A water main break turned several streets in the Upper West Side near Lincoln Center into rivers early Monday, flooding the basements of several buildings and shutting down subway lines.
The FDNY received a call around 5 a.m. about a leaking fire hydrant at 1881 Broadway, but officials realized the problem was far more severe due to the volume of calls about the flooding, a fire official said at a press conference.
What firefighters discovered was that a 3-foot-wide main broke at Broadway at 63rd Street, spewing water across a wide swath — flooding parking garages, the 1, 2 and 3 subways and a number of basements, said Vincent Sapienza, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection.
It took about three hours to finally stem the flow because shut-off valves are located in manholes, which were submerged, making them difficult to access, he said.
“We’re going to have Broadway southbound, the west side of Broadway closed down probably for a few days as we open up the street and make repairs,” Sapienza said. “While this water main is shut off, we’ll have water from other areas.”
He said residents might experience discolored water as a result of the “shaking of the pipes,” advising them to let the faucets run for a few minutes to help clear the harmless debris.
Workers will have to open up the pavement to reach the affected main and make repairs, he said.
“It will likely take a few days to actually have that work done and the street restored,” Sapienza said.
The flooding was still wreaking havoc in the area while the DEP worked to drain the water, which was six inches high in some spots. The water was flowing from east to west from Central Park West to Broadway.
Officials closed off part of Lincoln Center as well as the Fordham campus. At one point the water was so overwhelming it turned Broadway into “a river” according to some passers-by on their way to work.
At the SP Parking garage at 62nd Street, several vehicles were submerged.
“My car … oh my God!” a distraught woman yelled as she ran down the ramp only to be stopped by attendants.
“Insurance will cover it,” one attendant said.
Commuters also were annoyed by lingering delays, particularly those who work in the area as whole sections of Broadway are being detoured.
“It’s crazy, you need a boat or something to get through. I didn’t end wear boots today and now we got all this … It’s dirty, too. The water’s brown. It better not be sewer water,” Michael Romero, 27, of The Bronx told The Post.
Its net population grew by 141,300, to 39.96 million. That’s a increase of just 0.35 percent, down from 0.57 percent growth over the prior 12 months. Together, the two years mark California’s smallest growth in more than a century.
Here in New York, meanwhile, taxpayers also bear some of the nation’s highest tax burdens. And guess what: This state has long been watching its share of the national population shrink.
No, taxes alone aren’t to blame: Both states, for example, are famous for their progressive policies, hostility to businesses and onerous mandates.
Gov. Cuomo even cites New York’s weather, versus, say, Florida’s — though chilly Midwestern states like Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota aren’t facing significant chronic out-migration, and it’s not likely many Californians are fleeing for warmer climes.
Fact is, year after year, large majorities of the remaining voters in both states elect pols who push through yet more progressive policies, higher taxes and stiff mandates. Expect the rest to keep on voting with their feet.
The Pentagon wants US military personnel to stay out of the booming market for home DNA tests.
The Department of Defense recently warned service members that test kits like those offered by Ancestry and 23AndMe could pose security risks to military operations.
Such direct-to-consumer tests “are largely unregulated and could expose personal and genetic information, and potentially create unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission,” defense officials wrote in a Dec. 20 memo.
The do-it-yourself tests generally use a saliva sample to determine the user’s ethnic heritage and risks for certain health problems. Some tests have led people to find family members whom they didn’t know.
Testing companies have been marketing the kits to defense personnel with military discounts and other incentives, according to the memo. But “possible inaccuracies” in the tests make them risky for military personnel, who are required to disclose medical information that affects their readiness to serve, Pentagon officials wrote.
“Moreover, there is increased concern in the scientific community that outside parties are exploiting the use of genetic data for questionable purposes, including mass surveillance and the ability to track individuals without their authorization or awareness,” said the memo, which Yahoo News first reported.
