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The latest articles from WNYC News

Last Build Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:17:00 -0400


Allergic to Salad: Learning to Cook Healthy Food

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 04:00:00 -0400

Experience the full story here along with the rest of the projects featured in the Design by Community series.

Allergic to Salad: Learning to Cook Healthy Food

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Participatory Budgeting: The People’s Budget

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 04:00:00 -0400

Experience the full story here along with the rest of the projects featured in the Design by Community series.

Participatory Budgeting: The People’s Budget

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Three More Ex-NYPD Cops Arrested in Cash-for-Gun-Permit Scheme

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:17:00 -0400

Three more former NYPD officers were arrested Tuesday for their alleged role in a gun-license bribery scheme.

Lt. Paul Dean and Officer Robert Espinel allegedly accepted bribes — including cash, prostitutes and cases of beer — for fast-tracking gun permits, some to people with extensive arrest records.

The bribes came from so-called expediters, who charge people a fee for help getting gun permits. Two expediters — retired NYPD detective Gaetano Valastro and former Brooklyn prosecutor John Chambers — were also arrested.

The arrests were the result of a joint investigation involving the FBI, NYPD Internal Affairs and the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan.

Last year, two other NYPD officers in the license division and two expediters were arrested as part of the scheme. They already pleaded guilty and are cooperating with federal prosecutors.

“Our investigation continued as did our determination to aggressively pursue public corruption wherever we find it,” acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said.

Dean and Espinel retired last year. They allegedly got tired of seeing how much money the expediters were making from people trying to get gun permits, and planned to become professional middlemen themselves — helping people get gun permits by paying bribes to their former colleagues in the department.

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said he was appalled at such behavior. He said it besmirches “the names of and reputations of the other 36,000 hardworking and courageous men and women.”

O’Neill said the department has made a number of changes to gun licensing, and no longer allows officers in the division to interact with expediters.

Three More Ex-NYPD Cops Arrested in Cash-for-Gun-Permit Scheme

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Judge Temporarily Blocks Trump From Withholding Funding For Sanctuary Cities

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:59:23 -0400

A federal judge on Tuesday blocked a Trump administration order to withhold funding from communities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities, saying the president has no authority to attach new conditions to federal spending.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick issued the temporary ruling in a lawsuit against the executive order targeting so-called sanctuary cities. The decision will stay in place while the lawsuit works its way through court.

New York is a sanctuary city.

The Trump administration and two California governments that sued over the order disagreed about its scope during a recent court hearing.

San Francisco and Santa Clara County argued that it threatened billions of dollars in federal funding for each of them, making it difficult to plan their budgets.

"It's not like it's just some small amount of money," John Keker, an attorney for Santa Clara County, told Orrick at the April 14 hearing.

Chad Readler, acting assistant attorney general, said the county and San Francisco were interpreting the executive order too broadly. The funding cutoff applies to three Justice Department and Homeland Security Department grants that require complying with a federal law that local governments not block officials from providing people's immigration status, he said.

The order would affect less than $1 million in funding for Santa Clara County and possibly no money for San Francisco, Readler said.

Republican President Donald Trump was using a "bully pulpit" to "encourage communities and states to comply with the law," Readler said.

In his ruling, Orrick sided with San Francisco and Santa Clara, saying the order "by its plain language, attempts to reach all federal grants, not merely the three mentioned at the hearing."

"The rest of the order is broader still, addressing all federal funding," Orrick said. "And if there was doubt about the scope of the order, the president and attorney general have erased it with their public comments."

He said: "Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the president disapproves."

The Trump administration says sanctuary cities allow dangerous criminals back on the street and that the order is needed to keep the country safe. San Francisco and other sanctuary cities say turning local police into immigration officers erodes trust that's needed to get people to report crime.

The order also has led to lawsuits by Seattle; two Massachusetts cities, Lawrence and Chelsea; and a third San Francisco Bay Area government, the city of Richmond. The San Francisco and Santa Clara County suits were the first to get a hearing before a judge.

