How to Stay Healthy in New York City

Is New York City good for you? Plenty of us New Yorkers love our city dearly, but even the big city’s biggest fans probably have their suspicions about the ways in which it impacts their mental and physical health. With trash all over the streets, pollution in the air, and so many delicious eateries full […]
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Loyal Customers Give Second Chances

Customer Service Lesson
I arrived to check in at one of my favorite New York City hotels, only to be disappointed that the hotel was under extensive renovation. Instead of walking into a beautiful lobby, a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle on the street, I experienced unfinished construction and the smell of sawdust and paint. Their cool and trendy bar that was usually packed with “beautiful people,” was temporarily cut down to about a quarter of its size with very few customers.
As I approached the front desk, the always friendly staff greeted me with a smile. It was hard to be upset with the situation when the staff was so friendly and upbeat. Still, there was internal confusion in my mind. I had planned to invite my group back to the hotel for a drink later that night, and I could tell this wasn’t going to be the experience that I had planned for. Should I try and find another hotel or stay here?
I made my mind up to stay. The people were still the same. The front desk clerk who checked me in even recognized me from a prior visit. The staffs’ smiles and positive attitudes did a lot to make up for the shortcomings of the hotel.
Yet in spite of those great attitudes, this wasn’t a problem that they could smile about, apologize for and then fix right away. Every time I walked back into the hotel I experienced a negative reaction to the extensive renovations. Their sign that said, “We apologize for the inconvenience while we make our hotel a better place,” wasn’t working for me. And I think I know why.
Had the hotel informed me about the renovations ahead of time, I would have had the opportunity to choose to stay there or find another hotel before I arrived. And, my “inconvenience,” as they called it, was not reflected in the price that I was being charged. It was the same price as usual. And, for that same price, I could have stayed at one of the many other hotels in the area that were just as nice. By the way, upon checking out of the hotel, the front-desk staffer did a minor adjustment on my bill. A little sugar to help make the medicine go down. She expressed appreciation for me staying, in spite of the construction, and hoped I would return.
Will I return? Yes, and here is why. As mentioned, the staff was friendly, apologetic and empathetic to the situation. Their attitudes made things better. And, that is very important. Also, we have a relationship. The front desk staff recognized me from my last visit. While they couldn’t fix the problem on the spot, I have a positive past experience and relationship with the hotel, and the staff’s attitude is always positive. That’s enough to earn them another chance. Still, when I make my next reservation, I’ll ask about renovations and construction. And even if I’m told they are finished, until I get there, I won’t know for sure.
As I think about this story, there are several lessons we can learn from it. When the consistent and predictable experience becomes inconsistent and unpredictable, consider the following:
A good attitude helps smooth over the negative situation.
You are only as good as the last interaction you had with your customer. Each time the customer walks through your doors, calls you or interacts with you in any way, it’s a new chance to prove they made the right decision to do business with you.
A history of positive experiences is helpful.
Any type of relationship, however small, will aid in gaining back the customer’s confidence.

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NYC arrest video shows ex-tennis pro being thrown to ground

NEW YORK (AP) — Video surveillance released Friday of the mistaken arrest of former tennis star James Blake shows a plainclothes police officer who has a history of excessive-force complaints grabbing Blake by the arm and tackling him to the ground.
Officer James Frascatore's rough arrest of the hometown favorite outside a midtown Manhattan hotel on Wednesday prompted apologies from New York City's mayor and police commissioner.
Frascatore was the subject of four civilian complaints in a seven-month period of 2013, and he has been named in two federal civil rights lawsuits as being among a group of officers accused of beating, pepper spraying and falsely arresting two Queens men in separate incidents that year.
The surveillance footage shows Blake standing against a silver post outside the Grand Hyatt New York when Frascatore approaches suddenly, grabs Blake, spins him around and throws him to the ground.
Stephen Davis, the NYPD's top spokesman, released the video Friday and said Blake was interviewed by internal affairs detectives Thursday night.
Frascatore, who has four years on the force and previously worked as a police officer in Florida, was the officer who arrested Blake, a law enforcement official confirmed Friday.Read more on

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Sorry Bratton, You Can’t Say Race Has Nothing To Do With This

