<![CDATA[NBC New York - Local News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.comen-usFri, 01 Jul 2016 02:56:47 -0400Fri, 01 Jul 2016 02:56:47 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Owner of Famed Brooklyn Pizzeria Shot and Killed: NYPD]]> Fri, 01 Jul 2016 02:10:44 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/SPUMONI+GARDENS+owner.jpg

The owner of the famed Spumoni Gardens restaurant in Brooklyn was found dead of a gunshot wound Thursday evening, police say.

Louis Barbati, 61, was found shot twice in the torso outside his home in Dyker Heights on 12th Avenue at about 7 p.m. 

Barbati co-owned the popular pizza and ice cream shop L&B Spumoni Gardens.

Police say they're looking for a gunman believed to be in his 30s and wearing a black hoodie.

Barbati's Gravesend restaurant was founded by Italian immigrant Ludovico Barbati in 1939 and was in its fourth generation of family ownership, according to its website

Spumoni's has long been an institution in Brooklyn, known especially for its pizza "sheets" -- thick-crusted, rectangular Sicilian pizzas in upside-down style, according to Eater NY.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams tweeted Thursday night: "Brooklyn mourns the fatal shooting of Spumoni Gardens co-owner Louis Barbati in Dyker Heights, another senseless victim of gun violence."

<![CDATA[Boy’s Near-Drowning Prompts Cruise Ship to Return to NJ]]> Fri, 01 Jul 2016 01:59:42 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/JacobTrippin.jpg

A Caribbean-bound cruise ship that departed New Jersey on Thursday returned to shore after a boy nearly drowned in one of the boat’s pools, officials said.

The 8-year-old boy had “an accident” in one of the ship’s pools, Royal Caribbean Cruises tweeted at about 10 p.m.

Law enforcement officials said the Anthem of the Seas cruise ship departed from Bayonne, New Jersey, at 4:30 p.m. and was returning at 9:30 p.m. because of the medical emergency. 

The Coast Guard retrieved the child from the ship by Medivac helicopter and was taken to Staten Island University Hospital. His family was expected to meet him there. The ship was docked in Bayonne early Friday morning. 

The boy was in critical condition Friday, according to the Coast Guard, The Associated Press reported. The Coast Guard said the boy had been in the water for eight to 10 minutes before cruise officials found him. Police described the boy as a drowning or near-drowning victim. 

Royal Caribbean said on Twitter that the boy was being treated at the hospital and that the cruise line’s care team is providing support to his family.

This isn’t the first time Anthem of the Seas made headlines this year: it sailed into a storm in the Atlantic Ocean in February, tossing passengers and furniture around the vessel. Passengers described it as "a cruise from hell." 

Photo Credit: @JacobTrippin/Twitter
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<![CDATA[NYPD Cop Files Bias, Backlash Complaint Over Alleged Quotas]]> Fri, 01 Jul 2016 02:23:03 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/waller+nypd+quota.jpg

Veteran NYPD detective Derick Waller has filed a complaint of racial discrimination and retaliation with the Federal Equal Opportunity Commission claiming the police department punished him for speaking out publicly in an I-Team interview about alleged quotas for arrests and summonses.

Waller and 11 other officers of color are part of the "NYPD 12," plaintiffs in a federal class-action lawsuit that alleges the NYPD is violating a 2010 state ban on quotas, and punishing officers who don’t meet numbers. The police commissioner has repeatedly maintained there are no quotas.

Despite 22 years of experience in the police department, Waller claims he was demoted to a foot post in Crown Heights by commanding officers in the 77th Precinct following an appearance on News 4 New York.

Waller, who worked for years as an undercover cop in Brooklyn, said it’s extremely rare to see an officer with his level of experience walking a foot post.

Waller said for the first time in two years, he received a low monthly evaluation for the month of May. After filing an internal employment complaint that went unanswered, Waller and his attorney, Emeka Nwodoro, decided to pursue a federal complaint.

"It’s clearly retaliation," said Nwodoro.  "Every cop that is told this story, immediately, without knowing all the details, will say that it’s retaliation, so we’re going to file a complaint with the EEOC, the Federal Civil Rights Commission."

Waller told the I-Team he has been subjected to special disciplinary monitoring since 2008 and punished for not meeting numbers. Waller said he recorded a conversation with a senior officer in 2012 who told the detective what he needed to do to get off monitoring. The officer can be heard on tape describing how to use unjustified ticketing as a means to scare people. 

"Yeah, it’s a s----ty thing, but he has his pants down walking across the street, probably up to no good," the officer is heard saying. "Now you write this one guy up for a bull---- ticket or whatever, and next time he sees you, he’ll walk around and go the other way."

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton would not discuss the Waller case but said the other officers in the lawsuit should leave the department if they don't want to do their jobs.

