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Listen to short and long New York City stories from WNYC Radio
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Listen to short and long New York City stories from WNYC Radio

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Cafeteria Rangers Are Learning How to Reduce School Waste

4/23/2018
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"I like it because we're helping the universe and we're being responsible." It's a tall order for a Friday, but Damien Otero, a third grader at PS 188 on the Lower East Side, speaks with conviction as he points to the composting bin in his school cafeteria. Otero is a Cafeteria Ranger, one of several lunchroom leaders who helps their fellow students throw their trash away into the appropriate sorted bin. Cafeteria Rangers guide their classmates through the five sorting steps: liquids,...

Duration:00:03:32

In Tuesday's Special Election, All Eyes on Westchester

4/23/2018
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Special elections to fill open legislative seats rarely attract much notice, but Jessica Su says the candidates for state senate in Westchester are filling up her mailbox with flyers. "It's turned into a huge pile," Su said as she waited for a Metro North train at the Tuckahoe station. "My husband joked that he was only going to vote for a candidate who didn't send us mail." Su lives in the 37th Senate District, which ranges from Yonkers and Rye in the south, up to Bedford in the north....

Duration:00:04:50

Those Arrested for Pot Possession are Still Mostly Black and Latino

4/23/2018
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A WNYC analysis of police data shows blacks and Hispanics still make up the majority those arrested for marijuana possession, even in precincts that are mostly populated by whites and other racial groups. Len Rodberg, a retired Queens College professor, said he wasn't surprised because the data mirrored a similar study last year commissioned by the Drug Policy Alliance. "There are neighborhoods where the black or Hispanic population is 10 or 20 percent but they are 80 to 90 percent of the...

Duration:00:00:45

The Asylum Paradox

4/23/2018
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Ilbouto Micheline began listing the countries represented by the little flags lined up on the mantelpiece of the former church rectory where she lives: Cameroon, Guatemala, Ethiopia. These are the places where Micheline’s current and former housemates fled from — immigrants who have won asylum from 42 countries over the past year. Micheline pointed to the flag of Burkina Faso, the western African nation that she escaped amid life-threatening violence four years ago. Today, she lives in and...

Duration:00:07:35

Review: 'My Fair Lady' Is Loverly

4/21/2018
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"My Fair Lady," first staged in 1956 and now on Broadway after a 25-year hiatus, is the sort of classic, beloved musical that might not work today. You likely know the story, based on George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion": a professor of phonetics makes a bet that he will pass a flower girl off as a lady by teaching her to speak like an aristocrat. That professor, Henry Higgins, despises women. He calls the flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, everything from "a guttersnipe" to "a wretch" to a...

Duration:00:01:07

Some Theater Classics Are Brought Down by Gender Stereotypes. Not 'Pygmalion.'

4/21/2018
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You're likely more familiar with "My Fair Lady" than with the 1913 play it's based on, "Pygmalion." The 1964 film of "My Fair Lady," starring Audrey Hepburn, is a classic; the original 1956 stage production launched Julie Andrews' career. And it's a staple of high school musical theater programs. But "Pygmalion"? Theatergoers may know it's a play by George Bernard Shaw, but as it's only revived about once a decade, many have never seen it. In both, the story is roughly the same:...

Duration:00:02:31

Anger and Sadness at Tense Crown Heights Police-Community Meeting

4/20/2018
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Emotions ran high at a community meeting between Crown Heights residents and local police officers Thursday evening, in the fallout of the police shooting of a mentally ill man earlier this month. Frustrated residents wanted to know why officers had opened fire so quickly and why none of the 71st Precinct officers recognized Saheed Vassell, 34, a fixture of the neighborhood, before shooting him nine times on April 4. Police said they mistakenly thought Vassell had a gun, which he had...

Duration:00:06:13

Former Mayor Giuliani Joins Trump's Personal Legal Team

4/20/2018
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Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump since the early days of his campaign, is joining the team of lawyers representing the president in the special counsel's Russia investigation. With the addition of Giuliani, Trump gains a former U.S. attorney, a past presidential candidate and a TV-savvy defender at a time when the White House is looking for ways to bring the president's involvement with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation to a...

Duration:00:05:31

New Jersey Bans Offshore Drilling

4/20/2018
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New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill Friday banning oil and gas drilling in state waters. The ban, supported by both Democrats and Republicans in the state, is a direct response to the Trump Administration's plan to open and lease most of the nation's offshore waters drilling and exploration (Florida is exempt from the policy). Murphy said New Jersey is not willing to risk an oil spill or rig explosion and urged other coastal states to take similar action. "We know that an oil...

Duration:00:00:50

Mourners Gather in Remembrance of Saheed Vassell, Killed By Police in Crown Heights

4/19/2018
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Hundreds of family members and friends of Saheed Vassell, the mentally ill man killed by police in Crown Heights earlier this month, gathered in a neighborhood church to pay their respects on Thursday. Some wore custom tee-shirts with a photo of Vassell, 34, emblazoned with the words, "Rest in Power." Vassell was shot nine times by NYPD officers on April 4, after he brandished what turned out to be a metal piece of pipe at passersby as if it were a gun. Police say Vassel pointed the...

