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June 20, 2018

LaGuardia Airport Could Be A Lot Easier To Get To If This $450 Million Plan For A New AirTrain Goes Through

JFK AirTrain Getty/Spencer Platt The JFK AirTrain putters along its three-mile track. Long maligned as the New York City airport least accessible by mass transit, LaGuardia may finally be getting the transportation options it needs.

In a speech that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave Tuesday morning, he loosely laid out a plan for an AirTrain to connect LaGuardia Airport with the 7 train of the New York City subway and the Port Washington Branch of the Long Island Rail Road, via the Grand Central Parkway.

“You can’t get to LaGuardia by train there and that really is inexcusable,” Cuomo said, according to the New York Observer. “And that we’re going to change over the next several years.”

The point of connection would be at Mets-Willets Point Station, about a mile and a half from the airport via the top of Grand Central Parkway. It would be a 30-minute ride on the subway from Grand Central Station in midtown Manhattan.

Cuomo’s administration has been quoted as saying the project will cost roughly $450 million to build and take about five years to construct. However, those figures have been criticized by transit advocates as optimistic considering the ballooning price of capital projects in New York City.

Another point of criticism is the proposed route. The 7 train is already notoriously crowded, the trains are narrower the ones that connect to the AirTrain to JFK Airport, and using Willets Point Station as the terminal for the AirTrain would necessitate a circular route from Manhattan — one that would take an estimated 50 minutes, transit advocates note.

AirTrainSkitch2 Google Maps

The question remains how Cuomo will be able to finance the $450 million construction of an AirTrain for LaGuardia when he still hasn’t figured out what to do with the MTA’s $15 billion budget gap.

Another concern is that Cuomo declined to put a timeline on the construction of the new train, saying he “would not venture a guess as to timing.”

7 train Flickr/Tim Adams Under Cuomo’s plan, the AirTrain would connect to the 7 train of the subway at Willets Point.

The Global Gateway Alliance, a group of business leaders interested in airport improvements, praised the plan but chastised Cuomo for his failure to set a timeline.

“We do not need words or speeches; we need action — both on the state and federal level — to provide a budget and timeline quickly,” GGA said in a statement.

We’ll have to wait and see if the dream can become reality.

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LaGuardia Airport Could Be A Lot Easier To Get To If This $450 Million Plan For A New AirTrain Goes Through

Blood, sweat and tears yield ultramarathon joy

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Running 135 miles through the searing summer heat of Death Valley in California before ending the route with a cumulative gain of 17,000 feet to reach the slopes of Mount Whitney?

Slogging across four desert courses, each 150 miles long, in Chile, China, Egypt and Antarctica in what is known as the Four Deserts Grand Slam?

Racing against the clock through 75 control points in the footsteps of ancient Athenian messenger Pheidippidis, with a cut-off of 36 hours to complete the 153-mile Spartathlon?

Risking dehydration, exhaustion, broken ankles, kidney failure or the need to throw in the towel and give up — all possible reasons for an athlete to abort the gruelling challenge of an ultramarathon?

For the uninitiated, all of the above scenarios suggest a twinning of sadism with sheer lunacy. For the ultramarathoner, however, it is all about running for joy, setting personal goals and trying to overcome every obstacle faced.

“People are intrigued by the thought of someone wanting to run 100 miles, or more,” experienced ultramarathoner Shannon Farar-Griefer, who has five times raced the gruelling Badwater 135 across Death Valley, told Reuters.

“They might say, ‘What’s wrong with you that you want to run 100 miles? Were you abused or were you a drug addict?’ We just love to run. It’s all about passion in this sport.

“You know you’re going to hurt, you know you’re going to have a long day. That’s why people think that we are a little different from the rest because we keep pushing our bodies. Ultras are all about learning how to be able to accept pain.”

An ultramarathon involves a combination of running and walking further than the traditional marathon of 26.2 miles (42.2 kilometres). Though most ultras cover distances of either 50 or 100 miles, many are much longer.

For Connecticut-based running coach Tom Holland, an exercise physiologist and certified sports nutritionist who has competed in over 60 marathons and 21 ironman triathlons, ultras are all about achieving objectives.

“It’s the innate human desire to push our limits,” Holland told Reuters. “I believe many people find incredible personal satisfaction in achieving these challenging goals.

“They run a marathon or three and then have a need to push their bodies even further, both physically as well as mentally. Pushing through periods of incredible discomfort and coming out on the other side is extremely empowering.”

