Tuesday, January 26, 2010
well my life is the same, nothing have change except that I am busier now with my school work and with all this college stuff. I also met this super wonderful guy that is keeping my life happy in this moments of my life which i pretty cool because i needed happiness is my life already. I was also out this whole past week because i was dealing with some problems but thanks god everything is getting better. I am also super scared because i think i fail chemistry which is super bad now that am a senior, but i hope am wrong.Well that's whats going on my life right now!!
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I actually have to go now because I'm holding someone ow who needs this computer. Nice chatting with you guys!
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Race fails to heat Broadway
By Nyiesha Showers
The Broadway production of "Race" brings heat to the Barrymore Theatre. The play’s title could mean many things, from the participants in an unfair presidential campaign to someone running a 100-meter dash; it is a story about the relationship in American culture of Black and White, the seemingly never-ending topic of racism.
This controversial story, written and directed by David Mamet, cast the actors for the production, including David Alan Grier, James Spader, Kerry Washington, and Richard Thomas. According to the casting, Grier, known for his involvement in "In Loving Color" assumes the role of Henry, a black lawyer who works alongside Spader, who plays Jack Lawson, and Washington, as Susan, the new legal assistant working for both lawyers.
At the play’s Dec 5 preview, the cast weren't the only celebrities present. In fact, the audience was full of different actors and producers, including Marie Janella from “Everybody Loves Raymond” who was dressed in a comfortable pantsuit and a brown, flowy shawl, Damian, who was casually dressed, Damian Jr., and Kim Wayans, who wore a black wool coat and a gray fedora; fitting in perfectly with the other audience members.
For a play that addressed the issue of race in the American society, it wasn’t an unreasonable expectation for the composition of the audience to be predominantly Black; rather, there were more whites than Blacks who were sparsely located in the theater.
In this presentation of “Race” the director shone the light on the unspoken issue of discrimination and prejudice. The plot surrounds a group of lawyers who takes the case of Richard Thomas, a rich white executive who's accused of raping a black woman. Disagreements between the lawyers about his innocence creates a dissension between Jack and Susan.
Henry believes Thomas is guilty. Grier plays his character smart, giving off the impression that he resents white people. In response to the question do all blacks hate whites, Henry excitedly says “You bet we do.” Despite this, he still keeps his cool while representing the client. The play’s director chose to display Susan more stereotypically; she's just another petite black woman whose beauty could be described as "easy on the eyes". But, controversy rears its head in the law firm when Susan goes behind Jack’s back and requires evidence against their client. Spader does a good job giving conviction as a demanding force over both Henry and especially Susan.
While attention was brought to bear on the touchy issues of racism and discrimination, as the play unfolded, there were moments when the audience was held in suspense, but the absence of a resolution when there was no verdict against Thomas led to an overwhelming sense of disappointment.
The production's downfall has nothing to do with the actors, who did their job delivering a performance. Rather the problem was with the script. The play contained two significant social constructs: Mamet's idea to expose sexism in the workplacee was good, except that he only had execute it better. the entire production could have been great. Second, racism, as the play’s central focus was tackled tastelessly. Listening to the dialogue between the lawyers, one was aware of the liberal use of generalizations and stereotypes of both races.
Despite its shortcomings, the play had a few commendable elements, one such was the revelation that Lawson had investigated Susan before hiring her, a process, which seemed as though taken from an episode of the television show, “Law & Order”.
But, Susan brings the play to its conclusion with a testimonial; she commanded the spotlight on the stage when she said that the reason why Thomas is guilty is "because he's a white man", and which delivery was made with such force and passion that it too could not avoid being stereotypical. What is clear about this play is that the election of a Black president meant nothing to the writer who wrote a piece about hating another because of their race.
Once again, history repeated itself; this time on the stage.
Stationed in the middle of New York's busiest area, Union Square Park is the heart of the Lower East Side. The Park's been opened since 1839 and served as the home base for lots of community events and festivals like the First Labor Day parade and the popular Greenmarket. Winter is nearing and the Holiday Market is back for its 14th year.
