A new interactive exhibit at The Museum of Jewish Heritage offers visitors the opportunity to speak with Holocaust survivors.
Current NYU journalism students and alums gather together to discuss making it in the world as a journalist after graduation.
NYU fashionista Carmen Russo talks about how her anthropological curiosity has lead her to discovering new cultural experiences.
“I’ve always dealt with climate change issues and the aftermath of climate change, but now that it’s in Puerto Rico it makes everything that I work hard for 10 times more important,” said Angel Morales, a 16-year-old community organizer for the United Puerto Ricans’ Organization of Sunset Park (UPROSE).
The organization partnered with the Climate Justice Alliance and the larger Puerto Rican community to establish October 11 as a National Day of Action and host a rally in Union Square Park to command Congress to create a federal aid package to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria. “This is my people under attack–this is my people not being able to survive,” Morales said.
Morales and other protesters and speakers called for the repeal of the Jones Act, which requires that goods transported between two United States ports are shipped by vessels built in the U.S. and controlled by Americans and thus limits Puerto Rico’s ability to receive the necessary provisions.
“Right now our people are hungry,” Morales said. “They have no water, no medication. They’re lacking all of the basic necessities of life right now. So our number one concern is sending stuff out there so that they can survive.”
“My 60-year-old grandfather who is legally blind is still, all these days later, MIA,” Morales said while telling her story onstage at the rally. “I remember watching the news reports as they were coming in and thinking, ‘There is no way this is really happening.'”
Continuing as raindrops wilted her speech, she said, “You see what they don’t know is that when it matters most, we come together and everyone magically becomes family,” she said. “As horrible as this is, we will get through this together.”
Protestors and passing park goers listened under dripping umbrellas as Morales concluded her speech with a call to action. “That’s why tonight we are here to demand a just recovery and build resilience in Puerto Rico,” she said. “We need all of our people to make it through this climate crisis and set up measures so that we are prepared for the next disaster that hits. Today and everyday, we stand with Puerto Rico.”
Shielded from drizzles by a yellow umbrella displaying “CLIMATE JUSTICE” painted in large red letters, Morales released high-pitched cries in support of the rally. The congregation raised flags, banners and fists all across Union Square Park and loudly chanted, “Puerto Rico is under attack. Stand up. Fight back.”
“Of course I’m Puerto Rican, so all of my family’s out there in Puerto Rico. I still haven’t been able to get in contact with a lot of my family out there, so that definitely affects me personally but not in a bad way as you may think. This makes me even more determined. It makes me even more persistent, more strong. I’m doing everything in my power stateside so that my people in the island, they can get what they need.”
After the protest, Morales connected with a rally participant about their common struggles with being in New York while their families remain in Puerto Rico. When the participant finished voicing her concerns, Morales simply said, “Don’t worry–we got this.”
Morales stood quietly as journalists interviewed a demonstrator.
“We’re not just gonna fix what was broken. We’re gonna start something new from the ground up. We’re gonna make sure that we’re not kicked out of our homes like in other disasters where, after disaster hits, somehow people come in that had no business there in the first place and our people get kicked out. We don’t want that in Puerto Rico. We will not let that happen in Puerto Rico.”
The 45th president is great for business. Blonde wigs, “Yuuuge” shades, Troll dolls titled “Hair to the Chief,” masks, and hats are among the Trump merchandise displayed at Halloween Adventure in the East Village.
Two passing shoppers laughed as they took pictures and held some of the merchandise. To them, the items provided an amusing joke, but to the store’s employees, the appeal of Trump bashing has provided a needed boost for sales.
Halloween Adventure, on Fourth Ave., is New York’s largest costume and accessory superstore, open year-round in the East Village. Despite more than a decade of popularity since it opened in 2002, the store has suffered from increasing competition from Amazon. This season, President Trump, along with pop culture icons like Wonder Woman, have helped to attract passersby, and potential buyers.
Amazon’s speed and low prices are major factors the store’s employees blame for dropping sales. “Amazon beats us all the time,” said Tony Bianchi, 72, the manager of Halloween Adventure, and he continued, “This store is an experience to walk through, but people don’t want to go through the hassle. Even my grandchildren buy costumes through Amazon Prime.”
