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Police Fingered in Harlem Cycle Smash

by Tracy Chimming, Emily Feldman, Joel Schectman, and Tim Persinko

Bicyclist hit on 125 Street, Harlem

Bicyclist hit on 125 Street, Harlem

WHAT

A speeding unmarked police vehicle driving in the wrong lane on 125 Street in Harlem hit a man on a bicycle and then continued driving.  The black police sedan appeared to be chasing a man on foot running west on 125 Street toward Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard around noon on April 22, witnesses said.  Employees of nearby businesses rushed to the aid of the fallen cyclist, who laid grimacing in pain in the east bound lane of 125 Street next to his mangled bicycle.  The bicyclist sustained leg injuries, according to witnesses.  The bicyclist was described as a black man age 30 or older.

Within minutes of the bike strike, dozens of police lights lit up the intersection.  Police radio activity indicated multiple police units were involved in the pursuit of the running suspect, who was apprehended around the corner from the hit and run in front of Greater Refuge Temple Church at 7th Avenue and 124 Street.  At least a pair of officers waited with the bicyclist for an ambulance to arrive, but the unmarked vehicle involved in the accident did not return.  Both the NYPD’s 32nd Precinct in Harlem and NYPD Headquarters declined comment on the operation and the incident.  The current status of the bicyclist remains unknown.

WHERE

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WITNESSES

Terry Sweeny, 28, was offering free pedi-cab rides for Earth Day on 125th Street directly across the street from where the accident occurred.


Terry Sweeny from Emily Feldman on Vimeo.

The hit and run took place in front of Dr. Jay’s clothing store on 125 Street.  Andre Holman, 42, a security guard there, watched the accident through the store window.


Andre Holman from Emily Feldman on Vimeo.

Jack Bicough, 23, from Astoria Queens, was a bystander at the scene.


Jack Bicough from Tracy Chimming on Vimeo.

Alassane Yanoga 33, sells clothes on the street in Harlem everyday. Police officers ran past his table.


Alassane Yanoga from Tracy Chimming on Vimeo.

 

Posted in Manhattan, Multimedia, Video

Yankees Steal Home Field Advantage From Bronx School

Yankee Stadium - - shiny and new.  (Photo by Rachel Senatore.)

The new Yankee Stadium. (Photo by Rachel Senatore)

A sell-out crowd of almost 48,000 fans filed into the brand new $1.5 billion Yankee Stadium for Opening Day on April 16. So much for home-field advantage—the Yankees fell to the Cleveland Indians with a humiliating 10-2 loss.

But at least they have a home field.

The stadium now sits upon the former Macombs Dam Park, the former home field for All Hallows High School, a small Catholic school located just blocks away from their major league neighbors. New York City plowed over the twenty-two acres of Bronx parkland to make way for the Yankees’ new digs in August 2006.

For three years, the All Hallows’ baseball, soccer and track teams searched the city for a place to play. The circumstances forced them to become a band of reluctant road warriors, playing their home games on opponents’ fields.

“It’s just very frustrating,” principal and team coach Sean Sullivan said. “They’ve affected our school. But we have to adapt, adjust and improvise.”

The Parks Department promised to build All Hallows and the surrounding community replacement fields on the footprint of the old stadium. Originally, they scheduled a start date in 2008. They since pushed back completion of the project until 2010.

All Hallows asked the Yankees for $50,000 for a new bus.  The Yankees gave them a 600-pound behemouth of a pitching maching from the old stadium.  (Photo by Rachel Senatore.)

The Yankees gave Sullivan a 600-pound pitching machine from the old Yankee Stadium. However, it is to heavy to move out of the closet. (Photo by Rachel Senatore)

New Yorkers React To New Stadium

When asked on Opening Day about the Yankees’ treatment of the surrounding Bronx neighborhood, visiting fans voiced their overwhelming disappointment.

“It’s horrible,” said Kevin Corrigan, 55, from Queens. “They did nothing for the community except make money for themselves.”

