The forced shutdown of two wildly popular budget bus companies was largely based on fabricated charges—to the benefit of politically-connected corporate carriers.
On May 20, 2013, a passenger motor coach run by a Chinatown bus company called Lucky Star departed New York City for Boston’s South Station. Shortly after hitting the road, the driver heard a strange bang come from under the bus. The bus seemed to be functioning normally, so he kept going.
Passengers board a large tour bus in New York, June 26, 2012. After federal officials shut down a slew of small transportation companies in May for safety violations, large tour buses have begun to compete with smaller ones to ferry passengers between Chinatown in Manhattan and Chinatown in Queens. (Robert Stolarik/The New York Times, via Redux)
Upon arriving in Boston, the driver was shocked to find a New York City manhole cover lodged in the vehicle’s luggage compartment. Apparently, the bus struck the loose cover in the streets of Manhattan, sending it darting up into the vehicle’s undercarriage. Lucky Star immediately took the bus out of service and sent it to the garage for repairs.
The following month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ordered Lucky Star to cease operating on the grounds that its buses and drivers posed “an imminent hazard to public safety.” One of the primary reasons the FMCSA gave for the shutdown was the manhole cover incident. But the out-of-service order, which is the official document revoking the company’s operating license, incorrectly states that after discovering the damage, Lucky Star’s dispatcher kept the vehicle out of the garage and continued sending it on passenger trips in an act of willful negligence.
The FAA is finally letting us keep our electronic devices turned on during takeoff. So…why couldn’t we do it before?
For years, airlines have spooked us with the idea that if we furtively leave our iPod switched on as our plane begins its final approach, the signal might somehow send all the instruments on the flight deck spinning crazily. Flight attendants incessantly remind us. Signs and manuals forbid it.
A man talks on his cell phone inside the terminal at LaGuardia Airport in New York. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)
Now the Federal Aviation Administration is changing its tune. The administration announced on Wednesday new rules that allow the use of personal electronic devices during the entirety of a flight—from gate to gate. Our longstanding fear, it seems, turns out to be about as valid as the death ray deployed by Buck Rogers in comic strips.
Why switch it up now? Did the FAA know all along that its rule was hokum?
You can keep your e-reader on during takeoff now.
One annoying airline rule will soon be obsolete: “Please turn off all electronic devices.” The FAA is easing off its 50-year-old guidelines on the use of DVD players, e-readers, Game Boys, and Discmans (speaking of obsolete) during takeoff and landing. It turns out that most planes’ radio signals can withstand your device’s interference signals. Phone calls and texting will remain off limits, leaving flight attendants to worry about more confrontations with rule-breaking passengers. Some expressed concern about passengers “pretending to turn things off even when they’re not.” So behave—the stewardess is watching you.
With a violent poltergeist, known to harm late-night visitors, and a history of stolen bodies, it’s no wonder Greyfriars Kirkyard is one of the most haunted cemeteries in the world.
Body snatchers, violent ghosts, a loyal dog, and Harry Potter characters may seem like strange bedfellows, but in Scotland’s gorgeous, gothic capital city of Edinburgh, the four merge to make up the ghostly lore surrounding one of the world’s most haunted graveyards. In the city’s historic center, perched on a hill overlooking the “new” town (built in the 1700s), Greyfriars Kirkyard is a seemingly idyllic cemetery dating back to the 1560s. But, to this day, it has enough strange goings-on to attract a steady stream of ghost hunters, wizarding fans, and the television producers and writers who follow in their wake.
Haunting the cemetery is George MacKenzie, called the MacKenzie Poltergeist, who is said to be one of the most aggressive and active paranormal figures around. Known during his lifetime as a ruthless persecutor of the Scottish Covenanters, a Presbyterian movement in the 17th century, MacKenzie’s spirit, according to legend, was released in 1999 when a homeless man looking for a spot to sleep broke into his final resting place, the Black Mausoleum. It was a fate predicted by famed Scottish poet Robert Louis Stevenson who referenced MacKenzie in his 1879 book “Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes,” writing, “When a man’s soul is certainly in hell, his body will scarce lie quiet in a tomb however costly; some time or other the door must open, and the reprobate come forth in the abhorred garments of the grave.”
The Covenanters’ Prison is connected to Greyfriars Kirkyard by a stone gateway and locked metal grate near MacKenzie’s mausoleum. It was once home to an estimated 1200 unfortunate members of a failed anti-government revolution in 1679. Conditions at the prison were so brutal that only 257 of the prisoners came out alive (a portion of whom escaped or pledged loyalty to the crown) four months after their mass incarceration.
