AGBC News Episode 38: Rice Cooker Subway Scare and Cyclone Rider
The highs and lows of this week's history 🎢
Visit agreatbigcity.com/support to learn how to support New York City local news and allow us to keep bringing you this podcast. If you are a New York-based business and would be interested in sponsoring our podcasts, visit agreatbigcity.com/advertising to learn more.
Last week, I started out with a quick measles update saying that the outbreak has mostly subsided, but I want to reiterate how important it is to get yourself and any young children vaccinated before the next outbreak begins. Israel-based Ynetnews revealed this week that a 43-year-old flight attendant who had contracted measles while working on the New York to Tel Aviv route for Israeli airline El Al died this week after a long hospital stay. Rotem Amitai was a mother of three who fell ill and was admitted to a hospital in Israel, where there has been a serious ongoing measles outbreak. She had only received one dose of the measles vaccination and was therefore still susceptible to the disease. In the United States, one does of vaccine is usually administered when a child turns one year old and a second is administered before the child enters school, and in city data, 46 of the total 653 measles cases in this year's outbreak were children or adults who had only received one does of the vaccine. El Al Airlines now requires all flight attendants to be vaccinated against the disease, and it's believed that people flying home from overseas trips and returning to communities in Williamsburg and upstate in Rockland County were the initial sources of New York's current measles outbreaks.
16 years ago on August 14, 2003 — A cascading power outage plunges millions into darkness across the northeast — What began as a damaged power line and a software malfunction in Ohio led to overloaded equipment throughout the interconnected power system stretching from Canada into the northeast United States. The power surge from Ohio triggered safety systems across the region, creating what is thought to have been the most widespread outage in both United States and Canadian history and the second-most-widespread in the world. It took around two days for all overloaded components to be checked and brought back online, with some smaller areas remaining without power for nearly a week. In New York, the city and most of the state were in the dark. Traffic lights were out and elevators and the subway were stopped, leaving many commuters in need of emergency evacuation and with no way to reach their homes as night began to fall. Some stayed in office buildings, on the floors of generous co-workers who lived nearby, or even slept outside, while others attempted to walk home or catch a ride on a bus or taxi, turning Manhattan's bridges into one-way exits.
Update: The suspect was taken into custody around 1am on August 17th — Police are still looking for a possible suspect in Friday morning's bomb scare where two empty rice cookers were left in the Fulton Street subway station downtown. The proximity of the station to many government offices and the sheer number of commuters that pass through the station during morning rush hour, the area was quickly evacuated and subway lines were disrupted beginning around 7:30am. Police found the large silver rice cookers to be empty and deemed the situation safe, but a third, identical rice cooker was then found next to a city trash can in Chelsea at Seventh and 16th. The rice cookers were empty, and they may have been intended as hoax devices to cause disruption. Police released stills from security camera footage showing a white man in his 20s or 30s with dark, curly hair and a distinctive tattoo on his outer forearm, and described him as a person of interest. After seeing the security camera footage, a West Virginia man identified the person as his son, who may have recently been pan-handling in the city. No further info has been released and the police are still searching for the suspect as of this recording. Although the incident brings to mind the Chelsea pressure-cooker bombing of 2016, there have also been recent scares from abandoned rice cookers, one found in a suitcase in Midtown at a 6 Train station in 2017 and another in an F Train station on the Lower East Side in 2018.
42 years ago on August 22, 1977 — 19-year-old Richard Rodriguez from Staten Island sets a Guinness World Record for longest rollercoaster ride on the Coney Island Cyclone — His record time was 104 hours and 2,350 rides during the 50th anniversary of both the coaster and Charles Lindbergh's transatlantic flight. Rodriguez would break the record once again 40 years later on a UK coaster with a time of over 405 hours! Here's Rodriguez interviewed in the 1978 film 'Coney Island Cyclone' by Mike Edwards.
OMNY, the MTA's new fare-collecting system, sees 1 million uses in just over two months — The new MetroCard replacement is only available at 16 subway stations along the 4/5/6 and on Staten Island buses, but the tap-and-go system reached the 1 million target four times faster than the MTA has predicted. To use the system, you wave a credit or debit card or a cellphone or watch above the glowing panel. The system aims to reduce the waste and complexity of issuing disposable MetroCards since the contactless system uses your payment method directly, just like at a cash register, although there will be a refillable OMNY card once the system expands, and the MetroCard is still scheduled to be used through 2023. According to the MTA, 80% of the OMNY swipes have used mobile wallets where people have added their payment cards to their phone, since very few credit or debit cards have the built-in technology, which is different from the chips that are now seen on some cards.