There's not a specific type of product sold at the holiday market. At every corner, there's something different. You may smell coffee at one intersection and turn around to find an eco toy company. In fact, Mariette Papic sells eco-friendly toys made from organic cotton and rubber wood. The toys are made from low impact packaging which is also earth friendly. Papic is good friends with the designer who's been in the business for 10 years. The toys are animals such as elephants and monkeys. The price range for the toys are $20- $45. Papic describes the monkey as an ideal holiday gift, saying it has no age group making it ideal for infants, teens and adults.
Across from her vendor sat Tom Hart who specializes in graphic t-shirts. He's been doing this for five years and heard about the market through a friend. His ideal holiday gift would be his hand painted boots which are priced for $150. When asked his biggest competitor he says he hasn't checked out anybody else, but everything there is "random". That brings me to Gili who sells handcrafted candy wrapper handbags. "We have no competition because our stuff's great!" she says. These colorful bags are made of all different candy wrappers; M&Ms and Jolly Ranchers.
Down a few stations from Tom was a coffee vendor. The aroma of coffee beans was thick and provided a feeling of warmth. Around the corner was a pastry vendor who sold chocolates and next to him was Shani. Shani sells wine boxes and other wine products from Thailand.
She says since the weather's been nice, she's been doing pretty good financially. "It's better than last year" she says. "Last year was the beginning of the recession. Now everybody’s prepared.” She does admit that people are a bit hesitant. Papic agrees, saying that people are really shopping. “They’re looking before they buy”. According to Fox 5 news, the overall revenue intake on Black Friday increased this year, yet the average amount of money spent per person decreased.
“Our biggest competitior is the economy” says Papic in reference to the market. Come out and support the local businesses at Union Square Park. They’re there everyday until December 24th. Check out nycgovparks.org for additional information.
Before he bacame President and before his term in the illionis Senate, he lived in our city. He had distinct memories of his years in New York, which he shared in his biography "Dreams From My Father". Megan, a 30 year resident of E 94th, remembered a dog at the corner gas station which Obama wrote about in his memoir.
According to NY Times, "The board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted to enact a series of fare hikes and service cutbacks needed to keep the transit system from going broke." Apparently, New Yorkers like Mariam, 34 feel differently. She has previously lived in both Washington DC and Virginia and says, "The MTA is a joke. They will keep blaming it on the economy to raise the prices." On Sunday, June 29th, 2009 the MTA raised the fares from $2.00 to $2.25. Millions of daily riders were affected by this change especially the low and middle class folks.
It's been said that the changes were to occur earlier in the month. When they weren't enacted people continued on with their lives forgetting about the fare changes. Personally, I was astonished when I had to pay $ 4.50 for two rides rather than usual $4. However, the MTA is New York City’s only means for public transportation which means not everyone has an alternative method of travel. A public activist who preferrs to be called John Doe had lots of information regarding the MTA's budget and the fare increase. He had a copy of the MTA’s 2009 budget that recorded the increased fare already included in it. Assuming that's true, the MTA's excuse regarding financial woes is bogus. Do we believe that the legislature could have prevented this from happening?
In contrast, Natalie St. Hilarie believes the NY state government isn't involved and that this is a private sector issue. While some people are completely dependent on public transportation, others aren't. People with cars have an advantage; where as an extra quarter per ride adds up and becomes a strain for people without cars. Some like Mariam, Natalie and Doe believe that if fares continue to rise, another boycott may take place. Just as Mariam said, "people may just have to find other means for travel."
It’s been reported on taxfoundation.org that Governor Patterson proposed for the 2010 revenue an increase of 8.625% in total. This includes the elimination of the sales tax exemption for clothing and a rise in the city sales tax rate from 4% to 4.25%. According to the daily News, NYC is definitely the most expensive city to live in. Therefore, the fare raise will become a problem for the average New Yorker. As Mariam said, "We must look for other means; so put the peddle to the metal with the bikes and some pep in your step with the walk."
