Times Square Lights Up City’s Economy, Study Finds

Times Square may be the place hardened New Yorkers go out of their way to avoid, but its importance as a magnet for commerce as well as tourists has risen rapidly in the last few years, according to a study to be released this week.

The Times Square district directly and indirectly contributes one-tenth of all of the jobs in the city and $1 of every $9 of economic activity, says the study, which was commissioned by the Times Square Alliance, the de facto chamber of commerce for the district. That amounts to $110 billion in annual economic activity — about equal to the output of Portland, Ore. — emanating from the district, which the report defines as roughly a block on each side of Broadway between 40th Street and 53rd Street.

How could so much of the economy of the nation’s biggest city depend on an area that occupies less than 1 percent of its land?

Just look up, says Tim Tompkins, the president of the alliance. Not at the 230 electronic signs that have long been the hallmark of Times Square, but at the buildings that many of them adorn. They are not just hotels, but also giant office towers that house companies where tens of thousands of lawyers, accountants, editors and bond traders work. Those companies purchase goods and services from other businesses throughout the city and employ people who take their pay home to apartments and houses in other boroughs.

In all, about 170,000 people work in the district and most of them — 61 percent — live in northern Manhattan, another borough of the city or the suburbs. The rest live in Manhattan below 110th Street. But the money earned and spent in Times Square supports a 215,000 more jobs elsewhere in the city, according to the study, conducted by HR&A Advisors.

“What’s significant about Times Square is that it has become more diversified,” Mr. Tompkins said. “Certainly we’ve become a major commercial office district. Until I saw that we have 29 million square feet of office space, I didn’t realize just how much. Before, we were an entertainment and hotel district.”

Of course, the Times Square area has been cleaning up its act for much of the last two decades. But Mr.Tompkins said the study showed that the transformation was nearly complete. In addition, he said, it proves the value of tourism as a main component of the city’s strategy to develop its economy.

“In the same way that we were a postcard for why not to come to New York City 20 or maybe 30 years ago,’’ Mr. Tompkins said, “we are a powerful advertisement for how appealing the city is now.”

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Verizon Fined $140,000 After Electrocution Death

Updated, 5:03 p.m. | Verizon was fined more than $140,000 — the maximum allowed by law — for safety violations after the 2011 electrocution death of a technician in Brooklyn, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced on Monday.

The administration found that Verizon repeatedly failed to abide by safety rules in place to protect its workers, and issued 10 citations against the company. The technician, Douglas Lalima, was working on overhead cables from inside a bucket truck in Brownsville last September when he was electrocuted. Witnesses watched in horror as his body caught fire.

Verizon repeatedly failed to provide Mr. Lalima and other technicians with life-saving equipment, the investigation found, and did not ensure that protective helmets and gloves were used during dangerous work operations. The administration also determined that Verizon did not provide adequate training to technicians who worked near high voltage lines, and that the company failed to list Mr. Lalima’s death as a fatality in the required records.

A spokesman for Verizon, John Bonomo, said in a statement: “Verizon regrets the unfortunate incident that took the life of Mr. Lalima. However, Verizon does not believe that the incident resulted from any failure of Verizon to follow any requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act or any other safety requirement. Verizon has extensive safety practices in place that are designed to prevent incidents like this one from occurring, and which are thoroughly and continually reviewed with employees.”

Many of the violations are repeat offenses for the company, whose safety record is among the issues that led 45,000 Verizon workers to strike last August.

“Verizon’s culture of indifference puts profits over workers’ safety,” said Chris Shelton, vice president of the Communications Workers of America District 1. “There is no way to sugarcoat this: if Douglas Lalima had the proper equipment and training, he would still be alive today.”

Verizon has 15 days to pay the fines and also must rectify the violations, or otherwise appeal the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s findings. It said it intends to appeal.

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A Word From Our Sponsor On Introducing Your Clients To MexiPass International Services

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Morning Buzz, March 19: Saying Goodbye to Pay Phones

Good morning. It will be another beautiful day in New York City, with highs in the low 70s. 

Here’s what we’re reading this morning, starting with The Times’s N.Y./Region section:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s fading ties to his hometown.

feud between a federal judge and New Jersey’s top federal prosecutor over a murder trial and a drug case.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s new bird call system, which releases predatory sounds to keep pigeons away from the Roosevelt Island subway station.

The New York Police Department’s arrest of scores of Occupy Wall Street protestors, who had gathered in the financial district Saturday night to celebrate the founding of the movement six months ago.

Franklin, a mostly vegan pot-bellied pig, who has become a minor celebrity mascot at a hardware store in Brooklyn.