The popularity of at-home DNA tests has exploded in recent years More than 26 million people had taken one by the end of this January, and companies offering them sold as many in 2018 as in all prior years combined, according to the MIT Technology Review.
Ancestry and 23AndMe are the largest players in an industry that was worth more than $750 million last year, according to an estimate from Infinium Global Research. The two companies had tested a total of 23 million people through January of this year, while their competitors had only tested 3.5 million, MIT has reported.
23AndMe did not respond to a request for comment on the Pentagon’s memo. But Ancestry spokeswoman Gina Spatafore said protecting users’ privacy and data is the company’s “highest priority.”
“Ancestry does not share customer DNA data with insurers, employers, or third-party marketers,” Spatafore said in an email. “Ancestry will also not share customer personal information with law enforcement unless compelled to by valid legal process, such as a court order or search warrant.”
Robert De Niro sat down with Michael Moore on his new podcast Rumble with Michael Moore and again unloaded on President Donald Trump.
“There has not been one thing about this person that has been redeeming, as far as I can see,” De Niro said, before going off on Republicans for not standing up to him.
“Shame on them,” he said.
LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE:
At one point, he talked about the time he mused about punching Trump in the face, saying he didn’t mean it literally. He went on to tell Moore, “I’d like to see a bag of shit right in his face. Hit him right in the face like that, and let the picture go all over the world.”
“He needs to be humiliated,” De Niro continued. “He needs to be confronted and humiliated by whoever his opponent is… They have to stand up to him, they don’t have to do it in an obvious physical way, but they have to have the formidability to confront him and to put him in his place, because the people have to see that, to see him be humiliated.”
In our founding documents, Billy Graham explains that Christianity Today will help evangelical Christians interpret the news in a manner that reflects their faith. The impeachment of Donald Trump is a significant event in the story of our republic. It requires comment.
The typical CT approach is to stay above the fray and allow Christians with different political convictions to make their arguments in the public square, to encourage all to pursue justice according to their convictions and treat their political opposition as charitably as possible. We want CT to be a place that welcomes Christians from across the political spectrum, and reminds everyone that politics is not the end and purpose of our being. We take pride in the fact, for instance, that politics does not dominate our homepage.
That said, we do feel it necessary from time to time to make our own opinions on political matters clear—always, as Graham encouraged us, doing so with both conviction and love. We love and pray for our president, as we love and pray for leaders (as well as ordinary citizens) on both sides of the political aisle.
Let’s grant this to the president: The Democrats have had it out for him from day one, and therefore nearly everything they do is under a cloud of partisan suspicion. This has led many to suspect not only motives but facts in these recent impeachment hearings. And, no, Mr. Trump did not have a serious opportunity to offer his side of the story in the House hearings on impeachment.
But the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.
The reason many are not shocked about this is that this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration. He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals. He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone—with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders—is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.
Trump’s evangelical supporters have pointed to his Supreme Court nominees, his defense of religious liberty, and his stewardship of the economy, among other things, as achievements that justify their support of the president. We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear, in a way the Mueller investigation did not, that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath. The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see. This damages the institution of the presidency, damages the reputation of our country, and damages both the spirit and the future of our people. None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.
This concern for the character of our national leader is not new in CT. In 1998, we wrote this:
The President’s failure to tell the truth—even when cornered—rips at the fabric of the nation. This is not a private affair. For above all, social intercourse is built on a presumption of trust: trust that the milk your grocer sells you is wholesome and pure; trust that the money you put in your bank can be taken out of the bank; trust that your babysitter, firefighters, clergy, and ambulance drivers will all do their best. And while politicians are notorious for breaking campaign promises, while in office they have a fundamental obligation to uphold our trust in them and to live by the law.
Unsavory dealings and immoral acts by the President and those close to him have rendered this administration morally unable to lead.
Unfortunately, the words that we applied to Mr. Clinton 20 years ago apply almost perfectly to our current president. Whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election—that is a matter of prudential judgment. That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.
