WEEKEND EDITION

Off-Broadway Theater Bridges the Generation Gap With a Free Workshop

Christina Knight for NYC ARTS  | September 30, 2011 6:00 AM

A 63-year-old nursery school teacher who spent a year as a Ringling Bros. Circus showgirl and wanted to find her way back to the creative life. A highschooler interested in playwrighting who had never been to the theater. A former singer and nurse, living at a homeless shelter, in need of an uplifting experience. So begins the story of some past students of Mind the Gap, a free, 10-session writing workshop for senior citizens and teens at the edgy East Village Off-Broadway house, New York Theatre Workshop. (more…)

Get a Taste of Temperance on ‘Satan’s Seat’ Prohibition Walking Tour

John Farley  | September 30, 2011 6:00 AM

After getting a televised fix of underground boozing, flappers and gangsters during Ken Burns’ new documentary, “Prohibition,” teetotalers and whiskey-fiends alike can engage with Prohibition history in the newest Big Onion Walking Tour, called “Satan’s Seat.”

(more…)

After a Synagogue Fire, Finding a Home for the High Holy Days

Daniella Greenbaum  | September 29, 2011 6:00 AM

A fireman studies the four alarm fire at Kehilath Jeshurun Synagogue on the East Side of New York Monday July 11, 2011. Although the congregation has begun to rebuild, community members have been searching for other places to pray during the High Holidays. AP/David Karp

Ever since the synagogue I grew up with, Kehilath Jeshurun — or K.J., as it’s affectionately called by its members — burned down in July, my family and I have been trying to figure out where we would spend the High Holy Days, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

On those holiday, which fall this year on Sept. 28-30 (Rosh Hashana) and Oct. 7-8 (Yom Kippur), almost all Jews, even the secular ones, visits the synagogue at least once. Because my family is religious, we go to all the services, especially during the High Holidays. (more…)

Gas Industry Lawsuit Drills Into New York Fracking Opponents

John Farley  | September 29, 2011 6:00 AM

State Sen. James Seward. Seward is co-sponsoring a bill which would give communities the right to veto plans for fracking. Photo courtesy of nysenate.gov.

On Sept. 28, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released its formalized draft regulations for hydraulic fracking in the Marcellus Shale.

Since the Department released a preliminary draft of these rules in July, towns across the state have been passing bans on fracking, the controversial drilling method that involves injecting a mixture of water and chemicals deep into the Earth’s surface in order to extract natural gas.

In opposition to a state law, many municipalities in New York State have passed local laws banning fracking, according to the environmental advocacy group Food and Water Watch.

Now the gas industry has filed a lawsuit against one town.

(more…)

BOOKS

Resting in Peace in the City That Never Sleeps: A Field Guide to N.Y.’s Cemeteries

Douglas Keister  | September 29, 2011 6:00 AM
Author: Douglas Keister
Publisher: Gibbs Smith
Publication Date: Oct. 2011

I’m a taphophile. Taphophiles are lovers of all things funerary, although the term is more specifically applied to cemetery aficionados. The word comes from the Greek taphos, which translates to tomb or burial.

I’m not alone. There are many of us, from darkly draped Goths to gray-haired grandmothers. Thousands of my kind are lurking on Facebook groups and in the darker corners of the Internet — especially as Halloween approaches. Who knows, some of your best friends, officemates or family members may even be taphophiles.

In New York City, where everything seems to have a price, cemeteries are absolutely free (well, when you’re visiting). Larger cemeteries like Green-Wood, Woodlawn, Sleepy Hollow and Kensico even provide complimentary maps. And where else can you get within six feet of so many notable New Yorkers?

I’ve written five books on cemeteries and my latest is all about the final resting places in and around New York City. Below are the highlights of some of the “best” cemeteries in the area.

(more…)

NYPD Launches Probe Into Pepper Spray Incident as New Video Surfaces

Ben Fractenberg for DNAinfo  | September 28, 2011 5:40 PM

The NYPD has launched an internal investigation into a now-notorious video of a police official pepper spraying a crowd of Wall Street protesters, Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Wednesday.

His announcement, made at an unrelated press conference, came as a new video emerged of the same officer apparently spraying a second group of people during the protest, which occurred on Saturday near Union Square. (more…)

Kickstarter Picks: Preserving the City That Was

Daniel T. Allen  | September 28, 2011 3:55 PM

Kickstarter is a Lower East Side-based startup that helps creative people “crowd-fund” their projects.

MetroFocus regularly highlights local projects that seem to make the best use of this platform and have the potential to leave a lasting impression on the New York area.

This week’s Kickstarter picks are dedicated to preserving New York’s lesser known histories. The projects include a documentary about the rise of Latin “boogaloo,” the 30-year transformation of the Lower East Side as shown in photos and a film about two of the world’s most prolific, yet unexpected, modern art collectors:

(more…)

Bloomberg May Use City Influence to Pressure Banks to Do More for the Community

Adam Lisberg for The Capitol  | September 28, 2011 3:16 PM

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration is considering backing a City Council plan to use an obscure city commission as a pressure point to force banks with city business to do more for the neighborhoods they serve.

The mayor’s office is in talks with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s staff about whether to support the Responsible Banking Act, which would require banks that hold city funds to disclose the loans and investments they make in their communities. (more…)

Cipa & Misha Dichter: Hudson Bike Rides

September 28, 2011 1:30 PM

You can ride right up to the historic Little Red Light House below the George Washington Bridge. Flickr/Shinya

Biking up along the Hudson River is fun now that the path is complete, especially enjoy the stretch over the water near the 79th Street Boat Basin that opened relatively recently. You can ride right up to the historic Little Red Light House, made famous from the children’s book, below the George Washington Bridge. The view of the city and the up-close look from underneath the bridge is amazing.

Pianists Misha and Cipa Dichter met at the Julliard School of Music in 1965 and married in 1968. Together, the Dichters have performed and recorded many previously neglected works of the two-piano and piano-four-hand repertoires in recital and with major orchestras throughout the world.

More My New York…

Let the Feasting Begin: Fall Food and Drink Fests

Bridget Leahy  | September 28, 2011 6:00 AM

From a burger bash to beer and brats, fall into one of this season’s diverse food festivals in the New York-area.

(more…)

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