New York City Economy Matters More Than Next Mayor: Muni Credit
Ailing New York City Opera fears bankruptcy
My early performances with New York City Opera were what really kicked off my international career, and I look back on those days with enormous pride, Domingo said. The company has done incredible work for so many decades, and it has played an essential role in New Yorks cultural scene for millions of opera lovers. It would be an absolute tragedy for that legacy to come to an end. The operas finances were devastated during the term of Susan Baker, who chaired its board from December 2003 until Charles Wall took over in December 2010. The company used part of its endowment to pay expenses. Given deteriorating economics caused partly by the financial crisis, the 2009-2010 season was cut to five productions and 33 performances, and the schedule only slightly increased for 2010-2011. The company then left Lincoln Center and is in its third season of performing at a variety of venues. Known for innovation and feistiness, New York City Opera became a vehicle for young American singers to gain attention. It presented a number of world premieres, including Jack Beesons Lizzie Borden, and under Steel it has staged the U.S. premiere of Rufus Wainwrights Prima Donna as well as a provocative adaptation of Thomas Ades Powder Her Face that included a couple of dozen naked men. Mark-Anthony Turnages Anna Nicole, which premiered at Covent Garden in February 2011, showcased New York City Opera at its best sassy, profane and entertaining. But this could be the end for the company. Anna Nicole runs through Saturday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In danger of cancelation are Johann Christian Bachs Endimione at El Museo del Barrio from Feb. 8 to 16, Bartoks Bluebeards Castle at Brooklyns St. Anns Warehouse from Feb.
New York City Air Quality The Best In 50 Years, Announces Mayor Bloomberg
5 will choose a successor to Mayor Michael Bloomberg , 71, whose 12-year tenure ends Dec. 31. Whoever takes office in January must resolve lapsed contracts for 300,000 public workers, with some union leaders clamoring for retroactive raises that Bloomberg has said may cost as much as $8 billion. A growing local economy and civil servants who work through different administrations will help tackle the fiscal challenges, said Clark Wagner, fixed-income director at First Investors Management Co. in New York. New York will be able to grow its way out of some of these issues, said Wagner, whose firm manages $1.5 billion of municipal debt. The city has an incredibly professional and experienced set of managers who are not going to change because of the election. Voting Battle Democrat Bill de Blasio, 52, the citys public advocate, faces Republican Joseph Lhota, 58, a top aide to former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani , in a battle to lead the city of 8.3 million. Bloomberg, an independent who is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, is legally barred from seeking a fourth term. New York is selling into the biggest rally for muni debt since 2012 after the Federal Reserve delayed plans to reduce its monthly bond purchases. The New York issue offered preliminary yields of 4.18 percent on 20-year debt, according to three people familiar with the sale who requested anonymity because pricing wasnt final. That was 0.31 percentage point more than benchmark munis, down from 0.72 percentage point in July. First Investors may buy some of the bonds, Wagner said. Moodys Investors Service and Standard & Poors assess New York two steps below top-rated bonds, after both companies raised the rating three times during Bloombergs tenure.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg attributed the transformative results to his 2007 project, PlaNYC , an initiative aimed at creating sustainable green reforms around the city from better air quality to more affordable housing. “Our PlaNYC agenda set an ambitious goal of having the cleanest air among the largest U.S. cities,” BLoomberg said at a Climate Week event in the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers. “Today’s results show that we have already made major progress towards that goal, which is saving lives and improving the health of New Yorkers.” In the city’s Community Air Survey , officials found that levels of sulfur dioxide in the air have dropped by 69 percent since 2008 and the level of soot pollution in the air has dropped by 23 percent thanks, in large part, to PlaNYC’s Clean Heat program, which was aimed at reducing pollution heavy heating oils. Clean Heat was successful thanks to three key reforms: decreased amounts of toxic heating oils, lowered sulfur content in heating oils and expanded natural gas supplies and local gas distribution. Over 2,700 polluting buildings have phased out toxic heating oils as of 2011 and there are currently 2,500 buildings working on conversions, even though the estimated 10,000 buildings in the city that burn toxic heating oils have until 2030 to make their reforms. The cleaner air, Bloomberg said, is estimated to prevent as much as 800 deaths and 2,000 hospital visits due to lung and cardiovascular diseases annually, compared to 2008 records. Manhattan, northern Queens and the South Bronx achieved the greatest improvement in air quality through natural gas conversions. “The substantial reductions in air pollution we’re seeing translate into healthier New Yorkers who are breathing cleaner air,” said Michael Seilback, Vice President for Public Policy and Communications at the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “As more buildings convert to cleaner burning fuels, we will see even greater health benefits.” To capitalize off of this momentum, the Department of Environment Protection also sent a proposed update to New York City’s Air Code to the City Council. If enacted, this update will be the first major revision to the code in 38 years. The new code will update emission standards and focus on the most notorious sources of pollution like commercial cooking establishments.