A leaked video of a Manhattan City Council candidate in a BDSM dungeon was flagged to the press by his campaign manager

Zack Weiner had BDSM footage leaker
Zack Weiner, 26, is “not ashamed” of the leaked BDSM footage.

  • Zack Weiner, who is running for Manhattan City Council, had a BDSM video of him leaked on Twitter.
  • The video was flagged to the New York Post by his campaign manager, the news outlet said.
  • In a statement, he said that he is “not ashamed” of the video and called it a “distraction” from the race.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A video of a 26-year-old Manhattan City Council candidate being dominated by an ex-girlfriend in a BDSM dungeon was released onto Twitter, the New York Post reported.

The footage, showing Zack Weiner gagged and tied up, was posted by an anonymous account last week, the news outlet said.

The BDSM was flagged to the news outlet by Weiner’s own campaign manager, according to The Post.

The footage was filmed at Parthenon studio in Midtown, The Post reported and described the venue as well-known for its high-quality BDSM dungeons.

Weiner, who is in the race for the Upper West Side’s 6th District, confirmed to the news outlet that it was him in the footage and said that it was filmed at a BDSM dungeon in Manhattan in 2019.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Weiner said that he is “not ashamed” of the private video and that it is a “distraction” from his policies.

Read more: I’m voting for Kathryn Garcia as New York City mayor because she’s the opposite of Bill de Blasio

“This was a recreational activity that I did with my friend at the time, for fun,” Weiner wrote on Saturday. “Like many young people, I have grown into a world where some of our most private moments have been documented online.”

Noting that he might be chastised for the video, the candidate said that he trusts that “voters will choose a city council representatives based on their policy and ability to best serve the community.”

He told The Post that he is a “proud BDSMer” and described the release of the video as a “violation of trust.”

Weiner’s political platform is focused on improving the quality of life for District 6 residents, addressing the area’s storefront vacancy, improving financial literacy, and bettering neighborhood policing, his website says.

Read the original article on Business Insider

New York City is back

new york city central park
As seen here in Central Park’s Sheep Meadow, the spirit of NYC is alive and well.

  • New York City is back.
  • America’s biggest city is recovering as New Yorkers return and its economy reopens.
  • It’s not the same as pre-pandemic NYC, but it’s the beginning of the city’s next chapter.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

I knew New York City was back when I found myself dancing on top of a booth in an East Village bar last weekend.

The night began with dinner out and ended with another bargoer’s drink on my shoe, eating pizza on the street, and an invitation from a six-pack-wielding stranger for my friends and I to drink beer and play “Mario Kart” at his apartment.

That is all to say: It was a normal Saturday night in NYC, one event in a weekend that felt very much like the Before Times. I also worked in the Insider office for the first time that Friday and hit the gym on Sunday.

Pfizer made all these adventures possible, and it seems that the vaccines are having the same effect on New Yorkers across the city.

For the past month, I’ve noticed the magical – and exhausting – things that make New York New York coming to life again: a stalled 1 train, a crowded 6 train, getting turned down by a full cab, tourists getting in my way of shopping on Fifth Avenue, trying four newly opened restaurants, the throngs of sunbathers and picnickers in Central Park, and the familiar murmurs of gossip and chatter over wine glasses on a rooftop. It’s not just a feeling: New York City’s economy is genuinely healing.

It’s also a far cry from a year ago, when New York became the center of the coronavirus in the US and everything that once lit up New York – the distant squares of office windows, taxi-cab lights, and Times Square – dimmed.

Even today, traces of pandemic NYC remain. My Saturday bar closed at midnight, and it took about four attempts to grab a late-night bite to eat at a restaurant not closing by 11 p.m. on Friday night, an insult in the city that never sleeps.

But the return of New Yorkers, lockdown lifting, and a financial boost have revived the city’s energy. NYC as we once knew it is gone, but the big city is back.

New Yorkers can’t stay away

NYC’s obituary was written countless times in 2020, prompted by shuttering businesses and the wealthy fleeing to upstate for more space or to the palm trees down south.

But the city “was just taking a nap,” Bella, a 28-year-old transplant New Yorker, told me. She joked she knew it was back after recently being catcalled by a gang of bicyclers.

Read more: Florida isn’t replacing New York after all

The data agrees with Bella’s diagnosis. The supposed mass exodus out of the city wasn’t so massive, according to recent data from USPS. According to Bloomberg, more Manhattanites moved to Brooklyn than anywhere else between March 2020 and February – 20,000 of them, compared with 19,000 Manhattanites who moved to Florida, 10,000 of whom plan to stay permanently. They’ll probably be back.

