Area Carpenters Bang Thumbs Hammering, Sources Say It’s Common

Carpenters Bang Thumbs

NEW YORK — Carpenters working on the Museum of Natural History expansion project are banging their thumbs while hammering nails, sources say, and it is not uncommon.

“It’s actually quite embarrassing,” said B.J. Powell, owner of Queens-based B.J. Powell & Sons Construction. Powell said that despite years of experience, many carpenters frequently strike their thumbs. He said distraction is the leading cause of thumb-mashing among professional carpenters.

“I’ve been a professional carpenter for 14 years, and, jeez, I’ve been hammering since I was a boy,” Powell said. “But, you start thinking about lunch, or you see some pretty gal walking by, and wham, you got the thumb — and that really hurts.”

Bob Segal, the clerk of the works overseeing the project, said he knows of carpenters who often bang their thumbs, but declined to comment on any specific instances. “The project is moving along fine, and we’re still on target,” he said. “Many of these guys are independent contractors, and they are responsible for self-inflicted injuries, if in fact there are any.”

Murray Strongman, president of the local carpenters’ union, said thumb-banging among professional carpenters is more common than people think. “It happens all the time,” he said. “Many guys don’t like to admit it, of course, but heck, I bet there are thousands of sore thumbs out there.”

A recent study by the Labor Department indicates a rise in thumb-related injuries among carpenters. Last year, according to the report, 4,224 carpenters in the state claimed they had banged their thumbs, a 20 percent increase from 3,520 the prior year.   MF_Logo-Bxed20

Juice Drinker Claims He Got ‘Way Too Much Pulp’

Too Much Pulp

BOSTON — A Connecticut man visiting Boston was up in arms Monday when the carton of Tropicana fresh squeezed orange juice he purchased contained more pulp than he wanted.

“I specifically chose the one that says ‘some pulp,’ not the one that says ‘lots of pulp,’ but it definitely had more than just some pulp. It had way too much pulp,” said 38-year-old Lawrence Schmiter, of Hartford. “I can’t imagine how much pulp there is in the containers that say ‘lots of pulp,'” he added. Schmiter said he usually buys the “no pulp” selection, but wanted to try out the other varieties.

“I really only wanted some pulp, but I got a mouthful.”

Officials at Bradenton, Fla.-based Tropicana Products said the company offers the different selections to appeal to a wide range of orange juice drinkers.

“Some people like no pulp, while some people like lots of pulp,” said spokesperson Floyd Jenkins. “And, there are those people who just want some pulp.”

Jenkins said he could not comment specifically on the Schmiter matter, but did say the company is conducting an investigation into the particular lot that Schmiter purchased to determine if the pulp-to-juice ratio was skewed.

“I agree with Mr. Schmiter in that if I’m in the mood for only some pulp, I don’t want a lot of pulp,” Jenkins said. “However, I’m more of a lots of pulp kind of guy; it makes the juice taste that much more hand-squeezed.”

A bottler at Tropicana’s packaging plant speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that sometimes the cartons receive more or less pulp than is advertised.

“Well now, you’re dealing with Mother Nature here. Some oranges are jucier than others and some have more pulp than others,” he said. “Sometimes thems oranges is dry as a bucket on a goat farm,” though he did not elaborate on the analogy.

Schmiter, too, did not understand the comparison to the bucket on a goat farm, and asked only that the company return his money and pay closer attention to the amount of pulp it puts in its orange juice cartons.   MF_Logo-Bxed20

Newsstand Owner Refuses To Give Change

Newsstand Owner Refuses Change

NEW YORK — A newsstand proprietor was overheard saying he wouldn’t change a $10 bill for someone unless the person bought “something.”

Customers at the newsstand on the corner of 25th and Broadway said the man seeking change was angered and stormed off because he was required to buy something in order to get change.

“He was saying that he needed to use the payphone, but didn’t have any change,” said Shirley Davis, who stopped to buy a Snickers bar and this month’s Elle magazine.

The man, who walked away furious, was described as an “average-looking banker type.”

Newsstand operator Hamil Siilbajuil said he cannot just give change to everybody. “I cannot just give change to everybody. I need to make money. This a business to make money.”

Siilbajuil said he occasionally can be compassionate and has been known to give change. “One time this woman come and say she want change for dollar. I say no! Then she begin crying because she say it was emergency, and I feel bad and give her four quarters for the one dollar. But I tell her I will not do it again for her.”

Mike Relant, an advertising executive who picks up his daily New York Times at Siilbajuil’s stand, said he’s heard Siilbajuil deny change to others in the past.

“Oh yeah, this guy, he won’t give you change. I always buy the Times here anyway so I always get change, but if you don’t buy something he’s not giving you change — he’s kind of like the soup nazi from Seinfeld, only in a newsstand.”

A spokesperson for the city’s department of consumer affairs said merchants are not required to give change, but did encourage the practice saying, “it’s the nice thing to do.”

She said her office does receive regular complaints about merchants not giving change, but said the number of those complaints fail in comparison to the number of complaints against merchants who prohibit the use of their restrooms to anyone who is not a customer.   MF_Logo-Bxed20

Subway Conductor Mixes Stops, Riders Confused

Subway Conductor Confuses Stop

NEW YORK — A conductor on the F train confused a stop during Monday’s morning rush hour, telling riders West 4th Street was the next stop, when in fact the real stop was 14th Street.

“When I heard that, I really thought I missed my stop,” said Kathy O’Brien, who works in Union Square. “I got kind of scared.” O’Brien admits to having been enveloped by her book, but says she was aware of the stops. “I remembered the previous stop was 23rd Street, and I knew we hadn’t stopped at 14th Street yet. It couldn’t be.”

O’Brien was right and was glad she didn’t miss her stop. “I noticed the wall tiles at the stations saying 14th Street, so I knew it couldn’t have been West 4th Street,” she said.

Bob Levinson, who also gets off on 14th Street, said he never pays attention to the conductor and always guides himself by the signs at the station. “How stupid must someone be to not notice which station they’re at. The station name is labeled on every other tile.”

The conductor, Randall Jefferson, said he caught his mistake as the train entered 14th Street and simply announced to passengers, “This is 14th Street.”   MF_Logo-Bxed20