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The Streets of Central Brooklyn

Thursday, July 30, 2009

by guest blogger Ferentz Lafargue
(photo by Madame Chang)

(photo by Madame Chang)

Alternate Side Parking
I had a few friends visiting from out of town this weekend and on Monday morning when we went to move their car for alternative side of the street parking, I couldn’t help but notice how it felt like a block association meeting because there were so many neighbors out moving their cars. When I moved onto this block in April 2008 I might see about seven cars double parked on alternate side of the street parking days. A year and a half later, there were at least a dozen cars and countless neighbors outside talking.

Given the current economic downturn, I have to believe that one reason for this impromptu neighborhood gathering then that more of my neighbors have either been laid off or for those who are independent contractors, the jobs simply aren’t as plentiful as they were a year ago.

What also struck me the more that I thought about this scene where neighbors were swapping hellos, weekend tales and job leads, is why don’t politicians capitalize on the captive audiences that are out there four days a week practically twiddling their thumbs for an hour and a half. Alternative side of the street parking days are a great opportunity for local politicos to talk to constituents, maybe even mobilize them to do a community service project, or engage them in another capacity. Making use of this poorly utilized time, might provide great insights on how to address community issues.

The Corner
I think the next five years in Central Brooklyn will be decided on street corners. There has been an a fervent debate going on in central Brooklyn about the Bedford Armory, where part of the reason that residents do not want this influx of homeless men in the area is that they do not want more people loitering on the corners during the day. If you walk around certain blocks it’s astounding to see a dozen young men idling. There are occasionally young women in these ciphers, but not to the extent that these young men are out there these days. This raises brows in flush economic times, but during an economic downturn, this borders on precarious. An under-discussed issue is that the civil-rights generation’s presence on these corners are eroding and that almost overnight younger leaders will be expected to address a range of issues that range from job-training, reentry to public health, without the philanthropic support that was present in the 90s and earlier in this decade. This is why the city council races in central Brooklyn are so important this year, because when candidates like Mark Winston Griffin, Saquan Jones and Tremaine Wright are getting out on the block, they are engaging the people we can least afford to lose at this time.

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WNYC News

Walking Your Dog in NYC

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

You like dogs. You like New York. Why not merge the two together? Nadia Zonis, New York editor of UrbanHound and author of City Walks with Dogs: New York, talks about city adventures for dog lovers.

...

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WNYC News

Astoria Hosts Music Festival

Friday, July 24, 2009

astoriamusicnow

Astoria, Queens will be rocking out this weekend...

The Astoria Music and Arts Association is hosting its second annual Music Now festival this Saturday. The event is a celebration of the music, art, and culture of Queens residents. The ...

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WNYC News

Blessing the Dragons

Thursday, July 23, 2009

[nggallery id=108]
Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe christened some dragons in Central Park today...Well, he took part in the traditional Chinese blessing of dragon boats preparing for next month's 19th annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in Queens.

The festival's feature events are races between the 38-foot-long, ...

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WNYC News

Malachy McCourt Remembers His Brother

Monday, July 20, 2009

(Getty)

(Getty)

Pulitzer-Prize winning author Frank McCourt passed away this weekend. Malachy McCourt joins Leonard Lopate to talk about his older brother’s life and accomplishments.

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WNYC News

WNYC to Acquire WQXR

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

q

>>FAQ from WNYC's Listener Services

WNYC to Acquire Classical Station in Three-Way Deal
WNYC News
You could think of it as a game of musical chairs involving The New York Times, Spanish language broadcaster Univision, ...

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WNYC News

NYC Fans Remember Michael Jackson

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Undeterred by scattered showers, and big crowds, hundreds of New Yorkers watched the televised memorial service of Michael Jackson on big outdoor screens in Times Square and Harlem. Hundreds of people were there mourning the death of Michael Jackson. But they were also visibly celebrating his life. They were singing ...

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WNYC News

Copious Franks, Hyperbole & Condiment Puns at Hot Dog Weigh-In

Thursday, July 02, 2009

“They say that competitive eating is the battleground upon which God and Lucifer wage war for men's souls, my friends, and they are right! For the battle that will occur on July 4 is a battle for the ages, a battle of the titans!”

Otherwise known as Nathan's International ...

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WNYC News

Council Supports Muslim Holidays in Schools

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The City Council is urging the Bloomberg Administration to add two Muslim holidays to the public school calendar. Councilwoman Annabel Palma supported the resolution that passed this afternoon.

"This is not just another day off. This is a city embracing yet another culture, a city saying the Muslim community needs ...

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WNYC News

Permanence and Transience on Governors Island

Friday, June 26, 2009

Project for the New American Century

They’re jokingly calling it ‘Staycation Island,’ or so says one of the PR people affiliated with Governors Island. And why not? In the summertime, it’s free to take the ferry there, and once you’re on the island, you can meander around the perimeter and gawk at the city skyline and the Statue of Liberty. Or you can leave the water behind (while still enjoying its breezes), immerse yourself in the island’s interior, and pretend you’re at any number of bucolic destinations much farther away than the 10-minute boat ride from Manhattan or Brooklyn.

