Pretty Simple Equation

A little over a week ago, Knicks fans experienced an emotion they haven’t felt in a long, long time in mid-May, unless of course you want to count NBA Draft lotteries.
Knicks fans were re-introduced to the feelings of pain, anguish and heartbreak that sometimes comes with playing postseason basketball in the NBA.
The momentum of the Knicks-Hawks series was dictated in the first game.
Trea Young broke the hearts of Knicks fans and stunned the hostile Madison Square Garden crowd with a game-winning shot with less than a second to play.
Young’s theatrics in embracing the fired up, sold-out Madison Square Garden crowd did not put him in the good graces of Knicks fans, but his statement in the first game of this series was a simple one.
Young’s play basically proclaimed right out of the gate two simple truths in this series: he’s the best player on the floor and there’s not one Knickerbockers player who can stop him.
It’s been painfully obvious watching the first four games of the Knicks-Hawks series that the Atlanta Hawks are the more talented basketball team.
I underestimated the Hawks’ talent going into this series, but the results of the first four games have not been a fluke. Atlanta is more explosive, they are built better for the modern-day NBA, and they clearly have the best player on the floor.
Trea Young has been able to do whatever he has wanted in this series.
He’s gotten to the rack, he’s finished around the basket, he’s set his teammates up and he’s hit a ton of outside shots.
Young has left his mark in this series while Julius Randle, the best player on the Knicks, has not.
Randle’s play has not come close to resembling the excellence he displayed on the court throughout the regular season.
He has been inefficient and looks uncomfortable going up against Atlanta’s defense so far in this series.
The Knicks relied on Julius Randle all season and he delivered an incredible season. But the NBA’s Most Improved Player has not looked like that so far in this series.
So when you ask why the Knicks are one game away from elimination, the answer is pretty simple: Atlanta’s more talented and their best player has outperformed the best player on the other side of the court.
Sadly for Knicks fans, the equation is a lot more complicated when it comes to figuring out a way back in this series.

You can listen to New York, New York every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday nights on The Ringer Podcast Network on Spotify and Apple. You can also listen to our postgame shows with live callers on the Locker Room App after Game 5 Wednesday and after Game 6 if necessary on Friday.

Voters desrve a quick count

While there have been a few test runs of the city’s new ranked-choice voting system in special elections earlier this year, for the first time on a large scale voters will get to rank their top five candidates.
And to stave off the critics before the polls close on June 22 in the primary, the Board of Elections (BOE) is admitting that it will likely be a few weeks before we know who won in citywide races for posts like mayor and comptroller.
BOE needs to do better.
The state legislature could help by passing a bill that would allow BOE to release all the records once the election is certified, which they can’t legally do currently.
That State Senate and Assembly should get to work on legislation immediately so that voters – and the candidates – aren’t waiting weeks for the results.

Seven Factors for Preventing Heart Disease

What if I told you that you could practically eliminate your chances of getting heart disease? The risk of mortality from heart disease has decreased by 30 percent over the last few decades, which is impressive. However, before we start celebrating, it is still the number one cause of death in the U.S. – in 2019, heart disease was responsible for one in four deaths.

The Seven Factors
The good news is that several key studies examine ways to reduce heart disease risk factors. If we improve seven key modifiable risk factors, the chance of heart disease goes down to about one percent.
These seven factors are smoking, body mass index, physical activity, diet, total cholesterol without medication, blood pressure without medication and fasting blood glucose without medication.
What did the researchers find?
In one study, researchers found that we are doing best with smoking cessation. The prevalence of nonsmoking ranged from 60-90 percent, depending on demographics. On the other hand, Healthy Diet Scores were not very good; from 0.2 to 2.6 percent of participants achieved ideal levels. Obviously, diet is an area that needs attention. This observational study involved 14,515 participants who were at least 20 years old.
How many participants actually reached all seven goals? About one percent. This means we have the ability to alter our history of heart disease dramatically. There is also a direct relationship between the effort you apply to attain these goals and your outcome of reduced risk.
In another study, those who had an optimal risk factor profile at age 55 were significantly less likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those who had two or more risk factors. These differences were maintained through at least age 80.
The lifetime risk of fatal heart disease or a nonfatal heart attack in the optimal group was less than one percent for women and 3.6 percent for men. In terms of sex differences, men were ten times less likely and women were eighteen times less likely to die from heart disease if they were in the optimal risk stratification group.
This was a meta-analysis of 18 observational studies with more than 250,000 participants.