A new book, City Parks, features essays from contemporary writers and luminaries—from Zadie Smith to Bill Clinton—on their favorite parks. Isabel Wilkinson talks to its editor, Catie Marron.
Everybody knows it, that feeling of entering a park: peeling off the city streets and into that nourishing sense of calm. And then, after the kids on bikes, the joggers, and the dogs playing fetch have faded, the thrill of being perfectly alone sets in.
That feeling of calm greets you upon opening City Parks: Public Spaces, Private Thoughts, a glossy new collection of essays and photographs highlighting some of the most luscious and mysterious parks in the world. Edited by Catie Marron, Vogue contributor and former board chair of the New York Public Library, the book pairs great writers – Zadie Smith, Andre Aciman, and Pico Ayer among them – with celebrated urban parks. There’s Jonathan Alter on Lincoln and Grant Park in Chicago, Candice Bergen on Griffith Park in Los Angeles, and President Bill Clinton on Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.
“I really wanted to capture parks in their inherent mood, and not just in the summertime, when loads of people are there,” said Marron. And indeed, many of the photographs, taken by Oberto Gili, reflect the mood of each park as if it were a character with its own story.
Snow season is on its way. Challenge yourself this year and pick a new mountain to tackle—one that’s a favorite of a former Olympic contender.
Nothing says winter fun like a crisp day, fresh powder, and sun glinting off the nearby peaks. So now is a good time to prep with the new book Fifty Places to Ski & Snowboard Before You Die, which asked leading experts in the sport to pick their favorite spots to hit the slopes. See six Olympians’ most beloved mountains, from tried-and-true resorts close to home (who doesn’t love Aspen and Deer Valley?) to the challenging and exotic (backcountry skiing in Japan, anyone?). Whether you’re an expert looking to hit the double diamond moguls or a beginner who wants a gentle slope just in case stopping is an issue, these spots have a little something for everyone.
So, book those lift tickets, strap on your skis, and get ready for the ride of a lifetime.
Deer Valley Resort, Utah
Recommended by Heidi Voelker
“I think that there’s a myth in the skiing world that people of different abilities can’t ski together,” Heidi Voelker began. “Deer Valley is the kind of area that dispels that myth.
The Michelin 2014 restaurant guides are out. But, before you run to book a table at all the best new restaurants, take a look at which countries are winning the restaurant wars, and which need to step up their game. Hint: Japan is on a roll.
Children-turned-monsters, anti-Christs, zombies, and mad priests. Meet the diabolical family-like group who runs one of the biggest—and most frightening—haunted houses in America.
Her long, purple dress floated over the muddy path as she moved closer to the group. Three teenage girls, already scared, hugged each other in a sort of terrified conga line. They were Jen Vasquez’s next targets. The House of Shock cast member, better known as Momma Jen, hissed. She sniffed. Then, through two different colored contact lenses, Vasquez looked in the face of the young blonde girl, who shrieked like she might drop dead.
“I like to find the scaredy cats,” said Vasquez. “When their shoulders shrink, I know I got them.”
Founded in 1992 by Pantera lead singer Phil Anselmo and his friends Ross Karpelman and Jay Gracinette, the House of Shock started off as a backyard party in New Orleans. Twenty-one years later, it has a permanent home, a 25,000-square-foot warehouse on grounds that look like an industrial wasteland just outside of the Crescent City in Jefferson Parish. Now one of the largest—and scariest—haunted houses in the country, House of Shock thrives on pushing the boundaries of the terrifying and the extreme, welcoming the controversy that inevitably follows.
A group of Bolivian miners must have received the shock of their lives when they uncovered a slab with 5,055 gigantic footprints. Nina Strochlic reports on Bolivia’s wall of prehistoric wonder.
Millions of years ago, in the remote limestone landscape of central Bolivia, did dinosaurs have the ability to walk straight up vertical walls? That’s what it would seem from the strange footprints on Cal Orko, a nearly mile-long and 328-foot-tall slab of limestone imprinted with the weaving tracks of 294 distinct dinosaurs, representing at least eight species of the prehistoric beasts.
