from the world's big
Behold, Hudson Yards
Bob Lieber is Deputy Mayor for Economic Development. In February 2007, Lieber was named President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and became Deputy Mayor in January 2008. Responsible for creating jobs and building capacity in the five boroughs, Lieber guides agencies including NYCEDC, Department of Small Business Services, Department of City Planning, Department of Finance, NYC & Company among others. He oversees job-creating area-wide redevelopment projects that include Willets Point, Lower Manhattan, Hudson Yards, 125th Street, Jamaica, and Coney Island. He also spearheads the effort to support a more vibrant and diverse City economy by growing varied sectors including tourism, media, bioscience, fashion, maritime support, film, and television. Lieber previously served as Managing Director at Lehman Brothers, where he was Global Head of Real Estate Investment Banking as well as a member of the Real Estate Private Equity business. In 1999, and again in 2003, Lieber was recognized by Institutional Investor Magazine for "Deal of The Year," and he was named "Financier of the Year" in 2005 by Commercial Property News. Lieber holds a BA from the University of Colorado and a Masters of Business Administration from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Vice Chairman of the Zell-Lurie Real Estate Center at the Wharton School, and Trustee of the Urban Land Institute.
Question: What goals did you have when joining the administration and how have they changed?
Bob Lieber: When I came into the Bloomberg administration, as I mentioned, it was kind of in year six, so I had years six, seven and eight scheduled to go, and a lot of plans had been created and conceptualized. And really what I was focusing on doing was trying to make sure we could execute as many of these projects and plans as we possibly could. So I think a couple of things that I've been perhaps the most proud of or satisfied with so far was being able to work with the community, to work with the elected officials, to work with our colleagues on the city council, and come up with a plan that we could re-develop 62 acres of land that is in a desperate condition out at what we call Willets Point.
Willets Point is in Queens; it's across the street from the new Mets Stadium at City Field. And it was an incredibly complicated project; again, lots of issues. Eminent domain was something that was a big issue for people, and trying to come up with a plan that worked and you could get buy-in, again, from so many different constituents. And it was something that for 50 years people have tried to do this. Back in the days of Robert Moses, he wanted to clear Willets Point as a part of the development of the 1964 World's Fair. And a young lawyer cutting his teeth by the name of Mario Cuomo got involved and represented the landowners there at the time and defeated Moses because it was not a plan that really developed a broad base of support from the community; it was kind of what he dictated had to have happen. So people said this is something you're never going to be able to get done. We did get it done. It's not me, but the byproduct of a lot of people and a lot work and a lot of effort and a lot of input from the community. So that's been very satisfying.
Another project that also recently concluded is kind of the reclamation and redevelopment of one of the most iconic names in the world, and that's Coney Island. This is a place that some of my old colleagues back in the days of E. F. Hutton we used to go for our summer outing. We'd go to Coney Island and ride the Cyclone and have hot dogs at Nathan's. And trying to find a way to recreate the history and the excitement of that incredible brand. But it's fallen into tremendous disrepair and was on the verge of extinction. Again we have come up with a plan, broad-based support in the community, but lots of other people trying to say no. We had landowner issues there as well, and we were able to get that through city council, and we're looking forward to coming up, is to really creating a revitalized Coney Island that kind of treasures the iconic history and nature but also brings it into the 21st century and capitalizes on a lot of the other natural resources or natural assets that exist out there, including the aquarium and the Cyclone Stadium, the Keyspan Park, where the Mets' subsidiary -- not subsidiary -- the Mets' farm team the Cyclones play.
Question: Hudson Yards
Bob Lieber: We're still working on Hudson Yards. We've got the train under way there to be able to open up development in that area. So I think the biggest difference when we think about -- what I think about the public sector versus the private sector and what I used to do as compared to what I do now, it's much more about thinking about the long term. In the old days, when I was in the finance world, it was a little more short-term. Long-term for us was six to 12 months. But now the decisions that we're making today and the changes that we're making today are going to have an impact on decades and decades from now and generations from now, so that one of the hopes is your kids will see things and your grandkids will see things that are still playing out from initiatives that we started during the Bloomberg administration.
