Playing the Odds to Land a Job

At the Resorts World Casino New York City, which is set to open in late summer, what are the odds of getting hired for a permanent position?

So far, no better than 1 in 8.

In a flagging economy, competition for jobs at the city’s first casino is fierce: With 1,150 permanent positions available, the casino, at the Aqueduct racetrack in Queens, has received more than 10,000 applications to date, according to its president, Michael Speller. More than 70 percent have come from Queens residents, he said, focusing on fields that include marketing, security and gambling. The construction created an additional 1,300 temporary jobs, the company said.

“When you look at the recent jobs report, the creation of jobs has been very difficult,” Mr. Speller said. “But I think no matter what, there would be great enthusiasm. It’s an entertainment facility.”

The 1,150 permanent jobs represent almost a 50 percent increase from original targets of around 800. In particular, the company decided to add more positions in food and beverage service, Mr. Speller said.

Resorts World New York City will be the ninth video slot machine franchise to operate at a racetrack in New York State, but it is regarded as potentially the far most lucrative site.

While the company says the economy has played a role in the number of applications, its president says the appeal is much broader.

“This is the first casino in New York,” he said. “It’s very exciting for people.”

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New Yorkers Speaking Softly

Theodore Roosevelt — he’s the one who doesn’t have a highway in Manhattan named after him — seems to be enjoying a resurgent popularity among the city’s political and chattering classes.

The Day

Clyde Haberman offers his take on the news.

T.R. re-entered the collective consciousness on Monday when Bob Turner, a Republican, officially kick-started his campaign to fill the vacancy in New York’s Ninth Congressional District. You probably know it better as Anthony D. Weiner’s former House seat.

Mr. Turner will run against the Democrats’ choice, Assemblyman David I. Weprin. Party leaders, not voters, picked both of these candidates to run in a special election that the governor set for Sept. 13. Sic transit the new era of political openness we’d been hearing so much about.

Mr. Turner got rolling on Monday at Station Square in Forest Hills, Queens. His campaign pointed out that on the same spot, during World War I and well past his presidency, Roosevelt delivered a line that would be quoted across the decades. “There can be no 50-50 Americanism in this country,” he said. “There is room here for only 100 percent Americanism, only for those who are Americans and nothing else.”

Hmm, was the Turner camp sending some sort of signal by choosing that location, perhaps about immigration policy?

“No, no deeper message there,” said Robert Hornak, a campaign spokesman. “It was a famous site in the district, connected to a famous Republican president. It’s nothing more than that.”

Indeed, Roosevelt spoke highly of immigrants who became naturalized citizens. His objection was to what in other speeches he labeled “hyphenated Americanism.” This is a phenomenon that many now celebrate. To Roosevelt, it was anathema. In a 1915 speech he said it risked turning the country into “a tangle of squabbling nationalities.”

Eliot Spitzer also had Roosevelt on his mind a few nights ago when CNN canceled his talk show, “In the Arena.” Mr. Spitzer, like Roosevelt a one-time New York governor, is a twofer for our purposes, belonging to both the political and the chattering classes. In signing off, he read from a 1910 Roosevelt speech that inspired his show’s title.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better,” Mr. Spitzer read. “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly.” He concluded the quotation: “His place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

This may be of little comfort to Mr. Spitzer, but Richard M. Nixon liked that speech, too. Nixon quoted from it when he resigned as president in 1974, and he reprised it at a reunion of his White House aides eight years later.

In fact, T.R. has inspired politicians from both major parties, New York governors most definitely included. Mr. Spitzer quoted him regularly even before his political demise. George E. Pataki considered him a political hero.

Mario M. Cuomo said he saw his office as a “bully pulpit,” a phrase borrowed from Roosevelt, who coined it.

Roosevelt’s speeches and writings can sustain a wide range of political thought, from right to left. “If an American is to amount to anything, he must rely upon himself and not upon the state,” he said in 1897. Conservatives would applaud. But hang on. He also said, in 1912, “This country will not be a permanently good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a reasonably good place for all of us to live in.” Liberals might find comfort in that.

Probably Roosevelt’s most famous line was one that he said came from a West African proverb: “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”

That idea doesn’t carry much weight in New York, though. Here, the accepted rule in politics is to speak loudly and carry a big shtick.