NYC also remains home to 7,743 ultra-high-net-worth individuals – more than any other city in the world, according to a Knight Frank and Douglas Elliman report from March. Mansion Global said the number of outward migrants from the NYC metro area ticked upward from 2019 to 2020 – a loss of 6.6 per 1,000 residents grew to 10.9 – but those who left for the suburbs were already returning.

Washington Square PArk NYC
New Yorkers hanging out in Washington Square Park.

City real estate, once plummeting, is rebounding. New Yorkers are upgrading to wealthier neighborhoods and fancier apartments, while there’s evidence that overseas buyers are starting to drive sales again, as are young professionals looking to buy for the first time. The number of sales in Manhattan increased by 28.7% from the last three months of 2020 to the first three of 2021, according to a Douglas Elliman report.

Brooklyn’s real-estate market is recovering the fastest, and the borough has become so popular, it now costs nearly as much to live there as it does in Manhattan, The New York Times reported.

“Whoever wrote off New York was wrong,” Kenneth Horn, the founder of Alchemy Properties, told Mansion Global. “This, of course, has been horrible. We’ve lived through a lot different, right. But people want to live in New York. People love the vibrancy.”

Late-night bars and subways

NYC hasn’t even reached its peak return of residents, but it already feels alive. A recent Bank of America Research note, from a team led by Head of US Economics Michelle Meyer, said this month would spark a dominolike return to the city, ultimately proving the mass exodus narrative was more myth than reality.

By the end of May, restrictions lifted include: most industry capacity limits, the limit on residential outdoor gatherings, the mask mandate for vaccinated people, and the midnight outdoor- and indoor-dining-area curfew for bars and restaurants.

Read more: The urban exodus out of New York City and San Francisco is more myth than reality

As a city dweller, I no longer have to order food with my Moscow mule, and I can resume my love-hate relationship with the subway again 24/7. I can book a ticket for Broadway in September, listen to crowds roar during a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden, and start checking out library books.

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York wrote in a Tweet announcing some of these reopenings earlier this month, “NY is coming back!”

new york city subway
The subway is resuming its 24/7 service.

Now, while the state of New York officially reopened in May, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that he’s eyeing a full reopening for the city on July 1 and plans to eliminate remote learning come fall. But the Legislature unwinding many of the lifts has made it feel like city is already back in action.

Offices, too, have jumped on the reopening spree. Wall Street is preparing for its summer return in a matter of weeks, with both Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs asking their employees to come back to the office starting mid-June. Over in tech, Facebook is gearing up to bring its employees back to its New York City offices.

“I haven’t had hope for any return to actual normalcy until now, seeing people both indoor and outdoors without masks, and it’s really starting to hit me that this wasn’t actually going to be forever,” Kelsey Peter, a 27-year-old nonprofit worker who stayed in NYC when the pandemic hit, told Insider.

Cash is flowing

The boomerang migration, uptick in real estate, and economic reopening are all helping cash flow again in a city made of money.

Card spending was up by 38% in the NYC metro area compared with the previous year and 17% compared with two years ago for the week ending May 22, according to BofA Research.

Spending on brick-and-mortar retail in NYC by local households hovered around 70% by the end of 2020, as compared to a 74% pre-pandemic trend, indicating a minimal drop from outmigration, BofA also found, while in-person spending on restaurants has improved. As of mid-April, it was still down 30% compared with two years ago but a major improvement from the 70% drop at the end of January.

NYC’s finances are also in better shape than expected. While the state’s tax revenue collected over the past fiscal year was $513.3 million lower than the previous year, the state was fearing a $3 billion bigger drop, New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli told Bloomberg, and a large chunk of that came from the city.

times square new york city
Crowds are back in Times Square.

And President Joe Biden’s stimulus package included $5.6 billion for NYC, which Insider’s Juliana Kaplan reported likely saved catastrophic cuts to the city budget. This sentiment was largely confirmed at a City Council hearing in March, when Department of Finance Commissioner Sherif Soliman said this federal aid had given the city a “shot in the arm” financially and his office was optimistic for a “full recovery.”

At the end of April, de Blasio announced a $98.6 billion budget, $10 billion higher than previously planned, to help jump-start the city’s recovery. “These investments are about bringing the city back, and they just can’t wait,” he said in a press briefing, according to the New York Daily News. “Sometimes you have to spend money to make money.”

Read more: Millionaire New Yorkers are now set to pay the highest taxes in the country

However, long-term budget challenges still loom. Some experts have said there’s no guarantee NYC will be able to continue funding de Blasio’s budget, calling on him to do more.

But NYC is also set to get another injection of money beginning next year, now that Cuomo has finalized a budget that would have millionaire New Yorkers pay 13.5% to 14.8% in local and state taxes – the highest taxes in the country.