San Francisco and the county argued in court documents that the president did not have the authority to set conditions on the allocation of federal funds and could not force local officials to enforce federal immigration law.

They also said Trump's order applied to local governments that didn't detain immigrants for possible deportation in response to federal requests, not just those that refused to provide people's immigration status.

The Department of Justice responded that the city and county's lawsuits were premature because decisions about withholding funds and what local governments qualified as sanctuary cities had yet to be made.

The sanctuary city order was among a flurry of immigration measures Trump has signed since taking office in January, including a ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries and a directive calling for a wall on the border with Mexico.

A federal appeals court blocked the travel ban. The administration then revised it, but the new version also is stalled in court.

Most Jobs in Newark Go to Non-Residents

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:57:26 -0400

A report made public Tuesday by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice reveals a Newark that excludes its own residents from the burgeoning revitalization happening around them. Of the nearly 140,000 jobs in the city, Newark residents hold just 18 percent of the positions. And of those workers, only 10 percent earn at least $40,000 a year.

The report says the lack of jobs is keeping residents in poverty and is the result of discriminatory systems that go back decades. The city is 85 percent black and Latino and 11 percent white, according to 2015 Census figures. The report says 60 percent of Newark workers are white.

Mayor Ras Baraka said he will be launching a jobs program called Newark 2020 in June. The goal is to get 2,000 Newarkers into jobs by 2020. 



Most Jobs in Newark Go to Non-Residents

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Your Original Poems, Inspired by Queens

Fri, 14 Apr 2017 08:09:16 -0400

National Poetry Month inspired many of our listeners to take our #NYcityverse poetry challenge, in which we asked you to send in your best, original, tweet-length poems inspired by each of the boroughs.

Week One was the Bronx, Week Two was Brooklyn, Week Three was Staten Island, and Week Four was Manhattan. Read some submissions for Week Five — Queens  below.

And you can see all submissions on Twitter with the hashtag #NYcityverse.

Easter Hats on Parade

Fri, 14 Apr 2017 04:00:00 -0400

Each year, hundreds of people don their finest hats — some silly, some serious — to march in style up Fifth Avenue during the annual Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival.

And that’s keeping some of the city’s hat makers busy.

Evetta Petty, owner and milliner at Harlem’s Heaven hat shop on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, said Easter marks the start of her busy season, which continues through Mother’s Day — and includes big horse races like the Belmont Stakes, where flamboyant hats are always a big fashion statement. She said she's often inspired by the local fashionistas in Harlem, especially the church-going crowd.

But his week, she was hard at work on floral designs to herald spring.

“I’m doing little fascinators, little mini-hats, what we used to call cocktail hats years ago, and I’m covering them in bright, silk flowers,” she said.

Petty's often marched in the parade herself.

“We wear serious, fabulous millinery,” she said. “We’re all about a real hat. It’s not a hat with a bunny rabbit or plastic Easter eggs on it.”

Petty’s hats aren’t meant for a single occasion, but as essential accessories to wear more than once. Another hat-maker, who goes by just one name, Bunn, said it was his philosophy as well.

“I believe that the same hat you wear on a Sunday, you should be able to wear on a Wednesday,” he said.

His shop, Hats by Bunn, is about 10 minutes south of Petty’s. Bunn has been making hats for about 35 years.

The designs don’t follow any particular rules, he said. They’re as unique and individual as his customers. “The hat is the exclamation point” to any outfit, he said.