Listen to our Morning Edition story on the island's new art installation and check out a slideshow, after the jump.

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WNYC News

Before Stonewall: A Century of Gay Musicians

Friday, June 26, 2009

 

Long before the cataclysmic effect of the Stonewall riots 40 years ago ...

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WNYC News

R.I.P. Ed McMahon

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The legendary broadcaster, Ed McMahon died early this morning in Los Angeles. He was 86. McMahon was Johnny Carson's sidekick for 30 years, famous for his roller coaster line, "Heeeeeeere's Johnny."

But McMahon wanted to be remembered for something more. Here's what he told the Associated Press in 1998:

...

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WNYC News

Down Around Midnight: A Plane Crash Survivor's Memoir

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Robert Sabbag survived the crash of Air New England flight 248, which went down on Cape Cod on June 17, 1979. He discusses what happened that night and the lasting emotional repercussions of the ...

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WNYC News

The Leonard Lopate Show: Parting Glances

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Leonard Lopate Show commemorates the 40th anniversary of Stonewall by talking about representations of LGBT life and politics on film, part of the Projections film series. In this segment, Leonard discusses "Parting Glances" (1986) with film critic Nathan Lee and professor of Cinema Studies at CUNY David Gerstner.

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WNYC News

The Decemberists Live

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Decemberists joined Soundcheck to perform songs from their latest album, an hour-long, 17-track rock opera, The Hazards of Love. This story of star-crossed lovers and a shape-shifting beast is set to a score that recalls 1960s British folk-pop and bombastic '70s-style prog rock. Led by songwriter Colin Meloy, the quintet is joined today by vocalists Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond and Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond.

“Won’t Want for Love (Margaret In The Taiga)”

“The Hazards of Love 2: Wager All”

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WNYC News

Richard III, An Arab Tragedy

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A new Arabic language production of Shakespeare’s Richard III has arrived at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. And, not a minute too soon. I spoke with the director backstage at BAM.

The corrupting influence of power –- it’s hard to think of a time when a play with that theme isn't timely. Kuwaiti based director, Sulyman Bassam was looking for a project that could hold a mirror up to our current political climate, and he found it in Richard III.

"What interested me most was the way the piece portrayed the ways in which a society can be so swiftly hijacked by a group of powerful individuals, ways in which the instruments of state can be coerced and used to give birth to a nightmare scenario."

Shakespeare wrote Richard III at a time when accession to the English throne was marked by intrigue, manipulation and violence. Basam, who adapted the piece, thought the setting worked well as a window into the power dynamics of the world he hails from, the Arab gulf.

"What we have is a society that has been brutalized by cycles of violence and cycles of revenge and blood letting and that cyclical aspect of history is interesting to me as well. And the dysfunctional family element—contending allegiances of tribes and oligarchs was something that was of significance to the adaptation that I was looking to make."

It's squarely set in a contemporary royal court in the Arabian gulf. And, as it is in life — western figures, in the roles of Buckingham and Richmond appear in that court as players and power brokers.

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WNYC News

Queens LGBT Pride Parade

Monday, June 08, 2009


Thousands of people flocked to Jackson Heights yesterday for the annual Queens LGBT Pride Parade. And while same-sex marriage was on the minds of many, one gay activist says it shouldn't obscure other causes. Reverend Pat Bumgardner is the pastor at Metropolitan Community Church and one of the ...

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WNYC News

A Musical Treasure Trove on the Move

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Brooklyn's Record and Tape Center has existed for nearly four decades, almost in spite of itself. It’s a mish-mosh musical treasure trove and it’s anything but organized. Now the owner has to pack it all up. He’s been served eviction papers by the landlord and has to move piles ...

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WNYC News

Party Prince In the City

Friday, May 29, 2009

HRH Prince Harry smiles as he helps plant a tree during an official naming of the British Garden at Hanover Square on May 29, 2009, in New York City.

HRH Prince Harry smiles as he helps plant a tree during an official naming of the British Garden at Hanover Square on May 29, 2009, in New York City.


Prince Harry, is known for his partying, but that may change with his first official visit to the U.S. today. The 24-year old Prince of Wales first stopped at Ground Zero to lay a wreath and was then whisked to nearby Hanover Square to officially name a British garden in honor of 67 Britons who died in the terrorist attacks.


John Farrell lives nearby and noticed recent renovations to the park, and stopped by to have a look. He's not much impressed with British royalty, but has to admit the changes are nice.


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WNYC News

Flu and Compassion Are Always in Fashion

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Designer Vera Wang and others join Mayor Bloomberg to announce a special stay-open-late night for stores in September, when fall Fashion Week gets underway. (Spencer T Tucker)

Designer Vera Wang and others join Mayor Bloomberg to announce a special stay-open-late night ...

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