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Schoolbook

Townsend Harris Teacher Wins $25,000 Milken Award

Friday, March 02, 2012

Rafal Olechowski, an English teacher who loves to teach 19th-century romantic poets, was surprised to learn during a school assembly that he had won a prestigious prize for his teaching.

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Schoolbook

Queens School Faces Heavy Demand on Eve of Kindergarten Deadline

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

For thousands of New York City parents preparing to send their children to kindergarten this fall, application season can be a time of stress because some crowded public schools can’t guarantee a seat. One elementary school in the Queens neighborhood of Ridgewood is among those feeling the squeeze.

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Schoolbook

Queens School Aide Arrested in Sexual Abuse Case

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A school aide in Queens was arrested Thursday on charges of sexually abusing a student younger than 11 years old, the police said, becoming the fifth city school worker charged in the last few weeks with sexual crimes against children.

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WNYC News

Niche Market | Stained Glass

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WNYC

New York is a city of specialists from foodies to academics, laborers to shopkeepers. Every Wednesday, Niche Market takes a peek inside a different specialty store and showcases the city's purists who have made an art out of selling one commodity. See the slideshow.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: GM Reinforces Volt Battery, Queens Convention Center Builder Wants Swift Subway Link, Buenos Aires Doubles Subway Fares

Friday, January 06, 2012

Top stories on TN:
Getting Around the Bay in 2012 Just Got Harder and More Expensive (Link)
Now He Can Say It: Walder Calls NY’s Infrastructure “Terrible” (Link)
Filling in the Blanks Of New York’s Infrastructure Plan (Link)

Buenos Aires subway (photo by posterboy2007 via Flickr)

GM is reinforcing the Volt battery with extra steel. (Detroit Free Press)

The company behind a proposal to build a new convention center in Queens said it will work with New York's MTA to fund uninterrupted subway service between Midtown Manhattan and the proposed convention center. (Wall Street Journal)

Buenos Aires is doubling subway fares after Argentina handed control of the system to the city--and decreased subsidies. (Bloomberg News via San Francisco Chronicle)

The feds have given final approval for a $1.7 billion transit line along Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles. (AP via Sacramento Bee)

Freakonomics quorum: can Amtrak ever be profitable? Discuss. (Link)

RadioBoston kicks around solutions to prevent Boston's transit service from being slashed. Two words: congestion pricing. Other ideas: quasi-privatization, automatizing trains, and implementing zone fares. Read the comments section for even more. (WBUR)

NY Senator Charles Schumer wants the commuter tax credit back. (Staten Island Advance)

Yet another rescuer tries to save Seattle's historic Kalakala ferry. But: "It may have looked cool, but it was hard to maneuver and kept running into things." (NPR)

Ron Paul video from 2009: "By subsidizing highways and destroying mass transit, we ended up with this monstrosity."(Streetsblog)

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WNYC News

A Look at Genting: The Powerhouse Tapped to Build New Convention Center

Friday, January 06, 2012

Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing to build the nation’s largest convention center at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. He hasn’t shared many details of the plan, but one thing is clear: the governor’s choice to build the complex is a little-known Asian conglomerate with big ambitions.

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WNYC News

Cuomo's Convention Center Proposal Draws Support, Skeptics

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The governor’s plan to redevelop the Javits Center in Manhattan and build a new convention center in Queens outlined has picked up support from the borough’s chamber of commerce and the Real Estate Board of New York.

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WNYC News

Renewed Hopes for an Elevated Park in Queens

Friday, December 02, 2011

A group of civic leaders in Queens is proposing once again to turn an old rail line that runs through Forest Hills into an elevated park. Several community leaders proposed the idea a few years ago, but the project stalled. Now, leaders say there's more political buy-in.

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Features

Jackson Heights: Serving Up the Flavors of South Asia

Monday, November 07, 2011

The blocks around the Roosevelt Avenue subway stop in Jackson Heights, Queens offer a culinary tour of South Asia. Listen to a recent trip Food in Two Worlds took with some of the people behind the neighborhood's booming food scene.

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Schoolbook

Long Island City High School Wants Elective Courses Before and After School

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Three months into the school year, students at Long Island City High School face more scheduling changes, this time, elective classes before and after regular school hours.

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Schoolbook

Time to Repeal the Cellphone Ban, Students Say

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The ban jeopardizes safety. The devices are useful for learning. The ironclad rule is an insult to students. It forces students to be sneaks. It discriminates. And it punishes all for the behavior of a few. Four New York City high school students write opinion articles about the city's ban on electronic devices in schools, making a case for why it should be revoked, but also offering solutions for managing cellphones in schools. As one student writes: 'We are capable of following the rules and paying attention, because at the end of the day we just want to get our work done and go home.'

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Features

Queens Sweets Shops Do Big Business During Diwali

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

During the Festival of Lights, which is observed by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains for five days, sugary confections and snacks are given as gifts and shared at home among family and friends. While some people make their own or order them from South Asia, many head to sweets stores in Jackson Heights.