NYC’s next chapter

To say NYC 2021 resembles NYC 2019 would be inaccurate. Several aspects of the city still aren’t quite “normal.”

Tourism may not fully recover until 2025, plenty of the wealthy did permanently move or have yet to return, and central business districts like midtown aren’t their typical bustling selves. The amount of Manhattan office space available is the highest it’s been in 30 years, and rents also haven’t reached their pre-pandemic norms, signaling that NYC’s population still isn’t what it was. Urban areas stand to see an estimated 10% drop in spending from an economy where more workers are remote – and even more in cities like New York.

The city’s vaccination rollout could also pose a challenge to the progress made so far. While nearly 61% of NYC adults have at least one dose of the vaccine, that still leaves about 39% who aren’t vaccinated. Vaccination rates are slowing across the state as a whole, leading de Blasio to offer weekly incentives for getting vaccinated.

The contagious coronavirus variant spreading throughout India and other parts of Asia may also bring with it a risk of some form of lockdown returning later this year. On Thursday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the country’s full reopening could be delayed because of the variant, despite a successful vaccination campaign similar to America’s.

baby brasa's nyc
Brunch at Baby Brasa reviving that NYC energy.

And while NYC is never going to return to its 2019 economy, just as America itself won’t, that doesn’t mean that the city has lost its luster. Much like it did after the Great Depression and 9/11, NYC is entering the next chapter of its life – and that’s starting now, in line with the race for a new mayor come November.

BofA noted potential for some recovery in the near term, as NYC remains a “premier city for young renters given status as economic, financial, and cultural centers.” The pullback in rents, it said, has also helped make NYC living more affordable and enticing for young professionals.

Read more: It’s starting to look like New York City will be just fine

As the city was once America’s coronavirus center, NYC’s reopening serves as a metaphor for the country’s pandemic progress. It’s also revived the city’s intangible energy.

For some, this part of NYC never died. Even when the city felt empty, Peter said, there were so many people looking out for each other.

“You would get used to seeing the same vendor’s face at the wine store or at the coffee shop when you’re getting to-go,” she added. “That was all during the worst of it, and things only got better from there. It was always a community.”

As someone who also rode out the pandemic out in Manhattan, I agree with Peter. My local bodega owner, the friendly parking-garage attendant on my street, and a fellow parkgoer and his five poodles became the faces I’d typically see during my pandemic routine. With endless options to experience the city again, I’m back to encountering strangers and forgotten faces on the regular, from my waiter at Lil’ Frankie’s to my hairstylist and colorist, so much so that it’s getting somewhat exhausting.

That can mean only one thing: New York is back.

Read the original article on Business Insider

What it’s like to visit Little Island, NYC’s newest public park built as an artificial island off Manhattan

Little Island
  • Little Island, New York City’s newest public park, opened on May 21.
  • The park was primarily funded by the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation.
  • “What I’ve heard Mr. Diller say often is that the park just transports you to Oz,” Celine Armstrong, Little Island’s project executive, told Insider.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
New York City is already known for its landmark attractions like the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, and Central Park.

statue of liberty

But now, a new contender funded by a billionaire TV magnate and a fashion powerhouse’s family foundation has entered the cityscape: Little Island.

Little Island

Little Island is tucked inside of the larger waterfront Hudson River Park, which runs along the West Side Highway.

Little Island

Despite its name, Little Island – and its cost, but we’ll dive into that later – is anything but “little.”

Little Island

The 2.4-acre public park is perched above the Hudson River on Pier 55 …

Little Island

… just a few blocks away from the Whitney Museum of American Art, Chelsea Market, and Google’s second largest office.

Little Island

Source: Google

“[The park is] really important for mental health purposes,” Celine Armstrong, the project executive for Little Island, told Insider. “You need green space, you need people to have a place to relax, and in order to do that, you need private dollars.”

Little Island

The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, headed by power couple Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg, funded the majority of the public park.

Little Island

Diller currently serves as the chairman of IAC and Expedia, but previously ran companies like QVC and Fox.

barry diller

His wife, Diane von Fürstenberg, is a fashion powerhouse with an eponymous fashion line.

sun valley barry diller diane von furstenberg
Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg.

The couple’s foundation has previously poured millions of dollars into public parks, and its long list of grantees include the Central Park Conservancy and the High Line.

Diane von Furstenberg

Source: Philanthropy News Digest, The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation

But the foundation’s latest push for Little Island may be the biggest yet: the park is the “largest private public donation to public open space in New York City’s history” …

Little Island

… and the second largest private donation to a public open space in the country, according to Armstrong.

Little Island

The foundation donated $260 million to Little Island, and will continue giving an additional $120 million through the next decade for upkeep and the park’s shows, Adrian Gaut reported for Wall Street Journal.