Easter Hats on Parade

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Review: Duchamp’s “Fountain” Turns 100

Fri, 14 Apr 2017 04:00:00 -0400

There are few modern works more celebrated than Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain,” which elevated a store-bought porcelain urinal into the ethereal realm of art. This week marks the centennial of its unveiling in New York City – or rather, of its non-unveiling. In April 1917, when Duchamp audaciously submitted the urinal to a group exhibition hosted by the Society of Independent Artists, the piece was deemed an indecent joke and flatly rejected. It eventually went missing. Today, it survives only in the form of a dozen or so replicas, and of course by epic reputation. Universally regarded as a modern masterpiece, the “Fountain” answers an age-old question – “What is art?” – with brilliant concision: Art is whatever an artist chooses to exhibit. To celebrate the “Fountain’s” centennial, Francis M. Naumann, the well-known Duchamp scholar and art dealer, has mounted a show at his gallery, at 20 West 57th Street. The exhibition, which remains up through May 26, brings together the work of some 30 contemporary artists who have adopted urinals as their subject, usually with undisguised affection. Kathleen Gilje redoes the urinal as a sainted object, complete with a medieval halo and a gold-leaf ground. (“Sant’Orinale,” of 2017). Sherrie Levine similarly injects an aura of religiosity in her “Fountain (After Marcel Duchamp), Madonna,” of 1991, a gleaming bronze sculpture whose bulky triangular shape suggests the head and shoulders of a Madonna. It implicitly anoints Duchamp’s “Fountain” the mother of all appropriation art. "Fountain (After Marcel Duchamp), Madonna' by Sherrie Levine. (Francis M. Naumann Fine Art/Deborah Solomon)   Mike Bidlo has also cast a urinal in bronze, and one riven by picturesque cracks. Jonathan Santlofer contributes a bas-relief inscribed with a portrait of Duchamp in profile, looking like a statesman out of the neo-classical past. The sweetness implicit in the show becomes overt in Sophie Matisse’s “Urinal Cake,” a meringue confection which bears the date 1998 but was baked freshly for the current show. Sophie Matisse's "Urinal Cake," her interpretation of Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain." (Francis M. Naumann Fine Art/Deborah Solomon)               *     *     * Duchamp’s influence was, of course, infinitely broader than the show suggests. His presence in contemporary art is so pervasive it’s like trying to explain the significance of air. So I thought visiting another absorbing show this week, Jane Benson’s “Song For Sebald,” at LMAK Gallery, at 298 Grand Street (up through May 7). The show takes its inspiration from a Duchamp-style readymade, in this case a published book – W.G. Sebald’s meandering novel, “Rings of Saturn,” from which Benson has cut out every word except for do, re and the other notes of the scale. In the process, the pages of a novel metamorphose into sheet music. You can put on headphones to hear the melodies. The work as a whole is sparely poetic and deeply meditative and offers a soothing refuge from the hubbub of the streets. Jane Benson's "Song for Sebald" now on display at the LMAKgallery in the Lower East Side. (LMAKgallery/Deborah Solomon)   [...]Review: Duchamp’s “Fountain” Turns 100

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Good Friday in Carroll Gardens

Fri, 14 Apr 2017 04:00:00 -0400

Good Friday is the day Christians around the world mark the crucifixion of Jesus. For over a century, the people of Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn have shown their devotion with a distinctive procession that includes a funeral band, dozens of black-clad women reciting the rosary in Italian, and statues of Jesus and Mary, borne on the shoulders of pallbearers. It’s a centuries-old custom inherited from immigrants who came to this part of Brooklyn from the island of Sicily, and from the small city of Mola di Bari, Italy.

Every year, families gather on stoops and sidewalks to catch a glimpse of the hours-long procession. John Heyer, a Carroll Gardens funeral director and historian at the Church of Sacred Hearts and Saint Stephen, said the movement of the statues of Jesus and Mary through a residential neighborhood of Brooklyn represents Christ’s journey from his death on Calvary to his tomb, the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

“Italians tend to celebrate their faith very publicly. And so bringing this procession out into the streets allows them to express their faith,” Heyer said. “The procession is not meant just for Italians. It’s not meant just for Catholics, for that matter…. All are welcome to come and walk with us in the procession. All are welcome to come with us and just be spectators and watch.”

Good Friday in Carroll Gardens

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