THE LONG ISLAND Rail Road finally got rolling yesterday on its program to reduce gaps between trains and station platforms that have resulted in one death and numerous injuries in recent months. At the LIRR's station in Woodside, Queens, two huge yellow track-leveling machines picked up and moved the coarsely cracked rock on which the ties and rails rest, shifting the tracks incrementally closer to the platforms. A Daily News reporter measured an 8-inch gap before the work began. Systemwide, the LIRR's gaps have been measured at as much as 15 inches. On Aug. 5, Natalie Smead, 18, of Minnesota was killed after she fell through the gap at Woodside and was hit by another train as she tried to crawl to safety. LIRR records show that riders are injured about once a week in trips or falls involving the gaps between trains and platforms. Riders waiting for trains at Woodside yesterday were pleased that the problem is finally being addressed. Jeannine Brennan, 35, from Massapequa, L.I., said she has been riding the LIRR all her life. "I think it's great that they're trying to rectify the situation," she said. [email protected] Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

SEE IT: SEPTA passenger’s jaw broken by teen’s knockout punch on train platform (WARNING – GRAPHIC VIDEO)

Philadelphia-area authorities are looking for a teenager who broke an older man's jaw after they got into an argument aboard a subway train on Monday afternoon, SEPTA officials said. Security camera video shows the teen exchanging barbs with the older man, who is 60, just past 3 p.m. on the train moving through the Center City area on the Market-Frankford line. A girl attempts to step between the younger man, shown wearing a dark blue hooded sweatshirt, and a man wearing a leather jacket and a driving cap. But the teen and a group of youths accompanying him then surrounded the man after they all got off the train at the 15th St. station, SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch told the Daily News. A security camera at the far end of the platform captured the teen in the blue hoodie rearing back and delivering a violent punch to the right side of the man’s head. The man in the leather jacket lies motionless on the ground as the teens scurry away in the footage. Other passengers alerted SEPTA personnel onsite and first responders rushed the man to a nearby hospital, where he received treatment for a broken jaw, Busch said. But the victim in the incident isn’t cooperating with authorities and SEPTA police released the video on Tuesday in hopes of identifying the teen who smacked the older man, reported. “We’re seeking public help in trying to identify the person involved in the incident, the person who punched the other man,” Busch said, noting authorities have established that the teen in the verbal altercation was the same one who punched the man. The fight occurred nearly a week after a dozen or so young men descended upon another Philadelphia man and rained blows on the unsuspecting victim on a platform at the SEPTA Walnut-Locust station. But SEPTA officials believe that Monday’s incident, while “horrendous,” represents an isolated incident Continue Reading

BlackBerry takes ‘Leap’ with release of new all-touch smartphone, cross-platform software

After a drop in revenue last year, BlackBerry is still trying to be a competitor in the smartphone market with its new BlackBerry Leap and software development program. The Leap, which was announced Tuesday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, is an all-touch smartphone with a 5-inch, 720-pixel screen, a storage of 16 gigabytes, a dual core 1.5-gigahertz Snapdragon processor and an 8-megapixel camera. BlackBerry also announced that it's working to ship various cross-platform apps for mobile devices and desktops for businesses. The mobile company will release BlackBerry Experience Suite, which consists of three bundles of apps that will cover productivity, communication, collaboration and security tools. "We are committed to making software as a business," said John Chen, BlackBerry's CEO, at MWC. "We are going to evolve." The array of apps will let users manage work and personal messages, collaborate on documents, make voice and video calls, and encrypt all their data. "The switch to software is seen as a last ditch effort to regain profitability and market share as the latest hardware releases are not competitive in the smartphone space," John Oldshue, CEO of, told the Daily News. The new software, which will include old apps like BlackBerry Messenger, Blend and BlackBerry Hub, will be available in the upcoming line of products, including the Leap. BlackBerry said the Leap will be aimed at young professionals who are starting their career and need a reliable phone that can help them communicate. Two of the Leaps selling points include a battery that can last up to 25 hours of "heavy use" and encryption support along with anti-malware built-in software. This is not the first time that BlackBerry tries to release an all-touch phone. In 2013 BlackBerry released the Z10, but the phone lacked sales. In 2014 BlackBerry reintroduced the BlackBerry Passport to Continue Reading

