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Cuomo’s new deal
With the woes of Amtrak and Penn Station the hottest story on Long Island, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had a conference call Friday afternoon to announce that New York State’s Empire State Development arm closed a $1.6 billion deal with three real estate giants to move forward on the creation of Moynihan Train Hall and the larger remake of the Farley Post Office building across the street from Penn Station.
The deal includes $550 million in state funds and $420 million from a combination of Amtrak, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Port Authority, and additional federal funds. The rest — $630 million — will come from the private development team, headed by Vornado Realty Trust and Related Companies, with Skanska handling the construction.
The new 250,000-square-foot train hall, scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020, will attach to the new Long Island Rail Road concourse that opened Thursday. Separately, the developers will build 700,000 square feet of new commercial, retail and dining space.
When the train hall opens, it’ll be operated by Vornado and Related. And that’s the key: A new train hall that’s NOT operated by Amtrak will open for LIRR riders — though Amtrak passengers can use it, too — and you won’t have to go through the Amtrak-owned Penn Station at all to board your trains.
If a privately operated Moynihan is a success story, perhaps it’d be a model for the future of Penn Station, too.
But none of it will help the tracks below, the story that may never have a happy ending.
Randi F. Marshall
Make Your Point
Can America bridge the partisan divide?
The terrifying attack on members of a Republican Congressional baseball team has drawn calls for unity and an end to our harsh rhetoric.
Despite the warm words, an end to the ever-expanding partisan divide seems out of reach.
In the past, trust in American institutions and governments helped us navigate through troubled times for our nation. Are they too broken to guide us today?
Hitchhiking to avoid the LIRR
Bill back to life
A bill revising the statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits — dubbed Lavern’s Law — may have some life in the State Senate.
It’s one of several the majority Republicans are discussing, according to conference spokesman Scott Reif.
The bill has died before coming to the floor for a vote for the past two years. It pits two of the most powerful Albany interests against one another: doctors versus lawyers.
New York allows 30 months from the date of a medical error for a patient to sue. This bill would start the clock, instead, at when the patient learns the doctor has made an error. It’s named for Lavern Wilkinson of Brooklyn, who died of lung cancer at 41. Doctors missed her cancer during an exam in 2010, when it was more treatable. By the time she was properly diagnosed in 2012, the window of opportunity to sue had closed.
Just 32 votes are needed to pass Lavern’s Law, and 40 state senators have signed as co-sponsors: 26 Democrats and 14 Republicans. Of those Democrats, five caucus with the Republican majority.
Advocates say Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan is refusing to bring the bill to the floor for a vote. But Reif said that’s an unfair characterization; Flanagan, he said, is just following the desire of his caucus. “In the end, it will be up to the members of the majority,” he said.
Perhaps it’s a chit Flanagan can hold out as the end-of-session horse-trading comes to a close, but as of now there isn’t even agreement that any horse-trading will take place.
Make Bloomsday Great Again
Friday is Bloomsday, the celebration of Irish writer James Joyce which takes place every year on June 16, the day his famously ambitious 1922 novel “Ulysses” is set.
It’s also the second anniversary of President Donald Trump’s campaign launch, one long ride down the shining escalator of Trump Tower into the history books, along with an infamous quote comparing Mexican immigrants to rapists.
Though Trump didn’t address the literary holiday that fateful day, “Ulysses’ might have something in it both for Trump supporters and detractors — particularly in the book’s “Cyclops” chapter, which discusses what it means to be a citizen of a nation.
Then, there are the big quotes. For fans, there is the declaration, “A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.”
For others, the Trump presidency might be, as one Joycean line goes, “a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.”