How street kids in the Bronx taught me it’s OK to be biracial and gay - As a “nerdy, Mexican, gay, Mormon child of the ’80s and ’90s,” cartoonist Terry Blas had trouble figuring out his identity… until an experience in New York taught him a valuable lesson. [more inside]
The New York borough that once symbolized urban decline is safer and more stable—but most Bronxites' lives are still precarious.
"After surviving one of the most high-profile and long-running school sex abuse scandals in history, a group of 32 men and women banded together to seek solace and justice — only to find that public outrage, a star attorney, and overwhelming evidence are no match for a legal process stacked against even the most privileged or traumatized." - Sam Roudman
Before The Law,Jennifer Gonnerman, writing for The New Yorker, tells the story of Kalief Browder, who was unjustly accused of taking a backpack. He spent the next three years on Rikers Island before the charges were dismissed.
Fans book burial plots to be near jazz greats. "Nearly all the 70 burial plots which were advertised for sale earlier this year in 'Jazz Corner' – right behind the shiny, granite gravestone of Miles Davis, etched with his trumpet and bearing the honorific 'Sir' to mark the knighthood bestowed on him by the Knights of Malta – have already been taken." Other jazz greats interred at Woodlawn: Celia Cruz, Illinois Jacquet, Duke Ellington. Jazz at Woodlawn, June 11, 2014; Photos from the concert. (Previously and previously, in comments.)
What 11-Year-Old Kareem Granton Saw During 5 Days Roaming New York City (Warning: Slideshow format, but with original artwork.) [more inside]
Because the film is a period piece, The Godfather actually presents a fascinating record of what 1940s-era New York City locations still existed in the early-1970s. Sadly, many of them are now gone. What still remains? Let’s take a closer look.
Officer Serrano’s Hidden Camera "Once he joined the 4-0, nothing seemed clear-cut. 'Every now and then, we would have to be put in a van and hunt, basically…'"
Last June, the New York Times published an exposé of New York's exclusive Horace Mann School, detailing decades of sexual abuse of students by their teachers. The revelations prompted additional accusations and lawsuits from former students, an all-but-useless investigation, an admission by one of the school's former teachers, and a response by the school to parents (pdf). But one person who escaped the Times' notice was former English teacher Robert Berman.
The Bronx Zoo is managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society, which boasts of running more than 500 projects in sixty-five countries through global field offices whose employees work to advance sustainable development; address issues of global climate change, health and well-being, and natural-resource use; and pursue other noble-sounding objectives that attest to the totality of man’s dominion over the lesser beasts. [more inside]
The Audacity Of Louis Ortiz is a kickstarter funded documentary that chronicles the life and times an unemployed Puerto Rican man from the Bronx, whose life completely changed when he was told that he resembles Barack Obama. The story of Ortiz has been featured on This American Life, NY Times, and DRS 3. Ortiz as Obama has been featured in a few TV spots including an episode of Flight of the Concords and a Korean satellite TV commercial.
A group of high school students from The Bronx calling themselves The Resistance have released a 10-point plan to reform NYC public schooling. (via Colorlines) [more inside]
Freedman Home For The Elderly in the Bronx had an unusual purpose at its outset in the 1920s: to house retirees who used to be wealthy but had lost their money. Now it is mostly empty. ScoutingNY.com went inside and took pictures. The abandoned upper floors are especially creepy. [found via curbed]
Spaces of banana control. A visit to one of the four major artificial banana ripening facilities in New York City, for a research seminar on the "Artificial Cryosphere." [more inside]
80 Blocks from Tiffany’s was what The Warriors, the cultish and campy Hollywood street gang movie involving roller skates and a race to Coney Island, could never be. It was real. Shot over the course of a couple of weeks in the summer of ’79 (as the seeds of hip-hop culture were slowly sprouting in the BX), 80 Blocks from Tiffany’s, produced by Lorne Michaels [and directed by SNL director Gary Weis], veers away from the social commentary typically associated with gang exposés. Instead, the 60-minute documentary focuses on the personalities behind the news reports, including a tough NYPD detective from the Bronx Youth Gang Task Force and a sympathetic community activist. Quoted from the introduction to an interview with Gary Weis.
The long-polluted New York rivers are getting cleaner, but can still be dangerous to swim in. There are efforts underway to clean up the Bronx River, but that will take years, if not decades. Until then, signs are posted, warning would-be swimmers, yet people still risk sickness to battle the heat. One current safe solution is the Floating Pool Lady, a barge that was remade into an 82-foot-long city parks department swimming pool. She first arrived in the Bronx in 2008, and she'll return to the Bronx in a week. There's a new Big Idea to bring swimmers back into the rivers: the +Pool, a floating swimming pool located within a river, designed with a series exterior walls to filter the river water and make it safe to swim in. While that's in the early design stages, you can take a chance and jump in a swimming hole.
Last Friday, an adolescent cobra escaped from the Bronx Zoo. Now, it has begun taunting its former captors. (Via)
An Urban Teacher's Education is a intelligent, touching and very personal blog about the challenges that a high school teacher faces in the Bronx. [via]
"Toity poiple boids / Sittin on da koib / A-choipin an’ a-boipin / An’ eatin doity woims." From Atlantic Avenue to Zerega Avenue (map), the kinds of New York City accents made famous by the likes of Archie Bunker, Jimmy Breslin and Travis Bickle are disappearing. But though you may not often hear “foath floah” for "fourth floor" in Manhattan anymore, documentary filmmaker Heather Quinlan knows you can still hear strains of the old mellifluous tones in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx, and that's exactly what she's setting out to document in her film If These Knishes Could Talk.
Stadium Status by the Internets Celebrities (previously 1, 2) is a (short) documentary which examines the rush of new sports stadiums in NYC as the latest example of an obscene national trend. New stadiums are built every year and the private businesses that own them benefit from huge sums of public money for their creation. Are we getting our money's worth?
"What happened was that Abner Spector was an electronics nut. He took the girls in the studio on a Friday, and they didn't get out of there until everybody was on the track. Anybody that came in the studio that week, he would put them on. Originally, I think he had about 20 voices on 'Sally.'" The cost of the project alone, Richardson figured was over $60,000..." - Sally, Go Round The Roses (alt) was the first (and only) hit for the Jaynettes in 1963 and a unique and hypnotic studio creation. It's been called "a subtle and transcendental epic in 45rpm form" and there is much speculation on its mysterious lyrics. It has been covered by Donna Summer. Great Society (with Grace Slick) . Fanny. Pentangle. ? And The Mysterians and others.
The Brooklyn Elite Checkers Club [flash] is just one of the stories on the recently released site, City of Memory - 'a public map that generates social interaction, personal expression, and collaborative storytelling'. [more inside]
The most challenging scenario(video) of communion distribution in the upper deck of Yankee Stadium. See the Pope on 5th Avenue or vote for your favorite papal skateboard design. Other activities. Itinerary. Security. Via.
A day by day account of the progress of the manufacturing of 12 Glass Windscreen panels by artist Mario Muller. The pieces are a commission by the MTA Arts in Transit program for Kingsbridge Road station in the Bronx. The work is being done at Franz Mayer of Munich in Germany. More on the artist here and here.
Music from Morrisania: Dr. Mark Naison, urban historian at Fordham University and principal investigator of the Bronx African-American history project, leads a musical tour of one South Bronx neighborhood from the 1950s to the present, describing how hot summers, open windows and a fertile mixing of ethnic groups influenced landmarks in American musical history -- from Tito Puente to "Watermelon Man" to KRS-One.