Tapped In: After School Assaults, New NYPD App, Increased Parking Rates

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PARENTS CALL FOR ACTION ONAFTER SCHOOL ASSAULTS After multiple thefts and assaults against students outside of Joan of Arc School on West 93rd Street, parents are pleading for increased school security. City Councilmember Gale Brewer wrote a letter to the 24th Precinct asking for a police officer to be present at the 92nd Street entrance at the beginning and end of each school day. A police officer is already stationed every day at the 93rd Street entrance. Still, there have been several thefts. Neighborhood kids are allegedly being targeted by the "Money Comes First" gang, a gang linked to the Crips. The alleged gang members have intimidated and bullied their victims, swiping mostly cellphones while students are walking to and from school. One student's phone was stolen on Dec. 13 before school, and another student was targeted just one week later outside the 92nd Street entrance. Councilmember Brewer spoke with principals of nearby schools who have reported similar problems. MIDTOWN LIBRARY SETFOR MAJOR RENOVATIONS The New York Public Library's main branch is getting a very expensive makeover. The work will begin this summer in a renovation worth $300 million. The project will create a multi-level atrium complete with views of Bryant Park inside the Fifth Avenue landmark. The plan stirred up some controversy when it was initially proposed that millions of books be moved into storage. But no worries, bibliophiles: The New York Public Library changed course in their latest plan, stating that 3.3 million of the original library's 4.5 million research volumes will remain in the building while the rest are placed in storage. Despite fewer books, library president Tony Marx calls the renovation "the greatest that this building has seen in its history." Construction will begin this summer, and is expected to be completed by 2018. The library will remain open. NYPD LAUNCHES NEW APP Feel a little bit safer on New York City streets with the newly released NYPD free iPhone and iPad application. The app features wanted sections to view breaking news, wanted posters, crime and NYPD videos, and the NYPD Facebook page. You can also look up crime statistics and precinct boundaries, as well as submit crime tips. There's even a section on how to join the Police Department. The NYPD hopes the app will allow for faster and easier public information. Now city residents from all walks of life can help fight crime on the go. CITY PARKING RATES TO INCREASE It is not such a happy new year for New York City's motorists. Starting Friday, Jan. 25, the Department of Transportation will be increasing parking-meter rates south of 96th Street in Manhattan. The new rate is $3.50 an hour, or $.50 for 8:34 minutes. That's up from $3 an hour. By the end of January, all single-space parking meters will be replaced by muni-meters citywide. There is one silver lining, though: Be glad you don't live in Chicago, where hourly rates soared to $6.50. 'PIPPI' PUPPET SHOW BACK IN CENTRAL PARK The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater has brought back its 2007 hit puppet version of Pippi Longstocking, Pippi. The show premiered Jan. 15 and features over two dozen marionettes. Award-winning playwright Zakiyyah Alexander brings this fun-loving children's classic to the stage, and laugh along as the imaginative redhead overcomes bullies and burglars with her friends. Reservations required. Busy this winter? Not to worry-the show will run until June. The marionette theater is located near West 79th Street in Central Park. Tickets cost $8 for adults and $5 for kids under 12. Visit the City Parks Foundation website, www.cityparksfoundation.org, for tickets and showtimes.

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