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Soundcheck

Alex Winston: In Studio

Monday, July 16, 2012

Alex Winston’s debut, King Con, is one of the year’s most striking rock albums so far: full of dark but catchy songs and sometimes creepy storytelling. Fans of Kate Bush and PJ Harvey will find much to like in her dramatic singing. Alex brings her band to our studio for a mostly unplugged set.

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Transportation Nation

Parking Woes Still Dog New Brooklyn Arena

Monday, July 02, 2012

Dean Street in Brooklyn, the site of future Barclays Center parking lot. (Janet Babin/WNYC)

(Janet Babin -- New York, NY, WNYC) Residents concerned about traffic and congestion around the new soon-to-be-opened Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn have until Tuesday, July 3, to submit written comments to Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing the project.

“These streets will just be absolutely clogged with on street parking, and the [transportation plan] doesn’t address that,” Gib Veconi said. He is with the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development council and complained there will be a lack of on-street parking for the thousands who will drive to shows at the arena after it opens this fall.

According to surveys conducted by the project’s developer, Forest City Ratner, about 2,500 carloads are expected to drive to each Barclays Arena event — and there are 220 events so far scheduled at the arena during its first year in operation.

Empire State Development extended the comment period to give residents more time to respond. ESD said it’s confident that the neighborhood will be able to absorb the influx of visitors because many will take public transportation to the Prospect Heights facility.

“The goals of the transportation plan are to reduce the number of cars traveling to the arena and to maximize the use of mass transit. We are confident the plan will be effective,” explained Arana Hankin, ESD’s Director for Atlantic Yards.

Hankin said even after the comment period closes, residents will have other chances to tell ESD if transportation or other issues arise.

ESD, the Borough President’s Office and Forest City Ratner are establishing a Quality of Life Committee comprised of community members to address the arena's sticking points.

Hankin said Forest City Ratner is also hiring a full-time community affairs staffer to handle local concerns regarding all aspects of arena operations.

But Veconi said he will continue to push officials to create residential parking permits to reserve on-street spaces for residents. Residential parking permit programs, however, need permission from the state.

Comments and questions about transportation issues can be submitted to AtlanticYards@esd.ny.gov.

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Features

Foraging for Food Trends in Brooklyn

Saturday, June 30, 2012

WNYC

A day of eating in Brooklyn with the Whole Foods foraging team.

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Transportation Nation

Red Hook, Brooklyn, A Transit Cul De Sac, Gets Real Time Bus Info

Friday, June 29, 2012

The B61 bus now has Bus Time, a technology that lets riders know the location of their ride.

(New York, NY - WNYC) Service on the sole bus route serving Red Hook, Brooklyn, may be erratic and over-crowded during peak hours,  but riders can now use a smartphone to figure out where their bus is dawdling on the neighborhood's waterfront grid.

Or maybe it's approaching. To find out, riders can fire up the NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Bus Time technology.

Red Hook is subway-less, surrounded by New York harbor on three sides and cut off from the rest of Brooklyn by the Gowanus Expressway as it approaches the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.

The program fits out buses with GPS units. That allows riders to check the Web or send a text to find the location of the nearest bus.

It's already in place borough-wide in Staten Island, on the M34 Select Bus Service in Manhattan, and was originally piloted on the B63 in Brooklyn in early 2011.The MTA says every line in the city will have it by the end of next year.

Red Hook residents have long complained of living in a transit semi-desert. It got worse last year, when the  MTA cut costs by eliminating three bus lines serving Red Hook and nearby neighborhoods. Some residents adapted by making the long walk to the subway stop at Smith and 9th Streets in Carroll Gardens. But with that stop now undergoing a year-long renovation, many Red Hook commuters have had no choice but to use the problem-plagued B61.

City Councilman Brad Lander and Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez, both vocal about beefing up Red Hook's bus service, say they're pleased by Bus Time's arrival. “Bus Time will help Red Hook residents with their commute by providing real time information on buses’ locations,” Velázquez said.

Lander similarly praised it, then reminded the authority that further improvements are needed on the line.  "I look forward to taking further steps to making the line a great bus for the neighborhoods it serves.”

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Know Your Neighbor

Tiffanie: Going It Alone to Prom

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Most high-school seniors attend their prom. Only a few defy tradition and go dateless. Watch a video of one of the brave ones -- Tiffanie Galan, of Borough Park, Brooklyn -- taking on her big day without a date.

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Transportation Nation

NY MTA Upping Service On L Train To Reduce "Sardine Crush" Of Riders

Monday, June 11, 2012

It's not uncommon for riders during the morning rush to let an overcrowded L train go on without them. (Runs With Scirssors/flickr)

(New York, NY - WNYC) Several New York City subway lines are at or above capacity. Relief is coming for some riders because of technology.

The chronically overcrowded L train, which connects Manhattan to Brooklyn's fastest growing neighborhoods, is now running 98 more times a week. The NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority just finished installing a new radio-based signal system that allows trains on the line to travel closer together and, as a result, more frequently.

Brooklyn Democratic District Leader Lincoln Restler, who joined elected officials at a press conference outside the Bedford Avenue stop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, said it's about time. "The complaint I receive most frequently about quality of life for Williamsburg residents is L train service," he said. "It is terrible. We've been unable to fit onto trains for too long."

Ridership on the L train has grown 141 percent since 1998 because of a population boom in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, the chosen enclaves of NYC's hipster set and more recently, a hub of new condo construction. It's not unusual for riders during the morning rush to let a packed train pass because there's no room to board it.

