Author Archive

Jingle Bell Jog 2010

December 12th, 2010 by Daniel Prendergast

The New York Road Runners held their annual Jingle Bell Jog in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park this weekend. This seasonal race took 6,000+ runners on a four mile trek around the perimeter of the park, beginning on Center Drive and continuing counterclockwise. The sound of the season rang throughout PP as the participants ran with bells attached to their shoes. Some runners even dressed up as reindeer and a couple of Santa’s were spotted as well. Below is a slideshow which captures the sights and sounds of the event as well as an interactive map illustrating the race course.

View Prospect Park Race Course in a larger map

Happy Hanukah – or is it Chanukah?

December 6th, 2010 by Daniel Prendergast

Rabbi Mendel Bendet and his brother Samuel have recently brought their faith from Brooklyn to northeast Pennsylvania – a predominantly Christian area with a small Jewish population (most of which also come from Brooklyn). In an attempt to galvanize this underrepresented population, the Bendet’s hold a public Menorah lighting every year while leading the group in song and prayer.

Sheepshead Bay Rallies to Stay Alive

November 30th, 2010 by Daniel Prendergast

The Department of Education is preparing to close down around 19 underperforming schools next year. One school in danger is Sheepshead Bay High School in Brooklyn. Although the school ranks low in comparison to some, SHB has made a huge amount of progress in the last five years. At that time, the school’s graduation rate was around 45%. Today, the graduation rate is around 62%. Sheepshead has also improved its regency exam scores greatly. These improvements have many teachers and students wondering why the DOE still wants to close SHB.

Last week, teachers and students rallied to let the DOE know that they are a school worth saving. Hundreds gathered in front of the school to show their support for SHB and each other.

Crime on the Rise in Red Hook/Carroll Gardens

November 22nd, 2010 by Daniel Prendergast

Crime is on the rise in the Red Hook and Carroll Gardens neighborhoods. A string of assaults, robberies, and grand larcenies plagued the area over the past two weeks, causing cops in the 76th precinct to beef up patrols and initiate a more aggressive strategy to combat crime. Below is a map illustrating some of the problems this Brooklyn community is facing.

View Crime in the NYPD’s 76th Precinct in a larger map

People Who Work Outside

November 14th, 2010 by Daniel Prendergast

Not everyone who works in Manhattan has the luxury of a climate controlled office. Some must brave the elements to earn their keep. Construction workers, delivery men, security guards – all of these jobs are essential to keep the city running. Below is a slideshow of some of New York’s outdoor workers on a recent rainy day.

J-School Classes; Where Do They Rank?

November 8th, 2010 by Daniel Prendergast

Now that the class of 2011 is halfway through it’s first semester, it’s safe to assume that everyone is fully acclimated to the program. We have all felt the pressure of daybook assignments and writing about something we only started researching the previous night. We have all lugged around a camera and tripod on the subway, only to return home with an aching neck and back. We have all sat in front of a blank computer screen trying to think of a new pest to blog about as the deadline draws near. And we have all sat through the tediously insipid lectures of legal precedents and case studies.

The class of 2011 knows the deal.

In a recent survey, students were asked about their favorite and least favorite classes here at the J-school and the results provide a pretty clear indication of where students are focusing their efforts and where they should maybe focus more effort. Craft and Interactive seem to be the classes that have captured student’s interest. Those two classes split 78% of the responses for student’s favorite. Not surprisingly, however, Legal/Ethics is no one’s favorite class and failed to gain even a single vote. That class did win outright in the area of people’s least favorite; taking 75% of the vote. Students were definitely sure which class they spend the most time working on with 86% voting for Craft.

