“Today It Is Us, But Tomorrow It Can Be You”

The people of Williamsburg and Greenpoint are fed up, they want affordable housing and they want it now.

On Wednesday May 22, 2013 Williamsburg-Greenpoint residents, community leaders, elected officials and city-wide housing activists gathered on Kent Avenue at North 8th Street, to rally the 8th anniversary of the City’s 2005 “rezoning giveaway.”

Many organizations were present in the rally, from the Peoples fire house, Los lures, St Nicks Alliance, Churches United for Fair Housing, North Brooklyn Development Corporation and Brooklyn League Services Aid.

Richard Mazur from North Brooklyn Development Corporation said “We are here to make sure that it doesn’t take 8 more years, we want them to deliver on their promises, DELIVER!”

Since 2003, the middle class and the elderly have been fighting the government, who had started to build housing in these neighborhoods. They are not building for the residents of the neighborhood but for a wealthier class. The people are tired, they are angry, and they are taking action.

The crowd chanted “ Michael Bloomberg build our housing now.”

These residents are mad at Bloomberg and the housing builders who are not giving them any affordable housing.

The people say that Bloomberg is to blame; he said that he would build affordable housing for the residents and 8 years later, hundreds of residents are being forced to move out because of the high pricing. They were promised 1400 affordable housing units, only 19 were completed.

Diana Reyna, councilmember of Brooklyn shared her childhood story of when her parents had to struggle in court for 8 years, there was no gas, no electricity. From the age of 8 yrs. old to 16 she had to translate in court for her.

Almost in tears she says,  “I don’t want that for any child, that is the struggle, no one deserves to live that way.”

The residents and politicians are calling for help even if it doesn’t concern you; they want to secure homes for these people.

The last words stated was “Today it is us, but tomorrow it will be you.”

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LIC ARTS OPEN

This years Long Island City Arts Open started off with Jorge Posada’s paintings and drawings. In this exhibit Posada showed the public his view of violence in a human  form.

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Painting by Jorge Posada

Running on its 3rd year, the LIC arts open “has activated cultural and economic development by bridging the gap between artists, creative, residents, local government, tourists, art enthusiasts and the art buying sector”. This 5-day event that is held in May, gives a unique vibe of “community”, because of the close proximitys of the galleries and venues. All different types of events are held, ranging from arts shows, to plays to music events.  This event gives artist the platform to showcase their talent and also make a profit.

Jeffrey Leder Gallery, presented Jorge Posada’s drawings and paintings on Wednesday may 15, 2013. Posada is a Colombian-born- American artist .  In the LIC arts open brochure Posadas work is described as painting that “has envovled into a semi-figuratuve depiction of the body, and also creating abstract paintings.” Posada’s paintings were being sold at the event, they ranged from $500-$12,000.

Through his paintings he showed the violence that occurs in the world and society today. He had many aggressive pieces at the art show. He had some small photos that were taken in the city and made his own.

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Painting by Jorge Posada

“I use the human form to explore the body and the rituals of violence which are present in our global society,” said Posada.

At this event many were compelled by the art pieces.

Andrea Romero, a 21 year old, college student, who also happens to be from Colombian decent. “Knowing of all the danger and violence that happens in Colombia, I understand the art work that Posada has painted. I see the violence and pain in these human forms and I can relate to them, he did a great job.”

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Painting by Jorge Posada

CELEBRATION OF IMMIGRANT MOTHERS!

This mothers day, Immigrant women gathered to celebrate in Roosevelt’s Make the Road office, telling stories of their struggles and being acknowledged as important people in this world.

Make the Road is a group who “build the power of Latino and working class communities to achieve dignity and justice through organizing, policy innovation, transformative education, and survival services.” They work on expanding civil rights, promoting health, improving housing, public education and workplace justice, and last empowering the youth.

The event host, Natalia Aristizabal, who is also the youth organizer, explained how this event was for the women to share their stories, highlight how important these mothers are, and after enjoy the day eating and dancing. Aristizabal stated that she wanted to show legislators that women play a major role in this world. They are a “central contribution to society” she says. She wants the legislators to think of women and all that they do when writing the immigrant reform.

Aristizabal tells of her mother who came to America to better the lives of her family. Her mother came under a bus into Texas, and then traveled to New York. She worked hard to bring the rest of her family to America. She tells of the struggles and hardships her mother faced to better her children’s future. She ends her story teary eyes “I am thankful for the strength she had.”

Jonathan Jimenez, on of the youth members at Make a Road, brought his mother to this event. He stood up and talked about his mother, describing how she worked and still works very hard to support him and his sister, who he considers his second mother. When his mother was out working his sister would be the one taking care of him.