Dietary Approaches
Several diets have shown dramatic results in preventing and treating heart disease, such as the Ornish, DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), Mediterranean-type, and Esselstyn diets.
These diets all have one thing in common: they rely on nutrient-dense, plant-based foods. Both the Ornish and Esselstyn diets showed reversal of atherosclerosis in studies and, as we know, atherosclerosis (plaques in the arteries) is the foundation for heart disease.

Exercise’s Effects
For the most beneficial effects on preventing heart disease, both the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) and the US Department of Health and Human Services recommend that most Americans get at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise five times a week, for a total of 150 minutes, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week.
Moderate aerobic exercise includes brisk walking, as demonstrated in the Women’s Health Initiative, a large observational study. This study showed a 28 to 53 percent reduction in heart disease risk in women ages 50 to 79.
Resistance training is also very important. The Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study showed at least 30 minutes a week resulted in a 23 percent heart disease risk reduction, and running for only 60 minutes resulted in a 42 percent risk reduction.
Interestingly, although medications may be important for people who have high levels of blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose, they do not get you to the lowest risk stratification. Lifestyle modification is the only way to approach ideal cardiovascular health.
Thus, if we worked on these factors to achieve the appropriate levels, this disease would no longer be at the top of the list for mortality.

Biden is Right to Redefine Infrastructure

President Joe Biden is in ongoing talks to discuss his multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. Ever since its release, critics have claimed that many aspects of the plan have nothing to do with infrastructure.
However, that isn’t really fair.
Today’s economy requires the definition of infrastructure to go beyond traditional transit systems like roads and bridges. In fact, the Cambridge Dictionary defines “infrastructure” as the “basic systems and services that a country or organization uses in order to work effectively.”
This definition opens up the concept of infrastructure to include the things that make society function, allowing workers to do their jobs, businesses to grow, and people to transfer knowledge and information.
The traditional examples of infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and railways are hugely important. The delays caused by traffic jams alone cost the economy more than $120 billion every year in lost productivity.
But we need to invest in more than traditional infrastructure. We need to invest in the systems that move business, people, innovation, and communication forward.
COVID-19 merely accelerated a shift in digitizing our world, yet nearly 15 percent of U.S. households still lack high-speed internet. That hampers productivity.
If every U.S. household had access to broadband speeds of at least four megabits per second – the minimum to stream a standard definition video – the average household income would jump $2,100 per year, according to a study by telecom company Ericsson.
Building out broadband networks would grow the economy by enabling workers and consumers to connect with businesses of all sizes, whether they’re in Manhattan, New York, or Manhattan, Kansas.
Modern infrastructure also goes beyond digitization and broadband. It’s about how people are powered. Constructing solar, wind farms, and building a network of electric vehicle charging stations would make our economy more resilient to the changing climate.
Sea levels are rising and weather patterns are changing. As the intensity and frequency of droughts, hurricanes, and floods increases, so does the cost of recovering from these crises.
In 2020 alone, there were more than 20 separate climate disasters that cost at least $1 billion.
Those disasters displace workers. After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, more than 150,000 workers filed for unemployment. And last year, wildfires in California displaced more than 50,000 people from their homes.
Mitigating climate change would help minimize this disruption.
President Biden’s plan does address these modern-day challenges. In addition to updating bridges, highways and roads, the proposal promises $100 billion to expand broadband infrastructure.
It puts $174 billion toward electric vehicle infrastructure, which will mitigate climate change by enabling Americans to switch to lower-emission vehicles.
These investments will generate enormous returns. The infrastructure package would create 2.7 million jobs over the next decade, according to an analysis by Moody’s Analytics.
For every $1 spent on infrastructure in the plan, GDP would rise by $1.50. In total, S&P Global estimates the package would add $5.7 trillion to the U.S. economy by 2024.
As a new report from the Brookings Institution notes, “Every few decades, Americans have called for a new infrastructure vision to meet new generational needs.”
Provisions in President Biden’s proposal aim to help our nation move forward by laying the foundation for sustainable economic growth and ensuring America remains an economic superpower for decades to come.

