in innumerable ways, and one of them is large volume data storage and execution. Some of the biggest concerns faced by companies dealing with large volume of data are data storage, execution, and safety; this is where data centers come in to play.

What are Data centers?

With the advent of servers in the 1990s, the companies found a way of dealing with data management issues by setting up data centers; special facilities dedicated to housing storage systems with redundant or backup power supply, redundant data communications connections, environmental controls such as air conditioning, fire suppression etc, and a number of security features. The boom for data centers services came during the late 1990s with more companies going online and needing to store and manage large volume of data. Today, data centers are designed as per the guidelines of Telecommunications Industry Association.

What all they do?

Data center services offer 27×7 power backup and continual cooling of the data storage racks. They also have a team of in-house IT experts for the maintenance of the storage systems; furthermore, you can have your own IT expert to handle critical data issues. Besides offering highly secure and reliable environment for storing large volumes of data, data centers can aid your business in several other ways. Data centers can operate and manage telecommunication networks and provide data center applications right to the providers customers, they can also serve the purpose of hosting applications for third parties in order to provide services to their customers.

How to Choose?

Although all data centers sevices are designed as per the same guidelines, you still need to check for certain factors before trusting them with your companys valuable data. The foremost factor to check is the companys uptime track record; needless to mention, go for the highest. Another factor to check is the geographical safety of the companys facility. Make sure it is not located in areas prone to natural calamities. Last but not the least; always check the capability of the facilitys cooling system before closing a deal.

Vantage Data Centers is bringing an entirely new concept to bear on the IT industry a Data Centers,Secure data centers , Data center services so it gives their customers the peace of mind that their business can continue to grow with ample power.

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