Little Island

Source: Wall Street Journal

In comparison, the city donated $17 million to Little Island, while the state chipped in $4 million.

Little Island

Source: Wall Street Journal

Diller’s decision to help maintain the park is “unheard of,” Armstrong said.

Little Island

Curbed recently referred to Little Island as Diller’s “big beautiful baby,” and it’s easy to understand why.

Little Island
  1. erstand why. 

Source: Curbed

Diller was so pivotal to Little Island, the project has been called “Diller Island.”

Little Island

Source: The New York Times

“He’s very involved with it,” Armstrong said.

Little Island

His wife, von Fürstenberg, was also involved by attending design meetings. Her attributions can be seen in the most minute of details on Little Island: she picked the bronze handrails, according to Armstrong.

Little Island

Little Island’s history spans back to 2013 when Diller partnered with the Hudson River Park Trust to reimagine Pier 54 – which had been damaged by Hurricane Sandy – as a public space and subsequently, a park.

Little Island

Source: Little Island

The starting team then tapped firms like Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects’ Signe Nielsen and Heatherwick Studio – which previously designed NYC’s controversial but flashy Vessel – to design and plan the logistics of Little Island.

Little Island

The park looks incredibly similar to its initial concepts, according to Armstrong.

Little Island

She believes this was possible in part because Diller and his family were patient, flexible, and able to fund all of the research and development necessary for the Little Island’s unique design and appearance.

Little Island

The majority of the park’s timeline was consumed by the design process, and not construction: “luckily if the design is good, you can efficiently build it because trades know what they’re doing,” Armstrong said.

Little Island

And after a slew of lawsuits, subsequent intervention from both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and issues with rising cost – as reported by the New York Times – the park was finally completed and unveiled to the city’s residents on May 21.

Little Island

Source: The New York Times

“Given how many revolutions this went through, from starting to dying and starting again, I was actually awestruck when I could actually look up and see it,” Diller told the Wall Street Journal. “I walked on [the island] and felt pure, actual joy, which is not something I can say happens very often.”

Little Island

Source: Wall Street Journal

Like most public parks in the city, Little Island is free for all visitors.

Little Island

It’s open from 6 a.m. through 1 a.m., but for now, guests are required to make a reservation for visits after 12 p.m.

Little Island

Luckily, I was able to visit the park a day before it’s grand opening. So let’s take a look inside.

Little Island

New Yorkers driving by on the West Side Highway have been ogling at the park’s unique foundation for many months now.

Little Island

And for a good reason: Little Island is visually unlike any other park in New York City.

Little Island

“What I’ve heard Mr. Diller say often is that the park just transports you to Oz,” Armstrong said. “You are transported into a different place and you have time to just wander around and be amazed at every turn, each pathway.

Little Island

The entire island sits on top of 280 concrete piles, the leftover structure from the pier, and 132 concrete “tulips,” according to a press release.

Little Island
An overhead view of Little Island.

Source: Little Island

The concrete tulips, which are all different shapes, are arguably the most eye-catching feature of the park.

Little Island

They tower above the Hudson River at varying cascading heights, mimicking the flow of the water beneath it.

Little Island

“I love high design and innovation and just pushing the boundaries of what could be built, and this does that,” Armstrong said. “It allowed us to tinker and really collaborate with everyone, so your ego is checked at the door.”

Little Island

From the outside looking in, the park looks like bundles of green foliage and bronze fences atop the concrete, tulip-shaped pillars.

Little Island

And inside the park, it’s unusually peaceful and lush compared to the bustle of New York City.

Little Island

Little Island also offers unique glimpses of the city through varying vantage points.

Little Island

The views of New York City from inside Little Island are unlike any rooftop Manhattan has to offer.

Little Island

Some parts of Little Island offer sweeping views of the Hudson River, while other sections provide a panoramic view of downtown Manhattan and One World Trade Center.

Little Island

These different viewpoints can be accessed by following the winding pathways sprinkled throughout the park.

Little Island

Seating benches and bunches of greenery and flowers also line every walkway.

Little Island

The park has over 350 species of foliage and flowers amounting to 114 trees and over 66,000 bulbs, according to the press release.

Little Island

Source: Little Island

And now that it’s springtime, the flowers are in full bloom, creating a colorful park that contrasts the city’s grey, sometimes drab skyscrapers.

Little Island

Now, let’s take a closer look at the different sections of the park.

Little Island

The “Play Ground” serves as Little Island’s central point.

Little Island

This is where you’ll find your typical park amenities, such food and drink options and seating under the shade.

The Play Ground at little island
The Play Ground at Little Island.

The amphitheater – known aptly as the “Amph” – is located just a short walk away from the Play Ground towards the northwest end of the park.