"It’s unfortunate I have some conscientious objectors in this organization who don’t want to do police work," Bratton said. 

Waller said he would like to leave, but he refuses to retire while being monitored.

"I feel like the police department is holding me hostage," he said. "I can’t retire and I won’t retire under those circumstances."

If Waller retired under disciplinary review, he would not be able to get a carry permit for a gun, critical for potential employment.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Couple Delivers Baby Girl in NY Starbucks Parking Lot]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 18:55:27 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/baby+girl+born+starbucks+credit+matt+dobler.jpg

A Long Island couple headed to the hospital for the birth of their baby girl quickly had to improvise in the parking lot of a Starbucks when they realized the baby wasn't wasting any time.

Casey and Matt Dobler were driving on County Route 111 in Manorville Wednesday night when Casey went into labor, according to Suffolk County Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services. Matt called 911, and dispatcher Marlo Van Houten coached him through the birth. 

She instructed him to ensure the baby was breathing, to tie off the umbilical cord and to keep the newborn warm, Suffolk officials said. 

Emergency responders arrived soon after and took the baby and mother to St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson. 

"I have been through some crazy things in life... But I have to say delivering out baby in a Starbucks parking lot tops anything I've ever done," Matt Dolber wrote on Facebook.

The baby girl was named Sailor Jewel Dolber. 

Photo Credit: Matt Dobler/Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Naked Model Yelling About Trump Freezes Time Square]]> Fri, 01 Jul 2016 01:09:11 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/AP_16182543821113-edited.jpg

A naked man yelling, "Donald Trump, where are you?" climbed to the top of the red TKTS stairs in Times Square Thursday morning, then fell to the ground in an attempt to escape police, photos and video posted to social media showed.

The 21-year-old man from Manhattan, identified by police sources as Krit McClean, was seen in videos and photos posted to Instagram and Periscope gesturing wildly and pacing outside the railing at the top of the stairs overtop the ticket booth as several police crowded around. 

"I went out to get a cup of coffee and came out here and saw a gentleman up there dancing around naked," one man said. 

He appeared to be ranting as he held his hands up in the air, and at one point in Periscope footage he appeared to lunge at police officers in tactical gear.

After a brief standoff with police, McClean tried to run off. But he fell 16 feet off the top of the booth and hit the asphalt, barely missing a blow-up mat that police had placed to bring him to safety.

He broke his arm and cut his elbow in the fall. He screamed and moaned as rescuers rushed him to an ambulance. He was in stable condition when taken to a hospital. Officials say he'll undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Police said that McClean was combative with negotiators while he was atop the ticket kiosk and was incoherent when they tried to bring him to safety.

Pedestrians were advised to avoid the area amid the fracas.

Police say McClean had earlier been spotted a few blocks away. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.

McClean is a professional model, according to his website, and attended the elite Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. He writes that he was pursuing a bachelor's at Columbia University before taking time off for his modeling career. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Gas Leak Triggers Evacuations in Tribeca]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 22:47:32 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/tribeca+gas+leak.jpg

Two buildings, including a synagogue, were evacuated in lower Manhattan Thursday evening as authorities worked to locate a gas leak. 

Firefighters were called to Tribeca Synagogue on White Street, where they immediately registered very strong gas readings inside the building.

Area buildings were evacuated as Con Edison worked to locate the source of the leak. It was eventually found on the street outside of the synagogue, and the gas main was sealed, fire officials on scene said. 

A neighbor told NBC 4 New York he smelled gas intermittently before firefighters knocked on his door and instructed him to leave. 

"A lot of people were in the street and most folks were quite anxious," he said. 

After the gaas leak was located and capped, people were allowed back into their buildings. The street remained closed to traffic as Con Edison crews worked on repairing the pipe. 

The Tribeca Synagogue was designed in 1967 by architect William N. Breger. A New York Times article published in May 2015 said "its facade curves like a grand piano soundboard, floating over a small plaza named in Mr. Breger's honor." 

"People know us for that," synagogue president Avram S. Turkel told the Times. "They come in the middle of the day just to see the building." 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Porsche Driver Flees After Hit-Run That Killed Woman, 21: NYPD]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 23:30:38 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/queens+crash+2.jpg

Authorities are looking for the driver who hit two women on a busy road near the Long Island Expressway in Queens Thursday evening, killing one of them.

Police say a black Porsche was speeding westbound on the Horace Harding Expressway in Rego Park when the driver lost control near Junction Boulevard, jumping a sidewalk and hitting a tree before hitting a 21-year-old woman walking on the sidewalk and a 26-year-old woman riding a bike. 

The Porsche then careened across the other side of the road, where it collided with a Mini Cooper and a Toyota Camry waiting at a stoplight, police said.

The women hit by the Porsche and the two drivers hit in the crash were all taken to Elmhurst Hospital. The 21-year-old pedestrian died there, police said.