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton has expressed unambiguous concern since news broke of some of his cops wrongfully slamming former tennis star James Blake to the ground outside his Manhattan hotel on Wednesday.The officers had been on the lookout for someone else for cellphone-related crimes before a co-operating witness misidentified Blake as the criminal. The police then tackled and temporarily detained Blake, causing him to suffer cuts and bruises as a result of the incident.Bratton has called the alleged incident “very disturbing” and said Blake “has a right to be upset about it.” The NYPD’s Internal Affairs division has since begun an investigation, and one of the officers involved in the incident has been placed on modified assignment. Bratton wants to apologize to Blake personally. “I will not tolerate any type of excessive use of force on the part of my police,” Bratton declared Wednesday.But during an interview on CNN’s “New Day” Thursday morning, Bratton had a different, more defiant message to impart — one that should rightfully worry any person of color in New York City, as well as all their family and friends. "Sorry, race has nothing at all to do with this," he said."If you look at the photograph of the suspect, it looks like the twin brother of Mr. Blake. So let's put that nonsense to rest right now,” he added.Fmr tennis star mistakenly tackled by NYPD: @CommissBratton: Race has nothing to do with this.— New Day (@NewDay) September 10, 2015In response, we say: Sorry Bratton, you can’t say race has nothing to do with this, and we can’t put it to rest right now.You can say you don’t think race played a factor, or that you think it’s unlikely it did. You can say that you don’t think the cops are racist, or that the police officers don’t think race played a role in the issue. That would all be, if not fine, at least justifiable.But to dismiss outright any and all concerns that race played a role in NYPD police officers tackling a black man who was once the No. 4 tennis player in the world — that you cannot do.Blake, who has a black father and white mother, has downplayed the role race played in the incident, instead choosing to focus on the tactics employed by the officers.“To me it’s as simple as unnecessary police force, no matter what my race is,” Blake said in his initial conversation with The New York Daily News. “In my mind there’s probably a race factor involved, but no matter what, there’s no reason for anybody to do that to anybody.” There is no way to definitively state race played a factor. But the likelihood is high enough to necessitate the discussion Bratton doesn't want. Every day, implicit racial biases guide our interactions, police officers included. They alter how we talk to people of other races, how we view them and treat them, especially in moments of crisis.To act like they don't exist is not only lazy, it is dangerous and a recipe for flawed policy, especially when you run the police department of the country's largest city.Study after study has shown how these implicit racial biases shape us. Just last month, the Pew Research Center released evidence that nearly half of white people have a subconscious bias toward other white people. A study published in the the American Economic Review in 2005 noted that 61 studies together found a tangible link between these implicit bias and how we act.There are many more examples of such implicit biases too. Studies have found that “an ambiguous shove” is seen as more violent if the shover is black rather than white. They have found people are more likely to shoot an unarmed black person than an unarmed white person and that they are also less likely to shoot a white armed person than a black armed person. They have found an all-white jury is much more likely to convict a black defendant than a white defendant, and that white people judge black people’s résumés more harshly.There is also evidence that police officers are prone to use excessive force against black youths in particular. A study published last year in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology asked police officers, most of whom were white and male, to take a number of tests related to implicit bias. The researchers found that officers on average wanted to use much more force against black youths than white or Latino youths. Then, there's Bratton’s “twin brother” comment. Multiple studies have shown that people of one race have more difficulty distinguishing people of another race than they do their own. This bias, known as the other-race or cross-race effect, could easily guide not just Bratton’s assessment, but those of the officers and co-operating witnesses.In The New York Times earlier this year, the economist Sendhil Mullainathan discussed how moments of panic — like, say, running to arrest an alleged criminal — can lead to some of our most prejudiced decisions.“To use the language of the psychologist Daniel Kahneman, we think both fast and slow,” Mullainathan wrote. “When deciding what iPod to buy or which résumé to pursue, we weigh a few factors deliberately (‘slow’). But for hundreds of other factors, we must rely on intuitive judgment — and we weigh these unconsciously (‘fast’).”“Even if, in our slow thinking, we work to avoid discrimination, it can easily creep into our fast thinking,” he added. “Our snap judgments rely on all the associations we have — from fictional television shows to news reports. They use stereotypes, both the accurate and the inaccurate, both those we would want to use and ones we find repulsive.”These biases are everywhere and in all of us, including within the officers who took down Blake on Wednesday. To ignore them, to not even discuss them, is to ignore the truth. And to admit them, or to at least admit they could exist, is not to admit to racism. It is to admit that the only way to reduce bias is to struggle with it.In 2013, Forest Whitaker was frisked down by a New York City deli employee who wrongly believed the Academy Award-winning actor had shoplifted. The following month, Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote in The New York Times about the inherent danger in “the idea that racism lives in the heart of particularly evil individuals, as opposed to the heart of a democratic society." The lesson in these moments, Coates argued, is not that a single deli employee or police officer is prejudiced. It is that they aren't so different from many of us.For many white people, discussing racial prejudice is awkward and uncomfortable, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't do it. In fact, it's the exact reason why we should. Also on HuffPost:– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Where to Start a Tech Startup

