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New 311 App Would Make It Easier to Complain About Illegal Hotels

311Sick of transient types traipsing through your apartment halls? Complaints of illegal hotels at a recent City Council hearing would suggest you’re not alone, and if Council Member Ben Kallos has his way New Yorkers will soon be able to report suspicious apartments with a tap of their Smartphones.

“The process by which the NYC Office of Special Enforcement targets, fines and eventually helps shut down illegal hotels is primarily driven by 311 complaints,” Kallos wrote in a letter addressed to the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications this morning. He’s asking for the city to modify its 311 mobile app to make it easier for the public to report illegal hotels, including apartments being rented illegally on Airbnb.com.
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Loisaida Center Keeps Latino Spirit Alive in the LES

Loisaida

The Lower East Side of the 1970s was a gritty, perilous place. Gang violence, drugs and poverty peppered the streets and rubble-strewn lots, threatening the livelihood and lives of the many Latino families who called the area home. Not about to see their population ravaged by the disorder, a group of Puerto Rican activists, along with residents of the neighborhood, started a movement to combat the conditions and bolster the community. Loisaida, Inc. was formally established in 1978, the name coming from a Spanglish nickname for the Lower East Side coined by poet Bimbo Rivas.
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Tips On Tipping For Coffee: Baristas Spill the Beans

(Photo: Hanna McCarthy)

(Photo: Hanna McCarthy)

Are you shorting the guy who made your long black?

A recent Times item about the phenomenon of “tip creep” triggered debate on sites like Gothamist, which insisted that you should be tossing $1 into the jar every time someone pours you a coffee. While some commenters agreed, others kvetched that “it is not and has never been standard to tip for counter service.” 
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Inside St. John the Baptist, Brooklyn’s ‘Castle Out of the Past’

All week, we’re bringing you a series of deep dives into the surprising histories of storied addresses. Back to our usual after the New Year.

St. John the Baptist, boarded up.

St. John the Baptist, boarded up.

St. John the Baptist is ghostly, towering moribund over a row of vinyl-sided apartment houses on Willoughby and Hart Streets. The 120-year-old granite edifice lies a stone’s throw from the Myrtle-Broadway stop in Bushwick — you can spot its cross-topped cupolas over Bed-Stuy’s roofs as the train pulls into the station. The Tablet called it “a castle out of the past.” And that was in 1968.
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