MICROPOLIS: Transgender Training / Sex Work Survival Tips

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

New York City -- universal beacon for gays and lesbians, right? Maybe, but ask some people how safe they feel on the streets, and they'll say, not very. Especially transgender women of color, who speak of constant harassment, threats and actual violence

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MICROPOLIS: Trayvon Martin and the Threat of Black Manhood

Monday, July 15, 2013

In this episode of Micropolis, we ask whether it's possible for black men to avoid being profiled. For some black men, the answer is yes, but it involves making compromises -- in terms of clothing, language and manner -- that others find detestable. 

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MICROPOLIS: Graduation Day at Sing Sing Prison

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Forty percent of the inmates in New York state return to prison within three years of their release. But there are important exceptions. Among those are the maximum security inmates behind the walls of Sing Sing in Ossining, NY who have obtained a masters degree in Professional Studies —a one-year graduate degree administered by the New York Theological Seminary. Their recidivism rate over 31 years has been just 10 percent. The rate for those who've left with a degree in the last five years? Zero.

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MICROPOLIS: 'All in the Family' and the Search for a More Perfect Union

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Actress Jean Stapleton, who played the iconic role of Edith Bunker on TV's 'All in the Family,' died on Saturday, at the age of 90. For this latest episode of Micropolis, WNYC's Arun Venugopal examines the impact the show had on his own family -- who immigrated from India just a year before the show premiered, in 1971 -- as well as others trying to make sense of the era.

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Hasidic Supermarkets and the Virtues of Insularity

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New York has more foreign-born residents than any other city in the world: more than L.A. or Hong Kong, and two-and-a-half times as many as London. But in this latest episode of Micropolis, we consider what's lost when people of different cultures and belief systems try to co-exist. In other words, what's the downside of diversity?

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Micropolis: Mapping Love, Hate & Loss in Manhattan

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What's with this city, that we endlessly dissect it, glorify it, wonder how exactly we fit into it?

It's such a strange, narcissistic thing to do but it's kind of irresistible too. So the other day I went on a walk with Becky Cooper, the author of a new book, 'Mapping Manhattan,' and Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker, who wrote the introduction. 

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Micropolis: Images of Addiction in the Bronx

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

In this episode of Micropolis, WNYC's Arun Venugopal ventures into the home of Michael, a transsexual prostitute and heroin addict -- and, as you can hear in the segment above -- given to baking cookies for her guests.

Michael, who also goes by the name Shelly, or Michelle, is one of the subjects of "Portraits of Addiction," an ongoing project by Wall Street trader-turned-photographer Chris Arnade and writer Cassie Rodenberg. 

The series, now in its third year, brings viewers into close contact with addicts and prostitutes in Hunts Point, in the Bronx. View the series Tumblr here, or the Flickr page.

In addition to images, the project gives us insights into the lives of its subjects. Thirty-five year old Vanessa, seen below, "was standing on the cold street corner looking for business, wearing only flip flops and smoking with her two friends." When asked how she wanted to be described, one friend jumped in and said "She's the sweetest woman I know. She will give you the shirt off her back, if she has one on."

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Micropolis: Musicians Make the Noisiest Neighbors

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Practice, practice and so forth: everyone knows the long and tortured path to musical greatness.

But for every thrilling debut at Carnegie Hall, every heart-rending aria sung at the Met, there's a back story. A dark, discordant tale that finds a solitary musician banging away for hours in a 4th-floor Upper East Side walkup as the next-door neighbor goes purple with rage. 

For this latest episode of Micropolis, we explore the not-so-harmonious side of the New York musician's life, wherein one wrong chord can result in a knock on the door, a volley of abuse, and maybe even... MURDER.

Listen to the entire story above, or read what Stephen Hough, Richard Goode and other musicians have to say, below.

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Micropolis: Gay Marriage, Bollywood Version

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

To understand just how much America -- and it's ideas about gay rights and other issues -- continue to influence the rest of the world, it's worth watching a movie called English Vinglish, a Bollywood hit from last year, starring Indian screen legend Sridevi. Her character, Shashi, is visiting her sister in the U.S. for a few weeks, and starts taking English-language classes in Manhattan.

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Why Runway Models Are Almost Always White

Sunday, February 17, 2013

New York Fashion Week, which just concluded, celebrates designers of color like Jason Wu and Tracy Reese, and the crowds are pretty mixed. But the runways are pretty homogenous: About 4 out of 5 runway models are white. Why?

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Micropolis: Mystery of the Chinese Double Menu

Monday, January 21, 2013

Why, in this era of foodie hordes, Instagramming their way across the five boroughs, do some Chinese restaurants in New York City still have double menus?

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For this Santa Doppleganger, the Holidays are Intense

Monday, December 24, 2012

Some hefty men dress up as Santa Claus because it’s a nice way to make a little extra cash,  this time of year. But for others it's more a state of mind. 

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Micropolis: Dinner with West Africans

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Before immigrating from West Africa to the Bronx, Rouguiatou Tounkara and her husband, Cisse Siaka, lived the kind of lives that remind you just how ferocious racial bigotry is in some parts of the world. Even for Africans living in Africa.

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Micropolis: NYC Street Workout Goes Global

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Is Street Calisthenics the most extreme workout in New York? That’s what some (highly-ripped) practitioners claim, although boot campers and P90Xers may vehemently disagree.

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Meet the Guardians of Fashion Week: Behind the Scenes With a NYFW Security Guard

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

When Matt Hogan is not stopping gatecrashers, he’s protecting naked models from illicit backstage photos and keeping the chi flowing around Anna Wintour. WNYC’s Arun Venugopal spent time with a security guard who protects the complex world around the runway. 

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Thousands Fill MetLife Stadium to Study the Talmud

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Around 90,000 attendees filled MetLife stadium on Wednesday for the 12th Siyum Hashas, an event held every seven and a half years for Jewish men who have completed their study of the Talmud. The previous event, held in 2005, was attended by 50,000 people. To see more pictures from the event, go to Micropolis' Tumblr site.

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Why the Great White Way Is Whiter Than Ever

Thursday, May 24, 2012

During a recent church service, hundreds of worshipers looked on from the pews at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Zion Cathedral in Jamaica, Queens, as Rev. Floyd Flake made an announcement.

"We have guests in the house," he said. 

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A Look at the Least Diverse Neighborhood in the City

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Brooklyn, known for its multitude of ethnic enclaves, also has the distinction of being home to the city’s least diverse neighborhood.

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Pro-Muslim Groups and Critics Mount a 'Propaganda War' (VIDEO)

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

A few weeks ago, Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch and one of the most outspoken critics of Islamic groups, said the debate among Muslim organizations, their allies and their opponents was to a large degree "a propaganda war in the information battle space."

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Manhattan Street Grid System Turns 200

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Today marks the bicentennial of the Manhattan street grid system, a latice-work of streets created during a time when the city's population exploded and the streets needed to be ordered in a "regular way," according to NYU professor and curator of an upcoming museum exhibit, Hilary Ballon.

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