Hey, remember before Christmas when we told you about how FreshDirect was out of many basic products and was having trouble offering prompt delivery times? And how it might have been because of an exodus of illegal immigrant workers after a Homeland Security probe of the company? When we asked a rep for the popular grocery service about the issues, we were cryptically told to "plan ahead and to double-check available times." Now, though, FreshDirect brass are finally addressing the problem. Regular users with e-mail logins were sent a letter late yesterday telling them that this month, the company is "going to have a harder time meeting your food needs" than usual. The letter explains the labor issues and employee shortages they've been battling. Which is all well and good, but if it means we are going to have to carry an entire spiral ham on the M14 bus back from Whole Foods tomorrow, we might just have to move back to the suburbs.
• Sure, the Feds promised Bloomberg $354 million for his traffic-reduction plan (if he can get the city and state to pass it), but that dough's mainly to put up new bus depots. Of the roughly $200 mil needed to charge drivers entering Manhattan, Uncle Sam's promised only $10 million. [NYT]
When Governor Spitzer held a press conference Friday to announce the state was opening bidding for the 12-million-square-foot Hudson Yards site, he mentioned another bit of redevelopment in the works for the West Side: an imminent overhaul of the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Which promptly sent us scurrying to the Port Authority's Website, looking for details. We turned up these renderings and these optimistic stats: Apparently they're planning 55,000 square feet of spiffed-up stores, 26 new bus gates, and a bright office tower on top. Even if the building doesn't look too architecturally interesting, it's still nice to imagine a presentable depot. Just don't count on it anytime soon; feasibility studies will be ongoing till 2009. —Alec AppelbaumEarlier:You Wanna Buy a Rail Yard?
• Anyone who's ever walked by the Hell's Angels' redoubt at 77 East 3rd Street knows the place is a bit creepy. But holy crap: After an injured woman was found outside, the police had to cordon off the block and use rooftop snipers, machine guns, helicopters, and a Bearcat vehicle to storm the mini-fortress. [amNY]
• The Post whips out the trusty "Un-Fare" pun for an unpleasant little scoop: The much-covered Fulton Street Transit Center will force riders switching from, say, J to R trains to swipe their MetroCard twice. And suddenly, we couldn't care less about the shape of its dome. [NYP]
• If you're at all hip, you know that the absolute trendiest thing to do is to beat the living shit out of someone and post the footage on YouTube. All the cool kids are doing it, including four aspiring documentarians on Long Island. One thing about video, however: It makes it awfully easy to identify the perps. [WNBC]
• A Manhattan professor expresses parents' overarching sentiment on the new school-bus routes, as quoted by the Times: "It looked as if a monkey had done it." [NYT]
• And if you like self-piloting trains and automated dry cleaning, you'll love robotic parking. The first such garage opens this February in Chinatown; your car will be lowered through the floor on a moving platform and assigned a free space by a computer. One hopes without you still in it. [FoxNews]
• While bleary-eyed Democrats are gloating like Posties on circ day, let's go over the entirely unsurprising results of local races. Hillary made quick work of John Spencer (Blues Explosion! Get it?), Spitzer is your new and already boring governor, Cuomo crushed Pirro, and Alan Hevesi is back, uh, behind the wheel. [NYT, NYDN, NYP]
• The suspect is talking, and more lurid and ultimately depressing details of the Adrienne Shelly murder are emerging. Nineteen-year-old illegal immigrant Diego Pillco says he strangled the actress with a sheet after she called him a "son of a bitch," because he took the insult literally. [NYP]
• The Transit Authority is installing digital cameras on 450 city buses — and up to seven cameras per bus. We're not sure how to feel about this one, and the manufacturers are not helping much by saying things like "The bus is always recording, everywhere, all of the time." [NYDN]
• The city is mulling the Lower East Side rezoning proposal that would put the kibosh on the future skyscrapers in the neighborhood. The Department of Planning says it wants new buildings capped at 80 feet (about eight stories); activists want the bar lowered to 60. No word on color restrictions. [amNY]
• And finally, we'll just slavishly repeat the headline here: "Woman Hurt In 'Shake-It-Like-Shakira' Contest Sues NYC Bar." Because, really, what can be added to that? Only a lame joke about how hips make good witnesses (they don't lie). But we're above that. [WNBC]
The Second Avenue subway may be on the fast track, but you know what? Too late. We're over you. We've moved on. We're going to have buses — ultra-fast buses — instead.
These superbuses — revealed in a Times piece this morning — will stop only once every mile. They'll be painted a special color. They'll have their own lanes, also painted a special color. And they'll carry cameras that will capture — and rat out to the cops — all cars and trucks that block these lanes. Most awesome, the stops will have curbside turnstiles that allow people to board without lingering on the steps. In other words, pure urban Utopia.