A Transportation Security Administration screener at Newark Liberty International Airport was arrested in a heroin raid on March 6, while still in uniform. She is accused of helping distribute 1,400 packets of heroin, stamped “Green Lantern” and “P Dope” in green ink. [New York Post]

Wealthy and influential groups are vying to carve up, promote or kill a deal to allow for casinos in New York. [Times Union]

Touch-screen computer kiosks, equipped with outlets where users can recharge their own devices, will soon replace every antiquated pay phone in New York City. [New York Post]

A proposed rule would eliminate the requirement that all crane operators in New York City must apprentice within city limits for three years before getting their license. [Daily News]

The city comptroller, John C. Liu, awarded $6 million in contracts to manage city pension funds to a firm under investigation over claims it overbilled other states’ public-employee pension systems for millions of dollars. [New York Post]

Prosecutors say two men killed a floral designer in order to pawn his gold jewelry. According to court records, they told a store clerk they stole the jewelry from a man who had paid them for sex, and that they would return with more. [Daily News]

Excessive levels of silica, a carcinogen linked to lung disease, were found at the Second Avenue subway construction site during a safety inspection. [New York Post]

Carmine’s at the Seaport, which closed after 107 years in business when its landlord raised the rent two years ago, is still gutted and empty. [Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York]

Video footage revealed that a 14-year-old boy desperately tried to stop his two friends from throwing a shopping cart off a third-floor parking garage in October, a prank that injured a Manhattan woman, who is still recovering. [New York Post]

A continuing battle about who is responsible for $150 million in construction costs at the September 11 Memorial and Museum has cost subcontractors about $50 million, according to the head of the Subcontractors Trade Association. [Crain’s New York Business]

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Standing By the Bankers, Right or Wrong

Michael R. Bloomberg, who has waged municipal war on guns, sugary soft drinks, tobacco and cars that enter Manhattan in excessive numbers, visited the headquarters of Goldman Sachs a few days ago to let its chief executive and its employees feel the mayoral love.

The Day

Clyde Haberman offers his take on the news.

Goldman Sachs had taken it squarely on the chin from one of its London-based directors, Greg Smith, who resigned with an incendiary valedictory on the opinion page of The New York Times. It described the investment bank as a plunderer interested only in its own profits and caring not a fig about the clients, referred to by senior bankers as “muppets.” The swagger, Mr. Smith said, was all about ripping clients off and eyeballs out.

So the mayor went to Goldman Sachs to offer his sympathy, a reflexive action for someone who owes his fortune to Wall Street but also a display of solidarity with an industry that, like it or not, keeps New York afloat. Something like 40 percent of the city’s income-tax and business-tax revenue comes from the financial world.

“It’s my job to stand up and support companies that are here in this city that bring us a tax base and that employ our people,” Mr. Bloomberg said on Friday.

One can only assume, then, that if circumstances were altered, he would express his love of guns, of sugary soft drinks, of tobacco and, yes, of all those cars that enter Manhattan. It’s a logical extension of what he said.

If he were a mayor in Iowa, he would presumably stand up for corn growers and oppose attempts like New York’s to discourage people from buying beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. If he were in tobacco-growing North Carolina, he would have to denounce New York’s antismoking campaign. If he governed in Virginia, a leading weapons-trafficking state, he would object to New York’s demonizing of guns. In Michigan, of course, he would be a champion of cars and more cars everywhere, including in the overcrowded heart of Manhattan.

In each instance, Mr. Bloomberg could use the same words: “It’s my job to stand up and support companies that are here in this city that bring us a tax base and that employ our people.”

My tax base, right or wrong, has been the mayor’s policy throughout these years of financial distress, never mind that Wall Street’s excesses deserve a fair measure of blame. He has bridled at efforts to put the money men on a tighter leash, and insisted that Congress, not the banks, created disasters like the mortgage crisis.

Not that he is alone in this regard. Two years ago, then-Gov. David A. Paterson similarly took up a leave-the-bankers-alone chant. “What we have to understand,” Mr. Paterson said, “is that Wall Street is to our state what grapes are to California, what automobiles are to Michigan and what oil is to Texas.”

What does that mean? If wine is found to be tainted, if cars have defective brakes, if an oil company fouls the Gulf of Mexico, we should applaud politicians in California, Michigan and Texas who keep lips zipped?

For his part, Mr. Bloomberg embraced an editorial that appeared on Bloomberg View, the opinion arm of Bloomberg L.P. He had nothing to do with the editorial, the mayor said on his weekly radio show on Friday, but “the guy who wrote it had it exactly right.”

In a snarky tone, the editorial took Mr. Smith to task for acting as if his investment bank were “something like the Make-A-Wish Foundation.”

“Yes, Mr. Smith,” the headline said, “Goldman Sachs Is All About Making Money.”

But it misrepresented the essence of Mr. Smith’s Op-Ed article. His broadside was not against making money but, rather, what he described as an all-encompassing climate of overweening greed. The distinction is important.

By the way, that business about “muppets”? It’s supposed to mean that clients are numbskulls. But we confess to being fond of Muppets, especially Kermit the Frog. Shouldn’t people who are interested in money for its own sake feel the same? Surely, they appreciate that it’s not easy being, or making, green.

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A Word From Our Sponsor On How To Be Investing In Auto Detailing Insurance

If you own an auto detailing service, you already know that you have a lot of different things to keep in order. Obviously, one of the most important aspects of owning any business is to protect the long term security of its operations, and investing in auto detailing insurance can help you do just that. There are many benefits that you can get out of having insurance coverage for your auto detailing service; let’s look at a couple of them.
The first way that insurance can help your shop is that it will help you feel comfort. Many companies don’t have the coverage that they would need to keep their business running after a worst case scenario, and having insurance can help protect your business in just such a situation. Instead of losing sleep over what you’d do should your business sustain any kind of damage due to circumstances beyond your control, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll have the help that you need.
The second, and more obvious, way that auto detailing insurance can help you derives from the coverage itself. If you do encounter a situation like the one described above, you can have the coverage that you need to get your business back to where you want it to be.
There are many other things that insurance coverage can bring your business. The bottom line is that you’ll be in a much better place with it than you would be without.