To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this: Remember who you are and whom you serve. Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior. Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency. If we don’t reverse course now, will anyone take anything we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to come? Can we say with a straight face that abortion is a great evil that cannot be tolerated and, with the same straight face, say that the bent and broken character of our nation’s leader doesn’t really matter in the end?
We have reserved judgment on Mr. Trump for years now. Some have criticized us for our reserve. But when it comes to condemning the behavior of another, patient charity must come first. So we have done our best to give evangelical Trump supporters their due, to try to understand their point of view, to see the prudential nature of so many political decisions they have made regarding Mr. Trump. To use an old cliché, it’s time to call a spade a spade, to say that no matter how many hands we win in this political poker game, we are playing with a stacked deck of gross immorality and ethical incompetence. And just when we think it’s time to push all our chips to the center of the table, that’s when the whole game will come crashing down. It will crash down on the reputation of evangelical religion and on the world’s understanding of the gospel. And it will come crashing down on a nation of men and women whose welfare is also our concern.
Can 20 U.S. senators withstand the potentially irresistible temptation to reverse the results of the 2016 election and remove a president a number of them openly or privately dislike?
Since Donald Trump announced his intention to run for the White House on June 16, 2015, many of the entrenched elites across the various power centers of Washington and beyond have spent many of their waking hours trying to stop or unseat him.
The political charade of an impeachment “investigation” is but the latest example. But that impeachment charade could harbor the greatest threat to Trump’s presidency.
Over the past week, I have heard from three seasoned Republicans who fear thatPresident Trump and the West Wing are seriously underestimating the potential danger of a Senate trial. Human nature and common sense dictate that, despite the well-meaning resolution circulated by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) condemning the House impeachment process, it’s important for the White House to understand that the weight of history is settling upon the shoulders of these senators — some of them quite weak — and because of that pressure, private conversations are taking place and a trap may be sprung for the president in that trial.
A potential trap set by seemingly loyal Republican senators.
Those I spoke with, like others, worry that the impeachment process, especially a potential conviction in the Senate, will forever poison the integrity of our constitutional and congressional processes and put every future president at risk of having his or her election reversed for partisan and ideological reasons.
But such is the lingering animosity about Trump by many in the GOP establishment, and there very well may be enough Republican senators willing to topple the first domino and set in motion a chain reaction — no matter the consequences.
In a speech to the American Enterprise Institute in October, former governor and U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley put her finger on the greater issue, saying in part, “President Trump is a disruptor. That makes some people very happy, and it makes some people very mad. … When I was in the administration, I served alongside colleagues who believed the best thing to do for America was to undermine and obstruct the president. Some wrote about it anonymously in The New York Times. Others just did it. They sincerely believed they were doing the right thing. I sincerely believed they weren’t. … No policy disagreement with him … justifies undermining the lawful authority that is vested in his office by the Constitution.”
What’s at stake, Haley said, “is not President Trump’s policies. What’s at stake is the Constitution.”
She is correct, but does all of this go beyond Trump being a disruptor? As we have witnessed, Trump is being opposed, called out and undermined through leaks by multiple anonymous and named sources from the “deep state,” his own National Security Council, former White House staff, former and current Pentagon, State Department and diplomatic officials, members of Congress and their staffs, and basically every other agency within the federal government.
There appears to be a common thread that runs through all of this opposition and stated hatred: “He is not part of the club. He is not one of us. He can’t be controlled.”
The unrelenting opposition to Trump is not based on the fictional quid pro quo with Ukraine’s president but rather a desperate need by the entrenched establishment from both political parties to maintain the status quo of their all-powerful club — aka part of the “swamp” Trump sought to drain.
For Trump to be convicted in a Senate trial, 20 Republican senators would have to join forces with the 47 Democrats. We should not worry about those who openly dislike Trump, such as Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Susan Collins (R-Maine) or Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska); we should worry about those in the purple states, who face tough reelection fights in 2020, and those who have continually criticized and demeaned the president in private.
