Crains New York - November 19, 2012 - (Page 1)
NEW YORK BUSINESS
VOL. XXVIII, NO.47
PRIVATELY HELD FIRMS Thrillist ‘gets’ guys PAGE 13 THE LIST Our annual count of NYC’s top private companies
NOVEMBER 19-25, 2012 PRICE: $3.00
Calling back the pay phone
Suddenly relevant, city’s coin-op oldies are due for a do-over. Here’s a first look
BY MATTHEW FLAMM
Lowly old pay phones are having their moment, and not only because they kept working after Superstorm Sandy knocked out cellular service in parts of lower Manhattan.The Bloomberg administration has asked businesses to reimagine the future of these coin-operated anachronisms. If some of the ideas pitched to the city—and made available to Crain’s—come to fruition, they would usher Superman’s onetime changing room into the age of the iPhone. They would also keep pay phones from becoming an endangered species as their numbers rapidly dwindle. The Department of Information Technology and Telecommunication’s request for information in July began a process that will culminate in new franchise contracts being awarded by October 2014—replacing deals signed in 1999. According to interviews with franchisees and nearly two dozen responses to the RFI, free Wi-Fi—already available at some locations—would be just the start. The bulky three-paneled kiosk could become a sleek, solar-powered workstation. There would be plug-ins for recharging mobile devices. And touch screens (coming soon in a pilot project) could display maps, local ads and public-service messages. Phone calls would be free via the Internet and subsidized by sponsors,saving franchise holders the expense of collecting coins. There could be enough pay phonebased Wi-Fi activity to take pressure off overloaded cellphone carriers. And the phones could still resort to what’s known as “plain old telephone” service, which runs on copper wire and doesn’t need electricity—offerSee PHONES on Page 24
NEW IDEAS FOR AN OLD PHONE
SLIMMED-DOWN kiosks would offer plug-ins to recharge phones and tablets.
Sandy’s flood of business washes in
Salvage and carting companies clean up on massive cleanup
BY ANDREW J. HAWKINS
Weeks after Superstorm Sandy sent a torrent of water and sand through the streets of Coney Island, many of the auto repair shops that line Neptune and Stillwell avenues were still caught up in the task of pumping water from flooded basements and repairing damaged inventory. Not T&J Auto Salvage Inc. One of Brooklyn’s busiest salvage yards, it took in nearly 100 flood-damaged vehicles in the two weeks after Sandy struck. That’s almost double the business’s average intake, said manager Robert Piccolo. And more ruined cars
See FLOOD on Page 27
WELCOME to the workstation: Hang out and use the free Wi-Fi.
TOUCH SCREENS would serve up directions to nearby restaurants.
SOLAR POWER would provide green, backup service during blackouts.
Jobs come to those who build
Storm repairs offer bump to recovering construction industry
BY ANNIE KARNI
The city’s construction industry experienced its first post-Sandy boost last week when the Bloomberg administration announced a “Rapid Repairs” program that would assure contractors of federal funds to pay electricians,carpenters,drywallers and plumbers hired to patch up homes destroyed by the superstorm. “Every union member is working,” said Lou Coletti, president of the Building Trades Employers’ Association, which represents 17,000 contractors. As of Friday, more than 400 contractors had signed up to oversee projects, and more were coming in from around the area and the country,
See CONSTRUCTION Page 26
ARE THEY PAY PHONES if they’re free? VoIP service paid by sponsors would mean no more searching for quarters.
PLAIN OLD telephone service, via copper lines, would remain as backup just in case.
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Crains New York - November 19, 2012
IN THE BOROUGHS
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Crains New York - November 19, 2012