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A Brooklyn Cyclone?

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To recap: Every subway line was at some point today affected by the rain, and at midday the majority of lines were still in bad shape, according to Sewell Chan at the Times' City Room blog. Buses were packed, commuters were pissed, and, in a delightful little detail, the MTA's press office was hugely understaffed because all but one of its employees were stuck trying to get to work. There were major delays at all three airports. Four thousand Con Ed customers lost power. A woman was killed in what the Times is calling a "storm-related car accident" on Staten Island. And, perhaps most fascinating, there may have been a tornado in Bay Ridge. No fun. (But amazing photos.) Flooding Cripples Subway System [City Room/NYT]

Further Adventures in Decrepit Infrastructure: MTA-in-the-Rain Edition

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As you may have noticed, it is raining today. Rather heavily, even. And so, naturally, as Daily Intel's Bushwick-residing photo editor sends a text message to report, the B, D, F, V, 4, 5, and 6 trains aren't running. The MTA Website also reports major problems on the 1, 2, 3, A, C, E, L, N, R, J, Q trains and on the 42nd Street Shuttle. (We think that leaves the 7 and the G as the only trains operating properly.) Don't you just love our aging infrastructure? Service Alert [MTA]

Mayor Mike, Subway Cheat?

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So has today shaken your confidence in our Democratic-Republican-Independent mayor's personal integrity? As the Times reported, Mike Bloomberg, who famously claims to take the subway to work, first uses "a pair of king-size Chevrolet Suburbans" to get to the 59th and Lex stop and boards the train from there. "This means Mr. Bloomberg … spends a quarter of his ostensibly subterranean commute in an S.U.V.," Michael Grynbaum writes. Sometimes the Chevys are even found idling in front of his Upper East Side townhouse! Can't you just taste the environmental hypocrisy? (Actually, you can't: The mayor's Suburbans run on ethanol, a fact the reporter grudgingly mentions in the story's twentieth paragraph.) So how did the Times obtain this damning data? In a monthlong sting operation, as it turns out.

Disneyfied Subway Station Objectionable, Adorable

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So there's this cockamamy idea that the MTA could raise money by selling Disney the rights the advertise however the company sees fit in the Times Square station. "I would rather try to sell 42nd Street's subway system underground to Disney for $60 million a year and have them paint it any way that they want to paint it," board member Norman Seabrook suggested. We noticed this in the morning, and because we're sort of opposed to the proliferation of advertising into every corner of life, and because we think there's something untoward about selling public facilities to corporate sponsors, and just because we're crotchety and don't like change, we were against it. But then we saw the cute little logo Gothamist came up with for the combination — it's a Mouseketeers hat! On the MTA logo! Ha! — and we should say we're now sort of smitten. Mickey Mouse for MTA? [Gothamist]

Hallelujah! More Subway Trains Are Coming!

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The MTA plans to add more service on the 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, and L trains as soon as next year, the agency announced at a packed board meeting this morning. The Broadway and Lexington Avenue lines will get more evening service, the 7 more weekend service, and the L more trains at all times, plus two high-speed bus routes. The usual warnings of budget shortfalls and potential fare hikes were issued, and MTA executive director Lee Sander said the agency will have to crunch some numbers before it can determine exactly how many trains will be added.

An Underground Railroad

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Did you know there's a 150-year-old, defunct subway tunnel under Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn? It runs from Boerum Place to Hicks Street, was built in seven months around the time of the Civil War, and was lost until 1981, when a dude named Bob Diamond found it. He gives tours of the thing, and the blogger behind McBrooklyn went spelunking with him yesterday. There are some more pics at McBrooklyn, plus a (frankly sort of boring) video. Neat, huh? Brooklyn Spelunking: Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tours Return [McBrooklyn]

