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Tag Archives: Bronx

NYC Triathlon this Sunday- Expect Street Closures!

This Sunday, July 24th  the Annual NYC Triathlon will take place. Be aware that there will be some street closures!!!

For the full story and information on which streets to avoid see below:

Thousands of athletes will test their limits this Sunday, July 24 when they take part in the annual NYC Triathlon.

First, competitors will swim the Hudson River before biking along Manhattan’s West Side Highway and running through Central Park.

But while those athletes compete in the grueling race, motorists will be competing for space on the roads due to some street closures.

The city’s Department of Transportation has announced several street closures in the Bronx and Manhattan related to the race.

The following streets will be closed on Sunday from 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to the DOT.

Manhattan

Henry Hudson Parkway (northbound) between West 57th Street and the Henry Hudson Bridge

West 72nd Street between Riverside Drive and Central Park West

West 79th Street between Riverside Drive and the traffic circle near the West Side Highway

The Bronx

Henry Hudson Parkway (northbound) between the Henry Hudson Bridge and Mosholu Parkway

Mosholu Parkway (eastbound) between Henry Hudson Parkway and West Gun Hill Road

Fed Up Uber drivers protest the App during the Super bowl

Fed Up Uber drivers protest the App during the Super bowl in an effort to slow down business and get corporate headquarters attention on one of the busiest Sundays of the year. Tired of price cuts, no benefits for full time drivers and all around poor treatment, the driver partners led by fellow Uber driver Abdoul Diallo are in the process of creating their own e- hailing app that would better benefit employees.

Check out the full article from the New York Times below:

On Super Bowl Sunday, a few hundred Uber drivers met in the cold in a public park in Queens, plotting to disrupt the app that thousands of New Yorkers were about to use to get in place to watch the big game. Gathered angrily on rows of wooden benches were Uzbeks, Tajiks, Russians, Kenyans, Serbs and Bangladeshis, many of them waving handmade signs. Their yellow placards attacked the ride-hailing service in the innumerable languages of polyglot New York. “Shame on Uber!” one announced in Spanish. “Uber Broke Our Hearts!” said another in Tibetan. Then in English: “We Made You Billionaires!” and “We Are Not Slaves!”

“We want to show Uber that without us full-time drivers, they won’t have any cars on the road,” Abdoul Diallo shouted from atop a concrete stage. Mr. Diallo, a Guinean immigrant who has emerged as a leader of the strikes, was holding up his own sign: “No Drivers, No Uber — It’s That Simple.”

“This is the formula!” he hollered to the crowd.

It has been nearly five years since Uber arrived in New York City. With its Randian philosophy and proprietary algorithms, the company promised to reshape the driving industry, and in many ways that promise has come true. A million New Yorkers have become accustomed to making cars materialize by pulling out their smartphones — and not just in Manhattan, but also in the other boroughs, which have long been underserved by for-hire providers. In part as a result, taxi owners have seen their profits crumble, taxi lenders are slowly going under and taxi unions are scrambling to protect their members’ jobs.

More recently, however, Uber’s indomitable rise has been clouded by an insurgency from a small but vocal portion of its own drivers who say they feel neglected, even used. From spring 2014 to spring 2015, the company quadrupled its business in the city, and for nearly a year it has been signing up new customers at a rate of 30,000 a week. The drivers argue that such dynamic growth would not have been possible without them: They, after all, supply the cars that keep the network liquid. Drawn to the company by advertisements that promised decent wages, many now contend that they are victims of a corporate bait-and-switch. As Uber has obtained a solid foothold in the market (and a $60 billion valuation), the drivers are complaining that it has slashed its prices in an effort to destroy the competition and to finance its expansion on their backs.

“In the beginning, your company was great for both drivers and customers,” Mr. Diallo and his partners wrote this month in a letter to the service. “You treated drivers well and we loved you for that. Little did we know that it would be a short-lived momentary ecstasy that you used to lure us in in great numbers, just so that you can execute your plans and strategies toward world domination.”

Uber, mostly through the voice of Josh Mohrer, the 33-year-old general manager of Uber New York, has said it is pained by the grievances of the drivers, who, while not employees of the service, are known as “driver-partners” in the company’s jargon. Like most tech operations, Uber has a data set for everything, and Mr. Mohrer said his numbers proved that January’s price cut, like a steeper one two years ago, increased the demand for rides and therefore led to larger driver paychecks.