So it's important to think about what the long term is and develop a plan that works for the long term, because too many politicians think about, I need to be there for the picture of the groundbreaking or the ribbon cutting, and if I'm not going to get credit I don't want to do it. What we're trying to do differently is think about what really are the long-term benefits of building and maintaining New York as a place that can be the most competitive and, as I say, the greatest city in the world.
Well, when you think about Hudson Yards, it's approximately 24 acres of contiguous area there on the West Side, what used to be relatively underutilized land. It was industrial manufacturing. More recently it had been parking lots and service stations, and you see a lot of maintenance facilities there. What we see for the build-out of Hudson Yards is 40 million square feet of mixed-use development that is residential, that's affordable housing, it's condos, it's cultural space, it's retail space, it's office space, it's a park. Grand Boulevard is going to be a part of it, so that again, this is something -- people will often focus and say, well, where are you? You've started this, you're two years into this. Are you on time, ahead of time, behind time? I think the important thing to note here is, we are trying to do things that have a long-term focus, and our job is -- or at least my job is -- to create the conditions that enable this kind of development to take place as the market conditions warrant and justify it. It's very difficult to build in New York City. It's expensive, it takes a long time, the process is difficult, and any time people or developers try and build something, oftentimes if you want to change land us you'll start in one economic cycle and end up in a different one.
So what we're trying to do here -- we've rezoned the entire area. We have a modification of rezoning taking place now for the western rail yards, but we think this is going to be a very exciting long-term growth area for New York City. In order for us to maintain our competitive position, we need to be able to continue to attract people. We want to make sure we can keep people here. We want to make sure we can be a place that can attract more people. So creating the supply and the capacity for people to be able to live, for people to be able to work, and for people to be able to raise their families is critical to what we're trying to do, and we do take a very long-term perspective on this.
One of the keys to our plan to build for the long term, as I mentioned, is having the transportation, having the mass transit alternative available so that we can aggregate people and get them around. And what we saw with the rezoning of Hudson Yards was the fact that while we're relatively near Penn Station and we're relatively near Times Square, we're actually relatively far from any real mass transit. And if you're going to open up 40 million square feet of future development, you need to be able to provide a mass transit alternative for people.
And the brilliance of the Hudson Yards plan is that we are building the extension to the No. 7 subway ourselves. We're not waiting; we're not relying on the state; we're not relying on federal dollars. If we're going to position ourselves competitively going forward, we've taken the responsibility to pay for the extension of that train. So work is under way now, drilling below grade to make the room for the trains to run through. So when development opportunities take place in Hudson Yards and the market supports that, we'll have the ability to support it with mass transit. And that's the only way you're going to be able to really accommodate that many people and that much development activity. So it's another part of how we're thinking about the long term, investing for the long term, and building for future capacity as we go forward.
This is the first extension. It's never been done that I'm aware of. This is really the MTA's responsibility, and that's a state agency. But it's the first extension of, addition to any subway service in New York City since the '60s. So for 50 years there's been no expansion of the system. The system has been significantly upgraded to a state of good repair since it was -- back in the '70s when we moved here it was horrible. I mean, you never wanted to get on the subway. It was dangerous, it was hot, it was unpredictable -- breakdowns, people -- it was awful. And all the graffiti. So those kinds of things have changed already, but in order to plan long-term you have to be able to make these infrastructure investments if you're going to really be successful.
Recorded on November 20, 2009
Deputy Mayor of Economic Development what the first extension of a subway line financed by the city will bring.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Vaccines find more success in development than any other kind of drug, but have been relatively neglected in recent decades.
Vaccines are more likely to get through clinical trials than any other type of drug — but have been given relatively little pharmaceutical industry support during the last two decades, according to a new study by MIT scholars.
Want help raising your kids? Spend more time at church, says new study.
- Religious people tend to have more children than secular people, but why remains unknown.
- A new study suggests that the social circles provided by regular church going make raising kids easier.
- Conversely, having a large secular social group made women less likely to have children.