The President moves on Afghanistan to quickly deploy 30,000 troops is backed up by three heavy goals.
By Frank Dutan
President Barack Obama’s plan to increase troop levels in Afghanistan is seen by many as a bold move in this his first year in office. At the United States Military Academy training facility at West Point, NY on Dec 1, 2009, in his address to the nation, the President outlined why he needed to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan within the first quarter of 2010.
The plan, he said, is that the troop surge would ensure three main objectives: Al Qaeda would no longer find a safe haven in Afghanistan; reverse the momentum of the Taliban, who are a constant threat to the people of Afghanistan; and strengthen the security forces in Afghanistan.
As a justification for his decision regarding the situation in Afghanistan, “The status quo is not sustainable,” he announced, and said that he is “convinced that our [America’s] security is at stake in Afghanistan.”
In his description to the nation of the situation in Afghanistan as “the epicenter of violent extremism,” the President’s plan contained a hefty list of unexplained goals, which included the absence of a timescale and the accelerated number of troops, both of which mimic the conditions that existed with the invasion of Iraq.
On Mar 20, 2003 when former president George W. Bush announced the invasion of Iraq, two goals were made clear: to pull Saddam Hussein out of power and to uncover any weapons of mass destruction. Now President Obama wants to make sure the Taliban does not gain any more power and, as was given to Iraq, focus his attention on Afghanistan. With the passing years the numbers of troops deployed to Iraq have grown and with this announcement of an additional 30,000 troops, the overall numbers of American forces has resulted in a significant jump to 98,000.
This number is more than half of “160,000 in Iraq at the peak of the war” said the President in his speech. The President said he wanted to restrict the use of the nation’s armed services while taking into account the long term affects that a war can cause, such as a deterioration of the land, land that is in constant battle and villages that are nothing but rubble, as well as the cost in funding a war. The withdrawal of troops, he said, would commence in Jul 2011, which gives him two years to accomplish his three hefty objectives. Tony Capaccio, writing for Bloomberg L.P., reported on Dec 7 that with 68,000 troops on the ground in Afghanistan, a deployment of 14,500 troops is scheduled to be in place by Jun 2010.
This bold move was arrived at after a thorough investigation of the situation in Afghanistan through consultations with the generals and commanders on the ground. The President wanted the deployment to be done at “the fastest possible pace - so that they can target the insurgency and secure key population centers” and wants to “bring this war to a successful conclusion.”
On Dec 2, before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that in Dec 2010, exactly one year from the president’s announcement, there would be a review of the strategy and that the pace of withdrawal would depend on the conditions on the ground in Afghanistan
Despite the fact that the American economy isn’t what it should be, many Americans, by a slight margin, approved of Obama’s handling of Afghanistan. On Dec 3, the day after the President’s address, Gallup Inc., a national polling agency, took a poll of 1,005 adults over the phone asking about Obama’s handling of the situation in Afghanistan, the amount of troops being deployed and the timetable set for this operation. Responses to the question about Obama’s handling of Afghanistan, 51 percent approved and 40 percent disapproved; on the question involving the number of troops being deployed, whether it was high or low, 38 percent believed it was about right, 36 percent felt it was too high, and 18 percent said the numbers were too low.
The poll also asked questions that dealt with setting a the timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan: 46 percent said it was too soon; 26 percent said it should be sooner, signaling a shift to a desire to bring the troops home earlier; and 21 percent agreed with the surge. A recently conducted online Harrison Poll of 2,212 people showed that 53 percent were in favor as opposed to 26 percent against the troop surge.
While to some people the President’s decisions on Afghanistan could be considered questionable, the additional 30,000 troops are in the process of being deployed. On the other hand, many people have adopted a wait and see attitude, looking at if the strategies and operations are in America’s best interests and if the President’s decisions were sound.
