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Last Build Date: Mon, 29 May 2017 04:00:00 -0400

 



This is Why Your Summer NJ Transit/LIRR Commute Might Be...Challenging

Mon, 29 May 2017 04:00:00 -0400

After a pair of derailments (1, 2) and weeks of delays, Amtrak will be making extensive repairs to Penn Station tracks this summer. An NJ Transit train at Penn Station. Work continues on the tracks, where Amtrak is attempting to make several years worth of upgrades in a few months. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC) "We will be taking out the ties, we will be taking out the steel, we will be taking out switches and ballasts," said Mike DeCataldo, Amtrak's Vice President of Operations. "Basically, getting it down to the ground level to reconstruct the railroad."  A site near Penn Station's A-interlocking (Stephen Nessen/WNYC) Amtrak said the part of the tracks that will be undergoing repairs are not the same areas affected by this spring's derailments. The reason the work will take so much time is that unlike work that can be done over the weekend, this work includes replacing railroad ties at the A-interlocking, which several tracks pass over. A normal railroad tie is about eight feet. But the ties at the interlocking are over 22 feet long, and require disassembling all the railroad pieces. Not weekend work, which typically lasts 55 hours. A platform at Penn Station (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)   NJ Transit and Amtrak train cross paths heading in and out of the terminal. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC) There are about 1,300 trains passing through Penn each day, and just 21 tracks, so even removing three will have a huge impact. And after this summer's intensive work, there will be still more to come: Amtrak says work will continue on weekends through 2018. This connection is known in the railroad industry as a "frog." A quarter-inch mismatch of pieces led to the derailment on March 24, 2017 in which an Acela train clipped an NJ Transit train. [...]This is Why Your Summer NJ Transit/LIRR Commute Might Be...Challenging


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Biden Calls NJ's Gov Race Most Important Election Before 2020

Sun, 28 May 2017 17:28:24 -0400

Former Vice President Joe Biden lent some star power to fellow Democrat Phil Murphy at a campaign rally in the race for New Jersey Governor.

"This is the single most important race in the country in the next three years, before the presidential race," Biden said at a "Get Out The Vote" rally in Lyndhurst Sunday.

New Jersey is one of only two states to hold elections for a new governor this year. The other is Virginia.

"The whole country — and without exaggeration, the world — is going to be looking," Biden said to the crowd of about 300 Democrats. "They’re going to look to decide whether or not America has bought into this crass and mean spirited, negative and uncomfortable rhetoric that we’ve been subject to."

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Democratic voters in the crowd said it’s not just about who wins the race, but about how many people turn out on June 6.

“I thought Joe said all the right things and got us pumped and makes us want to get the job done in the nextnine9 days, said Elaine Reyes, a Murphy supporter. "We've got a lot of problems up there in Washington, so having a governor that could maybe inspire some change, represent us, it’s inspiring.”

Murphy told voters he would fight to “undo the damage that Gov. Christie has done,” and fight the “hostile administration coming out of Washington.”

“We’re going to need a governor — and I will be that governor — with a steel backbone who says to this president, ‘Mr. Trump, not in New Jersey you won’t do that.’”

Republican candidates Kim Guadagno and Jack Ciattarelli spent the long weekend courting voters at various beaches around the state.

Find out where the candidates stand on key issues with our voter guide.

Biden Calls NJ's Gov Race Most Important Election Before 2020


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This Week in Politics: Don't Hate the Player, Hate The Game

Sat, 27 May 2017 04:00:00 -0400

The Star-Ledger recently endorsed Phil Murphy as their pick for the Democratic nomination in the governor's race. At this point, his lead seems insurmountable. According to the latest polls, with just over a week to go before the June 6th primary, Murphy holds a two-digit lead over his closest rival.

