Friday, March 30, 2012

Victim Couldn't Remember Color Of A Nearby Car, So Jury Doesn't Convict Ex-Cop Of Rape

Posted By on Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 3:54 PM

  • Michael Appleton/NYTimes
What does one have to do with the other? Oh right, absolutely, resolutely, "are we really having this conversation?" nothing.

But according to this morning's Daily News, the victim not remembering the color of a parked car near the scene of her violation was just the excuse the jury (including lawyer Lloyd Constantine, a friendly acquaintance of the Manhattan DA's) needed to avoid convicting former NYPD officer Michael Pena of rape.

“If she doesn’t remember these details, how does she know she was penetrated,” one of the jurors said, according to anonymous sources reporting to the Daily News.

It was actively nauseating to write that.

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City Makes Fake Weed Illegal

Posted By on Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Synthetic marijuana, sold around the city as "incense" and "potpourri," has been banned by the city department of health, the Bed-Stuy Patch reports. The stuff has been linked to an uptick in calls to poison control for side effects including "increased heart rate, hypertension, seizure, loss of consciousness as well as acute renal failure and death." Four such calls were made in 2010, compared to 71 in 2011; there have been 44 already this year.

“Synthetic cannabinoids are not marijuana,” the head of the city's poison control center told the Patch. “They are unique drugs made in a lab that have one effect in common with marijuana but potentially many other different effects. They are sold as herbal products, giving users a perception of safety, but in fact they are toxic drugs sprayed on plant leaves.”

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Tim DeChristopher Sprung From Isolated Confinement, Thank Goodness

Posted By on Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Earlier this week, the media caught wind that celebrated climate activist Tim DeChristopher had been moved from a minimum security camp to "isolated confinement" in an 8-by-10 foot cell at a medium security prison. Why? The transfer was requested by an "unnamed senator" over a completely harmless e-mail DeChristopher had sent to his environmental organization, Peaceful Uprising. Luckily, DeChristopher's supporters mobilized, and with help from the likes of Think Progress, Rolling Stone and many more, phone calls about DeChristopher's unjust treatment overwhelmed Congress and the Bureau of Prisons in Washington D.C. Two nights ago, DeChristopher was moved back to his minimum security prison, where he is serving a two-year sentence for placing a false bid on an oil and gas lease auction in 2008.

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Oberhofer: Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before

Posted By on Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 1:12 PM

As you may have read elsewhere on this site, Oberhofer's debut album came out this week, and it's pretty terrific. (You can listen to it on Spotify.) Put in a real studio with Glassnote Records (Phoenix, Mumford and Sons) bucks behind him, Brad cleans up real good and doesn't allow producer Steve Lillywhite to be all "That's not how U2 would've done it." It's a big pop record that still sounds like Oberhofer. No small feat.

Yet I can't help but be mildly disappointed. Six of the 10 songs on Time Capsules II are from the seven-song, home-recorded o0O0o0O0o EP Oberhofer released two years ago. A lot of people downloaded it (he put it up there for free) and came to love songs like "Away FRM U," "Gold," and "I Could Go." Songs a lot of people have played to death. Now I realize that when you go into a studio for your Debut Album with Steve Fucking Lillywhite (look at this guy's resume), you want the best possible songs on the record, and that just because a bunch of bloggers (and the folks who read them) have heard the songs a zillion times doesn't mean the general public has. And it's not like this is the first time this has happened in the record biz. Or the second, or the third or the hundredth.

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To Oppose Health-Care Reform is to Wish Me Dead

Posted By on Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 12:20 PM

The author at 125 pounds, sick without health insurance
  • The author at 125 pounds, sick without health insurance
In the fall of 2009, a doctor told me I had diabetes. The doctor worked at a clinic that used a sliding-scale payment system, which I'd visited because I didn't have health insurance. In fact, even though I ended every work day barely able to trudge to the subway; and couldn't sleep a night through because of piercing leg cramps; and was pissing the bed; and had lost 60 pounds, I waited nine months before I made a doctor's appointment. It just didn't seem like something I could do, uninsured as I was. And it's amazing how quickly you can convince yourself that being sick is normal.