Jason Andringa is chair of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ “Infrastructure Vision 2050” task force. He is president and CEO at Vermeer Corporation.

City bracing for a summer of violence

If Memorial Day weekend is any indication, it looks like it’s going to be a bloody summer in the city.
On Monday night alone, a teenager was killed and eight others were injured in incidents across the five boroughs. That’s on top of several other acts of violence over the weekend.
Police sources were quoted in published reports saying crime would have been a lot worse over the weekend if the weather hadn’t been so awful.
In other words, as the calendar turns to summer we can expect the violence to get much worse.
This is on top of the spike in hate crimes, primarily directed at the Asian community. On Monday, another woman was randomly punched in front of a restaurant in Manhattan’s Chinatown.
The city is trying to address the growing violence, from flooding troubled neighborhoods with extra police to employing community groups to try to stop the shooting before it starts, but it doesn’t seem to be working.
The de Blasio administration and the NYPD will have to get creative if New Yorkers are going to feel safe walking the streets this summer.
But residents need to do their part, too, when they can. If you see something suspicious or witness an act of violence, make sure you come forward and help our officers get the dangerous elements off our streets.

104th Precinct Police Blotter (5/17/2021-5/23/2021)

Monday, May 17
Andrew Hernandez was arrested at 56-06 Cooper Avenue for felony assault by Detective Bublin.
Joel Tavarez was arrested at 72-51 Grandview Avenue for grand larceny by Officer Loiodice.
Erick A. Molina was arrested at 64th Street and 59th Avenue for criminal mischief by Officer Dale.
Paola Vega was arrested at 64th Street and 59th Avenue for misdemeanor assault by Officer Dale.

Tuesday, May 18
Justin Roman was arrested at Forest Avenue and Catalpa Avenue for robbery by Detective Palminteri.
Vaca Byron was arrested at 70-37 66th Street for criminal contempt by Officer Wong.
Niser Cekic was arrested at 52-54 66th Street for violation of local law by Officer Simone.

Wednesday, May 19
Justin White was arrested at 64-02 Catalpa Avenue for strangulation by Detective Rochford.
Jack V. Horath was arrested at 329 Wyckoff Avenue for petit larceny by Officer Hili.
Bickram Devanan was arrested at 58-66 Maspeth Avenue for criminal contempt byOfficer Candelaria.
James Ditta was arrested at 62nd Avenue and Juniper Boulevard North for public lewdness by Officer Lenoci.
Dennis Spence was arrested at Bleecker Street and Grandview Avenue for resisting arrest by Officer Nessler.

Thursday, May 20
Alexander K. Ponto was arrested at 79-01 Metropolitan Avenue for forcible touching by Officer Khan.
Michael Klimovitsky was arrested at 779 Wyckoff Avenue for petit larceny by Detective Bublin.

Friday, May 21
William Sykes was arrested at 1580 Gates Avenue for criminal trespass by Detective Wright.
Kevin Adkins was arrested at Wyckoff Avenue and Myrtle Avenue for petit larceny by Detective Wright.
Ebony Gilliam was arrested at 1590 Gates Avenue for petit larceny by Officer Fitzalbert.
Edwin F. Alarcon was arrested at 54-30 Nurge Avenue for misdemeanor assault by Officer Antigua.