Duration:00:00:43

Chair of Landmarks Commission to Step Down in June

4/19/2018
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The head of the influential Landmarks Preservation Commission is leaving her post after four years, she told WNYC News on Thursday. Meenakshi Srinivasan said she will step down from the LPC on June 1. In a conversation with WNYC's Richard Hake, she spoke about her time at the commission, which included clearing a severe backlog of landmark applications that included Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn and the Pepsi-Cola sign in Long Island City, as well as approving several high-profile...

Duration:00:08:58

City Convenes Task Force on Police Response to Mentally Ill in Crises

4/18/2018
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On Friday, the de Blasio Administration is expected to announce the creation of a city task force aimed at improving how police respond to 911 calls involving the mentally ill. The announcement comes two weeks after Saheed Vassell was shot and killed by NYPD officers in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Vassell had a history of mental illness. Police thought he was threatening people with a gun, but the object in his hand turned out to be a steel pipe. "I've charged this Task Force with developing...

Duration:00:00:48

Schools Chancellor Implores City Students Not to Walkout on Friday

4/18/2018
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In March, when students walked out of class to honor victims of the Parkland school shooting, city officials and school administrators stood alongside them. But Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said the walkout planned for Friday, to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting, is different. At a townhall with students at Brooklyn Tech on Monday, Carranza asked high schoolers not to leave class to take part in the planned afternoon demonstration in Washington...

Duration:00:00:48

Governor Cuomo Announces Executive Order to Restore Parolee Voting Rights

4/18/2018
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Up to now, those convicted of a felony in New York State had to serve out their sentence and finish parole before they could get their voting rights back. Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, is changing that. Despite opposition from state Republicans, Cuomo said Wednesday that he'll grant conditional pardons to roughly 35,000 felons now on parole. “I'm going to make it law by executive order and I announce that here today,” Cuomo told the audience at Reverend Al Sharpton's annual National...

Duration:00:00:49

Go-To Guy from Golden Age of Typewriters Finds a Taker for His Trove

4/18/2018
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Gabe Angiello, 92, was moving to a smaller apartment and couldn't bring along the sea-green cabinet brimming with hard-to-find parts from 36 years as a typewriter repairman. He fretted that all those painstakingly acquired ribbons and springs, pinions and knobs, platens and fasteners would be lost. Then he found a young whippersnapper who said he'd drive up to Scarsdale and take the parts back to his typewriter repair store in Manhattan, one of few left in the city: Paul Schweitzer,...

Duration:00:04:54

Latest Feud Between Mayor and Governor? Juvenile Justice

4/17/2018
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The city has six months to move 16- and 17-year-old inmates off of Rikers Island under a new state law that raises the age of adult criminal responsibility. But the de Blasio administration says Albany is making it harder instead of easier to comply with the law. "Arbitrary and capricious," said Elizabeth Glazer, director of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, in describing a state guideline requiring Rikers inmates be discharged into separate juvenile units from other comparably aged...

Duration:00:00:46

Public Housing Residents Praise Judge for Ordering Lead Inspections

4/17/2018
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A New York Supreme Court Judge is ordering the New York City Public Housing Authority (NYCHA) to do emergency lead paint inspections, acknowledging that she was venturing into uncharted territory by granting a group of tenants a form of relief that NYCHA argued should only be given to a government agency with enforcement authority. "I'm willing to take that road," Judge Carol Edmead told lawyers for the plaintiffs, a group of tenant association leaders from around the city. For five...

Duration:00:01:42

Controversial Statue is Relocated to Brooklyn

4/17/2018
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For 84 years, the monument of Dr. J. Marion Sims stood just outside of Central Park on Fifth Avenue. But this morning, a small crowd gathered to watch the statue's removal. It was loaded onto the back of a flatbed truck, and sent to Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, where Sims was buried in 1883. Sims is widely known as "the father of gynecology," and he gained renown for his pioneering medical work, and for establishing the first women's hospital in the United States. In recent years,...

Duration:00:01:39

NY Post Finds 'Epidemic' of Sex Trafficking in New York

4/17/2018
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A new report from the New York Post finds that last year the NYPD removed an average of one person a week from a situation in which they were being sexually trafficked, and arrested a total of 228 pimps. And that may just be scratching the surface of the reality of sex trafficking in New York City. Gabrielle Fonrouge was one of the reporters on the story. She told WNYC trafficking mostly happens online and off the streets, and it's not always the case that victims are kidnapped and forced...

Duration:00:04:18

Why We're Not Supposed to Know the Names of Cops who Kill Civilians, But Sometimes Do

4/16/2018
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Almost two weeks have passed since four NYPD officers shot Saheed Vassell in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, but the names of the cops have still not emerged. Sometimes it happens that way, which is in keeping with police department practice, and sometimes it doesn't. The difference would appear to be arbitrary. Five times since September, New York cops have fatally fired on a man perceived as a threat. The public learned the officers' names in three of those cases from press reports citing...

Duration:00:00:50

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