On April 18, in the midst of the Yankees’ Opening Weekend, local residents parked themselves in front of the old stadium in protest of team’s broken promises.

Fans of the Bronx Bombers have mixed opinions on what to do with the old stadium. While there’s no love loss for the original House That Ruth Built, many believe the community deserves the restoration of their lost grasslands.

Click on the arrow to hear the varying opinions of the New York Yankees faithful:
[audio:http://cdn.journalism.cuny.edu/blogs.dir/132/files/2009/04/yankees_1-22.mp3]

By Maya Pope-Chappell, Nicholas Martinez, Rachel Senatore, Alex Green IV and Lois DeSocio

Posted in Bronx, City Proposals, Multimedia, Politics, Sports, Video

Angry Americans Protest Wall Street – Good Therapy, Poor Politics, say Experts

by Igor Kossov, Lindsay Lazarski, Mike Reicher and Kate Zhao

As April rain fell on Wall Street, employees at Bank of America stood between potted plants in their second floor offices and looked down at the angry crowd below. The people in the crowd waved plastic-draped signs, chanting “shame” and “bankers come out.” The bankers smiled, took pictures on their cell phones, but did not come out. The crowd moved on to yell at others.

Why Individuals Decide to Protest
SLIDESHOW: Why Wall Street Protesters RageSLIDE SHOW: Stories from Wall Street, April 3, 2009
Listen to New York University finance professor Kenneth Froewiss explain why Americans are angry so at Wall Street bankers:

[audio:http://cdn.journalism.cuny.edu/blogs.dir/132/files/2009/04/professor-froewiss_1-2.mp3|titles=Professor Kenneth Froewiss, NYU]
Major U.S. Protests During Current Financial Crisis

TIMELINE: View Major U.S. Protests During Current Financial Crisis

Americans are clearly mad – at greedy bankers, Wall Street bank bailouts and others – but their protests haven’t reached a critical mass and unity of message that would effect meaningful political change, experts say. Instead, they’re really just venting.

“I see it as a bunch of angry people,” said Darrell West, the vice president and director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institute, a liberal Washington think tank. “It’s more catharsis as opposed to people following a coherent political strategy.”

Most U.S. protests of bank bailouts, for example, have been limited to several hundred people per event – as in the case of a September 25, 2008 Wall Street demonstration and March 19, 2009 rally in the Financial District of San Francisco.

Maybe the rain was a drawback on April 3, when fewer people than expected (hundreds, not thousands) protested the Federal bailouts of Wall Street banks and the $165 million of American Insurance Group bonuses. Experts including historian Howard Zinn called the rally, along with similar ones throughout the country, a mild response.

The rally also lacked a clear focus of the anger. Protesters chanted about bailouts but also complained about mistreatment of Guantanamo prisoners anr Israel’s occupation of Palestine. The mixed messages may have diluted the rage.

This unfocused approach has little meaningful effect on policy and doesn’t really spark the anger some Congressmen have displayed in recent weeks, according to Robert Reich, former U.S. labor secretary and professor of public policy at University of California Berkeley. Reich wrote on his blog (http://robertreich.blogspot.com) that Congressmen responded to a wave of mail and phone calls rather than people taking to the streets.

“In the short run, the government ignores political protests – hoping it will go away,” said West from Brookings. “They need to reach a critical mass in terms of numbers and visibility.”

In Europe, the numbers of people protesting the recession have been substantially higher. In February, over 100,000 people brought central Dublin to a standstill. Around 35,000 showed up to the G20 protest in London (though many were anti-capitalists before the recession). And in France, millions took to the streets in January and March.

U.S. citizens are much more likely than Europeans to go directly to their elected officials rather than express their rage in the form of a protest, wrote Reich on his blog.

Click Below to watch RAW FOOTAGE from the April 3, 2009 Wall Street protest:

Posted in City Proposals, Featured, Health Care, Multimedia, Politics, Video

Tamil-Americans Protest Sri Lankan Mission in NYC

Nearly 100 Tamil Americans gathered outside of the Sri Lanka Mission to the United Nations in Midtown Manhattan on March 16, chanting for a cease-fire in the war torn northern region of Sri Lanka.

