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Puzzling Pop-Ups All Over Town

Nov 20, 17 Puzzling Pop-Ups All Over Town

Posted by in All, Lifestyle

Adam Silver has always loved puzzles. Ten years ago, while working as an attorney in New York, Silver started a company out of his Flatiron apartment selling one very special puzzle. He and his company’s co-founder Sarah Dickenson, decided that puzzles needed a new look to really catch on as a hobby. “We started basically because I was a pretty big puzzler as a kid and there were no puzzles out in the market that we were really appealing to anyone that didn’t like . . . unicorns, rainbows and stuff like that,” he said. “We wanted something that people might want to actually put together, frame, glue, hang on their walls.” In 2011 Silver quit his job and moved to Park Slope, to sell puzzles full-time. Today the New York Puzzle Company sells specialty puzzles like his first, a picture of an MTA subway map, and vintage magazine covers, at Barnes and Noble and other independent book stores all over town. But once a year he bursts out of the bookshops and sets up temporary quarters for his puzzles. His first pop-up went up in the Union Square Holiday Market. Last year he added a second location at Bryant Park. This year puzzle fans can satisfy their hobby also at a third location in Times Square. During the holiday season, when many visitors walk around admiring the special festive atmosphere in New York City, his puzzles sell well, especially to Europeans who seem to adore his puzzles. “In a holiday market setting, it’s a lot of tourists who come through here, so they’re looking for New York-themed items that are not overly touristy [like] you can get in any sort of gift shop in Times Square,” Silver said. “Covers of the New Yorker, while having a New York theme, are maybe a little more sophisticated for the average tourist coming in.” During an average weekend during the holiday season the shop can sell about 350 puzzles, Silver said. This year sales are up...

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5Pointz Owner Libel for Destroying Graffiti Art

Nov 12, 17 5Pointz Owner Libel for Destroying Graffiti Art

Posted by in All, News

A jury found owner of the 5Pointz complex in Long Island City, Queens, guilty of destroying graffiti art when he tore down the building as part of his plans for developing the area. Three years ago, Jerry Wolkoff, a New York City real estate developer, had the 5Pointz group of buildings torn down after close to twenty years of allowing graffiti artists to decorate the buildings with colorful swirling murals. The unusual collaboration became a tourist site over the years, and helped to transform the area into a growing residential enclave. Although the site was a popular attraction, and many graffiti artists added their own works frequently, it was always understood that eventually the buildings would be torn down to make way for luxury apartments. After the demolition in 2014, 21 artists brought a law suit against Wolkoff, arguing that he had violated the Visual Artists Rights Act, a law enacted to protect public art of “recognized stature” which was created on someone else’s property. Eric Baum, lawyer for the artists, said that Wolkoff had violated the artists rights by failing to notify them 90 days in advance of the destruction. According to the complaint, Wolkoff had brought workers at night to cover the graffiti in a layer of white paint without giving notice. David Ebert, Wolkoff’s lawyer, said that the VARA law does not apply in this case, since the law was intended to protect art and not his client’s building. He added that the artists always knew that one day the buildings would be torn down. He also argued that the artists themselves had destroyed much more art than his client did, saying that over the years about 11,000 murals had been painted and destroyed at the 5Pointz complex. The trial lasted about three weeks. At the end the two lawyers agreed that the jury’s decision would be merely a recommendation to guide the judge, Frederic Block to make his decision. The jury decided in favor or the artists, but Judge Block...

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Aksia Hedge Fund is Recipient of Awards in 2017

Nov 09, 17 Aksia Hedge Fund is Recipient of Awards in 2017

Posted by in All, Business

This past year was a good year for the research and portfolio advisory firm Aksia. With over $70 billion in assets under management, Aksia serves institutional investors. The company offers research and portfolio advice to experienced pension plans, insurance companies, government-related institutions and others. Aksia’s main office is located in New York City, but it has an additional six offices in Asia, Europe and North America. The company has 125 employees and is entirely owned by its ten partners. The past year Aksia received recognition from the prestigious Institutional Investor Magazine. Valérie Bénard received the Hedge Fund Consultant of the Year Award for 2017. The award acknowledges the recipient’s unique abilities to help create successful hedge fund investment programs, give excellent, insightful advice, and explain complex hedge fund strategies in clear language to investment boards. Another Aksia advisor, Lynn O’Connell, was honored as the 2017 Hedge Fund Rising Star. This award recognizes consultants who are continually playing a more active role in the hedge fund industry; have shown that they can deliver in their field; and have been recognized as significant contributors to their firm’s success. They are respected by their peers, have shown robust and skillful entrepreneurship, and have made a great contribution to the hedge fund industry in general. In addition, at the end of 2016, Aksia was chosen by Pensions & Investments Magazine as one of the Best Places to Work in Money...

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Florida Developer Purchases Jehovah Witness Building: Converting to Luxury Senior Living

Nov 05, 17 Florida Developer Purchases Jehovah Witness Building: Converting to Luxury Senior Living

Posted by in All, Real Estate

A building in Brooklyn which was the property of Jehovah’s Witnesses was sold to a developer based in Florida, the Wall Street Journal reported. The developer, Kayne Anderson, paid $200 million for the 16-story apartment building located in Brooklyn Heights. The developer renamed the building The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights, whereas it was previously known as the Towers. The plan is to convert the 295-unit residential building to a luxury senior housing with 300 units. Kayne said they will add a swimming pool, spa, and several dining areas in the 75,000 square feet the building holds. The developer did not reveal how much rent they will charge residents, but it is speculated that a studio apartment will go for about $7,000/month and two-bedroom apartments for about $10,000. If residents need assisted care, the monthly fee could double. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have been selling off their substantial Brooklyn holdings, which was up to 36 buildings at its height. They are moving to Warwick, New York, and have almost sold all their...