But Stephen Danley, a professor of public policy at Rutgers University—Camden, says New Jersey could have done more during this election cycle. Speaking with host David Furst, Danley argues that the elevation of Phil Murphy reveals a Democratic Party more interested in protecting its own power than its ideals. Danley says Murphy is a strong candidate, but by playing the game Jersey-style, he has progressives feeling left out.

Learn more about the candidates for governor of New Jersey here.

 

 

This Week in Politics: Don't Hate the Player, Hate The Game


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Politics Stressing You Out? Alternative Medicine Is Ready to Help (Again)

Sat, 27 May 2017 04:00:00 -0400

Politically-induced stress. That term — and variations of it — turn up a lot these days, especially in the treatment rooms of the city's acupuncturists and herbalists. Vanessa Nisperos, a 38-year-old social worker from Brooklyn, said the presidential election triggered many symptoms of distress. "I found myself having repetitive thoughts and this overwhelming sense of dread," Nisperos said. "It didn’t even dawn on me that I was physically experiencing symptoms of shock and traumatic stress.” She sought treatment at Third Root, a holistic health care center in Flatbush, Brooklyn that caters to low income patients and those who feel excluded from mainstream health care. Jomo Alakoye-Simmons, an acupuncturist at Third Root, said in the months since the elections, he's been seeing all kinds of patients report politically-induced stress, and some of their symptoms are severe. “There was a lot of fear brought up in the LGBTQ community," he said. "Suicide was a serious concern. And then you had folks who were just depressed, not eating anymore and experienced paranoia.” Jomo Alakoye-Simmons in the treatment room of his Harlem acupuncture clinic. (Mary Wang) Long before the presidential election, alternative medicine has filled the gaps of mainstream health care for people who feel excluded from it. When Alakoye-Simmons isn't working in Brooklyn, the Harlem resident runs the Harlem Village Community Acupuncture Healing Center. He said his own neighborhood has long had to rely on self-organized forms of health care. “I grew up in this community seeing the Koch years, the drug epidemic, and the massive neglect that has been going on for decades,“ he said.  His clinic treats many black patients from the neighborhood, including 83-year-old Virginia Donald. She gets acupuncture for her allergies and asthma, a disease that has taken a bigger toll on black communities. "When I was born, we didn’t have a whole lot of doctors to treat black people," Donald said. "And when you did, they didn’t care if you died or not." Virginia Donald, an 83-year-old patient at Harlem Village Community Acupuncture and Healing Center. (Mary Wang) When Donald started her acupuncture treatments 40 years ago, she visited a Harlem practice that was one of the many community health care centers shaped by the Black Panthers' health activism. Sociologist Alondra Nelson said the Black Panthers, working together with other activist groups, including the Young Lords, set up community health care centers as a response to a long history of segregation in health institutions. According to Nelson, who authored "Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination," these clinics covered the communities of color that mainstream health care didn't reach. "This network of clinics was a retort to the state and the emergence of an unwieldy and unsuccessful HMO and private health insurance network," she said. "This didn’t provide full access to poor people, and if it did, it often provided them with substandard care." The Panthers visited China in the 1970s, where they were influenced by the Communist Party’s model for health care. The state's program used traditional — and cheap — methods like acupuncture and tui na massage to treat its poor, rural population. The Panthers translated those principles into their own clinics, including the Lincoln Detox Center, which battled the addiction epidemic in the Bronx. Julia Bennett, acupuncturist and co-owner of Third Root, was trained at Lincoln Detox. She said her practice was shaped by that experience.  "It was in an outpatient building right next to the projects," she described. "People addicted to substance would come in and sit in these wonderful lounge chairs. There were volunteers who would put the needles in, and the patients would just relax.” Julia Bennett, acupuncturist and co-owner of Third Root, standing in front of the center's herbal apothecary.  (Mary Wang/WN[...]


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As Shelters Go Up, City Moves Homeless Out of Private Apartments

Fri, 26 May 2017 15:29:04 -0400

New York City has begun to move homeless families from private apartments to higher quality shelters and permanent housing.