What is driving all of this, of course, is the fear that Trump will win reelection. Well, 63 million Americans voted for him in 2016, and 20 GOP senators soon may have the power to invalidate those votes. Can they resist doing so and vote not to convict? Conventional wisdom says that will be the outcome. But as we all know when it comes to Donald Trump, you can throw conventional wisdom right out the window.
For that reason, when it comes to a trial in the Senate, Trump and the West Wing need to remember the sage advice of President Ronald Reagan: “Trust, but verify.”
Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant and author, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration.
Imagine a story in which Jesus Christ shirked his religious obligations and instead pursued a career as… a gay juggler. That’s the basic plot of The First Temptation of Christon Netflix, a blasphemous Christmas special from Brazilian comedy group Porta dos Fundos. As you can imagine, First Temptation of Christ‘s depiction of a potentially gay Jesus isn’t sitting well with Evangelical Christians, more than 1.3 million of whom have since signed a Change.org petition calling for Netflix to remove the comedy. The petition, originally written in Portuguese, claims that the special has “seriously offended Christians,” and as such, Netflix and Porto dos Fundos must be “held responsible for the crime of villainous faith.”
The First Temptation of Christ, or Especial de Natal Porta dos Fundos: A Primera Tentação de Cristo in Portuguese, follows 30-year-old Jesus Christ as he returns to his parents’ house after 40 days in the desert. Mary and Joseph have gone all out for Jesus’ birthday bash, but when he arrives with his new friend Orlando, his family is introduced to a new side of him. While the Netflix Christmas comedy never explicitly identifies its central character as LGBTQ+, the implication is clear: there are multiple innuendos and hints about Orlando “giving it to him” and their “special” desert tryst.
Brazil’s large Christian population hasn’t taken kindly to the special’s insinuation that Jesus Christ was gay. Since the special was first released on December 3, more than 1.3 million people have signed a Change.org petition urging Netflix to remove the Christmas comedy. The petition (originally written in Portuguese, but translated into English) explains that the signees are calling “for the removal of the film from the Netflix catalog” and for Porta dos Fundos — translated to “Back Door” — “to be held responsible for the crime of villainous faith.” Reads the petition, “We also want public retraction, as they have seriously offended Christians.”
Porta dos Fundos and Netflix have yet to respond to the backlash, but if the official Netflix description of the special is any indication, it doesn’t seem like they care: “Jesus, who’s hitting the big 3-0, brings a surprise guest to meet the family. A Christmas special so wrong, it must be from comedians Porta dos Fundos.”
“Nobody can question my faith, my devotion to Christ, my devotion to the church,” Pastor Nicole Garcia said. “Being trans is secondary.”
Before coming out as transgender, Nicole Garcia prayed daily that God would “fix” her. When her prayers weren’t answered and the feeling in her gut didn’t go away, she gave up on religion.
Now, nearly four decades later, Garcia stands behind the pulpit at Westview Lutheran Church in Boulder, Colorado, and delivers weekly sermons to a congregation of more than 100 faithful as their ordained pastor.
“Nobody can question my faith, my devotion to Christ, my devotion to the church. That’s why I’m the pastor here,” Garcia,who turned 60 Thursday, told NBC News. “Being trans is secondary.”
Garcia, who delivered her first sermon at Westview earlier this month, is the first known transgender Latina to serve as a pastor within the 4 million-strong Evangelical Lutheran Church in America — an unanticipated position for someone who grew up in the Roman Catholic Church and left religion entirely for nearly 20 years.
‘I had never felt comfortable in my own skin’
One of Garcia’s earliest memories is of her grandmother kneeling on the cold kitchen floor of her Colorado farm, praying the rosary in Spanish while the voice of Francisco “Paco” Sanchez buzzed through the radio. She still has the worn black rosary that her grandmother gave her when Garcia was just five years old.