For more local news from The Times, including potential tax trouble for an altruistic Yankees fan, a four-alarm fire at an Upper East Side synagogue and City Hall’s reticence about a car ban in Central Park, see the N.Y./Region section.

Here’s what City Room is reading in other papers and blogs this morning.

Thirteen people were shot, one fatally, in Newark on Monday night. [New York Post]

An art student fell off the roof of a five-story building, and lived. [Daily News]

Two police officers taunted by a teenager who had just been released with a summons have been charged with beating him outside their station house. [Daily News] (Also see New York Post and

A loophole in safety codes that excludes government buildings is being scrutinized since the acquittals in the Deutsche Bank fire. [DNA Info]

Rudolph W. Giuliani’s camp says he will decide very soon whether he will run for president. [Daily News]

An African burial ground has been uncovered at a Kew Gardens cemetery. [Queens Chronicle]

Acrobats gave a daring and illegal performance on the Williamsburg Bridge. [Animal New York]

Two sisters sue a cemetery after learning their mother was buried in the wrong grave 20 years ago. [Daily News]

A mob hit went awry in the Bronx. [New York Post]

At J.F.K. Airport, the area had its second local stun gun flapin less than a week. [New York Post]

F.A.O. Schwarz is sticking around. [New York Post]

The Empire Hotel may be close to a deal with its neighbors over noise. [Real Deal]

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Ex-PTA Treasurer Ordered to Pay Back About $82,000

As Providence Hogan, the former PTA treasurer charged with embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from the PTA coffers, appeared in Brooklyn Supreme Court on Monday, she was joined by some familiar faces: More than a dozen parents from the school, Public School 29 in Cobble Hill, sat in the courtroom, in a show of solidarity with prosecutors.

Ms. Hogan, 44, who owns the Providence Day Spa, on Atlantic Avenue, and whose daughter still attends P.S. 29, was arrested in March and charged with stealing about $82,000 from May 2008 until September 2010, while serving as PTA treasurer.

The Brooklyn district attorney’s office offered Ms. Hogan a plea deal in May that included restitution of the stolen money in exchange for probation. But Ms. Hogan has been unable to come up with the money, and Monday’s court appearance was a pretrial hearing to work out the details of how she will make the payments and when.

Under the plea agreement, Ms. Hogan would have to pay half of what she owes — $41,000 — and then the remaining portion within the next nine months. If she could not pay the full amount within nine months of accepting the plea agreement, she could be sentenced to two to six years in prison.

At the hearing, Judge Suzanne Mondo reiterated that Ms. Hogan needed to pay full restitution, with interest.

Ms. Hogan’s lawyer, Stephen Flamhaft, said he and his client considered the deal fair, but needed more time to raise the money. He submitted documents to Judge Mondo asking for what he called “understanding.”

In a telephone interview, he said the documents detailed Ms. Hogan’s “background, her fragile state of mind, fragile physical state at the time, and how she has now stabilized.”

“Hopefully we can make compensation for the money that’s due,” he said. “We’re not suggesting that we don’t have the obligation, we accept our responsibility.”

The next pretrial hearing is scheduled for Aug. 11.

In an e-mail Sunday morning, Jane Heaphy, the PTA co-president, encouraged parents to attend the hearing Monday, to ensure the case not be “swept under the carpet.”

“It is felt that the amount stolen is too great, the loss of potential educational support too deep, and the breach of trust too damaging to not see the criminal proceedings through to a fitting resolution,” she wrote.

“There is also grave concern that if there is a guilty plea but no restitution required nor prison sentence, it would send the wrong message to anyone considering such a crime,” she continued. “And it would send a disturbing message to the community at large, including young people, who would see no punishment nor making right of a serious wrong.”

The parents came to court on Monday with their own legal representation, even though they are not the official plaintiffs. They had pro bono legal counsel from Goodwin Procter because one parent, David Pitofsky, is a partner at the firm, said Maryana Zubok, a colleague who attended the hearing.

Neil Wehrle, a PTA executive board member who attended the hearing, said he was heartened by the judge’s insistence that Ms. Hogan repay what she stole.

“The PTA was very pleased that clearly the judge is taking this seriously and is not going to let the defendant off,” he said.

