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It is 8:00 PM on a Sunday in New York City. The audience is seated silently in six wooden rows and ready to see what will happen next. Tonight’s live entertainment is provided by Judge Chu. This show is not on Broadway though but at 100 Centre Street where South Hall New York City’s night court is located.
Every single evening from 5:00 PM to 1:00 AM arraignments take place 24 hours after the arrest of a suspect at Manhattan’s Criminal court, and everyone can go and watch them. Throughout the years this has become one of New York City’s unique tourist attractions.
After going through the security of the building, visitors can be a spectator in the justice-making process. Two photographers, one journalist from the New York Post and three loud and amused teenagers, were today’s public as 92 people waited to see the judge.
In a matter of minutes, everyone’s short-term future is decided. In an arraignment, the defendant comes straight from the 24-hour jail-time after the arrest. Here he or she is informed of the legal charges, and the judge also sets the bail, if needed.
The first man, arrested for disorderly conduct gets $4,000 bail. Six minutes later another defendant comes. He was accused of rape but walked away freely less than nine minutes later. The third man already had a history with six DUI and previous arrests. He got arrested for possession of marijuana, and the bail was also $4,000.
Leshya Bracaglia is a student at the New York University, and she was a spectator to four arraignments. “Tonight, I had to decide between going to dinner or coming and seeing some criminals get convicted,” she said. “I can’t believe anyone could come and watch this even at 12:00 AM.”
The court has been open to the public for a long time but has recently gained popularity especially among tourists. Robert Sherlock Smith is a former associate judge of the New York Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court. “We have high school groups coming to New York from Germany or Denmark just to see this,” he said.
One of the reasons the New York City South Hall is so popular is also because of the famous people who have gone in front of a judge there. “I have Tupac’s, Nelly’s and 50 Cent’s autograph,” said Smith. “The head of the IMF was also accused of rape here. That’s when it’s really full.”
British milliner Julia Knox looks at her to-do list on Sunday, October 15. The hat maker owns and operates East Village Hats on East Seventh and First Avenue, where she handmakes hats for women and men on premises. Customers can pick up a pre-made hat or have one custom made. “About 40 percent of customers will get them custom,” Knox said.
At East Village Hats, headwear from straw hats to fascinators (or headpieces) to felt fedoras line the walls and the shelves. Knox, who was trained in millinery at the Fashion Institute of Technology, makes most of the hats in the store. She prefers to make casual hats, instead of the fancier statement pieces popular in her home country of England.
Knox sews in a ribbon to what will become a felt porkpie hat using a sewing machine from the late 1800s. Felt is Knox’s favorite material to work with due to its versatility and flexibility. “Felt is really easy to work with, it’s really sculptural, it holds its shape, whereas straw is more fragile, you’ve got limits,” Knox said.
Knox takes a blowtorch to a felt fedora in order to create a distressed look that she says is in fashion. The heat creates a light discoloration to the dark blue felt and ribbon, making it look as if the material was bleached.
After working for a few hours, Knox stops at nearby taqueria for a burrito. East Village Hats, which was known as Barbara Feinman Millinery before Knox took over and renamed and relocated the shop just down the street, has been an East Village staple since 1998.
Leaning on a stack of Panama straw hats, Knox talks to a customer about the merits and history of Panamanian straw. Throughout the day, a steady stream of people wander in, attracted to the hats in the window, and wander out without buying anything. But Knox welcomes regulars with open arms as well, offering up hats she thinks they’d like and chatting easily.
While La Nina’s threat of harsh rain is expected to wreak havoc in the coming weeks, New York City is experiencing unusually high temperatures for the month of November. NYU students, routinely bundled up from head to toe by this time of year, are rejoicing.
All around campus, spirits are high, even as finals season quickly approaches; and Washington Square Park, generally a ghost town by the winter months, is still buzzing with life. Street performers, tourists, and students alike are taking advantage of the mild weather.
Owen Tynes, a native New Englander and NYU sophomore eats lunch on the park benches by the fountain every Tuesday. Thanks to the recent swell of warmth, he is still able to enjoy his turkey sandwich in the sunlight this late into the year.
“I have such a busy schedule I don’t have time to go home and eat in between classes,” Tynes said. “I look forward to chilling out in the fresh air for a few minutes every day. I’m happy I can still do that without freezing my butt off yet.”
Like many students, Tynes is still expecting a cold winter to approach in the coming weeks. Senior Manas Malik, recently stocked up on Uniqlo jackets to prepare for what he thinks is going to be a chilly season.
“I’m from California, but I’ve been here four years and I’ve yet to have a warm winter,” Malik said. “No way it’s going to last, but hey I wouldn’t complain if it does.”
Around midtown, Junior Maria Goetz, indulged in a nightly run to relieve stress after pre-med classes. She thanked the consistent warm weather for keeping her in shape this year.
“This time last year I was huddled in my dorm room escaping the snow.” Goetz said. “It’s almost December and I’m still running up to Times Square and back every night. It’s great!”
While still enjoying the September like weather, Environmental Studies student Tess Lancaster said the warmth served as a constant reminder of the rapidly changing climate.
“Over the past 10 years, what we’ve seen take place temperature and climate wise is something that should be taking place over 100 years,” Lancaster said. “So there’s no time for the eco-systems of earth to catch up. It’s a scary thing.”
Despite worrying statistics, Lancaster said climate change hasn’t gotten to the point of being irreversible yet.
“A little sunshine isn’t something to freak out about,” Lancaster said. “I definitely like not having to wear a coat out every day.”
Annual average temperatures have increased in all regions of the state as a result of climate change, which eventually, without drastic preventative measures, will have harmful overall effects. For many NYU students, however, a warmer New York City winter is a desirable occurrence.
“I’m just a happier person the warmer the weather,” sophomore Stephanie Tjoa said. “Especially around finals season, a cloudy day really affects my mood. I’d take 60 and sunny year round.”
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.
Alexandra Delyanis and Rayne Ellis sit down with NYU students Ioana Holt and William Wang to talk opening a specialty foods cafe called Rose and Basil and creating healthy desserts.
What do New Yorkers make of the surprising ‘yes’ vote in the British referendum to split from the European Union?
Phil Rosenbaum’s Reporting: Multimedia students hit the streets just as the East Coast was waking up to the news and roiling global financial markets. Interviews by Shiva Darshan, Abraham Gross, Brittnye Jones, Mina Kaji, Jeffrey Kopp and Alexandra McVean.