Morning Bulletin: Plastic Bags Banned, Congestion Pricing Passes, Yoga Instructor Accused

Amsterdam Avenue was packed on Saturday as Upper West Siders enjoyed the first spring-like weather of the year. Photo by Stephen Harmon.

April 1, 2019 Weather: Sunny with a high of 48 degrees.

A free film with a live hip hop concert, a free flute concert and more than 50 other local events are on our calendar.

West Side Rag has been having some email troubles, so emails to and other addresses may bounce back for now. In the interim, just use westsiderag at gmail.

A mobile Girl Scout Cookie truck will be parked at 116th and Broadway on Saturday April 6 from 1 to 5.

The state passed a budget with lots of new fees and laws, including a plastic-bag ban, congestion pricing and new taxes on homes worth $2 million and up. “The congestion pricing deal deferred many of the difficult decisions — how much to charge drivers and who will receive exemptions — to the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority and a new traffic mobility review board. Eighty percent of the revenue will be directed to the subway and bus network, and 10 percent each to the Long Island Rail Road and the Metro-North Railroad.” We’ll be reporting more on whether locals will get parking permits once congestion pricing is in effect.

But the pied-a-terre tax paid by people who have pricey second homes in the city died after lobbying by real estate industry. “Developers hired well-connected lobbyists and presented legislators with printouts of economic analyses. They wrote opinion pieces and warned that the high-end market, already weakened, would collapse under the weight of a recurring surcharge.”

A lawsuit claims that a yoga instructor groped someone taking his class at a local studio. “Melyssa Hurley claims an instructor at Equinox’s Pure Yoga on West 77th Street made “inappropriate adjustments” to her during a Vinyasa yoga class in 2018, according to her Manhattan Supreme court lawsuit.” The instructor, who the suit says was fired, didn’t immediately get back to the Post but the company told them “Pure Yoga takes claims of this nature very seriously and maintains a zero-tolerance policy for any inappropriate behavior in our studios.”

Local woman Ruth Rosner celebrated her 103rd birthday. “I have never stopped learning, I have never stopped caring, and my overall message is that love will overcome hate, greed, lust and all of the other miserable things we’re in,” she said. Happy Birthday Ruth!

NEWS | 36 comments | permalink
    1. Natali says:

      Mazel Tov, Ruth Rosner! May you live to 120!

    2. Leon says:

      Passing congestion pricing without hammering out the details makes no sense. Because the devil is in the details. They need to be sure to have a number of carve outs but if there are too many carve outs it won’t make any money. Now the lobbying begins about the specific details. It is not like they haven’t already had enough time to figure this out.

      • Billy Amato says:

        Exactly what I’ve been saying…

        Nothing makes sense with this!
        There are so many walls here.

      • alice swann says:

        I think they “have to pass it so we can see what’s in it.”

    3. Jen says:

      They wrote opinion pieces and warned that the high-end market, already weakened, would collapse under the weight of a recurring surcharge.”
      So we care how much this high-end market will collapse? Aren’t we for supply and demand? Artificially inflating high-amenity market makes no sense. Especially when some people claim “it is all about providing more housing”. Sure, more housing for 5-percenters whose second homes being no tax revenue to the city. And it all becomes a burden of already burdened middle class

      • Confused says:

        But they do, Jen. They pay real estate tax based on the value of their property. They pay condo fees that support jobs for local doorpeople and maintenance folks. And they use much less of the city’s services (they don’t send their kids to the local public schools, they don’t leave their cars parked on the streets, they don’t congest the subways & buses). These are ideal people – they pay into the coffers but don’t use any of the subsidized services!

        • Jen says:

          We all pay the above mentioned taxes in addition to income taxes which these people will not pay.
          But this is a minor point. The main point is why do we have to support and artificially maintain market of high-end real estate?

      • Chuck says:

        Right on, Jen! One of these days maybe common sense will take over. (Is this a naive belief?)

