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100-plus people call for Jersey City Councilwoman Amy DeGise to resign

The embattled Jersey City councilwoman who was caught on video in an apparent hit-and-run listened to nearly five hours of public comment calling on her to resign Wednesday night. Then, she spoke. WNYC's Nancy Solomon has the full story at Gothamist.com https://gothamist.com/news/defiant-degise-for-5-hours-100-people-demand-jersey-city-councilwoman-to-resign-over-hit-and-run.

36s
Aug 18
How the Biden's climate bill affects NJ

The Infrastructure Reduction Act President Joe Biden signed this week addresses much more than economics. It also sets aside $369 billion over 10 years for clean energy and climate resiliency. Ed Potosnak, the executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters https://www.njlcv.org/, joined WNYC's Michael Hill on Morning Edition to discuss why that's of particular importance to New Jersey and the region. Read the full transcript here https://gothamist.com/news/what-the-landmark-climate-bill-could-mean-for-new-jersey-as-it-tries-to-go-green.

3m
Aug 18
Maloney floods NYC district with taxpayer-funded mailers ahead of primary, raising ethical questions

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is relying on a practice one expert says is blurring ethical lines in her re-election bid.  A "franked" letter refers to mail sent from a House member to a constituent paid for by taxpayers. According to her office, Maloney sent nearly 26,000 franked letters touting her various achievements across the 12th congressional district at a time when there is supposed to be a blackout for mass communications. The workaround: those letters were sent in batches of 499 or fewer, to comply with the letter of House rules. Richard Painter, a law professor and former chief white house ethics attorney for President George W. Bush, said Maloney was exploiting a loophole "This is clearly an attempt to get around the law," said Painter. A spokesperson for Maloney's campaign said all mailers complied with House rules. Read the full story on Gothamist.com https://gothamist.com/news/maloney-floods-nyc-district-with-taxpayer-funded-mailers-ahead-of-primary-raising-ethical-questions.

56s
Aug 17
NJ eviction filings are rising as courts grapple with backlog, reforms

The eviction protection measures https://gothamist.com/news/njs-new-anti-eviction-law-says-landlords-cant-kick-tenants-out-for-payment-issuesbut-they-can-sue-them New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed last year to stave off a wave of renters being displaced have prompted the dismissal of more than 10,000 cases in landlord-tenant court so far, state officials said.  But housing advocates say even as the law kept thousands in their homes, the rules weren’t uniformly applied https://www.lowenstein.com/media/7684/eka-v-banks-amicus-brief-21422.pdf across every county, and likely resulted in tenants who should have been protected nonetheless losing their homes.  Eviction filings are now back on the rise, reaching the highest levels since the pandemic began, as state rental assistance programs dry up. About 58,000 eviction filings were made in the first seven months of 2022, more than double the 25,600 filed in the same period last year but shy of the 89,500 filed between January and July 2019, records show. The courts, meanwhile, are slogging through a backlog of more than 31,000 cases, management reports show https://www.njcourts.gov/public/assets/stats/cman2206.pdf?c=Xs1. Tenancy cases are considered backlogged if they take more than two months to process.  WNYC's Karen Yi spoke to All Things Considered host Sean Carlon. 

5m
Aug 17
Can powerful politicians like Jersey City Councilwoman Amy DeGise be accountable?

In New Jersey, everyone is connected to everyone — so when a powerful politician whose father is a county executive and who holds influential positions of her own is accused of wrongdoing, can the system really be expected to hold her to account? WNYC's Nancy Solomon explores that question in the case of Amy DeGise, the Jersey City Councilwoman accused of a hit-and-run. Most of her fellow councilmembers have demurred or avoided speaking at all about whether she should step down. And while her court case is being moved out of Hudson County, where she's so connected to the local Democratic machine, some activists say that isn't enough. See the full transcript, including some material that didn't make it to WNYC's air because of time constraints, here https://gothamist.com/news/can-someone-so-politically-connected-as-jersey-citys-amy-degise-really-be-held-accountable.

7m
Aug 17
At a farm stand outside Sing Sing, a new rule on packages in prisons brings big change.