The bicyclist was being treated for head and shoulder injuries, and the drivers were treated and released for minor injuries.

Witness Isatou Harding said, "We just heard a boom, like a car flying, and I just have to wonder, 'Oh my God, what's going on?,' then everybody's shouting." 

Harding said it appeared the Porsche driver was trying to beat the light just as the killed woman was about to cross the street. 

Police are searching for the driver of the Porsche, who was seen running from the scene after the crash. He's described as being in his 50s, wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans. 

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<![CDATA[Man Who Shoved Feces Down Woman's Pants Tied to 2nd Attack]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 18:57:08 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/feces+attack+manhattan.jpg

A man was captured on video violently shoving a bag of feces down the pants of a woman walking on Manhattan's Upper East Side Monday, and police believe he attacked another person in a similar manner hours later. 

In the first incident, a 27-year-old woman was walking on East 74th Street near First Avenue at about 6 p.m. when the man approached her from behind, grabbed her waist and shoved a bag of feces down her pants, police said.

He grabbed her buttocks, then ran away. 

Surveillance video released by police Wednesday shows the suspect catching up to the victim as she walks while on her cellphone. He quickly grabs her from behind, and the startled victim tries to yank herself out of his grasp and pivots away from him. 

After a brief struggle, the suspect chucks off a pair of latex gloves, then flees, the video shows. 

Police said the attack was random and the woman did not know the suspect. 

Hours later, the man attacked someone else on East 91st Street between Park and Madison avenues, this time smearing the feces on the victim, according to police. 

Investigators believe the man is homeless. 

Neighbors on the Upper East Side say vagrants have become common.

"Every day you see people lying out, I see people urinating on buildings and there's nothing that happens," said Robert Feiner. 

"Police need to take action and come to the park and get them out of there," said Carole Kaplan. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio has acknowledged the city has a growing homelessness problem. He's stepped up street outreach and pledged a $2.6 billion investment in supportive housing units for the homeless. 

The suspect is described as about 40 years old, 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS. 

Photo Credit: Proivded to NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Newark Airport Travelers Fume About Sudden AirTrain Slowdown]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 21:07:24 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/newark+airtrain.jpg

Travelers heading to Newark Airport via AirTrain are fuming on social media about a sudden, unexplained slowdown in service as the holiday weekend gets underway. 

People took to Twitter to complain that AirTrains were not working and feared they would miss their flights. 

"Insane scene at #EWR Airtrain," tweeted one woman. "Hundreds will miss flights... no train/bus, ppl fighting, employees hiding." 

She later told NBC 4 New York in an email that her husband had taken the train from Newark Penn Station to take the AirTrain, and got caught in chaos as people waited for AirTrains that never showed up. 

"There were a lot of people yelling and pushing as new trains from Penn Station arrived, only flooding the waiting area even more," she wrote. "One bus arrived but that clearly couldn't handle the volume and everyone was fighting to get on. Employers on walkie-talkies hid in corners and didn't communicate anything to the masses trying to get out." 

"Many people were freaking out as they knew there would be no way they'd make their flights given the extensive delays," she said. 

Another NBC 4 New York viewer headed to Terminal A from NJ Transit tweeted, "Madness at the air train. Not working. 1 bus every 10 mins... Hundreds waiting and will miss flights." 

He said he was lucky to get on the bus and make his flight: "Not sure about others." 

Another traveler tweeted, "Um @NY_NJairports #EWR, really with the airtram down and no frequent buses to take people to terminals??? What are you doing?"

Travelers seemed equally frustrated with the lack of communication from Port Authority, saying they couldn't find any updates online and there were no announcements. 

The Port Authority only said unusually high passenger volume and ongoing construction in the area delayed service.

The Newark AirTrain connects with NJ Transit and the rail lines that run on the Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Line. 

Photo Credit: @a_silverstein/Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[4-Year-Old Boy Gets Stuck in Vending Machine]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 15:48:11 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/popcorn+generic.jpg

A 4-year-old boy got his arm stuck in a vending machine at a New Jersey ice skating facility Wednesday, but he got a free snack for his troubles.

The Hackensack Fire Department says it responded to a call at the Ice House, which, with four rinks, bills itself as the largest ice skating facility in the metro area, shortly after 7 p.m. and found the boy with his arm in the machine.

Firefighters spent 45 minutes trying to wrest the frightened child free. Eventually, the owner of the vending machine came with the key and got the boy out.

The vending machine owner told the Hackensack Daily Voice the machines are designed "so that this doesn't happen." It's not clear how the boy got stuck. 

Ultimately, he was OK, and got a free bag of popcorn, according to the Daily Voice.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Water Pipes Burst in NJ City for Second Time This Week]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 19:31:31 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/nj+water+main+breaks+feuerherd.jpg

Eight water main breaks were reported in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Thursday morning, the second time in less than a week that pipes have burst in the area. 