I was working two part-time jobs that barely kept me in my apartment. How could I afford to treat a chronic illness? The doctor at the clinic prescribed me a mid-cost insulin—not the best treatment, he said, but the best in my price range. It was about $55 a bottle, and would last roughly a month; a box of syringes cost another $25. I had to buy a blood-sugar testing machine (a one-time expense), plus a supply of testing strips (a chronic expense), plus the lancets used to prick your finger, plus alcohol swabs to keep me from catching an infection. I have to resupply these things regularly, for the rest of my life. Diabetes isn't cheap.

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5 April Fool's Day Prix-Fixe Menus (Not From New York's Finest Restaurants)

Posted By on Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Repeat, these are NOT the real menus of any restaurant in New York City, least of all those mentioned below. But, if we were to play April Fool's Day and mess up their menus, here's how some of them might read. Just a little farce for the foodie soul.

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C, J and Z Trains to Get New(ish) Subway Cars

Posted By on Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 10:37 AM

The subway cars running on the C line date to 1965. But the MTA plans to replace them and other old cars soon, the Wall Street Journal reports. The agency will spend almost $600 million on 300 new cars, which will first appear on tracks in a testing phase in 2014 before a full roll-out the following year. C trains can currently run an average of 62,000 miles before breaking down, a marked decrease from the year before; by contrast, the E train—the most efficient in the system—can run 1.6 million, more than 25 times as many. Riders routinely criticize the line's poor air-conditioning and announcement system, among other problems; it tied for last place in the Straphanger Campaign's most recent ridership poll.

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Developers Attempt To Turn Bushwick Into A Dr. Seuss Book

Posted By on Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 9:48 AM

Would you move here with a box? Would you live here with a fox? This is the newly unleashed Lavender Residence, located at 85 Cornelius Street. Curbed NY reports that developer Abe Green is responsible for the job, which isn't surprising, given that he seems to have a sense of paint-by-numbers manifest destiny—Green is also the developer who brought the loud, checkered Ocean Blue Residence to Bushwick in 2010.

Yet, as silly as it looks, the history behind the Lavender Residence might point to something more sordid than Dr. Seuss: When the roof collapsed on the Cornelia Street rowhouse last summer, the FDNY determined the building unsafe and officials forced everyone to move out. Bushwick BK reported that residents were barred from returning, which allowed for renovation work to begin. The publication interviewed at least one resident whose story suggests deliberate neglect.

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Your First of Several Snowy White Weekends at the Movies

Posted By on Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 8:59 AM

Wrath of the Titans: Or, Press Your Luck. It seems like Warner Brothers was lucky to get out of Clash of the Titans, given its big budget, middling-at-best reviews and universally reviled 3D conversion, with $160 million and change domestic. But in the style of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the fact that the movie somehow didn't hemorrhage money inspired the studio to go ahead with an equally expensive follow-up, because I guess The Dark Knight has lots of studios (especially WB) assuming that if a first movie does respectably, there's a good chance tons of dudes bought the Blu-ray, loved it, and will make any follow-up gross twice as month. Or maybe Wrath of the Titans is enough of an overseas sure-thing to make its seemingly likely $125 million domestic irrelevant.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Her Majesty in LES-Revitalized Idyll

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 4:49 PM

Weve marked our calendars accordingly, havent we?
  • We've marked our calendars accordingly, haven't we?

We announced a couple weeks ago that Austin Thomas would soon be spatially reinvigorating Pocket Utopia on the Lower East Side, and that the new space would host a preliminary christening and one-evening exhibit of photographs by Donald Steele, The Queen and I. This all came to pass last night, and the show turned out to be an extensive installation of largely pink-flected prints that might well be likened to so many iterations of the royal 'we'—as individual images as well as collectively.

We humbly offer, below, a few glimpses of all of the above, with a reminder that you already have plans for the last Sunday in April.

So, too, do we.

As nosisms are also quite useful editorially.

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Primordial and Absurdist Urges: Target Margin Theater's "Last Futurist Lab"

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Target Margin Theater's annual laboratory continues through April 7 at the Bushwick Starr. Alexis Clements checked in this weekend and sends this report.

It’s surprisingly rare to see a group of artists enjoying themselves while doing their work in public. In private, anything is possible, but when they’re presenting their work for the public, artists can often be very serious, or, more precisely, very stressed out and nervous. They could be stressed out for any number of reasons: worries about whether or not everything they’ve been working on for so long and at some personal expense is going to pull together; anxiety over what the audience will think; questions about whether or not anyone is actually going to show up; concerns that if someone really important does come that they may not see the work in the right way or think of the artist as serious or important or worth their time; along with all manner of other nagging thoughts about money or relationships or family problems that they may have avoided while working on their art.

