Should You Have Inland Marine Insurance?

The importance of having the right insurance policy is one thing that the majority of business owners understand well enough. Investing in the right protection for an investment as large as your company can be beneficial in helping you gain a good standing in the professional community, not to mention the benefits that having extra security can bring should you encounter a problem. But if you rely on shipping services to help make your business run smoothly have you considered the specific benefits of investing in inland marine insurance?
If you are unsure of what this type of insurance covers, you’re not alone. While it may not be the most commonly discussed term, this coverage is made, specifically, to serve the needs of those businesses that utilize shipping methods that go across the water as well as a number of fixed locations. Depending on the individual needs of your company, your inland marine insurance policy may include coverage for a distribution warehouse, data protection, or a number of other available options.
If there is even the slightest chance that this type of insurance coverage is right for your business, it may be well worth the effort to find out what an inland marine insurance policy could offer you. There’s a pretty good chance that you could be pleasantly surprised to learn about coverage options that apply to your company, and competitive affordability doesn’t hurt either. Click here to learn more.

Efficiencies Wanted; Emphasis on Efficient

For all those New Yorkers who gripe about their cramped living quarters — and there are many — the real estate news announced by the city on Monday should be worthy of note.

Compared with what the city has in mind, such whiners may feel thankful for what they have.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced a city-sponsored competition to design an apartment building filled with “micro-units,’’ apartments with 275 to 300 square feet of living space. They would come with a kitchen and a bathroom, but no closet.

City officials said they hoped the building would become a prototype for a new model of petite, but affordable, housing.

“Young people from around the country or around the world — those are our future, and they don’t have a lot of money,” Mr. Bloomberg said at a news conference, standing in front of a life-size mock-up of a shoebox-shaped studio complete with a paper pullout bed, toilet, bowl of fruit and umbrella stand. “You have to change the rules along with the requirements.”

There are about 1.8 million one- and two-person households in the city, yet there are only one million studios and one-bedroom apartments, according to the mayor’s office. The mismatch reflects how housing has failed to keep up with a shift in the city’s demographics over the past few decades.

Mr. Bloomberg himself spent his first 10 years in New York in a studio that he estimated at 600 square feet, which he rented for $120 to $140 a month. (He now resides in a 7,500-square-foot Beaux-Arts town house on East 79th Street.)

The city will waive zoning regulations for the project, allowing the units to dip below the current minimum size of 450 square feet. The design submissions will be judged by their plans for common spaces in the building and how well they bring air and light into the units, among other criteria. Submissions are due by Sept. 14.

Some New Yorkers, already squeezed into teeny spaces, might find it hard to believe that homes can be shrunk even further.

But interest in making small homes livable, even beautiful, has grown as more people find that tiny is often the only affordable option, said Mimi Zeiger, who has written two books about small living spaces and who recently left a 400-square-foot studio in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

The influx of young workers into cities like New York over recent decades parallels a similar flood in the 1920s and 1930s, when cheap bachelor’s apartments and single-room-occupancy buildings became popular, Ms. Zeiger said.

But she said some choose small homes out of a desire to live more simply and efficiently, rather than just out of necessity.

Scott McCulley, who has lived in a 338-square-foot studio on East 69th Street since 2003, insists that everything from decorating to entertaining is best done in a small space, which he said fosters intimacy.

His dining table doubles as a desk and his platform bed provides storage. He has forced himself to pare down his possessions. He rarely buys food in bulk, and he sometimes uses his stove for extra storage.

“It’s not the amount of space you have, it’s how functional it is,” Mr. McCulley said.

Architects at Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture in Brooklyn, who have worked on several studio renovations, said they emphasized multifunctional spaces and furniture that can adapt to different needs. For an East Village studio that was featured in apartment-design blogs, the firm built a loft with a bed and a walk-in closet, with extra storage space inside wooden stair risers.