Standing outside Sing Sing prison last Sunday, Stephanie Rivera looked on as her 8-year-old son bit into the side of a cucumber and grinned.  It was a last stop before they got back in the car for the hour-long drive home to Long Island after a visit with her husband inside. Since last year, the farm stand has been open every third weekend outside the walls of the Ossining prison — with volunteers handing out free bags of fresh produce that visitors can bring in to their loved ones.  But as of Monday, visitors are no longer be able to bring the fresh produce inside. A recent order https://doccs.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2022/04/4911a-draft-version.pdf from New York’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, or DOCCS, restricts people from mailing or bringing care packages of food to people in prison.    It’s a big shift for this little produce stand — a joint initiative between the abolitionist farmer collective Sweet Freedom Farm https://www.sweetfreedomfarm.org/, upriver, and the Sing Sing Family Collective https://www.instagram.com/sing_sing_family_collective/?hl=en. Going forward, incarcerated people can only get two packages a year — and those must be delivered through the mail, not in person. Any food must be sent through a third party vendor. It will have a big impact on incarcerated people’s ability to eat fresh and specialty  food. For their loved ones, it will mean higher costs and more complications, they say. Greg Mingo, 69,  was released in September, after 40 years in prison. Now he comes out every month to volunteer at the stand. “You know, everybody needs food. Times are hard.” he said. “We know about the economy, the situation. It's really hard on families. So this helps.” He said, even if the food can’t be brought in to people inside, he and the others will still be out there, making it available to their families.  He worries that having to ship produce through a vendor means the end of fresh items for those inside. “That's why they call them perishables,” he said. “By the time they get it, a lot of it may not be any good.”   THE AIM IS TO STOP DRUGS AND WEAPONS DOCCS spokesperson Nicole Sheremeta said the pivot in policy aims to cut down on drugs and weapons being smuggled into the facilities. In a statement, DOCCS wrote that 290 packages were found to contain contraband in 2019 during package room examinations.   In 2020, that number jumped to 924 packages containing contraband.  In the first half of 2021, officials found 577 packages concealing contraband, suggesting another record year occurred.  The statement pointed out that contraband that is not confiscated can further lead to violence and drug issues. Including the contraband that’s found in packages, the total number of contraband https://doccs.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2022/01/annual-ui-report-2020-final_0.pdf#:~:text=The%20number%20of%20unusual%20incidents%20has%20increased%20132%25%20from%205%2C980,of%20weapons%20(%2B1%2C035%25). drugs and weapons discovered in state prisons has dropped from 5,837 to 5,475 between 2019 and 2020. Items listed as weapons include things like toothbrushes and can lids, which may or may not have been intended for violence.  Mingo and others who had spent time in the facilities were skeptical that banning packages will keep contraband out.  “You might have isolated instances,” Mingo said. “But for the most part, when the package arrives at the facility it's opened up, it's examined, checked and everything. And so when you come down to pick up the package, it's in paper bags already.”  Queens Assembly member David Weprin said he is also skeptical the ban will reduce smuggling. He said  DOCCS won’t provide his office with any data to back up their claims of contraband coming in through packages in increasing amounts. He and State Senator Julia Salazar recently authored an editorial https://www.gothamgazette.com/opinion/130-opinion/11479-new-york-prisons-lifeline-incarcerated-packages, opposing the ban.  “The packages you send are already subject to multiple types of screening and searches. In fact, my office is constantly in contact with incarcerated individuals and their families regarding missing items from care packages.” he said. “We need more accountability in the mail rooms, not a blanket ban on families who want to support their loved ones.” Weprin stopped by the farm stand Sunday to speak out against the policy.  “This directive will impose unnecessary fees on families and will significantly diminish access to fresh foods, homemade goods and religious articles for those who are incarcerated,” Weprin said”  He added that DOCCS is sending a message: “They believe the contraband coming into facilities is coming through the packages you send to your loved ones. I can't just take their word for it. I want proof. And so far they've failed to share the data behind this decision” “IT’S GOING TO BE A LOT MORE MONEY.” Incarcerated people and their loved ones said they will suffer in many ways after produce and other packages are banned. Joseph Wilson and his wife Renee Wilson co-founded the Sing Sing Family Collective. Gothamist went to visit Joseph the last day before the ban went into effect. Families stood in line to get in, clutching bags and suitcases full of food items for their loved ones.  Wilson said the measure feels unfairly punitive.  “Zero percent of packages my family sent had contraband items,” he said. “So why are they being punished?”  Wilson pointed out that if DOCCS is finding more contraband in packages, that’s evidence the system works — the contraband was found.  Activist Wilfredo Laracuente feels similarly. He spent 10 years in Sing Sing. He’s worried that severing one more connection between those inside and their families is going to increase stress and conflict, and destabilize family bonds, hurting reentry efforts.  “The data is very clear. It says that if you have a strong support circle, and you have family that's behind you or coming to see you and bringing packages, that’s going to enable your reentry process upon your release.”  He said a package serves as a reminder that someone outside cares for you. “It creates a more humanistic component. You get to embrace your humanity.” As she watched her son with his cucumber, Stephanie Rivera said she worries that vendors may not take EBT cards and will charge for shipping. They may also send items in multiple shipments, which can put prisoners over the limit on the number of packages you can get in a time period.  “It’s just basically a lot more money and a lot more work for us to do so we can try to make sure that the guys eat.” she shook her head. “It’s going to be very stressful.”   A REFINED APPROACH TO AN UNPOPULAR IDEA.  An earlier attempt at restricting packages into prisons failed in 2018, after intense public backlash.  Amy Peterson is a member of a larger coalition https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vRAyDLI20Odm1ef_CZ86GG8bKYsBriEl6CEA-WMYXQs04RG0rQRR50SCrcE5zcuO2_uqioEHxaMdyGj/pub fighting the package ban, using the hashtag #BringBackCarePackages. She said the big difference between that 2018 initiative and this one is that the last attempt included books, and it only allowed the use of a handful of vendors, severely limiting options.  “There were maybe like 40 books to choose from,” she said. “It was really outrageous, and that really got people's attention.”  But she said DOCCS learned from that failure.  “When they instituted this [current] ban, they very carefully studied the response to the last one. And so they said this doesn't apply to books, and they tried to make some alterations that make it seem not as terrible.” she said. “They were sort of very careful to think about what the criticisms were gonna be.”