“It’s not intuitive to think that lower fares will mean more money, but that is the reality,” Mr. Mohrer said. He added that he understood why the drivers might be anxious. “It’s a big ask to say, ‘Just trust us.’”

And yet there are underlying reasons for the drivers not to trust him. Uber, like other players in the gig economy, has a tenuous relationship with those who make a living from its software. Its drivers — 34,000 in New York — are independent contractors who buy their own cars, pay for gas and maintenance, and provide their own insurance. Although they get no benefits, they remit to Uber 20 to 25 percent of what they make as a fee to use the service. And unlike its competitors like Lyft, Uber does not permit tipping through its app, but it still reserves the right to “deactivate” its drivers, sometimes for little more than a subpar rider rating.

Two years ago, Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, said in an interview about the company’s plan to field a fleet of driverless vehicles that a reason the service was relatively expensive was that customers were paying for “the other dude in the car.” As the company’s ridership explodes and the investor class anticipates a potential public offering, the drivers say they often feel like just some other dude: a frictional human substance that gets in the way of an idealized experience of seamless digital travel.

“Uber treats its drivers however it wants,” Mr. Diallo said. “But we’re the ones who do everything except provide the technology.”

A former import-export trader who studied for a business degree, Mr. Diallo, 29, has been driving for the company for three years in a $50,000 Chevrolet Suburban. At first, he said, the job was great: He could afford his lease and still make money because he was taking in as much as $5,000 a week.

But in 2014, Uber cut its rates by 20 percent and not long after that it increased its commissions. Last year, it forced new drivers working for its luxury arm, Uber Black, to pick up passengers through its less expensive option, UberX. On top of this, Mr. Diallo claimed that Uber’s aggressive hiring has flooded the city with too many drivers chasing too few fares.

The price cuts last month were the final straw that set off the rebellion. Most of the drivers learned about the change through a company email, whose lack of warning and remoteness were softened by the fact that Uber promised, for a month, to guarantee an hourly wage at pre-cut levels. Within days of the announcement — and despite the guarantees — Mr. Diallo and two other drivers, Fabio Krasniqi and Farrukh Khamdamov, decided on a strike. Calling themselves the Uber Drivers Network, they created a Facebook page, designed a flier and paid for nearly 20,000 copies at a print shop near La Guardia.

“People can’t make a living,” Mr. Diallo said on the phone after a meeting to coordinate the New York actions with others in London and San Francisco. “They’re picking up $8 fares. They’re driving their cars into the ground. Collectively, there’s a lot of money coming in, but no one individual is making much.

“It’s gotten to the point,” he said, “where it’s literally unbearable.”

Uber likes to say that its drivers, not its riders, are its customers. And while the company might not give its customers health care or a pension, it does provide them access to high-tech support centers, modeled on Apple’s Genius Bars, where they can ask questions about commercial licenses, receive free medical exams or get a can of soda. Uber also helps its drivers negotiate leases with car dealers.

The conflict over the price cuts has been especially vexing for the company, which is adamant that the lower rates have been a boon to both the drivers and its own bottom line. Shortly after the strikers wrote to Uber, Mr. Kalanick posted a memo onto his Facebook page showing that the previous cuts had increased the average driver’s gross hourly wages from $28 to $37. On Tuesday, Mr. Mohrer released numbers indicating that from the three weeks before the last round of cuts to the three weeks after, drivers’ wages went up by 17 percent.

Uber also disputes the claim that there are too many drivers in New York. There are still more taxi riders that the company could woo, and, according to Mr. Mohrer, after the recent cuts were made, trips in the Bronx and Queens, where many drivers live, went up by nearly 25 percent.

But if all this data has the weight of scripture for Uber executives, it has been less persuasive to the drivers, who say the statistics do not fully describe the experience of working for the company. Though lower prices might increase their workload and thus their gross, they say, the increased revenue will be eroded by a corresponding increase in expenses.

At the Super Bowl rally, a driver named Mustafa, who declined to give his last name because he feared reprisals from Uber, said he expected to make about $40 an hour after the cuts. But that was before he paid for higher costs of maintenance, gas and washes; for his car lease, insurance and sales and income taxes; for emissions inspections and the 2.5 percent of earnings he gives each year to the Black Car Fund, a drivers’ trade group, for workers’ compensation; and, of course, for his commissions.