So, it’s unique to find artists playing freely these days. It’s also rare to find settings where artists are willing and able to exercise a real sense of collegiality—experimenting openly, trying out new artistic relationships with collaborators, and accepting that some things they try out may not work but that they’ll learn something anyhow.

This little pre-amble may make it sound as if I’m painting the annual Target Margin Theater (TMT) lab as something of a utopia. It’s not that, by any means—and it’s certainly not the only open playground for artists in the city. But still, it was kind of really great to walk into the Bushwick Starr, grab a PBR for $3, sit down and watch some artists plying their trade and enjoying it.

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Has the Warm Weather Brought Burglars to Park Slope?

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 2:47 PM

Burglars have been climbing into apartments using fire escapes in Park Slope like these
  • Burglars have been climbing into apartments using fire escapes in Park Slope like these
In general, crime is down in Park Slope. But the number of burglaries has jumped, the Park Slope Patch reports. In the last year, burglaries in the area have gone up 76 percent, the local police captain said; in the last four weeks alone there have been 15 incidents. The victims tend to be apartment dwellers on the far north or south parts of the neighborhood: "around 13th and 14th streets, between Prospect Park West and Fifth Avenue, and then around St. Marks Place and Bergen Street between Fourth and Flatbush avenues," the Patch reports. The unseasonably warm weather might have something to do with it: burglars are climbing up fire escapes and slipping into apartments through unlocked windows to take computers, clothes, and cash. "I know it’s nice weather and people want to leave their windows open," the captain recently said at a community meeting. "But you need to lock them.”

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5 Skits SNL's First Lesbian Cast Member Might Have To Politely Laugh Off

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 1:56 PM

After 37 years of shows rife with lesbian jokes, Saturday Night Live has finally hired its first openly lesbian cast member, Kate McKinnon. The hire is nothing short of a celebration for gay women in comedy, but coming to SNL after its history of using gay women as comedic fodder is kind of like showing up to a party where everyone has already been talking about you. The show might have meant well, even when making jokes about the LGBT community, but the situation is still a little awkward—especially when watching a "lesbian" Charles Barkley in a dress come out to her disbelieving friends. Here are five lesbian sketches SNL's newest cast member might have to politely laugh off.

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Spotify Extends Unlimited Free Listening in the U.S.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 1:05 PM

In Europe, the much-beloved music streaming service Spotify waited 9 months before severely limiting free accounts to 10 hours of music listening per month, in an attempt to push folks towards revenue-generating "Premium" accounts. Had they gone that route with U.S. users, given the nearly human-baby-growing-length time spanned from their North American launch last July, the plug would be eminently pulled. But the company announced this morning that they are going to keep things free-flowing for the foreseeable future.

This move costs them money, by the way, as more users means more royalty payments. Since it's launch, artists have consistently grumbled over the fractions of a cent the service pays them for streams, but even that pittance adds up. Hoping not to quell their rapid growth (the company is rumored to have been valued at 3.5 billion already!) they are instead trying to raise capital to keep the gravy-train rolling. Listeners are probably going to have to pay sooner or later, but not yet. So keep that habit a-forming.

(Hypebot via Prefix)

Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_klingman.

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A New Tactic For Supporters of the G Train Extension

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 12:10 PM

G train to Church, back in the day.
  • G train to Church, back in the day.
When the MTA announced that the G train extension—put in place a few years ago at the start of the Culver Viaduct rehab project—might not be permanent, residents of Gowanus, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, and Kensington were pissed. The five additional stops extend the G train from Smith-9th Street station to Church Avenue station, creating a link between the R and G at 4th-9th Street and generally making life better, transportation-wise, for a chunk of people without a ton of train options. The extension was originally presented a permanent change, but now the MTA claims they may not have the budget to keep the additional five stops on the route.

Multiple save the G petitions have been created in protest, and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio started the Five Stop Fan Club, which argues that the G extension helps local businesses. As a resident of the area, I personally feel like two years of the train not going to my station with no shuttle buses and no decrease in my fare has earned me the right to a few MTA dollars.