6m
Aug 17
Early voting is underway in NYC as Goldman, Nadler secure NYT endorsements

Early voting kicked off this weekend for congressional and state Senate primaries. And has made endorsements https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/08/13/opinion/new-york-congress-nyt-endorse.html for several key races. WNYC's senior political correspondent, Brigid Bergin joined "Morning Edition" edition host Michael Hill to discuss the latest Monday morning as we barrel towards that August 23rd primary.

7m
Aug 15
This Week in Politics: A guide to the New York state Senate primaries

Early voting starts Saturday, August 13th for New York's special August 23rd primary, where Democrats and Republicans will pick their nominees for Congress and for state Senate. The congressional races are capturing most of the headlines in New York City, but there are plenty of competitive state Senate races too - especially among Democrats. WNYC's Albany reporter Jon Campbell https://www.wnyc.org/people/jon-campbell-3/ joins Weekend Edition host David Furst https://www.wnyc.org/people/david-furst/ for a guide to some of the key match-ups.  

5m
Aug 13
Weekend Arts Planner: Intimate theatre at Lincoln Center plus the expansive "Cuban-Khaleeji Project"

WNYC's Culture and Arts Editor Steve Smith is back with his latest recommendations. Speaking with Weekend Edition host David Furst, he brings us some intimate theater and a project that explores the Arab, Moorish, and North African roots of Afro Latin and Afro Cuban music. Steve's picks: 1. An evening out at the theater is almost always a welcome opportunity, but every now and then it's something more: an experience that transcends entertainment and really gets under your skin in a profound way. That's the way I felt about "The Nosebleed," https://www.lct.org/shows/nosebleed/ which is running now in the intimate Claire Tow Theater, produced by Lincoln Center Theater. "The Nosebleed" was written by Aya Ogawa, who's a Brooklyn-based playwright, director, performer and translator. The play was produced previously at the Japan Society, and it has racked up some impressive reviews in its various iterations. The idea starts out simple: Ogawa addresses the audience directly, talking about the subject of failure, and specifically her own failure to provide a proper memorial for a father with whom she had a difficult relationship. Four more actors come to the stage, each revealing some small, possibly trivial failure – kind of making it clear to the audience that everyone makes mistakes. The actors mostly play Ogawa for the rest of the evening, while Ogawa sticks around to play her youngest son and, eventually, her father. Failure remains the key theme throughout – identity and obligation are also major threads – and what "The Nosebleed" ultimately suggests is that it's never too late to find your peace – as Ogawa does onstage, with her cast and selected audience members. The conclusion is filled with profundity and delirious beauty. The show runs through August 28th, and I'm thinking about going again before it's gone. 2. Coming up on Friday, August 19th, trumpeter, composer and bandleader Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra present the U.S. premiere of "The Cuban-Khaleeji Project." https://afrolatinjazz.org/the-little-island-the-cuban-khaleeji-project/ This is the U.S. premiere of a project originally commissioned by The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi. And it makes sense to present this at Little Island, the man-made arts and recreational facility that juts out into the Hudson River at Pier 55, between 13th and 15th Streets, because the project explores the Arab, Moorish, and North African roots of Afro Latin and Afro Cuban music and the music of seafaring peoples around the Arabian Gulf. The project is being presented here by Little Island https://littleisland.org/ in conjunction with the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, an organization involved with performance, education, and presentation of the music of all of the Americas. And to vividly illuminate the ties between African, Afro Cuban, and Arabic musical traditions, O'Farill and his 18-piece band are welcoming some heavyweight guests: Kuwaiti percussion ensemble Boom.Diwan, led by composer Ghazi Al-Mulaifi, British-Bahraini trumpet player Yazz Ahmed, Moroccan vocalist Malika Zarra and Emerati oud master Ali Obaid. The performances are happening Aug. 19, 20, and 21 at 8 p.m., and tickets are on sale now here https://littleisland.org/.  