A valve regulating water that flows from Newark to Elizabeth was shut off Thursday after the breaks, New Jersey American Water told NBC 4 New York. An uncontrolled flow of water from the valve caused pressure to build and ruptured the aging pipes, authorities said. 

On Tuesday, eight other pipes burst in the area, authorities said. 

Area residents told NBC 4 New York Thursday that water flowed into their basements and that their house water was turned off after the breaks. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Beware of Bait Car, Long Island Thieves]]> Fri, 01 Jul 2016 01:35:51 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bait+car+long+island.jpg Suffolk County police are turning to trickery to catch crooks in the act. Greg Cergol reports.]]> <![CDATA[Jailed Mom Allowed to View Accidentally Killed Boy Before Funeral]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 16:38:35 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/boy+shot+brother.jpg

The jailed mother of a 4-year-old boy who was accidentally shot and killed by his 5-year-old brother as the older boy played with a gun in their New Jersey home will be allowed to attend a private viewing before the boy's funeral on Friday. 

Itiyanah Spruill, 22, will be escorted to the viewing before the 4-year-old boy is laid to rest, according to the Essex County prosecutor's office. She is not expected to be allowed to attend the funeral.

The boy was killed when his 5-year-old brother accidentally shot him in the head while playing with the gun in their East Orange home Saturday morning, authorities said. It's not clear how the brother got the gun, which belonged to Spruill. 

The child underwent surgery for a head wound at University Hospital in Newark but died about three hours later. 

Spruill, who was home at the time of the shooting, was arraigned Tuesday on child endangerment and other charges. She wept in the courtroom but did not speak nor did her relatives. 

<![CDATA[Storm Team 4]]> Tue, 07 Jun 2016 14:35:32 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/StormTeam4_1B.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Crime and Courts]]> Mon, 10 Sep 2012 11:40:24 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/gavel.jpg

Photo Credit: Martin Poole /Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Road to Rio: Carmelo Anthony Headed to 4th Olympics]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 18:44:55 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/carmelo+to+olympics.jpg For any Olympic hopeful, going to the games just once is the crowning achievement. For New York's own Carmelo Anthony, Rio will be his fourth. Bruce Beck has more.]]> <![CDATA[NJ Transit Warns of Delays, Overcrowding Thursday]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 17:04:57 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/215*120/NJ+Transit+Train.JPG

New Jersey Transit said trains are operating on or close to schedule after warning customers about potential residual backups throughout Thursday night's rush hour following an earlier Amtrak switch problem.

The agency had said in a red-bannered warning on its website that there could be overcrowding issues at New York Penn Station as a result, but issues appeared contained at the start of the evening rush hour. 

Originally NJT said there could be 45-minute delays through the evening rush, but it lowered that forecast to "residual delays" later in the afternoon. 

PATH trains are not cross-honoring rail tickets, NJT also said in a tweet.

The delays started just before 10 a.m. and worsened throughout the day. The transit agency sent an alert around 3:30 p.m. that the switch problem had been fixed but that delays would persist. 

It was the second time in less than 10 days that infrastructure problems created significant delays for NJT during rush hour. 

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[LIRR Adds Trains to Fire Island on Fridays]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 16:18:28 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/fire+island+booze+ban.jpg

The Long Island Rail Road is adding new Friday trains exclusively for Fire Island-bound customers this summer in an effort to reduce crowding on its Montauk branches.

LIRR says it's adding two trains each Friday that are timed to connect with Fire Island ferries at Bay Shore, Sayville and Patchogue, catering specifically to people headed to Fire Island. 

Currently, those heading to Fire Island share trains with people heading to the Hamptons and Montauk. The two extra trains should help alleviate crowding.

One of the extra Friday trains is an 8:04 a.m. from Jamaica, arriving at Bay Shore at 8:48 a.m., Sayville at 8:59 a.m. and Patchogue at 9:06 a.m. Riders can get to the Jamaica stop from Penn Station or Atlantic Terminal. 

The other additional train is a 12:02 p.m. from Babylon, arriving at Bay Shore at 12:08 p.m., Sayville at 12:19 p.m. and Patchogue at 12:26 p.m. Riders from New York City can catch this via a new "super-express electric" train departing Penn Station at 10:59 a.m. This will stop at Jamaica and Babylon only.

In addition to the Fire Island service, LIRR is adding cars to trains serving North Fork stations en route to and from Greenport.

The summer service begins Friday, July 1 and runs every Friday through Sept. 2. 

<![CDATA[You Can't Resist This Puppy Bath Video]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 11:18:55 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/maltese+bath.jpg

A trio of exceedingly adorable poodles and Maltese is cute — but a video of that trio taking a bath is a doggone must-see.

Footage from South Korea of the three dogs taking a bath is making the rounds on social media, and more than 17 million haven't resisted the click. 