What is your Gender?
Male 11 39%
Female 17 61%
What is your favorite class?
Interactive 9 32%
Broadcast 6 21%
Craft 13 46%
Legal/Ethics 0 0%
What is your least favorite class?
Interactive 3 11%
Broadcast 2 7%
Craft 2 7%
Legal/Ethics 21 75%
What class takes up the majority of your time?
Interactive 0 0%
Broadcast 4 14%
Craft 24 86%
Legal/Ethics 0 0%

Confessions of an Alcoholic

October 17th, 2010 by Daniel Prendergast

Jason Mohr is a young man who has had his troubles with substance abuse. He has spent seven of the last twelve months behind bars and has lost a lot in the process. After learning some valuable lessons, Jason is attempting to put the pieces back together. But although he recognizes that alcohol is doing him no good, quitting drinking is out of the question. He claims he has cut back on how much he drinks, but for an alcoholic, any amount is too much. Now, as he attempts to stay out of trouble and avoid going back to jail a third time, Jason must weigh the risks against the consequences as he attempts to clean up his life while still enjoying a few drinks every now and then.

After receiving his second DUI in early 2009, Jason was sentenced to three months in prison. Here, we find out how one poor decision ended up leading to a chain of life changing events.

Part 1 by daniel.prendergast

After being sentenced to three months in prison, Jason talks about the shock of being sentenced and making the best of his time on the inside. In December 2009, Jason was released from prison but failed to learn anything from the experience. During the first four months of 2010 Jason immediately fell back into his old routine of drinking heavily and hanging out with the same people who enabled his drinking problem. While things were going relatively well for a while, Jason was caught drinking by his parole officer and sentenced to four more months in jail for violating parole. He lost everything he had gained after his first stint in jail. And although serving the second sentence was a little easier, Jason claims he’s learned his lesson and is trying to put the pieces back together a second time.

Part 2 by daniel.prendergast

Here, we find out what Jason is doing differently the second time around. He has stopped hanging out with the people who enable his extreme drinking and we find out about the difficulty he has had cutting certain people out of his life.

Part 3 by daniel.prendergast

Even though things are going well for Jason after being in jail two times, we learn that he has not been able to completely let go of the one thing that has caused most of his problems – alcohol. In this clip, I interview Jason at a bar he frequents and we find out that he has no plans to quit drinking despite the problems it has caused him. Alcohol provides him some form of social comfort that allows him to have fun with and enjoy the company of others.

Part 4 by daniel.prendergast

Bed bugs. Rats. Pigeons. Grown Men Dressed as Jedi?

October 3rd, 2010 by Daniel Prendergast

We’re all used to the typical kinds of pests New York has to offer, but for the next two weekends, Midtown Manhattan will be crawling with a different variety as fanboys of all ages (mostly older) flock to two competing comic book conventions. The New York Comic Con and Big Apple Comic Con (one isn’t enough?) allows these usually reclusive outcasts to come together and celebrate geek culture while infuriating those with adult tastes. It’s a chance for the socially inept to congregate and share a weekend of awkward public interactions while pretending to battle with plastic light sabers. It also means the rest of us are forced to deal with their child-like delusions during their visit here; on the streets, on the subways; anywhere normal people go, a sweaty guy in a homemade Ironman costume will be lurking; waiting for people to ask him how he fashioned such an authentic looking utility belt.

It is not uncommon for many con goers to dress up as their favorite superhero.

Below is a list of the most annoying things about comic book conventions and the people who attend them:

1. Stupid Costumes

This is the obvious one. It’s well known that a substantial percentage of people who attend these things show up in some kind of garb that pays tribute to their favorite superhero, whether it be professional or homemade. Nevertheless, it’s embarrassing to witness a grown man engaging in such foolishness – especially when you know he spent months crafting his outfit.

2. Hero Worship

Few things are as sad as seeing an adult male fawning over another man who has done something of merit with his life. This goes for athletes, movie stars, comic book artists – whatever. Besides being homoerotic, it’s debasing. William Shatner doesn’t care how much Star Trek meant to you when you were a kid. He’s there to make money off your naiveté.