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Features

Tasting Festivals Take Off in Sunnyside and Sheepshead Bay

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sea scallop ceviche, Penang beef curry, and shredded chicken over mole sauce: these are just a few of the dishes being served at "A Taste of Sunnyside,” a food festival and tasting event taking place on Tuesday evening at a community center in Western Queens.

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WNYC News

Serial Groper Targeting Women in Queens, Officials Warn

Monday, October 17, 2011

Residents of Woodside and Sunnyside, Queens are being warned to watch out for a sexual predator who has been riding his bike up to women and grabbing them from behind before fleeing.

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The Empire

Is a 40 percent Asian Congressional district in Queens possible?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

One of the main issues being discussed during redistricting is providing communities of interest--often meaning, in short hand, racial and ethnic groups--with political boundaries that give these under-served groups greater influence over who represents them.

Last week a coalition of social justice groups released draft maps for the state legislature seats here in the city. Asian and Latino-majority districts were carved out for both the Assembly and State Senate, while existing African American districts were kept intact. Today Common Cause, who has been pushing this issue, has an op-ed in El Diario on the need for more majority Latino districts.

"Where the lines are drawn have the power to influence whether a particular neighborhood or community will be able to elect the representative of their choice," Susan Lerner, the group's executive director, wrote in the English version. "Communities that are divided among several districts – as neighborhoods with large numbers of Latinos have been in current and previous district maps - find it harder to gather the voting strength to make a difference at the polls."

At the Congressional level there have been pushes to create both a Latino--predominately Dominican--Congressional district in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx. There has also been speculation that a 40 percent Asian district could be created in Queens.

We decided to see if that was possible. John Keefe, our map wizard at WNYC, dug through census data to carve out what would be a 40.3 percent Asian district.

A few things. First, race can't be the only thing used to create a political map, per Federal rules. This was the specific thing we were looking to do, and did our best to keep the district as condensed as possible. Still, as you can see, it's not the most visually pleasing map. Other groups working on maps they plan to submit to LATFOR, the legislative group drawing the lines, say it's possible to create a 40 percent Asian district that is more tightly constructed.

But what the map does illustrate is that it's possible to create such a district. More importantly, the Asian community in Queens is currently having their political potency spread over four different Congressional districts.

Steve Choi, executive director of MinKwon--an Asian American community group located in Flushing, Queens--took a look at the map. His group is creating their own, and he was particularly concerned about the push into Jackson Heights and Elmhurst area because of the Latino population there that would itself be diluted if only the Asian population was considered. He said they're working to create a unity map with other organizations to help preserve political strength across the various ethnic and racial communities.

Still, the exercise helped prove Choi and other activists' point. "The basic concept is that you can have a [Congressional] district that is 40 percent Asian American in Queens," he said.

The long-time exclusion of Asians in the political process has driven Choi and others to use this opportunity to push for better districts. "I don't think it's a stretch to say we have historically been disenfranchised just as many other minority communities in the state have been," he said.

While LATFOR hasn't been, in Choi's mind, particularly embracing of the push to create more Asian districts--he said the committee has said it is focusing on "the current political realities"--he feels the time is right for political lines to be drawn with his community in mind.

"It's realistic, it's possible, and its necessary to draw these districts in a way that's going to include our influence," he said, noting that he and other groups are keeping all options on the table--including litigation--to make that happen.

Next up: we'll be looking at the 11th Congressional District in Brooklyn and what it will need to take to keep the Federally protected African American population in the district at the levels it what was in 2000, despite major demographic shifts over the last decade.

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Features

Artists Reimagine Development in Long Island City

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Urban farming systems, a waterfront promenade, a community kitchen and biodiesel trucks that double as artist studios. Those are some of the ideas behind a new show opening at The Noguchi Museum on Thursday, called "Civic Action: A Vision for Long Island City."

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WNYC News

Dozens Indicted in Queens-Based ID Theft Ring

Friday, October 07, 2011

More than 100 people based in Queens have been indicted in an international identify theft probe after authorities said they bilked customers out of $13 million over a 16-month period.

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WNYC News

Thoughts of Kidnapping Common Among Parents of Kids in Foster Care: Expert

Friday, September 23, 2011

As the search continues for the eight children plucked from a Queens foster home by their biological mother this week, experts say it's common for parents to contemplate kidnapping.

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WNYC News

A Snapshot of the City: New Yorkers Reflect on 9/11

Sunday, September 11, 2011

New Yorkers throughout the city marked the 10-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks in myriad ways — crowding into coffee shops, attending church services, sitting in the park. Here are three snapshots from the the city where many reflected on the events that forever changed the world.

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Features

WNYC's Guide to 9/11 Arts Events

Friday, September 02, 2011

This month, cultural institutions around the city are paying respect to the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks through literature, visual arts, theater, dance, music, and film. Here's our guide to what's happening around town.