Growing up in the ‘60s, Garcia said she had a traditionally paramount role as the “oldest son” in a devoutly Roman Catholic Latino family. She went to church two to three times each weekend and played guitar in the choir. But she said something about her life was off-kilter.
As she got older, an uncomfortable feeling loomed over her, though she struggled to put a finger on exactly what it was. As a teenager, Garcia recalled, she loved to dress up in women’s clothing. She’d even stash outfits in hidden spots around her house to make sure that side of her stayed secret.
“I had never felt comfortable in my own skin. I had always been chastised for doing the wrong thing,” Garcia said. “Everything just felt wrong. I did everything my male cousins would do, but it was just awkward and it didn’t come naturally.”
She said she prayed every day that God could take those uncomfortable feelings away, but her prayers continued to go unanswered. In 1982, in her early 20s, Garcia left the church.
For the next few years, Garcia descended into a spiral of alcohol abuse and partying, which she said became her excuse for “dressing up” and dating men. But after years of heavy drinking and hopping between low-paying retail jobs, she found herself living in a cousin’s trailer in Boulder and going through alcohol withdrawals.
“I realized something had gone terribly wrong,” she said. “I decided it was time to change my life.”
‘I had my come-to-Jesus moment’
Garcia moved out of the trailer and into an apartment in nearby Longmont, where she met a woman at karaoke night. The two dated for a year before they married at a Catholic church in 1994. They eventually bought a house in downtown Denver, and Garcia found a new career as a corrections officer.
From the outside, it looked like Garcia had turned her life around. However, she still felt like she didn’t belong in her body. Every morning before work, Garcia said, she wanted to put on women’s clothes, and when it came time to put on her corrections uniform, it felt like a costume.
“As soon as I got home and I took off the uniform, I was exhausted. All my energy was used just to perform that day,” she said. “I’d drink a pint of Jack Daniels and three or four beers just to be able to calm down and relax.”
Garcia’s marriage crumbled after 8 years, and her wife asked for a divorce in 2002. After they separated, Garcia was sitting at her kitchen table, wondering why she had thrown away what seemed like an ideal life.
“I had my come-to-Jesus moment. It wasn’t one of those, “Oh please, oh please, help me,’” she explained. “It was more, “Alright you son of a b—h, if I’m going to come back, you better step it up this time.’”
‘I’ve always been Nicole’
In a fortuitous turn of events, just two days after her “come-to-Jesus moment,” Garcia received a message offering free therapy sessions for corrections officers. After only a few appointments, Garcia unearthed the uneasy feeling she had struggled with her whole life.
“Within a month or so, I told her my deepest, darkest secret: That for my entire life, as long as I can remember, I have always loved wearing women’s clothing,” she said. “I realized in that moment that I’ve always been Nicole; I’ve always been a woman.”
“I knew at that point I had to transition,” Garcia added. “I could finally put a name on what I was going through.”
Garcia’s therapist recommended she visit the Gender Identity Center of Colorado. It was there that she met another transitioning law enforcement officer who encouraged her to attend a service at the Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Denver.
“I was sure I would walk in and they’d say, “Look at that man in a dress,” but they didn’t,” Garcia recalled. “They were lovely; they embraced me. I just felt at home.”
In 2003, shortly after she started her transition, she became a Lutheran, and soon after began working with an organization called Reconciling in Christ, which works toward full acceptance of the LGBTQ community within the Lutheran denomination. Five years later, Garcia was elected to the group’s national board of directors as their transgender representative, and in that position she continued to campaign for the advancement of LGBTQ people into pastoral positions.
While Garcia immediately felt accepted by the Lutheran congregation early in her transition process, she said her mother had a harder time accepting that the “oldest son” in their Roman Catholic family wanted to transition to a woman. For the first few months, she said her mother stopped speaking to her entirely. When they finally reconciled, it was under the pretense that Garcia had to present as male in their home, combing her long hair back into a ponytail and wearing her corrections officer uniform.
