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Airbnb In New York City A Good Deal For Renters And Tourists, Not For Hotel Industy

And the city says such rentals are cheating the city of lodging taxes. Since the mayor’s office began examining short-term rentals in 2006, it has fielded more than 3,000 complaints and issued almost 6,000 notices of violation, including fire, safety and occupancy infractions, which carry fines. Airbnb says 87 percent of hosts in New York share the space they live in with guests. The company has called the subpoena of customer information by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman an “unfounded fishing expedition” and says hosts are responsible for following varying laws around the world. NYC & Company, the city’s official tourism agency, issued a statement saying, “This illegal practice takes away much needed hotel tax revenue from city coffers with no consumer protections against fire- and health-code violations.” Neither city officials nor hotel organizations would estimate how much revenue hotels and the city might be losing. Landlords and tenant organizations have long complained that short-term sublets are a violation of most leases and a security issue. Having strangers coming in and out of a residential building “is a terrible problem,” says Tom Cayler, chairman of the Illegal Hotel Committee for Manhattan’s West Side Neighborhood Alliance. “If you come home at night and there are people in the lobby or elevator who you don’t know, you should be scared.” Sam Shaber, a musician who rented space on the Lower East Side for $150 to $225 a night, says she welcomed guests from France, Argentina, Sweden and elsewhere. And she said she always got a good sense of them from online exchanges and profiles before handing over the keys. “In this day and age of Craigslist, we have a radar for who’s weird,” Shaber said. “We never had one problem.” Airbnb renters say they can offer an experience hotels can’t the opportunity to live like a native in funky neighborhoods off the beaten tourist paths. Sergio Verdasco, 33, a mechanical engineer in San Sebastian, Spain, was hosted by Farer in Williamsburg for three nights. “It was an amazing experience a soft landing in a city where I don’t know the people and don’t speak the language well,” he said by phone.

New York court to hear Bloomberg’s appeal to restore soda ban

The Court of Appeals did not say why it had agreed to hear the appeal. The law would have barred restaurants, movie theaters, food carts and other businesses regulated by the city’s health department from selling sodas and other sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces (473 ml). In March, just one day before it was to take effect, a state judge found the policy to be illegal. A mid-level state appeals court agreed in July that the city’s mayoral-appointed health board had exceeded its authority when it approved the new regulation. It also noted that loopholes would have exempted grocery and convenience stores, such as 7-Eleven, known for its 64-ounce (1.9 liter) Big Gulp, as well as high-calorie milkshakes and coffee drinks, such as Starbucks Frappuccinos. The ruling was a victory for companies including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Dr Pepper Snapple, which had argued that the law would do little to address obesity while imposing unnecessary costs. The restaurant industry and several business groups also had filed papers in support of the lawsuit. Bloomberg said on Thursday he expects the state’s top court to overturn the lower-court rulings. The soda ban “would help save lives, and we are confident the Appeals court will uphold the Board of Health’s rule,” he said in a statement, noting that excessive soda consumption is linked to obesity and diabetes, which kill at least 5,000 New Yorkers each year. A spokesman for the American Beverage Association, a trade group and the lead plaintiff in the case, said the group looked forward to a final decision on the ban. The city had argued that the lower appeals court had ignored decades of case law establishing that the health board has unique powers to regulate public health.

New York Cosmos sign 10-year-old Zachary Bernstein to one-day contract

(NYCosmos.com)

(NYCosmos.com) The New York Cosmos have signed inspirational 10-year-old defender Zachary Bernstein to a one-day contract and named him honorary captain for their final home match of the fall season. According to the Cosmos’ official website , terms of the deal were not disclosed. With the chance to seal the NASL fall season title and place in the league’s championship match in their inaugural campaign on the line, Zachary will be with the squad for training on Saturday. He will then lead the team onto the pitch for Sunday’s match against FC Edmonton and take part in warm-ups before sitting with his teammates during the game. NYCosmos.com details why Zachary will be able to show his older teammates true strength. Earlier this year, Zachary, who turns 11 on Oct. 25, was diagnosed with a rare, inoperable brain tumor. To battle this illness, Zacharys family has explored various trials and cutting-edge treatments for him. Theyve also created the donation site known as Friends of Zachary, which helps raise money for his treatments, as well as creates awareness for pediatric cancer. To stay up-to-date with the Cosmos Honorary Captain, visit giveforward.com/fundraiser/vzk2/friends-of-zachary-fund . The original Cosmos, which went bust in 1985, featured legends like Pele, Giorgio Chinaglia, Franz Beckenbauer and Carlos Alberto. The reborn club, which now plays in the second division NASL, signed former Spain international Marcos Senna. And now Lynbrook, New York native Zachary Bernstein joins that list of greats. Zachary will make our team better this Sunday, said Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese. A portion of ticket sales from the match will go towards helping Zachary in his fight.