Jimenez states how his mom is the most important person in his life. “It’s a love you can’t explain,” he says looking at his mother, who was crying.

Clara Cortes, a mother at the event, after being introduced by her daughter, stands up, she’s starts off by saying” I said I wasn’t going to cry.”

Her daughter, Luba Cortes stands up and hugs her from being, it was silent for a minute, while the crowd watched the two embrace.

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Clara Cortes starts to tell her start of how she came to the U.S, to better her child’s life. She says that she told Luba; “I want you to be able to do or study whatever you want.” That was not possible in her country. While crying she’s that she is very sad because for the last two years Luba has not been able to do that, but then a big smile comes on her face. “But thank god last week Luba received a scholarship and will now be attending school “she says.

After the speeches the feasting began. The women and kids laughed and ate.

This event was filled with emotions, gratitude. In all these women were celebrated for all they have done, and sacrificed for their kids.

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Immigration and Labor Activists March and Rally!

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On Wednesday, immigrants and their families along with anti-capitalism and Occupy protesters marched in a protest of deportation and worker rights for immigrants. The solidarity of Americans was evident, as this event spanned from New Yorks City Hall to many different parts of the country.

Twenty plus police cars patrolled the streets, while these protesters peacefully walked down the streets. Holding signs, one saying “New Yorkers for real immigration reform: Citizenship now! Keep families together! Protect workers! Safeguard Civil rights! “

This is not only an issue that concerns Hispanics, there were people from Bangladesh, Italy, Asia, and the list goes on.

“We are waiting for the Obama policy, it is not right that we have to pay tax and cannot bring our family here without waiting 10-15 years,” said one of the protester Filippo Baldini, an Italian man.

Once these marchers reached city hall, there gathered and many speeches were held. Inspirational speeches were held, many quoting Obama’s “Yes we can!”

These immigrants and their supporters are growing each year. They are no longer waiting for the government to take action. They are fighting for the rights they believe they deserve. Most are people who have lived here for many years and consider themselves Americans already.

“Treat me like a human, let me bring my family from Bangladesh” one speaker said.

“We are fighting back, we are fighting back,” another said.

F#%KING UP EVERYTHING

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Funny, amazing, relatable, the breakfast club modernized is what I describe this play as. Fucking up everything was the story of a set of hipsters in Brooklyn. There is the popular good-looking guy that is known as the player, Jake. His best friend, Ivy, a nerdy shy girl, who is secretly in love with him. Her boyfriend, Tony, the stoner, he is also a member in Jakes band.  Christian who is also Jakes best friend/nemesis. He is the nerdy type and has some sort of weird relationship with puppets. Last but not least, is Juliana; she is the beautiful girl everyone wants to get with.

Fucking up everything is a mixture of rock, comedy, and musical. Every scene has alittle bit of each. At first you hear the music and think what the heck did I get myself into, but then as the play goes on, you start to understand the characters, laugh with them, and lastly feel as though you know that person. This play is relatable in so many ways.

Dianna Archer, a 19 year Queensborough Community College student, said “I enjoyed the play especcially the humor. I also liked the fact that is was open with all types of relationships. Archer found herself relating to Ivy, she stated that the relationship Ivy had Jake, is similar to the one she has with her make friends.

Theres a lot of twist and surprises, and you learn that theres love for everyone out there and that just maybe happily ever afters do exist.

Theres a lot of twist and surprises, and you learn that theres love for everyone out there and that just maybe happliy ever Afters do exist.

Heres what some of the other audience memebers had to say.

VIDEO GAME PANEL @ YORK COLLEGE

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Cuny York College held its 4th Student Research day, ranging from topics such as business, to African American studies to even video games. This day was filled of York students presenting poster and panel presentations. Student research Day is said to be “the largest annual exhibition of student research and creative efforts at York College.” On April 18, 2013 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm several different presentations were held. I attended one of these sessions, the Video Games Panel, which was held at 3:30.This event was moderated by music Professor Tom Zlabinger and art Professor Sarah Kate Gillespie. Three students presented their work, Jon Serneo, who focused on cut scenes, Kimmy Sarmiento who focused on gender roles and Bayo Fayemi who spoke on how the games changed your moods. Each was to make a tumblr account and use them towards their research paper.

What is the importance of video game studies?

Tom Zlabinger answered “Video game like anything […], is important to our culture because they are in circulation, to ignore them would be not to understand 2013.” Video games is now a multibillionaire industry he says.