During her yearslong transitioning process, Garcia helped take care of her stepfather, Joe Mayes, who had terminal bone cancer. Garcia said Mayes, who died of cancer in 2005, immediately accepted her as Nicole.
“I would ask him, ‘Papa, why were you so accepting and loving?’” she recalled. “He said, ‘Because I finally saw you happy. For so many years you were morose, you were drunk, you were angry, and now you look happy.’”
Though it took nearly a year for Garcia’s mother to accept her as Nicole, her mother was happy to see her child had returned to the church.In 2013, a decade after she started her transition and found her way back to Christianity, Garcia left her position as a corrections officer to attend seminary school.
During her years at seminary, Garcia became the director of congregational care at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Boulder, and her presence in the community became even more formidable. At her ordination in November of this year, over 200 people came to celebrate her trailblazing service as an advocate and leader among Lutherans.
Garcia was then asked to step in at the newly formed Westview Lutheran Church in Boulder as their pastor. The church’s first service was Dec. 1, and Garcia stood before the congregation, a vibrant red stole draped over her shoulders.
Garcia said she hopes her presence behind the pulpit encourages other LGBTQ people and people of color to step forward through faith.
“As a transgender Latina, I bring a breath of fresh air into all the places I walk into,” she said.
Prominent Christian pastors and worship leaders prayed over President Trump in the Oval Office last week, as he told them he needs prayer now more than ever amid the intensifying impeachment probe on Capitol Hill.
About 50 worship leaders from across America gathered for a faith briefing Friday organized by Paula White-Cain, the president’s personal pastor and special adviser to the Faith and Opportunity Initiative in the White House.
“All 50 of us crammed into the Oval Office. He sat at his desk and he said pray for me,” Sean Feucht, a Bethel Music worship leader who is running for Congress in California’s Third Congressional District, told Fox News.
President Trump surrounded by a large group of worship leaders from across the country whom he invited to pray for him in the Oval Office Friday. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)
“We just laid our hands on him and prayed for him. It was like a real intense, hardcore prayer. It was so wild,” Feucht said. “I could not believe he invited us in. That he carved out time to meet with us.”
The worship leader, who has traveled as a missionary to countries where Christianity is most persecuted, called it “historic” having that many worship leaders invited by the president into the Oval Office.
The White House
“When America is strong, the world is a better place. What a great opportunity it’s been to see some of the initiatives that are happening to help freedom of religion.” @BrianCHouston
Trump surprised the group in the Cabinet Room, where Brian Houston, the global senior pastor of Hillsong Church, shared about the faith-based meeting.
“When America is strong, the world is a better place,” the Christian leader from Australia said. “What a great opportunity it’s been to see some of the initiatives that are happening to help freedom of religion.”
“The thing that moved me the most was just how everyone is so for making sure we’re changing people’s lives and not leaving those that are marginalized and those that have been trafficked…they’re working to end these things and change these things,” Jobe shared. “I’ve just been in tears all day….God is moving!”
Vice President Pence opened up the faith briefing discussing the administration’s work regarding religious freedom and the First Amendment.
Vice President Mike Pence and Sean Feucht, a worship leader who is running for Congress in California, participate in a faith briefing at the White House complex Friday. (Courtesy of Sean Feucht)
“Wonderful stopping by a worship leaders briefing today at the White House!” Pence wrote on Twitter. “America is a proud Nation of believers and our Administration will always defend the freedom of religion of every American, of every faith!”
The group worshipped, led by Carnes and Jobe, Bethel Music co-founders Brian and Jenn Johnson, Brit Nicole, and others. They prayed for an hour in the Eisenhower building.
Vice President Mike Pence
Wonderful stopping by a worship leaders briefing today at the @WhiteHouse! America is a proud Nation of believers and our Administration will always defend the freedom of religion of every American, of every faith!