Thrice-Married Catholic Not Considered So Religious

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• Only 13 percent of responders think Rudy Giuliani is "of strong religious faith," according to a Time poll — and that's lower than Hillary's number (15 percent). But he once wanted to close down an art exhibit for blasphemy! [NYP] • "The very character of the Northeast is at stake" if greenhouse gases aren't reduced, a new study warns. Poised to vanish: Long Island lobsters and New York apples. What will thrive: smog, pollen, and floods. And, clearly, Claritin sales. [NYT] • An L.A.-to-London flight was diverted to JFK this morning because of a "suspicious passenger." Michael Chertoff's gut told him it was a harmless misunderstanding. [WNBC] • Shelly Silver still won't agree to bring the Assembly to the table for congestion-pricing talks — even as the desperate Mayor Bloomberg says he'll fly to Albany tomorrow. By now, we're just looking forward to Monday, when this mess will be over. [NYDN] • And, starting today, the MTA adds a "Mets express" to its 7 line: a one-stop service from midtown to Shea. It's just for an hour on game days, but funny thing: If they did it year-round, Willets Point might actually be habitable. [amNY]

When the Lights Go Down in the City

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• Yesterday's power outage lasted for less than an hour, but it closed down subway lines and affected about 385,000 people on the East Side and the Bronx. Con Ed doesn't know what caused it, and the mayor, naturally, shrugged it off as a "minor inconvenience." [NYP]

Going Your Way, Slowly

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• Breaking news! After a comprehensive study, the MTA can now tell you that numbered subway lines are overcrowded, and that Lex lines often run behind schedule. (Who knew?) Apparently there's nothing officials can really do about it, as those lines are already operating at capacity.

Magical New Subway Cars Arrive on N, Q, Maybe Other Lines

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No, kids, you weren't just imagining that amazing subway ride you might have recently had on the N or Q train. ("It was like the fancy monorail in some German airport," gushed a New York editor who unexpectedly found herself on one such immaculate contraption.) Those two lines have been testing the new R160 car since last August, a New York City Transit spokesman confirmed to us, adding eight to ten a week. (The initial order was for 660; next week officials will push for another order of 620.)

Green School

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• Nine New York universities, including Columbia, CUNY, NYU, and Pratt, have signed on to cut their greenhouse-gas emissions by 30 percent by 2017. This exceeds Bloomberg's PlaNYC goals and should, the mayor says, "make a sizable dent" in the city's carbon footprint. [amNY] • A 15-year-old Connecticut girl who disappeared a year ago was found alive, apparently imprisoned in a secret room of her parents' acquaintances' house. [NYP] • Someone is destroying entire print runs, and harassing the editors, of the city's two Urdu-language weeklies that cater to Pakistani-Americans. This is perhaps an inopportune moment to say it, but how cool is it that we have two Urdu weeklies? [CPJ] • More mayhem: A "strapping" and "burly" (in the Daily News' oddly swooning description) ex-con prowled the 2 train for a week, stealing iPods and gold jewelry plus kissing and exposing himself to women. [NYDN] • And Frank Gehry is going to design a playground in Battery Park, as a "gift to the city." Aw, you shouldn't have! As opposed to Miss Brooklyn, which you really, you know, shouldn't have. [NYT]

Surrender!

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• The fourth suspect in the alleged JFK pipeline plot is in custody. At the urging of a friend, Abdel Nur, 57, walked into a police station in Diego Martin, Trinidad, and turned himself in. [NYDN] • More surrenderings! Former assemblyman Clarence Norman Jr. and former State Supreme Court justice Gerald Garson, the main characters in a protracted judgeships-for-sale investigation, were sentenced yesterday. Both men left a Brooklyn courtroom in handcuffs, although Garson eked out a stay of his sentence. [NYT] • Ready for a $3 subway fare? By 2010, warns the Straphangers Campaign, the unlimited MetroCard will likely be $112 or, if the state coughs up some extra MTA cash, $92. But that's okay, because all our salaries will rise by 50 percent, too — right? Right? [amNY] • Gay marriage: bad for the baby Jesus, great for the economy. A new study by the city comptroller suggests that legalizing same-sex marriage would result in $142 million in economic benefits for NYC. [Crain's NY] • And Carla Katz, the Jersey union leader who's also, awkwardly, Governor Corzine's ex, tells all! In a Post exclusive! To Cindy Adams! Her big revelation: "There's absolutely nothing I have on Jon." [NYP]