Little Island

One of the biggest changes from the original design of the park was the addition of this 687-seat amphitheater …

Little Island

… and subsequently, the dressing rooms, prop areas, toilet facilities, and general manager’s office, according to Armstrong.

Little Island

But the amphitheater isn’t the only public stage on Little Island.

Little Island

There’s also a conjoined stage and lawn area known as the “Glade” on the opposite end of the park.

Little Island

Yes, Little Island has two different stages, but that’s because the arts will be a cornerstone aspect of the park.

Little Island

Starting June, the island will have four resident artists and events like concerts, dance, and theater six days a week.

performers at little island
MeenMoves at Little Island.

“Little Island is going to spark inspiration for designers, engineers, general dreamers, and artists,” Armstrong said. “You’re experiencing the environment while you’re experiencing art.”

Little Island

All of this likely wouldn’t have happened without the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation’s donation and work, according to Armstrong.

Little Island

As a result, Armstrong hopes Little Island will encourage more private donations to public parks.

Little Island

“We need private donations for public open space, and this just shows what you can do with private money, Armstrong said. “You can have a bit more control and flexibility to test methods, and that’s how you reach excellence.”

Little Island
Read the original article on Business Insider

Manhattan DA prosecutors subpoenaed an elite Manhattan private school as part of its investigation into Trump

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump.

  • Manhattan prosecutors subpoenaed a private school for its Trump investigation, according to the Wall Street Journal.
  • It’s reportedly examining whether tuition payments for the Trump Organization’s CFO broke tax laws.
  • The school received more than $500,000 in tuition overall, according to Jennifer Weisselberg.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

New York prosecutors have subpoenaed an elite private school in Manhattan as part of an investigation into former President Donald Trump and his Trump Organization, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Sources told the Journal that Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School was subpoenaed by prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg’s grandchildren are students at the school. Prosecutors are reportedly trying to “flip” Weisselberg, who also oversees the Trump family’s finances, into cooperating with the investigation into irregularities in Trump’s and the Trump Organization’s finances.

Jennifer Weisselberg – the childrens’ mother – previously told Insider that Trump would include school tuition in the compensation package for her former husband, Barry Weisselberg. She is a cooperating witness in investigations from both the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and the New York Attorney General’s office.

Prosecutors may be examining whether the tuition arrangement allowed Barry or Allen Weisselberg to avoid paying taxes, according to the Journal.

Jennifer Weisselberg told the Journal that more than $500,000 in tuition was paid for with checks written either by Trump or Allen Weisselberg. But the records in her possession don’t show who made the payments, the Journal reported.

The subpoenas for the elite Upper West Side school will allow prosecutors to obtain copies of the transactions for tuition payments, which may tell them whether they came from Trump, Allen Weisselberg, Barry Weisselberg, the Trump Organization, or some other source.

Prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office have already gone to the Supreme Court to subpoena reams of financial documents from the Trump Organization, including tax filings. They have also subpoenaed Allen Weisselberg’s bank records.

The Trumps and Weisselbergs have ties to Columbia Grammar

Michael Cohen, a former executive at the Trump Organization and personal lawyer for Trump, was previously the chairman of Columbia Grammar’s board. He helped make sure the Weisselberg grandchildren would be considered for admission, Jennifer Weisselberg previously told Insider.

The children of Jack Weisselberg, Allen Weisselberg’s other son, have also attended Columbia Grammar, according to the Journal.

Barron Trump, the former president’s youngest son, attended the school when he lived in New York City.

And the Trump Foundation – Donald Trump’s now-dissolved charity organization – donated $150,000 to the school between 2014 and 2016, according to the Journal’s review of tax filings.

donald trump jr allen weisselberg
Allen Weisselberg in 2016.

A court ordered the dissolution of the Trump Foundation in 2019, after New York Attorney General Letitia James brought a lawsuit accusing it of misusing funds.

James’s office is conducting its own investigation into Trump’s and the Trump Organization’s finances. It has made fewer public moves than the investigation from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. Vance is set to retire in December, and is widely expected to make a decision about whether to bring charges against Trump or the Trump Organization before then.

Trump faces numerous other legal headaches, including investigations into his conduct as president, lawsuits over sexual misconduct allegations, and an investigation in Georgia into his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results there.

In an earlier interview with Insider, Jennifer Weisselberg said the Trump Organization would pay employees like her former husband with perks like tuition and housing instead of cash as a way to control their lives.

“They want you to do crimes and not talk about it and don’t leave,” she said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A New York City investment manager has been charged with stealing over $2.4 million through PPP loans

ppp loan application
A page from the PPP loan application that people have to fill out for financial support due to the continuing outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is pictured on a desk in New York U.S., May 7, 2020.

