Tag Archives: Manhattan

100-year-old crime boss beats the odds, is released from prison

Geriatric gangster John “Sonny’’ Franzese — the oldest guest of the federal prison system — is a free man at the age of 100.

The Colombo family underboss was rolled out of the Federal Medical Center in Massachusetts in a wheelchair Friday and headed to the home of his daughter in Brooklyn, Newsday reported.

At the age of 93, he was sentenced to eight years in prison for shaking down the Hustler and Penthouse strip clubs in Manhattan.

Continue reading 100-year-old crime boss beats the odds, is released from prison

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USA Today: Trump Biz Linked To Russians With Alleged Ties To Organized Crime

President Donald Trump’s companies have been connected to “at least 10 former Soviet businessmen with alleged ties to criminal organizations or money laundering,” according to a report published Tuesday by USA Today.

Those connections came to light during a review of legal and government documents, court cases and an interview with a former federal prosecutor, per USA Today.

Continue reading USA Today: Trump Biz Linked To Russians With Alleged Ties To Organized Crime

8 of the most expensive real estate developments in American history

A rendering of Hudson Yards, a new neighborhood planned for Manhattan’s far west side.Related Companies

With an estimated cost of $20 billion , New York City’s Hudson Yards neighborhood is set to become the most expensive private real estate development in American history.

When construction is complete in 2024, it will include all types of buildings, from luxury condos to boutiques to offices.

Elsewhere in the US, there are several similar projects — some of which cost billions.

Take a look at a few below.

City Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

City Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The City Center in Las Vegas (from left to right: Mandarin Oriental, The Crystals, Aria, the Veer Tower, and Vdara).Wikipedia Commons

Located on the Las Vegas Strip, the City Center features 16.7 million-square-feet of casinos, high-end shops, hotels, and luxury condos.

Construction on the estimated $8.5 billion project (which includes five towers) started in 2006, and the development opened three years later.

Continue reading 8 of the most expensive real estate developments in American history

Richard Branson: Donald Trump told me he wanted ‘to spend the rest of his life’ getting revenge

Billionaire and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson published a blog post on Friday recalling his first interaction with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, in which Trump reportedly vowed to spend the rest of his life seeking revenge on five people who had refused to help him.

Branson said their encounter took place years ago, when Trump had invited him to a one-on-one lunch in his Manhattan apartment.

Continue reading Richard Branson: Donald Trump told me he wanted ‘to spend the rest of his life’ getting revenge

‘AN INTENTIONAL ACT’: Dozens injured in New York City explosion

  • An explosion in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City went off around 8:30 p.m. ET Saturday night.
  • At least 29 people were injured, one possibly seriously.
  • A second possible device resembling a pressure cooker was found four blocks from the scene of the explosion.
  • NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio calls the explosion “an intentional act.”
  • Currently no evidence of a terror connection.

Continue reading ‘AN INTENTIONAL ACT’: Dozens injured in New York City explosion

Urban Jungles – Mini Manhattan Garden

At just 1,200 square feet, this is the second smallest house in Manhattan. When two architects, Anne Fairfax and Richard Sammons, bought it, they transformed it to create a bijou interior with a sense of spaciousness that belies its exterior appearance. Leading out of the kitchen is a small enclosed garden with ivy topiary.

The Emerging Bitcoin Civil War

bitcoin civil warA civil war is emerging between Bitcoin’s earliest and most libertarian adopters, and a more commercial wing seeking to embrace regulation as a means of legitimizing Bitcoin businesses.

The divide came into focus this week with two key events events. One was a hearing on Bitcoin regulation by the New York Department Of Financial Services. The other was the arrest of BitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem on money laundering charges.

Until the moment of his arrest, Shrem, 24 had been something of a darling in the Bitcoin venture capital community — the Winklevoss brothers were one of BitInstant’s earliest investors, and Shrem was scheduled to co-headline a Bitcoin conference in Miami this past weekend.

But on the first day of hearings about the future of Bitcoin regulation convened this week by the New York Department of Financial Services, a panel of VCs were quick to disavow Shrem as an example of a more immature wing of Bitcoin. The Winklevoss twins said they were gratified the Department was discussing ways to help legitimize Bitcoin commerce. Their Bitcoin ETF is awaiting regulatory approval from the SEC.

The division is not just about sheer dollar size. Appearing at the Tuesday hearing, Fred Wilson — whose Union Square Ventures spearheaded a $5 million investment round in Bitcoin wallet firm Coinbase warned against anything but the lightest-touch regulations. He compared the dangers Bitcoin startups would face to what happened to early-stage music streaming platforms, which were inundated with lawsuits from record labels. Should Bitcoin startups be subject to similar legal scrutiny from financial regulators, he said, they would be snuffed out before they even had a chance to bloom.

Wilson’s views were countered by no other than Fred Ehrsam, Coinbase’s co-founder. He told DFS regulators Wednesday, “Although I love Fred Wilson, there’s probably some minimal requirements and procedures that should be put in place if you’re facilitating that kind of exchange.”

Perhaps it is not surprising that this ultra-libertarian faction was not represented at this week’s hearings.

But it could be seen at the NYC Bitcoin Center on Broad Street in Manhattan — where a follow-up cocktail party was held Tuesday to discuss “fallout” from the first day’s hearing — and online, where this faction railed from afar against regulators.

bitcoin regulation tweetsThese individuals may seem extreme, but, until recently, they represented the core of Bitcoin evangelism.

But their influence seems to be fading. Barry Silbert’s Bitcoin Investment Trust is now worth 10s of millions of dollars. In an email Wednesday, he said he agreed the crypto-anarchists who dominated the digital currencies earliest incarnations were getting left behind.

“There are certainly a handful of folks that are hardcore libertarians (some anarchists) that believe that bitcoin should be completely unregulated, but I believe they are in the minority and, as a percentage of bitcoin believers, is shrinking very quickly.  I respect their viewpoint, but unfortunately, don’t see how there vision is viable in today’s society.”

On Wednesday, New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said the greatest concern about digital currencies among law enforcement was anonymity. In a Bitcoin transaction, all transactions are essentially conducted between e-addresses that lack any kind of user identification.

“The difficulty, when criminal activity is involved, is for investigators to identity how the money is moved where and for what purpose.,” he said.

But tinkering with Bitcoin’s anonymity would seem to strike at the heart of another one of Bitcoin’s core elements — as seen in the following Tweet:

bitcoin regulation tweets

But Jeremy Allaire, founder and CEO of Circle, a company that develops digital currency products, showed little concern that regulators could start scraping away at Bitcoin’s anonymity element. Asked Tuesday on the panel whether new regulations affecting Bitcoin’s anonymity would undermine the popularity of the currency, Allaire replied, “That depends on your definition of the essence of Bitcoin.”

As Bitcoin continues to emerge, this fight over Bitcoin’s essence, and how much of a role government should play, will only get more intense.

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