8 years ago — Volkswagen Traffic Jam on Governor's Island
2 years ago — Eclipse Viewing Info for New York City
8 years ago — Earthquake felt in New York City
A Great Big City has been running a 24-hour newsfeed since 2010, but the AGBC News podcast is just getting started, and we need your support. A Great Big City is built on a dedication to explaining what is happening and how it fits into the larger history of New York, which means thoroughly researching every topic and avoiding clickbait headlines to provide a straightforward, honest, and factual explanation of the news. Individuals can make a monthly or one-time contribution at agreatbigcity.com/support and local businesses can have a lasting impact by supporting local news while promoting products or services directly to interested customers listening to this podcast. Visit agreatbigcity.com/advertising to learn more.
AGBC is more than just a news website: It also automatically checks MTA data before morning rush hour and sends out notifications if there are delays on any subway lines, LIRR or MetroNorth trains, and bridges and tunnels. Follow @agreatbigcity on social media to receive the alerts.
Park of the day
- FlyNYC Kite Festival in Riverside Park South — Learn to fly a kite or just enjoy the view as decorative kites take to the skies above the Hudson River at Pier I in Riverside Park South across from 70th Street in Manhattan. If you have your own kite, bring it along, or a limited number of free kites will be available for children to try. Saturday, August 17, 2019 12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
Here's the AGBC Concert Calendar for the upcoming week:
- Joyce Manor and Saves the Day are playing Webster Hall on Friday, August 16th.
- The Catenary Wires, jeanines, and Pale Lights are playing Berlin on Friday, August 16th.
- MORRIE’s Solitude and KIYOHARU’s Elegy, Morrie, and 清春 are playing Joe's Pub on Friday, August 16th.
- Beck, Cage the Elephant, and Spoon are playing Forest Hills Stadium on Saturday, August 17th.
- C. Tangana, Chaos in the CBD, deem spencer, Mike, and Sho Madjozi are playing MoMA PS1 on Saturday, August 17th.
- Bleeding Through, Sentinels + more at The Kingsland, Bleeding Through, Indrid Cold, Sentinels, and The Fallen Prodigy are playing The Kingsland on Saturday, August 17th.
- Rose Gold the Musical, Kitty, Ricky Eat Acid, and Vverevvolf are playing Mercury Lounge on Saturday, August 17th.
- Ex Hex and Frankie and the Witch Fingers are playing Industry City Courtyard on Saturday, August 17th.
- Slaughter Beach, Dog and Cave People are playing The Bowery Ballroom on Saturday, August 17th.
- Bardo Pond and Sunburned Hand of the Man are playing Mercury Lounge on Saturday, August 17th.
- Cinema Cinema, Descender, Fashion Week, Frail Body, and Marée noire are playing Saint Vitus Bar on Sunday, August 18th.
- The 184.108.40.206's and Metalleg are playing Brooklyn Bazaar on Sunday, August 18th.
- Sidney Gish is playing Elsewhere on Monday, August 19th.
- Sidney Gish is playing Elsewhere on Tuesday, August 20th.
- Squeeze is playing Bergen Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, August 20th.
- KISS is playing Barclays Center in Boerum Hill on Tuesday, August 20th at 7pm.
- Mark Knopfler is playing Beacon Theatre on the Upper West Side on Tuesday, August 20th at 8pm.
- Squeeze is playing Bergen Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, August 20th at 8pm.
- The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Bedouin Soundclash are playing Webster Hall on Wednesday, August 21st.
- Tame Impala and Velvet Negroni are playing Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, August 21st.
- The Mighty Mighty Bosstones with Bedouin Soundclash is playing Webster Hall in Noho / Union Square on Wednesday, August 21st at 7pm.
- Tame Impala with Velvet Negroni is playing Madison Square Garden in Midtown West / Chelsea / Hudson Yards on Wednesday, August 21st at 8pm.
- Mark Knopfler is playing Beacon Theatre on the Upper West Side on Wednesday, August 21st at 8pm.
- Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is playing Brooklyn Bowl in Downtown Brooklyn on Wednesday, August 21st at 8pm.
- Pat Benatar with Neil Giraldo is playing St. George Theatre in St. George / Tompkinsville on Wednesday, August 21st at 8pm.
Find more fun things to do at agreatbigcity.com/events.
New York Fact
Here's something you may not have known about New York:
- Hangman's Elm at the northwest corner of Washington Square Park is believed to be the oldest living tree in Manhattan, at more than 300 years old
The extreme highs and lows for this week in weather history:
Record High: 97°F on August 20, 1955
Record Low: 52°F on August 22, 1895
Weather for the week ahead:
Possible light rain tomorrow through Wednesday, with high temperatures peaking at 92°F on Monday.