Tapped In: Newspaper Recycling, No More Gas Rationing, UES Video Game

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NEW INITIATIVE TO RECYCLE NEWSPAPERS East Midtown Partnership and the New York City Department of Sanitation recently announced a newspaper recycling initiative. The program added 21 custom-designed receptacles on East Midtown street corners between East 50th to 61st Streets and Second and Madison Avenues. The 31-gallon receptacles, which cost around $1,350 each, collect newspapers and other paper products. "Discarded newspapers are a major component in the city's waste stream," said Rob Byrnes, president of the East Midtown Partnership. "The amount of paper, especially during the morning commute, not only leads to overflowing trashcans and unsightliness, it also contaminates materials which we should be recycling. This program will be a win for East Midtown cleanliness and a win for the environment." East Midtown Partnership has collected over 13 million pounds of trash since 2002, a significant portion of which the partnership says could have been recycled if the new initiative had been in place. Collection from the receptacles began after the announcement. CITY ENDS GAS RATIONING Mayor Michael Bloomberg lifted the city's emergency regulation of gas purchases on Saturday, over three weeks after Hurricane Sandy crippled the city's fuel supply. The rationing, which went into effect on Nov. 10, restricted the sale of gasoline to cars with even-numbered license plates on even days of the month and odd-numbered plates on odd days (excluding taxis, buses and emergency vehicles). Bloomberg and other elected officials initially thought that supplies would return to normal a few days after the storm, but damage to fuel refineries and shipping networks, in addition to the nor'easter that struck the city shortly after the hurricane, dramatically slowed repairs. At some stations, drivers had to wait for over six hours in police-monitored lines for fuel. Critics of gas rationing were unsure it would make a difference, but according to Bloomberg, the plan was a success. "The odd-even license plate system not only significantly reduced extreme lines, but also eased anxiety and disruptions for drivers at gas stations across the five boroughs," he said in a statement. At the time of the announcement, about 85 percent of the city's gas stations were operational, up from around 25 percent when the rationing was put into effect. UPPER EAST SIDE: THE VIDEO GAME Idea Studios, a Romanian developer, has released a new online videogame called Upper East Side Makeover. The game pits an attractive young woman against the challenge of dressing up for the city's most elite parties, which includes activities like hairstyling and makeup application. According to the game's website, www.enjoydressup.com, "Upper East Side Makeover brings you the Upper East Side beauty, makeup and fashion in your own homes, without having to spend any money to get the stylish and high maintenance Upper East Side look. How awesome is that, girls!" The game, the website promises, "will turn you into an Upper East Side fashion diva with just a bit of beauty, makeup and styling practice." Daniel Tamas, Idea Studios CFO and co-founder, told DNAinfo.com that the game was inspired by the Upper East Side's depiction in American pop culture, such as music and movies. "It's pretty marketed," he said of the neighborhood. Tamas admitted that he had never visited New York City, but argued that the game was still an authentic depiction of Upper East Side high society. "There are some singers in the U.S. that actually use the theme," he said.

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