Video games are everywhere today. “We are starting to see art museums with video games, its just beginning to be talked about largely, “ says Sarah Kate Gillespie

Tom Zlabinger adds that the “New York Times has a video games section just like sports, it is now viewed as material culture.”

Jon Serneo, spoke about the art of cut scenes. Cut scenes is where the player in the game has limited or no control. It is mostly dialogue; the player is not playing the game at this point. Serneo used his tumblr page to show how the cut scenes are used throughout the video games. Using these cut scenes, the player learns more about the character and what is needed to beat the game.

Kimmy Sarmiento focused on the gender roles that are used in video games. She focused on the lack of lead women characters in video games. She explained how in the past women were always seen as the damsels as distress, they were never the leading character. They were to be saved, not to be the rescuer. She then shows how the video game is slowly transforming. Lollipop chainsaw is one of the examples that were used. The leading character is a women and she pretty much uses the head of her boyfriends as a weapon throughout the game.

Kimmy says” It not only shows that women aren’t only these damsels that sit there and drink tea, they are women that can actually fight”

Bayo Fayemi, was the last to present, his focus was on mood and how it affects you while you play. Fayemi used the games Sleeping dogs to show how mood affects you. He goes into detail explains the scene. In the beginning you see a wedding your in a mood of happiness he says. Then there is a blackout and suddenly your mood is changed into a panic mood. That shows the effects that a game has on your mood. This video was shown as an another example of how a video can change your mood.

This was not an event that I would usually go to, but surprisingly it was one that I enjoyed. I learned new information and even learned about some new interesting games to play. I will be sure to attend next years Student Research Day.

TIMES SQUARE KISS IN

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THESE PHOTOS ARE NOT MINE. THEY WERE TAKEN FROM TIMES SQUARE ALLIANCE AND ALFRED EISENSTAEDT

While looking for events in New York, I came across the Times Square Kiss-in. As I had never heard of it, I decided to investigate further. It turns out that the Times Square Kiss-In is also known as V-J day and that it happens every five years. Thousands of couples come to Time Square to reenact the infamous kiss that occurred years ago between the U.S. sailor and the nurse – the picture whose supposed beauty led it to be placed on Life Magazine.

On August 14th, 1945, Alfred Eisenstaedt took this legendary photograph, which was published in Life Magazine. On this day, President Truman announced that the war in Japan had ended. Everyone in the Times Square area was ecstatic, and Eisenstaedt seized this opportunity to take pictures; he saw the nurse and the sailor and decided that this particular one was worthy. The couple in the photo was Mr. George Mendonça and Ms. Greta Friedman. Despite the fame gained by this picture, Mendoça had actually been on a date with a woman to his left; his happiness was so overwhelming that he grabbed Friedman and kissed her. Today, he is married to the woman that he was on a date with.Since that day, every five years, in celebration of the end of World War II, people from all over the world gather for love and peace.

The website timesquarenyc.org invites “couples from all generations and of all types to celebrate again in Times Square, in honor of the US Armed Forces and in celebration of the universal ideals of peace, love and hope. A special invitation is extended to couples whose kisses bridge boundaries, be they religious, political, racial, national or otherwise, as well as veterans of WWII, returning veterans from the Iraq War, and couples in costumes commemorating the original 1945 kiss .”

The next Times Square kiss in will be held on August 14.2015. That is one event I wont be missing.

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Todd Maisel, an award-winning New York Daily News photographer visited York college last week . From describing his photographs to explaining his hardest times in life, Maisel did not hold back on giving the audience the inside details of his life as a photographer.

 Maisel studied journalism at NYU, and later specialized in photojournalism at Parsons School of Design and the School of Visual Arts. After graduating, Maisel worked at a newspaper for a couple of years, then branched out and began doing freelance – that was when he began his work with the Daily News as a freelance photographer. Eventually, the Daily News hired him and ever since then has been working for the paper on a full-time basis. Maisel has been a photographer for more than 28 years.

 Maisel photographed many historic events that have occurred throughout the world within the last decade and a half – from 9/11 to Haiti to Tropical Storm Sandy, he has covered many of  the major events that touched the 2000s.

Maisel said that a photographer’s job is to understand how people feel after disaster – they must show the feeling that was felt throught their photographs and make the public feel that same way. He also explained that some people get mad , and for those people, privacy discretion must be followed

 One of the biggest disasters Maisel faced, which affected him the most, were the attacks of Sep. 11th.

 “[It] was an incredible disaster, on a scale I never seen and hope to never see again.” he says. He explains how the tragedy of that day has affected him in a way that stays with him to this day.