Online searches account for roughly 35 percent of shoppers’ costume inspiration compared to about 30 percent from retail stores, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual Halloween survey. In addition, while only 22 percent of customers will exclusively buy online, that number has consistently grown over the years since 2006.
Despite the growing online trend, some employees are confident in Halloween Adventure’s appeal. “There’s an accessibility to thousands of items you can actually see and touch,” said Michael, 26, a store employee, and he continued, “There’s always uncertainty with the product you’re getting when you’re buying online.”
The store takes full advantage of its many displays, especially that of President Trump, creating an experience that ties in with the news cycle. “The more Trump brands himself by sparking controversy, the more merchandise we can put on display,” Bianchi said. “Good news or bad news, it’s great for costume sales.”
Twenty-six out of 30 fifth graders in Manhattan’s P.S. 3 in the West Village, voted to ban Columbus Day yesterday. The 10 and 11-year-old students agreed that Christopher Columbus no longer deserves to be hailed as an American hero
The students gained their knowledge of the history of Christopher Columbus’s pillage into the “New World” through the progressive curriculum taught at the school. While this classroom chose to present more than just the bare-bones, name, date facts of Columbus’s 1492 sail into modern day America, many classrooms across the country do not do the same.
A recent study found that 33 out of 34 elementary school teachers’ curricula did not present multiple interpretations of Columbus’s voyage or engage in any detail outside of a minimal description of who Christopher Columbus was and why America celebrates him. Elementary school teachers spend less time on average teaching history and social studies than any other subject.
Hannah Sawyer, lead teacher in the fifth grade classroom, said that her own introduction to Christopher Columbus in elementary school was vague and uninformative. She now works to equip her students with a full and comprehensive knowledge of history.
“It is impossible to teach fifth graders to be critical thinkers without giving all the facts,” Sawyer said. “Especially when dealing with a culturally sensitive topic.”
Many young adults recall learning very little about Christopher Columbus’ practices in their elementary classrooms, suggesting that more comprehensive curricula have only recently begun to creep into schools nationwide. https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/10/columbus-day-school-holiday/409984/
New York University student Chanel Seto said that her public elementary school in Rockville, Maryland, not only taught about Columbus in an altogether positive way, but continued to celebrate his actions well into the holiday season.
“My school celebrated him not only for Columbus Day, but for Thanksgiving, too,” Seto said. “The story we heard was that Christopher Columbus discovered America and we are here because of him.”
Saddleback College volleyball player Mandy Sides recalled that her California classroom taught her next to nothing about Columbus.
“It wasn’t until my last few years of high school that I actually found out how he brutally treated the native people already living here and stole their land,” Sides said. “It wasn’t even my high school that taught me. I researched it myself.”
The fifth grade students of P.S. 3 were given the option to develop their own opinions on the celebration of Columbus Day after being taught by Sawyer not only about Columbus’ sail into the New World but about the subsequent enslavement and murder of native peoples that occurred because of his voyage.
“I’m not just going to teach one side of the story,” Sawyer said. “That would be equivalent to teaching them nothing. They need to be informed.”
Following their Christopher Columbus lesson, the fifth graders were encouraged to articulate their stance on the controversial holiday.
“I don’t think we should celebrate Columbus Day anymore,” Ezra Silverberg said. “I know Christopher Columbus wasn’t a good person. He killed a lot of people and it’s just not right to celebrate that.”
Today marks the 5th day of the annual 11-day San Gennaro Festival in Soho’s Little Italy area. Cannoli vendors, fresh gelato sellers, and colorful processions occupy the entirety of Mulberry Street between Canal and Houston Streets in a flood of red, white, and green.
The event features an eclectic variety of food and culture. Framed by Soho’s cast-iron architecture, the festival blends the backdrop of old New York with contemporary concoctions in not just Italian, but Mexican, Asian and Cuban cuisines. “In a world with so many divisions, food makes everybody happy. There’s no boundaries with food,” said Anthony Curatola, one of the vendors, as he handed me a cheese calzone with a side of spicy sauce. At the festival, there is no apparent segregation or categorization: fried eggrolls feature next to assorted Italian cookies and cheese; wine and Pina Coladas fare equally well with visitors; bubbles and Cuban cigars are blown by the young and the old with the same joviality.
