The Countdown to Tragedy or Hope

“It’s been 21 days since our last shooting.”

approved logo orange on top black sosThis should not be something to be proud of, but in the often bullet ridden street of Crown Heights, Brooklyn it is. For the community organization Save Our Streets Crown Heights this is a milestone. More often than not gunplay affects the lives of the residents in one of the most violent neighborhoods left in this area. Spanning from just past Utica Avenue to the edge of prospect heights the crime in the 77th Precinct is not on level with other parts of Brooklyn, East New York for example.

S.O.S. though is not patrolling all of Crown Heights, they work from Atlantic Avenue, Eastern Parkway to Kingston and Utica Avenue. This small district keeps the volunteers busy. Working with local Clergy and Police to bridge the gap between the community and the authorities, they serve an important purpose. There have been 10 murders this year in this small district and many of those have been in the S.O.S. district. According to their website there have been no less than 13 community rallies in places of shootings or murders, with close to 20 victims being rallied for.

For their small range in a larger Precinct this is huge, so many victims of gun violence in 2013. It seems they are working against the odds and may not be helping decrease the crime, but it has. According to a report from CNN, community policing does have an effect. They report:

“If you stake out a piece of territory like SOS has, basically a two square mile grid, we can suppress shootings here. We can lower the sosnumber of shootings here and the outreach team here has done that,” said Alan James, program manager at Save Our Streets Crown Heights, a community based project fighting gun violence in one Brooklyn neighborhood.

Besides community policing this organization offers education for single parents on how to keep their children out of gangs and drugs, has art and education programs for the youth, who often don’t have enough space to play and just be kids, and many other programs.

Two Square miles may not seem like much, but if there are 13 community rallies of gun violence-often with multiple victims in a year yet over, this is huge. The ongoing fight in the community against violence shows that this is not a neighborhood to be given up on. While the year is not yet done, Save Our Streets Crown Heights is not either.

Follow S.O.S. on Twitter @SOSCrownHeights

Facebook for S.O.S.

Dinner fit for a King.

Dinner fit for a King.

This Atlanta couple’s daughter had suddenly cancelled her wedding 40 days before her wedding date but they had already ordered the food for 200 people. In order to not waste the food, the Fowlers decided the treat 200 people of the homeless population to enjoy a ravishing meal complete with silverware and fine dining etiquette. 

This gesture is a great thing that the Fowlers did. In a way, they not only saved food which would have gone to waste but they gave the homeless population an experience that they will treasure. 

HPV Vaccine Raises Many Issues Within Women’s Health.

A large controversy in women’s health today is: should we be getting vaccinated for the human papillomavirus? 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the human papillomavirus, also known as HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted infection. There are many types of HPV, some of which can lead to cervical cancer in women.

Since the vaccine is a fairly recent development, it has left many women unsure if they should take action. It is suggested that girls as young as 11-year-old should be vaccinated. This also raises the topic of how many young girls today are becoming sexually active. This is touched upon in a recent article by Richard Knox for NPR.

New Yorkers are becoming healthier

imagesAccording to the Take Care New York 2012 report, New Yorkers are engaging in healthier lifestyles, resulting in an expectant lifespan increase to 80.9 years. New Yorkers are consuming less junk food, increasing their physical activity, and smoking less.

Mayor Bloomberg, as often criticized for having a nanny-state approach, has put an end to smoking in restaurants, bars, beaches and parks. There was a 2% decrease in smokers, as 15% of New York adults engage in the unhealthy habit.

Although Bloomberg’s soda ban was turned out and in appeal, the number of New Yorkers who drink at least one sugar-sweetened beverage per day dropped to 28.2% in 2012, compared to the 35.% in 2007.

In 2004, the baseline of adults not eating fruits and vegetables the previous day was 14.1% (10.7% in low poverty). The five-year progress report revealed that this number has decreased to 12.5%.

Whether or not Bloomberg’s policies towards health is a factor in the overall increasing health of city, New Yorkers have positively become more health conscious.

Former Rikers detainee discusses similarities to ‘Orange Is the New Black’

Rayya Elias, LA Times contributing writer and self-proclaimed former “bottomed-out junkie,” unveils a ‘ring of truth’ to events portrayed in the hit Netflix prison comedy/drama, ‘Orange Is the New Black.’

In and out of correctional facilities for a substantial chunk of her younger years, including a short stint at Rikers Island, Elias outlines her experiences in a memoir entitled, “Harley Loco: A Memoir of Hard Living, Hair, and Post-Punk from the Middle East to the Lower East Side.”

While Elias records the mounting differences between her experience and that of Piper Kerman’s, author and inspiration behind the book-turned-smash-hit, the similarities, she cannot deny, took her back to her own “arrival at Rikers.”

The article details those several similarities. Including the power-hungry corrections officers, coveted kitchen positions, and the degrading and hard to forget strip searches.

Elias offers a poignant snapshot of experiences and takes the reader through her journey to recovery in this account.

Major Networks Increase Efforts For Ratings

As the summer comes to an end, the new television seasons start up again. As every year, major networks such as ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox have a bundle of new shows on the air and with the addition of cable networks’ shows, the competition is high. To try to set themselves apart from the other networks, some have brought the advertising out of New Yorker’s TVs, magazines, and cellphones and brought them into their real lives.

Fox’s new series “Sleepy Hollow” has been being promoted since it’ announcement in May. There have been Headless Horsemen on the streets of Manhattan and walking around Times Square. Fox even recreated the set of the show in Madison Square Park, and invited visitors to be photographs stages a fight with the Horseman. They even went to other cities and appeared at state fairs. Fox also had weather forecasters at affiliated news stations perform in front of a green screen and do “headless” weather reports the day that the show premiered.

For their other series “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”, a show about a police precinct, Fox turned the Jay Street subway station into a vendor to give out free coffee and doughnuts. Their efforts did not go unrewarded, as both shows had good ratings.

The competition of networks to have high ratings has increased with the development of more cable networks and even Netflix series. Since there are now so many shows from different mediums that viewers have to choose from, networks must continue to try even harder to make sure that their shows culminate an audience.

To read more about the advertising efforts of major networks, click here.


SPURA (Seward Park Urban Renewal Area), is the largest New York City undeveloped land-owned space in Manhattan. Located in near Delancey and Essex streets, it covers five vacant lots.

Close to forty years in the making, Essex Crossing is a plan to transform the empty land into a mixed-used space in the historic neighborhood of the Lower East Side. 

In a press release, Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled the plans and designs. The new construction will not only change view on Delancey Street, but promise to: “create a vibrant mixed-income community anchored by new market-rate and permanently affordable income-limited housing; offering both rental and homeownership opportunities.”

In a neighborhood surrounded by low-income and public housing, there is much debate to whether the new development will distort the neighborhood.