A METAPHOR FOR LIFE

Holland is a veteran of several ultras, including the Run to the Sun, a 36-mile journey to the 10,023-foot summit of Haleakala on the island of Maui, and he regards the ultra challenge as a metaphor for life.

“You realize that no matter how bad you think things are at the time, you are strong enough to push through them and things will always get better,” he said.

Australian Samantha Gash, the first woman to complete the Four Deserts Grand Slam in a calendar year, believes that ultramarathoners share a burning desire to be the best they can be while often competing well outside their comfort zones.

“The people who finish are not the most physically fit but the ones that are mentally strong, those who don’t entertain the possibility of not finishing,” she said.

Gash, who is featured in the 2013 documentary “Desert Runners” which chronicles the Four Deserts Grand Slam, gained a massive jolt of self-belief after her pioneering accomplishments in Chile, China, Egypt and Antarctica.

“Being (previously) a nobody in the world of ultra running, if I could do something of this size and scale, it makes you feel that anything’s possible,” she said of her success in the Four Deserts Grand Slam.

“There were moments when I wondered what I was doing, when I was so dehydrated it hurt. I felt new depths of pain.

“But I really never let myself contemplate giving up,” said Gash, who had to contend with heat, cold, dehydration and extreme fatigue in some of the world’s most hostile environments while running with supplies strapped to her back.

Farar-Griefer, a 53-year-old mother of three who lives in Hidden Hills, California and took up long-distance running at the age of 39, has no doubt about her most brutal ultra experience.

“The 292-mile Death Valley Badwater double, by far,” she said, referring to her feat in becoming the first female to complete the ‘double’ by finishing the 135 ultra, then summiting Mount Whitney before returning to the race’s original start.

“All the other runners finished at the portals of Mount Whitney but I continued on and I summited Mount Whitney and then I ran back. It was 130 degrees on the way back.

“At mile 270, I got an edema really bad. I was swollen, I couldn’t pee. It was scary because you could go into total renal failure at that point. Thank God I had a very experienced crew.

“It’s a sport where you have to be able to endure pain and you have to be comfortable stepping out of your comfort zone. It’s a constant mind battle. I love it.”

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

More: 

Blood, sweat and tears yield ultramarathon joy

Athletics-Blood, sweat and tears yield ultramarathon joy

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOS ANGELES, Nov 25 (Reuters) – Running 135 miles through the searing summer heat of Death Valley in California before ending the route with a cumulative gain of 17,000 feet to reach the slopes of Mount Whitney?

Slogging across four desert courses, each 150 miles long, in Chile, China, Egypt and Antarctica in what is known as the Four Deserts Grand Slam?

Racing against the clock through 75 control points in the footsteps of ancient Athenian messenger Pheidippidis, with a cut-off of 36 hours to complete the 153-mile Spartathlon?

Risking dehydration, exhaustion, broken ankles, kidney failure or the need to throw in the towel and give up — all possible reasons for an athlete to abort the gruelling challenge of an ultramarathon?

For the uninitiated, all of the above scenarios suggest a twinning of sadism with sheer lunacy. For the ultramarathoner, however, it is all about running for joy, setting personal goals and trying to overcome every obstacle faced.

“People are intrigued by the thought of someone wanting to run 100 miles, or more,” experienced ultramarathoner Shannon Farar-Griefer, who has five times raced the gruelling Badwater 135 across Death Valley, told Reuters.

“They might say, ‘What’s wrong with you that you want to run 100 miles? Were you abused or were you a drug addict?’ We just love to run. It’s all about passion in this sport.

“You know you’re going to hurt, you know you’re going to have a long day. That’s why people think that we are a little different from the rest because we keep pushing our bodies. Ultras are all about learning how to be able to accept pain.”

An ultramarathon involves a combination of running and walking further than the traditional marathon of 26.2 miles (42.2 kilometres). Though most ultras cover distances of either 50 or 100 miles, many are much longer.

For Connecticut-based running coach Tom Holland, an exercise physiologist and certified sports nutritionist who has competed in over 60 marathons and 21 ironman triathlons, ultras are all about achieving objectives.

“It’s the innate human desire to push our limits,” Holland told Reuters. “I believe many people find incredible personal satisfaction in achieving these challenging goals.

“They run a marathon or three and then have a need to push their bodies even further, both physically as well as mentally. Pushing through periods of incredible discomfort and coming out on the other side is extremely empowering.”