“When you put it together, the numbers don’t add up,” Mustafa said. “I’m taking home less than minimum wage.”
And beyond money, culture matters, too, the drivers say. Some mentioned a photograph that Mr. Mohrer posted on Twitter during his early days at Uber, which showed him smiling with Mr. Kalanick above a message that read, “Jamming with @travisk and plotting city domination.” Others pointed to their own support of Uber this summer when the company went to war with Mayor Bill de Blasio, who wanted to cap its growth, ostensibly to lessen road congestion. During the fight, which it won when Mr. de Blasio dropped his plan for the cap, Uber mobilized millions of dollars and an all-star team of political tacticians, but it also made use of the sympathetic image of hard-working immigrants telling City Hall that Uber put food on the table for their families.

“We stood behind them,” said Ronnie Paulino, a driver who has worked for Uber for a year. “Then they turned around and cut our pay.”

After speaking this month to an economics class at New York University, Mr. Mohrer acknowledged that when he first came to Uber, there were fewer drivers and stronger bonds between them and his management team. But as the fleet has grown, he said, he has tried to remain responsive to the drivers, who, on average, work 30 hours a week — or triple the rate of their peers in smaller cities.

“They’re more vested and engaged in Uber, so we take a more careful approach here,” Mr. Mohrer said. He added: “It’s a deeper relationship.”

But deeper doesn’t necessarily mean easier. A few weeks ago, Mr. Mohrer met with the leaders of the strikes at his office on West 27th Street in Chelsea’s gallery district. He said they had a frank discussion about the rate cuts, which could be rescinded if the cuts do not achieve their goals. While he was not explicit about what those goals might be, he insisted that the conversation had been useful. “I want to do this regularly,” he said. “Giving drivers the opportunity to speak to me and my staff can result in more rapid change.”

The strikers found the meeting less successful. “It was a joke,” Mr. Diallo said. “They treated us like jokers.” From his perspective, Mr. Mohrer offered no concessions on the cuts and was firm on only one position: that there would never be a tipping option on Uber’s app.

And that was the message Mr. Krasniqi delivered to the crowd in Queens on Super Bowl Sunday. Cupping his hands to his mouth, he reported on the meeting, then told the drivers to call their friends and relatives who also worked for Uber and urge them to stop driving.

“That’s how we built them up — with our friends and families,” Mr. Krasniqi roared. “And if we built them up, we can destroy them!”

It is hard to tell at this point just how serious the threat to Uber from sustained unrest would be. The challenges of organizing a work force composed of men and women of disparate ethnicities and languages loosely connected by a cloud-based app are significant. “If the drivers can come together in a block causing problems, they might get something,” said Evan Rawley, a professor of strategy at the Columbia Business School who studies the taxi industry. “But this is not West Virginia coal miners who all grew up together in the same small town.”

Uber has been somewhat clumsy in dealing with the problems with its fleet. In a stroke of unfortunate timing, Wired magazine published a 3,000-word treatise on Uber’s new corporate logo one day after the drivers went on strike outside its New York office. It was an inadvertent study in tech-world navel-gazing: as hundreds of immigrants were splashed across the Internet attacking Uber, Wired described how Mr. Kalanick had been working for two years on the logo, immersing himself in organic color schemes and kerning.

There is a potential wild card: Class-action lawsuits have been filed against Uber, including in the federal courts in Brooklyn and San Francisco, which seek to make the drivers full employees. If the suits are successful, they could cripple Uber’s business model, though some legal experts have said they are skeptical that the drivers could prevail when they use their own vehicles, and decide themselves when and whether to pick up passengers.

That leaves the traditional route of union organizing, which, in the case of the strikers in New York, has become chaotic. About a year ago, the Uber Drivers Network approached Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, one of whose organizers has been helping them plan rallies and collect union cards. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, an advocacy group for yellow cabdrivers, claims to have signed up nearly 5,000 Uber drivers in the city. And on Feb. 2, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1430, filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board asking to represent another 600 Uber drivers who work at La Guardia.