The video shows the pups standing in a red bucket of water, tongues lolling as only their legs and paws are submerged. It cuts to totally soaked doggies, their legs turned to fluffballs as their fur absorbs water. 

Then, the crescendo: The three pups are out of the bath, getting blown dry in their very own drying contraption. And they couldn't seem happier.

Photo Credit: teddygraham61515/Instagram
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<![CDATA[FDA Issues Cookie Dough Warning]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 09:07:41 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Cookie-Dough-GettyImages-91624848.jpg In a warning that's sure to disappoint many who enjoy sneaking a taste of cookie dough, the federal Food and Drug Administration says people shouldn't eat raw dough or batter of any kind due to an ongoing outbreak of illnesses related to a strain of E. coli bacteria found in some batches of flour.
View Full Story

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Tetra images RF]]>
<![CDATA[Pricey NYC Test Prep Center to Refund Customers]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 17:57:15 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/test+prep.jpg

A high-priced test prep center will refund its customers $60,000 and stop making false promises in its advertising following an I-Team investigation last year.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office announced Wednesday that it has reached a settlement with Global Elites Network Xpeed Learning Academy, known as Xpeed, which has seven locations in New York and New Jersey.

"People pay a lot of money to send the kids to the school, and they were left with a program that did very little of what was promised," said Jane Azia, who heads the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau for the attorney general.

An I-Team investigation last year found that Xpeed Fun Camp claimed to train children to learn "50 times faster.” But former students and tutors hired by the school told the I-Team that too often children are left to play electronic games, rather than learning, while parents pay up to $7,000 per summer for their children to attend.

The school’s teaching relies on learning apps that are not proprietary to the school and can be downloaded by anyone.

Azia said under the settlement her office reached with Xpeed owner Maverick Bian, he will pay $60,000 in restitution to parents. He will also stop making false promises in his advertisements, and begin refunding money to families who are not satisfied with their experience. There is no admission of wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

Azia said so far her office has received complaints from 30 families. The money will be divided between those families and any others who file substantiated complaints with her office against Xpeed. The money will be distributed based on how much families gave Xpeed, Azia said.

Azia said families are also free to sue Xpeed civilly if they choose.

Xpeed Owner Maverick Bian could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but at the time of the I-Team’s initial report, he said tutors are trained and receive specific instructions on how to teach the children. He also said students are only allowed to play electronic games like Minecraft because they're educational. He said kids play video games for less than half an hour a day.

One student, Sarina Yu, told the I-Team at the time she "learned how to play poker" at the school. William Wang, another student, said he was promised "we could learn an entire [Advanced Placement] course in a week and if we weren't satisfied in two weeks, we could get our money back."

Bian insisted his schools boast a 90 percent success rate and that every child can be a prodigy. He said his three-fold method emphasizes developing long-term memory and that students prepare by reading material and tutors quiz them using iPads. Then students explain what they learned, from phonics to chemical engineering.

"Immediately after the tutoring, they have to consolidate on a daily basis at least seven rounds," said Bian. "As long as you work seven rounds you can put short-term memory into long-term memory,” he explained.

Students who have filed complaints disagree. They say there was not a lot of learning at the school.

Stephanie Tan said that Xpeed "didn't have tables set up, no pencils, no books. They were so disorganized."

She described the experience as, "you come in, you take an iPad and you just play games, pretty much."

Azia said families lost a lot to Xpeed.

“The parents lost a lot of money, and the kids lost a summer of their lives,” she said.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Security Cameras Lacking at Newark, LaGuardia Airports]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 10:55:30 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/lga+security.jpg

Security cameras inside baggage areas and near doors and pick up and drop off areas at Newark Liberty International Airport and LaGuardia Airport are lacking, an I-Team investigation has found. 

The I-Team surveyed the arrivals terminals at Newark and LaGuardia airports, as well as at John F. Kennedy International Airport, and found surveillance blind spots at the first two that, a day after suicide bombers killed 41 people and injured hundreds at a busy Turkish hub, are raising eyebrows. 

The Port Authority Police Benevolent Association – the union that represents airport police – is sounding the alarm. 

“We have no cameras in the frontage roadways at our airports -- no cameras in the common areas, food courts and no video surveillance once you pass screening and go down into the gate areas," said Frank Conti, first vice president of the Port Authority PBA. 

The surveillance isn't mandated. Homeland Security offers recommendations to individual airports on security, but the tools and procedures by which security is implemented are at the discretion of the individual airports and their operators, according to security expert Manny Gomez of MG Security Services. 

Often, security cameras are a layered responsibility between the airport authority, TSA and individual vendors.  

"Action beats reaction and right now we are being very reactionary,” Gomez said. 

Gomez says the lack of cameras can leave an airport vulnerable, particularly given the current climate. 

