Tuesday, April 08, 2014
By Stephen Nessen : Reporter, WNYC News
The Rev. Al Sharpton said a report indicating that he was a paid FBI informant in the 1980s is old news. But he acknowledged he worked with the FBI while he was in the music business to protect himself from the mob.
Friday, March 14, 2014
By Stephen Nessen : Reporter, WNYC News
Hundreds of people remain displaced following this week's explosion in East Harlem, but the city is working to help.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
The latest on the massive gas explosions in Harlem, which leveled two buildings and killed seven (as of 8:30am Thursday). Plus: Delaware Governor Jack Markell speaks out in support of the Common Core as the national standards are questioned in New York and other states. Plus: The electric car company Tesla is contesting a new rule in New Jersey that bans car companies from selling cars directly to consumers; author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on her novel Americanah, which is a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Fiction Award; and tech investor Ben Horowitz shares lessons he learned about making tough decisions while running a new business.
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
The fatal accident last week that killed Amar Diarassoubba was just half block from his school. P.S. 155 sits at the center of a hot spot for kids in traffic accidents, according to two different studies. Hear the latest story from the neighborhood.
Monday, March 04, 2013
By Reema Khrais
A public hearing took the form of theater last week as school communities argued for their competing expansion plans even though the education official in attendance said the decision was made already.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
By Julia Furlan : WNYC Culture Producer
Prayer isn't the only thing on the minds of nuns in New York City. Last week, a letter from the Vatican condemned the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the organization that oversees most of the United States' nuns, for radical feminist ideas and pushing an agenda that backs the ordination of women.
Monday, June 04, 2012
Jeff Koons visited P.S. 112 Jose Celson Barbosa to teach the 16 second graders how to make moveable animal puppets using paper and fasteners. His visit kicked off Visual Arts Appreciation Week, during which high-profile artists will visit New York City school classrooms to talk about making art.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
By Kate Hinds
Children under 18 account for 43% of car crash victims in Manhattan's East Harlem neighborhood. But just a few blocks south, in the moneyed Upper East Side, the same age group accounts for less than 15% of neighborhood car crash victims.
That's the conclusion of the new report "Child Crashes: An Unequal Burden"(pdf), released Thursday by Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group. According to the group's research, of the East Side's top ten intersections for motor vehicle crashes that kill or injure child pedestrians and bicyclists, "nine are located in close proximity to public housing developments in East Harlem and the Lower East Side."
The report draws upon data from 1995-2009 that the group received after filing Freedom of Information Law requests to the New York State DMV.
The city DOT is disputing the way Transportation Alternatives (TA) is presenting the data.
"There were a record-low three child pedestrian fatalities citywide last year, none of them in any of the neighborhoods cited in the report," said Seth Solomonow, a department spokesperson.
He cited agency statistics that show serious crashes went down 64% in the Lower East Side’s Community Board 3 and 38% in Harlem’s Community Board 11 over the course of the study period. In 2011, the number of traffic deaths in New York City fell to the lowest levels in a century-- a 40% drop from 2001.
A deeper dive into the data shows rates did indeed drop everywhere -- but that injury rates remain consistently higher in poorer neighborhoods. In East Harlem in 1995, for example, 107 children were injured by cars. By 2009, that number had fallen to 47. But that's still higher than the Upper East Side, which had 32 injuries of children at the highest point, and 17 in 2009. Children under 18 make up about 30% of the population of both neighborhoods.
TA concludes children on Manhattan's East Side are three times more likely to be hit by a car in a neighborhood where public housing is nearby. Just last week, a 12-year-old girl was killed crossing a street on Manhattan's Lower East Side. She was a resident of the Jacob Riis Houses.
The report singles out East 125th Street and Lexington Avenue as the worst intersection in Manhattan for children.
Melissa Mark-Viverito, the New York City Council member who represents East Harlem, called the report "alarming."
"This really just kind of exacerbates the urgency and really demonstrates that particularly in my community, where I represent the most public housing in the city of New York, where I have the most number of developments, that this is a real immediate danger," she said.
She said she will bring together community groups and the NYC DOT to work collaboratively on the problem. Mark-Viverito has also been working with the local community board to bring protected bike lanes to East Harlem -- a project which was recently derailed but she said is expected to go before the board again in March.