Members of the Kensington/Windsor Terrace yahoo group are suggesting a new tactic: arguing that the extension isn't an extension at all, but a restoration of service. According to an MTA map from the 70's, the G train used to run all the way to Church. This 1974 Map shows the G in its previous "extension," while by 1978 it has been trimmed back to Smith-9th.

Of course, nearly all the train routes have changed since the 70's, and some of those changes make a lot of sense given ridership patterns and budget realities. Still, historical precedent is now on our side. Don't call it an extension: restore the G train to its former glory!

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Big Condos and Broken Teeth: Celebrating 5 Years of DIY Institution Death By Audio

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 11:31 AM


When Death by Audio opened in March 2007 on an otherwise deserted block of South 2nd Street, the Williamsburg music scene was a different beast. (So was the neighborhood.) Condos have risen, Williamsburg now rivals the Lower East Side as a music destination, and Death by Audio is neighbor to high end sushi, Italian and tapas restaurants (and a movie theater), but the space — an outgrowth of the guitar effects pedal company run by A Place to Bury Strangers Oliver Ackermann — remains a vital all-ages venue for indie, punk and metal. With Death by Audio's 5th Anniversary Party this Saturday (featuring Grooms, Neckbeard Telecaster, Tim Harrington and more), we talked to DBA duo Matt Conboy and Edan Wilber about the changes in the neighborhood over the last five years, some of the venue's highlights, and the impossibility of keeping the bathrooms clean.

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Wednesday's Free Subway Ride? That Was Occupy Wall Street

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 10:41 AM

  • Community Newspaper Group / Eli Rosenberg
If official-looking MTA signs directed you to breezily walk through open service gates during your Wednesday morning subway commute, you can thank Occupy Wall Street. The Brooklyn Paper and Daily News report that a team of protesters were responsible for the printing of the signs announcing free entry, as well as for the chains and padlocks that kept those service gates open.

According to the group taking credit for the creative act of civil disobedience, 20 stations were targeted citywide, starting at 5 a.m. The team liberated at least four stations in Brooklyn, among them the Ninth Avenue D, the Beverly Road Q, the Carroll Street F, and the Fort Hamilton Parkway F and G.

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Wonder Wheel to Light Up Again—This Time, with Solar Power

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 9:49 AM

A shot from The Warriors
  • A shot from The Warriors
When the Wonder Wheel opened in 1920, it dazzled at night. But the lights were shut off in 1981; shortly after the Vourderis family took over the iconic ride, they dismantled the old lights, "fearing that the high-voltage system—which sparked when it rained—would endanger riders," the Brooklyn Paper reports.

But this spring the Ferris wheel will glitter once more, this time powered by the sun. "Solar panels and 40-watt light bulbs are being affixed to the ride's metal baskets," the Paper reports, the former storing energy throughout the day to illuminate the latter once the sun goes down. (And what sun Coney Island gets, with that south-facing beach!) The work is expected to be finished by Memorial Day.

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(Re)Opening Day Set for McCarren Pool

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 8:57 AM

McCarren Pool in 1937
  • McCarren Pool in 1937
In the summer of 1936, 11 swimming pools opened in parks across New York City as part of the New Deal's Works Progress Administration program. These pools "were among the most remarkable public recreational facilities in the country," according to the parks department website, "representing the forefront of design and technology in advanced filtration and chlorination systems." The McCarren Park Pool opened on July 31 of that year, designed to accommodate almost 7,000 swimmers; its bathhouse was the largest of all city pools.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Brooklynites Tip Taxis the Most

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 3:10 PM

There was a moment in In the Footprint, the musical about Atlantic Yards, when a character reminisced about a time when you couldn't get a taxi to take you to Prospect Heights—you had to say you were going to Park Slope or something, then ask the driver to keep going down Atlantic at the last minute. (Often they'd refuse.) Nowadays? Prospect Heights residents are the highest tippers in the city on Saturday nights, the Post reports. In fact, on Saturday nights eight of the top ten neighborhoods in the city for tips are in Brooklyn, a study by the Taxi and Limousine Commission reveals. The average New York cabbie gets an 18.6 percent tip on a Saturday night fare, but those ferrying passengers to Prospect Heights got an average of 21 percent. Greenpoint was second with 20.3 percent; Park Slope followed at 19.9, then Fort Greene at 19.8, then Carroll Gardens-Red Hook with 19.7.

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