Gunman gets away after shooting 19-year-old on Harlem subway platform

A 19-year-old was shot in the arm on a busy Harlem subway platform Tuesday night after he lunged at a gunman believing the weapon was fake, police said. The gunman and a 19-year-old woman with pink hair got on the northbound No. 2 train at W. 96th St. on the Upper West Side around 11 p.m., cops said. They exchanged "hard stares" with the victim and his pals before the man pulled a gun, police said. Panicked straphangers fled onto the W. 110 St. and Lenox Ave. station platform, where the victim lunged at the gunman. The shooter squeezed off a single shot, striking the teen in the upper arm on the platform. The gunman, described as a Hispanic man in his 20s with curly hair, a red shirt and black backpack, took off on W. 111th St. Police caught the woman he was with and were detaining her, cops said. Her identify wasn't immediately released. One man who was standing outside the subway said terrified riders came stampeding up to the street level after the gunfire erupted. "You heard the pop, one shot, 'Pow!' and then mad people just came running out the subway," Willy Johnson, 55, said. "The way they were running you'd think they were being shot at. Then a white girl started screaming, 'They shooting! Somebody got shot!'" he said. The victim was rushed to St. Luke's Hospital in stable condition, Fire Department officials said. His identity wasn't immediately released. One shell casing was recovered at the scene, police sources said. With Joseph Stepansky Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

SEE IT: American smacks head on diving platform during competition in France

An American cliff diver narrowly avoided serious injury after hitting his head against a diving platform as he attempted a 90-feet jump. The frightening incident happened May 17 as Steven LoBue dived in a competition in La Rochelle, France, reported the Sydney Daily Telegraph. Video of the competition, which shows LoBue smack his head at the 1:47 mark, has gone viral, reported the Telegraph. Despite hitting his head, LoBue managed to execute his dive. He was left with a cut above his left eye but was otherwise unshaken. "I think that just got the best of me a little bit but I made it down to the water safely," said LoBue. "I finished the whole dive so I was happy about that." The incident was watched by 75,000 spectators and came on his third dive out of four. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Body Labs offers BodyKit platform to create digital 3-D human models with limitless applications

This fledgling firm is closing the gap between the physical world and the digital realm. New 3-D models by Body Labs will change the way you buy clothes, choose athletic equipment and play video games. They’ll also make it easier for the armed forces to safeguard the soldiers who put their lives on the line. The New York City startup has developed a game-changing platform for creating and customizing highly accurate and versatile 3-D models of the human body. The release of BodyKit Tuesday will give software developers the ability to create, analyze and simulate the human body, which can revolutionize everything from fitness and health to fashion and design, ergonomics, video games, film, animation and virtual reality. “We are big advocates of this notion of mass customization,” said William O’Farrell, CEO of Body Labs. “We believe that the world is getting ever more personalized, ever more automated that these enabling technologies are coming together to allow goods and services to be tailored specifically to us as individuals.” Body Labs’ 3-D models would allow developers and consumers to send a digital version of themselves to a clothing store for custom fitting, or create a video game character they can put into a boxing ring or any other game. Brown University Prof. Michael Black developed the company’s technology a decade back. He was working on criminal case and asked his students to develop a mathematical model that could accurately predict the shape of the human form. The technology they developed converts laser scans of the body into data points that can be digitized to generate highly precise 3-D models. Black’s students went to Germany to perfect their code and came to New York two years ago to license and market the technology. “Relatively soon almost everyone will have their own 3-D models and they’ll be yours, like a Facebook Continue Reading

Cop busts man, 28, for urinating on Brooklyn subway platform, finds illegal gun

He had a gun, but that’s not what was about to go off. A cop arresting a man early Thursday for urinating at a Brooklyn subway station found his suspect had an illegal firearm in his waistband, police said. Lixence Exavier, 28, told Officer Jacobo Rosario he “couldn’t hold it” after the cop spotted him relieving himself in the off-limits area on the subway platform at the Franklin Ave. 2,3,4,5 station at 12:03 a.m., police said. Rosario was patting Exavier down when he found a .45-caliber Smith and Wesson M&P handgun tucked into the man’s waistband, police said. The cop also found nine hollow-point bullets in Exavier’s pants, according to authorities. Exavier, who has several prior driving-related arrests, was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal trespass and a local law violation for the public urination, police said. NYPD top cop Bill Bratton has been a strong opponent of City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s plan to decriminalize several minor offenses — including public urination. The plan would make a handful of “quality-of-life” crimes civil violations that would not be answered in criminal court and officers would no longer be able to arrest offenders or ask for their ID when issuing tickets. Continue Reading