In an email, Paul Steely White, Transportation Alternatives' executive director, said “the NYPD must protect these children and hold dangerous drivers accountable.” The report calls for more targeted enforcement of traffic laws by the NYPD, as well as speed cameras. The group also says other city agencies, like the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, as well as the New York City Housing Authority, need to further study "what neighborhood built environment factors...may drive these neighborhood-based differences in child crash rates."
Transportation Alternatives acknowledges that the DOT has worked hard to make the streets safer. “We’re pushing the NYPD to step up,” said Jennifer So Godzeno, pedestrian advocacy manager. But, she says, "the NYPD is completely failing to use these penalties. When you look across time, 60% of these crashes are attributable to drivers breaking laws. But we don’t see the NYPD making enforcement of these laws a priority at all.”
No response yet from the NYPD.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
By Kate Hinds
In a long and often contentious public hearing Tuesday night, Manhattan's Community Board 11 revisited arguments for and against a pair of proposed bike lanes on First and Second Avenues.
CB11 had voted overwhelmingly to support the lanes, which would run from 96th Street to 125th Street, earlier this fall. And the city had said they'd begin construction in the spring of 2012. But that schedule was thrown into doubt last month when the board voted to rescind their support of the lanes after local business owners protested.
So on Tuesday night, the New York City Department of Transportation made their sixth visit to CB11 to made the case for the lanes once again. They showed a PowerPoint of the street redesign, talked about its benefits, and pledged to work closely with business owners and other community members to address concerns.
And concerns were plentiful. Business owners, like Frank Brija, who owns Patsy's Pizzeria and is also a member of CB11, said he was a bike rider himself and liked bike lanes in general--just not on his street. "I'm here to say, why can't we just compromise," he said. "First Avenue we know is like a next highway to the FDR Drive. When there's traffic there, it becomes so congested." He suggested that the bike lanes be relocated to Pleasant Avenue or Paladino Avenue.
Erik Mayor, another CB11 member and the owner of Milk Burger, agreed with Brija."The people who drive up First Avenue don't live here," he said. "And it's not realistic to think that people are going to ride their bike to work, when most people live in the Bronx." He said the lanes would increase traffic and pollution, and that the DOT's rationale for installing protected bike lanes in the neighborhood was flawed. "What works in Denmark, or Colombia, or Bogota, that's not El Barrio. That's not East Harlem. That's not Spanish Harlem."
But they were in the minority. During the public comment session, person after person got up to speak in favor of the lanes. Members of Community Board 7 on Manhattan's Upper West Side -- which recently unveiled data on its own year-old bike lane -- were on hand to assuage fears. "We had a debate on our board which was very similar to what you're currently experiencing," said CB7's Ken Coughlin.
"I'm here to tell you that now we have more than a year of experience, all these concerns are basically groundless." He told the group that Columbus Avenue had seen reductions in injuries, speeding cars and double parking since that lane's installation. "Change can be difficult, but what we got for our change was a safer street, a more livable street, a more functional street for everyone, and, I think, a more beautiful street."
One by one, public health officials, doctors, local activists, mothers with small children, and even school students stood up to speak in favor of the lanes. One of the supporters, Raphael Benavides, said: "The new proposed configuration is a win/win for everyone involved. It is safer--just look at the numbers. It is healthier, it is good for the environment...and it is good for business." He said the lanes would bring more people to East Harlem. "Cyclists are explorers. They will come to our community. And I am a business owner, so I do have a vested interest in this endeavor."
At several points people spoke over each other and at times the discussion got heated enough that a board member intervened to smooth over hurt feelings. One CB11 member, Yma Rodriguez, said she was insulted by the implication that bike lane supporters had been brainwashed by the city. "That the DOT would get us all together to conspire...could you not believe that we have minds of our owns, that we also have opinions, that we also have concerns that are legitimate?"
Brija and Mayor left before the meeting was over. At the end of the evening, one of the last members of the public to speak, local resident Diego Quiñones, surveyed the room and summed up the events of the evening: "Wow, change is scary, huh?"
