SEE IT: Pro-Erdogan brawlers beat up protesters in Times Square hotel during Turkish president’s speech

Protesters were pummeled on Thursday during an appearance by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a Midtown hotel. The violence erupted as Erdogan took the stage inside a ballroom at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square. “Terrorist!” a demostrator shouted as he jumped on his chair, prompting security to rush him. “You’re a terrorist! Get out of my country!” Erdogan supporters in the crowd erupted in shouts and boos and attempted to punch the man, climbing over security to take swings, video of the mayhem shows. Another protester unfurled a banner for a banned Kurdish group and was escorted out. The scene quickly erupted into a free-for-all as bodyguards tried to escort the unwanted guests from the room. Pandemonium followed a crowd of security as they barreled toward the doors of the room, according to video taken by a Turkish journalist. One man stands on top of his chair and slams his fist down on the head of one of the protesters as security walk him past. Erdogan, in town for the United Nations General Assembly, was speaking to a large audience at an event organized by the Turkish American National Steering Committee. Police said one security officer suffered a minor injury, but no arrests were made. It was unclear if the suit-clad men escorting the protesters were hired security or members Erdogan’s personal detail. In May, Turkish security officials were captured on video hitting and kicking peaceful protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C., while Erdogan stood by his car and watched. Nineteen people were indicted last month in the beatings, including 15 Turkish security officials. In an interview on Tuesday, Erdogan said that President Trump apologized to him for the incident. “President Trump called me about a week ago about this issue. He said that he was sorry, and Continue Reading

Hate-fueled Baltimore man saw first victim as ‘practice’ to ‘kill additional black men’ in Times Square

A hate-fueled white supremacist told cops his killing of a random black man was merely a practice run for a racist mass murder spree. Suspect James Jackson, who came from Baltimore to unleash his homicidal bile, said his unprovoked sword attack Monday night on an unarmed black man was the first of many plotted executions. “His intention was to kill as many black men here in New York as he could,” said Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi at the suspect’s Thursday arraignment. “New York was selected because he believed he’d get the most media attention.” Jackson, 28, stalked several other potential victims, including an interracial couple, before repeatedly plunging the 18-inch blade of the sword into an unsuspecting Timothy Caughman, authorities said. “Mr. Jackson regarded the killing as practice prior to going to Times Square to kill additional black men,” according to court documents. The accused killer appeared agitated and restless, scowling in the direction of court workers at one point, as he appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court on a new count of murder as a hate crime. Prosecutors said the murder was “most likely an act of terrorism.” Jackson was led into court wearing a white Tyvek suit for a second straight day, with his hands cuffed and his feet shackled. Judge Herb Moses ordered Jackson held without bail. The accused killer began wandering the Times Square area looking for African-American targets after arriving via Bolt Bus from the Charm City last Friday. “He walked around selecting and stalking black men, with an intent to determine who he was going to attack,” Illuzzi said. Around 11:15 p.m. Monday, authorities said, he settled on Caughman as the 66-year-old man rooted through the garbage on Ninth Ave. in search of returnable cans and bottles. “The attack Continue Reading

SantaCon kicks off as hundreds gather in Times Square for bar crawl

Here comes SantaCon, here comes Santacon, right down the Great White Way. The annual Christmas-themed charity slog got off to a festive start Saturday morning as hundreds of red-clad revelers packed Times Square. “It’s a good time all around, a day full of fun, friends, and booze,” said Chez Dechellis, 30, of Harlem, decked out in full white beard and red suit. Dechellis, partaking in his fourth SantaCon, defended the event known more for puking Kris Kringles than its charitable roots. “Any time alcohol’s involved, people get rambunctious,” he said. “It’s NYC, come on. People get drunk all the time. Just because we dress up and get drunk? And it’s organized.” Organizers of the booze-fueled bacchanal, in its 18th year, asked participating Santas to tone down the naughty this year due to protests planned for Saturday afternoon in the city. The scaled back revelry was limited to 31 pre-approved pubs and clubs around Midtown that asked to be included on the group’s itinerary. Neavin Vaughn, a security guard at Citizen Watch in Times Square, looked on in wonder as hundreds of St. Nicks stormed off in search of refreshments. “I guess it’s pretty cool,” Vaughn said. “I hope they’re not getting drunk this early. That’s too many Santas.” ON A MOBILE DEVICE? CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

City Council targeting costumed characters in Times Square after Cookie Monster shoving

