Our city is a national leader in multiple arenas, which certainly includes the fields of unpleasant surprises and unintended consequences.
Leading in this department is (can you guess?) the MTA. They recently crowed about the superior service and convenience they now offer by wiring platforms for cell phone use. Six Manhattan stations were recently so wired, and wouldn’t you know it, the changes are already being felt–in the form of a spike in cell phone thefts.
“More signals on subway platforms is leading to more robberies,” says NYPD Deputy Inspector Mark DiPaulo. Since cell service has been installed, subway grand larceny has risen 22% and robbery 7%. My recent blog on the installation was titled “Stand Clear of the Screaming Boors.” Now those screaming boors (and quick fingered texters) are watching out for the quicker-fingered phone snatchers.
But that’s not all! The MTA has also decided to build a huge LIRR ventiliation plant on East 55th Street, part of the MTA’s behind schedule and over-budget (can you believe it?) plan to bring LIRR service to Grand Central Station. Less than pleased by this is the world famous Friars Club, home of such New York comic legends as Jerry Lewis and Billy Crystal and world-renowned for its roasts, which may not be able to withstand the construction blasts associated with the project.
“The massive construction that the MTA has planned for East 55th Street would seriously hinder the good work of the Friars Club,” said none other than Jerry Lewis himself. The blasting will also “destroy the club’s lunch, dinner and special-event business,” says the Friars Club lawyer.
But fear not. The MTA is on the case! “As we do with other locations, we will closely monitor the situation,” states MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz. I don’t know what that means either, Jerry.
Meanwhile, a Manhattan musician experienced the ultimate law of unintended consequences this week in a downtown courtroom. Sixty year old Martin Stoner filed an age discrimination suit after he was rejected by a contest run by the Young Concert Artists group for being too old to compete. Yes, there is absolutely age discrimination in the arts. That being said, perhaps Martin should have taken the hint in the first name of this particular group: YOUNG Concert Artists.
But wait, there’s more. Seems the case was handed over to Manhattan Federal Judge Robert Patterson–who is 88 years old. Patterson’s immediate instinct was to toss out the case. The startled Stoner’s response? He complained that the judge was too old to serve!
“Judge Patterson is hard of hearing, slow-witted and unable to function,” wailed Stoner. I am asking that the judge recuse himself because he’s just too old. Yes, I guess that’s a bit ironic.”