A METAPHOR FOR LIFE

Holland is a veteran of several ultras, including the Run to the Sun, a 36-mile journey to the 10,023-foot summit of Haleakala on the island of Maui, and he regards the ultra challenge as a metaphor for life.

“You realize that no matter how bad you think things are at the time, you are strong enough to push through them and things will always get better,” he said.

Australian Samantha Gash, the first woman to complete the Four Deserts Grand Slam in a calendar year, believes that ultramarathoners share a burning desire to be the best they can be while often competing well outside their comfort zones.

“The people who finish are not the most physically fit but the ones that are mentally strong, those who don’t entertain the possibility of not finishing,” she said.

Gash, who is featured in the 2013 documentary “Desert Runners” which chronicles the Four Deserts Grand Slam, gained a massive jolt of self-belief after her pioneering accomplishments in Chile, China, Egypt and Antarctica.

“Being (previously) a nobody in the world of ultra running, if I could do something of this size and scale, it makes you feel that anything’s possible,” she said of her success in the Four Deserts Grand Slam.

“There were moments when I wondered what I was doing, when I was so dehydrated it hurt. I felt new depths of pain.

“But I really never let myself contemplate giving up,” said Gash, who had to contend with heat, cold, dehydration and extreme fatigue in some of the world’s most hostile environments while running with supplies strapped to her back.

Farar-Griefer, a 53-year-old mother of three who lives in Hidden Hills, California and took up long-distance running at the age of 39, has no doubt about her most brutal ultra experience.

“The 292-mile Death Valley Badwater double, by far,” she said, referring to her feat in becoming the first female to complete the ‘double’ by finishing the 135 ultra, then summiting Mount Whitney before returning to the race’s original start.

“All the other runners finished at the portals of Mount Whitney but I continued on and I summited Mount Whitney and then I ran back. It was 130 degrees on the way back.

“At mile 270, I got an edema really bad. I was swollen, I couldn’t pee. It was scary because you could go into total renal failure at that point. Thank God I had a very experienced crew.

“It’s a sport where you have to be able to endure pain and you have to be comfortable stepping out of your comfort zone. It’s a constant mind battle. I love it.” (Editing by Frank Pingue)

Link – 

Athletics-Blood, sweat and tears yield ultramarathon joy

Cuban migrants head off from Caymans, bound for Honduras

By Peter Polack

GEORGE TOWN Cayman Islands (Reuters) – A group of 15 Cuban migrants waved to onlookers as they set sail from Grand Cayman aboard a 14-foot homemade boat on Friday after a brief overnight stop, hoping to make the risky 400-mile journey across the Caribbean to the north coast of Honduras.

The boat, made from metal and fiberglass with inner tubes attached to wooden outriggers, was carrying five woman and 10 men and set off last week from Manzanillo, in eastern Cuba. Three other passengers abandoned the journey and turned themselves over to Cayman authorities for repatriation to Cuba.

Cubans seeking to flee the communist-run island are heading in increasing numbers by sea to Central America and then making a long journey overland to reach the United States.

One group of 32 Cuban migrants drifted for three weeks without food or water this summer after their engine failed. Only 15 were found alive when they were rescued by Mexican fishermen.

U.S. officials say more than 16,000 Cubans arrived without visas at the border with Mexico in the past year, the highest number in a decade.

Cuban officials have not commented on the illegal boat departures, but blame the U.S. policy for encouraging migrants to risk their lives.

Under Washington’s “wet foot, dry foot policy,” Cuban migrants who make it onto U.S. soil are allowed to remain, while those intercepted at sea are turned back.

One man, who identified himself as Ediberto, said he worked in a hospital, but undertook the dangerous journey because of poor economic conditions in Cuba.

“There is food available, but you have to have money to pay for it,” he said.

Another passenger, Manuel, a farmer from Ciego de Avila, said there is dissatisfaction in the countryside, but people are afraid of Cuba’s communist government.

U.S. Coast Guard patrols have made it hard to reach the United States undetected via the Florida Strait, which separates Cuba and Florida by only 90 miles at its narrowest point.

Many Cubans now opt for the longer western route to Honduras, a trip of about 675 miles, via the Cayman Islands, which takes about 10 days.

Honduran authorities give Cuban migrants temporary visas allowing them to head north for the United States.

(Editing by David Adams. Editing by Andre Grenon)

See the article here: 

Cuban migrants head off from Caymans, bound for Honduras