Planning a tech startup? Then as an entrepreneur, you must have many concerns such as funding, developing a marketing strategy, ensuring that you provide good service, etc. However, one of the most important decisions which you will have to make is to choose the right geographic location for your tech startup.
Location is important for a number of reasons. First of all, you will need to consider the office costs, the tax and legal incentives, and access to incubator programs. All these are important issues to consider for business especially if you are just starting. I researched data provided by Simply Business to compile the numbers that round out the top startup ecosystems.
Here is a list of top ten places where you should start your tech startup in the U.S.
1. San Francisco and the Bay Area
The San Francisco bay area is home to a large number of leading companies such as Pandora and Craigslist. The city of San Francisco is most ideal for a tech startup as the place attracts young people due to its vibrant and lively atmosphere. It does not cost much to build an IT business with the accompanying infrastructure so you might as well think of starting your tech startup here.
No. of Startups: 11,722

2. San Jose
Silicon Valley serves to be the birthplace of countless internet startup companies and continues to be the most popular place to start up a tech market. It is filled with the leading IT startup communities. Some of the major IT businesses such as Facebook, Google, and PayPal can be found here. The area is packed with talented entrepreneurs who daily venture a large sum of capital money.
No. of Startups: 980

3. New York
Over the years, the mayors of NYC have worked hard to make the city look appealing and attractive to tourists, investors, and the entertainment industries. New York City is quickly becoming one of the largest IT markets and IT hubs for these industries. The many media conglomerates that are spread across Madison Avenue help the nearing small IT businesses to flourish, making it one of the most successful areas to start a tech startup.
No. of Startups: 7,584

4. Boston
Boston continues to be one of the major IT hubs. Surrounded by the prestigious MIT, many of the tech start-up companies here have been created by MIT graduates who decided that they wanted to stay in New England.
No. of Startups: 2,334

5. Los Angeles
Initially Los Angeles was not famous for being an IT hub but over the years it has cultivated a thriving media and entertainment industry along with becoming a popular location for tech startups.
No. of Startups: 5,054

6. Washington D.C
Home to the federal government, DC has established itself a busy market. A lot of IT companies have flourished in the region mainly because of the heavy influence of the federal government and the strong interest in security.
No. of Startups: 1,133

7. Seattle
Seattle is home to many headquarters of hi-tech companies such as Microsoft. A large number of successful entrepreneurs are found in these regions and it serves to be the home of many start-up companies.
No. of Startups: 1,080

8. Austin
Finally, Austin is famous for having a thriving startup market. Many leading companies such as RetailMeNot and NetSpend started off as successful startup companies here. Austin is home to a vibrant young crowd filled with talented individuals who make the location ideal of a tech startup.
No. of Startups: 1,339

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Premium Pictures of 4th of July Fireworks in NYC

NEW YORK—It all started early afternoon when the most tenacious spectators arrived at the East River waterfront in New York City to grab the sweetest spots for watching the spectacle. About eight hours later, when the darkness fell and the early birds were surrounded by thousands upon thousands, the first sparklers launched from several barges gently rocking on the water—Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks was on!
To celebrate Independence Day, Macy’s has been putting on the show for 35 years. The fireworks show lasts about 30 minutes and is synchronized to music broadcast live by NBC and also made available Macy’s website.
Gasps and exclamations from the audience enhance the excitement while many a spectator donning stars, stripes, and national colors lend the experience to patriotic overtones.
Gary Souza, producer of the show and vice president of Pyro Spectaculars by Souza, a California-based family company that’s been putting on the New York fireworks for the past 30 years, shared with Epoch Times last year some secrets of his art.
The most magical part is the synchronization with music, Souza said. He first picks the songs and then choreographs the fireworks in his mind. “It’s almost like having videos in your brain,” he said. Then the songs are broken into segments and specific fireworks are fit in.
In the last stage pyrotechnics spend dozens of hours to program a digital launching system to achieve the synchronization. And, of course, all of the individual projectiles have to be manually wired and prepared for launch. Quite a feat of engineering for 30 minutes of fun.