By Frank Dutan
A skate park located next to the Brooklyn Bridge, called the Brooklyn Banks, has over the years become an iconic skating spot in New York City. Although strewn with broken beer bottles and the acrid stench of urine, the Banks, which is about the size of a football field, offers skaters - novices and professionals - a brick paved road resembling a valley with several skate ramps and an obstacle course. With the marble ledges and smooth rails in Midtown Manhattan and the Wall Street area heavily guarded, the Banks offers skaters, those who do not want any trouble with the authorities, a safe haven; achieving its iconic status as one of the premier skate spots on the East Coast because of its street like feel.
In 2004, the Banks became so popular that city administrators stepped in and proposed a plan to reconstruct the skate site as a green park and placed barricades to make sure skaters could no longer use the space.
When Steve Rodriguez, owner of 5boro Skateboards and a skateboarder himself, learned of the city’s plan, he decided to come to the aid of the Banks and managed to convince the city of the skate site’s benefit to many young people; eventually he became a skateboarding consultant for the city.
Recently, protests increased against closing the Banks. The New York City Department of Transportation issued a statement, which said that a Brooklyn Bridge rehabilitation project is slated to begin in 2010 with an expected completion date sometime in 2014.
“After the painting work in this area is complete, anticipated for mid 2010, the park will be reopened with the exception of the storage area,” said the DOT in its statement. This means that by mid 2010 only half of the Banks will be available.
While there are insufficient rinks for skaters in New York City, those that exist do not offer free skating. There is the Houston Skate Park on the city’s West Side, which charges $10 admission, and insists on that all skaters must wear a helmet and sign a waiver if the skater is under 18 for insurance coverage. However, in the vicinity of the Banks, there are a few free skate parks, but none which are able to cater to the number of skating enthusiasts the Banks attract.
But, while the Banks is not equipped with 12-foot high half pipes, ramps and other amenities as in other protected spaces, it offers instead street curbs and the edges of benches: all essential to the street skateboarding scene.
A frequent skater, 15-year-old Alexander Barna, complained, “That sucks. I don’t think the city would keep their word. What if they return it in bad condition? The place is fragile already. I mean there are so many spots around here but it’s hard to find one as convenient as the Banks, plus one without security or free. I don’t know what I’ll do without skating. The city should at least give us something back in return, it’s not like were committing crimes”
By Sade Ortuzar
Cupcakes, chocolate cakes, carrot cakes and other desserts aren’t being sold in schools anymore. Why? Because, according to some of the most recent research into the high rates of obesity in school age children, the popular bake sale, a quick, collaborative and involved way to raise funds, have been banned in New York City public schools. While the goal of banning the bake sale is make students healthy and to limit the obesity rate, these latest regulations from the city’s Department of Education, are making students furious.
For many students, the ubiquitous bake sale in every school’s calendar encourages many to crave sweets in various forms and because of their relatively low price; many are able to afford to spend their dimes to fill their stomach with sugar-based products. This has become the target of the regulations: to limit, reduce, and remove sugar-based products, which also include beverages, in all public schools.
As a quick fundraising opportunity, in the school setting, bake sales have grown into an easy way to earn cash for sports teams and clubs. With the ban, students in the city’s public schools would have to find new ways to raise money.
Elizabeth Lyton, a student from High School Graphic Communication of Arts, suggests festivals and plays as a great new way to raise money for any school activities.
In contradiction to the new regulation, which is slow in changing attitudes and behavior to eating healthy, many fast food restaurants, such as McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Dunkin Donuts, and Burger King have sprung up around the High School Graphic Communication of Arts.
Students have the advantage of eating breakfast from these fast food outlets before school starts and lunch or snacks afterschool. While cakes sold in bake sales contain a lot of calories, so does the school lunch, which is often made up of burgers, chicken fingers, and pizzas, food high in calories, that are often given to students.
The question remains how would reducing or removing bake sales as a means of fund raising going to make students not want to eat junk food?