C is for crackdown. The costumed characters seeking tips in Times Square may not be at the Crossroads of the World for long following Sunday’s Cookie Monster attack. The City Council and copyright holders like Sesame Workshop and Nickelodeon are plotting their next move to retake Times Square, which is under siege by the characters. Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Queens) fired the first salvo, saying the herd of furry fiends could be thinned by redefining their work so that it is no longer protected as free speech by the First Amendment. “We’re living by the fiction that they're not doing this for money,” said Vallone, suggesting the city Department of Consumer Affairs could regulate the Elmos, Buzz Lightyears and Dora the Explorers — or ban them altogether. Meanwhile, the companies that own the brand-name characters prowling for tips are moving to protect their — and their characters’ — reputation. “Sesame Workshop has not authorized the appearance of any Sesame Street costumed characters on public streets in any city,” said a spokeswoman for the company. “We have been talking to other concerned groups, including other media organizations, to determine appropriate actions that we can take to ensure fulfilling engagement with our characters.” But reining in the performers has proved tricky. In fact, their population exploded after the NYPD stopped fining them in 2011, according to the president of the Times Square Alliance, Tim Tompkins. On Saturday, one day before a Cookie Monster allegedly shoved a 2-year-old after his mom was slow to tip, Tompkins’ staff counted a whopping 52 of the costumed characters in the six-block stretch of Times Square. "If in fact you're dressed up in one of those suits and you have your picture taken and someone gives you a tip for doing that, it's not a violation of the law," Continue Reading

Mayor Bloomberg kisses Lady Gaga to bring in 2012 New Year in Times Square

A possible record crowd of revelers welcomed the New Year in Times Square, bidding farewell to troubled 2011 on a night when the weather and the vibe were pleasantly warm. Turning up the heat on the spring-like evening was hometown hero Lady Gaga, who pranced through renditions of her "Marry the Night" and "Born This Way" in a skin-tight black suit - and planted a big smooch right on Mayor Bloomberg's lips as the ball came down. PHOTOS: NEW YEARS IN NEW YORK AND AROUND THE WORLD "This is my hometown, and my dream!" she declared after emerging in a bizarre octopus-like outfit that initially showed only her face - with a black mask around her eyes. The former Stefani Germanotta's appearance capped a daylong street celebration, with Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly predicting it might be the biggest turnout ever in the tradition that dates to 1904. Gaga, later sporting a giant white mask and Versace outfit, wrapped up the night by joining Bloomberg in setting the Times Square ball on its descent at 11:59 p.m. A one-ton cascade of confetti fell on Times Square as Gaga gave way to the sounds of Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York." "It's amazing to be here in the middle of all this," said Lois McAuliffe, 45, of Hawthorne, N.J., as 2012 officially arrived. Kylie Koerner, 25, of Reno, Nev., was having the time of her life despite the wall-to-wall crowd that stretched for blocks. "I brought my little brother, and we're having the most amazing time," she said. "We're having so much fun." The temperature hovered around 50 degrees - much higher than the typical New Year's Eve low of 29. The salacious Gaga was preceded by tween sensation Justin Bieber, who sported a red ski cap for a grownup version of the Beatles' "Let It Be" - accompanied by Woodstock veteran Carlos Santana on guitar. The happy crowd sang along with every word, and Bieber exited the stage beneath a shower of confetti. Michael Phillips, 29, was thrilled about Continue Reading

Judge tosses mounted cop’s lawsuit claiming NYPD negligence in Times Square

A lawsuit filed against the city by a mounted cop whose horse tumbled onto him in a "hazardous and dangerous" Times Square crosswalk has pulled up lame.Manhattan Civil Court Judge Geoffrey Wright dismissed William Rozakis' nearly six-year-old negligence suit, saying the ex-cop failed to provide any evidence the city had prior written notice of a defect in the pavement at Eighth Ave. and 42nd St.Rozakis sued in August 2005, following his spill a year earlier during the Republican National Convention, when trainee horse "217" tripped on uneven pavement. The spill sent the veteran cop flying into a minivan, with the 1,100-pound beast falling on top of him. "I got hurt. He didn't," Rozakis told the Daily News back then. "I broke the fall for him."A map Rozakis submitted showing the city knew there was a "pothole or other hazard" at the intersection was deemed too "vague" by the judge.Rozakis and the unnamed trainee horse were in a formation of seven mounted cops when it tripped and fell. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Police eyeing link to South Park in Times Square car bomb