  • New York City prosecutors charged a man with stealing over $2.4 million through PPP loans.
  • The man is accused of applying for five PPP loans and lying about the number of employees he had.
  • Prosecutors alleged he transferred the “vast majority” of the money to personal trading accounts.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A New York City investment manager was charged Friday with stealing more than $2.4 million from five lending institutions through Payment Protection Program loans, prosecutors said in a statement.

Gregory Blotnick, 33, is accused of applying for five separate PPP loans between April 2020 and August 2020, and lying about the number of employees he had at his companies, Brattle Street Capital LLC and BSC Management LLC.

While the loans were meant to cover payroll costs, prosecutors accused Blotnick of instead transferring a “vast majority” of the money to his personal trading accounts and losing it in the market.

“As alleged, Mr. Blotnick repeatedly took advantage of a system intended to provide lifelines to small businesses and their employees during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement.

Blotnick has been charged with five counts of second-degree grand larceny, five counts of second-degree criminal possession of stolen property, and one count of first-degree scheme to defraud.

“At a time when nearly 3,000 businesses were forced to close their doors across New York City, Mr. Blotnick diverted millions in vital PPP funds for his own personal gain,” Vance’s statement said.

It’s unclear whether Blotnick has entered a plea. Insider could not immediately locate an attorney for Blotnick, and his Linkedin page appears to have been taken down. Insider also could not immediately locate representatives for Blotnick’s companies.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Billionaire hedge-fund manager Steve Cohen just sold his New York City penthouse after 8 years and a 74% discount

steve cohen manhattan penthouse
The penthouse sits on the 51st and 52nd floors of One Beacon Court in Midtown Manhattan.

After eight years and a 74% price chop, billionaire hedge funder Steve Cohen has finally sold his sprawling Manhattan penthouse.

As Oshrat Carmiel first reported for Bloomberg, Cohen’s 9,000-square-foot duplex at 151 East 58th Street went into contract last week, according to an Olshan Realty market report. The sale price was not disclosed, but the penthouse was most recently listed for $29.5 million. Olshan Realty did not immediately respond to a request from Insider for more details on the sale.

Cohen, who runs Point72 Asset Management and has a net worth of $16 billion, first listed the penthouse for $115 million in 2013. Since then, the listing has gone through four brokerages and multiple price chops, per the brokerage report.

steve cohen
Steve Cohen is chairman and CEO of the Point72 hedge fund, which oversees more than $20 billion in assets.

The penthouse sits on the 51st and 52nd floors of One Beacon Court, a 54-story luxury condominium tower that’s part of the Bloomberg Tower complex, according to StreetEasy. The five-bedroom, 6.5-bathroom condo has a 2,000-square-foot master suite and 24-foot ceilings in the living room, according to the listing. At 700 feet above the city, the duplex offers views of Central Park and both the East and Hudson rivers. Cohen bought the penthouse in 2005 for $24 million, per Bloomberg.

Cohen, who owns the New York Mets baseball team, has also owned real-estate in Greenwich Village and the Hamptons. In 2016, he tore down his 10,000-square-foot East Hampton mansion to build a new one in its place after paying $62.5 million for the house three years prior.

In 2019, he sold his triplex condo in the West Village’s Abingdon building for $30 million. According to Olshan Realty’s report, Cohen is in the process of building another home in Greenwich Village. A spokesperson for the hedge-fund CEO did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment for this story.

Cohen has long been a fixture in the New York finance world. He founded the SAC Capital hedge fund in 1992 and ran it for years until the firm was busted for insider trading in 2013. As chairman and CEO of Point72 Asset Management, he oversees more than $20 billion in assets.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Millionaire New Yorkers are now set to pay the highest taxes in the country

wealthy new yorkers
The wealthiest New Yorkers might see their tax rates increase to the highest in the country.

New York City millionaires will soon be subject to the highest tax rate in the country.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders finalized a $212 billion budget proposal for 2022 on Tuesday that’s set to raise an extra $4.3 billion a year by raising income and corporate taxes, The New York Times’ Luis Ferré-Sadurní and Jesse McKinley reported. The proposal calls for two new personal income-tax brackets, set to expire by the end of 2027, per exclusive details given to the Times earlier this week.

Those earning between $5 million and $25 million will be taxed on 10.3% of their income. That increases to 10.9% for those earning more than $25 million. And individuals raking in over $1 million and couples bringing in over $2 million will see tax rates climb from 8.82% to 9.65%.

These tax rates hit especially hard for New York City’s highest earners. The city already has a top income-tax rate of 3.88%, which means they’ll now be shelling out between 13.5% and 14.8% in both state and city taxes. That exceeds the highest top marginal income tax rate in the country: 13.3% for top earners in California.