5m
Aug 13
NY's 10th congressional district debate co-hosted by WNYC and NY1

As early voting draws near for the August 23rd primary, six leading congressional candidates sought to make closing arguments on how they could be the best advocate for one of New York City’s most liberal districts. The two-hour event, co-hosted by WNYC and Spectrum News/NY1, was the first televised debate in the race for the 10th Congressional District. It offered voters a chance to hear the candidates’ views on a range of issues from climate resiliency, former President Donald Trump and bail reform. Following a protracted redistricting process, the new district now covers Lower Manhattan and parts of northwest Brooklyn — a solidly blue district where the primary will likely determine the victor in the November election. For the most part, the debate — which was moderated by WNYC’s Brigid Bergin and NY1’s Errol Louis — was a civil affair. But there were several sharp attacks from the candidates against Daniel Goldman, an ex-prosecutor and MSNBC analyst who helped impeach Trump. An heir to the Levi Strauss clothing fortune, Goldman recently contributed $1 million of his own money to his campaign. To read a recap of the debate, visit Gothamist.com https://gothamist.com/news/in-nys-10th-congressional-district-debate-goldmans-personal-wealth-draws-most-attacks.  

1s
Aug 12
City Jails Fail to Protect or Properly Identify Transgender People, Task Force Finds

Transgender people are systematically mistreated in New York City jails. That’s the finding of a new report, issued today by a task force of attorneys and advocates convened by the city’s jail oversight board.

2m
Aug 12
The plague of spotted lanternflies has descended upon us — but it may not be as bad as we thought

Spotted lanternflies are living their best lives, scaling skyscrapers https://twitter.com/bringsjohn/status/1554955330349678592, riding the subway, and https://twitter.com/xcentro/status/1556623885851844609 lounging at the beach https://twitter.com/stories4coffee/status/1556028280616230912?s=20&t=UazAj9gReonQEBDWIVABww in seemingly more plentiful numbers than in the last two summers combined. After all the hype https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/07/nyregion/spotted-lanternfly-invasion-new-york-city.html, perhaps now is the right moment to pause, take stock of these spotted little creatures, and appreciate the fact that, according to some experts, they may not actually be as bad as we thought.

2m
Aug 12
NYC officials promised its summer youth employment program would make the city safer. Does it work?

* On February 15th, just weeks after a bullet grazed an 11-month-old girl https://gothamist.com/news/11-month-old-baby-shot-car-stray-bullet-bronx in the Bronx, a 19-year-old was https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2022/01/09/burger-king-employee-fatally-shot-during-robbery-attempt--nypd fatally shot during her shift at Burger King, and two police officers were killed https://gothamist.com/news/second-officer-harlem-shooting-dies-police-say in Harlem, city leaders gathered for an announcement about summer youth employment. This year, Mayor Eric Adams announced, a record-breaking 100,000 young New Yorkers would be working on the city’s dime. “Our summer youth employment is crucial,” he told reporters at a press conference https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/081-22/new-york-city-mayor-eric-adams-record-100-000-summer-youth-employment-opportunities#/0. One official after the next said the boost in funding would help make communities safer by giving young people opportunities to thrive. “We know that gang violence and gun violence is real, and it’s pervasive,” said the mayor, who included more funding for summer jobs as part of his Blueprint to End Gun Violence https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/home/downloads/pdf/press-releases/2022/the-blueprint-to-end-gun-violence.pdf. “But if you want to stop someone from holding a steel gun in their hand, give them an opportunity to hold the tools they need to be productive as a citizen. And we know we can do it if we invest in the right way.” Council Speaker Adrienne Adams echoed the mayor, adding, “These types of investments are essential to address and prevent the increased violence that our city and many other cities across the nation are facing.” * * * * * * And Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who for years has pushed to expand https://www.pubadvocate.nyc.gov/press/williams-introduces-bill-create-expanded-youth-employment-education-program/ summer youth jobs and lobbied to keep the program intact https://www.pubadvocate.nyc.gov/press/williams-opposes-summer-youth-employment-elimination-and-calls-support-homeless-youth-council-hearing/ during the pandemic, also tied the effort to public safety. “It is so important that we’re all together dealing with this gun violence,” he said. Indeed, for years New York City has set aside taxpayer dollars to pay young people to work https://www1.nyc.gov/site/dycd/services/jobs-internships/about-syep.page, with the promise that the investment would help them in school, prepare them for the workforce, and keep them out of trouble. Gothamist spoke with more than a dozen researchers, city officials, employers, and youth participants about the work. They praised New York City’s program, while also noting ways it might further its impact. A growing body of research has found summer youth employment can prevent criminal justice contact, at least temporarily. One study suggests it can even save lives. But many young people who want to participate aren’t selected. And for most of those who are, the jobs will end this month. At a time when violent crime is still above pre-pandemic levels and many New Yorkers are concerned about public safety, some interviewed wondered whether the city ought to add even more slots next summer – and consider keeping young people employed year-round.