As I turn left onto Grand Street, I come across an elderly man sitting leisurely with his beer, who happens to be the National Vice President for District 22 of The American Federation of Government Employees. For Griff Mulligan, “This a way for the people to heal and celebrate diversity.” Further down the street, Ada, an Italian immigrant from Calabria, sells the last of her pink and yellow lemonades as she talks to me, “There are a lot of different activities throughout the day. There’s the cannoli eating contest, evening music performances, and of course, Anthony’s eggroll stand.”
Community seems to exist, even in this temporary, ethnically diverse street fair – such is the magic of New York City.
As he stepped onto the gym floor in a brown t-shirt, Coban Lookchaomaesaitong would not look like a five-time Muay Thai world champion to most. A broad smile creased his tanned features every other instant as he patiently instructed a beginner class about kicks. You could pass him in a downtown bodega and not notice him, let alone be threatened by him.
Then, Coban decided the class needed a demonstration. He positioned his 5-foot 4-inch frame in front of a heavy bag, and unleashed a cracking left roundhouse kick that echoed like a gunshot around the room. It became apparent how he had earned his fighting nickname “The Cruncher.”
As a fighter, Coban was a trailblazer, traveling around the world to fight foreigners at a time when most Thai fighters did not venture outside of Thailand. As a trainer, he is the first and only Thai world champion to open a Muay Thai gym in New York City, offering a cultural immersion in the art that extends past learning how to kick, punch, and knee.
Nestled under a diner on 38th Street and 5th Avenue, there is a basement matted from wall to wall, with heavy bags hanging from the ceiling and a boxing ring in the corner. This is Coban’s Muay Thai Camp, the school Coban founded in 2011. Coban said he founded his school on traditional principles, and he aims to educate his students on the entire culture of Muay Thai. He said that most gyms in the United States only teach the fighting aspects of Muay Thai, and neglect the cultural aspects.
“I show them everything. Technique, how to respect, how to be humble. Not be big-head, more humble. Take care who the weaker. This is basic,” Coban said, lounging in the gym’s rest area. On the mats, fighters sparred while traditional Thai trumpets blared in the background. “In class I have wai kru, traditional dance. Other gym, no. Just fight.” Wai khru is the traditional dance Muay Thai fighters perform to pay respects to their teachers.
Indeed, despite his own talent in the physical art, Coban said he considers the traditions of Muay Thai just as important, in part due to his own initiation to the art. Born under the name Banlu Anwiset on Aug. 4, 1966, in a small Thai city called Buriram, he said he started fighting after watching Muay Thai fights at a Buddhist temple fair. He said he still does Muay Thai demonstrations at the Buddhist temple in Queens every Songkran, the Thai new year.
Coban said he eventually moved from fighting in the countryside temple fairs to the big stadiums in Bangkok like the famed Lumpinee Stadium. He considers the first time he won the Lumpinee lightweight championship, with a fourth-round knockout, as the proudest moment of his career. He then began traveling to fight in other countries. He said other Thai fighters had fought outside of Thailand before, but none had done so as often as he. He said his fights in locations like the Netherlands, France, Australia, and the United States, against the kickboxing greats from those countries, helped spread the popularity of Muay Thai.
Coban said he moved to the U.S. in 1994, after it became hard to find fights in Thailand due to promoters thinking he was too old. He first lived in North Hollywood, California, before moving to New York. He said he moved to the U.S. for the chance at a better life. He said most Thai fighters have trouble finding jobs after retirement, and he wanted to escape that.
“I don’t know what I do if I not move here. Maybe, be some trainer somewhere, or be some farmer. I don’t know,” Coban said, referring to how it would have been hard to make money after his retirement. “If no money, no happy life in Thailand.”
In New York, Coban said he is not interested in breeding world champions, saying that there is too much drama involved.
“I don’t want to train like a fighter. I want to train like students, who want to learn in class,” Coban said. He said he was more interested in building a family-like atmosphere. Adding to the welcoming atmosphere of the school are Coban’s three dogs that he often brings in with him. With one of the dogs lazing at his feet, Coban said that his favorite part of running the school is when his students improve.
“When I teach students, when they improve, they get better. I feel very good,” Coban said with yet another smile, before heading back out onto the mat to conduct another class.
With rising Islamophobia and the threat of a travel ban, the struggles of daily life for Muslim Americans have also increased. Join a group of Egyptian-Americans as they celebrate ramadan, struggling to preserve their identity and traditions.