The firm often receives calls from people hoping to redo their tiny studios, said Darrick Borowski, the firm’s creative director.

“I know they’re out there, I know they’re struggling with this,” Mr. Borowski said. “But there’s a higher awareness now that you don’t have to suffer through it. You don’t have to move to the suburbs.”

For the record, Mr. Borowski occupies a 750-square-foot apartment — with his two children.

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My Brushes With Ernest Borgnine

My list of phone contacts reads like many a New York City reporter’s, with the representatives of various agencies dutifully noted. But I have proudly held, for years, a shining jewel under the letter B, tucked between Borakove, Ellen, from the Chief Medical Examiner, and Boyle, Jimmy, a retired president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

Borgnine, Ernest.

We never met in person, but we spoke at length on the telephone a couple of times. Raucous, jovial interviews about, first, a target at police firing ranges and, second, a Tex-Mex bar and restaurant in Manhattan that maintained a shrine to Mr. Borgnine.

“How the hell are ya?” he asked the first time I called, in 2005. In the newsroom we had been looking at the paper target used at the police firing range, a very specific rendering of a big, tough guy, and wondered whom it was based on. Turned out there were several theories, and one of those theories was Mr. Borgnine, to whom it bore a resemblance.

Mr. Borgnine said he had heard that theory many times. “If it has afforded many good policemen with something to shoot at, what the hell, why not?”

That bit of business completed, I told him how great I thought he was as the confused widower in Sean Penn’s short film about Sept. 11, 2001, a few years earlier. “I’ll tell you how it all came about, Mike, if you got a minute,” he said. He had sent Mr. Penn some fan mail, and he believed Mr. Penn, casting his own film, looked down, saw the letter and called Mr. Borgnine.

He told of meeting Mr. Penn: “I gave him my Oscar to hold. I said, ‘You’re going to get one of these, kid.’” (His prediction came true two years later, with the Best Actor award for “Mystic River.”)

That Oscar statue, of course, was for “Marty,” the story of his character, a Bronx butcher, one of his lifetime of brushes with New York City. He did not live in the city for long, following his Broadway debut in the late 1940s, but he helped rescue a fictional president from kidnappers there, as the driver whose character is simply called “Cabbie” in “Escape From New York.”

He shared a city memory from early in his career, when he was feeling down over his lack of work: “Walking up 10th Avenue. ‘Dummy, why did you get into this business?’ The only guy working was Charlton Heston. And suddenly, I smell chestnuts. It reminded me of my mother. The whole house would be permeated with that wonderful smell.” It was a vendor’s cart. “I saw a sign on that cart that became my philosophy of life.”

Years later, he recalled the sign and tried to make it a title of his autobiography: “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire, I Just Want to Keep My Nuts Warm.” When that idea did not go over with the publisher, it was changed to, “Ernie: The Autobiography.”

I called Mr. Borgnine again in 2009, with the approach of the 17th Annual Ernest Borgnine Night at Tortilla Flats in the West Village. The bar mystified and amused the man.

“They’re great people over there,” he said. “I felt honored as hell.” The night included an Ernest Borgnine look-alike contest. “Three women have won so far that I know of,” he said. “I’m no Brad Pitt, but I really feel honored that a woman would try to act like me.”

Once, to repay the bar’s kindness, Mr. Borgnine had an idea. He was filming a movie called “Captiva Island,” in the 1990s. He found a Tortilla Flats shirt. “I said to the wardrobe lady, ‘I’m going to wear this shirt,’” he said. “She said, ‘Oh, that’s fine.’”

An owner of the bar, Andy Secular, remembered the scene in the movie. “It blew me away,” Mr. Secular said. “In Tortilla-Ernie lore, that’s epic.” On Monday, Mr. Secular was busy putting memorial candles around the Borgnine Booth.

To Mr. Borgnine, plugging the bar from time to time was no big deal. “I love to do it,” he said. “Why not? What the hell. They helped me.”

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