7m
Aug 11
Congestion pricing could increase traffic outside the toll zone

The MTA’s congestion pricing plan to toll vehicles that enter Manhattan below 60th Street could reduce traffic by as much as 20 percent. But the proposal could increase traffic in other places. Tolling plans in Manhattan would cause surges in traffic in Connecticut, Staten Island and the Bronx, according to the MTA. The Cross Bronx Expressway could see an increase of 4,000 vehicles a day. State Assemblyman Jefferey Dinowitz says it’s mind boggling that the MTA would consider a plan to increase traffic in his borough. “That is like the most backwards, inefficient, and unfair thing that I can possibly think of that they can do.” The MTA says congestion pricing will not reduce air quality. The agency is holding six public hearings before it picks a final pricing scheme.  

45s
Aug 11
Man who died by suicide at Rikers had history of mental illness, lawsuit claims

A 25-year-old pre-trial detainee at Rikers Island who died by suicide last August suffered from bipolar disorder, depression, and multiple sclerosis — but he was neither prescribed medication nor monitored as a suicide risk, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday. On the first anniversary of his death, Brandon Rodriguez’s mother sued the city and jail employees for improperly caring for him despite his history of mental and physical illness. Rodriguez hanged himself with a shirt in a caged shower cell in a dangerous intake area of the jail complex where he had been held for days, in violation of city rules, the suit says. He was locked in the shower for hours without a bed or chair; all the while he was suffering from a broken orbital bone and bruises due to being assaulted by other incarcerated people two days earlier, according to the suit. Rodriguez was previously incarcerated at Rikers Island, so attorneys for his family argue that jail staff should have been aware of his medical and mental health history. Nonetheless, this information was not documented or acted on, the suit alleges. The city is facing a separate lawsuit for failing to bring detainees to medical appointments. The suit from Rodriguez’s mother, Tamara Carter, lays out how three days before his death, he called a friend to say that he was awake for days because there weren’t beds in the intake area of the jail where he was held. And two days prior to his death, he was assaulted by a group of detainees and taken by ambulance to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was treated for the orbital fracture. The suit alleges that a Rikers medical professional noted in a report that Rodriguez had previously been medicated for mood disorders at the jail, and that person quoted Rodriguez as saying he was anxious and needed help. But he was nonetheless put in punitive segregation in a shower cell. “Brandon’s death is something we will never get over," Carter said in a statement. "Someone has to be accountable for my son’s death. My son died an innocent man.” Gothamist previously reported how caged showers, intended to be used to decontaminate those who are hit with officers’ chemical spray, are employed as a de facto form of solitary confinement at Rikers. Those who suffer from mental illness are not supposed to be held in any form of solitary, according to city rules. Rodriguez, who was held on $10,000 bail for a misdemeanor charge related to a domestic violence incident, was one of 16 people to die last year in city custody. The rate of death is even higher this year, with 11 detainees having died in city custody or shortly after release, so far. At the time of Rodriguez’s death, the self-harm rate at the facility was spiking — particularly in intake areas. A spokesperson for the city law department, Nicholas Paolucci, said in a statement that “any death in custody is tragic,” and the case will be reviewed.  

51s
Aug 11
3 NJ Amazon workers have died in the last month. Federal safety officials are investigating why.

Less than two weeks after an Amazon warehouse employee died in Carteret https://gothamist.com/news/nj-amazon-warehouse-worker-dies-during-prime-day, New Jersey, a worker in another facility fell off a three-foot ladder and struck his head — then died a few days later. The following week, a third worker at a different location died.  All three fatalities are under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration https://www.osha.gov/, a spokesperson confirmed to Gothamist.  The three deaths in as many weeks come amid increased scrutiny by labor leaders and lawmakers to Amazon’s growing footprint in the state. For more on this story visit Gothamist.com https://gothamist.com/news/3-nj-amazon-workers-have-died-in-the-last-month-federal-safety-officials-are-investigating-why. 

51s
Aug 10
State lawmaker discusses heat at Rikers after visit

Assembly Member Eddie Gibbs is New York’s first formerly incarcerated state legislator. He visited Rikers this week to check how people there are faring in the heat.

