NYC's Top 10 News Stories Of 2013

<br/><br/><strong>Rent &amp; Homelessness Both Rose:</strong> Brooklyn rents hit <a href="">a five-year high</a>, as the cost to shuffle into a shoebox and rest your weary bones citywide (excluding Staten Island) <a href=""> surpassed an average of $3,000 a month</a>. Rising rents were accompanied by an epidemic in homelessness <a href="">unseen since the Great Depression.</a> These two factors forced New York's expanding <a href="">inequality</a> to the fore during the mayoral race, giving <a href="">Bill de Blasio the populist steam</a> to outpace Christine Quinn and Bill Thompson.

(street stars' Flickr)

<br/><br/> <strong>The Cornerstone Of Bloomberg &amp; Kelly's Policing Strategy Is Declared Unconstitutional:</strong> Judge Shira Scheindlin <a href="">ruled</a> that "The City acted with deliberate indifference toward the NYPD's practice of making unconstitutional stops and conducting unconstitutional frisks."<a href="">Unwilling to admit that he and his commissioner had overplayed their hand,</a>, Bloomberg <a href="">appealed the ruling </a>and in a highly unusual (some might say <a href="">"preposterous"</a>) move an appellate court panel <a href="">removed Judge Scheindlin</a> from the case. <br/><br/>But <a href="">the appeals were taxpayer-funded ego salve,</a>, and de Blasio has signaled that he will drop the city's appeal. By the end of 2013, stop and frisk <a href="">had plummeted as much as 80%,</a> and guess what? <a href="">Violent crime kept falling too.</a>

(Miss Heather's Flickr)

<br/><br/><strong>Citi Bike Launched Without Mass Casualties:</strong> Despite Doomsday prognostications of tourists barreling through the Brooklyn Bridge walkway and straight into unfeeling traffic, delivering their battered and lifeless bodies right on to the steps of City Hall, Citi Bike launched <a href=""> without major incident</a>. Sure, there <a href="">were some significant glitches</a> and <a href="">accidents</a>, but the bike-sharing program was <a href="">largely a success in its first year</a>. With a breakthrough on <a href="">public funding for the program</a>, it might even serve a more diverse cross-section of New Yorkers some time in the future. And it <a href="">powers our NYE parties too</a>! (Not really!)

(Courtesy Brooklyn Spoke)

<br/><br/><strong>Anthony Weiner: </strong>Ha, remember THAT guy? We sure got a lot of mileage (<a href="">and poetry</a>) out of that trainwreck. And for a brief, delirious moment, <a href="">the dude took the lead in polls</a> during the Democratic primary and it seemed possible NYC would have Mayor Weiner to tickle us forever. <br/><br/>But then, in a plume of purple smoke, <a href="">Sydney Leathers surfaced</a> through a trap door in the stage and invited us to follower her down a previously-unexplored Weiner hole. Who will ever forget <a href="">that surreal press conference</a> with Weiner's devoted wife and that guy <a href="">peering out over the cubicle</a>? For nostalgia's sake, we encourage you to enjoy <a href="">his sexually-annotated apology letter</a>. We really hope <a href="">he gets the band back together</a>. Maybe <a href="">Eliot Spitzer</a> can play bass?

(Courtesy Russ on Politics)

<br/><br/><strong>We're Still Recovering From Hurricane Sandy:</strong> After getting walloped by the storm of the century, New York began the road to recovery...and it's shaping up to be a very long one. The boardwalks in the Rockaways won't be <a href="">fully rebuilt until 2017,</a> the R train's Montague Tunnel <a href="">will hopefully reopen late in 2014,</a> Fort Tilden beach <a href="">never reopened,</a> the modern South Ferry station won't return to service <a href="">until the second half of this decade</a> (maybe), and hundreds of displaced New Yorkers were <a href="">still living in hotels</a> a year after the surge. Still, there were some reasons for optimism: The A train's bridge <a href="">over Jamaica Bay was restored,</a> Red Hook, DUMBO, and <a href="">Coney Island businesses reopened,</a> and Eli Manning's <a href="">lobby was drained.</a>

<br/><br/><b>MTA Give &amp; Take</b>: Subway fares <a href="">went up</a> at twice the rate of inflation, but thanks to a surplus, the planned fare hikes for 2015 and 2017 <a href="">have been cut nearly in half</a>. The <a href="">aftermath of Sandy</a> will cost $4.955 billion to "fix and fortify" the transit system, including <a href="">major reconstruction</a> projects on several lines that will <a href="">cause delays</a> for years to come. But it didn't hurt ridership in the least: it increased to its highest levels in 62 years, including a record-breaking day in October in which <a href="">5.9 million subway rides were taken.</a><br/><br/>After a string of high-profile <a href="">subway fatalities</a> to end 2012 and start 2013, the MTA felt pressure <a href="">from unions</a> and the general public to make big changes to prevent more deaths. There <a href="">were emergency hearings</a> and <a href="">various ideas</a> <a href="">bandied about</a> but nothing stuck. Over the course of the year, 53 people were killed and 147 people were struck by subway trains. Altogether, more people <a href="">died on MTA-operated tracks in 2013</a> than any year since 2008. While the MTA claims its still looking into <a href="">motion sensor technologies,</a> we're still holding out hope for <a href="">subway rope.</a>

(A fatal train accident in the Bronx, viaDaOriginal Dj Focuz)

<br/><br/><strong>The NYPD Finally Made Significant Improvements To Its Crash Investigations:</strong> Safe streets activists have noted for years that a revolting number of drivers in NYC <a href="">get away with killing pedestrians and cyclists with no meaningful consequences</a>. This was the year that the NYPD finally buckled to pressure from politicians and the public <a href="">and began reforming</a> its notoriously understaffed Accident Investigation Squad, starting with a cosmetic but not insignificant name change. <br/><br/>The unit, which has been beefed up, is now called the Collision Investigation Squad, a signal that the word "accident" connotes a certain degree of guiltlessness. Recent weeks appear to show an uptick in drivers being slapped with criminal charges, <a href="">like the driver of a tractor trailer</a> who fatally ran over an 8-year-old boy and a van driver <a href="">who killed a father of two</a> on a Bronx sidewalk last month. And the department will presumably be watched closely by Mayor-elect de Blasio, <a href="">who has committed to "vision zero" goal</a> of a New York City with zero traffic deaths.

<br/><br/><strong>Commandante De Blasio:</strong> In the end, the NY Post's desperate appeal to New York's powerful Senile Republican Demographic was not enough for Joe Lhota <a href="">to defeat Bill de Blasio</a>, whom the tabloid <a href="">swaddled in a hammer and sickle</a> on the day before the election. Lo and behold, de Blasio installed an inexperienced, bleeding-heart softie <a href="">as NYPD Commissioner</a>, and <a href="">hired the hippie lady</a> from Greenpeace to be Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development. How progressive will Mayor de Blasio actually be? Probably less progressive than many voters hoped, but more progressive than the NY Post feared. All we know for sure is that <a href="">he'll dance better</a> than his predecessor.