Tag Archives: JetBlue

Port Authority orders airlines to raise wages, give paid holiday to airport workers


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ File Photo

Airport workers have won a battle for justice.

Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Director Patrick Foye has ordered the CEOs of Delta, JetBlue, American and United airlines to immediately raise wages and make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a paid holiday for the 8,000 contracted workers at John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports.

Foye sent a letter to the four CEOs telling them to grant an immediate $1 an hour raise to workers making $9 or less, recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a paid holiday and work towards “providing an improved wage and benefits package to the thousands of hard-working men and women at the airports.”

The announcement comes a week after close to 1,000 workers, elected officials and clergy members blocked a bridge leading to LaGuardia Airport on Martin Luther King Jr. Day during an act of civil disobedience demanding “economic justice.”

“Pat Foye’s letter is a promising step forward and marks the first real progress we have made in lifting thousands of contracted airport workers out of poverty,” said Hector Figueroa, president of SEIU 32 BJ, a union representing most of the airport workers. “We have gotten to this point due to the courage of the contracted airport workers and their willingness to take action – including being arrested for civil disobedience at LaGuardia Airport on MLK Day along with Congressmember Charles Rangel and many others.”

During the day of civil disobedience, more than 30 people were arrested, including city and state elected officials, and workers.

“It’s good that someone is finally listening to us and responding,” said Wendy Arellano, a LaGuardia Airport cabin cleaner. “This is a good plan. It’ll be better when we have good benefits, security and the peace of mind that a good contract gives you. But, for now, getting us up to 10 dollars and 10 cents is a real start.”

Figueroa said that the work will still continue to “bring contracted airport workers the dignity and respect they deserve,” and also help these workers get out of the path to poverty and succeed in gaining economic justice.

 

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NYC airports experience most delays during recent extreme weather


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

The latest spell of extreme weather left thousands of delays and cancellations at airports across the country, but New York City area airports were hit particularly hard, according to an analysis by the Global Gateway Alliance (GGA).

From Saturday, Jan. 4 to Tuesday, Jan. 7, John F. Kennedy International (JFK), LaGuardia and Newark airports had the most delays at 5,320 and second most cancellations at 2,155. The most cancellations at the city’s airports occurred on Monday, with 706, and the most delays were on Sunday, with 1,692.

Chicago’s two major airport hubs suffered from the most cancellations at 4,655 and the second most delays at 3,134.

More than 50 percent of all flights were cancelled or delayed during the four-day period at both New York area and Chicago airports, according to GGA.

JetBlue suspended outgoing flights at, JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, and Boston’s Logan airports to catch up with weather-related delays and cancellations Monday. The airline started gradually operating again at 10 a.m. Tuesday, but wasn’t 100 percent operational until about 3 p.m. that day

“The rampant cancellations and delays we saw this week are a wake-up call for leadership to  start focusing on better airports, and they underscore why Governor [Andrew] Cuomo’s announcement  that he is taking responsibility for NYC airport modernization is so timely” said Joe Sitt, Chairman and founder of GGA. “Bad weather that causes serious disruptions in air traffic is going to happen, but it shouldn’t continually wreak havoc. Travelers should expect everyone involved in the industry to create a modern, safe and efficient aviation system, and should hold our leaders accountable for delivering.”

In Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address Wednesday he said LaGuardia is ranked as the worst airport in America.

“That is a disgrace my friends and it is unacceptable and it is going to change,” he said.

The state, he said, would assume management responsibility from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey for construction at JFK and LaGuardia airports to modernize them.

The GGA is specifically calling for faster implementation of NextGen, particularly at NYC airports and other hubs; better customer service contingency planning; modernized airport terminals; and remaining focused on safety.

 

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JetBlue halting flights at NYC area, Boston airports


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

JetBlue is suspending outgoing flights at JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, and  Boston’s Logan airports to catch up with weather-related delays and cancellations.

The airline started reducing flight operations at 1 p.m. Monday and will fully halt departing flights at 5 p.m., said a JetBlue spokesperson. Arriving flights will not be grounded. Departing flights will gradually start operating again at 10 a.m. Tuesday and the airline intends to be 100 percent operational by 3 p.m. that day

“This plan allows for 17 hours of rest for crews, and time for Tech Ops to service the aircraft,” JetBlue said in a statement on its website.

Newly launched FAA regulations on pilot duty times also affected cancelled flights, according to the airline.

“This isn’t the sort of operation we’re happy about, and have stood up every available resource throughout the last week to work with customers and adjust our schedules to minimize impact.”