3. Nerd Fights

When you get a bunch of sci-fi fans in the same room dressed as rival characters, there are sure to be some slap fights. One fan in San Diego took things to the extreme when he stabbed another guy in the face with a pen during an argument. Although this guy sounds like a badass, he was led away in cuffs while wearing a Harry Potter shirt. Go figure.

4. Lame Guests

These things wouldn’t be so bad if they attracted better guests. While the convention in San Diego seems to be getting big names, the two here in New York are less than ideal. When one of your marquee names is Lee Majors, it makes you wonder why anyone would attend. Especially when you hear what some of these washed-up hacks charge for an autograph.

5. Treatment of Women

There have been quite a few claims of sexual harassment at these conventions. When a bunch of guys who have never had a date encounter women dressed in somewhat revealing costumes, bad things are bound to happen. They don’t know how to act around women and apparently they think groping and/or fondling is the way to win a woman’s heart. Come on, guys. What would Superman say if he saw you acting this way?

Watch this video for more info on comic conventions.

The Sweet Sound of Impatience

September 25th, 2010 by Daniel Prendergast

We’ve all experienced it. You’re exiting a crowded subway train after a hard day and you just want to retreat to the quiet sanctuary of your apartment. Then, as you’re slowly approaching the turnstile, some entitled jerk decides they are too good to wait on line like everybody else and bursts through the emergency exit door, sending a shrill sounding alarm echoing through the underground. Then a string of spineless cowards who wish they had the guts to do it follow suit. Since MTA employees are rare at subway stations these days, the alarm can ring on and on, making everyone miserable.

So what is the city doing about it? And more importantly, is it a solution worth paying for, or should we just deal with the annoyance?

Realizing the phenomenon of exiting through the emergency door has become a huge problem, the New York City Transit Riders Council conducted a study over the summer to observe the issue firsthand, and their findings have caused the MTA to take note. But their reasons for wanting to put an end to the problem have little to do with the annoyance it causes riders. Instead, the MTA fears that an open emergency exit door is an invitation to those on the other side of the door to slip through without paying. Whatever the motive may be, the MTA is weighing its options with regard to finding a solution to this very irritating problem.

“Since conducting the study, we have been considering a number of options that include everything from installing silent alarms to putting more cameras at the exits,” Bill Henderson, executive director of the NY Transit Riders Council, said. “People are much less likely to break the rules if they think they are being watched.”

People have become so inured to the alarms misuse, they really serve no purpose, and do little to alert riders of anything other than that a newer, quicker path of escape is open, so a silent alarm might be useful. But there is also a possibility that a silent alarm might encourage misuse because the abuser will not be drawing the attention of everyone within earshot as they surreptitiously exit. As for the other option, the new NYPD cameras that have recently been installed in Midtown are meant to combat terror, and it remains to be seen that the NYPD will use the cameras to deal with less harmful (but still annoying) crimes like inappropriate use of the emergency exit. And it is well known that the MTA is trying to save as much money as possible, so it is unlikely they will be paying to implement a separate set of conspicuous cameras just to deter emergency exit abuse and fare evasion.

Although police officers and booth operators often preclude the temptation of impatient subway riders from crashing through the emergency exit, there are simply not enough boots on the ground to make this a feasible solution; especially with the high number of layoffs the MTA has made this year.

“We are definitely fighting a losing battle on this issue,” Henderson said. “The less human presence we have in the subways, the harder it will be to discourage people from using the doors improperly.”

The study’s conclusion suggests that whatever option is adopted to stop this problem, the MTA will have to foot the bill, which means the expenses will eventually trickle down to passengers. This raises the question: “Are we willing to pay a little more to do away with the bothersome alarms, especially since there is no guarantee they will work?” If I know New York City straphangers, they’d rather put up with the alarms.

Tornado Rips Through Queens

September 20th, 2010 by Daniel Prendergast

An unexpected tonado left parts of Queens in ruins Thursday night as high speed winds brought down trees and sent debris flying. Houses and cars in the neighborhood sustained significant damage and thousands were left without power.