Fish Come First

NY Post - December 19, 2010


The city has found $49 million for improvements to Brooklyn's New York Aquarium - one of which will be a shiny new shark tank.

Good news.

If you're a shark.

If you're a New York City firefighter - or, more to the point, a New York City resident who might suddenly need the services of a firefighter - maybe the news is not so good.

Certainly Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano took a drubbing before the City Council last week over his plans to make up for a $56 million shortfall in the FDNY budget.

The Fire Department is considering closing 20 fire companies every night in a last-gasp effort to save $15 million.

The FDNY plan: From 6 p.m. to 9 a.m., 20 engine and ladder companies will have to say good night.

The council is outraged. (We know, the council is perpetually outraged - but it's not always wrong.)

Council member Cynthia Crowley called the planned cuts "irresponsible, dangerous and potentially deadly" - a point Cassano basically conceded.

Slower response times would haunt the department, along with this stark datum: 70% of fire fatalities occur at night.

The FDNY is also scrounging for pennies by planning to charge motorists a "crash tax" of up to $490 when emergency services are required. Even if insurers cover the accident fees, it drives up premiums for everyone.

Bottom line: The FDNY is short $56 million, so it's grasping at straws.

Coney Island is short a shark tank, and it's getting a cash bath.

Something doesn't seem right here.