However, they may not be the highest taxed for long if Hawaii’s legislature passes a bill imposing a 16% tax on residents earning over $200,000.

New York is dealing with economic pain

Cuomo said in January he planned on raising taxes if the White House didn’t help the state recover from its $15 billion deficit, Insider’s Grace Dean reported. It’s the highest deficit in New York’s history, exceeding the previous high of $10 billion, which Cuomo said was “very, very hard” to manage.

In an address, Cuomo attributed New York’s deficit to the state being “assaulted by the federal government” in recent years as well as to the cost of COVID-19, which caused the state’s revenues to fall by $5.1 billion.

As the epicenter of the US’ first wave of COVID-19, New York City was slammed with small-business closures and saw many of its top-earning residents move to take advantage of lower taxes in other states. Urbanism expert Richard Florida told Insider the flight of the wealthy caused a lot of financial pain for superstar cities like New York.

Cuomo called for the federal government to provide New York with emergency pandemic relief. He said that if Washington gave the state only $6 billion in a “worst-case scenario,” he would hike taxes to cover the difference.

“We have a plan in place, a strength that we have not had before and I believe our future is bright, but Washington must act fairly if we are to emerge on the other side of this crisis,” he said.

While Democrats considered raising more than $7 billion in new revenue for the state, The Times reported, such discussions fell to the side when President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package was approved, which included $12.9 billion in direct aid for New York state. It also included $5.6 billion for New York City, which Insider’s Juliana Kaplan reported might have saved catastrophic cuts to the city budget.

Cuomo has resisted raising taxes for years out of fear it would drive businesses and the wealthy to other states. If all of the wealthiest New Yorkers fled the city, they could take more than $133 billion with them. That’s how much the top 1% of New Yorkers earned in income in 2018, a report from Bloomberg found.

The Times attributed Cuomo’s change of mind to the economic fallout of the pandemic, a growing progressive influence in the legislature, and the governor’s own “waning influence.”

The budget proposal is finalized as Biden reportedly gets even more serious about taxing the wealthy. He’s said that Americans making over $400,000 will see a “small to significant” tax increase and high-earning Americans could see their top income-tax rate increase to 39%.

If Biden’s tax proposal is enacted now that Cuomo’s has been, that means some of the richest New York City dwellers could be paying out more than half of their earnings in taxes.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Millionaire New Yorkers could soon be paying the highest taxes in the country

wealthy new yorkers
The wealthiest New Yorkers might see their tax rates increase to the highest in the country.

New York City millionaires are about to fall under the highest tax rate in the country.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders are coming close to agreeing on a 2022 budget proposal that would create an extra $4.3 billion a year by raising income and corporate taxes, The New York Times’ Luis Ferré-Sadurní and Jesse McKinley reported. The proposal calls for two new personal income tax brackets set to expire by the end of 2027, per exclusive details given to the Times.

Those earning between $5 million and $25 million would be taxed on 10.3% of their income. That increases to 10.9% for those earning over $25 million. And individuals raking in over $1 million and couples bringing in over $2 million would see tax rates climb from 8.82% to 9.65%.

These tax rates hit especially hard for New York City’s highest earners. The city already has a top income tax rate of 3.88%. If the budget proposal is approved, they would be shelling out between 13.5% and 14.8% in both state and city taxes, per the Times. That exceeds the country’s current marginal income tax rate high: 13.3% for top earners in California.

New York is dealing with economic pain

Cuomo said in January he planned on raising taxes if the White House didn’t help the state recover from its $15 billion deficit, Insider’s Grace Dean reported. It’s the highest deficit in New York’s history, she wrote. The state’s biggest deficit prior to this was $10 billion, which Cuomo said was “very very hard” to manage.

In an address, Cuomo attributed New York’s deficit to the state being “assaulted by the federal government” over recent years as well as to the cost of COVID-19, which caused the state’s revenues to fall by $5.1 billion.

As the epicenter of the US’ first wave of COVID-19, New York City was slammed with small business closures and saw many of its top-earning residents move to take advantage of taxes in other states. Urbanism expert Richard Florida told Insider the flight of the wealthy caused a lot of financial pain for superstar cities like New York.

Cuomo called for the federal government to provide New York with emergency pandemic relief. He said that if Washington only gave the state $6 billion in a “worst-case scenario,” he would hike taxes to cover the difference.

“We have a plan in place, a strength that we have not had before and I believe our future is bright, but Washington must act fairly if we are to emerge on the other side of this crisis,” he said.