“There should perhaps be some federal legislation to mandate it because this is vital to the safety of our airways,” said Gomez. “We don't need another 9/11." 

The absent cameras were notable in two recent incidents at Newark airport. In early June, a man called authorities and threatened to open fire and blow up a British Airways plane. Police flooded the airport and moved the plane to a remote area to deplane passengers. Police later determined the threat was not credible. But sources tell the I-Team the phone call was made from a payphone in the terminal. And because there were no cameras in the area, authorities were never able to get a picture of the suspect and no one was arrested. 

In May, violent robbers tied up Smart Carte workers and ran off with $150,000 cash. No video cameras captured their presence. 

“Typical to the Port Authority, we are again behind the times,” said Conti. 

The Port Authority said it would not discuss the specifics of security operations or technology in use at its facilities. 

"We have thousands of closed-circuit security cameras strategically placed in operation across all our facilities, including our airports, and we are continuing to expand our coverage and use of security cameras in existing areas and in new projects," Thomas Belfiore, chief security officer with the Port Authority, said. "We continue to work with the TSA to ensure maximum camera coverage in critical areas of our airport facilities." 

Also alarming, police union officials say, is there are no unified security camera systems at any of the region's airports – so Port Authority police cannot access all cameras at once in real time in order to deal with potential threats. 

"If we had access to these live feeds at all times, that could literally be life-saving to be able to extemporaneously deal with a situation that's going on right in front of us," Conti said. 

"We ask the Port Authority and the Transportation Security Administration again, as we have many times in the past, to help by adding a state-of-the-art, unified security camera system throughout the terminals of JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Airports as well as all our nation’s major airports," added Paul Nunziato, president of the Port Authority PBA. "The proactive and investigative value of such systems should not be understated."

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[2 Slashed in Bronx; 2 More Struck by Car Nearby: Police ]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 06:31:11 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/DSC_01782.JPG

Two people were slashed in the Bronx Thursday morning, and two other people were struck by a car nearby, police said.

The two people were slashed on Morris Avenue in Mott Haven at 2:45 a.m. Around that time two other people were hit by a vehicle on the same street, according to police. 

Police said the two incidents weren't connected but that they were both gang-related.

Photos from the scene show emergency responders helping a man who was slashed. 

Police said the victims who were slashed are expected to survive. The two people who were hit by a car had minor injuries. All of the victims were taken to Lincoln Hospital in stable condition.

No arrests have been made in either incident, and police had no description of possible suspects. 

Photo Credit: David Torres]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Hits Dad, Daughter on Bikes, Killing 1: Police]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 20:52:25 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/hicksville+deadly+bike+accident.jpg

A car slammed into a father and a daughter riding their bicycles on Long Island, killing one of them, then crashed into the front porch of a home, causing the porch to collapse, police say. 

A 57-year-old woman was driving a 2002 Ford Explorer on New South Road in Hicksville at about 3 p.m. Wednesday when it crashed into the cyclists, police said. It then hit a two-story brick home, causing the front porch to completely collapse.

The daughter on her bicycle, identified as 43-year-old Cari Widmyer of Hicksville, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her 72-year-old father was taken to a local hospital with a knee injury. 

The driver and the passenger of the car, a 65-year-old man, were also taken to a local hospital, where they're listed in serious condition.

Resident Diana Romero said she was in an upstairs living room of the house watching television when she felt the impact.

"I looked outside the window and saw a puff of smoke, like a cloud," said Romero. 

"Neighbors came and helped, and workers from over there, that company, they came and helped us out of the house," she said. 

The cause of the crash is under investigation. Police say the Ford Explorer has been impounded for brake and safety checks.

Photo Credit: Ray Villeda/NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Cult Soda Crystal Pepsi Returns This Summer]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 06:45:45 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/pepsi+crystal.jpg

A short-lived cult soda from the '90s returns this summer.

PepsiCo announced the comeback of Crystal Pepsi this week. The Purchase, New York-based soda company said the translucent soda will be available in the U.S. and Canada later this summer.

Crystal Pepsi will be available for a limited time, beginning July 11 in Canada and Aug. 8 in the U.S. It will be sold in 20-ounce bottles at major retailers.

The soda was sold for a brief time — from 1992 to 1994 — before it was pulled from store shelves because of lagging sales. But it ultimately developed a cult following over the years, with a #BringBackCrystalPepsi movement gaining steam online.

After months of speculation, Pepsi brought the crystal-clear soda back late last year as part of a contest for members of its brand loyalty program. Thirteen-thousand six-packs of the soda were awarded to 13,000 winners. Many ended up on eBay, where some are still selling for well over $100. An original 16-ounce bottle was listed at $149.

"We've always had a special place in our heart for Crystal Pepsi, and there has been a huge groundswell of support to bring it back," marketing director Stacy Taffet said in a statement this week.