Be fruitful and multiply<p>Scientists in the United Kingdom collected data on more than 13,000 mothers and their children. Most of them were religious, but 12 percent were not. The data included information on their church habits, social networks, number of children, and the scores those children achieved on a standardized test.</p><p>In line with previous findings that religious women have more children than secular women in industrialized countries, a connection between at least monthly church attendance and fertility was confirmed. However, religious parents showed they could avoid the pitfalls that having more children can bring. </p><p>Typically, more children in a family leads to reduced cognitive ability and height in each <a href="https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/37/6/1408/729795" target="_blank">child</a>. Some studies find that children do less well in school for each <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13524-016-0471-0" target="_blank">additional sibling they have</a>. This makes a kind of intuitive sense, as parents with more children would have to divide their time, energy, and resources among more people as families expand. One would expect that the larger families would also lead to things like lower test scores. </p><p>Despite the expectation, the children of religious parents didn't have lower scores on standardized tests. There were small positive relationships between the size of the mother's social network, the number of co-religionists helping out, and the children's test scores. However, this association was small, didn't show up in all of the testings, and was unrelated to other variables. </p> These effects might be explained by the size and helpfulness of the social networks around the more religious. Women who went to church at least once a month had more extensive social networks than those who never go or who attend yearly. These social networks of co-religious people mean that there are more people to turn to for help with child-rearing, a point also demonstrated in the data. The amount of aid women got from their fellow churchgoers was also associated with a higher fertility rate. <br> <br> Conversely, an extensive social network was associated with fewer children for secular women. This finding is in line with <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1207/s15327957pspr0904_5" target="_blank">previous studies</a> and suggests that the social networks comprised of co-religious individuals differ from those found elsewhere.
So, how quickly should I join a local religious group?<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="6RrmYM8M" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="9eb4740a7d1e10108a75fd2ed627a90f"> <div id="botr_6RrmYM8M_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/6RrmYM8M-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/6RrmYM8M-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/6RrmYM8M-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>The study is not without its faults, and more investigations into the relationship between fertility, childcare, ritual, and social networks are needed.</p><p>These findings all show correlation, not causation. Though it might be said the results point towards causation, various alternative interpretations of the data are apparent. The authors note that most religions are explicitly pro-natal. It is possible that religious women have internalized these values and simply choose to have more children than secular women do.</p><p>This idea is similar to a potential interpretation of why large social networks have the opposite effect for secular women. The authors suggest that, in some cases, these more extensive social networks are associated with work and exert an anti-natal influence. Again, the people who build such networks may be people unlikely to have large families under any circumstances.</p><p>However, the researchers' hypothesis endured. The help religious women get from their church-based social networks allows them to have larger families than those who lack these support systems. In some instances, these support systems also prevent the adverse effects of larger families. </p>
The community religion offers<p>As we've mentioned <a href="https://bigthink.com/culture-religion/what-is-secular-humanism" target="_blank">before</a>, religion offers a community, and a community provides social capital. As religion continues to decline in the West, the social bonds of faith communities that used to tie social communities together begin to decay. However, as has been noted by a variety of observers for the last few decades, fewer and fewer new organizations appear ready to replace religion as a source of community in our lives.</p><p>While many different organizations might offer social support that religion once provided the whole of western society, this study shows that different social circles can differently affect the people in them. This finding must be considered by those trying to find new communities to join or the authors of future research. </p><p>The community offered by religious groups provides real benefits to those who join them. As this study shows, having the support network religious community offers allows some parents to avoid pitfalls that bedevil those lacking similar support. It suggests that previous studies demonstrating that group ritual offers benefits like increased amounts of <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797612472910" target="_blank">group trust</a> and <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1069397103037002003" target="_blank">cooperation</a> are onto something and that those benefits have a variety of applications. </p><p>While this study is not without its blind spots, it offers a strong starting point for further investigations into the nature of ritual in our modern lives and how local support networks remain vital in our increasingly globalized world. </p>
A neuroscientist argues that da Vinci shared a disorder with Picasso and Rembrandt.
- A neuroscientist at the City University of London proposes that Leonardo da Vinci may have had exotropia, allowing him to see the world with impaired depth perception.
- If true, it means that Da Vinci would have been able to see the images he wanted to paint as they would have appeared on a flat surface.
- The finding reminds us that sometimes looking at the world in a different way can have fantastic results.
The study<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODc3Mjc2NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTA4MDg2NH0.T-98YvLjS9mUCQkgqHyV43Q7h_JIiubrev-Fp_0j4Pg/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C38%2C0%2C579&height=700" id="58346" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="674799ba34e115a2e9a3e94c366bfc26" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
The Virtuvian Man. Christopher Tyler suggests that Da Vinci used his own image as a template for the face in the drawing.