Broadway/Lafayette- Bleecker Combo Just the Start of F-Line Changes

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We picked up the news from 2nd Ave Sagas that the MTA is set to combine the Broadway/Lafayette and Bleecker Street stations, so you can transfer from the B/D/F/V to the 6 going both downtown and — this is the beauty part — uptown. But wait, as the disembodied voice says, there's more! This is just one part of a whole menu of subway projects for which the MTA is seeking $3.8 billion in federal funding. There's $37 million for the Broadway/Lafayette-Bleecker work, plus another $12.6 to make the combined stop ADA-compliant. There's $11 million to replace "historical arch canopies" over Fourth Avenue at the Smith-9th F stop "as per the National Register of Historic Places" — that means fixing the roof spanning the control houses at either end of the stop with original details— plus $23 million to fix lights and MetroCard collection at Smith-9th stop. There's planned work on the 6 in the Bronx, and on some stations in the Rockaways, as part of the proposal, too, but never mind that. With all this new F work, it'll be a nice ride to Park Slope. —Alec Appelbaum Notice of Public Hearing and Description of Projects [MTA, PDF] Earlier: The Subway Transfer We've All Been Waiting For

The Subway Transfer We've All Been Waiting For

Bedford-Stuyvesant: A new building on Spencer Street turns out to have some Technicolor character. [Bed-Stuy Blog] Bushwick: Doing wonders to improve the area's reputation, kids hit new trees with baseball bats. [BushwickBK] Carroll Gardens: A self-described distant relative of Frank Lloyd Wright is organizing opposition to a massive, shiny condo planned for brownstone-y Smith Street. [Gowanus Lounge] Red Hook: It appears that Willy Wonka's dream house has officially relocated here. Actually, this artifact-packed domicile has been here a while. [McBrooklyn] Soho: Plans are finally underway to renovate the Broadway-Lafayette/Bleecker Street subway station, where only the very clued-in escape paying twice to transfer from the 6 to the B/D/F. [Second Avenue Sagas] Upper East Side: Phone ads dissing the area, meant actually for the Upper West Side, were stupidly posted here, causing local dudgeon. [Radar] West Village: A large, glassy, undulating condo is coming to that big empty lot at Eighth Avenue just below 14th Street. [Curbed]

On the L Train, Survival of the Thinnest

Finally, an evolutionary explanation for the overwhelming skinniness of the Williamsburg hipster, as identified through various statistics cited in "For Less Crowding on L Train, Think 2010, Report Says" in today's Times: • Riders passing through the Bedford Street L station in 2006: 4.99 million • Riders passing through the Bedford Street L station in 1995: 2.09 million • Increase in riders passing through the Bedford Street L station in that period: 139 percent • Rank of the L train among 22 subways lines for likelihood of getting a seat at rush hour, according to the Straphangers Campaign's annual report card: 20

A Lovely Day for Busking

Subway auditions
It's audition day for Music Under New York, the MTA offshoot that sanctions musical performers throughout the subway system. Here, Fred Gillen Jr., a washboard player, and Matt Turk, a guitarist, wait their turn at Grand Central. They've got to be better than that guy who only ever plays "Redemption Song."

Sprung From Cages on Highway 9

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• New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine apologized from a wheelchair for the careless driving that led to his crash. Then he rode home from the hospital, fifteen miles over the speed limit. [NYP] • In the meantime, perennial bridesmaid Richard Codey is easing into his third acting-governor gig in six years — this time, unlike during the McGreevey denouement, without a personal staff and with an elected leader watching over him. [NYT] • Owner Hilly Kristal is having second thoughts about the CBGB-in-Vegas thing, turning down investor after investor because "the focus has to be on new acts, new interesting things." We could certainly use that thinking for, let's see, the last fifteen years of the original CB's. [MetroNY] • After losing two men in a week to freak train accidents, MTA has decided to halt all track work pending a safety review. Workers say that a lack of two-way radios may be to blame. [amNY] • And "as a thank-you to our readers," the Daily News costs 25 cents this week — starting, that is, the exact same day the Post began charging 50 cents again. The extreme-skinflint demographic is theirs! Temporarily! [NYDN]

Subway Hero's Story: More Lawsuits!

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There's a new chapter in the Subway Superman saga, and it takes what used to be a straight-ahead narrative (one good deed and a few just rewards) into a progressively sadder territory. When Robert Kolker's New York profile last left Wesley Autrey, two weeks ago, he was getting ready to sue his lawyer, Diane Kleiman; Kleiman and her partner had allegedly tricked Autrey into signing a contract giving her 50 percent of his life-story earnings. Now Kleiman is doing what lawyers often do when they're being sued: countersuing.