If customers’ flights have been canceled, they can rebook travel or request a refund online. Customers with specific questions on compensation are also asked to contact JetBlue’s customer support team via jetblue.com.

Customers are encouraged to check the status of their flight online prior to leaving for the airport.

 

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Long Island City lights up for the holidays


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer's Office

The Long Island City community came together to welcome the holidays and make the season bright.

Over 100 residents young and old gathered with local elected officials and community leaders on Tuesday night to celebrate the holidays by lighting festive snowflakes along Vernon Boulevard.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer worked together with JetBlue to a secure a $5,000 grant to bring the holiday lights to the thriving neighborhood.

The holiday celebration included Christmas carols sung by students from P.S. 78, led by Gianna Cerbone-Teoli, owner of Manducatis Rustica located at 46-33 Vernon Boulevard.

The night also included readings of special Christmas stories by the fireplace of LIC BAR, located at 45-58 Vernon Boulevard, and a performance by local jazz group, The Charlie Brown Christmas Trio.

 

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Queens Restaurant Week draws diners


| editorial@queenscourier.com

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As Queens Restaurant Week has officially begun, eatery owners are hoping more diners will gobble up deals being served throughout the borough.

The 10th annual promotion started Monday, September 30, and includes three-course dinners for $28 and three-course lunches for $14 at most participating Queens restaurants.

Ellen LaPerna, manager of Bourbon Street, said she has already seen a moderate amount of people take advantage of deals at the Bayside establishment.

“So far, so good,” she said.

This is Bourbon Street’s sixth year in the program, LaPerna said.

“People do come out and participate,” she said. “I think the community likes it. It’s just another reason for people to come out and try our food.”

Queens Restaurant Week ran until October 3 and will pick up again October 7 through 10.

Manager Colleen Bowerman of Austin’s Ale House & Trackside Café said her Kew Gardens eatery has participated in the promotion every year.

The restaurant typically sees a jump in diners during the extended second week, Bowerman said.

“We’re hoping it’ll pick up,” she said. “We’ll see how it goes.”

Dan Dolacinski, manager of CityRib in Jamaica, also has his fingers crossed.

This marks the barbecue joint’s first year participating after opening up this July.

“Every year, people like Restaurant Week,” he said. “We expect people to know we’re here in the community.”

Restaurant Week is presented by the Queens Tourism Council and is sponsored by Melrose Credit Union, jetBlue, Resorts World Casino New York City, Restaurant Depot, Tequila Sunrise of Bayside, The Queens Courier and The Best of the Boro.

The long list of participating restaurants, which features all sorts of Mexican, Cajun, Mediterranean and Asian cuisines, can be found at www.itsinqueens.com/restaurantweek/Queens/.

 

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JFK celebrates 50th anniversary of renaming, 50 million passengers


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of JFK Chamber of Commerce

Nearly 50 years has passed since the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and this year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the renaming of JFK Airport, as well as the 50 millionth passenger traveling through the international hub.

Russo’s On The Bay, located at 162-45 Cross Bay Boulevard, will host a luncheon on Tuesday, September 10 to commemorate all three occasions. Additionally, a commemorative journal will be published to memorialize the occasion, featuring guest speaker David Neeleman, CEO of Azul Airlines and co-founder of JetBlue.

Neeleman is additionally credited with building five airlines and will return to JFK to speak about his experiences.

And Jack Kennedy Schlossberg, grandson of JFK, will be a featured speaker.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was fatally shot on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas during a presidential motorcade. A 10-month investigation concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald pulled the trigger and assassinated the nation’s 35th president.

Just over a month after the incident on December 24, the borough’s Idlewild Aiport, named after the Idlewild golf course it displaced, was rebranded as the John F. Kennedy International Airport.

“When we talk about the notoriety of the airport, it’s important that we identify it’s been 50 years since it was renamed after JFK,” said Bob Caton, president of the JFK Chamber of Commerce.

Built in 1942, the airport was initially supposed to be 1,000 acres to relieve the overcrowded LaGuardia Airport, but by completion, it had grown to five times that size.

In 2012, JFK International took in 49,292,733 passengers, making it the 13th busiest airport in the world and the sixth busiest in the country. This year, JFK officials expect 50 million passengers to travel through their gates.

“Airports are not really seen as a vessel for commerce, but JFK is a vehicle that allows that to happen,” said Caton, who noted that the 50 millionth passenger is a “big event” for the airport.

“We’re very happy to have both 50/50 events happen this year,” he said.