In recent weeks, the Sri Lankan military has made significant advances on the Liberation Tiger of Thamil Eelam (LTTE), an ethnic separatist group that has been at war with Sri Lanka since 1983. The international Tamil community responded to the military advances and what they call genocide against Tamilis by holding rallies in New York City, Washington D.C., and Toronto. Tamil Americans Against Genocide organized the New York rally.

The New York rally drew Tamil-Americans from the tri-state area who took off from work and school to urge the United Nations to call an end to the fighting.

The peaceful, at times listless protesters stayed in an orderly pack behind police barricades and recited slogans. Listen to the protest chant.

[audio:http://blogs.journalism.cuny.edu/timothypersinko/files/2009/03/chant_1-2.mp3]

Protestors waved hand made signs and printed pictures of mutilated bodies that, they say, the Sri Lankan government is responsible for.

Some signs reading “Freedom Fighters,” responded to the common accusation that Tamil Tigers, who have a history of using suicide bombing and civilian attacks, are a terrorist organization.

Bala Tha, 60, a transit worker who lives in the Bronx has lived in the United States for 30 years.  He explained the goals of the protestors and addressed the use of violence by Tamil forces.

Bala Tha on the ongoing conflict, and on the use of force by Tamils:

[audio:http://blogs.journalism.cuny.edu/timothypersinko/files/2009/03/bala-tha-intv.mp3]

The mostly older crowd sang traditional Tamil songs.  Thiladm Rama, 60, of Hillside, Queens, led the singing.

Rama’s song about the Tamil origins:

[audio:http://blogs.journalism.cuny.edu/timothypersinko/files/2009/03/singing_1-2.mp3]

Jamune Kiru, 40, of Floral Park, Long Island, has been in the United States for 15 years, but worries for her brothers and sisters that are still in Sri Lanka.

Kiru explained the situation in Sri Lanka:

[audio:http://blogs.journalism.cuny.edu/timothypersinko/files/2009/03/jamune_1-2.mp3]

Video

Raj Savermett,51, talks about why he is protesting

A protest organizer discusses whether the Tamil Tigers are terrorists.

Reported and produced by:

Emily Feldman, Joel Schectman, and Tim Persinko

 

 

Posted in Multimedia, Politics, Video

Opening of new South Ferry Station

by Xiomara Martinez-White and Sergey Kadinsky

One of the last 1 trains passes through the old South Ferry station. This station first opened in 1905.

One of the last 1 trains passes through the old South Ferry station. This station first opened in 1905.

The South Ferry loop on the 1 train opened in 1905, allowing a one-seat ride between the Staten Island ferry and Harlem. By 1946, subway trains were expanded to 8 cars, and the station became obsolete. Without room for growth, its tight loop forced passengers to move to the first four cars, in order to access the station. Gap fillers moved the platforms closer to the train doors.


Platform gap fillers from Sergey Kadinsky on Vimeo.

Curvy and crowded, the old station was a source of frustration for commuters rushing for the ferry.

Century-old Artworks

An original 1905 station relief by architects Heins and LaFarge

An original 1905 station relief by architects Heins and LaFarge

Each station on the early 20th century IRT lines had its own theme artworks. For example, the Wall Street station had reliefs of the namesake wooden wall from the New Amsterdam period.

In 1990, the Arts for Transit Program commissioned a modern adaptation of the theme. Its artist, Sandra Bloodworth, is the current director of the program.


Sail artwork by Sandra Bloodworth from Sergey Kadinsky on Vimeo.

As of today, both of the above artworks are no longer accessible to the public. In their place, the new South Ferry station boats of more ambitious designs.

New Artworks
Artists Doug and Mike Starn of Red Hook, Brooklyn, designed the installation for the new South Ferry station, entitled “See it split, see it change.” The Starn brother say the nature motif represents interconnection between the train’s riders: riders begin at the South Ferry and “branch out” all over the city.