4m
Aug 10
Is monkeypox an STI? Why the answer matters for slowing New York’s outbreak

Public health experts are pointing to the past epidemics as examples to help explain why monkeypox isn't a sexually transmitted infection — at least not by the classic definition. Ebola had plagued Africa for decades while being overlooked by most of the world with regard to resources and research. In 2013, the long-known virus flared up, creating a global emergency. New international attention created increased scrutiny, and it soon became clear that transmission involved sex. Ebola chiefly spreads because of direct contact with infected bodily fluids but occasionally moves between people via semen https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4845792/. A similar story can be told about the Zika virus — it is mostly carried between people by mosquito bites https://www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/index.html but has also been transmitted by genital fluids https://www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/sexual-transmission-prevention.html. Neither Ebola nor Zika are typically listed as STIs — by the World Health Organization http://who.int/publications/i/item/WHO-RHR-16.09, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/std/general/default.htm and the National Institutes of Health https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/std-research. Now, as monkeypox spreads in the U.S., health experts are trying to tackle similar misconceptions about how this virus spreads. Globally, the World Health Organization has recorded sexual transmission https://worldhealthorg.shinyapps.io/mpx_global/ in 91% of cases this year — but that leaves about one in 10 infections spreading non-sexually. The global health agency also says that transmission via skin-to-skin contact during sex and bodily fluids cannot currently be “disentangled.” “We have many diseases that can be transmitted sexually, but that's not necessarily the only route,” said Dr. Leslie Kantor, professor and chair of the department of urban global public health at the Rutgers School of Public Health. “And then those are not considered sexually transmitted infections.” But the STI label can also be empowering, health experts said. It can help at-risk groups to spend more thought on making informed decisions about their sexual activity. Given that many people in New York City seem to be getting the virus through sexual or intimate contact so far, public health officials have started to caution against risky sexual behavior. The STI label can also come with greater access to health care, such as free testing. WNYC/Gothamist spoke with more than a half-dozen epidemiologists, professors of medicine and health care policy experts to address the fundamental question of whether monkeypox should be considered an STI and other unknowns circulating around the orthopoxvirus. Host David Furst spoke with health and science editor Nsikan Akpan about what they said. Click "listen" in the player to hear the conversation, and visit Gothamist https://gothamist.com/news/monkeypox-is-an-sti-std-why-the-answer-matters-for-slowing-new-york-outbreak for more details.

6m
Aug 10
Crews working to fix burst 140-year-old water line as 100,000 NJ residents asked to boil water

Newark city workers were going door-to-door with water Tuesday morning after more than 100,000 people were affected by a 72-inch water main break that compromised service in the city as well as nearby Bloomfield and Belleville. Officials said most of the affected area was experiencing low water pressure but most residents still had water. They estimated the water main break would be repaired by the end of the day. Kareem Adeem, director of Newark's water and service department, told Gothamist that by late morning, officials had isolated and closed off most of the valves in the area of the break at Branch Brook Park. Officials in all the affected communities were urging residents to boil water until further notice. * * *

44s
Aug 09
How New York’s heat waves have worsened dementia and mental health

Diane Romano was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 52. In the nine years since, her husband, John, has taken care of her at their home on Long Island. But he and other dementia caregivers have faced an added challenge the last couple weeks: extreme heat. “It's difficult caring for someone who has Alzheimer's if you put the weather aside — just the normal day to day,” John Romano said. "When you add heat and weather, it impacts them in a number of ways.” For many people, extreme heat is a nuisance. For Diane Romano and other dementia patients, it can be deadly. About one in nine Americans over the age of 65 has dementia https://www.alz.org/media/documents/alzheimers-facts-and-figures.pdf. It’s caused by degenerative, neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s — and can impair thinking, reasoning and memory. People with dementia are also incredibly vulnerable to heat, researchers told Gothamist, in part because their patients have lost neurons in their brain https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-happens-brain-alzheimers-disease#:~:text=In%20Alzheimer's%20disease%2C%20as%20neurons,significant%20loss%20of%20brain%20volume.. Changes to fluid levels in their bodies — like sweating and dehydration during a heat wave — can lead to less blood going to their brain, exacerbating the confusion already being caused by the neuron loss. They may take diuretic medications that can cause greater dehydration still. “Her mind can't tell the body to adapt to the heat and she just kind of wilts,” John Romano said. Dementia isn’t the only mental disorder that ERs see more of during heat waves. A June 2021 study by SUNY Buffalo tracked emergency room visits https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34144243/#:~:text=We%20did%20not%20find%20any,visits%20for%20total%20mental%20disorders. during heat waves that involved mental health crises across New York state. Click "listen" to hear more on the story, and visit Gothamist for the full details https://gothamist.com/news/dementia-caregivers-lament-global-warming-mental-toll-on-new-york.

5m
Aug 09
Rutgers researchers find link between phthalates and preterm birth

A new study involving research from Rutgers University https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/article-abstract/2794076 has found pregnant women in the U-S exposed to chemical compounds called phthalates are at increased risk of preterm birth. That's when a baby is born too early—a condition that's become more common since 2014. It now affects about one in 10 births, according to the most recent data https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/pretermbirth.htm#:~:text=Preterm%20birth%20is%20when%20a,2019%20to%2010.1%25%20in%202020. from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Emily Barrett https://sph.rutgers.edu/concentrations/biostatistics-epidemiology/faculty-member.php?id=88166 is an associate professor at Rutgers' Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology and one of the authors of the study. She joined WNYC Morning Edition host Kerry Nolan to talk about the troubling findings.   