The return of Crystal Pepsi comes as Pepsi's sales are lagging behind Coca-Cola. Just this week, PepsiCo said it will reintroduce aspartame to some of its beverages less than a year after pulling the artificial sweetener as part of a marketing move. It was met with backlash from fans who said the new soda didn’t have the same flavor.

To seal the deal with the '90s nostalgia crowd, Pepsi said it's kicking off the "Summer of Crystal Pepsi" with the release of "The Crystal Pepsi Trail" online, a take on the popular '90s computer game "The Oregon Trail."

"What better way to celebrate this iconic 90s cola than to introduce a new take on one of the most beloved games of the decade. Totally rad!" Taffet said. 

In a well-timed coincidence, Hi-C Ecto Cooler is returning to store shelves this week. The bygone Ghostbusters-themed beverage was introduced in 1987 and eventually pulled from store shelves in 2001. Like Crystal Pepsi, the neon-green drink also developed a cult following over the years. It’s marketed by Coca-Cola.

Photo Credit: PepsiCo
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<![CDATA[De Blasio Staffer Quits in Social Media Fury]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 04:42:08 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bill+de+blasio+fed+probe+latest+5+20.jpg

The former social media director to Mayor de Blasio quit Tuesday after just weeks on the job, and then took to Facebook to blast the City Hall working environment and call his former colleagues “political hacks.”

Scott Kleinberg came to New York eight weeks ago for the position after a stint as social media director for the Chicago Tribune, DNAinfo reported.

He quit Tuesday, according to the report, then took to social media to air his grievances.

"Well, that was fast," Kleinberg wrote on Facebook Tuesday. "I moved to NYC for a dream job and that's not what I got. I tried to stick it out, but it was impossible. Now, for the first time in my life, I’m unemployed."

A friend of Kleinberg’s then commented on the post: "I'm sure it's impossible for someone of your caliber, with your work ethic and honesty, to survive in a sea of cut-throat political hacks.”

Kleinberg responded: “I ended up with political hacks plus a boss who just couldn’t get it. It was a bad combination for sure.”

In a statement, a City Hall spokesperson said: “New York City government is a tough, fast-paced job that is not for everyone. We wish him well."

While Kleinberg's Facebook post got hundreds of well wishes, New Yorkers were not so sympathetic.

"He sounds like a crybaby," one woman remarked to NBC 4 New York. 

Social media expert Chris Dessi of Silverback Social says Kleinberg's public comments get a big thumbs down.

"Whether you're for the mayor, whether you're against the mayor, doesn't matter. You know that you're going to be working 13 hours [a day] and on the weekends. Boo-hoo, get over it, it's New York," he said. 

Kleinberg is now looking for a new job using the same Facebook post he used to bash his old ones.

Dessi says good luck with that: "Especially as a social media expert, he should understand that those comments could live in perpetuity."

Kleinberg may not have too much trouble finding a job, though: an opposition group known for criticizing the mayor's office says it would like to help him find a new job.

Attempts to reach Kleinberg Wednesday were unsuccessful. 

This is the third sudden departure in the de Blasio administration in recent weeks. Earlier this month, press secretary Karen Hinton left after just a year on the job, telling NBC 4 New York she often felt she was left out of the loop.

And on Wednesday, Maya Wiley, who served as counsel to the mayor, resigned to take a new job as chairwoman of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, and to work as a professor and senior vice president at The New School. She said in a statement she is grateful to have worked for de Blasio. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York]]>
<![CDATA[Fugitive Nabbed at Newark Airport After 19 Years on the Run]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 08:22:26 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/newark-airport.jpg

Federal marshals have captured a fugitive convicted of drug charges in New Jersey and New York after 19 years on the run.

Authorities arrested Justo Guzman at Newark Liberty International Airport on Wednesday as he entered the U.S. from the Dominican Republic. Marshals were monitoring his whereabouts after discovering where he was living.

Guzman was convicted in 1984 of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and a lifetime of parole.

An arrest warrant for violating terms of his parole was issued in 1997.

<![CDATA[NJ City Named No. 3 Worst Place to Live: Report]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 15:33:11 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Homes+Generic.jpg

One of New Jersey's biggest cities is one of the worst places to live in America, according to a 24/7 Wall St ranking.

The website ranked Paterson, New Jersey, as the third-worst place to live in America behind only Miami and Detroit.

The report cited Paterson's poverty rate, almost twice the national average, and stagnant economy, for the ranking, which was calculated in a review of crime data, employment growth, access to restaurants and housing affordability among the 550 U.S. cities with populations greater than 65,000.

Other area cities -- including New York City and Newark -- were among the worst 50 places to live. 

New York City came in at No. 44, and was docked for its high cost of living and income disparity between the city's poorest and richest citizens. 

Newark (No. 43) also got low marks for its high cost of living. But the report also cited a median income $15,700 below the national median and high crime rates in giving the city its rating. 