One of the highlights is a mosaic map of Manhattan, pointing upward on the wall. The map shows Manhattan’s landscape in 1640 and today.

Pictures of branches on the wall look over the escalators at the new station. Many of the branch pictures were taken in nearby Battery Park.

A maple leaf watches over the stairs leading to the new station.

Through a silver leaf gate, the station displays an original piece of wall from New Amsterdam. The wall was discovered during excavation for the new station.

Artist Mike Starn looks over at his work as the first passengers enter the station.

Scenes of the Station
The new station didn’t open until noon, but people started showing up early.

Once the Transit Authority gave the word, passengers began running in, attempting to be the first passengers to ride from the new station.

Scott Sandefur, a tourist from Washington, D.C., holds up the first MetroCard bought at the new station.

David Spectra of Manhattan wanted to be the first musician to play the new South Ferry…


David Spectra from Sergey Kadinsky on Vimeo.

but he was edged out by official “first musician to play the new South Ferry” Sean Grissom, known as “The Cajun Cellist.”


Subway musician Sean Grissom from Sergey Kadinsky on Vimeo.

He serenaded train riders with an instrumental version of Pink Floyd’s “Money.”

photo credits: X. Martinez-White, video credits: S. Kadinsky

Posted in Manhattan, Multimedia, Video

Real Estate Fears in NYC

By Lois DeSocio, Jacqueline Linge, Maureen Sullivan, and Brian Winkowski.

The New York City real estate market is no longer immune to the real estate drop that is hitting the rest of the country. Home values and sales have decreased throughout the metropolitan area, according to the Real Estate Board of New York. As a result, there is increasing anxiety among buyers and sellers, who are forced to navigate through news about plunging financial markets and shady mortgage lenders.

Jenny Laden is one of those sellers who is feeling the collective anxiety. She’s a single mom and an artist in Brooklyn who has lived in a Park Slope co-op in for ten years.

“All bets are off in this market and that’s very destabilizing and nerve-wrecking,” says Laden, whose home has been on the market for months. She has lowered the price twice already, and expects to have to lower it even more.

Home sales in Park Slope have decreased by 2.9 percent in the last year, with the average price per square foot for a co-op decreasing by 5.1 percent. And as noted above, it’s not just Park Slope that’s being hit with lower sales and home values – all of New York is feeling the effects of a declining real estate market, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island.

Okay – so while the reasons for fear and anxiety among sellers is real and palpable, what about the buyers? How could they possibly have anxiety when the market is in their favor?

“The anxiety with the buyer right now is very different than it used to be,” says Michael Palka, the president and COO of White Cat Media, an online media company which owns SheFinds.com and MomFinds.com. Palka owns an apartment in Manhattan and is currently looking for a bigger place.

“It used to be I’m going to get priced out and shut out of the market place and I’m going to have to move somewhere that I don’t want to move to,” continued Palka. He states that now the anxiety stems from buying an apartment prematurely, before the market bottoms out.

“I’ve seen several things already that, you know, if I would seen these a year ago, I would of jumped on them. Now it feels just the opposite. We shouldn’t go for it, because we can do even better in another six months,” says Palka.

Real estate agents are well aware of buyers freezing with indecision. There’s even a new catchphrase among some realtors—analysis paralysis. Clients get lost in the numbers and can’t make a decision. This “anxiety overload,” according to a recent study published in Realtor Magazine Online, by the National Board of Realtors, has given realtors much to fret about. They have fewer clients, so their incomes are shrinking. Many clients hesitate to drop their prices, so homes don’t sell and buyers aren’t buying in the hopes that prices will drop even more.

Christopher Ressa is a sales associate for the Corcoran Group in Manhattan. He says while it took a little longer for the recession to impact real estate in New York City, the effects are now being felt. Housing prices have fallen by 20 percent and will most likely keep falling. And despite the lowering numbers, buyers are still holding out for those bottom numbers. However, Ressa sees a silver lining behind the dark real estate clouds. He believes the declining trend will not last for long, as interest rates for home mortgages are at an all time low.