Man left injured in Harlem subway platform shooting: cops

A man was shot on a Harlem subway platform late Tuesday, police said. The attack occurred on the platform of 2/3 train at the W. 110 St. and Lenox Ave. station on the north side of Central Park at 11:10 p.m., according to cops. One man who was standing outside the subway said terrified straphangers came stampeding up to the street level after the gunshot rang out. "You heard the pop, one shot, 'Pow!' and then mad people just came running out the subway," Willy Johnson, 55, said. "The way they were running you'd think they were being shot at. Then a white girl started screaming, 'They shooting! Somebody got shot!' " he said. The victim was rushed to St. Luke’s Hospital in stable condition, Fire Department officials said. It was not immediately clear what sparked the attack. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

MTA employee saves man from stabbing attack on Manhattan subway platform

This MTA employee is a special agent. Clerk Richard Singleton rushed out of his booth and stopped a 27-year-old man from slashing a 30-year-old man Sunday morning in a Manhattan subway station, officials said. “I grabbed his arm and held his wrist and the knife fell to the floor,” Singleton said of the 27-year-old suspect, Donald Cheatham. “I got on top of him and held him until the police showed up.” The men were arguing in front of a token booth at the 6 train subway station at 28th St. and Park Ave. South about 8:15 a.m. when one of the men took out a knife and attacked the other, police said. Singleton, a transit worker for 18 years, had just arrived to take over from another clerk who said two men were arguing on the platform. The dispute started when one man accused the other of stealing his phone, Singleton said. The two exited through the turnstiles and continued arguing. “They were arguing and it escalated into a physical altercation and one of them pulled out a knife and started stabbing in front of the booth,” said Singleton, of the Bronx. The victim, whose name wasn’t released, was cut in the head and neck. “The only thing I thought was, ‘Am I in a position to save this person's life?’” Singleton recalled. “Everything else happened so fast but I knew I couldn’t let someone get stabbed to death in front of me.” Transport Workers Union Local 100 Vice President of Stations Maurice Jenkins praised Singleton. Jenkins said the attack proves that station clerks are necessary because cameras can’t stop crime. “Technology can enhance the experience but never replace people in the system,” he said. “This man is a hero.” Cheatham, of North Carolina, was charged with assault and criminal possession of a weapon Sunday night, police said. The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition. Continue Reading

Facebook announces new Messenger Platform and Messenger Business, opens app to developers

Messenger's API will now be available to third-party developers. Facebook announced Wednesday at Facebook's F8 conference in San Francisco that it'll launch Messenger Platform, a platform that will allow developers to create new integrated apps that enhance the way people send messages. CEO Mark Zuckerberg also announced Messenger Business and a few other new features. "We've been building Messenger as a way to express yourselves in more than just a text," Zuckerberg said. Facebook has quietly been working with select partners to offer an array of Messenger-integrated apps such as JibJab, Giphy, Memes, Bitmoji and FlipLip Voice Changer. More than 40 apps will be available in the initial launch. More are expected to come in upcoming months. With these apps, Messenger Platform will help streamline the process of inserting media into messages with the tap of one button. Now instead of manually inserting media and other content into Messenger, users will be able to tap on the ellipses icon and select content to share from within the app. Facebook's Messenger app has grown a lot over the years. It has gained features like collections of stickers, voice chat, and now it'll allow users to send and receive payments. This is part of its growth. More than 600 million people are using Messenger monthly, according to Zuckerberg. Along with the Messenger Platform, Facebook also announced Messenger Business, which will let users purchase things online and have personal, real-time conversations with businesses all within the Messenger app. When a user purchases something online they'll have the option at checkout to send their receipt and order confirmation to Messenger. Once they receive their order confirmation, they'll be able change their order, change their shipping address and even track packages, all from within the chat. Another neat feature on Continue Reading