Matthew Washington, the chair of CB11, said afterward that the board would formally revisit the lanes at the committee level in January. "We have to mold this proposal, as it's been molded already, to get to that ultimate point where all people feel that issues have been addressed," he said.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
By Emily Canal
In another co-location conflict, parents at The Talented and Gifted School for Young Scholars in East Harlem, a kindergarten to 8th grade school, are upset about plans by the city to expand one of the schools with which they share their building into a high school. With seats in gifted and talented programs so limited, they say, the city should be allowing their school to grow.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
By Kate Hinds
Another bike lane battle is brewing in New York City. This time it comes in East Harlem. After voting in favor of a pair of protected bike lanes along First and Second Avenues, from 96th Street to 125th Street, Community Board 11 voted last week to rescind that support.
Matthew Washington, CB11's chair, sounded exasperated when asked about the turn of events. Washington supports the lanes, and he said the board voted overwhelmingly in favor of the lanes just two months ago.
"For members to vote one way in September, and then vote...to pull that vote away two months later," he said, "to me says the members weren't paying attention to what they were doing."
He said the official position of the community board is now "neutral" -- at least for now.
City Council member Melissa Mark-Viverito, who has rallied at City Hall in support of expanding the city's bike lane network, represents the neighborhood. She called the recent CB11 vote "a temporary setback" and that she wasn't concerned.
"What I believe occurred," she said, "was that there were two people with self-interest that completely misled and created a lot of confusion at the prior board meeting. This issue had been voted on...and at this last board meeting, the issue was brought back up on open business at 9:30 at night, people were tired, it had been a long meeting, a lot of information that was misrepresented was thrown out there, I think it created some level of confusion among some board members.”
The two people in question, Frank Brija and Erik Mayor, are two local business owners who also sit on the community board. They said that the DOT had not done enough outreach to local businesses and produced a petition against the lanes. Brija, who owns Patsy's Pizzeria (on First Avenue and 117th Street) was quoted in DNA Info as saying: "All we do is complain about traffic, all we do is complain about asthma. Now the DOT is going to create more traffic."
Washington disputes that characterization. "I just don't even understand how people are constructing these ideas," Washington said in a phone interview with Transportation Nation. "They're saying traffic on First Avenue is not moving and going to get worse -- but traffic can't really get worse than not moving."
Another concern for local businesses is parking. The website for Patsy's Pizzeria states: "Plenty of on street parking is available around the neighborhood, so drive on in!" Brija did not return a call seeking comment.
Melissa Mark-Viverito said she wants businesses and residents to understand that the lanes can expand, not narrow, the appeal of the neighborhood. "Somehow [they hold] the idea that the only people who go to businesses are people that drive," she said. "Having protected bike lanes, and creating a safe space for bikers to come, we actually may be encouraging people from outside our community to come and venture and go to the businesses, go to the restaurants, to avail themselves of the services that are key here, so we have to see bikers, and creating a level of protection for them – not only for the residents that live in my community – but potentially for people who want to come and visit our neighborhood."
The DOT had initially planned to install the Second Avenue lane in the spring of 2012. Viverito said that schedule was still doable -- provided it re-passes the community board. And she's optimistic: “I feel very confident that this will pass overwhelmingly,” she said. Washington agreed. "There's still opportunity for the board to work out some of the kinks, some of the issues that people feel are relevant and move forward."
The DOT said in a statement that the agency "will return to the board soon to review the presentation and explain how we plan to address merchant concerns." And Washington said that representatives from the DOT will be at the next transportation committee meeting, scheduled to take place at the CB11 office on December 6.
"But I think we're going to have to relocate it," he said, "because I anticipate we will have large attendance at this meeting."
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
By Derek John
On Wednesday night, Central Park Summerstage presents a free concert of old school Latin boogaloo music with local heroes Johnny Colon and Joe Bataan. For Bataan, who is now 69 years old, the Central Park gig will be a kind of homecoming.
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
The East Harlem museum announced on Tuesday that Margarita Aguilar would be its next director. Aguilar, who was born in Cuba, takes the place of Julian Zugazagoitia, who left the museum last September.
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
For many New Yorkers with roots in Latin America or the Caribbean, the holiday season doesn’t end until 12 days after Christmas. On Thursday, El Museo del Barrio in East Harlem is marking Three Kings Day with a festive parade down Third Avenue.