Watch Out for Tupac: Jeff Bowler & Bret Saxon

Sometimes good things are worth the wait – we just have to hope that this one comes to fruition. Many New Yorkers may not know this, but Tupac wrote the script to a movie called “Live 2 Tell” before he was murdered. Co-producers are the movie are Jeff Bowler and Bret Saxon. Certainly, those who know about this hidden gem have been waiting for a long time for it to come to the big screen. As Jeff Bowler has explained when looking for the right actors, “I received over 50 e-mails from actors, aspiring rappers, Broadway actors, from across the world wanting to send their music and head shot to me because Tupac had such an influence on their lives. It’s crazy how big Pac’s legacy lives on today.” Jeff Bowler was first introduced to this scrip through video director Gobi. It was supposed to be part of a three-picture deal that the rapper signed shortly before he was murdered in 1996. Gobi and Tupac’s mom, Afeni Shakur, have held the script close to the chest since then. As Jeff Bowler said, “[Afeni Shakur] is very protective of the creative control area because she doesn’t want this great urban crime saga — with a hardened redemption — turned into a comedy or anything foolish. But creatively, we’re all right on point with each other’s thoughts on the story and we can’t wait to get going.” Bowler was amazed, when he first saw the script, but how well-written it is. As he said, “You could shoot the script as is right now and you’d have a fantastic movie. We’ll probably have to have it trimmed up a little bit, but not doctored really in any way storywise at all. Seeing Tupac’s words on paper — right from him, untouched — is pretty exciting.” The producers are honored to have this opportunity. As Bowler said, “We’re absolutely honored. I’m in my 30s, so I grew up listening to Tupac — I grew up on a farm in New England and his music transcended all the way out to there. So it’s definitely global.” Now, we just need the movie to get made. Read More

Great Ways to Save on Your Tax Bill from Anchin, Block & Anchin

6793826885_6fdd19b3c4_oThe CPAs at Anchin, Block & Anchin,  a New York-based accounting firm, have some great advice for ordinary tax payers who may be missing out on some great deductions simply because they do not realize they exist. One such deduction, says Richard Baum of Anchin, is for moving to a new home after getting a new job. All that is required is that the job took you at least 50 miles away from your old home for a person to be eligible to deduct the moving expenses. This applies even to a first job at the beginning of someone’s career.
“Moving expenses for someone’s first job are deductible,” says Anchin CPA and partner Baum.
Anchin experts also suggest that self-employed people take their health insurance premiums as an “above-the-line” deduction. Those types of deductions lower your taxable income even if you do not itemize your deductions and just take the standard deduction. In the same category is half of your self-employment tax. All taxpayers, not just the self-employed, can take long-term care insurance as a medical expense and are tax-deductible.
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As Baby Boomers Age They Make Demands on Healthcare Sector

[caption id="attachment_471" align="alignleft" width="300"]US Birth Rates US Birth Rates[/caption] Baby Boomers, that is, people born about one year after World War II until about 1964, are aging in record numbers. The oldest among them have already turned 70, while their youngest cohorts are about 18 years younger. As this population continues to age, the services they require will increase in demand. There were about 76 million boomers still alive in 2005. This group is making demands on the economy in many ways, and one of the main ways is in health care. One innovation that boomers will demand more of is a new way to treat cataracts and other vision problems, intra-ocular lenses. Alcon Laboratories developed a lens called ReSTOR which most likely will be highly desired by people who would like to improve their vision without using eyeglasses, contact lenses, or laser surgery. One other innovation which is getting some interest by boomers is something called balloon kyphoplasty. This surgical procedure is designed to alleviate pain and correct spinal fractures resulting from osteoporosis and/or cancer. Since 199 over 115,000 spinal fractures have been treated with balloon kyphoplasty.
“We’ve been impressed at how, in a relatively short time, balloon kyphoplasty has been so widely accepted by orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons," said one observer.
Baby boomers will also be choosing nursing homes and assisted living arrangements as they age. Recently Dry Harbor Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center has enlarged its team and improved its cardio-pulmonary center just in time to accommodate the expected increase in demand. Located in Middle Harbor, Queens, Dry Harbor Nursing Home has a 360-bed facility and boasts one of the largest and most comprehensive rehab teams in the borough. Just as the boomers made their impact on pop culture, politics and much else in the American cultural scene when they were younger, they are changing the field of healthcare as they age.
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Residents Want Say in Triangle Fire Memorial