Vitruvian Man, by Leonardo da Vinci created c. 1480–1490<p><a href="https://www.city.ac.uk/people/academics/christopher-tyler" target="_blank">Professor Christopher Tyler</a> of the City University of London's optometry division analyzed six pieces of Renaissance art by or held to be images of Da Vinci, including the famous <em>Vitruvian Man. </em>By looking at the paintings, drawings, and statues and applying the same techniques optometrists use on patients, Tyler was able to conclude that the eyes of the men depicted were misaligned.</p><p> He concluded that, if the images he analyzed were truly reflective of how Da Vinci looked, that the great artist had a mild case of exotropia. </p>
How would this have helped him paint?<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b221010aa7688734d4d6a41f0df5933f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/j6F-sHhmfrY?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><a href="https://shileyeye.ucsd.edu/faculty/shira-robbins" target="_blank">Shira Robbins</a>, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of California at San Diego, who was not involved with the project, explained to <em><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/10/19/leonardo-da-vincis-genius-may-be-rooted-in-a-common-eye-disorder-new-study-says/?utm_term=.d3f44ed91c16" target="_blank">The Washington Post</a> </em>how individuals with exotropia often turn to additional information to help understand the world around them:</p><blockquote>"What happens in some people is when they're only using one eye . . . they develop other cues besides traditional depth perception to understand where things are in space, looking at color and shadow in a way that most of us who use both eyes at a time don't really appreciate." </blockquote><p>Dr. Robbins agrees that, if the artworks analyzed accurately depict Da Vinci, then he probably had exotropia.</p><p>If Da Vinci did have a mild form of the condition, which would allow him to focus with both eyes when concentrating and with one when relaxed, Tyler asserts that the famed artist could have viewed the world in two or three dimensions at will, showing him the world exactly as he would need to recreate it on a flat surface. Quite the superpower for an artist.</p>
Does this mean Da Vinci would have been a hack if he had normal eyesight?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xODc3MjY5NS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMjYwOTgxOH0.eSu3YBpCuaDj59-4lzSeZ1WgwtV2ETGiWHqczzW3how/img.png?width=980" id="9c323" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="edd4e9e9d9c1156a53242df6288d7cc0" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
A graph showing the difference in where each eye is focused for each painting, drawing, and statue used in the study. The larger the difference, the more pronounced the exotropia is in the image.<p>Not at all. What Dr. Tyler is suggesting is that the tendency of people who have exotropia to rely on using one eye to see the world and thereby lose some depth perception allowed Da Vinci to understand better how the three-dimensional objects in the world could be translated into a two-dimensional image on a canvas. This could account for some of Da Vinci's skill in depicting shadow and subtle changes in color, since he would have relied on these details to understand the world. <br><br>His polymathic brilliance extended far beyond art, and nobody is claiming that his ideas for flying machines, tanks, or <a href="http://www.da-vinci-inventions.com/davinci-inventions.aspx" target="_blank">other inventions </a>were at all influenced by a vision problem.</p>
How can we know this? He has been dead for five hundred years.<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c26fc51b0aebbcd6905593015fec79e5"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LRAptNtN9-A?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>There are reasons to be cautious anytime we make claims about people who are long dead. In this case, we have the bonus problem that we aren't 100 percent sure that the images used are supposed to look like Da Vinci. </p><p> That is the major caveat of the idea; all of the images used as evidence of his condition are assumed to look like him. While some of the images, like the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_(Verrocchio)" target="_blank"><em>David</em> by Andrea del Verrocchio</a>, are generally agreed to be based on Leonardo the other pictures are claimed to be reflective of him based only on his statement that "[The soul] guides the painter's arm and makes him reproduce himself, since it appears to the soul that this is the best way to represent a human being." </p><p>Tyler also argues that the portraits he claims are based on Da Vinci share similarities with the images generally accepted to be portraits of him; including similar hair and facial features. This lends weight to the idea that the artist incorporated his own traits into his artwork, including his vision problem. </p><p>Leonardo da Vinci was undoubtedly one of the greatest geniuses of all time. If he had exotropia, then it was merely a minor addition to his artistic skills. It does, however, give us a literal example of how people who look at the world differently can use that vantage point to their advantage to create things we all can appreciate. </p>
Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.
- The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
- Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>