A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from September 28, 2008
Portocrat (bureaucrat from the Port Authority)

The New York Daily News has called bureaucrats from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey “portocrats” since at least 1996. The newspaper has been a stinging critic of the Port Authority, an agency that the Daily News believes incompetent to handle airports, the real estate at the World Trade Center site, shipping and just about everything else.

Other New York City newspapers have not picked up on the word “portocrat.”

Wikipedia: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) is a bi-state port district, established in 1921 (as the Port of New York Authority) through an interstate compact, that runs most of the regional transportation infrastructure, including the bridges, tunnels, airports, and seaports, within the New York–New Jersey Port District. This 1,500 square mile (3,900 km²) District is defined as a circle with a 25 mile (40 km) radius centered on the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.

The Port Authority operates the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal, which handled the third largest amount of shipping of all ports in the United States in 2004 and the largest on the Eastern Seaboard. The Port Authority also operates Hudson River crossings, including the Holland Tunnel, Lincoln Tunnel, and George Washington Bridge connecting New Jersey with Manhattan, and three crossings that connect New Jersey with Staten Island. The Port Authority Bus Terminal and the PATH rail system are also run by the Port Authority, as are LaGuardia, JFK, Newark Liberty International Airport,Teterboro Airport and Stewart International Airport located near Newburgh, New York, in the southern Hudson Valley, 55 miles (88.5 km) north of New York City. The agency has its own 1,600-member Port Authority Police Department, which is responsible for providing safety and deterring criminal activity at Port Authority–owned-and-operated facilities.

Although the Port Authority does manage much of the transportation infrastructure in the area, some bridges, tunnels, and other transportation facilities are not included. The New York City Department of Transportation is responsible for the Staten Island Ferry and the bridges between Manhattan and the Bronx. The Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority is responsible for other bridges, and tunnels in the area. Buses, subways, and commuter rail operated by the New York City Transit Authority which is controlled by the MTA, and buses, commuter rail, and light rail operated by New Jersey Transit are also independent of PANYNJ.

New York (NY) Daily News
Sunday, May 26th 1996, 2:00AM
IT IS A MONUMENT to mismanagement and waste. It has proven time and again that it cannot, or simply will not, carry out its mission. There is but one solution: The Port Authority must be dismantled and its assets sold.

For decades, the bi-state agency has frittered away its resources on questionable real estate deals, failed development schemes and bogus trade ventures. Meanwhile, the port is a mere shadow of its former glory. City airports are a disgrace.
Inept management has turned the World Trade Center into a white elephant, with cash flow dwindling from from $150 million in 1992 to $100 million in 1994. Meanwhile, arrogant portocrats were decorating their offices from the agency’s $27 million art collection, getting chauffeured to meetings in limousines and taking helicopter jaunts.

The Port Authority has had 75 years to fulfill its mission. It has failed. Time’s up.

New York (NY) Daily News
Thursday, January 30th 1997, 2:01AM
GOV. PATAKI MADE a wise choice in naming Robert Boyle the new Port Authority chief. Boyle swept the grease-my-palm mob out of the Javits Center in just two years. So he’s got skills he’ll need in his new post. Port Authority bureaucrats, after all, are a mob all their own.
Settle the dispute with New York City over rent for Kennedy and LaGuardia airports. Mayor Giuliani says the PA owes $810 million in back rent. While the two airports earned a $109 million profit in 1995, Jersey-biased portocrats coughed up a paltry $3 million in rent. The pilfered money subsidizes the PATH train to Jersey and helped build a monorail at Newark Airport. PA honchos admit they can afford to pay the city more, yet they’re still dragging their feet in arbitration.

New York (NY) Daily News
Monday, March 31th 1997, 2:01AM
ROBERT BOYLE, the new executive director of the Port Authority, has been given his marching orders by Gov. Pataki: Find a way to make the agency work better for New York or find a way to junk it.

Just what the doctor ordered. Finally.

The governor derided the PA as “a gross misuse of public dollars” and gave Boyle up to one year to determine its fate. The Pataki options, as spelled out in an interview with Crain’s New York Business, are two:

“One is to dramatically continue to restructure and to make it work and [see] if that is possible. And if it is not, to consider ending the Port Authority as presently structured and . . . replacing it with something that would be fair to the taxpayers.”

New York taxpayers, that is. That is why portocrats should consider the break up threat a nuclear bomb aimed at their monument to waste and mismanagement.

New York (NY) Daily News
Thursday, May 24th 2001, 2:21AM
An example of what privatization can do will be evident today at JFK, when Terminal 4 opens. This 21st century, $1.4 billion replacement for the old and inefficient International Arrivals Building will be operated by a private for-profit company, not the PA.

The old terminal had deteriorated dreadfully, but portocrats failed for decades to make it clean, comfortable and competitive.

New York (NY) Daily News
Sunday, November 25th 2007, 4:00 AM
It’s our pleasure
We happened upon an interesting fact recently: The Port Authority was letting Newark Airport workers ride free on the AirTrain as part of their daily commutes to employment. We liked that idea. We liked it so much we asked ourselves why the PA wasn’t giving the same break to Kennedy Airport workers. We put the question to the authority.

Daily News: Isn’t it a fact some Newark Airport workers ride NJTransit to the airport station and then jump on the AirTrain?

Portocrat: Yes.

Daily News: And isn’t it a fact that those workers used to pay a monthly NJTransit fare plus $40 to you for a monthly AirTrain pass?

Portocrat: Yes.

Daily News: And isn’t it a fact that you dropped the $40 charge?

Portocrat: Yes. (proudly)

Daily News: Well, how come JFK workers who take the Long Island Rail Road to the AirTrain at Jamaica don’t get the same consideration?

Portocrat: Gee, dunno (sheepishly). I’ll get back to you.

And he did, with word that, starting soon, JFK workers who buy monthly LIRR passes can ride for free on the AirTrain. There will be no more $40 monthly charge for the 200 people who travel that way. And that’s a good thing. No question about it.

New York (NY) Daily News
Beware this boondoggle
Saturday, September 27th 2008, 6:56 PM
The moment of truth is fast approaching for the Port Authority - amid ominous signs that the agency will once again try to bamboozle the public as to how quickly it will rebuild Ground Zero, and at what cost.
But it was pointed out to us:

. that this upside-down construction would add at least $70 million to the cost;
. that the price tag of the station has soared to an obscene $3 billion;
. that a working group of city and state officials, along with a Silverstein representative, drew up a plan for delivering a slightly smaller station on time and at a $500 million saving;
. that the Portocrats boycotted the group’s efforts and came up with a plan for the station they love;
. that, unconcerned about burning through money, the PA has spent a quarter-billion dollars just on the station’s design;
. and that there are serious worries the authority may divert a pot of money earmarked for transit projects around New York to pay for its boondoggle’s inevitable cost overruns.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWorkers/People • (0) Comments • Sunday, September 28, 2008 • Permalink