Yes, the blackout yesterday sucked. But it could have been worse: You could have been trying to get home to Westchester.
*Yes, yes. This used to be headlined “Rabbit Stranded.” It was early and we were tired and we mixed up our Updike and our Cheever. Sorry.
the morning line
The Best of Times Is Now
• Mayor Bloomberg is seeking to boost his proposed property-tax cut to as much as 8.5 percent, says the Post. The goal is to roll back a bit of 2003’s infamous 18.5 percent hike, something the City Hall promised to do “in better times.” [NYP]
• Ad firm Saatchi & Saatchi got the $16 million account to overhaul the 30-year-old “I Love New York” campaign. (Spitzer says, a bit haughtily, that he won’t appear in the ads.) Let’s hope they do better than Saatchi’s recent Kurt Cobain fiasco. [Crain’s NY]
• Mistaking her for an intruder, a New Haven cop opened fire on his own daughter, who was sneaking into the house after a late date. The girl, 18, has a bullet in her thigh. [NYDN]
• Railway boozers, rejoice! The proposal to curb the oh-so-European practice of selling alcohol on Metro-North is pretty much kaput in the face of a commuter outcry. [NYT]
• That outcry, however? Could have been just drunken babbling. Almost a thousand LIRR and Metro-North passengers got so trashed on the trains last year they needed medical attention; some 287 were ticketed for booze-fueled shenanigans. [Newsday]
What Does a $91 Million Train Station Look Like?
Because there’s news today that the new Metro-North station to be built at Yankee Stadium, set to open in spring 2009, will cost $91 million, twice its initial price tag, with the city kicking in some $39 million, and because we also like showing you renderings of construction projects under way throughout our fair city, we herewith present a sketch of the new station — that bridge on the right heads east from the station, above East 153rd Street, and lets fans off behind home plate of the current stadium, which will still leave them more than a few blocks from the new stadium — provided by the MTA. For what the thing costs, we hope the real one’s at least in color. —Alec Appelbaum
Next Stop: Yanks [Metro NY]
the morning line
No Justice, No Peace, as They Say
• Several hundreds of people took over Wall Street to protest the police’s killing of Sean Bell and what they see as the NYPD’s failure to punish the guilty. They were met with almost as many police officers, some undercover; for a march that called for a “war on the NYPD,” the protest went without an incident. [amNY]
• The State Liquor Authority is cracking down on all-night New Year’s Eve parties, nixing dozens of bars’ requests to stay open late on December 31. (The permit is usually easily granted.) [NYP]
• In a similar crypto-Prohibitionist vein, the proposed alcohol ban on Metro-North and LIRR is about to deny suburban commuters one of their few remaining joys in life. Or is it? Meet Commuters Aligned for Responsible Enjoyment, or CARE, a quickly assembled opposition group. Vive la Resistance! [NYDN]
• It’s a bit unexpected after all those mayoral pronouncements about the coming population boom, but NYC’s birth rate is way down, at a 25-year low, in fact. Officials call it a quality-of-life achievement, however, since the most rapidly declining subset is teenage births. [NYS]
• And the Times tut-tuts the “phantasmagoric, Disney-esque experience” sweeping the suburbs: giant inflatable lawn figures causing an “intramural disagreement among the Christmas crazed.” [NYT]
in other news
Take the 8:15 Into the City, or Out of It
Score another defeat for John Cheever. The world immortalized in his classic short story “The Five Forty-Eight” — about an emotionally distant adman who lives in the fictional Westchester suburb of Shady Hill — has long gone the way of the three-martini lunch. But now it seems even the very idea of the Westchester commuter could be disappearing, too: For the first time in the 23-year history of Metro-North, less than half its riders are commuters from the suburbs into Manhattan, according to a report in today’s Times — 49.3 percent, to be exact, down from 65.3 percent of riders in 1984.