Category Archives: Brooklyn

Rep. Weiner tweets his wienie

When Facebook tells you your password’s been compromised  … it’s probably a call to immediate action.

Anthony Weiner. BPaper photo

Brooklyn’s Rep. Anthony Weiner — recently wed but a perennial source of single-guy-on-the-prowl off-color humor — was shown on Twitter in [drumroll, please!] all his glory.

His bulging wienie, cloaked in gray briefs, appeared Friday night on his official account, available to 45,000 followers (and by extension to an indeterminable number of their friends).

The NY Post is calling it Weiner-gate.

The congressman had been warned by Facebook about a week ago that his password might have been compromised. Although he’s a proud technophile, like most users, he took no action, giving the hacker plenty of time to engineer mischief.

Weiner had been tweeting about a hockey game a few minutes before the shot went up [“followers of my lame hockey tweets recall i picked tb and nashville”]; he was monitoring his stream and quickly spiked the offending item — but not before it had been retweeted and screen-grabbed by several followers, the Post reports.

He quickly posted, “Tivo shot. FB hacked. Is my blender gonna attack me next?” and later, “Touche Prof Moriarity. More Weiner Jokes for all my guests! #Hacked!”

The congressman’s spokesman, Dave Arnold, told the Post that the wiener wasn’t Weiner’s (although we’re not certain if Arnold used those exact words).

Once again, for members Congress and all of us plebeians, the gods of social media are not to be trifled with. Protect your passwords!

Here’s the full NY Post account.

• • •

Who’s the Weiner? Let’s say he’s not afraid to speak his mind; he will not yield. Here’s the congressman’s classic House explosion last summer in defense of 9/11 emergency responders—


Newspaper war in Brooklyn

Who says newspapers are dead?

An old-fashioned newspaper war is expected to get underway any day now in Brooklyn, NY. I’d be remiss in not reporting on it, since I know more than a little about the turf and about the players, having published The Brooklyn Paper (one of the dogs in this fight) for 30 years before selling it to a division of NewsCorp.; some of my crew — including Vince DiMiceli and Gersh Kuntzman — are still at The Paper; my wife Celia is the publisher.

Between 2006 and 2009, Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp, which publishes the daily NY Post in Manhattan, acquired a significant number of “outer borough” weeklies.

In Brooklyn, NewsCorp grabbed pretty much everything, leaving only the Home-Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator group and standalones in Brooklyn Heights, Canarsie and Greenpoint.

In the Bronx, NewsCorp took the gritty Bronx Times tabloids (no relation to The Bronx Times online) and left the prestigious Riverdale Press broadsheet for acquisition by Long Island’s Richner brothers (who recently picked up a chain of Philadelphia area weeklies from the ailing Philadelphia Inquirer).

In Queens, NewsCorp scooped up the quality group — Steve Blank’s Times-Ledger — at the same time that it bought the biggest chain in Brooklyn, Cliff Luster’s Courier-Life. But it also left four consequential newspaper groups on the table — Queens Ledger, Queens Courier, Queens Chronicle and Queens Tribune — as well as some standalones like the Wave of Rockaway and Times NewsWeekly of Ridgewood.

Yesterday, the Queens Courier, co-published by the feisty Victoria Schneps and her able son Josh, announced that it bought The Home-Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator. These are legacy titles — the Spector goes back 82 years — that have seen better days (they don’t have a Website of any sort) but are still breathing. The Queens Courier newspapers and Website are very much alive.

The Schneps selected Ken Brown as their Brooklyn editor, and this may add an accelerant to the war’s flames. Ken was the editor at Courier-Life before and after the NewsCorp acquisition; he had worked there for 28 years when he was deposed last year and replaced by Vince and Gersh. Grudge match anyone?

Consider this: Tens of thousands of your readers drive by a sign bearing an unarguably obscene word. The bloggers run it. How about you? [Multiple updates]

If you’re the NY Times (UPDATE: or even the NY Post!), you edit the photo.

The scene is near the controversial Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, NY (planned future home to the NJ Nets). “Ratner” on the sign refers to Bruce Ratner, the project’s politically-connected developer.

Top photo was posted early this morning on and on other NYC blogs.

The next photo, by Becky Hanger, was posted by the NY Times at 11:49 am with this caption: This sign near the Atlantic Yards site is supposed to say “Fifth Avenue Closed.” It was changed to something unprintable. We erased the first word and left the second intact.

UPDATE: NY Post story, posted at 3:30, included a censored photo:

UPDATE: Gersh Kuntzman’s Brooklyn Paper (owned by the NY Post) earlier this afternoon posted a brief item [later expanded to a full story] accompanied by an unedited photo. Both the Post and Brooklyn Paper used photos by George Causil. On its home page, The Brooklyn Paper published this:

WARNING: Clicking the above link means you’re willing to see and read a curse word — and it’s a doozy!

UPDATE: NY1 reports — video and story link here — that the sign was up for “a number of hours before it was taken down” and caused “quite a stir this morning for drivers and pedestrians alike who stopped to do a double take”:

“The first word rhymes with ‘luck’ — and it’s not very nice and I’ll leave it to your imagination to figure out the rest,” reported Kristen Shaugnessy.

Said one passerby: “That does not say what I think it does, does it? Oh no! Ooh, I can’t say that either.”

Big numbers can make the story and put it all in perspective. But too often they’re just bullshit.

Just how bad was the destruction in Haiti? On mega disasters stories, it’s hard to get a grip. An LA Times story puts it in perspective:

The amount of debris is stunning. Officials estimate they will have to clean up as much as 25 million cubic yards of material — enough to fill the Louisiana Superdome five times over. By comparison, detritus from the destroyed World Trade Center amounted to about 1 million cubic yards.

If true, the LA Times’ Ken Ellingwood has helped us imagine the magnitude of Haiti’s pain.

Photo by Brian Vander Brug illustrates an LA Times story that attempts to put into perspective the vast amount of debris that must be moved in Haiti.

But is it true?

Ellingwood doesn’t say it’s true — he simply reports an “officials estimate.” Nice.

Bottom line is, we haven’t a clue.

It’s easy to misuse numbers.

Closer to home, this often comes up in reporting on the projected costs and benefits of public works projects and government initiatives. The costs are generally understated and the benefits inflated, the numbers literally pulled from the air regardless of whose name they are hung off.

Do you really know how much any of the various health care proposals would cost (even if you think you know what the proposals themselves call for), or who would pay what and how? The truth is, we haven’t a clue.

At last week’s groundbreaking for the Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn (the planned future home for the New Jersey Nets), Gov. Paterson stated as fact long discredited job-creation figures: “This project at Atlantic Yards will yield 16,000 union construction jobs and 5,500 permanent jobs right here on the site.”

An artist's rendering of the planned Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Like numbers surrounding the project, the rendering is nothing concrete.

The Times published Paterson’s quote — within quotation marks — along with other nonsensical projections that weren’t attributed to anyone, even though it knows many of them to be false. Now, because these numbers appeared in the Times, other media end up citing them as fact, without qualification.

A Google News search the next day picked up 418 news articles that included references to “Barclays Center” and the numbers 16,000 and 5,500. (Some of these articles were critical of the project; most largely echoed the company line.)

After considering how easily fake numbers are incorporated into stories like the Barclays Center groundbreaking, I’d have to digest the Haitian-World Trade Center analogy with at least a grain of salt.