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ISIS Sympathizer Gets Maximum Sentence in Brooklyn

Oct 30, 17 ISIS Sympathizer Gets Maximum Sentence in Brooklyn

Posted by in All, News

Despite pleas for sympathy and a show of regret, Uzbek national Abdurasul Juraboev was handed the maximum sentence of 15 years for plotting attacks of a terrorist nature. Juraboev pleaded guilty to following ISIS and planning overseas terrorist attacks as well as attacks on US soil in 2014. He also threatened then-President Barack Obama with death online and declared he wanted to fight for ISIS in Syria. If he couldn’t get to Syria, he said, he would do violence in New York, said federal prosecutors. Juraboev purchased a plane ticket to Turkey with the intention of traveling on to Syria, but he plans were thwarted when he was arrested along with others who were making similar plans. Lawyers for the defendant pressed the judge to sentence their client to about 5 years in prison. They argued that their client was alone in the United States, after being awarded a green card in the lottery. Without family or friends, it is no wonder Juraboev joined ISIS. Several months after he was arrested Juraboev pleaded guilty to giving material aid to a terrorist group. The 27-year-old man tearfully described his regret for supporting ISIS, saying that now he disdains extremism and now knows that ISIS “wasn’t the real Islam.” “I didn’t know my religion correctly,” Juraboev said, adding that ISIS fighters and propagandists were “doing many things wrong.” Acting Brooklyn US Attorney Bridget Rohde said that the sentence “holds Juraboev to account for his plans to join ISIS and engage in violent jihad overseas or carry out a terrorist attack in the United States if he was unable to travel to...

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Prospect Park Says No to Cars

Oct 24, 17 Prospect Park Says No to Cars

Posted by in All, News

After a successful trial period as a car-free zone from July to September, Prospect Park is about to embark on this ambitious move on a permanent basis. Mayor Bill de Blasio made the announcement on Monday: Prospect Park will no longer allow entrance to cars on the parks entire loop drive, beginning on January 2, 1918. The New York City Department of Transportation carefully monitored the traffic on the roads adjacent to the park during the trial period from July 17 until September 11 and decided that closing the park had no significant impact on traffic. “Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s backyard. I married Chirlane here. This is where my kids played little league,” said the mayor. “And I have always wanted it to be the safe, quiet refuge for Brooklyn’s families that it was intended to be. Restoring Prospect Park as a car-free oasis will improve the lives of the millions who use this park today and of generations to come.” Prospect Park is one of Brooklyn’s most visited sites, with between 8 and 10 million visitors each year. The park’s West Drive has already been car-free since 2015, while the eastern route stayed open only on weekdays. Pedestrian park-goers outnumber cars in the park by a margin of 3-1 during the morning hours, making their desire for a car-free park a convincing reason to ban cars. Joggers, bikers, dog-walkers, and others that come to the park brought 1,100 signatures requesting that the summer’s car-free status be made permanent. The neighborhood will be notified about the upcoming change using social media as well as posting signs at the entrance to Prospect...

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Bay Ridge R-Train Station Open Again for Business

Oct 16, 17 Bay Ridge R-Train Station Open Again for Business

Posted by in All, News

After a six-month closure for major improvements, the 102-year-old station in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn is serving commuters again. The station, which offers R train service, now has new digital information signage, countdown clocks, charging ports for phones and other devices, better, brighter lighting, and beautiful new artwork. MTA head Joe Lhota did the honors of cutting the ribbon to officially open the station. “The work that we’ve done here was to bring it into the 21st Century,” Lhota said. This station is just one of many on several subway lines which will be renovated under the $836 million subway rescue plan. Quality of service is also high up on the agenda of improvements. “We’re not letting one minute go to waste during nonpeak hours,” Lhota added, saying that when new train cars arrive and new signal equipment is installed, the MTA will be able to run more trains. Some commuters were disappointed that the MTA did not add an elevator as part of the station’s upgrade. Having an elevator would be a great benefit to elderly, people in wheelchairs, and others who find using stairs a burden. “If you’re completely redoing a station, keep in mind the people who need to use it, not just the cosmetic improvements,” one commuter commented. Lhota said that putting in an elevator at the Bay Ridge station was not possible. “We couldn’t do it for this site because of the logistics,” Lhota said. “If we were able to do it, we would do it.” Four other R stations will be getting elevators in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act- at 59th St, 77th St, 86th St and Bay Ridge-95th...

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Walmart Buys Brooklyn Startup for $10 Million

Oct 08, 17 Walmart Buys Brooklyn Startup for $10 Million

Posted by in All, Business

Just because Walmart does not have a store of its own anywhere in New York City does not mean New Yorkers can’t get the Walmart goods to their doors, pronto. Over the course of the past year Walmart has made five e-commerce purchases to insure its online customers that they can have same-day delivery of Walmart products. The latest purchase is of Brooklyn startup Parcel for almost $10 million. Parcel was launched in 2013 by Jesse Kaplan. Since that time, it has created an extensive database including every building it has ever delivered to. The stored information includes photos and details about service and other entrances. The company operates 24/7, and sends its customers real-time tracking updates of their orders through test messaging. Walmart, which seems to be taking aim at Amazon’s similar type of service, also purchased Jet, Bonobos, ModCloth and Moosejaw during the past...

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