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289 posts categorized "New York"

May 15, 2009

Hudson River safari: Teredos and gribbles

New York Magazine surveys the lower Hudson River:

2. Teredos and Gribbles

Two kinds of hungry pests gnaw away at the pilings that hold up structures like the FDR Drive, the U.N. school on East 25th Street, and the Con Ed plant at 14th. Teredos, which start life looking like tiny clams, grow up to be worms “as big around as your thumb, and nearly four feet long, with little triangular teeth,” says commercial diver Lenny Speregen. Like underwater termites, they devour wood. And Limnoria tripunctata, a.k.a. “gribbles,” are bugs about the size of a pencil dot that look like tiny armadillos, and eat not only wood but also concrete. Speregen says he’s seen fifteen-inch-diameter columns that have been gnawed down, hourglass style, to three inches. The city has tried jacketing pilings in heavy plastic to keep the critters out, but it hasn’t worked well: Floating ice tears up the jackets in winter. “I never said this wasn’t a war,” says Speregen.

April 28, 2009

Flu York City

The CDC says there are 45 confirmed cases of swine flu in New York City, but the Health Department suspects hundreds more, the Village Voice reports.

Over at Effect Measure, Revere continues his outstanding gavel-to-gavel (sniffle-to-sniffle?) coverage of the flu outbreak. Today, he has a handy post on the difference between isolation and quarantine and the reasons why neither will help prevent a pandemic.

Keep washing your hands, folks.

April 27, 2009

Newsweek raves for Darcy James Argue's "Infernal Machines"

Darcy James Argue, originally uploaded by Lindsay Beyerstein.

Seth Colter Walls of Newsweek gave Darcy's new album, Infernal Machines, a rave review.

Props to Seth and Newsweek for spotlighting a young artist working outside the commercial mainstream.

Listen to a preview of Infernal Machines on the New Amsterdam Records website. (LINK UPDATED)

April 19, 2009

The car czar and the comptroller's buddies

Obama's car czar, Steve Rattner, turns out to be a person of interest in the state pension fund scandal involving the cronies of the former New York State comptroller, Alan Hevesi. Rattner allegedly paid one of Hevesi's cronies to facilitate a major investment of pension fund money in Rattner's company.

April 17, 2009

Old school investigative reporting at the Village Voice

Props to the Village Voice for running not one, not two, but three solid investigative stories this week.

If local newspapers have a future, this is the kind of coverage that will keep them alive.

The first, by veteran investigative reporter Tom Robbins, explains how two buddies of the then-state comptroller essentially sold access to firms seeking investment from the state pension fund, which the comptroller oversaw.

The second, by Graham Rayman, unearths more details about the "fight club" in the adolescent housing unit at Rikers' Island.

The third and finest, also by Rayman, exposes the black market in New York cemetery plots wherein black market speculators, including major funeral service businesses, hijack ancient burial societies and sell off their graves.

April 13, 2009

Welcome New York Times readers

Eric Etheridge linked to my Observe and Report review in this morning's edition of the Opinionator.  

April 02, 2009

Weird crafts: Dismembered Barbie jewelry and Katamari-enhanced thrift store art

Picture 1 Margaux Lange is an art jeweler in Brooklyn, New York who specializes in ornaments fashioned from dismembered Barbie Dolls. The aesthetics and craftsmanship of her work are really impressive. Check out Lange's portfolio (sorta NSFW) and follow her career on her blog.

In other weird craft news, Boing Boing presents an artist who specializes in painting Katamari Damacy images into thrift store paintings, thereby vastly improving their aesthetic value. The artist, loudxmouse, even does custom work, available on Etsy. 

March 24, 2009

New York does little to stop illegal female genital mutilation

Female genital mutilation is illegal in New York State, but as Alyson Zureick reports in the latest issue of the Gotham Gazette, authorities are neither prosecuting offenders nor performing legally-mandated education and outreach to communities that have historicially practiced FGM.

According to one estimate, 41,000 women in New York are at risk of being cut, or have already been subjected to genital cutting. This estimate is based on data from the 2000 census, so clearly more up-to-date information is needed.

Female genital cutting can range in severity from a harmless ritual pinprick to the complete surgical removal of the external genitals. These procedures can cause acute and chronic infections, loss of sexual sensitivity, difficult labor, and PTSD.

According to a lawyer quoted in the article, no one has ever been charged under New York's anti-FGM statute or its federal equivalent since the laws were enacted in the mid-nineties. The last state-level FGM outreach program in New York took place a decade ago.

A handful of community-based organizations, including the Sauti Yetu Center for African Women, are grappling with the problem at the grassroots level. State officials are currently engaged in discussions with these groups about how best to address FGM.

In early 2009, Assemblywoman Barbara Clark of Queens reintroduced legislation that would require State health authorities to present an annual report to the legislature documenting their efforts to combat FGM. The bill is currently before the Senate health subcommittee.

March 23, 2009

New York State Senator indicted on domestic assault charges

New York State Senator Hiram Monserrate has been indicted for allegedly assaulting a female companion at his home in Jackson Heights last December.

This just in from Helen Peterson at the Queen's DA's office:

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown today announced that a Queens County grand jury has returned a six-count indictment charging New York State Senator Hiram Monserrate with assaulting his alleged girlfriend at his Jackson Heights apartment this past December.
 The grand jury charged Monserrate, 41, with three counts of second-degree assault, a Class D felony, and three counts of third-degree assault, a Class A misdemeanor.
 According to the charges, during the early morning hours of December 19, 2008, Monserrate assaulted Karla Giraldo, 29.  Ms. Giraldo was treated at a local Queens hospital, where she received stitches to the area surrounding her left eye.

According to one media report, security camera footage from the day of the alleged assault shows the freshman Democratic senator dragging a bleeding woman out of his apartment building.

March 18, 2009

New York state may beef up freedom of information laws

Some good news from Elizabeth Dwoskin at the Village Voice...the New York state senate is weighing a proposal to strengthen freedom of information laws and provide more public records online:

Tomorrow morning the New York state senate will hold a hearing to consider strengthening freedom of information laws, something that makes us journalists pleased. The new provisions, if passed, would force state agencies to disclose more information on the web. Some of this stuff seems pretty basic, but apparently it's not basic enough that the government is doing this on its own.

The law would allow all public meetings be recorded, webcast, or photographed, and require agencies to disclose the time and location of all meetings online ahead of time. An agency would also get in trouble if closed a public meeting in violation of the law (Currently, nothing happens except a bunch of jaded journalists get pissed off). In keeping with the spirit of the proposed changes, you can listen to a live webcast of this hearing tomorrow at 10 a.m.