[caption id="attachment_467" align="alignleft" width="229"]age of Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25 - 1911 age of Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25 - 1911[/caption] In 2013 an international competition was held to find a design with which the tragic events of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire would be memorialized. Greenwich Village residents are now upset that the winning design was picked by “a renowned panel of jurists” but without any input from residents. In 1911 146 employees, most of them young immigrant women, were killed in a ferocious fire at the factory of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. The high death toll was caused, to a great extent, because the factory’s doors were locked from the outside, leaving no proper means of escape to those inside once the blaze began. Young women were forced to jump from high stories to their deaths, rather than burn in the fire itself. The competition for the memorial received over 170 submissions from 30 countries. Joel Sosinsky, a member of the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition, the organization that spearheaded the memorial idea beginning many years ago, said:
“Frances Perkins, the first female Cabinet member under FDR, who witnessed the fire, basically said that the New Deal started at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire,” Sosinsky said. “People walk past that building every day and have no idea.”
District Leader Terri Cude, of the 66th Assembly District Part B, agrees that a memorial at the site of the tragedy is appropriate. She is just frustrated that the selection of the final design was not made in consultation with the residents of the neighborhood who will have to live with the memorial. The main worry seems to be that the 8-story-high mirrored piece could reflect light right into the windows of the homes of the residents.
“Basically we’re going to try to start a conversation in the ‘better late than never’ thought that perhaps some of the community’s concerns can be expressed to the coalition, who then maybe can modify the design,” Cude said at a recent meeting of Community Board 2’s executive leadership. Sosinsky said that the designers will have to have the last word on the ultimate design of the memorial, who are planning on attending the meeting.
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Flipped Village Apartment Largest Sale of Week

[caption id="attachment_464" align="alignright" width="244"]Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. Photo by MBisanz Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. Photo by MBisanz[/caption] In December 2013 Robert Kaliner of Ascend Builders partnered with Jeffrey Davidson of West Orange, New Jersey to purchase a vacant apartment building on Waverly Place for $10.2 million. Last week, after an additional $6.5 million was spent for major renovations, the Greek Revival, 1905 brick building, now private residence, sold for over $23 million. The residence, located at 146 Waverly, was gutted and rebuilt, with the addition of a below-ground floor.
“It was demoed and built from the ground up — the only thing left were the front and side walls,” Mr. Kaliner said, adding, “It wasn’t architecturally beautiful. It was a pretty crummy rental building.”
Their first attempt at selling the property was as a “customizable townhouse” for $22 million. Several months went by when the partners took the house off the market, realizing that no one wanted to get involved in all the dirty work of construction and renovation. The partners decided instead to create an original interior design for the 7,600-square-foot building. Utilizing the expertise of architect Wayne Turett and Kaliner’s Ascend Builders contracting business, the pair was able to create a wonderful, light-filled house with high ceilings, high-end finishes, floor to ceiling windows and brand new mechanical systems everywhere in the building.
“Our vision was to build something that was classic with a contemporary feel to it,” Mr. Kaliner said. “It’s hard when you’re building a house on spec to pick something that everyone loves. We made sure this house was built the way it should be built.”
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Man Stalks Young Girl Walking Home from Washington Square Park

[caption id="attachment_455" align="alignleft" width="321"]Washington_Square1 Washington Square Park Photo by Urban~commonswiki[/caption] A 12-year-old girl’s afternoon was distressingly disrupted when she was followed home by a stalking stranger. The girl was first confronted by the man as she was walking home at 12:30pm from Washington Square Park. In the park he walked up to her and attempted to begin a conversation. The girl left the park in tears, and walked directly to her home. As she walked into the elevator to take her to the safety of her home, the stranger managed to slip into the building and then followed her into the elevator. The man then told the girl he had just been released from prison, and asked her to hide him in her apartment. The girl fled the elevator screaming, and the man beat a path out of there. The girl’s mother called the police at once. Based on the girl’s identification of the man from the back of the police car the police were able to arrest 39-year-old Carl Catapano. He was nabbed on 10th Street and Broadway, just a few blocks away. Catapano is now held on a $15,000 bond or $5,000 cash bail. He is charged with disorderly conduct, stalking, acting in a manner injurious to a child and criminal trespass. Read More