4m
Aug 08
Food: A long-awaited food hall opens in Astoria

After years of delay due to the global pandemic, a change in ownership and construction issues, the World Artisan Market is now open for business https://gothamist.com/food/world-artisan-market-astoria-is-finally-open#comments in Astoria, Queens. WNYC contributor Scott Lynch https://gothamist.com/staff/scott-lynch has been checking out the food at the market. Speaking with Weekend Edition host David Furst https://www.wnyc.org/people/david-furst/, he says five of the seven spaces are up and running. The restaurants include Sotto la Luna, Elevenses, Sala Astoria, Urban Vegan Roots and Potlux Kitchen. * * * "Burn Hollywood Burn" spicy jackfruit stuffed pizza at Urban Vegan Roots. * (Scott Lynch)

2m
Aug 07
Mission manager behind NASA’s largest rocket launch hails from NY farm country

NASA wants to send humans back to the moon. But first, it needs a little practice. Later this month, the launch window will open for the Artemis I mission https://www.nasa.gov/artemis-1 — the first step in a larger, $93 billion program https://www.space.com/nasa-artemis-moon-program-93-billion-2025 of the same name. It hopes to land people on the lunar surface by 2025 https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nasa-says-first-artemis-moon-landing-slipping-to-2025/. This first mission won’t have a crew. But it will have a giant rocket called the Space Launch System. It’s taller than the Statue of Liberty and can carry a payload to the moon of 59,000 pounds. That’s equivalent to six to nine African elephants. Artemis I will spend four to six weeks carrying the Orion spacecraft — the capsule that will eventually carry astronauts — farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown. Mannequins will sit in place of space crusaders during the upcoming test voyage. Mike Sarafin is the mission manager for Artemis but got his start on a farm in the upstate New York town of Herkimer. He and WNYC host Tiffany Hanssen discussed what to expect from the mission. Click "listen" in the player to hear the story, and visit Gothamist for more details.

8m
Aug 06
Weekend Arts Planner: A musical "As You Like It" in Central Park and Bill Frisell at the Village Vanguard

We're back with another Weekend Arts Planner. And this week, we'll be heading outside for some Shakespeare and inside for some jazz. WNYC's Culture and Arts Editor, Steve Smith joins Weekend Edition host David Furst with his latest picks. 1. Shakespeare in the Park https://publictheater.org/programs/shakespeare-in-the-park/free-shakespeare-in-the-park/ is mounting its second production of the season, a musical adaptation of the delicious comedy "As You Like It" https://publictheater.org/productions/season/2122/sitp/as-you-like-it/ with music and lyrics by Shaina Taub. If that name rings a bell, it could be because her newest musical, "Suffs," ran not so long ago at the Public Theater. Or maybe you've heard that she provided lyrics for the new musical adaptation of "The Devil Wears Prada" by Sir Elton John. The show received a limited staging in 2017… its return was announced for 2020… and everyone knows what happened next. This production is directed by Laurie Woolery, who runs the Public Theater program Public Works, and although it does feature a cast of professionals, the production also involves community members from all over the city. "As You Like It" opens on Wednesday, August 10th, and runs through September 11th… free tickets are distributed before every performance, and you can find out how to get them here https://publictheater.org/. 2. A long, long time ago, Bill Frisell https://www.billfrisell.com/ used to be associated primarily with the weird mutant strains of new jazz bubbling up in downtown clubs like the Knitting Factory, Roulette and Tonic. But over the years, his approach has broadened, and so has his appeal. Frisell is a brilliant interpreter of standards and songs, a terrific composer, and an improviser whose work never fails to surprise and delight. He's also entered a select lineage of artists routinely entrusted with two-week residencies at New York City's most hallowed and historic jazz club, the Village Vanguard https://villagevanguard.com/. There, he's following in the footsteps of iconic players like the pianists Cedar Walton and Tommy Flanagan and the drummer Paul Motian – Frisell played in Motian's band for decades. In a way, Frisell's latest residency is three weeks long. He's actually at the Vanguard this weekend, playing as a sideman with the great drummer Andrew Cyrille. Coming up on Tuesday night, Frisell's name moves to the top of the marquee – he'll play a week of intimate shows with saxophonist Greg Tardy and drummer Johnathan Blake, two sets a night, Tuesday through Sunday at 8 and 10 p.m. And then Frisell's back for a second week starting on Tuesday, August 16th, leading a quintet that includes two bassists – Thomas Morgan and Tony Scherr – and two drummers – Kenny Wollesen and Rudy Royston. Whatever you think this is going to be, most likely it's going to be something else. Again, two sets each night at 8 and 10 p.m. You can buy tickets in advance here https://villagevanguard.com/.  