The city started renting apartments to house the homeless when the shelter system became overcrowded. But the apartments, called "cluster sites," often have serious housing code violations, lack onsite social services, and are often above market rents.

The program reached its peak last January with 3,658 units. Since then, city officials say they have closed down 842 units, or about 23 percent of them.

“As we transform the shelter system, we are completely ending the use of cluster sites, which have been used as an ineffective stop-gap for 17 years,” Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks said at a press conference in the Bronx.

The city plans to phase out the remaining 2,816 clusters over the next 4 years.

As Shelters Go Up, City Moves Homeless Out of Private Apartments


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NY Philharmonic's Alan Gilbert: The Exit Interview

Fri, 26 May 2017 04:00:00 -0400

Conductor Alan Gilbert has been Music Director of the New York Philharmonic since 2009.  His tenure has been marked by several major new initiatives as well as important reviews of music by composers like Gustav Mahler, Carl Nielsen, and Johann Sebastian Bach. 

But after eight years, Gilbert is leaving the Philharmonic in June after a series of farewell concerts.

He sat down with WNYC’s John Schaefer, host of the Soundcheck podcast, to recall some of the highlights of his time with the orchestra, to talk about why he’s leaving now, and perhaps, what might come next for himself and the Philharmonic. 

NY Philharmonic's Alan Gilbert: The Exit Interview


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Prom Dresses Without the Price Tags

Fri, 26 May 2017 04:00:00 -0400

It's prom season. And the United Federation of Teachers is inviting public school students from across the city to find their perfect outfit — for free. 

At the union's headquarters in Lower Manhattan Thursday, students sifted through racks of satin, silk and sequins donated by union members and the Long Island Volunteer Center, a volunteer clearinghouse in Nassau County.

The items included new or "gently worn" gowns, suits, shirts, ties, heels, handbags ... as well as the expertise of stylists. "Not formal stylists," said Janella Hinds, the union's vice president of academic high schools. "UFT staffers who are stylish are working as stylists."

Volunteers from the Fashion Institute of Technology helped with fittings and alterations.

There were no income requirements for those who could participate. Students were selected by teachers and counselors. In a single day, more than 1,100 middle and high schoolers from 62 schools cycled through the office-turned-showroom in different shifts. Hinds said it was the second year the union had offered free prom clothes, but last year's event was much smaller.

As a DJ played music in the background, a group of friends from the High School of Arts and Technology on the Upper West Side bounced around the racks. One of them, Senior Kiera Dean, picked out a new red lace dress and said she couldn't wait to show it off.

"I'm going to feel awesome," she said. "I'm going to feel like the top of the world when I wear that dress."

Prom Dresses Without the Price Tags


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Voter Guide: Who's Running To Succeed Gov. Chris Christie

Wed, 17 May 2017 08:05:03 -0400

New Jersey voters can choose a candidate for governor in the primary on June 6. WNYC teamed up with NJ Spotlight to create a guide that explains where the candidates stand on key issues.

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Synagogue Beth Hamedrash Hagadol was one of the area's most visible Jewish landmarks, but it had fallen into disrepair, and the rabbi leading it was trying to raise money. At one point, he even wanted to tear down the site and sell it for condos in 2012. 

Then, the synagogue teamed up with the Chinese-American Planning Council and a developer on a new plan to turn the basement into a prayer space. Both sides planned to publicize the deal after a meeting with the landmark commission.

Josh Nathan-Kazis of The Forward says that amid gentrification on the Lower East Side, the synagogue was one of the last remaining signs of the old neighborhood. Some residents recently gathered to say Kaddish - a Jewish prayer of mourning - for the building.

Nathan-Kazis spoke with WNYC's Richard Hake about the synagogue's history and what it meant to the Jewish community in the neighborhood.

Historic Manhattan Synagogue Burned Down in Possible Arson Case


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