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The Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide for Doing Business in the Big Apple

Your company can and should be based anywhere, but if you really want to grow, you need to consider opening a satellite office in New York City. The Big Apple can be a bit intimidating — believe me, I’m from the Midwest and am pretty familiar with the transition — but once you realize that all you need to do is think a little larger and work a little faster, you’ll be happy to see your business flourish.
According to Thomson Reuters, having a New York presence is essential to connecting with large enterprises. And if you take a look at New York’s growing startup culture, you’ll realize just how welcoming it is to smaller businesses. Take WeWork, a New York-based company that provides shared office space for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups, and small businesses. It recently raised $355 million before growing to be worth billions. Or you can look to any of the 11 new companies taking advantage of the state’s new START-UP NY program.
Bottom line: New York has long been considered a city of opportunity, and if your company is going to reach its full potential, you’re going to have to take a bite out of the Big Apple.
Breaking Into the Big Apple
In principle, doing business in New York is like doing it anywhere else — except that it happens a lot faster and on a bigger scale. If you’re already an aggressive entrepreneur, this won’t come as much of a surprise. In fact, you’ll probably relish the challenge.
New York is full of overpromising and underdelivering. As Midwesterners, we naturally do the opposite — we set reasonable expectations and meet or surpass them — which many New York businesses appreciate as a valuable trait. Once we’d gotten beyond the cultural issue, it was just a matter of getting up to speed on New York business trends.
Doing Big City Business the Midwestern Way
While doing business in New York isn’t much different from anywhere else, there are a few tips that will help you to achieve success in the Big Apple:
1. Provide a great customer experience.
Gaining loyal customers in a larger, more fast-paced city can be difficult. Traditional marketing is useful, but nothing beats providing a high-quality customer experience. Get to know your customers personally, and find out why they came to you. Then, provide them with the best possible solutions.
2. Maintain contact as much as possible.
In the hubbub of the big city, it can be easy for your company to fade into the background. Avoid this by continually adding value and staying in front of the customer.
Provide a constant stream of useful and entertaining web content, such as blog posts, videos, podcasts, and whatever else it takes to stay top of mind. Good communication goes a long way in New York.
3. Be authentic.
I have some clients in Brooklyn who simply appreciate how we do business. It’s not a secret — it’s simple honesty. We try to provide authenticity, business intelligence, and a good ROI. We inform our clients about what’s going on in a timely manner, and in doing so, we’ve earned their trust.
4. Overcome cultural barriers.
Let’s face it. Almost everyone in New York assumes Midwesterners think slow, talk slow, and move slow. So you have to prove that you can keep up with everything from holding a conversation to participating in the marketplace.
New York provides the opportunity to exponentially grow your business because — let’s face it — the city is one of the most impressive in terms of innovation and finance. While you may think breaking into it is an insurmountable task, it’s actually pretty simple. In the end, it’s all about thinking fast and thinking big.

Image Credit: Flickr/Zoli Juhasz

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A Founder’s Guide to the New York Startup Scene [ INFOGRAPHIC ]

Whether you’re just about to start a company or you’re hoping to expand, setting up shop in New York City may be the best logical step for you and your company. Or, maybe, you’re at a point during which your location decision comes down to either Silicon Valley or Silicon Alley. Whatever the case, it’s important that you, as a founder, know as much about the New York startup ecosystem before fully committing to planting roots in the city. Thankfully, there’s now a handy infographic that gives founders (and potential founders) a general yet informative overview of the New York startup scene.
When it comes to resources, community, and funding, the New York startup economy comes in second behind Silicon Valley – this is a widely-known fact. With city-backed initiatives like Digital.NYC which aim to provide the city’s tech sector and greater local economy with the resources to help accelerate growth, and organically-developed organizations like New York Tech Meetup that unify the whole startup economy, a decision to startup in NYC essentially becomes a decision to become part of the economical history of our modern tech renaissance.
In the infographic below, you’ll find the most recent stats on the state of venture capital in NYC, the names of prominent accelerators and tech-focused organizations in the city, and even a list of some food hangout spots recommended by New York startup leaders. Here’s the infographic on a founder’s guide to the New York startup scene:

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