Ivanka Trump discussed women’s rights, prison reform, maternity leave and the economy. Sam Brownback, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, addressed the group and answered questions about what America is doing for religious liberty around the world.
When Trump surprised them in Cabinet Room, he welcomed them and joked about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praying for him.
“Nancy Pelosi says that she prays for me, but she doesn’t tell anyone what she prays for,” he said. “But I know you guys have come to pray for me and I know you care about what’s happening in this administration.”
Feucht said: “I shook his hand and said ‘Mr. President, I’m from California and I just want to let you know there’s people out in California that support you.”
But not everyone was on board. On Monday, the Freedom From Religion Foundation announced they are “investigating” the faith-based event.
“Welcoming a group of Christian Nationalists to carry out a governmental ‘takeover’ is deeply disturbing, since it shows a contempt for the foundational American principle of state-church separation,” Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president, said in a statement. “It should alarm every citizen.”
Quitting New York is making financial sense for many of the city’s super-rich.
Analysts say a growing number of New York’s financial elite believe that fleeing the city for other states with lower taxes and costs in order to protect their wealth is a total no-brainer — particularly since the 2019 UBS/PwC Billionaires Report found that the collective net worth of their peers globally has plunged heavily for the first time in years.
“The wealthy are migrating out of high-income-tax states such as New York to lower- or no-state-income-tax locations, more than ever,” according to Michele Lee Fine, president of Cornerstone Wealth Advisory and a financial adviser in Jericho, New York.
“Much of the tone and focus of the recent political agenda has been attacking the wealthy directly at the wallet,” she added. “Whether you’re a billionaire or millionaire, there is cause for concern.”
And while President Trump and tycoons such as legendary corporate raider Carl Icahn — both of whom are swapping New York for lower-cost Florida domiciles — are grabbing headlines, dozens of lesser-known, highly successful wealthy New Yorkers are also plotting escapes.
“The exodus continues from this tax-heavy city,” the New York-based CEO of a small high-tech transportation company, who declined to be named, told The Post. “Most of the uber-wealthy I know in New York now spend the majority of their time in Florida or Texas, where they are not obliterated by taxes.”
John O’Shea, executive chairman of the broker-dealer Global Alliance Securities, knows the feeling.
About a year ago, O’Shea relocated his company from 100 Wall St. in lower Manhattan to Charleston, South Carolina. He and his wife Jennifer vacated their New York home for a gated community in a tony section of this South Carolina paradise, paying just over $1 million for a luxury waterfront property on almost an acre.
“You can make more money and keep more of it in South Carolina,” O’Shea said.
With a local property tax rate of 0.4%, it means O’Shea pays just over $4,000 annually to live in the lap of luxury — a small fraction of what the owner of a comparable home in many parts of New York would pay in property taxes. And with a maximum of only $10,000 in local property taxes now deductible against federal taxes, O’Shea is making out just fine.
That’s unlike many New York residents who live in some of the fanciest ZIP codes — some with annual property taxes starting at $40,000.
“The quality of life is also much better down here,” O’Shea told The Post. “I have a much larger property than what I would pay for something similar up in New York — and I also have lower costs for my business and in my home.”
At 100 Wall St., where O’Shea once ran a sprawling operation, at least three other firms also recently left the building for offices in the US sunshine states, according to people familiar with the moves. Management for the building didn’t respond to a request for comment.
It’s official: New York City and America are no longer the center of the world by any measure beyond swagger. In fact, the continents of North and South America have fallen off the must-see map altogether according to Euromonitor’s Top 100 City report, which tracks visitor arrivals. This year’s 1.5 billion trips predominantly headed to:
Hong Kong, 26.7 million
Bangkok, 25.8 million
Macau, 20.6 million
Singapore, 10.8 million
London, 10.6 million
Paris, 19.1 million
Dubai, 16.3 million
Delhi, 15.2 million
Istanbul, 14.7 million
Kuala Lumpur, 14.1 million
New York City remains America’s top destination, ranking 11th internationally. Miami ranks 29th, and Los Angeles 33rd, and Las Vegas 38th. Only 13 of the top 100 cities are in the Americas; 43 are in Asia, firmly shifting the tourism industry East.