Manhattan’s Lower East Side Tenement Museum
By Sade Ortuzar
More than 100 years ago, immigrants moving to a New York City apartment would have lived in a small space, sharing a bathroom and other amenities with their neighbors. Then people lived in proximity disease were remit. Now you can step inside a museum where all of that had occurred. The tenement museum located at 97 Orchard Street was founded in 1988 but its first restored apartment exhibits opened in the early 1990s. It blossomed from an idea to a thriving institution.
Ruth Abram and Anita Jacobson was the founder of the Tenement Museum. They wanted to open a museum that would honor America’s immigrants. The idea behind the formation of the museum was to pay tribute to the men, women, and children who settled America’s cities and deserve recognition as urban pioneers. The idea becomes an institution when Abram came across the lower east side tenements. The Lower East Side is associated in the publics mind with immigrants. During the formation of the tenement museum, she worked with Jacobson for three years and joined with people who were restoring the Eldridge Street Synagogue. Jacobson stumbled upon the tenement museum that was sealed since 1935, and in March of 1988, the museum received its charter. Their goal was to purchase and restore 97 Orchard Street.
At the Tenement Museum, visitors take a tour around the museum learning about the experience of immigrants from the 1800s. The Tenement Museum was once a home of about 10000 working class immigrants from Ireland, Poland, and other European countries.
The museum tells stories of the struggles that immigrants faced during the 19th and early 20th centuries by visitors taking a tour around the six restored apartments that immigrants once lived in. Some rooms are empty and a few rooms consist of an actress playing a role of an immigrant who lived at that apartment. A film is sometimes shown to visitors showing how immigrants lived and their history. The museum shows one bathroom, in which the immigrants once used. The apartments are small with no spacing and some photographs are on displayed. To use a few photographs, workers from Tenement Museum will have to contact the family of the person in the photograph. Some items that belonged to immigrants that lived at the tenement are on display. The museum shows how hard the immigrants worked. Some of them worked in their apartment while many of them worked in factories.
The P.R. manager Kate Stober enjoys working at the museum learning about the life of immigrants. Stober hopes that it promotes people to be open-minded about history of everyday people. She hopes that people can connect with the lives that immigrants faced. She says that immigrants in the museum tell a story of " who we are as Americans." The mission of the museum is “ to promote tolerance through the presentation and interpretation of the variety of immigrant experiences on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.”
Preparing for College
For many high school students on the road to college, their future is ahead of them.
By Sade Ortuzar
For many high school students, beginning college preparation early is important, and while many know a high school diploma is essential, today it doesn’t seem to get students very far. The emphasis is on obtaining a college degree that could lead to a well paying career and future. But, for many high school students, their junior year is the time that is filled with stress, because this is the period in their education that colleges consider crucial for a future or a career.
Tiaralyn Rivera, a sophomore at Graphics Communication of Arts High School, is finding the process of preparing for college more difficult than she ever realized. She has discovered that the process including taking college prep tests such as: the scholastic assessment test (SAT), and the American College Test, writing college essays, applying for financial aid, and finally selecting the best colleges. Rivera is beginning to feel stressed about getting into the right college and plans on avoiding student loans to earn scholarships. While her dream is to attend New York University where she plans to study journalism, some of her present worries include class size, how successful she would be at the SAT, the safety of dormitory life, and financial aid.
Another high school student, Jennifer Florian, a junior, wants to get a degree in medicine and is looking forward to attending the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She says the most important determining factor in choosing a college, is class size; preferring a small classroom size because she feels that she could learn better in such an environment.
Many high school students prefer to use financial aid for college. There are different types of financial aid such as grants and scholarships, which are very useful in assisting with paying for college, and which allow students to save and avoid getting into debt. While many schools give generous financial aid packages for those who show true financial need, it is in the best interest of any student intending to apply to a college, to research the school offering the most aid, which would include tuition, meals, books, and accommodation.