Saturday, May 22
Edwin Rivera was arrested at 586 Grandview Avenue for burglary by Detective Fogus.
Christian Golder was arrested at 55-60 Myrtle Avenue for robbery by Detective Wright.
Vincenzo Conigliaro was arrested at 60-48 Myrtle Avenue for third-degree assault by Detective Rogers.
Angela Bandelt was arrested at 60-68 69th Avenue for criminal contempt by Detective Friedrich.
Raul Sosto-Rodriguez was arrested at 57-26 61st Street for second-degree assault by Officer Coronado.
Ashley Espinal was arrested at Mazeau Street and 57th Avenue for robbery by Officer Bartichek.

Sunday, May 23
Stefan Lujic was arrested at 416 Onderdonk Avenue for second-degree assault by Officer Kollbeck.

VITAL brings rock climbing (and more!) to Greenpoint

There’s now an entirely new way to work out in North Brooklyn. Earlier this month, bouldering and fitness gym VITAL opened at 221 North 14th Street, offering classes, rental space, and other programs to active Brooklynites.
“This area is a great spot for us,” said VITAL co-founder David Sacher. “The neighborhood is just so alive with people out looking to enjoy their lives and their city. We create a place for people to come where they can meet their neighbors and spend time while learning something new.
“Climbing is an incredible way to get to know people because it allows you to take on and overcome challenges together,” he added.
With other locations in California and Washington, VITAL aims to make both experienced and novice climbers feel welcome. The Brooklyn site is currently operating at 50 percent capacity ( 375 people) due to the pandemic, but is open to members 24/7.
Non-members can sign up for classes and day passes.
“It really becomes a second home to people,” Sacher explained, “especially since we have work space, showers, a fire pit, and a restaurant. People never want to leave.”
Memberships at VITAL is $125 a month and include unlimited climbing, yoga, cycling, aerial fitness, and access to classes. Sacher is confident that the gym will attract Brooklynites who have never tried rock climbing before.
“We are bouldering only, which means you don’t need a climbing partner or a harness or knowledge about how to tie knots,” he said. “You can just show up in your street clothes, throw on some rental shoes, and immediately start climbing.
“It’s such a fun vibe that I’ve heard from quite a few folks already who have gotten a membership just because they like hanging out there so much,” he added.
Sacher is also hopeful that the convenient location near the G and L trains and stunning views of Manhattan will attract even more visitors.
“We have a huge rooftop climbing garden with great views of the city,” he explained. “We’re still putting the finishing touches on this space, and I think it would be fun to throw a mid-summer party there next month once all the details are dialed in.”

The team at VITAL offers free tours of their new location. More information about the gym can also be found at Follow @vitalbrooklyn on Instagram for more pictures of the new site.

A Woodhaven Memorial Day tradition lives on

One-hundred years ago, residents of Woodhaven were still reeling from the brutal one-two punch of the deadly 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and World War I. Out of all that loss and despair, an idea for a beautiful and unique tribute was born: the Memorial Trees of Forest Park.
Located at the top of Forest Parkway and running through the park, each tree was planted in the name of a soldier who left Woodhaven to fight overseas but never came home.
And every year on Memorial Day, friends and family of the fallen would gather in the park to decorate their trees.
We’ve written many times about how this tradition faded away over time, as well as how it came to be rediscovered and revived.
But because we are so far removed from the tradition itself, there are few details on the decorations themselves. Articles in the Leader-Observer 100 years ago mention ribbons and flags, so we’ve incorporated those into our decorations.
And they also mention notes the friends and families wrote to their loved ones, telling them the things they wish they could if they were still alive.
So whenever I’ve imagined former Woodhaven residents decorating the trees, I’ve always pictured a somber scene. Quiet, tearful, mournful.
That would better describe last year’s decorating of the trees in Forest Park when we were limited to four people due to COVID-19. The park was empty that morning. It was quiet. It was somber. Our voices echoed around the back stretch of trees and any passersby kept their distance.
But this year was a little different. And I wonder if, years ago, the decorating of the trees came to more closely resemble yesterday. I wonder if, over time, the decorating of the trees was part of the healing.
I would never compare the last year to what residents of Woodhaven went through 100 years ago, but I think the healing effects of the trees works just as well now as it did a century ago.
It was really good seeing a bunch of friendly faces again in person, not via a computer screen. It felt good to be together again, setting off to complete a job and seeing it all the way through.
To be honest, I really didn’t have to do much. I decorated the first tree as an example, and the group took it from there.
Instead, I was able to amble along and just enjoy everyone’s company. And as they moved from tree to tree, I was struck by the tone in conversation. It was quiet and respectful, but there was also a happy tone, people enjoying one another’s company once again.
As I walked along, I began thinking that if the tradition itself was far removed from us, the people we were honoring were not.
They lived in our houses. If they turned up alive in 2021, most of them would be able to bring you to the very homes they grew up in.
They went to the same schools and churches we go to. They rode the same elevated train we do, though it was just a few years old at the time.
They walked the same streets we do, and they would still recognize their old hometown.
And I think they would be touched to see that their loved ones were still remembered all these years later. I think they would recognize the people who decorated the trees this year as the same kinds of people that began the tradition a century before.
And that’s why this year’s decorating of the trees is one I will remember for the rest of my life. It felt wonderful to see these faces again and enjoy some healing time together in Forest Park.
It felt like the worst was behind us and we were moving forward, that everything was going to get better. It was a very good day.