As for the next 50 years — and beyond, Caton said, “as we move forward we want to show people we will be fresh and look toward the future.”

 

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Long Island City park secures funding for Sandy repairs


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Paul

A beloved Long Island City park, nicknamed “Shady Park” for its signature tall trees, will finally regain some of the shade Sandy took away.

Working together with the Friends of Shady Park — a group of neighbors advocating for the repair of Andrews Grove Playground – Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer’s office has secured $10,000 in private funding from JetBlue and Warner Bros. to help restore the 2.3-acre park to its original state.

Andrews Grove, located on 49th Avenue between Fifth Street and Vernon Boulevard, received significant damage to its play equipment, safety surfaces, fencing and immense trees from Sandy.

Sheila Lewandowski, co-founder of Friends of Shady Park, recalled being heartbroken as she looked out of her window and saw trees fall one by one during the storm. She started Friends of Shady Park with Caroline Paul the day after.

“Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer’s efforts and his success in securing the funds to restore Shady Park is like healing our hearts. We can’t wait to help replant the first tree,” said Lewandowski.

The park reopened in December, yet a damaged section remains closed for repairs.

“It’s a changing community, and this park was one of the gems that continues to bring all generations together,” said

Lewandowski. “It’s something very special about it that crosses generations, and it appeals to people whether they’ve lived here for 60 years or they just moved in.”

Photo courtesy of Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates

 

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AUDIO SLIDESHOW: First annual Queens Kids’ Expo


| editorial@queenscourier.com

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It was all fun and games – with an emphasis on families and education — at The Queens Courier’s first annual Kids’ Expo this past weekend.

Close to 1,500 people attended. Hundreds of children were able to play with games and interactive models at the New York Hall of Science while their parents absorbed useful information from 50 various vendors about summer camps, children’s health, deals, tutoring and fun activities and places, such as the Queens Zoo.

“You come here and you find a lot that you need as a parent,” said Laura Reyes of Forest Hills.

Reyes was talking to New York Life Insurance about setting up an account for her five-year-old daughter, LeAnna Baez.

“I get information, she has fun, it’s a win-win situation.”

Children indulged in cotton candy, face painting, airbrush tattoos, spin art and a photo booth provided by Frankie’s Carnival Time. There was also kite making and entertainment by a clown from the Big Apple Circus.

A live minion, the short, yellow creatures from the movie “Despicable Me,” and Snoopy from the Charlie Brown cartoon greeted kids as well.

The event was sponsored by EmblemHealth, Party City, jetBlue, Rapid Realty, the Big Apple Circus, Frost Valley YMCA, North Shore Animal Hospital, Fidelis Care, Happy Family Foods, Frankie’s Carnival Time, American Style Baby and Caliper Orthodontics.

Vendors had the opportunity to talk with parents and introduce their products and services.

The expo “is giving us great exposure,” said Morgan Chen, head trainer at Title Boxing Club. “We’re due to open May 1. We came out here to get our name out there and get some pre-registrants.”

Some attendees went home with raffle prizes including gift cards, gift baskets, a stroller, Big Apple Circus tickets and Broadway tickets donated by Queens businesses.

And there were grand prizes to raffle off as well. Sharon Seales won a five-day, four-night trip to Cancun, Mexico, donated by The Creative Group, while Nneka Wharton won an iPad donated by Rapid Realty and Shanae Barrett won a two-week stay at Frost Valley YMCA sleep-away camp.

One hundred percent of the raffle proceeds will go to Life’s WORC.

“I think what made the day so successful was the variety of vendors – everything from baby products to home improvement,” said Amy Amato, VP of Events. “We gave parents the opportunity to speak to experts and receive a lot of information under one roof while children had fun. The giveaways and prizes added great energy and excitement. Everyone left with a smile!”

-SLIDESHOW AND ARTICLE BY LIAM LA GUERRE  

 

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Planes collide on JFK tarmac, no injuries


| tcullen@queenscourier.com


No one was injured this morning after two planes collided on a JFK tarmac this morning.

The Daily News reported an Air India plane hit a parked JetBlue plane around 6:20 a.m. near Terminal 4. About 15o passengers on the Air India flight had to disembark from the plane.

This is an ongoing investigation, a Port Authority spokesperson said.

 

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Delta to build first outdoor airport terrace at JFK


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Delta

Some Delta passengers will soon be able to see the skies before boarding their flights at JFK.

This May a stylish Sky Deck will open at the airport’s Delta Sky Club as part of its $1.2 billion Terminal 4 expansion, the airline recently announced. Delta is also building another open-air space at the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Both will be the airline’s first outdoor airport terraces.