Mr. Diallo and his team have been working on a secret weapon: a driver-owned app to compete with those from Lyft and Uber, those from other ride-hailing companies like Gett and Via, and the taxi industry’s own two e-hailing systems, Way2Ride and Arro. The drivers designed the app themselves and have hired a company called Swift Technologies to build it. It could be ready as early as next month.

“The solution is not to stay with Uber,” Mr. Diallo said. “The solution is to have our own platform — to build a real partnership and really be partners.”

For now, however, they are still planning strikes, even if the one on Super Bowl Sunday was of questionable effectiveness. The drivers celebrated the action on their Facebook page, posting a screen shot of Uber’s app that night — accompanied by the hashtag #SHUTDOWNSUPERBOWL — that showed a wait time at Kennedy Airport of 72 minutes.

But the very next morning, Uber sent an email to its drivers announcing that the day before, it had broken its record for the most trips on a Sunday.

“Thanks to you, our driver-partners,” the email read, “hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers moved safely around the city this weekend.”

photo credit: nationofachange.com

Bronx Driver Arrested for Trying to Bribe His Way Out of a Cellphone Ticket

If only he had been talking with his lawyer.

A Bronx driver stopped for talking on his cell phone tried to bribe a cop into letting him off with a warning, police said Tuesday.

Johnny Taylor, 69, offered a cop $60, then $100, to get out of a ticket for driving his 1998 Ford Windstar while on his cell phone on Undercliff Ave. at Sedgewick Ave. in Highbridge around 1 p.m., Monday, police said.

But the ploy to get off with a warning backfired, according to authorities.

Police arrested Taylor at the scene and charged him with obstructing government administration and bribing a public servant.

Fines for talking on a cell while driving range from $50 to $150 for a first time offense, according to the New York State DMV.

Article Originally Featured on New York Daily News

*Photo Credit: “April 10 33” By: Lord Jim/Source: Flickr

Bronx Reckless Driving Reduced to 0 Point Violation

Another happy client had a 5 Point Reckless Driving Violation Reduced to a 0 Point Public Health Law Violation in Bronx Criminal Court.

A reckless driving ticket is one of the most damaging tickets you can receive in the Bronx. Reckless driving is defined by New York law as “using any motor vehicle…in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway.” This leaves reckless driving open to interpretation by the police officer writing the ticket, but examples can be driving the wrong way, driving at extremely high speeds, or weaving in and out of lanes during times of heavy traffic.

If you are ticketed for Reckless Driving, we can fight for you.  Call for free legal advice on Reckless Driving Violations at (212) 227-9008 or email us at MichaelBlock.law@gmail.com.  The most important advice we can offer at this moment is to fight the ticket.  Do not simply mail in a payment or pay the DMV online.  This will result in a guilty plea and points on your license which can raise the cost of your insurance.

A reckless driving lawyer is waiting to help you.  New York Traffic Ticket Law can be very damaging to your driving record.  My advice is: don’t pay that traffic ticket.  Take a moment now to share a few details about your ticket here.

We always fight for the most favorable outcome and are always glad to have great results for our clients.  If you are charged with reckless driving, let us help you!  Email us at michaelblock.law@gmail.com or call (212) 227-9008 to learn how we can defend you.

We fight tickets all over New York, including: Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Long Island.

Trick-or-Treaters Killed in Tragic Car Accident in the Bronx

The Bronx driver who plowed into a group of trick-or-treaters on Halloween, killing three, had been on anti-seizure medicine and was seen convulsing just before the crash, police sources told The Post on Sunday.

Investigators “believe he had some sort of seizure,” a high-ranking source said of Howard Unger, 52. “He was driving, and he might have started his seizures, and he bumped the car in front of him . Some witnesses said they saw him violently shaking right before the accident.”

The source said Unger had been taking an “anti-seizure medication,’’ although his family said they were unaware of him having any medical problems.

“I got a phone call from the hospital yesterday, I’m in shock,’’ Unger’s sister, Risa, 49, of White Plains, said in a shaky voice.

“It’s horrifying. It really is. Totally horrifying. Terrible. I’m grieving for people that lost their lives and families.”

Unger was behind the wheel of his Dodge Charger when it jumped a curb Saturday afternoon as kids were just beginning to collect candy with their families.