Greener horizons at West Side Tennis Club

West Side Tennis Club members and guests were first to play on the newly resurfaced field of eight state-of-the-art grass courts at the iconic Forest Hills club last Friday.
“To have been able to take on a transformational upgrade of our grass courts at this moment in time is a testament to our Board of Governors, our members, and our commitment to our mission,” said club president Monika Jain.
Virginia Wade, who won the 1968 U.S. Open, was a guest of honor.
“I had deja vu watching all these good players out today,” she said. “I know what good grass is like. Grass technology is so sophisticated these days, and it’s so exciting that this club chose to take advice from Wimbledon.
“The WSTC lawns will become the envy of every tradition-loving club and player,” Wade added. “And for those lucky enough to play on them, it will be a blissful experience.”
“My favorite surface in the whole world is grass,” said Rennae Stubbs, a legendary Australian tennis player, coach, and Racquet Magazine podcast host. “It was the first time I ever played here, and it was great to be part of opening the courts for the first time this year. You just have to look around to know you’re in a historic tennis club.”
After WSTC relocated from the Bronx to Forest Hills in 1913, grass was laid for seven courts. The following August, a Davis Cup match would attract an audience of over 12,000, transforming tennis.
The hallowed grounds are where legends like Bill Tilden, Bobby Riggs, Ken Rosewall, Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe, Billie Jean King, and Chris Evert made their mark on the tennis world.
However, the courts were considered past their prime with spongy and bent grass. After Newport’s International Hall of Fame resurrected its turf venue, WSTC leadership was inspired to examine the feasibility of upgrading its grass courts.
The $650,000 project was designed by Tom Irwin Advisors and spearheaded by Ian Lacy, the former head of Great Britain’s Institute of Groundsmanship Professional Services.
Test pits were dug to evaluate layers of soil, and Lacy and his colleagues recommended a plan to replace the grass, upgrade the irrigation system, enhance the underlying dirt by adding a sand mixture for playability and durability, and regrade the courts.
The grass is a modern blend of three varieties of rye, the same kind used at Wimbledon, the Newport Hall of Fame, and London’s Queens Club.
“The new grass courts are much better, since the ball bounces higher and we can rally and really enjoy it,” said longtime club member Juan Reyes. “Before the ball would hardly bounce.”
The upgrades included Wimbledon-style wooden tennis posts with brass winder mechanisms and “West Side Tennis Club” etchings.
“This is one of the most revered sites, as it was the first home of the U.S. Open,” said Frank Milillo, a pickleball ambassador. “The courts have always been top notch, and it’s exciting to see how well the club improved it with a new lawn. This is where the sport grew, and now it’s coming back to its roots.”

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