“Sky Deck represents our continuing effort to offer Delta customers exclusive experiences and amenities they value,” said Tim Mapes, Delta’s senior vice president of marketing. “The new outdoor terraces will do just that – provide distinctive spaces with unprecedented outdoor runway views at two of the most globally significant airports in the world.”

As Mapes points out, the view won’t be the only thing to admire.

Partnering with Delta, Architectural Digest selected designer Thom Filicia, formerly of the reality show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” to create a chic yet relaxing feel for travelers.

“Amid the hustle and bustle of the airport experience, we seek to create a refuge, which represents Delta’s dedication to elevated design and pays homage to an elegant lifestyle of travel and the spirit of flight,” said Filicia.

Delta’s Sky Deck is one of several JFK airport renovations that bring together style and an enhanced traveling experience.

This fall, JetBlue broke ground on its eco-friendly Terminal 5 expansion, which will consolidate the airline’s domestic and international flight operations under one roof.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast with a chance of rain. Fog early. High of 63. Winds from the West at 10 to 15 mph shifting to the NNW in the afternoon. Chance of rain 30%. Monday Night: Overcast with a chance of rain. Low of 36. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Double Life exhibition

SculptureCenter in Long Island City is pleased to present the exhibition Double Life, which brings together a group of artists that share a performance-based approach to sculpture. Common strategies include inhabiting the physical site of exhibition, leaving indexical marks on images of their own making, and re-contextualizing or re-animating various objects, images and readymades. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Flu shot supply dwindling as New York faces public health emergency

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Bus strike threat looms over NYC schools

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Flushing apartment building fire sends one person to hospital

According to the FDNY, the fire started in a bathroom ceiling fan on the top floor of a seven-story building at 42-02 Kissena Boulevard shortly after 10 p.m. Read more: NY1

Weekend bird hits force 2 jets to return to JFK

Authorities say bird strikes forced two planes to return to Kennedy Airport shortly after takeoff over the weekend. Read more: Fox New York

Rare large parcel of property near Citi Field hits the market

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Life after Sandy: Businesses still waiting for relief in the Rockaways

Despite all the fund raising and promises of recovery, when it comes to getting small businesses in Queens up and running after Sandy, the federal government has approved 37 loans for the entire borough, while the city has given out only 28. In the Rockaways, where much of the area was without heat and power for weeks after the storm, it’s given 9 loans. Read more: WYNC

‘Argo” scores sweet Golden Globe victory with two top awards

Iran hostage drama “Argo” scored a sweet double victory at the Golden Globe awards on Sunday, winning best movie drama – the night’s top prize – and best director for Ben Affleck on a night that left front-runner “Lincoln” with just one trophy. Read more: Reuters

 

 

JetBlue breaks ground on JFK Terminal 5 expansion


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of PRNewsFoto/JetBlue Airways

Just four months after the project’s approval, JetBlue broke ground on its terminal expansion at JFK International Airport.

The renovations, which began October 1, will enlarge the airline’s Terminal 5, which opened in 2008. Three existing gates will be converted into international arrivals and three new ones will be added. Other additions to the terminal include an International Arrivals Hall with U.S. Custom and Border Protection, Federal Inspection Services (FIS) and two new baggage claim belts.

When the renovations are completed in early 2015, they “will make all domestic and international operations seamless and convenient for our customers and consolidate our flight operations under one roof,” said JetBlue president and CEO Dave Barger

Currently, Terminal 5 only serves domestic flights and some outgoing Caribbean flights. Since the airline began international service from JFK in 2004, all its flights coming in from outside the U.S. have used Terminal 4 so passengers can go through customs.

The expansion is no surprise as JetBlue, which is based at JFK, is the airport’s largest domestic carrier and one of its largest airlines overall, handling 10.5 million passengers last year through Terminal 5.

The airline also carried more than two million international travelers in 2011.

Investing more than $200 million in the expansion, JetBlue’s improved terminal will be able to handle the airline’s growing number of Caribbean and Latin America destinations.

Along with convenience, the newly designed terminal will also be eco-friendly, from its materials to its aesthetics, including reclaimed concrete and low flow water fixtures.

The renovations will also enhance the already bright terminal with glass walls, letting in natural light.

“It’s fair to say that by the time it’s done, hundreds, if not thousands, of men and women will see work because JetBlue and the Port Authority are building this new terminal,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, who was at the ground breaking ceremony. “As a councilmember who represents JetBlue’s headquarters,” he added, “I am thrilled that we have an airline that is based in Queens; that is expanding, creating jobs, good jobs.”