Bolivian paleontologist Dr. David Kerimba hangs from a rope while placing his hand in the heel of one of several hundred tracks left by six different species of dinosaurs in the Late Cretaceous Era that were discovered on the vertical wall of a limestone quarry near the country's capital near Sucre. (STR/Reuters)
The 462 trails add up to 5,055 individual prints, the largest and most diverse collection of tracks in the world, and give the illusion that dinosaurs had the ability to walk directly up and diagonally across walls—this one sloping at a 70-degree angle. This is an astonishing proposition when you remember that some of these lumbering creatures weighed more than 100 tons.
As with all too-good-to-be-true mysteries, scientists have a simple explanation for this wall of wonder. The 68-million-year-old remnants of dinosaur feet were pushed upward by tectonic activity. The area, which once hosted a large lake, had an attractive climate that enticed herbivores and then carnivores. The dinosaurs walked across the area’s shoreline in damp weather, leaving their prints. During dry periods, the prints fermented, and when the rain returned, they were preserved under layers of sediment and mud. This process happened repeatedly, resulting in multiple layers of preserved evidence. Later, tectonic rumblings pushed the earth up into a massive vertical slab, and by virtue of its new position, protected it from modern devastation.
New York is a beautiful, demanding city. It pulls you in, makes you fall madly in love, and then, as in all affairs, the honeymoon period ends. In a new book, 28 writers tell their stories of how they fell in love—and came to leave—New York.
In her now iconic essay “Goodbye to All That,” Joan Didion wrote about her early love-struck days in New York City, and how it all came to an end. After living in the hustle and bustle of Manhattan for eight years, she realized “that at some point the golden rhythm was broken, and I am not that young anymore.” Her love affair with the city had ended, and she fled with her husband back to the West Coast.
Didion’s searingly personal words have touchéd many who’ve moved to the city of bright lights. In a new book of essays, Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York, author Sari Botton asked 28 of her fellow female writers to tell their own stories of falling in and out of love with the city. Some left for practical reasons—money, other loves, a job—others truly fell out of love with the Manhattan and couldn’t leave fast enough. Some pine for it and sneak back for rambles around the city streets, while others have said sayonara and haven’t looked back since.
Here, four of the authors share a piece of their stories with The Daily Beast:
A new exhibition in London showcases the connection between Pop Art and design. From a ‘fetish chair’ to a creation made out of mud, Chloë Ashby picks the wildest pieces.
Pop Art Design at London’s Barbican Art Gallery offers a sunny respite to London’s gloomy weather this week: the show introduces a bright panorama of the Pop era, with over 200 works by more than 70 artists and designers from the late 1950s to the early ’70s.
Pop Art exploded onto the scene as an unexpected post-war party—a daring distraction from the anxieties of an age of austerity. Fun and inventive, Pop challenged established traditions and hierarchies with an aesthetic that was both fresh and familiar; it shone the spotlight on the cult of celebrity, mass production, and popular culture.
The Pop party comes with a pinch of pragmatism in Pop Art Design, the first major show to explore the long-neglected love affair between art and design in that period. Pop Art, after all, satirized products of consumerism. Pop artists found quirky aesthetic value in the objects of daily life, and designers used new and unusual technologies and materials to make those objects appealing.
From a “fetish chair” to a chair made of mud, The Daily Beast picks the 15 wildest items from the show. (Pop Art Design will run at the Barbican Centre in London, from 22 October 2013 until 9 February 2014. It is an expansion of the exhibition of Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, in cooperation with Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk and Moderna Museet, Stockholm.)
From a submerged Bar Refaeli to a Mediterranean idyll, a voyeur’s look at the stars’ sun-soaked scenes.
Who would play Jeff Goldblum’s character in a ‘Jurassic Park’ reboot? ‘The best version of the young me is Justin Bieber,’ he says.
The bouillabaisse is just as tasty, but Europe’s 2013 Capital of Culture now has a lot more to offer. Anna Watson Carl reports.
More than a natural wonder, Cappadocia's formations have been a safe haven to many. Nina Strochlic reports.
Tony Wheeler, co-founder of Lonely Planet Publications, remembers the fun early days of travel guide writing, but says they're not over yet.
Miley Cyrus’ fav new haunt is Beacher’s Madhouse, the craziest club in Los Angeles.
Take the vacation of a lifetime—in beautiful North Korea? That’s Uri Tours’ pitch. Lloyd Grove reports.
In ‘Mapping Manhattan,’ explore the city via 75 New Yorkers’ personal geographies. By Allison McNearney.