Several parents who attended the hearing praised the P.S. 29 teachers, saying they had tried to protect Ms. Hogan’s daughter from the taunts of other children.

Stephanie Manske, 42, said the teachers’ actions had been a lesson on “how we treat other people.” There may have been another lesson too, she suggested: “You can’t help yourself when you have access to money.”

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A Walk on the Lonely Side

“It’s a nice little slog to get up there,” Richard Melnick said. “Just like why people climb mountains.”

With that, he went up the concrete stairs, leading the way to something most New Yorkers think of as a horizontal landmark, not a vertical one: the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. Of course, that was not the name on his lips — aficionados like Mr. Melnick still call it the Triborough Bridge. More about that later.

Yes, you can walk the R.F.K., one of the legacies of Robert Moses, who gave New York a labyrinth of bridges and parkways. Monday was the 75th anniversary of the day the first car paid the first toll, collected after a ceremony that was attended by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and a motorcade that featured 14 cars and 35 police motorcycles.

Some accounts said that the first ordinary person who actually made it to the tollbooths was a boy on a bicycle. Nowadays, signs are posted saying bike riders are prohibited, and advising: “Walk bicycles across bridge.”

A handful of cyclists passed as Mr. Melnick made his way across. All were pedaling, or braking, hard. The Queens stretch of the bridge that he covered on foot includes a quarter-mile or so that he said was “one of the toughest inclines anywhere.”

Mr. Melnick is, among other things, a licensed tour guide. He is also on the board of the Greater Astoria Historical Society and he was trailed by organization’s executive director, Robert S. Singleton (“ ‘Bob’ on this side of the East River,” he said). Mr. Singleton was busy over the weekend helping to open a photography exhibit at the society’s Quinn Gallery on Broadway in Long Island City — he said he had walked the Triborough only once before, in the 1980s.

Mr. Melnick said he had walked the bridge “maybe 50 or 60 times, and I’m still enthralled by it; the view is that great.”

Others have been similarly mesmerized over the years — the architect Lewis Mumford said the bridge had “one of the most dazzling urban views in the world.” But somehow the Triborough never acquired a personality. New Yorkers are charmed by the Brooklyn Bridge or intrigued by the Verrazano-Narrows. But for generations, the Triborough has been little more than the first leg in a getaway, to the airport or to Long Island.

“I had friends come in from Wisconsin,” Mr. Melnick said. “They wanted to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. I said, ‘That’s too touristy.’ ”

Walking across the R.F.K. is not as easy as walking across those other bridges. “It just doesn’t lend itself to walking,” Mr. Singleton said. Walking from Queens to, say, Manhattan means leaving one bridge where the walkway ends on Wards Island and finding the way to another walkway — and another span — leading to Manhattan.

Mr. Melnick said that means the R.F.K. is less than popular with walkers and pedal-pushers. “I ride my bicycle to and from work — I’m a night doorman in the city,” he said. “I passed 88 people on the Queensboro Bridge” one morning last week. “Friday morning, I went from Manhattan to Randalls Island. Then I took the main span to Astoria. I saw one person the whole time.”

The walkway puts pedestrians close to traffic and, Mr. Melnick said, danger. There is a shoulder-high barrier, a concrete wall. “Once, when I was a better runner, I was up here and I heard ‘tink, tink, tink,’ ” he said. “There was a bouncing hubcap rolling along the wall to my left. It was going 60 miles an hour.”

Monday’s walk took a little less than two hours. Forty-seven minutes into it, somewhere between the two giant towers of the suspension span from Queens, the matter of the name came up. In 2008, Gov. David A. Paterson renamed what had been the Triborough Bridge in honor of Robert F. Kennedy, who was a United States Senator from New York from 1965 until his assassination in 1968.

Mr. Melnick was diplomatic. “We’re not all in agreement with the renaming,” he said.

Then he described a brush with greatness. It happened a few months after the Triborough became the R.F.K., when he went to a Jets-49ers game on the West Coast.

In the airport in California, he saw Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and introduced himself.

“I did not have the guts to object,” he said. “I chickened out. He could have yelled out ‘Security,’ and I’m tackled in an airport and my personal friends would have seen me arrested.”

“But I do have it on my personal list: I shook his hand.”

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