 Maisel was covering the elections on September 11th, 2001, when he heard that a plane hit the Twin Towers via a police radio. He followed a police car down Canal, and when passing by, the second plane hit. This experience caused him to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Afer that experience, and explained how he and many other photographers would go back to the dark room at night and could not sleep.

 During the incident, he asked himself why he had survived and not others; he realized that his survival was not a coincidence, but a reason for living. He knew that his photos were important. “Journalism has a purpose”, he stated. “If you understand why you’re in journalism, then you understand why it is important. You’re able to affect change, positive change, [and] you are accomplishing something”.

 Around the same time that the United States saw the devastation of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, the country of Haiti saw the negative effects of natural disaster. In the case of Haiti, Maisel was not happy the way the Daily News treated the situation an wished more time was spent on this story.

 Maisel was also a photographer for our region’s most recent natural disaster, Tropical Storm Sandy. He was there first-hand when the tides were the highest – he was taking pictures, capturing the disaster first-hand. He also went out to Breezy Point and took pictures of the burning houses.

Overall, Maisel is a man with a special talent, who has lived through many near-death situations. He knows his purpose in life and is continuing to use his pictures to inform the public and hope that it can inspire change to those who see them.

Todd Maisel

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While the United States still faces great economic problems and American residents and citizens attempt to live frugally, couples still want to have sweet, romantic dates at cheaper prices. Despite these difficult economic times, there are several places in New York City that will always bring a new adventure: Times Square, in the heart of Manhattan island. In this area that is primarily geared toward tourists, there are many things to do with a reasonable price. As you walk down the street of this tourist attraction, you see many lovely couples enjoying themselves, whether it is just walking or taking in the scenery of the city. This city has many low budget activities available for couples, single people, and groups of friends. The first of these many activities is a 25-minute horse and carriage tour ride, which is 2 for $50 – if you are privy to bargains, you can negotiate and get a cheaper price! This horse-and-carriage ride is extremely romantic – you and your loved one can cuddle up under a blanket and see the sights that this great city has to offer. The next place you can go to is the M&M shop, which is cute and an incredibly cheap date if your significant other loves chocolate. You can also go to a typical movie and dinner, eat out at a low-priced restaurant, venture into the museum of wax for $40. If you’re looking for something a little more fun, you can go to Dave and Busters, which includes fun and a meal, so you can save a good amount and have a great time. Despite this ailing economy, many still seek to give their significant others a good time regardless of price; if money does not deter you, you can go see a Broadway show! To buy tickets to a Broadway show, may walk up to the rid TKTS booth, which lies in the center of time show. Many people sit here and take pictures or just talk. Times Square has a little bit of everything for everyone. Overall, Times Square is the place to be when you are looking for a new adventure to embark on with your loved ones.

Happily Ever After

Love happScreen Shot 2013-03-07 at 8.46.29 AMens in the most expected ways…

As children, many hear stories of the princess being a damsel in distress and Prince Charming inadvertently swooping in to save her. For Cameron Hill, this was the story of her life…

If you ever ask couples how they originally met, they often answer with cliché answers like “the gym”, “the mall”, “high school”, “the park”, etc. What you do not hear, is: “I was trying to save her life after someone stabbed her 32 times.” The New York Daily News released an article about a woman named Melissa Dohme who was attacked last year by her ex-boyfriend. Cameron Hill, a firefighter-paramedic found her on a sidewalk “unconscious and blooded” and helped her get into a medical helicopter.Dohme was left in severe conditions, which necessitated a three-week hospital stay. Having suffered a fractured skull and nose and losing a tooth, Dohme had a long recovery.

After her recovery, Dohme started speaking at churches, high schools and colleges, on domestic abuse. In December, Hill and a friend surprised her after one of her church appearances and that was the start of a soon-to-be relationship.

Ms. Dohme no longer views the day of the accident as a nightmare – “When I look back on that night, I can’t think of it as all bad anymore because I met Cameron”, she told the paper. “He’s the one I’ve been waiting for. My fairy tale.”

Love really does happen unexpectedly, and Ms. Dohme and Mr. Hill exemplify this. This is such a beautiful story to consider – what could be seen as the most tragic day for many, became a fairy tale for this couple.

This story is not about the tragic incidents that occur, but the unexpected love that comes out of them. People go through so many situations in life, and love is a gift to cherish. Not many people have this fairy tale ending and it seems that more and more, people are getting divorced, killing each other, fighting each other, instead of living happily together. In the end, love is something that many look for their entire lives, but cannot find, so when you do find it, cherish it.

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