6m
Aug 06
This Week in Politics: Congressional primary debate season in New York City

WNYC senior political correspondent Brigid Bergin https://www.wnyc.org/people/brigid-bergin/ joins us to talk about this week's primary debate in New York's 12th Congressional District in Manhattan, and looks ahead to the debate in the wide-open race in the 10th District coming up on Wednesday, August 10. Speaking with Weekend Edition host David Furst https://www.wnyc.org/people/david-furst/, she also brings us the latest news on how the primary on August 23 will work.  

7m
Aug 06
Good Things: Jumping Worms

There’s something invading New York’s forests and parks… earthworms! WNYC’s Amy Pearl has more.

2m
Aug 05
On the sea and in the sky with NY's new shark patrollers

As public safety initiatives go, tracking an apex predator presents its fair share of operational challenges. But if the stress of their new shark-detecting duties is getting to them, our guides aren’t showing it. “They’re here, they’ve always been here, but now maybe there’s more of them,” shrugged Lt. Sean Reilly, a state police officer with the Department of Environmental Conservation. “What are you going to do?” WNYC's Jake Offenhartz has more on the state's new shark patrols. Read the full story on Gothamist.com https://gothamist.com/news/on-the-sea-and-in-the-sky-with-nys-new-shark-patrollers

4m
Aug 04
'Skate every day of the week' — A guide to NYC’s roller-skating renaissance

Roller-skating has a storied, almost century-long history https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/16/nyregion/roller-skating-nyc.html in New York City — from children in the 1930s skating in Central Park to the disco era of the 1970s and 80’s, when it became a keystone https://www.wnyc.org/story/new-museum-wants-showcase-roller-skating-black-lens of African-American culture and rinks spread out across the city. But in the early aughts, beloved rinks shut down one after the next: Skate Key https://bronx.news12.com/skate-key-in-mott-haven-closes-its-doors-for-good-34824714 in the Bronx, then The Roxy in Chelsea https://patch.com/new-york/new-york-city/roxy-awesome-photos-1990s-mega-nyc-skate-club, followed by the self-proclaimed birthplace of roller disco https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/soundcheck/segments/150017-birthplace-roller-disco itself, Empire Roller Skating Center https://dead-rinks.weebly.com/empire-roller-skating-center.html in Crown Heights, which closed its doors for good in 2007. https://www.wnyc.org/story/80717-the-skate-keeper-of-empire-rink/ Today there’s still just one dedicated, year-round indoor roller rink on Staten Island. https://www.rollerjamusa.com/ But the pandemic seems to have brought a reversal to that years-long trend, at least in the warmer months. There are more than a dozen places to skate on any given day of the week, from Rockefeller Center to Rosedale, Queens, making it easier for a new generation of skaters to fall in love with the sport. WNYC's Gwynne Hogan has more. You can read the full story on Gothamist.com https://gothamist.com/arts-entertainment/skate-every-day-of-the-week-a-guide-to-nycs-rollerskating-renaissance

4m
Aug 04
As police plan to check social media on gun permit applicants, critics worry about bias

A new state law https://gothamist.com/news/new-york-lawmakers-to-ban-guns-in-times-square-start-process-to-enshrine-abortion-rights requires everyone who applies for a gun license in New York to turn over their social media handles for a background check. The goal is to find signs of potential violence before people have the chance to pull a trigger. But as law enforcement agencies adjust their policies to comply with the additional requirements, some worry the legislation could have unintended consequences. A researcher who studies the intersection of social media and gun violence argues the measure could disproportionately affect people of color, while civil rights advocates call it “invasive” and say it could violate first amendment rights. The new law includes several measures to minimize the chances of irresponsible or dangerous gun use. Applicants will be required to go through safety training and submit four character references. They will also need to hand over a list of every social media account they’ve used in the past three years. The purpose of the background checks, according to the bill language https://legislation.nysenate.gov/pdf/bills/2021/S51001, is to ensure that applicants have “good moral character” and are unlikely to hurt themselves or someone else.

2m
Aug 04
Is the Forward party a spoiler? Chair Christie Whitman says there isn't a working system to spoil

* * * Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman is a co-chair of a the Forward party, hoping to appeal to those seeking another option, somewhere to the center of Republicans and Democrats. She heads the organization alongside former presidential and New York gubernatorial candidate Andrew Yang. * * Whitman spoke with Kerry Nolan on WNYC's Morning Edition Thursday to talk about the Forward party, the criticisms it has faced, and the prospects for meeting in the middle.  * * *

4m
Aug 04