The only commercial passenger airline with its headquarters in New York State, JetBlue is already contributing to the Queens economy with its Long Island City corporate offices.

According to the Port Authority, the expansion is expected to bring an additional 1,090 jobs, $74 million in wages and $325 million in economic activity.

JetBlue sign lights up LIC


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the mayor's office

Queens has a new guiding light after the flip was switched on a JetBlue sign in the airlines new home, Long Island City.

Local leaders joined JetBlue executives turning on the nearly 40-foot tall sign that sits atop the Brewster Building.

“New York City’s iconic skyline is a little brighter tonight, thanks to the success of JetBlue,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “It’s a great day for a company when it sees its name written in lights at the center of the global economy, and the new sign announces loud and clear that Long Island City is a world-class place to do business and create jobs.”

JetBlue is the largest domestic carrier at JFK, the mayor said, aiding in the city’s record-breaking tourism numbers.

The sign was designed as an honor to Long Island City’s other iconic landmarks, including the Pepsi and Silvercup symbols that welcome visitors journeying over the Queensboro Bridge. The sign will light up blue during the day and shine white at night, according to JetBlue spokesperson Allison Steinberg.

A zoning amendment was approved by the city council in April allowing the erection of the sign.

“The arrival of JetBlue in Long Island City is a milestone in the transformation of Queens Plaza, the gateway to Queens,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. “As this area continues to develop into one of New York City’s foremost neighborhoods to do business, I know JetBlue will continue to light the way for others who will choose to call Long Island City home.”

— Additional reporting by Alexa Altman

JetBlue sign touches down in LIC


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

lsc_signage_render_image

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s the JetBlue sign!

The enormous cobalt insignia, looming atop the Brewster Building at 27-01 Queens Plaza North in Long Island City, now speckles the skyline. The nearly 40-foot-tall sign — the marker of a controversial business move — has been installed over the past couple weeks and is expected to be ready for takeoff sometime in the next week after lighting tests are completed on the structure.

“We are proud to be New York’s hometown airline with the largest domestic presence at JFK Airport,” said JetBlue spokesperson Allison Steinberg. “We’re proud to keep our headquarters here in New York and in Queens. [The sign] really cements our position here and our presence in New York City.”

According to Steinberg, the logo was designed as an honor to Long Island City’s other iconic signs, including the memorable Pepsi and Silvercup emblems that welcome visitors journeying over the Queensboro Bridge. The sign will light up blue during the day and shine bright white at night.

In April, the city council voted unanimously to approve a zoning amendment — after a push from JetBlue — that would grant companies the ability to erect signs on non-residential buildings along a 14-block stretch of the Queens Plaza sub-district, running between 23rd Street and the Sunnyside railroad yard.

JetBlue houses roughly 1,000 workers in Long Island City, making it one of the biggest employers in the area.

“I think it’s awesome,” said Jennifer Dudek who runs ice cream shop Malu on Jackson Avenue. “This is a great neighborhood and JetBlue is a good neighbor.”

Dudek, whose store catered JetBlue’s opening weekend, is confident the sign will help bring more foot traffic to the neighborhood’s many shops and restaurants.

“I think them putting a sign up just makes it more permanent,” she said.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com


Passengers Sue JetBlue Over Pilot Meltdown

A group of passengers is suing JetBlue, saying they feared for their lives when a pilot had to be physically restrained during their flight in March. In a lawsuit filed in State Supreme Court in Queens, the ten passengers claimed Jet Blue was “grossly negligent” when it allowed pilot Clayton Osbon to fly. Read more: [NY1]

Family Mourns Drowning Of 14-Year-Old In Far Rockaway

A Queens family is in mourning following the drowning death of a 14-year-old boy at a Far Rockaway beach.  Akeem Craig of South Jamaica was swimming with his friend on Tuesday. Authorities responded to a call indicating the two teens were in danger in the water. A bystander was able to pull one boy to safety. It took divers from both the FDNY and NYPD 40 minutes to find Craig’s body. Read more: [NY1]

City to roll out new wheel boot program as soon as Monday

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Steve Piorkowski, softball coach at Bayside HS, recovers from cancer and broken neck that kept him off the field for most of 2012

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At Queens Art Express Festival, artists tackle policy issues

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Mets consider ‘quiet’ section in Citi Field stands with no music and lower-volume PA announcements

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Slay victim’s daughter shows compassion for killer

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