    4. UWS Resident says:

      Instead of charging drivers this vague “congestion pricing” to help fund the subway and bus network – why don’t we first try to solve the problem by cracking down on fare evaders??!

      Those individuals who use the NYC subway and bus network – and consistently refuse to pay their fare – should be fined! Why ignore that very obvious problem, and punish others??

      It is ridiculous and unfair to those of us who have to pay for subway and bus fare – including increasingly expensive monthly passes. We are also the ones who will have to cough up more money when the inevitable fare hike happens.

      How many millions of $ per year are lost to fare evaders who completely cheat the system? Time to impose fines and consequences, instead of band-aid solutions.

      • Christian says:

        How many indeed? Do you often witness fare evasion?

      • UWS Dad says:

        Christian, I see it at least once a week, at both the 96th St and 50th St subway stations on the 1 line.

        • noweeman says:

          Only once a week?! I feel like I see it almost every day, sometimes multiples a day. Some people barely skip a beat hopping the turnstile, some groups have one person pay (or hop) and then open the door to let their friends in. I guess if the city doesn’t issue a summons, then it didn’t happen – isn’t that how it works now?

        • Public Transport user says:

          I see fare-evasion every single day. Without fail.

          I take the bus 4 times a day, and there is at least 1 person on EACH of those bus trips who does not pay a fare.

          I also regularly see people walk in through the subway gates (1, B and C lines, for example), and avoid paying any subway fare.

          The MTA loses $225 million++ a year because of those fare-evaders.

          Instead of some ridiculous congestion pricing, why not first crack down on MTA fare evasion?? Time for the MTA to impose fines and other consequences!

    5. John says:

      They want to wait till after the midterms for the 12-15 dollar fee to start when going south of 61st street. This is going to cause so much more traffic north of 61st street. Vote them all out

    6. sam says:

      1. Congestion Pricing. In theory a good idea, but in reality and practice, not. The very large majority of vehicles in the city business zones (midtown/downtown) where the congestion occurs are commercial (that includes Uber, Via etc.). The toll will have little effect in limiting that congestion. The devil will indeed be in the details. It will unfair to tax drivers who want nothing more than to avoid the business districts, but have to touch them to get to other zones (e.g. driving from UWS to NJ). Even the proposal to give a credit on the congestion fee in the amount of the tunnel toll paid by those entering the district is nonsensical: it punishes those who want to leave the city(!), but exempts those who want to come in. And even the credit isn’t logical, as it discourages carpooling, as you lose the considerable tunnel toll savings you would have gained by carpooling. At the very least, they should make the congestion toll time-based — why should someone entering the zone at 5AM on Saturday morning, pay the same as one entering the zone at 10:30 AM in a Monday morning? And, I already have heard from many friends/family from NJ and Long Island who come into the city on weekends that they will simply “park on the UES or UWS” and take the subway/Uber. They really need to figure this out.

      2. Plastic Bags. A good idea in theory, though it will essentially act as a burden on the very many folks (like myself) who recycle the plastic bags for use as garbage and storage bags! I am simply going to have to buy more plastic garbage and storage bags. It wont change the amount of plastic I currently use. Rather, they should ban the cheap plastic bags that rip easily and aren’t strong enough for reuse.

      • Amelia says:

        Ditto. I use them for garbage too. And no plastic attracts rats.

        • Michael Hobson says:

          Only clueless agenda driven NY(C) politicians attract rats, as we well know. 😀 Happy Spring!

        • Sammy UWS says:

          you guys & gals here, need to run for nyc politicians. Wow, many of you can forecast the future!!!

          CONGESTIVE PRICING: is going to LOWER business from the core of the city. everyone will have to pay more for products, services and deliveries, of course drivers that need to go into the toll area are going to pass it down to all!! yup including walkers, runners, MTA-ers and bikers(don’t get me started on bike lanes that just needed to be painted over the very costly congestion making new bike lanes)

          PLASTIC BAG BAN: you guys read my mind! with no plastic bags, rats are going to multiple very quickly, till they get so big, they will be eating humans!!