Play Ball at Bergino Clubhouse

[caption id="attachment_444" align="alignleft" width="261"]Jackie_Robinson,_Brooklyn_Dodgers,_1954 Jackie Robinson, 1954[/caption] Are you crazy for baseball? Do you know anyone who is? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then head on over to a remarkable shop that takes the art of baseball collectibles to a whole new level. Bergino Baseball Clubhouse has everything you can imagine if you adore America’s favorite game, and a more than a few things you probably can’t imagine. Handmade Bergino baseballs are affordable at only $25 each. The Americana selection pay homage to themes such as ‘Peace,’ Jackie Robinson, and the Star Spangled Banner. City map baseballs honor Los Angeles, Boston, and Jerusalem, which as far as I know, does not even have a baseball team. Go figure. There are artworks for sale from artists such as Lou Grant and Roger Patrick. A Yankee Stadium musical snow globe is on sale. You can find coasters made of Astro Turf, baseball styled bag tags, and of course autographed books. Clubhouse gift items include a Bergino Baseball Clubhouse hat; cuff links, wallets and a money clip all made from authentic used baseballs; and even a stool made from a real base. It goes without saying this is just the “tip of the ballpark.” All your gifts are taken care of already? Bergino also sponsors events. On Wednesday, December 16, fans can come here Derek Jeter speak at 7pm. The clubhouse website also has podcasts for its fans listening pleasure. The clubhouse is located at 67 East 11th Street in Greenwich Village. Call for more information: 212-226-7150. Read More

A Glimpse at a New York Business: Marc Lasry & Avenue Capital Group

[caption id="attachment_274" align="alignleft" width="150"]Marc Lasry Marc Lasry[/caption]

It’s always fascinating to learn about companies based in New York and the activities that they are doing. Avenue Capital Group, founded in 1995 by the brother-sister team Marc Lasry and Sonia Gardner, works to achieve attractive risk-adjusted returns with their focus on the distressed debt and undervalued securities of US companies.

Their US strategy is focused in three main areas. They focus on companies in financial distress, those in bankruptcy and those that are undervalued because of discrete extraordinary events. As of the end of January, 2013, their assets under management allocated to the Avenue US strategy section were estimated to be around $5.5 billion.

As they explain on their website, “Avenue’s experienced investment professionals seek “good companies with bad balance sheets”— firms with sustainable businesses and positive cash flow but whose financial situation is distressed. The investment team conducts extensive research and analysis using Avenue’s top-down/bottom-up approach to find undervalued opportunities and typically seeks to make non-operational control investments in troubled businesses. This provides the strategy maximum trading flexibility and allows Avenue’s investment professionals to focus on pre-investment research and analysis rather than post-investment operating issues."

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An Oasis of Mindfulness Opening in the Village

[caption id="attachment_433" align="alignleft" width="300"]Take a break and meditate. Take a break and meditate.[/caption] New Yorkers have a reputation for being stressed, harried and harassed. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a place for people to go to unwind and concentrate on their larger goals in life in a quiet, supportive environment, but without having to commit to a two hour lecture? For partners Ellie Burrows and Lodro Rinzler, the answer is a resounding yes. Together they have opened New York’s first outlet for nervous New Yorkers to participate in 30 or 45 minute meditations in the middle of their stressful days. CEO Burrows says that her idea is to give people a space to “meditate and be quiet in a way that’s hard if you’re in New York City.” After meeting Rinzler when she volunteered at his non-profit organization “Institute for Compassionate Leadership” Burrows wondered if it was possible to create a place in New York where meditation can become part of a busy person’s life. Her vision was to give people the ability to access mediation in a similar way to just “dropping in to get your nails done.” Rinzler, who has written several books on meditation, created a staff of 25 expert teachers from a wide range of disciplines. The classes cover different themes such as emotions, sleep, breath, and setting specific goals for each day.
"Whatever their particular struggle might be, we'll have a class for them," Rinzler said.
MNDFL is opening in November at 10 East 8th Street and will be open seven days a week.
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Coffee Club : $25 Gets You All the Brew You Want

Here’s a new concept for your morning Java: purchase a membership in a coffee shop and have the rights to unlimited [caption id="attachment_430" align="alignright" width="300"]Valais Blackneck goat. Photo by: Nauticashades Valais Blackneck goat. Photo by: Nauticashades[/caption] quantities of coffee, tea, lattes, espressos and lemonade. This unique offer comes from Fair Folks & a Goat which opened its doors in the fall of 2012 on Houston Street in the Village. The shop also sells art, clothing, beer, wine and home design artifacts. The shop boasts about 1,000 members, but changes slightly each month. An average of seven new members joined up every day this past September. This past spring Fair Folks hosted a Chines New Year’s party, celebrating the Year of the Goat, and from then on they began having concerts by their members who are also musicians, creating the beginnings of a kind of movement. In April they opened a back-door patio lounge at their East 11th Street satellite location. Membership costs $25 per month, but non-members are welcome to order a cup of whatever they like and pay the regular price. Read More