Kreig Joseph, program counselor at John Jay College, a part of a city University of New York believes that many teenagers don’t understand the college application process and are unprepared. Kreig says that the greatest way to prepare for college is for students to do their best in high school, and to research particular colleges to see the requirements for admission.
No doubt many have heard horror stories of being in large classrooms with about 800 students or going to a college where students set a couches on fire. For Georgia Reid, English teacher at High School for Graphic Communications and Art; looking back at college she describes it as a great experience. For her bachelors degree she attended Amherst College in Amherst, MA and for her masters, Hunter College, part of the City University of New York. She remembers that while she had a hard time choosing a college, one important criterion was finding an affordable college. To her, class size was also important and so was safety. When she attended college, then it was overcrowded and there were many riots: a group of students set a couch on fire one night and the only way for her to be safe was to stay in her dorm. The advice she would give to students who are getting into college is choosing a state school, and she encourages students to visit campuses. Finally, she tells students that they should not be afraid to take risks and ‘get out of your comfort zone.’
By Sade Ortuzar
While purchasing a famous 19th century painting is out of the reach for most people, for Robert Kashey, obtaining art pieces from this period is exactly what he does for a living. As owner of the Shepherd and Derom Gallery, he collects and distributes European paintings, sculptures, drawings, and photographs from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Having already collected large amounts of art, 43 years ago Kashey figured he might as well open a gallery and deal in art pieces for a living. The gallery, located on New York City’s Upper East Side, is a friendly place where visitors feel welcome.
According to Kashey, every piece of art tells a unique story about a certain period in history. When a visitor enters the gallery, while he or she would see many sculptures and paintings on display, one of the first pieces of work is a sculpture called Hylas Surprised, by the artist John Gibson. It is a sculpture of a young boy with two women near him that was made in 1826 and was sold in an all girls-school in England. It was carefully wrapped and shipped to New York where it arrived safely at the gallery. This sculpture, unlike many others in the gallery made out of one type of igneous rock, marble or bronze, is made out of plaster. And, unlike other galleries, pieces do not have price tags affixed; Kashey prefers to negotiate with a potential buyer, which could often involve some traditional haggling, until they both agree on a price. In the gallery are other interesting art pieces, such as the first New York City Transit train photos showing how it made and who were going inside the train and a sculpture of Eve eating a fruit, and more.
Most of the galleries visitors come from several European countries, such as Spain and Italy, to see the many famous paintings, which include works by Man Ray such as the photograph of Le Violon, a portrait of a young woman’s back that looks like a violin. Much of Ray’s artwork is distributed throughout the gallery including photographs of him and his previous wives and photographs depicting older and younger versions of him. Another of his famous works is called Noire et Blanche, a photograph of a woman holding an African sculpture..
While Man Ray’s style is often associated with the Dadaist artistic school, the gallery consists of pieces that are mostly of European origin, where Rashey and his co-dealer, David Wojciechowski travels regularly to buy original artwork and display it in the gallery. One striking theme in the gallery is how many of the pieces illustrate depict the evolutions of the human form from decade to decade.
Kashey has also tried breaking the boundary by displaying 20th century art, including work by noted American artist Andy Warhol, which even though was on display, did not attract interest.
Wojciechowski and Kashey enjoy their occupation and are happy when people from other countries visit the museum. Kashey, raised in New Jersey, admits that he doesn’t have a particular gallery he could call his favorite, and even though he has visited many galleries in Europe, he also cannot say which he finds most exciting. Both he and his co-dealer believe and encourage the younger generation to visit museums and galleries.
However, the age ranges of those who visit the gallery range between 20-years and 90-years old. Kashey feels that it is a pity that more young people don’t visit galleries nowadays. He loves interacting with art lovers and is troubled that at other museums, workers don’t really want to explain much to visitors. He enjoys when visitors come into his gallery, because then he could share his treasures and knowledge with them.
The Shepherd and Derom Gallery at 58 East 79th Street is open on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:00am to 6:00pm or by appointment.