The NY MTA announced a plan to increase service on the line eight months ago, which led to a squabble with its largest union over why the new schedule would take so long to implement.

Riders will now see 16 more trains on weekdays and 18 more trains over the course of a weekend.

The MTA says, during the morning rush, customers can shave 30 seconds off their wait with trains now arriving every 3 minutes. Non-rush hour weekday riders, as well as Saturday night revelers, can expect a train every six minutes, down from 7 ½ minutes. And Sunday evening straphangers can expect a train every 6 minutes, down from 8 ½ minutes.

State Senator Daniel Squadron said those improvements should lessen claustrophobia on the line. "That means that you're going to spread out that sardine can crush. It'll still be standing room only but it'll at least get us below over-capacity."

The NY MTA said the added service will cost $1.7 million annually.

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Features

Map | Where to Find the 'Girls' in NYC

Monday, June 11, 2012

The new HBO series "Girls" follows four women in their early 20s who are living in New York City -- Hannah, Marnie, Jessa, Shoshanna -- along with their friend, Adam. The crew hangs out at Brooklyn watering holes like Weather Up and Washington Commons and at city landmarks like the High Line. Help us map out where to find the "Girls" in the city by sending in a spot you've seen in the series.

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Soundcheck

Frankie Rose: In Studio

Thursday, May 31, 2012

With her new solo album “Insterstellar,” indie veteran Frankie Rose (of Vivian Girls and Crystal Stilts fame) breaks out of her lo-fi cocoon and takes flight as a shimmering synth-pop butterfly. Frankie joins us to play songs off the record and tell us about life in the trenches of the Brooklyn music scene.

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Schoolbook

An Art Project Provides a Snapshot of a Closing School

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

An independent photographer volunteered to work at a school that is going to be closed, and in the process led to a series of portraits of students that will be displayed Wednesday night in the M.S. 571 gymnasium. Her goal was to create a project that would engage students, parents and community members in a dialogue about education and advocacy. “None of these kids chose to be in this situation,” she said about the closing school.

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WNYC News

Officials Still Assessing Great GoogaMooga

Monday, May 28, 2012

Reviews are still coming in for GoogaMooga, the elaborate foodie-centric festival held in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park last weekend. Complaints have focused on long lines and food shortages and now attention has turned to how the festival affected the park itself.

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Soundcheck

Best of Soundcheck: Sharon Van Etten

Monday, May 28, 2012

Singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten last joined us amid the zeitgeist for Epic, her 2010 album that inspired praise from critics – and cover songs from Bon Iver and The National. The Brooklyn-based musician and her band perform songs from her latest record, Tramp.

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Features

Police Arrest Artist Setting Up 'I Love NY' Work

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

An artist who was setting up an illuminated "I Love New York"-themed public art display in Brooklyn was arrested after the wired contraption was mistaken for an explosive device.

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Schoolbook

Rashid F. Davis: 'No Such Thing as Too Hard'

Monday, May 21, 2012

Rashid F. Davis is principal of Pathways in Technology Early College High School, a new school that opened in Brooklyn with a unique six-year plan that offers students a high school diploma, as well as an associate's degree, upon graduation. "Every single day it’s a new fight," he says. "Every single day that they walk out of this building they’re tempted, and unfortunately there are many bad temptations for students. And so we push as hard as we do to counter those negative temptations."

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Features

Brooklyn’s Hasidic Art Scene Expands with New Gallery

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Brooklyn art scene is getting another retro infusion — this time from Crown Heights. The throwback references here depict a simpler time, when families were large and lived in the Old World shtetls of Eastern Europe. It’s not quite Soho, but on Empire Blvd. and Kingston Ave., situated next to a laundromat, The Betzalel Gallery is expected to officially open on Thursday.

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Soundcheck

Chicha Libre: In Studio

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Brooklyn grooves meet South American folk dances in the music of Chicha Libre. This group of armchair travelers is the house band at the Brooklyn club Barbes, now celebrating its 10th birthday with a new record called Canibalismo. The band invades Manhattan to play live in our studio.

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Features

Barbra Streisand to Perform First Brooklyn Show

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Barbra Streisand is going back to her roots. The Oscar- and Grammy-winning diva was born and raised in Brooklyn, but has never performed publicly there. That will change on October 11 when she will give a concert at the new Barclays Center arena, which is still under construction.

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Features

Beastie Boys Founder Adam 'MCA' Yauch Dead at 47

Friday, May 04, 2012

The 47-year-old rapper born in Brooklyn, who fans knew as MCA, died on Friday after a battle with cancer. Watch vintage Beasties' music videos here.

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Strangers

Brian Finkelstein: Blue Astringent Blues

Thursday, May 03, 2012

A wanna-be artist finds himself in a dual-life dilemma

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Soundcheck

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry with Bryce Dessner

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

“Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” is a new music festival curated by twin guitarists Aaron and Bryce Dessner, from the popular indie-rock band The National. We’ll get a preview as songwriter Jherek Bischoff and guitarist/performance artist Steven Reker of People Get Ready joins Bryce Dessner in our performance studio.   

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Features

Speedy Romeo Succeeding at Breakneck Speed

Friday, April 27, 2012

In three months, it feels like Speedy Romeo, on the border of Clinton Hill and Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, has galloped from start up to neighborhood fixture. I've been there two times, and it's been packed.

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