Report author Rabia Yasmeen writes that while Asia’s tourism markets expanded rapidly, America’s travel numbers were actually a feat, considering circumstances. “Despite high concern for safety and security among visitors, stringent policies and a travel ban under the Trump administration, most U.S. destinations performed well during 2018.” The report suggests that to remain competitive, American cities need to become safe places that people can easily access, which is accomplished by improving visa policies, mitigating crime and safety concerns, and boosting sustainable tourism.
The Rev. Al Sharpton raked in $1,046,948 from his own charity last year, according to National Action Network’s latest tax filings obtained by The Post.
Sharpton got a $324,000 salary — 32% higher than his 2017 pay — in addition to a $159,596 bonus and $563,352 in “other compensation.”
The Harlem-based nonprofit — which Sharpton controls as president and CEO — said the extra cash was to make up for the years from 2004 to 2017 when he didn’t get his full pay.
NAN said it hired an executive compensation firm that determined the good reverend was owed $1.252 million — but he was generously willing to take $500,000 less.
Sharpton and the nonprofit’s board also agreed “he has now been fully compensated for all the years he was underpaid and received no bonus,” the NAN statement said.
The sharp-dressing, silver-tongued preacher defended the windfall before taking the stage for his weekly rally at NAN’s House of Justice in Harlem, an event where attendees throw cash in the collection bucket at the reverend’s behest.
“Fifteen years, you are talking about since 2004 when I came back after running for president,” he said. “For anybody else it would be laughable.”
He said he also deserved the 2018 raise.
“It’s a six-day-a-week job and several hours a day and when [the compensation firm] compared it to other companies, other non profits, that’s the salary that they would get,” he said.
The firebrand activist and MSNBC host was not exactly earning minimum wage in recent years. The last year he went without a salary was 2008, and he has made well into the six figures every year since, tax documents show.
He certainly wasn’t coveting his neighbor’s paycheck in 2017, when his NAN salary came to $244,661, or the year before, when he was paid $250,000 plus a $437,555 bonus. NAN justified the bonus at the time saying it was designed to make up for a lack of full compensation, including no retirement or benefits packages over the years.
The nonprofit also noted in 2016 that Sharpton’s average yearly pay of $283,543 from 2007 through 2016 fell within the competitive range of those who held similar positions.
in 2014, Sharpton got much more than the average pay — $348,244 plus a $64,400 bonus, tax filings show.
The holy man’s mammon really raised eyebrows last year when NAN’s filing revealed he had sold the rights to his life story to his own charity for $531,000. The organization contended the purchase would provide a revenue stream because it could turn around and sell the rights.
NAN at the time said an unnamed “executive committee independently approved” the deal, leading one expert to question how the independence was achieved.
“In this case, it’s really difficult because of his role in the organization and just because of his overall influence,” Linda Sugin, a Fordham University Law School professor and associate dean said at the time.
Sharpton said Saturday that NAN did sell the rights for a documentary that filmed the night of his 65th birthday gala at the New York Public Library, an event hosted by Samuel L. Jackson and Spike Lee. But he said he hadn’t received any cash yet.
“They have already made a profit on that off the birthday,” he said.
NAN took in $7.3 million in donations last year, up $1 million from the previous year. NAN paid off years of accumulated tax debt in 2014.
Sharpton has been paying down millions in his own personal federal and state tax liens. In June, he finally paid off his personal tax debt to the state, which last year stood at $95,031.21. He still owes $698,470.99 in back taxes for three of his companies, according to the state Tax Department.