      • StevenCinNYC says:

        Good points about congestion pricing. I agree completely. Additionally, it penalizes people who live in Manhattan and pay taxes here, and incentivizes people outside Manhattan to come into the business district for free. That’s why I think the only exemptions should be for people who live in the zone. Plus, all the major downtown arteries are already backed up all day, as is 96th on the East Side and most of 125th so I think the zone should be everything below 126th. 61st makes no sense as it will just make it more congested and parking more expensive/competitive. Traffic above 125th is not bad, and there could be room for some municipal parking facilities near major subway stops.

      • KatieInNY says:

        There is no place to park on the UES or the UWS. The. Ike lanes pretty much took lot what little extra parking there was. And the garages charge $50 a day to park so good luck with that plan!

    7. Alice says:

      ..and what will happen to the elderly or disabled who can’t take public transportation and need to take cabs, perhaps to the Dr.

    8. N L Lowe says:

      Tired of being surcharge to boost the subway system which has no oversight and has never been finally prudent. Millions ride the city’s transit system daily. Where does the money go? Also bike racks and bike lanes on the the busiest streets cause congestion. Then drivers get charged and i’m willing to bet it won’t alleviate congestion. This city is outpricing itself for the middle class.

    9. Shmuel says:

      Another nonsense idea to bail out the subways. Watch
      Meanwhile, the surcharge on taxis to fund the subways is chugging along with ridership down drastically, especially for short trips and the ones being badly hurt, the taxi drivers, who have no voice because they are now, mostly immigrants and no one cares. this came at a time when drivers have been committing suicide because of lost earnings and the value of medallions plummeting because of Uber, etc. Uber, etc. has drastically added to the congestion problem which supposedly is one reason for the tax… and around it goes. No answers here, just complaints and frustration. Between the no-show mayor and that fool in Albany whose only method is to divide and conquer, I can tell you, for sure, it is good to be old, an interested detached observer

    10. Anne Bard says:

      Great photo by Stephen Harmon! He captures the spirit of the city like no one else!

    11. Chrigid says:

      What we need are biodegradable plastic bags.
      Banning the so-called “single use” plastic bags of today puts a burden on the ordinary citizen who needs them in order to:

      1.] store produce in the fridge
      2.] store compostables in the freezer (also goldfish & hamsters)
      3.] carry breakables in wet weather
      4.] send leftovers home with guests
      5.] carry flowers and damp plants
      6] dispose of kitty litter
      7.] dispose of dog poop

      Looking at this minimal list, I’d say a “single-use” plastic bag has three or four uses before it becomes a nuisance or a danger.

    12. UWS Dad says:

      The main consequence of the plastic bag ban will be EVEN MORE dog waste on our streets.

    13. Babs says:

      What are the charter buses going to pay? They are also responsible for congestion, especially in the theater district.

    14. Carolyn says:

      Congestion pricing would work if there were large garages near uptown subway stations (way uptown) where people could park and take the trains into town. New, clean, safe, with elevators and even jitneys to get to the train stations nearby.Minimal cost to park, with a free round trip bus or train fare in return.

      • StevenCinNYC says:

        Yes, I think it’s a very good idea. I think the zone should be 126th and up and there should be municipal parking lots, just as you say, near key subway stops on 126th for 125 stops and near 168, etc.

    15. Lizza says:

      Are taxi’s already charging a surcharge? Above 72nd street?

      • MikeDNYC says:

        Lizza: Yes, surcharge already in effect in taxies and Ubers any time you enter one below 96th Street or cross south into 96th Street.

    16. Kathleen says:

      Lots of ideas here about congestion pricing and plastic bags. I hope those thoughts are being sent to your Reps in the legislature and not just as complaints here at WSR.

    17. The W. 80th St. Block Association/Billy Amato says:

      Hey Governor Cuomo and fellow New Yorkers did you ever think how New Jersey Government/Connecticut Government is going to respond to this ????

      New Yorkers are going to be charged going to New Jersey and Connecticut now!!!