Killed were Nyanna Aquil, 10, and her grandfather, Louis Perez, a 65-year-old Vietnam veteran who received a Purple Heart during his time in the service.

Kristian Leka, 24, died trying to push his kid sister, Fiona, 9, out of harm’s way when he saw Unger’s car coming near.

Unger was hospitalized in stable condition.

Mayor de Blasio offered his condolences to the victims’ families.

“These three innocent people were lost on a day normally filled with childhood laughter and joy,” he said, noting the “crash tore apart two families.”

Natalia Perez, who lost her daughter and father in the accident, said she received a call from a police officer and rushed to Jacobi Hospital, where doctors tried desperately to save Nyanna, who was still dressed in the bloodied cat costume she had been wearing.

“I don’t think anyone can prepare for the loss of their 10-year-old daughter,” Perez said.

“[My father] was a good grandfather to his grandkids,” she told The Post, adding that she has started a GoFundMe page to help raise the money needed to bury her loved ones. “He was taking them trick-or-treating last night to have a great time, and he didn’t get to come home.”

At a vigil for the victims Sunday night, Perez called the tragedy a “horrific freak accidentt.” And Nyanna’s great aunt, Lucia Perez, said the driver “should not have been allowed a driver’s license” if he suffered from seizures.

As for Leka’s heroics, pal Lendita Krasnici, 18, said, “I’m not surprised Kris would do something like that. That’s the kind of guy he is.”

Meanwhile, a neighbor said Unger works at a bank and lives with his mom.

“He’s just a regular person like anybody else. He works and takes care of his mother,” Orlando Jusino said. “He’s just a quiet guy.”

 

Article Originally Featured on The New York Post

*Photo Credit: “NYPD” By: Giacomo Barbaro/Source: Flickr

Reckless Driving in Bronx Criminal Court

Another happy client has had 5 points dismissed for reckless driving in Bronx!  Our client went from 5 points to 0 points.  Reckless driving tickets require appearance in criminal court.

We always fight for the most favorable outcome and are thrilled about these results.  Let us help you!  Email us at michaelblocklawyer.com or call (212) 227-9008 to learn how we can defend you.

We fight tickets anywhere in New York: Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Long Island and many more!

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How to Fight a Speeding Ticket

Speeding tickets contain 3 to 11 points and convictions usually result in an increase of insurance premiums. The cost of a speeding ticket ranges greatly depending the severity of the violation.  Along with the cost of the ticket, there’s an $80 NYS surcharge and a $100 annual driver assessment fee if you have 6 or more points already.

Fighting a speeding ticket can help reduce the number of points to your license or waive the charges altogether depending on your case.  The following comprehensive guide will allow you to understand the point system for speeding tickets at a TVB—Traffic Violation Bureau.

  • First determine how many points your offense carries.
Violation Points
Driving 1-10 MPH over the speed limit 3 points
Driving 11-20 MPH over the speed limit 4 points
Driving 21-30 MPH over the speed limit 6 points
Driving 31-40 MPH over the speed limit 8 points
Driving over 40 MPH over speed limit 11 points

 

Remember that the DMV can suspend your license for accumulating 11 points or more within 18 months (regardless of violation type).  In addition, simply receiving 3 convictions for speeding tickets in an 18-month period results in a 6 month revocation of your license.

The TVB—Traffic Violations Bureau only allows you to plead guilty or not guilty.  In addition, they have several locations all over New York City including: Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, Queens and Rochester.  Because TVB offers a win-all or lose-all scenario, it’s important to have an experienced lawyer to defend you.

Often the lawyer will pay special attention to the police officer’s testimony to determine if there are any inconsistencies between what they wrote about the violation and their court statement.  For example, if an officer says that a driver was speeding on “123 Blvd,” but the police notes say that the driver was speeding on “ABC Street,” then the lawyer could point out the inconsistency to reach a better outcome.  In some instances, the lawyer may request to reschedule the court date to ensure a fair trial.

If you have a speeding ticket or any other NYC traffic tickets and violations, call us immediately at (212) 227-9008 or email us at MichaelBlock.law@gmail.com.  When you hire Michael Block, Traffic Ticket Attorney, you are not required to attend court.  We will always call to update you about your court dates and results as well as answer any questions you have about the process.

*Photo Credit: “Courtroom One Gavel” By: Joe Gratz/Source: Flickr