Other cities in the ranking included Buffalo (No. 14), Mount Vernon, New York (No. 17); and Camden, New Jersey (No. 25).

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Outerbridge Cowboy's' Horses to Be Examined: DA]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 19:00:28 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/doc+mishler+outerbridge+cowboy.jpg

Officials are investigating the horses of the so-called Outerbridge Cowboy who caused a traffic jam while trotting across a New York City bridge Monday. 

Doc Mishler, 80, of Ulster County, caused a traffic jam on the Outerbridge Crossing when he rode a horse across the bridge with another, unmounted horse, part of an effort to raise awareness about childhood hunger. He was issued two summonses.

Officials became concerned about the horses after finding sores on them, possible saddle sores from carrying heavy gear without being properly saddled, according to sources. 

The Staten Island district attorney's office said staffers, along with NYPD, met with Mishler on Tuesday and he signed a waiver allowing his horses to be treated by a parks department veterinarian at a Staten Island facility.

Mishler said his horses, named Charity 2 and Hope 2, are completely healthy.

"I know my horses are in great shape," he told NBC 4 New York Wednesday. "If you don't take care of your horses, they ain't going to go anywhere." 

"I don't mind at all, they've gotta do what they've gotta do," he said of officials investigating his horses. 

Mishler does horse rides across the country to raise awareness about childhood hunger, according to his website. 

"It's about letting people know that it's not the way that's lacking, it's the will," he told NBC 4 New York Wednesday. "We could feed every starving child in the world." 

It appears that Mishler is the cowboy who travels the country on horseback to raise awareness of childhood hunger.   

Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY
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<![CDATA[New Elevated Park Opens at 1WTC]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 16:34:28 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/liberty-park-crop.jpg

A new elevated park opens Wednesday at the World Trade Center with a 25-foot-high vertical garden and a sapling from a tree that grew outside of Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam. 

Liberty Park is above Liberty Street on the World Trade Center site. It is a smaller scale version of the iconic High Line with a beautiful view of the Freedom Tower. 

The 750-people capacity park contains a 336-foot-long vertical garden called a "living wall." The wall is built with 826 panels filled with 22,356 plants of six different varieties.

It is home to the American Response Statue which pays tribute to 9/11 responders.

Lower Manhattan’s first elevated park contains a sapling from the original Anne Frank horse chestnut tree that grew outside Frank's Netherlands home.

It will provide workers, residents and tourists a great place to catch up with friends with a great view of the city. 

Photo Credit: Sydney Narvaez]]>
<![CDATA[NYC Morgue Mix-Up Prompts Crusade for New Law]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 18:42:20 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Body-Woman-Shipped-Bronx.jpg

A New York City man whose mother's body was accidentally donated to a medical school is now pushing for the governor to pass a law that would require schools to get written consent from family members before using a body as a cadaver.

When Aura Ballesteros died in 2014, her son Hector asked the morgue in the Bronx to hold onto her body a little while longer so he could make funeral arrangements. But there was a mix-up and her body was labeled unclaimed -- and, as the law dictates, it was automatically sent to a medical school to be used as a cadaver.

"The anguish, the emotional stress, the trauma is very difficult to explain but I'm still suffering," said Ballesteros. 

Currently, if a body goes unclaimed for 48 hours in New York state, it's automatically donated for research.

"This is not OK. They need to look first for human suffering. For respect. For dignity. I don't want no other family to go through this big trauma," said Ballesteros.

The state Senate and Assembly have already passed the bill to require medical schools to get family consent, but there's some opposition.

"The medical schools that oppose this bill and want the governor to veto it, want an easy pass to get these bodies instead of doing what's right And that is getting written consent from the families," said Rubenstein.

The medical school community has previously argued that the new law would compromise their ability to get enough cadavers for students to learn from. It is through cadavers doctors learn how to save lives. But now they are "assessing their position."

"Respect for the dead and their families comes first," said Rubenstein.

"I urge Gov. Cuomo to sign right away without any doubt this bill," said Ballesteros.

<![CDATA[All-Out Brawl Erupts at Taqueria, Allegedly Over Salsa]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 11:35:18 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/taqueria-brawl.jpg A Facebook user captured a nearly 6-minute video of what resembled a professional wrestling-style brawl at a Dallas taquería. He told Telemundo he jokingly said the fight started over chips and salsa, but doesn't actually know what started the fight.
View Full Story

Photo Credit: Facebook - Isael Rojas]]>
<![CDATA[Child Hit by Car in New Jersey: Officials]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 17:19:46 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Police+Siren+Generic+123.jpg

A child was taken to the hospital with serious head injuries after being hit by a car in New Jersey Wednesday. 

Fire officials said the child was hit near Carteret High School in Carteret shortly after 4 p.m. 

The investigation is ongoing.