While Democrats considered raising more than $7 billion in new revenue for the state, the Times reported, such discussions fell to the side when President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package was approved, which included $12.9 billion in direct aid for New York state. It also included $5.6 billion for New York City, which Insider’s Juliana Kaplan reported may have saved catastrophic cuts to the city budget.

Cuomo has resisted raising taxes for years out of fear it would drive businesses and the wealthy to other states. If all of the wealthiest New Yorkers fled the city, they could take more than $133 billion with them. That’s how much the top 1% of New Yorkers earned in income in 2018, a report from Bloomberg found.

The Times attributed Cuomo’s change of mind to the economic fallout of the pandemic, a growing progressive influence in the legislature, and the governor’s own “waning influence.”

The budget proposal is due to be finalized as Biden reportedly gets even more serious about taxing the wealthy. He’s said that Americans making over $400,000 will see a “small to significant” tax increase and high-earning Americans could see their top income-tax rate increase to 39%.

If both Biden and Cuomo’s tax proposals are enacted, that means the richest New York City dwellers could be paying out more than half of their earnings in taxes.

Read the original article on Business Insider

New York City home-buying has begun to rebound after a year of exodus during the COVID-19 pandemic

manhattan new york
Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

  • People are moving back to Manhattan and taking advantage of lower prices in the process.
  • Manhattan home-buying increased 2.1% in the first quarter this year from the same time last year.
  • Prices remain lower than before the pandemic, new data show.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

People are buying up real estate in Manhattan once again after leaving en masse amid the COVID-19 pandemic that hit the city hard.

For the first time since the beginning of 2020, the number of sales topped the year-ago total, according to a report by Douglas Elliman Real Estate brokerage that was first covered by Bloomberg.

Apartment sales in the borough increased 2.1% in the first three months this year as compared to the same time last year when the pandemic struck the city, the report said.

The rebound in March alone was the strongest since 2007, as about 1,500 homes in Manhattan were under contract for sale, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal that cited real-estate analytics firm UrbanDigs.

Buyers are taking advantage of the lower prices, too, with most of those sales closing at or below the asking price. The median rate was $780,000, which was a 3.8% drop from the same quarter a year ago, the Douglas Elliman report said.

Read more: Brooklyn is winning the pandemic. Eager homebuyers are propelling a real-estate surge as Manhattan lags far behind.

The west and east side of Manhattan, as well as downtown, had the strongest sales compared with last year, as upper Manhattan and Midtown had fewer deals, the WSJ said.

Six months into the pandemic, real-estate experts had estimated lower prices and higher vacancies could be the new normal for the city, even if it wasn’t as drastic as during 2020.

With businesses allowing employees to work from home during the pandemic, many people were able to move to outer boroughs for more space and lower prices. Brooklyn proved resilient amid the pandemic, as its sales began bouncing back in the last three months of 2020.

Many others during the pandemic fled to the suburbs, and might stay as companies begin to offer long-term work-from-home options.

Read the original article on Business Insider

You can rent Lady Gaga’s former Manhattan apartment for $2,000 a month

Lady Gaga house NYC
Lady Gaga’s former apartment is on the rental market.

An apartment that Lady Gaga used to live in has hit the rental market.

The Manhattan apartment, in the heart of Lower East Side, costs $2,000 a month.

Lady Gaga house
The kitchen has a skylight.

The modest property has three rooms in total: a bedroom, a bathroom, and an open kitchen. It’s located in a “well-maintained” 18-unit Stanton Street apartment block, which was built in 1900, according to Alex Livshiz, who is managing the listing for Compass.

The property is flooded with natural light from its kitchen skylight and north and west-facing windows, and has 10-foot ceilings throughout.

Lady Gaga house
The main room is an open kitchen with ample space for dining or relaxing.

Livshiz described the property’s condition as “excellent.”

Gaga stayed in the property while writing her 2008 debut album “The Fame,” The New York Post reported. She allegedly paid just $1,100 a month in rent while living there.

Her homes since have cost her much more. She currently lives in a $22.5 million Malibu mansion she bought in 2014, complete with a two-lane bowling alley, a massive wine cellar, and a beautiful view of the Pacific – and spent a further $$60,000 on Koi fish imported from Japan for the gardens. She also dropped $5.25 million on Frank Zappa’s former Hollywood Hills abode in 2016.

Lady Gaga house
French doors connect the bedroom to the kitchen.

Gaga fans are keen to buy her former possessions or merchandise associated with the star. A red 1986 Alfa Romeo Spider Graduate formerly owned by Gaga was auctioned off for more than $14,000 in February. As well as her makeup line, in January she also started selling a limited-edition Oreo cookie to accompany the launch of her “Chromatica” album.

Fans can also dine at the New York City restaurant, “Joanne Trattoria,” which she set up with her father in 2012.

Read the original article on Business Insider