“It’s never been so cheap to borrow money,” says Ressa. “People need to readjust the way they think about lending and borrowing… if you can do it now, and still get a really good deal, the housing market in NYC, I believe, will bounce back fairly quickly.”

Posted in Manhattan, Multimedia, Video

AIDS Activists Flunk New York City Health Care Services

D. D-minus. F.

Those are the grades that HIV and AIDS advocates gave to New York City’s health care services.

To mark President Obama’s 50th day in office on Wednesday, March 11, AIDS and HIV prevention advocates from around the country issued a health care report card grading the nation’s progress in finding a cure for the epidemic. The “End AIDS Report Card,” compiled by the activist organization Campaign To End AIDS, failed the city across the board on the services such as housing and medication distribution.


Housing Works Rally Video
Harlem, New York

“We need a national strategy to end AIDS,” said Charles King, CEO of Housing Works. “Twenty five years into the epidemic and we still don’t have a coherent national strategy on prevention or on treatment services and care. There has to be a strategy that involves every single state and every single locality doing its fare share.”

According to a Housing Works representative, the “End AIDS Report Card” was based upon information provided by various AIDS advocacy groups that lobby for AIDS-related funding and services at city, state and federal level.

Activists and supporters, like local entities Housing Works and Harlem United Community AIDS Center, gathered at various locations across the country, such as New York and Washington D.C..

Protesters staged a rousing, speech-filled rally. They displayed large, color billboard report cards detailing their negative assessment of the city’s health care missteps. And they distributed educational pamphlets, orange stickers and free contraceptives – – all in an effort to bring awareness to the issue.

In Harlem, King singled out Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York City Council speaker Christine Quinn because of proposed cuts to city services. “The City has received close to 2 billion dollars in new money as a part of the stimulus package,” King said. “There is absolutely no excuse for the City to be cutting vital service to the health care of those with AIDS and HIV.”

Without commenting on the city’s future funding for HIV-related services, a spokesperson for the city’s health department cited their recent AIDS prevention efforts through condom distribution, syringe exchanges and voluntary testing. The City Council is currently holding hearings on the proposed budget for fiscal year 2010, which at this time includes cuts of nearly $2 million in case management staff for HIV/AIDS, among other related reductions.

King said, however, the Mayor must employ new fiscal strategies in order to remedy this situation. “Frankly, I don’t think this notion that all cuts are somehow equal and that everyone has to take their share of the pain even makes sense,” King said. “I have to run an organization and I have to administer a budget. And one of the things I know is that some cuts actually cost you more to make. This is one of those cuts that will cost the city in the long run.”

“We are in a financial crisis, right,” said Housing Works employee Lynan Saperstein. “So what’s happening to the people at the bottom? They’re getting ignored and they were already suffering.”

Click here to see the United States’ AIDS report card.

Click here to see New York State’s AIDS report card.

Click here to see New York City’s AIDS report card.

New Yorkers Living with HIV Speak Out

Frederick Taylor, 51 (originally from Sacramento, CA)
Frederick Taylor, 51, who works at a Housing Works thrift store, fears that cuts to funding may endanger services like public housing and non-pharmaceutical treatment offered to HIV-infected people.

Click the arrow to play.
[audio:http://cdn.journalism.cuny.edu/blogs.dir/132/files/2009/03/f_taylor_bounce.mp3]


Rodney Robinson, 45, a senior peer educator at AIDS Service Center, explained why he thinks it’s especially problematic for New York City to cut HIV/AIDS services.

Click the arrow to play.
[audio:http://cdn.journalism.cuny.edu/blogs.dir/132/files/2009/03/rodney-robinson2.mp3]

(Contributors to this report are James Flood, Valerie Lapinski, Alex Green IV, Heather Chin and Nicholas C. Martinez.)

Posted in Featured, Health Care, Manhattan, Multimedia, Politics, Video