Boys & Girls High School Rings in a New Basketball Season

December 6th, 2010 by Geoffrey Decker

Last week, Boys & Girls High School, the reigning PSAL City Champions, started a new season in style: with bling. Community leaders from Bedford Stuyvesant, where Boys & Girls is located, are raising money for championship rings and on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the team collected their winnings.

Ain’t No Sunshine

December 6th, 2010 by Brooks Newkirk

The Big Piano

December 6th, 2010 by Ichi Vazquez

West African Couture in Clinton Hill

December 6th, 2010 by Jacqueline Vergara Amézquita

A staple of Fulton St. for the past 20 years, the Senegalese Fashion Center continues to delight its West African-couture-loving clients in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

Shortly after he arrived from Senegal in 1990, Abdou Diop, 53, opened the tailor shop to serve the fashion needs of the West African community in the neighborhood. Most of the colorful, pattern-rich and embroidered fabrics are imported from Africa.

Give Diop a few hours, and he will transform the fabrics into perfectly-fitted traditional African garments.

For the loyal clientele that consists not only of African, but also African-American women, the gowns he creates are a favorite.

Max Schmidt, a Bed-Stuy resident who is originally from Belize, shares what keeps her coming back to the shop.

New York Bike Polo

December 6th, 2010 by Jonathan Vit

The game is simple.

Six players race down an asphalt court, homemade polo mallets in hand. The goal is to slam an orange ball past a goalie and between two road cones. The most important rule? You can’t let your feet touch the ground.

New York’s bike messengers and fixed gear enthusiasts have been playing bike polo since 2003. It’s latest home, twice a week, is “The Pit” and Chrystie and Broome streets. Interested in playing? Grab a solid, but well-worn bike and show up at a game. Newcomers are welcome.

Richard Hughes And The Shoeshine Boys Of Saigon

December 6th, 2010 by Tuan Thanh Nguyen

by Tuan Nguyen

When he received the draft 42 years ago by the army to go to Vietnam, Richard Hughes, an actor of 24-year-old, then decided to defy the order, which, in essence, put him subject to being jailed. He then still went to Vietnam with borrowed money from a close friend, two sets of clothes and a press pass from his college paper with view to do something different about the war. He ended up setting up “Shoeshine Boys House” for street kids in Sai Gon and Da Nang, two largest cities of the Republic of Vietnam then. After 8 years (1968-1976), Hughes’ organization has helped around 2,500 street kids with houses and education.

Returning to the U.S. after the war, Richard Hughes continued with his acting career, featuring in films like “the Departed”, “Salt” and comedy shows like “30 Rock”. He also continued working with different humanitarian organizations to help Vietnamese people to overcome the legacies of the war.

In the soundslides below, Richard Hughes talked about his experience in Vietnam and his reunion after 25 years with the street kids in 2001.

Fashion at the Intersection of Arts and Industry

December 5th, 2010 by Stuart White

By Stuart White

Arts and industry are colliding in Sunset Park, and for people like fashion designer Baruch Chertok, that’s a good thing.

Chertok held a show last week for his new line of accessories in Sunset Park’s Industry City—an industrial complex that recently began renting affordable studio space to artists.

Last week’s show featured pieces that Chertok—a Jewish designer—says were inspired by the keffiyah, the patterned scarf often associated with Palestinian solidarity. As Chertok put it, “Jews and Arabs are cousins,” and his pieces—some embroidered with Stars of David—are a nod to that.

In addition to holding his show there, Chertok says that he hopes to move into a studio in Industry City in the near future. According to him, it’s no longer enough to just be creative—integrating production into the process is key.

“You can have a terrific line, and it can be beautiful and fantastic, but if you can’t produce it, or you can’t produce it on time, or the fitting is not there, or certain manufacturing things are not there, then it affects the business,” said Chertok. “And if it affects the business, there goes the design.”

“You have to wear a creative hat and a business hat as well,” he added.

To see some of Chertok’s pieces, go behind the scenes of his show, and listen to the man himself talk about Industry City’s “arts incubator” and the future of Sunset Park, check out the slideshow below.

World AIDS Day

December 5th, 2010 by An Phung

The dismal weather outside was no match for the energy inside Rivington House, one of the Village Care locations in New York City that provides health care to those living with HIV and AIDS. Live-in patients clapped, sang, prayed and gave thanks to those at Rivington House who give them the resources and therapy they need to live with their illness. The mood at the December 1st World AIDS Day commemorative event was not one of despair or tragedy, but rather one of hope and gratitude.

“The longevity of life has increased because of the new medications they’re coming up with,” said 45-year-old Gregory Davis, a patient who has been living at Rivington House for two months. “I am hopeful one day that they will find the research.”

December 1st is World AIDS Day, which marks the beginning of AIDS Awareness Month. Village Care, a non-profit organization that provides HIV and AIDS education and health care, observed the day with a balloon release, music and personal testimonies from patients at Rivington House who are living with HIV/AIDS.

According to the Center for Disease Control, advanced medicine and technology is changing the face of AIDS, which helps people live longer and healthier lives. The patients at Rivington House are a reflection of this change.

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.

Storefront Galleries and Arts Programs Break Barriers in Jamaica, Queens

November 29th, 2010 by Bianca Seidman

Jamaica, Queens is a diverse, mostly low-income community that doesn’t have much connection to the elite New York art world. So a grass-roots, non-profit organization called Reconstruct Art made it a priority to bring gallery art to them. Through their partnership with another non-profit called Chashama that solicits donated spaces from landlords, like empty storefronts, Reconstruct Art has been able to build educational programs, storefront gallery exhibitions and community art programs in what might seem like unlikely spaces.

The current exhibit in Jamaica, Queens by West African artist Eric Ajama is in a former dentist’s office that Reconstruct Art and Chashama have transformed into gallery and studio spaces. The storefront was donated by the landlord, the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, who successfully sold a similar space after Reconstruct Art and Chashama placed art installations there.

Curator and Reconstruct Art member, Siphur, explains the synergy between the community, artists, students and philanthropists.

Community Building with Reconstruct Art from Bianca Seidman on Vimeo.