Police hunting the man who parked a crude but powerful car bomb in Times Square Saturday night are looking into a possible link to a South Park cartoon lampooning censorship about Mohammed. No link has been established, but threats against the Comedy Central animators were made by a New York Islamist Web site last month and police are aggressively looking for connections, sources told the Daily News. The dark-colored Nissan SUV, its engine running and hazard lights flashing, was parked on W. 45th St. right next to the Broadway headquarters of Viacom, which owns Comedy Central. The Pathfinder was packed with propane, gasoline and fireworks and a rudimentary fuse had already been ignited. A vendor saved the day when he saw smoke curling from the car at about 6:30 p.m. and alerted Officer Wayne Rhatigan. The materials were primitive, but if the SUV had blown, officials said the inferno would have eclipsed the blazing lights of the Crossroads of the World. "I think the intent was to cause a significant ball of fire," said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. "We are very, very lucky," said a police source. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the feds were taking it very seriously, treating it as "a potential terrorist attack." "Right now, we have no information other than it is a one-off," she told ABC. A Taliban official in Pakistan took credit in an audio tape posted to YouTube, but officials were hesitant to link the failed attack to international terrorist groups, calling it more likely a "one-off" or "lone wolf." Preliminary signs suggest "that this was not part of any plot by al Qaeda or another known terrorist organization," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). He said the feds picked up no overseas "chatter" before Saturday night's attempted attack. CBS reported that Pakistani intelligence officials were discounting the Taliban claim, saying the group does not have the global reach of al Qaeda. The same group claimed credit Continue Reading

Locals play dress-up at season 4 premiere of ‘Mad Men’ on giant screen in Times Square

The city went mad Sunday in Times Square.As thousands of devotees of the hit series "Mad Men" packed the area to watch the season premiere on a giant screen, cast members greeted fans, including many who were dressed up and ready to inhabit the glamorous and naughty world of Madison Avenue, circa 1964."It's a dream come true to be here in the middle of Manhattan for the premiere. I live in New York. I love this city and I'm proud of it," said Elizabeth Moss, who plays Peggy, an ambitious woman struggling to make it in the man's world of advertising.As many as 10,000 people turned out, including Abby Pearson, 21, a fashion student from Missouri State University who came dressed for 1960s-era success."If only I could dress like this everyday and not get strange looks on the subway," said Pearson, showing off her requisite pearls, red high heels and A-line skirt."I don't like drama in my life but in other people's lives it's entertaining," she said.Lester Perry, 32, an advertising account director from Chelsea, sported a gray suit and retro-thin silver tie like his idol, Don Draper, the high-powered executive and philandering husband played by Jon Hamm."Don Draper is the coolest dude on the planet," Perry said."It's interesting to see how much fun they used to be having at work" compared to ad agencies today, he said wistfully. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Suit: Ex-salesman at Champs Sports in Times Square claims he was beaten by sadistic security guards

An ex-salesman at Champs Sports in Times Square claims in a lawsuit that he was handcuffed, beaten and lashed with a belt by sadistic security guards in a stockroom.Court papers filed in Brooklyn Federal Court say Andy Fable was pressured to drop his complaint against the store's goon squad.One guard, Anthony Cabral, was arrested for a 2006 beatdown in which Fable was handcuffed to two metal poles and struck with a leather belt while another guard took cell phone photos.Cabral pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment and was sentenced to three years' probation, said a spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney's office."We don't know what the motive for the beating was. They just seemed to be brutal people," said Fable's lawyer, Eric Sanders of the law firm of Jeffrey Goldberg in Lake Success, N.Y.The suit also describes a second incident about a week later in which guards accosted Fable in an employee bathroom and handcuffed him to a urinal for 45 minutes.Champs Sports spokesman Peter Brown did not return a call for comment. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Lines snake around block for New York job fair at Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square

The natty hopefuls in their business attire stood four deep in a cramped hotel stairwell, their hands filled with resumes and their voices thick with desperation. "I'm trying to apply for anything," said Gloria Cortez, 34, an out-of-work insurance underwriter flanked by hundreds of unemployed professionals hunting their next paychecks at a jam-packed job fair. Nearly 4,000 people turned out Thursday in Times Square, where the line stretched Thursday from a fifth-floor hotel ballroom to the cold street below. Lawyers, computer techs and insurance underwriters sought work and discussed disappearing jobs and depleted 401(k)s. They offered to take pay cuts, change careers and do manual labor. "I would take anything," said Lucinda Valentine, 27, who came to the midtown Marriott Marquis from Harlem. "It's just nice to have something to go to, so you have a steady job," she said. "I'm budgeting right now, but I'm budgeting with nothing." Valentine lost her full-time job in the fashion industry one year ago, and filled the financial void with freelance work - until those gigs started drying up, too. The dire nature of the job market was emphasized Thursday by the latest New York unemployment figures - 7% statewide for January, up from 4.7% one year earlier. It was the biggest jump in at least two decades and included the loss of 125,000 jobs in the last six months, state officials said. For the city, the rate rose to 6.9% from 4.8% over the same period. Jeanette McCarthy, 56, of Queens, knew none of the 92 companies at the job fair wanted to hear her sob story. And so she stood patiently in the line that left some folks waiting 90 minutes to get upstairs. "Feeling sorry for myself isn't going to pay the mortgage," said McCarthy, laid off last week from her job as a legal secretary. "You think you are safe one minute," she said. "But then the next minute you are in a line at a job fair." Jeff Karasik, 39, held a copy of the Wall Street Continue Reading